Against the Grain

Slightly more than just jibba jabba

Archive for the ‘random’ Category

My Foolish Review of “Fool” by Christopher Moore

Posted by Patrick on 24 Feb 2009

I picked up Chris’ new book the day it came out – I hesitated to read it right away because I knew I was going to attend the book signing stop in Denver, and I’d hoped to be able to hold out that long. However, I couldn’t actually resist for more than a few days, and I dove in anyway. What I found is that, like so many of Chris’ other stories, it starts strong and maintains momentum throughout.

Surely, you can’t take Shakespeare and make the bard’s plays better. Surely you can’t twist fate from some of the most widely-read scripts in the history of the world and make them better. Well, of course not. Chris doesn’t try to do that, either. He is recognized as one of the great satirists of our time, and with good reason. Fool doesn’t offend the purist, and doesn’t disappoint those seeking heavy doses of the elixir Chris provides.

I know that many have not yet read the story, so I shan’t spoil it for you, but it is a glorious mashup retelling of King Lear, with convenient borrows from other Shakespearean works, and from the perspective of Lear’s fool. In the play, the fool has no name – I found it great to have Chris name him Pocket (after his diminutive stature). We learn about his upbringing, about how he came to be the fool in Lear’s court, and about some serious misadventures in medieval Europe which spin the tale.

If you are familiar with King Lear proper, or even if you are not, you will love the tenacity that Chris brings to that world. I wouldn’t recommend reading “King Lear” before investing in Fool – there is certainly enough information in the story to carry it without foreknowledge of the plot.

But, the story is not for everyone. Even Chris says, as he is known to do, that it’s a bawdy tale packed with action and “action”. If you’re a reader easily offended by bad words and debauchery, you probably wouldn’t like the story at all – and let me recommend Pride and Prejudice as an alternative read.

Overall rating: 9.8/A+


Posted in culture, opinion, random, reading | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

How Computer-Savvy is Your Mate

Posted by Patrick on 9 Dec 2007

If you’re reading this post, you can at least wield a mouse and keyboard enough to search for something on Google or your favorite search engine, or you can navigate wordpress fairly well.  How about your significant other?  I’ve devised a quick little quiz to bring out the true nature of your mate’s overall computer skills.  You may play along if you wish.

1. What is the commonly-used name for these compressed file types?
a.  .zip
b.  .rar
c.  .tar.gz

2.  Which one of these isn’t a popular GNU/Linux distribution?
a.  Fedora
b.  Slackware
c.  Xubuntu
d.  Leftish

3.  Which one of these is not a web browser?
a. Concerto
b. Flock
c. Opera
d. SeaMonkey

4.  Which one of these is not a common PC input type?
a.  RJ-45
b.  RG-11
c.  RCA
d.  SATA

5.  Which of these protocols operates at the fastest speed?
a.  USB 2.0
b.  DS-3
c.  Firewire
d.  ATA


How did you do?

Posted in educational, humor, men, random, technology, women | Leave a Comment »

Why I am in love with Adrian Hartley

Posted by Patrick on 4 Dec 2007

First of all, I suspect many people do not possess the knowledge to pick Adrian out of a crowd.  She is the vocalist for the Blue Man Group’s “How to be a Megastar 2.0” tour that is currently making the rounds.

I had a hard time distinguishing her voice from Tracy Bonham live – that’s an accomplishment. But I’m sold on her because she also does a very good Venus Hum cover, and at the Denver show on 11/25 I thought she did a great rendition during the encore.

What puts me on the Adrian bandwagon is really hard to describe in a single phrase; she’s got a buttery, jazz-friendly voice with good range. She sings with a great deal of conviction – this was evident in the BMG show, especially in some of the songs that feature a wide vocal range. And I guess it helps that she tips the hotness scale on the good side. I’m on board with hotness that has a good singing voice. Overall, I think her niche is going to be something where she gets to use her full expressive range and really let her emotions do the singing for her – something like indie or blues or jazz a la Tori Amos or Norah Jones accordingly. If you also read my other blog, then you know that my son’s favorite song on earth is “Up the Roof” by BMG and Tracy Bonham. This year was my first chance to see this live, and I really loved the way she did this song – it had me excited to see my son so happy with it.

