Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Video games and exercise don’t mix

I am afraid of the conclusions that are going to be drawn by gamers who pick up Nintendo’s new video game system, the Wii.

Unlike other video games systems, the Wii features a controller that looks like a remote and that you can wave around your television to interact with the game. Gamers can use the controller to do such novel actions such as drive a car, swordfight, or play tennis.

It’s this last one that scares me. Tennis. As in you wave your controller to swing a tennis racket.

Video game nerds everywhere are beginning to fantasize about being able to exercise and play video games at the same time. “Running around my living room swinging this controller wildly will keep me physically fit.”

The cycle of delusions must stop here. This is just the latest in a series of farfetched conclusions that we video gamers have reached to justify our anti-social habit.

Example 1: It improves hand-eye coordination (List “excellent hand-eye coordination” as one your skills for the next job you apply for and see where that gets you).

Example 2: The ladies always appreciate a man who’s good with his fingers (Next time you’re with a lady, let me know how doing the konami code goes over).

Unless you enlarge your living room to the size of a regulation tennis court and actually plan on running around madly swinging your controller, you will not be able to use your Nintendo to become physically fit. You will not loose any weight, and will most definitely loose what’s left of your dignity.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Slouchers of the world unite

Today we have been vindicated. As reported in Medical News Today a recent study states that sitting up straight is actually worse for your back than other positions.

This is great news for us slouchers and recliners and is the best news since those chocolate studies starting coming out saying that dark chocolate is good for your health.

Next up, studies stating that beer is part of a balanced diet, video games improve cognitive ability, and that it's physically impossible for white men to dance.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Don’t try this at home kids: silver screen inspiration

I’m recently guilty of being inspired by a movie.

To ill effect.

After watching Happy Feet, I became convinced that I could become a dancing penguin. But seriously, I think many of us may be missing the points that movies are supposed to make and are being inspired in the wrong ways. It’s like the guy who sees Apocalypse Now and joins the army. The student who watches Dr. Strangelove and becomes a Nuclear Physicist. The teen rebel that watches Easy Rider and becomes a Harley Davidson mechanic. The woman who watches Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and becomes a bird watcher.

Now obviously, we all abuse our movie inspirations in much less blatant ways, whether that be aspiring to be action heroes or thinking that we can realistically woo the girl of our dreams through some sort of 12 step self-improvement program.

What makes us think that things good or bad are going to be rapped up in neat little Hollywood ending package? We can’t really blame Hollywood, because first and foremost they’re there for the entertainment value, not to school us in life.

However, I do think that every inspirational title that comes along deserves a Jackass style intro: “Warning, this movie is fictional, do not attempt to emulate these characters. You will fail.”

When Hollywood does come to its senses and institutes this warning system, maybe some of us will start looking to real life for our inspirations, or at the very least it’ll save me money on dancing lessons.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pass the mashed potatoes and the moussaka

I guess my mom was experiencing empty nest syndrome. She decided to fill that nest with 3 foreign exchange students from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. When I look back on Thanksgiving day, I have a lot to be thankful for. At the top of the list is that it didn’t go horribly wrong.

I’m in Richmond celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. We’re a small family, so Thanksgiving is normally a small affair to begin with. My sister is in New Orleans and couldn’t make it back home. My uncle on my mom’s side is on a trip to New York. My dad’s side of the family is doing Thanksgiving in North Carolina.

The ham was eaten the night before and was replaced on the dinner table by a number of middle eastern side dishes such as moussaka, tabouli and lots of pita bread that my parents thoughtfully bought at a local bakery.

That dinner was merely awkward is a blessing in itself. My parent’s are well meaning folks, but they’re fairly conservative. My worry wasn’t that they would try to offend, but that something would come out wrong from my dad’s mouth. "I don’t see what the big deal is about displaying images of the Prophet Mohammad" or "Let’s discuss the Israel/Palestinian conflict."

Thankfully, most of the day was spent with short burst of uncomfortableness, like my dad spouting off all the names of his middle eastern co-workers, somehow hoping to impress them with the fact that he not only works with middle easterners, but can also pronounce their names. Or when he decided that it would be a good idea to give them a tour of his fruit trees in the backyard. Looking through a window while I was washing dishes, I could see their shivering and had to wonder if they thought we were trying to kill them.

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Good health, a loving family, a steady job, new friends, and most of all that in a small suburb just west of Richmond, an international incident was averted.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

An Introduction, Sort Of

When God makes you fat, gives you a bright red hanging scrotum for a neck, sticks a large amount of thick plumage on your rear end, and bestows you with an echoing call that lets everyone know who you are, you better have something that gives you the edge over predators. And you my noble friend were blessed with a keen intellect. Here’s to you turkey, you Stephen Hawking of the woods.

I know what you’re going to say. "Intelligence? We sit down to eat thousands of turkeys every Thanksgiving, not to mention year round. How smart can they be?”

I hate to tell you this, but what you were eating, and what you are about to eat for Thanksgiving is not a real turkey. It is his dumber, domesticated, inbred cousin. They are the West Virginians of the turkey world. A real turkey would not let itself be served on your dinner table so easily. I know, for I have faced the beast, and heard his gobble…let me set a scene for you not too long ago…

It is a beautiful autumn day, the leaves are falling, the chipmunks are scurrying, the birds are chirping…and two hunters are walking through the woods with high powered rifles, hollow point bullets, full camouflage, and a death wish for any animal with an ounce of meat or a tail to claim.

Three hours of driving, close to an hour of hiking through dense woods, and another few hours of seeing nothing but sparrows, and you better bet we were determined to kill something. I swear, I’m not a murderous person, but if Bambi’s mother herself had shown up, I have no doubt we would have mowed her down in cold blood.

We finally decided to stop walking. We were positioned on a slight incline overlooking a dried up riverbed. We waited. I passed my time periodically examining the riverbed through the scope of my rifle. The other hunter spent his time examining various brochures about the county we were hunting in. It was the first time we were hunting in this part of Virginia, and our lack of knowledge would be our undoing.

I remember hearing the far off warbling of a turkey gobble. I sat up instantly, scanning the woods for the source. My hunting companion was also alert, but also strangely still engrossed in one of his brochures. It was then that I saw the source: not one, not two, but about a dozen turkeys walking in a line down the riverbed.

“Ohhhhhh,” I said quietly, and tried as hard as I could not to misfire. I leveled my scope and took aim at one of the brightly colored necks. How stupid of them I thought. A dozen turkeys walking single file, making enough noise to alert every hunter within a mile to their presence.

Before I could pull the trigger, my hunting friend killed my buzz. “It’s not turkey hunting season for two more weeks.” What? He pointed at the brochure. “In this county, turkey hunting season starts two weeks from now.”

Many thoughts passed through my head in a few, brief moments: The desire to pull the trigger. Fear of the game wardens that patrolled these areas at this time of year. Our own stupidity. And most of all the absolute genius of the turkeys still strutting less than 100 feet in front of us.

Those bastards, I thought. They knew it wasn’t hunting season. They decided to take the entire goddamn extended family out for a jaunt through the woods, just because they knew they couldn’t be touched. Gobble, gobble, gobble, two more weeks you stupid motherfuckers, gobble, gobble, gobble.

And so comes to end the tale of my experience with this shrewd bird. And so also comes to end my first post on this blog. Not much of an intro piece I know, but if you are interested in seeing the beginning, I’d suggest you mossy on over to The View From Dupont’s blog and along with reading her fine writing, check out my two posts. I may eventually crib pieces of those writings to form a more formal introduction for myself, but as of right now, I prefer to just jump in.