I have not been frequent on updating forest in a bottle recently, but I haven't been dead!
My latest endeavor is January Rain comic, a blog which is, well, you should check it out:
February 12, 2013
People have become so accustomed to the way traffic lights work that nobody seems to be trying to improve them anymore. But think about it, how many times have you been parked at a red light and you feel like an idiot because there is nobody coming in the intersecting road, (or maybe there is but they are really far away) but instead of flooring it, you and the person on the other side of the red light just sit there and stare at each other feeling dumb. That's why I think they should instal another color traffic light: blue. Blue lights would simply mean, "Proceed as possible" and then people could just zip through intersections however they liked as long as they didn't kill anyone else in the process. Eventually blue lights would become so popular that they would do away with the other colors altogether, and since there is no point in keeping traffic lights around with only one color, the blue lights would disappear as well, effectively eliminating traffic lights from our road system and making America a safer place to drive by putting traffic power where it belongs: in the hands of the people. I think this would be a great idea and there are no real downsides to it.
It seems to me one area of society that could do with some revolutionizing is umbrellas. The first umbrella was probably nothing more than a wide sheet of canvas stretched over one end of a pole. Since then, the only significant change to be made has been those clear bubble umbrellas that envelop your upper-torso, and they’re just silly. But I think a good idea would be a gas powered umbrella. The ripcord could hang out the bottom of the pole, and when you fired it up the top would spin wildly, that way rain wouldn’t drip down the sides of the fabric, effectively soaking your elbows, ankles, and every part of your body that sticks out beyond its covering. Instead, water would fly off in every direction. This might soak other passersby, but that would only encourage them to purchase their own gas-umbrellas, making me a millionaire, and rainy days more fun. Not to mention there’s the added bonus that the exhaust fumes could vent out the under side of the umbrella, thereby keeping you warm while using it.
Did you ever notice that despite all the major things the government screws up, every once in a while politicians will make a decision that actually benefits everyone? ...yeah, me neither.
Have you ever noticed that in culinary catalogues you can find a tool that does just about anything? Tools made specifically for peeling different types of fruit, from apples to pineapples to avocados to grapefruit. There’s those little things you stick in corn-on-the-cob. There’s something especially for de-shelling a hard boiled egg. There’s those thingers that you smack and they’ll take the crust off a sandwich and seal the contents inside at the same time! Why, if someone wanted to own all of these products they would find their kitchen overflowing with over-specialized cookery merchandise! That’s why I think it’d be a great idea to make something that can perform all of these tasks. If these tools were all combined into a single, easy to use device, no one would ever need to pick up a Pampered Chef catalogue again! What I have in mind would be a long, thin, band of metal. It would be quite sharp on one edge, so I’d be sure to give it a thick, comfortable handle. Once this baby catches on I’ll be rich! I’m thinking of calling it a Kuhnife or something like that.
One of the things I have never understood is the apparent obsession among little kids of wearing shirts with celebrities faces on them. Like Miley Cyrus or Zac Efron or John Quincey Adams. What sort of message does that send the world about yourself? “I have no personality and I am highly insecure in my identity, but Edward Cullen is amazing so I have his head plastered on my chest. In fact don’t even look at my face while talking to me, just address all comments to him.” Not to mention that’s got to be pretty weird for celebrities. Of course if I ever became famous I would buy one of these t-shirts, that way I could wear a picture of myself on myself just to confuse people.
I don’t get why people own pets. They don’t do much of anything and can cost a fortune to maintain. Take dogs for instance. The average cost of owning a dog through its whole lifetime can run you anywhere between $5,000 and $35,000. If you’re lucky he’ll get himself killed before you spend too much. And aside from say, seeing eye dogs, what good are household pets? Companionship? Protection? Entertainment? What if you spent all those thousands of dollars on man-made products that can provide the same qualities without the added hassle of shedding, carpet stains, ruined furniture, hospital visits, disgruntled neighbors, and the like? Now another solution would be to train animals to actually be useful around the house. Disney has had the right idea for years. In fact, I secretly suspect old Walt shared my sentiments and was trying to implant the idea into our minds. Just look at Snow White, she had friendly forest creatures help her sweep, mop, clean dishes, do laundry, sew garments, and bake a cake! And don’t forget the other potential jobs! I also think we should use parrots as answering machines, hedgehogs as foot massagers, Canadian geese as burglar alarms, monkeys as personal scribes, and guinea pigs as... um... door jams.
