Monthly Archives: April 2012

Something Big

Greetings, readers! For the first time in the 6 months since our inception, we’re going to skip a post (although the fact that I just told you that sort of makes the statement untrue). This blog has become bigger than all of us, and Sam and I must battle it back into submission before it overtakes our lives, reducing our fleshy bodies to nothing more than difficult-to-maintain marionettes with a constant desire for food.

Also, I’m starting to find out that people actually read the things I post here and that that can have real-life repercussions. (What?! Why did no one tell me this?)

Anyway, Sam and I are working on something BIG. One of our upcoming posts is going to be crazy art-intensive, and I didn’t want Sam to get carpal tunnel (He doesn’t have a fancy wrist protector like I do), so he needed some extra time to finish it. Plus, we’re working on something EVEN BIGGER that’s extra secret, so stay tuned for awesomeness. This future thing is so big that it will change our blog forever…Bum Bum BUMMM.

In the meantime, you can satisfy both your Reasonably Ludicrous addiction and your overly-heavy-wallet problem by like, buying something (not sure if that’s a good idea)? I created some new items, some of which I actually wanted. I think it was a bad sign that even I wasn’t purchasing anything before. But now I’ve bought myself a phone case and a bumper sticker, and people seem to think they’re pretty cool. Oh! And since we’re not very good at thinking ahead, the two newest items won’t show up, so here’s direct links: tree t-shirt, owl-cat t-shirt.

Also, if you need to fill the entertainment gap we may or may not have left, you should go see The Cabin in the Woods. It was awesome. I wrote this review of it over on my other blog.

Or you could read this old story I wrote when I had little conception of how to make things good: Dan and the Can: Flush of Fate. Don’t judge me.

Or, if you have an iPhone or iPod touch, you could download Geomon, the video game Sam helps create. It’s like Pokemon, only the creatures you see around you are based on your actual location and the weather and the time of day!

Ok, hopefully that will tide you over. I’m realizing now that instead of giving you an entertaining post, I just advertised a bunch of stuff. Oops!

To make up for it, here’s a picture of a velociraptor trying his hardest to play a friendly game of soccer:

TLDR: Watch out for BIG things in the future.

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A Good Medium is Hard to Find

I’m relatively certain most psychic establishments are actually drug fronts. Like that one closest to my house down by the docks whose neon sign always flashes “Open,” but when I stop by after a 3-in-the-morning burrito run and knock on the door, a man with a frighteningly gruff voice tells me I’d better scurry on home if I know what’s good for me. My whole life, I was pretty sure there were no real Psychics, and by that I mean no people who actually earn their livelihood pretending to be psychic.

If Psychics were real, you’d expect they would be easy to find. They should anticipate exactly where you’ll be when you suddenly have the urge to hear your future told, and they should go to that spot years in advance and spray-paint their phone number on a nearby wall. And yet, like a coconut palm in a cold climate, Brian-the-roommate’s girlfriend’s multi-week search for a Psychic had borne no fruit.

That was all about to change…kind of.

***

One day, Brian, Rachel (the Brian’s girlfriend), and I found ourselves finishing a brunch that Sam-the-artist had failed to attend because he had to “do laundry,” a task so trivial and time-unsensitive that I was sure he either didn’t want to hang out with me or was trying to discreetly tell me he had a girl over. I’m leaning toward the former, because Sam has to “wash his hair,” “de-flea his cat,” and “look I just don’t want to hang out with you” way more than most people.

Anyway, we refused to be thwarted by Sam’s seemingly inexhaustible list of excuse-chores and told him to meet us at some Psychic we located through the very real magic of our iPhones. At first he said he needed to read up on the new clauses in local zoning regulations, but I reminded him he’d done that last week when I’d invited him to dinner, and, finally, he caved.

After some dangerous navigation by the directionally-challenged Brian, we pulled up to the Psychic’s house well in advance of Sam, who probably hoped that if he waited long enough, this endeavor would also bear no fruit and he wouldn’t have to drive anywhere. Wait. House?

Would a Psychic really operate out of a house? Confused, we took stock of our surroundings. The middle of a residential area. We weren’t about to knock on some random citizen’s door. What was this, the ’50s? The resident could be one incorrect door-knocking from totally losing it and destroying all hand-held technology in a luddite-infused rampage.

Then again, “Who were we to predict where a Psychic might live?” asked Rachel.

“If this is it, shouldn’t she know we’re out here and come to get us?” countered Brian. In the end, we decided to give her a call and see if we were in the right place.

Needless to say, we were nowhere near the Psychic.

In fact, she lived right next to Sam’s apartment!

Just then, Sam pulled up.

