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Archive for May, 2009

Vacation Beard

May 19, 2009 4 comments

If you gain anything else from this blog (and you won’t), I want you to glean a greater understanding of men from this.  I doubt, however, that you will gain any more respect for men.  What is it that drives men to do silly things, like shave their heads or grow vacation beards?  Some say it’s insanity; others suggest the hormone “testosterone” is to blame.  I offer a third (and correct) solution: pure and unadulterated machismo.  This drove me to my latest work of fiction (???) called “Paul’s Beard”.

By Federal Law, I am required to receive vacation time off from my employer as an act of “good faith” for my “good behavior” (similar to early release from prison).  Since I had nothing better to do (and hey, I have a camera now), I wanted to share my experience with you.  I strongly encourage you to watch this video all the way to the end, as the end has a very funny and pleasant surprise for you.  Don’t be tempted, though, to skip to the end.  To fully appreciate the end, you have to watch it all the way through.  I’d appreciate any forwarding of this post you would like to your friends, family, enemies, and (especially) those who hate beards.  (The url is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aog6dPh_Njk)

If you didn’t enjoy that, well then you are cruel and heartless.  Enough said.

I miss my beard.

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Fire From Floor

May 16, 2009 1 comment

A few days ago, I had the humbling opportunity to accompany Claire on a wedding photo shoot at Union Station.  I was officially her “assistant”.  Unofficially, I was the guy who went with her to make sure the wedding party (3 people) weren’t just black market organ dealers looking to use her kidneys for a little fast cash.  My job entailed walking around, carrying her camera bag, and trying not to be too awkward.  I did the first two very well, but dropped the ball on the third.

It turns out the couple was pleasant, and seemed to have impeccable hygiene.  The ceremony lasted all of 7 minutes, and Claire even got to sign on as a witness (being that there was only one other person attending the wedding besides the minister, the bride, groom, Claire, and me).  After that, we wandered around Union Station, from the basement to the 3rd floor, to take all sorts of wedding pictures.  My main job here was to “not get in the way”.  Mission accomplished.  Pictures were taken; the happy couple looked great.

Since the day was young, we decided to wander around the Plaza to look for a meal (preferably not from a dumpster).  We decided to eat at a little Brazilian churrascaria (meaning literally, “cooked scaria”) steakhouse called “Fogo De Chao”.  When translated into English from Portuguese (official language of Brazil, no joke) (look it up, seriously) (fine, don’t believe me), “Fogo De Chao” means “Fire From Floor”.  Though I did not specifically see any fire coming out of the floor, I must admit I didn’t search very hard, and I didn’t check the bathroom.

The food there was the most incredible I have ever eaten.  It was all-you-can-eat, and they had 15 different kinds of meat to enjoy.  In addition, they had a very nice salad bar stocked with the freshest lettuce in the world (so far as I know) and raw smoked salmon (yum!).  Words really don’t do this restaurant proper justice.  I managed to sneak in my Flip camera so you could salivate over my meal.  It was well worth the high price of the meal, as you will see (especially since I consumed probably 2 pounds of meat).  Also, I have put in a sneak-peak of my “vacation beard video” (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s okay; more on that later).  Actually, you’re probably not reading this sentence anyway.  As soon as I said there was a video, you probably skipped straight to it.  I’m wasting my time, aren’t I?  Just go.

Now that I think about it, I’m probably very narcissistic to think that you would actually be interested in watching very amateurish video about me walking around KC with a spotty beard.  I mean, it’s only a problem if I’m wrong.  If you are interested, I guess I have every right to be narcissistic, and should probably start demanding more of you, my reading audience.  So . . . you know . . . do more.  Or something.

Categories: Video Posts Tags: , , ,

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

I’ll save you the background on my topic today. If you need a little explaining, CLICK HERE. That should tell you all you need to know. Long story short, WordPress (my blog host) tells me how some people have found my blog, including search engine terms that people have used that brought them to me (and my waiting trap). Here’s a smattering of terms, plus my commentary.