Keep your eyes peeled for her to do something bigger than guest vocalist for BMG.  Her website is here

Blogged with Flock

Tags: , ,

Posted in music, random | Leave a Comment »

A Collection of Turds

Posted by Patrick on 29 Nov 2007

Men, this post is for you.  Ladies, you’re welcome to play but I fully expect you to learn these things on behalf of your Other.

Men, give me your best euphemisms and descriptions for the categories of toilet experiences that you’ve had.  I’ll compile a list here in this post and we can all develop a bit of urban dictionary to share with our friends and coworkers.



The 25mm

Named for a tank-mounted coaxial gun.  The 25mm is distinguished by multiple series of short, bursty farts with brief pauses for sphincter pinch or beef drops in between.  Usually producible after bbq with baked beans.
The Hurry Up and Wait When you sit to drop and immediately fill up a bowl’s worth similar to an Artemis Fowl, but there’s that one straggler nugget that just will not drop regardless of sphincter power or stomach strength.  Usually requires “the shake” to remove.  Pretty common among non-water drinkers that eat hot wings
Alphabet Soup One of my favorites.  The alphabet soup is appropriately called when you examine your lumber and it/they create a fine resemblance to a letter of the alphabet.  The most common letters are J, C and O, oddly enough.  S anyone?
The G’Day Mate This is labeled when you drop in your contribution and it is spinning counter-clockwise in the toilet.  Combinable with all other labels.  Why do turds float in a circle when deposited? Odd center of gravity?
The Dexter Named for the popular Showtime series, a Dexter consists of random spatter patterns painting the bowl.  Remember, the smaller the diameter per spatter drop, the higher the initial velocity.  I’m shooting (literally!) for <1mm next time I have this.  Many have to eat chili to get this effect.
The Area 51 I have no idea how this happens, but it does; I blame gravity.  An A51 label is appropriate when you deploy your stink grenades, but they skate down the toilet pipe and aren’t in the bowl when you take a look to analyze.
The Holy Hand Grenade This isn’t an original name, but an HHG is simply a combined Area 51 (see above) and Spic ‘n Span (see below).  No muss, no fuss!
Scorched Earth After its fabled computer game, Scorched Earth opens with a wolf-bane howling green napalm fart that sticks to your clothes and makes your eyes water.  Nose hairs may recede.  Warning: known carcinogens may be present, mesothelioma may result.  Turd volume insignificant thereafter.
The Artemis Fowl Named for dwarves in the popular children’s series by Eoin Colfer.  The AF, for short, is the 21st Century version of the old school power dump.  Volume is key, untouched toilet water must be completely nonexistent.  Recommended only in workplaces and public restrooms where flushing power is known to be very high.  Warning: high potential to plug toilet.  Further recommended where multiple empty stalls exist.
Wizard Stew (courtesy of  When happening upon a toilet which already contains a whole or partial turd of unknown origin, proceeding to add to said turd without first flushing is creating a wizard stew.
The Spic ‘n Span As a feat against nature, this is any turd which wipes completely clean on the first pass.  Usually accompanied by a comment such as “hmmph, well ok”.  Higher probability during morning sessions.
The Coup de Pouce A loose, slippery turd most known for showing itself during a hangover morning.  This “helping hand” is a constipation breaker for many, and the coup de pouce may be brought on by any industrial-strength laxative.  It is rated by the length and thickness of deposited streak marks after the first flush.  Not to be mistaken for an Artemis Fowl; may be combined if warranted.
The Onesy Twosey aka the Turdus Migratorius Derived from our kids euphemisms, the 1-2 for short is the condition where a man is at a urinal and has to pack up and move to a toilet to complete the maneuver.  Urinal flush optional but recommended.  If pants are not buttoned, the stroll from urinal to toilet is the 1-2 shuffle.  If forced to wait for a stall, you are in the 1-2 pinch.  Sometimes known as the Turdus Migratorius, but this is the actual scientific name for an American robin (I can’t make that up, go google it)
The Upper Decker Not recommended in your own house or any place where you can be identified.  A UD is done by relieving yourself in the toilet tank rather than in the bowl.  Combinable with other wiping-related conditions for full descriptive effect.
