I went down memory lane tonight watching some YouTube clips of the Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and other various old school shows. I forgot all about the Animaniacs recap of the presidents throughout history, but it's kind of interesting how they use words like "whiskey," "assassinated," and "really fat" in their descriptions. I don't think they could get away with it today.
They mention or reference all of the major wars (including several battles) except for Vietnam and the Gulf War.
Note Hillary at the end. Prophetic? I don't know. They also managed to edit out Monica Lewinsky standing in the background smoking a cigar -- surely due to time constraints.

Also, because it probably is the most genius comic sketch ever, "Goodfeathers." Enjoy.


Awesome, Being the Operative Word

My mom is undergoing surgery tomorrow morning, so I am playing the role of Surgery Buddy all day tomorrow. She should make a speedy recovery but please keep her in your thoughts.

In other news, we were awarded Friday off today for a job well-done (on the customer service end of things). This makes me IncrediblyPleasedRachel.com.

The rest of my coworkers were taking the day off anyway to go to the ACL Fest. I had planned on prank calling them all day with imaginary emergencies and to remind them how awesome air conditioning is. Now my shenanigans will not be necessary. I'm gearing up for "Three-Day Weekend: The DJ MeanRachel Remix."

You know you're getting your ass kicked in boot camp when you are doing a new circuit known as "The Ring Of Fire" (and trust me, it is not the Bunny Hop as I initially thought it was going to be) and you find yourself wishing the lightning would strike you down so you could stop running. Today I announced to the girl next to me while doing wall step-ups that I have signed a Do Not Resuscitate and that should I fall and break my neck, please, just leave me on the ground.

Nine months of boot camp and I still can hardly drag myself around a track. I better get a date with The Bachelor out of all this.

Search & Rescue

I've got some time to kill before I indulge in my guilty pleasure (The Hills, where I live out my imaginary life as a wealthy Californian who wears jeans to the beach and makes out with people with names like "Justin Bobby") so I thought I might dissect some of the Google searches that lead to my blog (because I'm actually just a mundane Texan who wears jeans to work and cooks edamame for dinner).

"Joan MTV Lake Travis wakeboarding Made"
I wrote about one sentence about catching an episode of MTV's Made where this kid Joan got "made" into a wakeboarder. This is by far the most common search that leads to my blog. I guess a lot of people were inspired by the girl Joan. She was basically a rockstar wakeboarder after five weeks of training.
I would have just managed to be "made" into a quadriplegic had I attempted to become a wakeboarder.

"Mayor Will Wynn's girlfriend"
Ladies, I have no idea who his girlfriend is. He's got a girl at every port as far as I can see. And by "every port" I mean "every public appearance."
Although part of me just thinks this is the Mayor's ex-wife trying to find out the skinny.

"Pickup Artist Austin VH1"
You all know my thoughts on this: hypnotically lame. And now that I've laid eyes on The Book, I find it even lamer. I do have a favorite buzzword that I've learned from it: Peacocking. This is when a dude is wearing either a strange hat or a really bright shirt. Basically something to set him apart from the others. It's become an interesting sport for me to try to spy the peacocking techniques that people implement in real life.

"Can you mix vicodin and Advil PM"
I must have a lot written on here about vicodin and Tylenol/Advil PM. But Dr. Farris would like to clarify:
Mixing the two is definitely not a good idea. You might have a terrible nightmare that you are Britney Spears at the VMAs and never be able to wake up from it.


Since May, I have been reading The Winds of War by Herman Wouk. The 900-page tome has secured itself at the top of my Favorite Books Ever list.
The purchase of the book was a total impulse buy - I was standing in the "M" section looking at the Christopher Moore books, and when I turned around I found myself face to face with it. I'd never heard of Herman Wouk or for that matter The Winds of War, but I picked it up and bought it.
Two hours later I was about a hundred pages into it. There were some passages that really grabbed me and at the time they seemed to mirror my life.
The book starts in 1939 with Navy Captain Victor "Pug" Henry arriving home after a long day at his desk job on War Plans. His wife, Rhoda, is giving him the silent treatment. Pug begins to reminisce on the days when he courted Rhoda, during World War I. At the time, the thrill of war and her aspiring career military husband were appealing to her. Now, twenty four years later, the uniforms no longer had a glow.
Pug & Rhoda's boredom in their marriage mirrors Pug's feelings of being stuck in a less than glamorous position in the Navy. He longs to take command of a battleship and be at sea. Instead he finds himself pushing papers and working on various war plans schemes that may never come to fruition.
The book begins to shift gears to follow the lives of Pug & Rhoda's three children: Warren, an ambitious Air Force pilot-in-training, with dreams of becoming a politician; Byron, the proverbial "black sheep" of the family who is living in Italy working for a Jewish-American write named Aaron Jarstrow; and Madeline, their head-strong daughter who drops out of college and moves to New York City and begins working for a radio celebrity named Hugh Cleveland.

