Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fan Art

I received this awesome thing from a fan:
I really like it, but it took me a second to figure out what it was.
Thanks for the cod piece, fan!
I will wear it to my first job interview.

What my future employer will see:

What only I will know:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Towards a Unified Theory of Proximal Awkwardness

I have spent a great deal of time studying the phenomenon of awkwardness.
Much of my research has been in the form of hypothetical "Would You Rather" questions, and though that would, on the surface, appear to be too informal of a research method, I have found that it yields a bounty of raw data from which to begin to formulate certain hypotheses that could be tested through further study.
I believe there is a direct correlation between awkwardness and proxemics.
Let me illustrate:
Obviously, there is a correlation between my proximity to the person I do not know and my measurable level of awks. 
Having demonstrated the relationship, let us apply it to real world situations to see if it holds true through multiple experiments.

Situation A:
I have been asked to pick up a woman from the airport. This woman is a Catholic nun.
Nun's proximity to Jesus means no awkwardness between her and Jesus.
My relative lack of proximity to Jesus does not seem to effect the awkwardness between us.
My proximity to the Nun during the car ride means maximum awkwardness between us (64 awks is as high as can be measured).
A conclusion and a hypothesis:
Proximity/awkwardness relationship potentially inverses when using equations with Jesus in them.
If my proximity to Jesus was closer, would my awks drop in proximity to the Nun?
Meaning, since we are both close to Jesus, we would have that in common, and would be able, based on that shared proximity, to reduce our awks.

The theory becomes more complicated, however.
Proximity is less of an influencing variable on awkwardness when the presumed intelligence of the subjects in the equation are taken into account.
Let's look at Situation B:


No matter how close I am to it, I do not feel awkward around the baby.
However, the closer I get to Bill Gates, because of his percieved hyper-intelligence, the more awkward things become. An interesting variable here is my use of Bill Gates, as he is known to not be a "people" person, and begins along the proxemics line with heightened awks, which only increases as he gets close to me.
I have begun to fumble my way, through all of these convoluted charts, towards some important conclusions:
The closer you are to someone who is smarter than a baby, the more awkward it could be, unless you both are very close to Jesus.
I will continue my research....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Platinum Year

Well, Gweenbrick has reached a milestone of sorts today:
20 followers.
On the Internet I read that cool bloggers don't care how many followers they have.
Thats one of those things you read that is probably true.


To commemorate this moment, I will now recap in tedious detail any time that the number 20 has been significant in my life.


When I turned 20 years old, I realized that once you start balding it tends to not stop.
I was very sad because I had a gorgeous head of hair and some cute girls really liked it from a distance.

I decided the days of running back to my dorm room in tears because someone said they could see my scalp through my hair were over.
At the age of 20 I shaved my head.

After that, all love went out of my life.
The best thing about shaving my head was the huge matted patch of hair that came off in one big clump. It was not a dreadlock; it was something horrible that I had allowed to form on the back of my head. 

When it hit the floor, I realized it made a perfect fake beard.

After that, I was never lonely again.



Sunday, May 15, 2011

You Cannot Evaluate

I finished my internship and now I am having a Masters of Libraries.
My evaluation from my internship makes for some good reading.
Here are some excerpts (my name has been changed to protect me):

"I have observed [Gweenbrick] to be a quick learner who shows real interest in the profession and asks in-depth, thoughtful questions.  I have also observed a few areas in which I think [Gweenbrick] has some room for improvement."

Uh-oh.
"For one, [Gweenbrick] could benefit from more professional polish.  His manner with staff and patrons can come off as too-casual, which gives the impression that he doesn’t care...."

I know exactly what she is referring to here. It was just one of those days when I could not prioritize anything, you know? So many responsibilities and I guess I dropped the ball:
 
"a more professional email address and a more descriptive resume will improve his appeal to potential employers."

Again, she is right on the money. It was a big mistake to keep the email address I created when I was eighteen, and then refer all my professional correspondences to it.

  "in the right situations, [Gweenbrick’s] forthrightness can be an asset..."

Apparently my internship was not one of those right situations.
 
"He clearly indicates what he is thinking and expresses his opinions openly." 

I like how this makes me sound like a troubled child:

"[Gweenbrick] could benefit from thinking before he speaks and considering how his remarks may be taken, by coworkers and patrons alike"

 It goes on, but I am tired of drawing pictures of how awesome of an intern I was.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Profile of a Follower: Widget

Widget is one of my newest followers.
As always, the Internet is the home of ambiguous gender.
I have tried what I can to learn everything about Widget.
The profile picture is very small

but I can discern a male-ish shape, male-ish facial structure and male-ish fashion.
However, the mustache looks unrealistic to me.
I needed to learn more.
First I ran Widget's photo through a sophisticated program available mostly to the police.
Its called CrimeSketch and it automatically renders a person's photo as a police composite sketch, in order to identify possible suspects.
I ran Widget through Crimesketch and came back with this:
 This still did not tell me anything about the authenticity of the mustache.
After some brainstorming, it occurred to me that facial hair might give off heat. If the mustache was fake, no heat signature, right?
I ran the composite through another program called HeatMap (free download on Cnet). This nifty little piece of software constructs an image of the heat sources on any given object.
This is what I learned:

As I suspected, the mustache did not give off any heat.
It was fake.
So Widget uses a male-ish profile picture with a fake mustache, which is a type of hair growth most commonly (but not always) associated with males.
Is Widget a male that cannot grow his own facial hair?
Or a female, trying to pass for male?
Perhaps this profile picture is a message in itself: Widget uses a "male" picture, so at first glance you think "male". But Widget uses a fake mustache, a classic piece of disguisery utilized by costumers and evil spies since the dawn of subterfuge. The disguise says "maybe not male" or at least, "not genuine", meaning perhaps the gender you see in the picture cannot be taken at face value.
You cannot assume Widget is male, the mustache will not let you.
It says "don't trust your eyes; I might be a girl."
But then a deeper realization comes to me.
Widget could also be the Widget, of Widget the World Watcher fame.
 I run the composite through the program one more time.
I was stupid to not have seen it right away.
The mustache was a red herring.
Welcome, World Watcher, your secret identity is safe with me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thomas Visits His Brother

Once a month, Thomas can visit his brother.
Herbert had made some bad choices.
Thomas was proud of the present he had picked out for Herbert.
Herbert threatened Thomas and then made weewee on things.
Thomas had a long walk home.




Pop of the Tarts

Somethings are really bothering me lately.
Matters of great importance.

WHY DO PEOPLE THINK POP-TARTS ARE A LEGITIMATE BREAKFAST FOOD?!?

We have a morbidly obese student whose parents give her Pop-Tarts for breakfast every morning.
When it was mentioned that she should be losing weight, her parents limited her to only one Pop-Tart from the foil sleeve.
I know several families that say "just grab a Pop-Tart" when their children ask for breakfast.
I decided to put my New Librarian Research Skills to use and expose Pop-Tarts for the evil that they are.
The first thing I learned is that it is spelled "Pop-Tart." I went back and added the dash to all the times I had written the word already in this post. Oh, the 'T' is always capitalized.
Did you know Pop-Tarts have an official club for mothers?
They are called "Sprinklings".
It looks like Pop-Tarts are becoming hip, too.
If you go to Pop-Tarts World it says:
"There's plenty of fun stuff for all your toaster pastry-loving peeps."
You can purchase one of those ironic trucker hats, too. 
Pop-Tarts describes the hat as a "gotta-have-it topper....it's amazing, wrapped in awesome."
Take a look at this shirt:

Pop-Tarts describes it as a "distressed-look tee that has a vintage feel that will only become better with age."
Really though. Pop-Tarts was too lazy to iron their shirts and figured by the time Sprinklings shoved the vintage tee around their rotund, Pop-Tart munching children, all that distress would resolve itself into a smooth red dome.
Pop-Tarts should tell kids the truth:
It's hard to look cool eating a Pop-Tart.
For example, I was eating one while driving the other day and I stopped at a light next to a car full of punk rockers.
Because I am a deeply insecure person, my first instinct was to hide the Pop-Tart.

Then I thought maybe Pop-Tarts were seen as kind of cool in an ironic way.

Then I thought, there is no way eating a Pop-Tart looks cool. I probably just look fat and kind of sad.


I looked around in the car for something I could hold up to my face that would be cool. There was only a tin of Altoids and some Legos I had picked up from the thrift shop.

I wanted to throw some Legos at the punk rockers because they were cool and I was not; they could smoke and have earrings, and I was just bald and eating a Pop-Tart.
Then the light turned green.



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Here in Hell We Sweat

I have found some Hell.

It is Tuesday and Thursday from 1.00 to 2.00.

It is our classroom exercise hour.

The tables are put up, the television rolled out, and a particular DVD is put into the player.

This DVD is the port of entry into Hell.

It is Richard Simmons Sweatin' to the Oldies 20th Anniversary Edition.

Hairy chested satyr men in sky blue tanktops cavort with nymphs built like hourglasses that forgot to narrow in the middle.

The sand simply drops from the top to the bottom.

The nymphs have managed to wedge their peach leotards over their T-shirts and down into their elastic-waisted jean shorts.

And the master of ceremonies is the great god Pan Simmons himself, now pelvic thrusting to Dancin' in the Streets, now playfully swatting the tushies of forty-something males who uncomfortably bat their eyes and mouth 'Oh Richard'.

Pan Simmons in his impossibly short shorts, his hair stolen from the Greatest American Hero, his tan buttered on him seconds before showtime.

And in our classroom, Hell.

Hot, sweaty Hell.

No one but a few well-meaning staff follow the moves accurately. No one claps on beat. No one shimmies when Richard shimmies, or kicks when Richard kicks.

All is discord; moaning, spastic flailing. A smell of feet, breath, and private musk begins to fill the air, stewing and thickening throughout the exercise hour.

On the screen, a succubus in a pink skirt, sporting a black bowler hat, wails away on Its My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To; she goes cheek to cheek with Richard and the two of them stare lasciviciously out of the TV.

Come play with us, they seem to say, come play with us forever.

I am sorry for my sins and I am very scared.
  Though, to be fair, Richard Simmons has done more for human beings than I will probably ever do in my lifetime.

And he has his own toyline, which is even more important than helping people.

It turns out that Richard is an avid doll collector, and he has a line of dolls you can purchase from his website.

About his dolls, Richard writes "so magical....you can almost hear their little voices."Some of them are real good:
I think this one is Richard himself, but they didn't get the hair right.
This one is "Herb the Nerd". From the description: 
 "He loves nature and collects everything natural, from bugs to butterflies, for a hobby. 
Herb surfs the Internet to study the names of many different butterflies, moths and critters he has captured over his years of collection. He has met many collectors only from all over the world."

Is it his years of collection that makes him a nerd? Or that he surfs the Internet? Or that he has only met collectors from all over the world?

I feel like I need to know more.

This one is "Lillian, Belle of the Ball".
I know I am immature, but her wrinkly, overtly emphasized cleavage creeps me out.
"Lillian, relives the old days of the Big Band Era."
Dementia immortalized in booby doll form.

This one is called "Treat Yourself" and is not offered for sale to purchasers of "Sweatin to the Oldies".

There are lots more here.

But there is one that really bothers me.

This is "Webbie Hannah."
"Hi, I'm Webbie Hannah from California. I'm so glad you could join me! I love to collect buttons! My first button is still my favorite, it's a gold antique flower that came from my grandmother's wedding dress. I keep it on a string with my other favorites. I meet lots of new people everyday while chatting with the Webbies. We get together to visit, and best of all we search websites and chat rooms to find little treasures, like... you know, buttons. My collection of buttons continues to grow but the search must I go on. I've been busy as a bee and could use a little help. Maybe you should join us! I really hope you do. See you then! :-) Webbie Hannah."

What is going on here? What seedy behavior is being promoted?

Webbie Hannah has unsupervised Internet access, and she is meeting up with the people she meets in chat rooms.

"little treasures, like...you know, buttons."
Why the pause Hannah, what are you alluding to that I just don't get?

I feared that little treasures/buttons was some kind of unsavory reference or slang, so I did a little research.

Sure enough, I came back with this image:
Who is this? Is this who Webbie Hannah meets on weekends? Are those drugs that this hippie freak is ogling, like he ogles Webbie Hannah's uneasily prominent front teeth?

And worst of all, the whole thing is a recruitment drive. "I have been busy as a bee, and could use a little help. Maybe you should join us! I really hope you do." Like any circle of perverts, these two are always on the make, looking to bring a few more lambs into their sick little fold.

Shame on you, Richard Simmons, for promoting this.

And shame on you, little Webbie Hannah, I'll see you 
in Hell.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Groany Groans of Grown Men

I have a student, a black girl with a closed head injury, who does not hesitate when it comes to giving me advice on how to live my life. 

Everything she says is filtered through a mix of street sass and stroke-like slurring.

She goes to so many independent living meetings and special counseling sessions that the jargon of self-help has slipped into the formula as well.

A typical conversation with her involves lengthy instruction on how I only need to make a few changes to improve my life.

She sees how messy my car is: "You is a grown man. Your car should not be looking like dis. It lookdid like a baby's car".


 After I shaved my beard: "Can I give you a compliment? You lookdid better wit your beard."

 When I complain about my weight: "You not that fat. You just need to lose some of yo weight."


Many, many times she has said to me: "Do you workout? You needs to be workin out."

 When I am bored and start acting silly around the students: "You is a grown man. You needs to stop being so foolish. You is posed to be an adzample for us."


I told another student that she needed to stop peeing in her pants, and my guru friend here says. "Dats inpropriate. The right word is 'bowel'."

You need to stop bowel in your pants?

She once admitted to me that she found an Indian boy in our classroom attractive. "I like tanned white meat," she loudly whispered in my direction.


The thing that sticks with me,though, is how she always tells me I am a grown man.

This strikes a nerve.

My Ladyfriend accuses me of being a grown man, too.

Specifically, when it comes to our blanket arrangements.

It bothers her that I pile the covers on myself in a manner which she refers to as "the wad".


Late at night, after I have been happily asleep, she trolls in, curses me, yanks and pulls at the covers, undoing the wad, smashing it into a flat shape that can cover us both.

I wake up trembling.


One night, she is so disgusted with the wad, that as she hammers it with feet and elbows, she mutters with undisguised contempt, "A grown man should be able to spread the blankets. You're a grown man, you should be able to do this."


I will concede that a grown man should be able to perform such a task, and would, if he so chose.


However, like so many other men, I take the abuse silently, let it roll off of me.

Like so many men, all my actions are heavy with Secret Purpose.

I suffer these abuses as a GROWN man seen only as a grown man 
failing to be even a grown man.

You see, the wad is for protection.


The piles of trash on the floor of the car might be plugging rusted out chasms through which my opinionated student might otherwise crash to the road's surface.




And I act the fool so as to salvage whatever self-created amusement I can from the mind-numbing and occasionally poopy grown man endeavor called a "job" that so many of us GROWN men are pile-driven into for the entirety of our lives.