The Taint Pack I think this is posture-based, honestly.  If you sit up too straight and have high volume, there’s a good chance you’ve done a taint pack.  This is a wiping condition where you need to take about 10 passes with TP to dig out before getting up.  Recommend a few wet wipes for bulk removal operations.
The Double Negative This is one of the worst conditions to deal with as a bomb-dropper.  The DN is a wiping condition where you realize too late that there’s no TP in your stall, and there’s no other way to get some TP without a DN shuffle to the hand-drying paper towels, only to discover the bathroom you’re in only has the electric hand dryers.  Recommendation, sacrifice underwear if gut condition is stable, otherwise, sacrifice socks and complete job as normal.
The Corn Cob Combinable with any other condition – this is a classic corn-shaped log.  Double bonus if it actually contains corn in any visible form.
The Turd Blossom Borrows from its Texas definition, a turd blossom is any turd which is accompanied by a scentless fart.  Double bonus if the fart smells fruity or otherwise sweet.
Turkey Dump Differing from Turd Ferguson’s definition at a significant risk to the collegiate crowd, a TD is any turd which takes on the shape of a drumstick in either pre-flush or post-flush conditions.  Good sphincter control can produce a turkey dump in many cases.
The Double Bullseye When you drop a turd nugget pure into the toilet water as to create a splashback that goes inside your still-open asscrack.  Usually followed by a cold sensation inside the spam ring.
aka The Mudbutt
Admittedly I did not create this term but I love it.  A jailbreak is exactly that — usually immediately preceded by a hurried walk or a stiff-thigh robotic jog to the stall.  Once there, many possibilities.  Easily produced after large quantities of mexican food or buffalo wings, especially at the lunch hour.
Dry Dock This is a vengeance or revenge turd.  A turd that pulls into dry dock should be a large, preferably thick, single log is possible.  Aim is key.  A properly placed dry dock resides either inside the bowl above the water line or, in severely pointed cases, on the toilet seat itself.  Most useful on your last day at a job or other similar moments.
The Yule Log aka Mr. Hankey A yule log doesn’t have to come around only at the holiday season.  Any single, large log that is so sizeable that it threatens to rip your asshole open when expressed is considered a yule log.  Normally a sign of other internal problems and at the risk of an impacted bowel, the yule log may be a compaction of multiple unspent turds which vary in color and consistency.  Candles, Mistletoe and Hiiiidey Ho! optional.
The Johnny Cash And it burns, burns, burns:  the ring of fire — the ring of fire.  Possibly brought on by a Jailbreak, but not a requirement.  Could be a sign of liver damage if oddly discolored, especially with an orange tinge.
The Up and Down
The Second Wave
The Oops I Did it Again
The Second Helping
This is a pretty common session.  The U/D happens when you fully express a turd of any description, complete wiping procedures and just as you stand to get dressed, round 2 drops into the breech.  This is so common it’s known by many different names.
The Claymore
The Potter’s Delight
Usually confused with an AF, this is the converse of a CdP.  The Claymore is a deep bedrock clay consistency turd, thick like nearly-dry concrete, that may be caused by or may create other situations.  A perfect claymore is not reshaped by the bowl even at maximum flushing power, and generally is only resectioned with a long-handled putty knife or a garden hoe.  No plunger can cut a true claymore for ease of flushing.
The Taint Ripper
The Male Episiostomy
Even larger still by comparison to a Yule Log, a TRip is a single log that is so large it literally busts part of the taint seam into an oozing, seeping, painful split.  characterized by thin streaks of blood during wiping — not to be confused with hemorrhoid bleeding which produces larger, rounder deposits of blood and often falls into the bowl during expression.  This session creates a lasting painful condition, depending on frequency of sessions and overall turd size.  Recommend a few Coup de Pouce sessions after this one.


I think these ought to set the table.  Ok men, let me hear what you have to add to this list.  Ladies, commit these to memory, become fluent in their meanings, interpret their interchangeability.  You gain style points with any man if you can correct his misuse of the terminology based on description, and you pwn if you can use these to describe your own sessions.

