Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You so cool

I used to be really cool. I had all different ways to signify my coolness, but one that really stood out to people was how I wore my pants in the classic low-rider style.

This was definitely a good look, and I was pretty confident with it.
Until one day, a nice man pointed out to me that traditionally when you low-ride your pants, you make sure you are sporting boxers and not whitey tighties. It turned out that I had not been cool at all, but actually a little embarrassing and maybe even gross.

So I made some changes.

But as I went about my life low-ridin' and being cool, I began to learn some important things about body/pants relations.
You see, always sagging pants down and then waddling around in them (or sauntering) causes some unusual damage to the integrity of the pants.

I have made a handy guide to help you understand where the problem occurs:

Here is the body in harmony with its pants. The bend is where it is supposed to be, and fabric is thinking, "Ok, this is how I am supposed to work, I am doing real good."
But when you low-ride:

As you can see, there is evident discord. The pants have lost all ability to gauge where, or how, to bend. The fabric is now saying, "There is nothing good about this."

This disharmony can cause all kinds of problems, as it did for me.
Like when I was hackey-sacking with my friends, in front of cute girls, and my pants decided that being cool was kind of exhausting.

This actually happened to me twice, once in blue pants and once in brown. Rips in the knees = cool; rips from crotch all the way down inner thigh = not cool to most people.

Better yet was when my low rider pants conspired to get me beaten up. I was at a rave, because raves were cool,  making my way down some bleacher seating, and my pants restricted my movement just enough to send me crashing forward onto a raver girl.

Despite my apologies, she cussed me out intensely and then went to conspire against me with some of her large man friends. I pulled up my pants to a most uncool height and got the hell out of there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Obfuscate Everything

I had a brief dalliance with that old comedic chestnut known as the "prank phone call" when I was younger. We were crouched around the phone book, scanning for random numbers, dialing with shaking fingers (a lengthier process in those days of rotary phones), and then blasting unsuspecting people with hilarious lines like "Where's the beef?" "Wha chew you talkin bout Willis?", or the ever popular blurt of nonsense in a vaguely Muppetish voice that quickly disintegrated into giggling and a quick slam of the phone.
It was my turn and I had selected the local bowling alley as my target.
Keep in mind, we were young and fairly innocent, saying little that would have offended anyone, more likely leaving them to shrug their shoulders and move on with their day.
So it is with some embarrassment that I confess that when that nice sounding young woman picked up the phone with a chirpy, "Bowl and Grille, how can I help you?", I had a horrific, unplanned episode of Tourette Syndrome.
In a voice best described as a pre-pubescent Mr.T, I screamed "Suck my dick!" and smashed the phone back into its cradle with spastic force.
My fellow pranksters froze, their eyes wide.
I have no explanation; I could not even tell you where I had ever even heard that crude invitation, or why on earth it had burst out of me like B.A. putting his foot down about flying in a plane.
It just happened.
The others backed away from me, and fear settled over us. A line had been crossed. We had been pleasantly swimming in the pool of youthful hijinks, and I wrecked it all with a verbal turd that floated on the surface of our good times.
We shamefully replaced the phone book and scrabbled outside into the harsh light of day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Covert Escape

I have drawn a picture of one my most vivid childhood memories:

I bet you can guess what it is, can't you? Its a pretty universal moment I have captured here. There is a sudden bad smell in church and my dad has leaned into my ear and whispered, "Did you pass gas?" There is a clenched teeth tone to his voice, either because he is angry or he is trying to only breathe through his mouth.
What the picture fails to portray is the tickle of his beard hairs on the outer edges of my ear.
There were usually about a hundred people in church, but I guess the little boy sitting next to you is as good a fart culprit as anyone else.

This blind kid I used to work with pronounced my name "Mutt". He had incredibly sharp hearing, and when you would think he was completely asleep, something would amuse him and he would burst out in a string of unhinged giggles. One of the few perks of working in special ed is you can pass the gas pretty much without restraint and the public at large always assumes its the students. With this kid, however, you could not even try it. I would try to barely, just barely, release a little discomfort, and he would hear it instantly. Out would come the giggles, and then "Excuse you Mutt-whooh" accompanied by some very exaggerated sniffing of the air. Pathetic as I am, if this situation unfolded in public, I would say "Who's Mutt?" and hope he did not raise a small crooked finger in my direction.