Frustrated at having been tricked out of his apartment in the first place, he was none too pleased to find that he’d just wasted his time. Luckily, my indomitable cheerfulness can usually cow people into conforming to my will, so within minutes, we were on route to the Psychic…for real.

It wasn’t the way I’d imagined. First, the windows were lined with security cameras (a drug front, perhaps?), and second, instead of the place being dark and mysterious with tapestries and crystal balls, it was bright white, completely clean, and scented, with Zen music wafting through the air. The actual Psychic was dressed in a woman’s suit and was much better groomed than I would have liked. Plus her teeth were all straight and she didn’t have an accent and she seemed pretty friendly. She didn’t seem the type to curse me with a horrible prophecy like I’d been hoping.

This would have been much more satisfying:

While Rachel got her psychic reading done (she repeatedly insisted on being alone so as to avoid any sort of cosmic interference with the mind rays), Sam, Brian, and I moseyed around the waiting area, looking at all the mystical objects that we could purchase. Along the walls were various chakras that could help with anything from intestinal blockage to a lack of sportsmanship. In the center of the room were five globes of oil, each with a different crystal inside, presumably so that the oils could absorb their various energies. Price tags were disguised as artsy placards so as not to ruin your suspension of disbelief.

After declaring Sam to be the Root Chakra, known for its inability to accept change, we decided to do a shared reading to save money. Who knew that Psychics were so expensive?! (Probably they did). After about 15 minutes, Rachel walked out with a demure, knowing look on her face.

Then it was our turn.

***

We enter the future-dispensing room, which contains a table and three chairs. It is not enough chairs. While debating the proper setup of the room and who will be forced to kneel, Sam dispenses off-hand remarks about the chair imbalance causing a disturbance in the reading,  then flashes the Psychic a devious grin. The Psychic, being able to read not only thoughts, but also overt body language and speech, takes an immediate dislike to the curly haired artist.

When it comes time to decide who should have their future told, we ask the Psychic to do all three of us, but she refuses, just like most women have. Chagrined, we ask her to pick one instead: “You’re a psychic,” we say. “Shouldn’t you know which one of our futures will be the most entertaining?”

She tries to avoid the question, but we press her, and finally she says, “Ok. Well, definitely not him,” and points to Sam.

“Why not me?” demands Sam petulantly, reinforcing the same anti-Psychic attitude that got him excluded in the first place. Eventually she explains that it’s because I “have the third eye.” Anything that links me to Bran Stark is pretty cool in my book, so I’m excited.

To perform the reading, she deals out tarot cards in a circle, then points to one or two of them and says something about my impending riches. Sam quickly chimes in. “What about those other cards? What do those ones mean?”

But she’s onto Sam’s tricks and manages to slither out of the grip of his question every time. “Oh, those death-looking cards aren’t important,” she might say, or “they’re facing north, so they’re irrelevant.” She’s not so deft at avoiding Brian’s questions, however, which are tossed in purely to increase the amusement factor. Questions like: “Will Russ have a lot of enemies?”

“Oh yes! A great number of enemies!” the Psychic replies enthusiastically, as if this is exciting news. She then expounds on how people will hate me through all walks of life, and that I will have to crush them to get ahead.

“I’m going to get ahead by crushing people?” I ask, saddened.

“Oh yes! You’ll crush a great many people!”

“Even his friends?” asks Brian.

“His friends especially!” says the Psychic with inexplicable joy. We discern that this Psychic responds positively to every question ending with an upward inflection. After all, you’d only ask a Psychic about things that were weighing on your mind, so confirming your fears gives her a solid chance of being correct. I don’t think she’d ever considered that a bunch of young guys might simply be messing with her, so I’m getting the most inaccurate reading of all time.

“Your constant friend-crushing will lead you to untold success,” she chirps. “In fact, you should start a company. Citrine crystals are particularly good at helping you achieve success. We have some in the shop.” This is particularly amusing since Brian and Sam are both starting a company together, but not me.

Brian takes off with this whole shaping-my-future thing. “Will Russ have problems with gambling?”

“So many problems! He better watch out or he’ll lose all his money!”

“What about alcohol?” I add.

“Definitely alcohol. But he won’t have to worry about that for—” She sizes me up to be in my early twenties— “five or six years. And if you’re really concerned, Amethyst crystals help protect you from basic vices.”

“Where are you getting all this?” asks Sam. “Is this anywhere on the cards?”

“Err…yes. See, it’s here, here, and here.”

“You’re telling me his gambling problems are in the knight of wands? How does that make any sense?”

“Well you see, it’s pointing left, meaning it’s off-balance, and knights balanced on horses, and betting on horse racing is a form of gambling, and Russ has the third eye, so I can sense it in him.” She quickly deals another dozen cards down over the last set and changes the subject.

“Will I have problems with my love life?” I ask.