From the invasion of Warsaw, where Byron finds himself stuck in Poland with Aaron Jarstrow's niece Natalie, to a RAF air raid on Germany, where Pug - now an atache in Berlin - rides along in one of the bombers, the book is not so much a war book but a story about the affects a war can have on the people who must endure its maelstrom -- whether in the trenches overseas or back at home attending a cocktail party.
The book leads all the way up to the Pearl Harbor attack, where Warren is stationed with his wife and son. Originally much longer, Wouk separated his work into The Winds of War and then the second book, War and Remembrance. The second book picks up where The Winds of War left off and delves into the Holocaust and the true heart of WWII.

There are hundreds of characters in the book - Hitler and Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. The characters intersect and cross over, being blown around by "the winds of war." At one point, in reminiscing with his son Byron, Pug states "That's the worst of a service career. You never strike roots. You raise a family of tumbleweeds."

My favorite passage of the book comes at the very end when Pug realizes that the United States is about to enter another world war:

"...This madness was the way of the world. ... Why?
Because the others did it, he thought. Because Abel's next-door neighbor was Cain. Because with all its rotten spots, the United States of America was not only his homeland but the hope of the world. Because if America's enemies dug up iron and made deadly engines of it, America had to do the same, and do it better, or die. Maybe the vicious circle would end with this first real world war. Maybe it would end with Christ's second coming. Maybe it would never end."

I've already started reading War and Remembrance. It's over 1000 pages long, so it will take me a while. But Wouk's writing is lyrical and beautiful and never for a moment feels like a chore.

Weekend PSA

Two side notes for everyone as you head into the weekend:

1) Don't drink and drive. Make friends with a good cabbie. I don't want to have to serve on the jury in your trial.

2) Can I just say how incredibly happy I am that line dancing is becoming socially acceptable now, even when you're not wearing Wranglers? I never was able to get plugged into the Texas dancehall scene, but now they've got hip hop line dancing and I love it! It's hard to look stupid when everyone else is doing it.
If you got the Cupid Shuffle down, it's time to learn Crank That by Soulja Boy. Take it from me, it's going to be happening this weekend and you're going to wish you'd practiced. An instructional video from the seventeen year old Soulja Boy himself is below.
I would make my own instructional video but I'm too incredibly sore from doing an ungodly amount of push ups to even try. Yeah. It's like January 1 over here.


Lost in Translation

Yesterday I emailed my agent in Hong Kong while we had a five minute break from jury duty. I told her "I'm in jury duty but I'll email you X document when I get back in."

Today I received an email back from her:

Hi Rachel,
What's "jury duty"? sounds very interesting ....and wonderful!


Define "Intoxicated"

Today I had jury duty and by "I had jury duty" I mean "I was not selected to be on the jury." I happen to be part of a small demographic (compromised of myself, my mom and Mrhe, it seems) who actually wants to get on a jury. But everyone knows that when you want something you rarely actually get it.

It was a DWI case (without any wrecks, injuries or deaths involved) where Travis County was prosecuting the defendant for driving while intoxicated (ed. note: they didn't say anything about not talking about this in blogs, so I figure it's okay until someone develops a blogger law).

The total pool of jurors added up to 18 people. The count was weighted heavily on the male side. I counted only five women, including myself. I was of course seated next to a strange Irishman who looked like Mr. Burns, but with a heavy accent that made him sound like Seamus Heaney. He also had a giant umbrella that was as long as my leg which kept falling over and hitting me in the knee cap.

They started questioning us regarding our knowledge of DWIs. I was unaware that in Texas, the law has two parts. You can get a DWI for:

- Having a BAC higher than .08 (which everyone knows)
OR (emphasis on the "or")
- Appearing to the police officer to not have your physical or mental faculties.

This seems incredibly subjective at first but when you consider the fact that you are allowed to decline the breathalyzer (or as the defense attorney called it, repeatedly, and with no objection from the prosecution, the "intoxilyzer"), it makes sense that the officer has to have some sort of recourse for detaining you if you choose not to take the field sobriety tests and breath/blood test.