Friday, March 25, 2011

2 Flushes in Quick Succession

I work in special education. If you are not familiar with the population, you should know that some of its members like to repeat the same things quite often. Here are some samples of conversations I have every day, five days a week, some for as many as the last five years running:

Student (in a Miss Piggy falsetto): "Oh Kermites, I am so beautiful-what does Fozzy say?"
Me, if I am feeling indulgent, delirious, etc: "Wakka wakka wakka."
There are 183 school days in the year, and I have had this student for four years. I have said "wakka wakka wakka" at least 730 times.

Every day, students get up and give their "news", the use of the word here being wide open to individual interpretation. One student has given the same news everyday for five years.
Student: "Wash mom...horsey riding."
I have heard that statement at least 900 times.

I have one student who asks me "Are you tired?" on average 10 times a day, and I have had that student for three years. I have been asked that question at least 5000 times.

One time I popped a mint in my mouth and a nearby student, who had given no previous indication that she was paying attention to anything, mumbled in my direction, "Yo breff not that bad." I was grateful for the encouragement.

The point of all this is that today my son flushed a public toilet and enthusiastically declared: "Daddy you would love this potty-you can flush it 2 times without waiting!" I wonder why he thinks that would matter to me.

Well anyways, when the head is empty, the mouth should close. And here is something I call Thomas Tries:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Product Review #6 Prized Avon Collectible

Let's see what you can do, little buddy.



Morning Glory

I am worried that I might be symptomatic of what is wrong with America. I am listening to the news, each item more tragic than the last, but all I can think about is how much I hate the Shrek movies.
I especially hate how each one ends with a big choreographed dance scene, and how the DVD releases have longer dance scenes that they call "parties", how every computer animated film insists on ending with a dance number now (because it was so funny when Shrek did it); its all so self-absorbed and thoroughly convicted of its own hilarity.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Midday Gas

Smacky the Poop. That is what a 2-year old I know called this person:

 Finding that hilarious probably moves me one step further away from ever being a professional person.

I have been called unprofessional twice in my life: once, when I wore cut-off jeans and a tank-top while changing a sixteen year old man's diapers, and once after an interview for a job I had not even wanted. I was admonished for telling the interview team that their work environment seemed tense and morale appeared quite low. Who wants to work for a company that can't take objective criticism? It just means they have steeled themselves to resist all change.

By the way, the gweenbrick logo guy is named Dome (Doh-me). He was a robot character I drew endlessly one year, in one of my typical "stuck" modes. Stuck, obsessive compulsive, intrusive thinking, various disorders of deficit; its nice to have some terminology for what would otherwise be low-density crazy.
Here he is flying in front of a gradient fill. I drew it just now, so its real good.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Big Peoples

I went to Japan once.
It's a long flight, and halfway through I got up to use the bathroom. I opened the door on a little Asian lady sitting on the toilet. She gasped in terror, but all I saw was a quick bunching of skirts, old knees, and dark glasses.
I shut the door, and like an idiot, blurbled out something like "Oh thats so embarassing".
Another old lady, sitting nearby, said "Its her fault, she no lock the door."

While I was there, two seventh grade boys told me I had "boobs". They didn't use words, though. They were sitting across from me, and one nudged the other, then proceeded to pull out the chest of his shirt into two unmistakable points. He did it a few more times in rapid succession, and then pointed at me. They laughed hysterically.

It was incredibly humid; sweat streamed off my shaved head the whole time. People kept offering me tissues to sop myself with. When I checked the mirror, there were tissue bits stuck all over my head.
I wondered if the tissue offers kept coming for the sweat, or to get the other tissues off that were already up there.

It was while I was in Japan that I started a novel again. My first attempt had gone to about sixty pages and than deflated under the weight of its Profound Importance. This one went to about three, my mind blanked, and I started building a plastic robot kit I had bought from a convenience store instead.

I wrote alot more when I was younger. My head was full of stories; they were all oddly similar to the Lord of the Rings. You know your fantasy novel is in trouble when the first paragraph is stuffed with "ergal" and "thothering" type sounds, and the main character (whom you have drawn a cool picture of that you placed in your Trapper-Keeper) turns hobbity type heads with the moniker "Barathorn".

One gem I agonized over I had titled Centaur Rose, about a man who is losing his memory and falls in love with a female centaur he finds living in the countryside. He knows he's reached rock bottom when he cannot remember if you put aftershave on before or after you shave. He has to ask his mom(?). He sobs most meaningfully when she supplies him with the answer.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Product Review #5: Home Alone 2 Action Game

1992 was a magical time. Life was simpler, and seemed to move at a slower pace. Giant Hershey bars were a nickel. The Beave had his head stuck in that iron fence. And all the world said "Awww" when this little kewpie got up to some monkeyshines:
There may well be adult collectors of Home Alone 2 merchandise, and I wish them the best on their journey.