It occurred to me the other day how odd it is that I am always in such a rush to get somewhere for no apparent reason, other than, perhaps, the chance to sit around and not do anything. Like I’ll be speeding home in my car after work just so that I can have five extra minutes to sit in my chair and not worry about speeding anywhere. Does that really make sense? I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’m the only person who does this. And maybe that’s why there are so many car crashes in the world. Maybe if we all just realized that when you are stuck in traffic you are just sitting there not doing anything which is exactly what you are rushing home to do anyway, and so you might as well just take your time and enjoy yourself, and that way nobody would die anymore. Or maybe they could just get rid of stop lights.
So far, history shows us that if you take any available, normally functioning product and create an electric version of it you can significantly improve your quality of life. We have seen this time and again with stoves, stairs, refrigerators, guitars, toothbrushes, and even fly swatters. My question is, how come nobody has invented an electric chicken? I don’t mean a robotical one, I mean a real live rooster you could plug into the wall. I’m not sure what purpose this creature would serve exactly, but we could always worry about that later. Besides, do you think Edison knew that when he took some gas and bit of wire and put them inside a glass ball and ran an electric current through it that he would create the world’s first light-bulb? Do you think the man who invented belts would know that one day they would be used to hold up the yet-to-be-invented trousers? Sometimes you just have to create with no apparent reason and wait for the need to present itself in time. Such is the price of progress. Also, this idea makes me wonder how hard it must have been to use computers when they were still made out of wood.
Another aspect of life is making things automatic. There’s automatic doors, lights, seat belts, remotes, and transmissions. So why not invent automatic shoelaces? I don't know about you, but every morning I have to bend down and tie my shoes on, and then unlace them at the end of the day, and I feel like and idiot! It’s the 21st century! We can put a man on the moon but we can’t invent self-tying shoelaces? And while I’m on the topic, I think it would be awesome to have shoes that automatically walk for you! There’d be this remote control in your hand that could change the speed, or have a big red button that made you jump or kick if need be. They could even interface these shoes with a gps system so you can sleep while your shoes walk you to work! Of course there’s the problem of walking into walls, other people, and moving vehicles, but I’m sure we could figure out a way around that.
So there’s this really big fad right now where people are unhappy with their weight so they try all sorts of exercise and diet to get thin. There’s millions to be made in the market, and while many people have gotten rich, a lot of people are still upset that they are fat. The reason for this, of course, is that nobody has addressed the real problem with obesity: people consume food with little to no physical exertion in the process! That’s why I think it would be a great idea to open up a restaurant where all the customers have to run on treadmills while they eat. Not only would this burn the calories as you consume them, allowing you to eat whatever you like, but obese people wouldn’t be able to run very long, so they would have to leave before they could do themselves any more harm. And maybe for desert you could put people’s plates on the floor, and they’d have to do push ups while they ate, one bite for every time they go down. Wait, it’d be better to have their desert hang overhead from the ceiling and they’d have to do pull ups on chin-up bars to reach it. Of course deserts have more calories than meals, so as an added challenge the restaurant would hire midgets and small children to hang from customers’ ankles at the time.
What’s up with the 5 second rule? Did some scientists determine that germs need at least 6 seconds to infect a fallen piece of food? What if you pick up the morsel in 5.5 seconds? Is there a danger of contracting some irreversible, fatal disease? Like the legendary germ viropanmortaliobacteriagony??? If the threat is really that great I think there should be some way of keeping track of exactly how long food is on the floor when it falls. Like giant digital read-outs embedded in the floors of all restaurants, kitchens, and grocery stores. As an added safety feature, they should probably just automatically incinerate anything that remains on the surface longer than 5 seconds. This might pose a danger to, say, human beings, but I’m sure people could adapt by learning to jump every 4.5 seconds. It’d become as natural as breathing after a while, would keep everyone healthy and fit, and would certainly be a better alternative to contracting viropanmortaliobacteriagony.
Speaking of the 5 second rule, which seems to state that any morsel of food retrieved from the surface of the ground prior to remaining there five seconds or longer is still fit for human consumption, how cool would it be if this principle applied to other areas of life? I don’t mean the lying on the floor bit, but the bit that seems to say that if something is retracted within five seconds of the offending action it is as if it never really happened at all. Why hasn’t this been instated elsewhere yet? Of course to sound official we’d have to call it the Five Second Law, but the idea would be the same. Oh, sorry, did I call you a slobbering idiot? Well I retracted that statement within five seconds, so you have to pretend I never said it. Ah, is it true North America finally fired rockets at it’s enemies? Well they retracted their statement of war within five seconds of signing the official document, so you have to pretend like it never happened.
Today while sitting in one of my classes, I was rocking back and forth in the springy-computer chair. It was so relaxing I started to nod off, and that got me thinking, why don’t adults use rocking beds? The idea has been widely popular with infants for countless generations, purportedly because the relaxing motion of rocking back and forth helps kids sleep. It’s also why hammocks are a popular item. So I think they should market adult sized sleeping cribs. It would probably be a good idea. Probably.
It's really fun if you are using a computer in a public place to type out a rhythm while you are using the keyboard. Take jingle bells for instance, or the happy birthday song; if you punch the keys in the pattern of such songs you will endlessly entertain yourself and annoy the people around you. Another fun thing is to wait for the guy across from you to leave his computer unattended and then switch keyboards with him. Once he gets back you can type some really funny, creepy message out on his screen, like “I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING. YES, WE HAVE FINALLY COME FOR YOU. IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE, YOU MUST STAND UP AND IMMEDIATELY START DANCING LIKE A MONKEY ON SMASH.” Then when he’s doing that you can run away before anyone suspects you!
Everyone knows the best friends are honest friends, but it seems there’s no good guide to figuring out which of your so called “friends” are the honest type or not. That’s why I think it would be a good idea to walk around with your fly down all day, on purpose. You could tell who your friends are based on which ones actually confront you about this issue and which ones say nothing. But you can be sure everyone will notice, so it’s a fail-proof plan. You’ll notice them notice because their eyes might bug out or they might make a small, strangled coughing noise or something. But do they tell you? If they don’t, plan on promptly ditching them. Other ideas could involve intentionally not using deodorant for a day, chewing garlic and onions for breakfast, or sticking a piece of toilet paper to your shoe.
So this morning when I used the last pair of sox* in my pack of new sox I discovered there was one sock left in the bag without a partner. This annoyed me greatly for a few moments, until I considered that maybe the sock company is saving me trouble! You see, someone out there knew that I would eventually lose a sock and then have one without a pair, so they sent me one less (or one more), that way when this inevitable tragedy occurs, I will again have an even number of socks. I am eternally grateful to this person for their consideration. I am also slightly unnerved that they think so much like me.
The recent rash of end-of-the-world movies has got me thinking, if I had a chance to direct an apocalypse movie, the world would flood, burn, freeze, and implode all at the same time, not to mention the giant meteor from outer space. To top it all off, the earth would be faced with a zombie uprising, a robot insurrection, and an alien invasion. The heroes would try to survive by getting these three groups to war against each other. They’d have to get the robots to attack the zombies (by putting makeup and clothes on the zombies to make them look human and covering humans in stage blood and fake oozing sores), the zombies to attack the aliens (due to their dietary superiority and flavor), and the aliens to attack the robots (by mistaking them for the planet’s dominant intelligent life force, which given the current state of things is likely true anyway). I have no doubt that this would be a highly successful movie. Of course, if the end of the world also involved an invasion of sparkly vampires then mankind is pretty much done for, cause nothing can survive them. Unless maybe if we mustered up an army of 50,000 rabid fan girls to smother the vampires to death, but if that were possible the world should probably just end anyway.
*Yes, "sox" is a legitimate plural form of "sock", for those of you who were wondering.
Posted by Mark Zellner on Tuesday, February 12, 2013
July 14, 2012
I am an ex-gamer.
I quit playing video games for good just a few weeks ago.
For years I invested countless hours in little virtual worlds that left me with nothing to show for my effort. While many players give up gaming because of the time and money wasted on it, that is not what I'm focusing on. While virtual entertainment is a major time-sink, that is not my primary concern as I evaluate my old addiction. What interests me is discovering WHY games held me in their thrall for so long. What is it about them that sucked me in for hours a day, and years at a time? Like any hobby or addiction, I was a user because of what I wanted to get out of it. In the end I identified 5 primary things I looked for in video games - which they ultimately failed to provide.
April 24, 2012
There's a game I recall playing with rubber bands as a kid. It involved holding one end between your fingers, and giving the other end to a friend. We would then alternate taking steps backwards, flinching as the band stretched tighter and tighter. The thin strip of rubber would quiver under the pressure, until finally, it snapped.