Posted in humor, men, omfg, random, wtf | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

A Few Notes on Flatulence

Posted by Patrick on 20 Aug 2007

No man’s blog would be complete without a steady dose of toilet humor, I’ve decided.  Let’s face it, most men are little more than primal in bodily function and etiquette pertaining to bodily function.  What do I mean? Well if it isn’t obvious, ok.  Guys agree that methane-based assgas is an acceptable icebreaker when surrounded only by other guys; in this case, the more the merrier — volume matters, and the fresher the better.  If it lingers in your flannel shirt and survives a wash cycle, it was perfect potency.

A real guy doesn’t use a nose/ear hair trimmer, we just singe them into reverse by this method.  I’m an engineer; in my workgroup there’s a solid number of guys and there’s not a day that goes by without being subjected to a contact high from some cropdusted bratwurst bubbles.  Some people get their high by doing things like running or biking to an extreme, but not guys — real guys.  No, it’s usually the pungent fragrance of hot napalm from 50 yards that sets a guy into a near-euphoric state.

Consider it, when a guy encounters ground-zero, there’s a ritual.  Step 1 — loudly inquire as to learn who shat themself.  Step 2 — without moving an inch, take the deepest possible breath to inhale all that floral residue and discern a guy’s personal brand from the lower-level stench receptors at the base of the nasal cavity.  Step 3 — begin hand-wafting the air to enhance the speed of travel in windless environments.  Step 4 — proceed with original course, if not forgotten.

However, let’s also speak to dispel the innocence of women in this category.  Ladies, ok, stop saying that you don’t fart; stop saying that your farts don’t stink; stop trying to deny yourself a colon-vibrating sphincter rupture when one is due.  In the name of all things sacred, just let that gas go.  If you earn anything, it’s respect from any guy within the blast radius or earshot, as appropriate.  What is it with the daintiness of a woman that makes a real cheek-shaker so taboo?  I mean, women will sit down with a group of guys at the lunch table and absolutely house it no matter what’s on the menu, but then there’s no glory afterwards.

I’m here to tell you women out there that can’t stand to just unload one:  in public, SBDs are your friend.  The woman I married has mastered this art, and so should you.  Furthermore, all women should master the bed blaster.  What is this, you ask?  The bed blaster is when you wait for your spouse/partner to crawl into bed, of course they want to get it on nightly.  Step 2 is to firmly seal the air pocket between you and your Other, creating 2 personal bubbles.  Step 3, unload your worst taco salad and fondue marshmallow cocktail — if some proverbial cheese hits the sheets, even better but clean it up immediately after you stop laughing.  So, you’ve beefed into your air bubble.  Step 4, give the bubble 5 seconds to rot, then in a single motion you pull all of the sheets and stuff over your Other’s head while you dismount the bed and recreate a seal with only your Other in it.  The thicker blankets you have on the bed, the better.  If you ladies can master this task with your Other, not only will it earn you a side-splitting fit of laughter, but you’ll gain so much respect in your Other’s mind.  It’s the absolute key to fostering a long-term relationship with a guy, especially, because a guy’s connection with others is based on the smell of their ass, after all.

In summary, ladies, you have a lot to learn if you’re yet to master this ancient art.  As our generation of young girls moves more to the “I-have-to-have-this-pair-of-uber-expensive-pants” insecurity, I’m afraid that the tradition described here is becoming a bit lost in the cultural gap between regular human beings and adolescent girls.  While my attempts to add this bit of chivalry to collegiate curricula have, of yet, been unsuccessful, I’m confident that the mothers of this generation (that would be the set of 20-40yo women with children) can sway the tide in favor of history.

Posted in advice, humor, men, random | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

HP:DH Audiobook for your iPod

Posted by Patrick on 31 Jul 2007

Let’s face it, sooner or later the gestapo of Apple will be offering Jim Dale’s recorded version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for purchase and download via iTunes (an anagram of nutsie, btw).  But, even if that’s all well and good for convenience sake, why would you buy it from them?  Why would I download a set of DRM-encrusted m4b iPod-specific files when I can get the actual discs from any major retailer either online or in-store for 1)cheaper, probably and 2)more flexible? 