Lets look at the box:
Its real good.

I like it that it says the paddles are "built-in", so you don't have to worry about already having some. I also like it that "pop" has quotes around it.

Its cool that it is a replica of a brownstone, like a model or something. 

Some assembly here.

Built-in paddles. Strange that you play the game by pounding on a child's face.

Lots of good detail.

They're going to be like gladiators.

These game pieces are light so as to achieve maximum "pop".
To win this game, you have to yell "KEVIN!". That is one of the best game rules I have ever read.

This is what fun looks like:

Leonard Maltin

One Friday a month in special ed world, we go to the movies. Today it was Gnomeo and Juliet in 3D. One kid refused to wear the glasses and watched the smeary, blurry screen for ninety minutes. Another put the glasses on, but rotated around in his seat and stared at the back of the theater for the length of the movie. A girl saved her glasses in her pocket, waiting until she was outside and under the bright sun. She promptly popped the 3D glasses on and adopted the rigid face of all cooler-than-you sunglass wearers everywhere.

After we saw True Grit, I asked a kid what it was about. "That horse shot hisself", he replied.
Right as Rooster Cogburn was barrelling across the prairie to save that little girl from her snakebite, a student yelled out "Kakarot, sit down!!" Kakarot happens to be this guy:
There is a No R Rated Movies policy in our district, but one summer we accidentally took the kids to Deuce Bigalow European Gigolo. About five minutes in, the female newscaster on screen had stripped completely naked and was merrily jiggling about. Panic ensued. Frantic staff called out "Whats this movie rated?!" Students laughed uproariously or made exaggerated cries of "Ewww" and "Gross". There was a scramble to get the classes into another, less controversial film. After we had all settled down in a new theater to watch The Dukes of Hazard(?), I heard a low, slowly building wail and a steady thump of metal against drywall. Upon investigation, I discovered a distraught student in his power wheelchair, ramming it against the theater wall, slowly backing the chair up, and then slowly driving it directly into the wall again. He was angrily sobbing and began to shout, "I want to see the booby movie! I want to see boobies!" A small hole was punched in the wall from the metal corner of his footplate.
I did something that you should probably never do, but I felt it was necessary: I reached down and detached the battery to his chair. For someone in his situation, it was like robbing him of all powers of self-determination.
He cussed at me half-hearted, slumped to one side, and by the time Daisy Duke sashayed onto the screen, he was asleep.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Painful Moments

When your job is as boring as mine is, your mind wanders far and wide over the past events of your life. You might consider dramatic moments, turning points that set the entirety of your life on a different course. Or subtle things, a nostalgic odor, a song you can't get out of your head, a little gap in the teeth of a loved one. You might do that, not me. My bored memory likes to dig deep into a folder titled "Painful Moments That Involved Me".
Like when I went to hug my uncle and inexplicably went for his lower midsection/upper pelvis area. He is taller than me, but not to a degree that would warrant such an odd-looking waist embrace. I wonder what he thought then, or what were the thoughts of those around us.
I have enough problems with hugs, handshakes, and all those physical greetings as it is.
In college, the men were fond of commencing a dialog with what can only be called a "bro-snap", wherein they would clutch each others hands in such a way that when they pulled back towards themselves, it would make a loud snapping sound. Protocol dictated that if the shared snap failed, the two men would snap their seperate fingers to still obtain the desired sound.
For some reason, I was really bad at the bro-snap.
One time I tore and tore at this guy's big mitt, hoping in vain to make even a squeak, but no sound came. Our hands were locked together in a dance of tugging awkwardness. Finally he broke free and made the obligatory air snap. "Geez guy, you almost pulled my hand off" he said. I forgot to snap my fingers and I have often wondered if he was offended by that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I was just getting to know "Danny" when a new comment arrived for me. This one was from supercrazyrobots. I have a particular weakness for all things robotic, so the name alone is enough to make me happy. Thank you for your insightful comments on the whole unpleasantness that was Rockin' Ricky.
I have been working on different ideas for a robot based story, something for kids probably. It has taken me a little awhile, but I have nailed down the first page and I feel pretty confident about the overall creative direction of the narrative. I am especially interested in getting feedback from you, supercrazyrobots, as your choice of name leads me to think we might have tons in common.