“Many problems! And many enemies! Your wife will have a great deal of baggage, probably children. She’ll be divorced, and you’ll have to deal with all her ex-boyfriends, and even an ex-girlfriend or two.”

“So I’m Scott Pilgrim? I can dig it.”

“Basically,” says the Psychic. Those last two sentences may have happened only in my head, but that’s pretty much the main thing I took away from my reading.

Sounds like a pretty good future. I’ll be completely friendless, but satisfied by my work as a leader in a company I founded. I will crush everyone I meet to get ahead, and my wife will come preloaded with drama, which I will have to crush.

This goes on until she makes it through the entire deck of Tarot cards, which, if you’re trying to allay suspicion that you’re just flipping through the deck and pointing out cards at random, is a bad way to go about doing a reading. Once she’s out of cards, apparently the reading is over. “While you’re here, I have various crystals for sale that could help you with your future. Remember how I pitched them many times during your reading? You should now give me money for them.” It might have been more subtle than that.

Sam saunters up to the table, a mischievous glimmer in his eye. “So I was wondering, are there any crystals that can be used for evil? To harness like, dark energy or something?”

“Well,” stammers the Psychic, caught off-guard by such a question. “I suppose there are crystals that could do what you ask.”

“Which crystals? Tell me.”

“Um. Obsidian. Black Quartz. A few others.”

“And I could perform evil with these.”

“Well, in a sense.”

“So, where can I find these crystals?”

“If…If you’re going to use them for evil,” she says, mustering courage, “I simply can’t sell them to you. I’m sorry.”

Brian, overcome by uncontrollable laughter, does his best to drag Sam away. The Psychic watches as we exit her shop, all too happy to see us go.

You may think it ends here, but I know better. Sam will not be stopped. Someday, he will find those crystals, and that day will be our last.

 

And remember, if any of you are divorced, bi-curious, and burdened by single motherhood, hit me up!

 

 

Oh, and here’s one last joke for all you psychics out there:

 

 

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The Battle of the Gull

The Saga of Spring Break: Part 2

As you may recall, last week found our heroes trapped by their own desires in a mansion of phallic proportions. They may have set out for nothing more than unabashed revelry, but in its place, they encountered a most difficult challenge. This week, in the exciting conclusion to our two-part saga, the unsuspecting crew of the cliff-side palace will face a trial the likes of which they have never before seen. Instead of coming to terms with a giant pecker, they’ll have to survive an onslaught of little ones.

Friday.

We’re sitting in six deck chairs, wedged expertly between the pool and the glass guard rail, enjoying both the beautiful ocean view and some delicious hangover burritos, when suddenly it sounds like something fun is happening inside. Maybe the girls are having that pillow fight I’d been daydreaming about. Or maybe it’s just Drive By playing on loop again or people throwing up everywhere—who knows?

The decision to go investigate was not an easy one. After all, these are San Diego burritos we’re talking about. Whether it’s juicy, lardy carnitas smothered in fresh guacamole, or greasy, melted cheese dripping over carne asada and french fries, you know that while your heart and stomach may hate you, your tongue will be enraptured.  Every time I journey home, I eat an average of two burritos per day, and no matter how sick from them I get, I never get sick of them. Still, the potential for fun eventually outweighs our hunger, and we set down our food to go join in.

A foolish mistake!

Nanoseconds after the food is abandoned, the seagulls that had been hovering above our palace seize their opportunity and swoop in with calculated Machiavellianism! I could hardly blame them—San Diego burritos—but neither could I allow the slight to go unpunished. As the first person to notice the impending horror of total burrito loss, I sprint outside, flapping my arms wildly and yelling in the manner I instinctively sense will be most intimidating to seagulls.

Apparently my instincts are too good, because the birds scatter like feathers in a sorority-girl pillow fight. That is, all save one, an adolescent male (I like to imagine) who has found himself pinned between a semi-circle of chairs and every birds’ ultimate bane: a panel of glass. The see-through fence that had kept us from plummeting to our deaths all week is now preventing this poor creature from reverse plummeting to freedom. And yet, sure that nothing more than empty air lies in front of him, the seagull takes off, ramming his head full-force into the glass wall. He is knocked backward with a resounding DONG, but that deters him not at all. Again, he rams it. And again! Again! Again!

Whereas once I had been enraged by the seagull’s insolence, I now find myself pitying the dimwitted creature. There it was, entrapped by a cage it could neither see nor damage. I could almost sense its thoughts: if I can just ram it hard enough, the magic maintaining this accursed force field will be broken! Or more likely: Caw. Caw! Caw caw! Its wings flap wildly, and with every smack, it becomes visibly more shaken and disoriented.

I know I have to help this bird. After all, I am a nature god. But how?!