It’s certainly not rocket science to take the MP3 or AAC discs and convert them to nutsie’s format, thanks to freeware and shareware programs out there on web sites like freeipodsoftware.  I personally use the MP3 to iPod Audiobook Converter, and haven’t had any problems with the newest iTunes and current iPod firmware.  The only note worth mention is that the files need to be kept under about 4-5 hours runtime each, or you may have trouble getting your iPod into sleep mode.

Technical capability aside, nutsie doesn’t offer US customers the option to purchase the Stephen Fry reading of the UK book editions.  Jim Dale does a good job, but the UK readings are actually my preference, and they’re widely available – if you can’t find it at Target or a retailer, Britain’s Amazon has it.  I doubt nutsie, who thrives so heavily on targeted marketing, will ever come to grips with that.  Hell, I can’t even buy Japanese music from Japan via nutsie, but I can certainly get it from other outlets.  I went as far as to set up a proxy in Tokyo to get to the actual Japanese nutsie store online and just check it out. off topic, sorry.

So, who out there is planning to or has already dumped HP:DH audiobooks onto their iPod, even before the nutsie store has it for sale?

Posted in apple, harry potter, international, Japan, music, random, reading, technology | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Kinda Hard Harry Potter Trivia, 10Q version

Posted by Patrick on 10 Jul 2007

Announcing: a sorta-kinda-hard trivia bucket of HP questions. I’d equate these to wombat lvl 2 for the JKR standard, though I got an O in the grade 3 exam which was recently posted on JKR’s website (your window of opportunity has closed if you didn’t participate). See how you fare with this set of 10 + a bonus.

Answer forms are accepted via the contact form at the bottom of the post. I’ll announce a winner on July 11th. If there’s a tie, I’ll announce multiple winners, duh.

edit: I closed this pseudo-contest. As it turns out, there was no winner, as nobody who submitted got more than 3 questions right. I have previously said in an edit that I had no correct answers to #3, and I concluded this contest without getting one, so I have answered it inline along with what I felt were “the easy ones”. I have taken down the contact form and enabled comments, so please fire away.

1. What is the astrological relevance of the very first password for the Gryffindor common room? What is its counterpart?
Answer: the password was Caput Draconis. Now, someone please answer the rest of the question

2. List all of the known passwords to open the stairs to the Headmaster’s office.

3. What is special about Hogwarts: A History in HP:HBP?
Answer: HBP is the only story in which H:AH is not mentioned by name even once.

4. How many stories tall is Hogwarts?

5. What was Harry concealing in a pair of Vernon’s socks?
Answer: a sneakoscope

6. What does Lupin tell Harry is an object that never lies?
Answer: the Marauder’s Map

7. What is Lockhart’s favorite color, and in which of his books does he claim that information is written?

8. In HP:CoS, why did Tom Riddle freeze during his rant about Dumbledore?
Answer: Because Fawkes appeared in the chamber

9. Name as many Hogwarts headmasters as you can.

10. What is the incantation for the spell Snape uses on James in Snape’s Worst Memory?

bonus: How many knuts are there in 23 galleons?
Hint: The relevant info is in HP:SS

Posted in harry potter, random | 6 Comments »

Another HP Q&A

Posted by Patrick on 21 May 2007

I came by this Q&A from toshspice’s blog. Thanks girl.

1. Favorite Harry Potter movie- Prisoner of Azkaban
2. Favorite Harry Potter book- Order of the Phoenix
3. Least favorite Harry Potter movie- Goblet of Fire — too many omissions, pretty poorly done overall
4. Least favorite Harry Potter book- Chamber of Secrets tho it’s important to book 7
5. Favorite Harry Potter Character- Fred and George Weasley
6. Least favorite Harry Potter Character- Dolores F’ing Jane Umbridge excellently developed, but I hate her
7. Spell, Charm or Hex you most wish you had the ability to perform- Engorgio!
8. Reason for desiring to perform said Spell, Charm or Hex- to … enlarge.. things at will?
9. If I were in Hogwarts, my house would be- Ravenclaw. It says so on the right had of this page!
10. If I played Quiddich, my position would be- chaser — I like defense
11. My favorite Hogwarts subject would be- Transfiguration
12. After graduating Hogwarts, my magic profession would be- St. Mungos Healer
13. Harry Potter character you would most like to snog- From the books, Ginny Weasley. From the movies, Bellatrix LeStrange
14. Magical creature you would keep as a pet- buckbeak
15. Favorite method of magical transportation- the knight bus
16. Make up a spell, complete with name and function- replicum delicioso Conjures forth an extravagant meal based on what you are thinking of when you cast it.
17.. If God could do magic, would he be better than Dumbledore?- even fight probably
18. I have read all (so far) 6 Harry Potter books- true
19.. I have pre-ordered book 7- the deluxe edition, true
20. I have re-read all (so far) 6 Harry Potter books- except for book 2, yes
21. I own all the Harry Potter DVDs- true