Thomas Is Often Sad
by gweenbrick

Monday, March 14, 2011


It is with great pleasure that I introduce the first comment writer ever on this blog, someone by the name of "Danny". I wanted to acknowledge "Danny"'s (not sure about the quotes/apostrophe relationship here) encouragement in a special way, but I had a little trouble thinking of just how to do that. I suffer from mild obsessive compulsive disorder, and for some reason the obsessive part of my brain fixated on the idea of diagramming one of the sentences "Danny" wrote and then using that as a post. Instead, I decided that "Danny" could have a cameo in tonight's product review. Though I have no idea what this "Danny" looks like or what kinds of things he/she/transitional might say, I have chosen what I feel to be a fitting stand-in:
Its a Happy Meal figurine of Will Smith from the film Wild Wild West. Which reminds me of the words on the marquee of my local Pizza Hut: "Dough so fresh Will Smith is jealous".  Every time I pass that sign I feel angry but I do not know why. What is it a reference to? Am I missing something?

Anyways, that has nothing to do with the happiness I feel now that I have "Danny" right here in my home.

Look for his exclusive appearance in tonight's review, and keep reading "Danny"!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review #3: Soma Homeless Person

The 80s were full of little rubber figurine toys that featured crazy character designs, and were marketed in the "gotta catch em all" style before Pokemon was even around. This company, Soma, took a different route. They made little rubber figurines that no one really wanted. This could be a wrestling figure, but its actually the only toy made for the movie "Throw Momma From the Train".
Things do not really improve from the back:

Or from this angle:
Its hard to gauge the size of the figure from these photos, so I included a picture of her in front of some 3D glasses so you can imagine the toy in relation to your face if you were to hold it right in front of you while wearing glasses similar to the ones pictured.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tales of Greenbrick #1

I have read a couple of webcomics and ebooks. Lacking the ambition to do either, I have settled for a original format that I am going to call photobooth story slides. This is kind of a trial run for this new narrative medium, so please bear with me.

Tales of Greenbrick #1

Greenbrick was a young hero who was very brave.
He fought many battles.

Against many difficult adversaries.

He helped his dad change a tire on their vacation.

This is Greenbrick's mom and dad right before he was born.

Greenbrick faces one of his greatest challenges.

The end?

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Its too late to do a review today or any other value added service. However, since I want to stay in the habit of posting, I should write something.
Have you ever seen a picture of a star-nosed mole? It is pretty grotesque; their snouts end in a bunch of little tentacles or feelers, which each have more sensitivity than a human fingertip. The tubers constantly move in search of food, and when a little morsel comes up, the upper feelers push it to the middle bottom ones so they can thoroughly investigate it and deliver it to the mouth.
I think it is the only living animal designed by H.P. Lovecraft.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Big Time

Since someone in Vietnam looked at this blog for an indeterminate amount of time, according to the stats page, I felt encouraged enough to do another toy review.

Review #2: Stretch Screamer, Character Unknown, Toy Quest

He has the thousand yard stare of a man who has seen too much, who has been endlessly tortured, made to scream in pain while many hands pulled his arms out from his body as far as they possibly could go. And then always, always, the bead-filled rubber limbs drew back into themselves, a miraculous act of self-healing made futile by the hands every ready to perform the terrible cruelty again. Worse still is the laughter that comes when he can take no more and lets out his strangely sped up sounding groans of agony.

Why, he asks? Why do I have a deflated, balloonish head?

Why did they put the speaker in my bottom?

Am I even a toy?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Value Added Service

After looking at some other blogs, I realized the ones people actually visit provide some kind of service or value-mine doesn't do anything. In fact, some blog directory rejected my blog outright for having no value.
Hmm, guess I cannot argue with that.
So I figure I better start doing something. Looking around, I see lots of people doing reviews. Some people even get products sent to them to review. I wish I could be these guys.
However, we all have to start somewhere.

So without further ado, I present my first injection of value into my blog, my first review!

Review #1: Food Fighters by Mattel-Private Pizza.
I took poor pictures because I was in a hurry, which diminishes some of the value of this review. This toy is not really too good. The review is diminished by that as well. Private Pizza is made of squishy plastic, the kind that lets out a little wheeze when you smash it with your fist. The wheeze comes primarily out of the hole seen here:

He comes with a gun and a backpack that look like G.I. Joe style. The backpack got lost before I could write this review. Private Pizza features four points of articulation: cut shoulders and cut feet. His hands are molded to hold most small accessories, or toothpicks. I suppose since he is so smooshy his whole body could be considered a point of articulation as well.
I imagine there are lots of action scenarios you could put Private Pizza in.
Other guys in this series have cool names like Major Munch and Mean Weener, but I am not fortunate enough to own those ones. You can see some good pictures of them here, as well as a bunch of other cool stuff.

I hope you enjoyed this review, and maybe if I get a comment, any kind of a comment, I will do another one.