At this point, my cousin Evan joins me outside and is witness to the self-inflicted destruction of this bird’s skull. The two of us start frantically pulling chairs out of the way to give the gull room to take off, but the pool is right behind us and without tossing the chairs into it, our minor adjustments prove ineffective. Plus, no matter how much room we give the thing, it remains utterly certain that with just one more try, it will be able to defeat the accumulated human knowledge of polymer construction. Sure, the magic barrier has stopped it the last 27 times it tried to take off, but no force is more powerful than that of obstinance, and no substance is thicker than a seagull’s skull.

I realize that there’s only one way this bird is escaping: if I can hoist it over the fence. Eschewing any real forethought, I reach in to grab the thing, but that just scares the shit out of it.

Literally. As soon as I touch its wing, it sprays poop all over the place, the splash damage just barely missing my foot. Now freed from the burden of its bowels, it proceeds to expertly smack its head into a fence some more.

I take a step back and perform a few monkey-level calculations. A tool! That’s what I need! And then I see it: the pool scooper. Just because it’s meant to scoop pools doesn’t mean it can’t also scoop gulls. I’m going to have to wield it with expert jabsmenship to pull off this delicate operation, but unfortunately, my tool, while not lacking in the long steel rod department, has a slightly-smaller-than-gull sized net. Also, I don’t have a lot of practice at scooping demented birds.

I brandish my new implement of animal-targeted kindness, waiting for the gull to perform another leap-smack (every time it tries to take off, it clears the ground by about two inches, so I simply have to slide the scooper underneath its feet during that brief window. Easy.) Leap, smack! Damn, I miss it. Another smack!

Boom! I’ve got the scooper under the bird. It’s working! I’m lifting this frantic, gyrating mass of a creature into the air as effortlessly as everyone who wasn’t Arthur lifted that sword out of the stone. It’s writhing and struggling and leaping and cawing and flapping and generally making my task pretty much impossible. I take a moment to dwell on how ungrateful this adolescent avian is, but then I realize that I was probably the same way at that age and return to my task with renewed vigor. Still, I’m unsuccessful. You wouldn’t expect a four-pound bird to be able to throw me off balance, so you clearly don’t have a lot of practice scooping demented birds either.

All the flailing proves too much for even my expert gull-balancing skills, and the bird flops off. Now reduced to a wobbling feather-clump of sheer terror by his over-exciting ride on the demon stick, this bird takes a break from the head-ramming to puke out its guts, which mostly contained this one half-digested fish. It was really rather pretty, the way its scales shimmered in the sunlight and its body ended in a bloody, undigested cluster of muscle instead of a head.

But I wasn’t about to let a little regurgitated fish remnants faze me. I go back to scooper-thrust round two, but before I can pull it off, I notice a cacophonous chorus of cawing. There! In the sky! Dozens of circling gulls, enraged that we’ve captured their companion. Hopes that they were all swarming to devour the free half-fish on the deck are quickly quashed as they swoop narrowly above our heads in an effort to scare us away from our presumed prey. Don’t they understand that I just want to help?

They don’t.

And their primary offensive weapon is the tried-and-true method of consta-shitting.

That special bird mixture of urine and feces rains from the sky all around me; the seagull rams his head into the wall; Evan cries out in fear and delight; the heavens ring with the chatter of enraged beasts; the waves crash against the cliffs beneath me; it’s all aligning just like that fortune teller said, and I know that if I do not solve this seagull situation now, things may turn out very badly.

For a moment, I’m on the verge of giving up, but Evan delivers a rousing speech and the two of us sprint through the ever-falling barrage of bird poop and get back in position. With one final thrust, I manage to snake the scooper underneath the gull, and, sensing victory, I hoist him into the air as fast as I can. We’re going to make it!

But with a furious flop, the gull slides sideways. I try to maintain my hold, but alas, I cannot. The bird topples to his left, rolling among the chairs, shit splatters next to me, splashing the fish remnants—but wait, he’s somersaulted beyond the last chair!

There are no more obstacles! With a wobbly step, the gull rights himself, looks to the sky, and takes off!

I brandish my scooper at the remaining seagull strike force and shoo them away, every inch looking like a half-mad hippie lashing out against unseen sky demons when his true enemy is the quantity of hallucinogens in his bloodstream. Yes, it is another victory for the nature god.

And the whole thing was witnessed by our 85-year-old neighbor, this tiny old lady who was talking on the phone until her jaw dropped in wonder at the sight of our struggle. Once the seagull was safely away, she asked in the scratchy, pitchy, lilting voice of an old person, “How did you get them to do that?”

“We left food out here,” we responded stoically, as if that could explain the experience we had just had. But Evan and I knew better. We knew we had narrowly avoided the fortune teller’s curse, but it would be back.

It would be back.

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