Posted in harry potter, random | 3 Comments »

Men’s Euphemisms for Women

Posted by Patrick on 13 May 2007

If you’re a Laura Mallory or otherwise hypersensitive, mark-of-society woman with no sense of humor that can’t stand to be called anything other than your first name, then please have a nice day and continue on with your life without reading this post.

This is meant to be a fun post. I wish for men to participate and for women to contribute as well as be educated. What I want to take time compiling here are the absolute best nicknames, euphemisms, references, whatever that men use to refer to women and/or their favorite parts of women.

The euphemisms will be classified as such, and upon receiving the first reader submissions I will organize this post into this format:

1) Women in general, including full body/physique jargon
2) upper body including privates
3) lower body including privates
4) butts
5) feets
6) all others

I will be moderating comments and submissions on this post by disallowing standard comments and requiring the contact form at the bottom of this post in their place. My moderation rules are simple: you will receive credit for your submissions if accepted. This is meant to be humorous for men, so if it’s funny, great; if it’s practical, I’ll probably still take it; if it’s neither, chances are slim. In all submissions, you may not defame women or a specific person. Do not send me something which implies violence. You may be crass, you may be off-color (but not obscene), you may be rude if it is funny (to me) — if you think it’s questionable, try me. In the case of all submissions, I will personally decide which ones are posted. If you try to spam me because I rejected your post, I will block your IP address foevah evah and have a nice day.

Posted in educational, hotties, humor, idiocy, opinion, random, women, wtf | Leave a Comment »

Returning Home

Posted by Patrick on 13 May 2007

Over this Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to pay a surprise visit to my mom and take a trip back to my hometown for a few days. After creating a bit of a stir by showing up completely unannounced, I began to take a look at the city I grew up in and possibly try to figure out why it doesn’t “feel” the same. Maybe it has changed; maybe I have changed; probably it’s a mix of both.

There’s something to be said for the tucked-away familiarity that you can only expose by returning to a place you once knew so well. In my case, this is the town of Columbus on the Georgia/Alabama border. It’s a military base host city as well as the world hq for AFLAC, and the last time I checked was about 120k people in size. For awhile it was the largest city in America that did not have a major interstate highway running through it, but the completion of I-185 remedied that little tidbit some years ago.

Growing up in a small, Southern town like this was both a privilege and a curse, I’ve come to learn upon my return here. Sure, it’s great to have been in a somewhat polite and a somewhat safe city for my formative years — I’m thankful for having grown up virtually unscathed — but it’s clear that this city is very, very much behind the times. I look at Columbus now as I used to look at the smaller, outlying towns which could only be classified as being in either “BFE” or in “the middle of absolutely nowhere”. Perhaps it’s the fact that I live in one of the most technologically advanced cities in America (that be Denver) that gives me this opinion. But I don’t think so, because in the past 48 hours I have people doing things they consider “normal” which I don’t even remember witnessing in the 80s and 90s.

Just today I saw a 1-armed lady in a grocery store and I swear to God himself that she had an open pack of Camels stuck in the hole where I assume her shoulder socket is — I watched this lady dislodge the pack, pack down the tobacco with her good hand but using her head, shuffle out a cigarette into her mouth and re-lodge the pack back in her socket before removing a lighter from her back pocket and starting a smokefest. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, but holy ommfg was I so abruptly reminded that I’m not in a very sophisticated society now that I’m back in my hometown.

So, along the same lines, I’d like to solicit feedback. If you’re professionally employed away from your hometown, what are the things you notice (either good or bad) when you return home that make you either miss it or make you glad you aren’t living there anymore.

Posted in opinion, random | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »