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Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Sleeping Giant

Posted by Ryan

I have awakened a sleeping giant. My baseball card obsession is back, with zeal like never before. It all happened a few weeks ago. On my way home from visiting my brother, I stopped in to a small resale shop along the way. It's one of those places that buy the contents of abandoned storage units at auctions. Inside, among the shelves of old, broken toys and Sit And Be Fit VHS tapes, was a large box of baseball cards. I had to have them! The cards were being sold individually at a price that, I thought, was too high. So I gave the owner an offer for all of them. She accepted. I immediately called my wife, to share the amazing news with her:


"Laura, I bought some baseball cards at the Pic-N-Pay!"

"You what?"

"I bought a bunch of baseball cards! I only spent fifty bucks!"


"You there?"


Apparently, she did not share in my excitement. The problem is that most women think that baseball cards are toys. They are not toys - they are an INVESTMENT. Toys are things like My Little Barbie or Easy Bake Pony. Like most sports cards collectors, I am very sure that even though these cards are worth about a nickel right now, soon they could be worth hundreds of dollars, perhaps thousands? I started buying baseball cards when I was about eight years old, with the money my slave-driver-of-a-brother, Michael, gave me when I helped him mow lawns in our neighborhood. By the time I was fourteen, I had a very impressive collection – impressive to everyone except the girls that I liked. So into the attic they went (the cards, not the girls). And I moved on.

I believe my infatuation with sports memorabilia began when I realized I had no coordination for actual sports. I was so terrible, that baseball practice seemed more like a punishment than a game. After one such practice, I was in my room, going through the motions of the "Crow Hop" throw that the coach had just attempted to teach us. I executed it perfectly. That is, until my misguided hand smashed through the light fixture that was hanging too low in the middle of the ceiling. After removing the shards of glass from my hand and the carpet, I decided that playing sports wasn't for me. So I spent much more time indoors, organizing my cards and drawing moustaches on the faces of players I didn't care for. And that's what I did the next few weeks after I got the new batch of cards (organizing, not drawing moustaches). My spare bedroom is still full of cards, waiting to be culled when I have the time. But I've got to get to the oven now - I think the pony is ready.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I hate malls.

Posted by Ryan

I hate malls. Every one. I hate the tiny malls with nothing but eight jewelry stores and a few cell phone kiosks. I hate the ritzy malls near the affluent neighborhoods. I hate them all.

The parking situation is ridiculous unless you arrive at the mall at 5 am. I arrived at the mall at a time when normal people do - when the sun is up. And consequently, I had to park in the nearby county. But it was fine; I packed enough food and water for the journey. Finally inside the mall, I don't feel any better about my shopping experience. I can't find anything. I can't even find that mall map with the "you are here". I feel like I need some sort of mall-friendly G.P.S.

One thing that is true of a bi-level mall: If you enter the mall on the first floor, your destination will be on the second, and vice versa. Never fails. So I make my way to the escalators. Escalators scare the shit out of me. I know they shouldn't but they do. I don't know when to step. It moves too fast. I look around and I see confident (dare I say, cocky) people getting on like it was nobody's business - just one fluid motion on and off. I grip the moving handrail and hope for the best... Hmm, that wasn't so bad.

Maybe my hatred of malls is more a hatred of shopping. My "shopping" is more of just "getting" and then "getting out". I'll explain. For example, if I want a navy blue polo shirt, I will do all the necessary pre-mall reconnaissance on the navy blue polo shirt, so that when I enter the mall, I can get it and get out in the shortest time possible.

No, shopping in the mall isn't all the fun it's cracked up to be. Not when you have a veritable gauntlet before you. And what do I mean by "gauntlet"? You'll have to look it up in the dictionary. I don't have the time to be explaining every word to you. Keep up. First, I run into the massage-chair Asians. Now, I am not a racist. I just have never seen any other ethnicity operating this area. A massage would be nice, though. Stay focused! Next is the Cell Phone Kiosk Salespeople. Why do I feel like I need to lie to them? I could just say what I'm thinking, which is, "Stay away from me. I have pepper spray." So I end up lying to them, saying things like, "I already have that phone" or, "I use (enter any other cell phone service provider here) and I'm happy with them" or, "Look, a tiger!"

At this point, I'm feeling pretty good. I managed to get through the first two obstacles, when...BAM! Food court. Shit. Just when I thought I would make it. Now I'm a panic-driven mess, arms and legs moving merely by instinct. I twist and turn, duck and roll. A gang of men and women, armed with trays and trays of Bourbon Chicken loom between the navy blue polo shirt and me. I've come this far, I tell myself, as one last burst of adrenaline fills my veins. I bolt, race to the shirt, buy it without trying it on, and leave.

I'm free.

Now, how do I get out of here?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Microwave gourmet

Posted by Ryan

I stopped by Fresh Donuts this morning for a sausage and cheese kolache. The donut chef behind the counter asked me if I'd like it microwaved. I did. So she proceeded to nuke it for twenty or so seconds - just hot enough so that the cheese is transformed into molten Napalm. I paid for it was off to work when I thought: Why am I ok with my food being microwaved? It makes the name Fresh Donuts kinda ironic. Furthermore, were I aware that any other resaurant/fast food place heated my food in this manner, I'd probably quit going there. It's not that I'm ultra picky about the way my food is prepared, it's more that the only microwaved food I think is acceptable is popcorn. The rest of the stuff I stick in there are things like Hot Pockets, Ramen Noodles, etc. - food eaten usually becuase I'm in a hurry or something - and I'm fully aware that the food will probably be pretty gross.


Posted by Ryan

I've never been that much into comic books. I'm sure some of you out there know some Marvel or DC geeks. The ones who not only know every character IN DETAIL but they can actually argue with you about them. I don't know anything about - anything - when it comes to comics. And I'm very happy about that. It just may have kept me from being beaten up anymore times than I did when I was a kid (I did play the violin so I couldn't escape it all).

Maybe it's the little things about the superheroes peeved me. Everyone knows the phrase people scream when they see Superman: Look, it's a bird! It's a plane! It's SUPERMAN! Ok, who effing yells, "Look, it's a bird!" Who is that excited about seeing a bird and why are they not already in an institution? Also, why does the second person have to correct the first person with their opinion of the object in the sky? I kind of want those two idiots to just get into a fight: It's a bird! It's a plane! BIRD! PLANE! The thrid guy, hearing the bickering, hurries over and gets between the fighting pair. "Guys!" He says as he lays a hand on each of their shoulders. With a gleam in his eyes, he whispers, "You were both wrong. It was was Superman."