What was really the most staggering was the statistics that our little focus group created. Out of the eighteen people there, five people raised their hands when asked if they'd ever been pulled over for driving while intoxicated. All five had been arrested and most of them had gone to jail. One was a repeat offender.

Even more disturbing, and what probably lost me a seat on the jury, was when they asked if anyone had ever had a friend or family member directly affected by a drunk driver in an accident, resulting in injury or death. Hands flew up, including mine. I tried to count the hands and I got to about 8 people when the defense had us put our hands down. He had each of us state what the accident had been. Almost all of the cases were immediate family members who died as a result of drinking and driving. I briefly recapped the story of DD getting hit by the drunk driver and knew my chances of getting on the jury were gone.

To say the least, there are a lot of drunks out there. But I was unaware there was such an overwhelming amount of drunks who decide to also operate a motor vehicle and then smash it into a wall, or into a person as it were.

If anyone ever needs Shah's number, you know how to get a hold of me. Everyone knows I'm no mathematician but it seems the $25 I spend having Shah cart me around is a heck of a lot less than what the snowy-haired criminal defense lawyer charges by the hour.

Back on the Pain Gang

My month-long, doctor's orders hiatus from boot camp ends tomorrow at 5:30 AM. I decided my liver might break down before my spine will, so the trade off is okay.

I am really, really going to miss the following:

Waking up at 7:30 AM
Not hearing the words "eight-count body builders."
Staying up/out late on weeknights.

That's right. The Great Existential Crisis was allowed a one-month grace period of Monday through Saturday cavorting about Austin but now all good things must end.

But - hey - that's why they made Fridays and Saturdays.


I don't know what's funnier:

The uncanny resemblance to the way we sometimes feel at work when we're "talking shop."


Will Farrell doing an uncanny resemblance of Chubby Charles.

Either way - this is a must-see.

Enjoy your Tuesday. I hear it's the new Monday.

A Yay! and a...Well, that sucks.

North Korea announced today that they would disable all of their nuclear programs by the end of the year. Sweet. I hope it happens.

In other news, Iran claims to have reached another goal in their nuclear enrichment processes, to supplement their "alternative energy" program. Bummer. Wa-wa-waaa.

I'm not sure if North Koreans or Iranians are crazier, but I imagine we'll find out at some point. It's hard to say whether I'd trust a Communist megalomaniac dictator over anyone attempting to wage a Holy War, Iranian or otherwise.

Maybe I'm just paranoid, since I'm reading the tail end of The Winds of War right now.

However as an American I really don't have room to talk, since we are violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well.

Okay time to stop thinking about this. I'm sure there's an episode of "The Hills" or something to watch.

Relocate that Chupacabra

A woman in Cuero, Texas (which, incidentally, is on the way to the lovely Port Aransas) is claiming she found the body of el chupacabra. For those of you who don't know what a chupacabra is, get ready for your opinion of Texans to fall a little bit.

The chupacabra is a mythical boogie monster that started somewhere in Mexico or Puerto Rico. The word chupacabra means "goat sucker." Most people attribute it to looking like a monster, sometimes almost alien-like. It has been blamed for sucking the blood out of rancher's livestock, but over the years has turned more into an urban legend. It can also be used as a joke, among the right company -- "Don't stay out too late or the chupacabra might get you," for example.

The picture in the news article looks more like a hairless dog to me. Some of the comments on the article (which are pretty funny) say that it looks like a breed of dog known as a xolo. The xolo is also known as the "Mexican Hairless" dog. They can now list "el chupacabra" as one of its other names because it looks a hell of a lot like the picture of the dead chupacabra.

For those of you who are wondering how this is even a legitimate news story, I'd like to remind you that we're talking about Texans here. Sometimes the heat gets to our heads. We did manage to produce the el Presidente as well.

The question I have, and what we should be more concerned about, is why this woman who found the bodies decided to preserve the head of one of the bodies in her freezer. "Honey, can you get me an ice cream sandwich? Just behind the chupacabra head? Mmkay, thanks."


E-Dub's got two three-day passes to ACL Fest if anyone wants to buy one or both of them. She's asking $160 each.

I personally would rather stick a fork through my esophagus than go to ACL which is why I'm acting as her agent instead of buying them for myself.

Proverb of the Weekend

It is easy to under appreciate the functionality of an alarm clock, until it ceases to function.