–“a thin clown and a fat clown” I can’t think of one instance in which I talked about a thin clown and a fat clown. Though, if I did, I would probably tell you the story of a thin clown named Lumpy, and a fat clown named Stretch. “The Lumpy and Stretch Show” would draw crowds from far and wide to the Arkansas State Fair. I don’t really know where to go from there. Lumpy would probably get really bad ringworm and die. I’d work it in somehow. Ringworm awareness is paramount.

–“4 letter word for compulsive that ends in” Ends in what? I must know! It is a “strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, especially one that is irrational or contrary to one’s will” that I have to find out what that 4-letter word for compulsive ends in! In case you didn’t already catch on, I was defining compulsive behavior within my commentary. Jeez, pay attention.

–“disgusting” That about sums this blog up.

–“crazy two latter words” Can anyone help me decipher what this means? “Latter” means “near or comparatively near to the end” (I’m giving dictionary.com a real workout here), so are there words at or near the end of a sentence that are crazy, or did the person typing this search mean to type “letter”? In that case, what is a crazy two-letter word? Id? Ow? I’m lost.

–“famous nose piercings” Is this famous people who have nose piercings, or is it nose piercings that have become famous on their own? I assume the “latter” (see above). I can only really think of one famous nose piercing. Paula Cole’s nose piercing has since gone on to put out a decent record, though critics universally panned it. Just where have all the cowboys gone?

–“crazy letter words” Does this mean there are words with crazy letters? Like “über” and “El Niño”? Look at all those crazy letters! Or . . . would that only include crazy words that are created using letters, like “Lake Titicaca” (sound it out, kids), and “voluminous”? Those words are also marginally crazy. When will the craziness end?

–“why do men have competitive nature” I’ll tell you why men have to be competitive! It’s because there are such things (separately) as screaming and competitions. Put them together, and it’s video gold!

–“kylebaxterproject isn’t funny” Who ever said this was intended to be a comedy blog? This is real life. From the streets. Seriously though (as serious as ever), that search is HILARIOUS. I can only assume it was on purpose, to see if I would catch it. Does anyone want to admit to it? I about fell off my couch. Bravo!

–“the word crazy in crazy lettering” Well, of course you can’t have the word “crazy” in normal letters. It loses the whole effect. For instance:

Crazy

vs.

CrAZy!

See the difference? And finally:

–“yo yo ma cello nickname” I’m not sure exactly what this person was searching for. Perhaps finding out the nickname of Yo Yo Ma’s cello? Would that be in place of his cello’s real name? As in, his cello’s name is Luther, but its friends (the viola and the clarinet) call it Bubba? Wait, I know! This person was actually searching for “Yo Mama jokes” and just had a misspelling. They probably couldn’t remember the setup for the old gag, “Yo Mama’s so big, wooden, and covered with strings that the kids call her ‘Cello’.”

The Competitive Nature of Men

May 11, 2009 14 comments

Guys, let’s be honest with ourselves.  The reason we most often get into pointless competitions is because we are bored.  Do you think games like Twister and football (real football, known to Americans as “those funny men in shorts running for 90 minutes”, or soccer), were devised in a laboratory filled to the rafters with Rhodes Scholars?  No way!  These types of games were invented by guys sitting around their living room while they were bored/drunk.  The rules came later.  The real point of creating these games was competition.

It doesn’t matter WHAT you use to compete (Frisbees, Mountain Dew, or a Plinko chip), just that there will be a winner and a loser.

That being said, James (my brother-in-law) found ourselves engrossed in competition this evening.  What would our medium be?

Dominoes?  Of course not; don’t be silly.

Jacks?  No, but you’re getting warmer.

Lawn Darts?  Colder.

Marbles?  Judges? . . . I’m sorry, we can’t accept that answer.

Screaming?  Bingo!

We had a thigh-slappin’, good ol’ fashioned scream-off!  At 10:00 PM, there’s no better way to have the neighbors include the police in your night than to let out blood-curdling wails in succession.

In retrospect, I’ve also discovered there’s no quicker way than a scream-off to get your wife to roll her eyes and leave the room.  Sheesh . . . women just don’t understand competition.

The most important aspect of a scream-off is the technique you use.  It’s not simply “who can scream louder” (though it helps); control, pitch, and frequency are paramount to screaming.  A well-pitched medium-volume scream can defeat an eardrum-shattering off-key shriek any day of the week (except Thursdays).  Every scream has its own particular sound, and therefore holds a special place in my heart.

Enough talk!  Here’s actual footage of our scream-off:

As you can well see, the effect of competition on women is that it pushes them out of the vicinity.  And, if you listen very closely, you can hear feminine objections to the game itself.  I recommend turning the volume on your computer WAY UP so you can feel the atmosphere on a scream-off.  I bid you farewell.

My Cat the Teenager

May 10, 2009 1 comment

Rocco is just over a year old.  In people years, that puts him at about 15.  He’s going through his rebellious stage right now.  Today, he woke me up at 6:30 AM with the melodious sound of his voice.  “MEOW!” he would scream, trying to wake the neighbors (probably in hopes they would call the police, because surely policemen would pay attention to him).  I tried ignoring him at first, but he only became louder.

MEOW!

MEOW!

MEEEEEEOOOOWWWW!!!

I calmly walked downstairs, knowing he would follow me.  He’s attention-starved.  Like I said, he’s a teenager.  He wants boundaries and rules, yet he constantly pushes the outer limits of my restrictions for him.  Thus, I was trying to lure him into a false sense of attention, so I could close him up in the downstairs bathroom.  He fell for it.  That’s what he gets for trusting me.  So I went back to bed, soothed to sleep by the barely audible:

. . . meow . . .

. . . meow . . .

. . . meow . . .

Two hours later, I awoke much more refreshed and ready to pay attention to him.  I walked briskly downstairs, and twisted the handle on the bathroom door.  Uh-oh.  The door was locked.  This next statement needs to stand alone:

My cat locked himself in the bathroom because he was mad at me.  My cat is a teenager for sure.

He didn’t get that from my side of the family.  We were much more passive aggressive.  If my cat took after me, he probably would’ve taken the bathroom experience with quiet indifference, then poison my food a month later.

I don’t even want to know what he’s going to be like when he gets his driver’s license.

Cat Lovers Unite!

May 6, 2009 1 comment

In an effort to bring you more good stuff that will bring you back for more every single day, crying and begging that I post something else to fuel your desire for the silly antics of a hapless fool (me), I think I will begin seasoning this blog with some quicker posts.

As you may have heard, I have recently purchased a Flip video camera.  This should sufficiently add to the output of the Kyle Baxter Project, and require slightly less reading.

As my first posting with my brand-new Flip, I bring you my cats in action (or, more likely, my cats’ inaction).  I personally recommend sending this video to everyone in your family who likes cats.  Or, if you have any family members you don’t like who hate cats, I would suggest that you send this to them as well.  For your convenience, I will now include this link for e-mail copy-and-paste ease.

https://kylebaxter.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/cat-lovers-unite/

This video is broken into 4 chapters, and covers much of the crazy stuff my cats do all day.  Again, Louie is the big black cat, and Rocco is the midget striped cat.

Now wasn’t that fun?  I look forward to posting a ton more videos in the future.  Check back often for the latest and greatest goings-on in my life!

A National Company That Changes Tires and Batteries

Today I bring to you my review of a company based on the service I received.  I’d like to think I hold the power of life and death over every company I review.  Therefore, the actual name of the company will not be used.  I’ll just say it was a “national” automotive center that specializes in “tire and battery” work.

It all started Saturday night when I arrived home around midnight.  As I opened my door to exit the vehicle, I noticed my dome light didn’t come on.  I tried activating my headlights to no avail, and when I attempted to start the engine, it would not even turn over.  I knew not to panic because:

a) Panicking would not help

b) I was at home, and not stranded at a run-down mini mall with like 3 flea markets in it.  Those are the worst.

c) I knew how to diagnose the problem, if not fix it.

Leaping into action, I fumbled with my car’s hood for a good 2 minutes before I remembered how to get it open (pull up).  The one thing my dad taught me about cars (other than where to find the phone number for the mechanic) is how to tell if just your battery is dead, or if it’s a sign of something more sinister, like a failing alternator.

Long story short, I used my other car to jump the suspected dead battery car, then removed the jumper cables to see if the engine would continue to power the electrical accessories in the car (headlights, CD player, dome light; I turned everything on inside the car to make sure).  The electrical stuff continued to run, which told me the alternator was not pooping out and deferring to the battery for electrical power.  After speaking to my father the following day, I realized I could/should have taken it a step further by removing the positive battery terminal cable after jumping the car.  This is mitigated only by my running about every accessory in the vehicle, thus negating any charge I could have put into the battery during the jump-start process and would have caused the lights to shut off had the alternator been the culprit.

Hey, I just used the word “culprit” in a sentence.  That’s the word of the day!

Since it was after midnight, I decided not to drive to the evil giant (Wal-Mart) to pick up a brand-new cheap battery and install it myself.  It’s really quite simple; again, my dad showed me a few years ago, the last time my battery went out.

I woke the next morning feeling especially lazy, and so refused to install any power-supplying  devices into any automobile (until further notice).  After doing a little research (names changed to protect the idiotic), I decided that  NBT (National Bire and Tattery) (not a tattoo parlor) would be the best place to which I should take my car.

I promptly jumped my car again and set out on my adventure.  When I parked my car at “NBT”, I did not turn the engine off because of the battery issue.  I walked inside and was greeted by a clerk who apparently has won a competition to see who can look the least interested in customers.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: I need a new battery installed, please.  Mine’s dead.

NBT Guy: Have you had it tested?

Me: Well, my car won’t start, plus I jumped it and removed the cables to rule out the alternator.

NBT Guy (caring even less, if that’s possible): Okay, we’ll take a look at it.  Can I get your keys?

Me: Well, no.  They’re still in the ignition to keep it running because I have a dead battery.  (With an implied “When they bring my car into the service bay, please do not touch it.  You’ll only break it.”

NBT Guy: Oh, yeah.  Good idea.

I knew it was only going to go downhill from here.  I signed a couple papers and took a seat in the waiting area.  Within minutes, the NBT Guy walked over to the waiting area and informed me that the cheapest battery they had would have a cost approximate to this algebraic equation:

2 X (Core Disposal Fee + Auto Zone Battery Cost – Core Recycling Credit) + Labor

The craziest part of all is that it took them an entire hour to replace a car battery.  (Maybe they spent 20 minutes trying to figure out the hood latch.)  They pulled it right in after my discussion with disaffected NBT boy and began work (ha) on it.  So, one hour later, I climb back into my car with less money than expected and a feeling of disillusionment and betrayal.

So, to recap, the cost of replacing a battery from Auto Zone yourself:

$40 + 15 Minutes of Your Life = A Personal Sense of Satisfaction

And now from the “trained technicians” at NBT:

$70 + 60 Minutes of Precious Life That You Can Never Get Back – 3 Cups of Decent Coffee + Putting Up With NBT Employees Who Apparently Don’t Know All That Much About Cars = Kicking Yourself for Not Buying a Cheap Battery From Auto Zone and Installing It Yourself

Given this, it is worth taking 2 minutes to look on the Inernet how to change a car battery, if you don’t know already.  Going to any national tire and battery place will most likely yield unwanted results.  Like Levar Burton said, “You don’t have to take my word for it.