Your Conference Survival Kit

As some of you may be aware, based on my vociferous complaints on Twitter, I recently attended a conference. To be honest, I thought it would be more fun. If you are attending a conference in the near future, I want you to be prepared. Here is a list of things you will need with a picture below for reference.

Please do NOT place this picture into a PowerPoint presentation and force people to listen to you drone on about it for forty-five minutes. I will find out about it and hurt you.
1. Johnny Depp Pirate
While most items crucial for maintaining sanity are located within the conference itself, you will need to bring your own tiny Johnny Depp pirate.  According to @Debihen, a tiny Johnny Depp pirate is essential for “sending out periodically to pilfer and plunder bags of Cheetos.” Also, you can talk to him when you discover that everyone at your lunch table will be discussing the keynote speaker and the operating systems of their phones.
2. Name Tag
The name tag is your key for obtaining snacks and free pens. You can take the name tag off to operate under the radar when skipping the keynote speakers. You can also use the rope around your name tag as a noose for strangling people who cut in the lunch line or presenters who go ahead and take questions even after their time limit is over.
3. Duck with a Computer
You should try to pick up as much free stuff as possible. Pens will be prevalent, but if you can get a rubber duck with a computer, that is ideal. I like that this duck not only has a computer, but is also is giving me the ‘thumbs up’ sign. Ducks with computers generally approve of me. I rate highly among plastic ducks, especially ones with computers.
4. Perrier Bottle
You should be aware that the conference will most likely be filled with grown-ups. Some of them will be wearing suits, while others will have tiny phones in their ears. Absolutely none of them will think you are funny. If they do not think you are funny, you can cover by pretending you are insane. Do this by repeatedly muttering a prepared catch phrase. @lahikmajoe recommends, “Bee in my bonnet.”
In case you get tired of muttering
You can also try to blend in with the grown-ups by carrying around a bottle of Perrier. This is what grown-ups drink. I carried a bottle while muttering, just to be safe.
5. Zombie Defense
People at the conference will be talking in monotone voices and shuffling around with dazed expressions, making it impossible for you to tell whether they are actually zombies.Therefore, you will need to be on high alert and ready to defend yourself from likely attacks.
For zombie defense weaponry, @heinakroon recommends a katana since “those things will split any zombie’s head.” If you fail to find any Japanese samurai swords over at the SWAG table, try surrounding yourself with extra chairs you can use as weapons. The stockpile of chairs will also keep away people who want to hand you their business cards and chat once the presentation is over.
Regarding zombie defense strategies, @jetts21 states strongly that you must “wait till they are undead.” However, I recommend you start flinging chairs out during the question and answer session, just to be safe.
Please feel free to contribute below with your own zombie defense recommendations for the corporate conference environment.
Next post… Surviving the PowerPoint Presentation.

How to Ditch your GF

@IbecameMyDad has a blog called I’ve become my parents. In this blog, there is a section called My FavoriteTweets where he takes a humorous look at the Google search terms that bring people to his site. I have included a few examples below:

Excerpts fromMy Favorite Tweets: On search terms people used to find this blog”

Person who found my blog searching “how do i prove to my parents that my homework is right”: If it’s English, it’s probably not…correct.

To the person who found my blog searching “i just don’t have it”: Try looking under the couch.

To the person who found my blog by searching “i’ll be better to my kids than my parents”: No you won’t. Trust me on that.

My Personal Quest for Random Google Search Terms

Now that you get the general idea, you can see why this peaked my interest. I started wondering what crazy search strings people were following to get to my blog. I decided to take a look, and here is what I found:

“satan t-shirt”

“how to identify hippies”

“giant metal chicken would solve everything”

“big metal chicken”

“how to be emotionally stable”

Now I am rethinking the size of the metal chicken I purchased based on Jenny’s not being able to buy bath towels because she already had the beach ones. Aside from that, I am a bit disappointed that these search terms all seem directly relevant to content on my blog.

There was, however, one that stood out:

“ditching your gf”

Now THERE is a gem!

I am assuming this stands for girlfriend and I am therefore feeling a little guilty that my blog is the only frame of reference this poor guy has. Hopefully, he doesn’t try to give his soon to be ex-girlfriend Ally or slip allergy medication  into her tea. I don’t even know why they let me write on the Internet. Who is in charge of this thing anyway?

Since I feel somewhat responsible, I will attempt to provide restitution.

–Dear Dude trying to dump your girlfriend, here are some t-shirts for you–

Try starting with the obvious:

If that doesn’t work, you can try this:

Or, you can go for something a little more obscure:

If you don’t get the t-shirt above, see this for reference:
Gizmodo, My OkCupid Affair With A World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player

Special thanks to @etoxican for finding the Gizmodo link for me when, ironically, my Google search parameters proved inadequate.

More special thanks goes to @IbecameMyDad for the inspiration, and also to The Bloggess without whom I would not have a medium-sized metal chicken, or even a blog about a medium-sized metal chicken. Come to think of it, she isn’t doing you any favors here.

How NOT to Write a Blog

Grow Your Blog is a book you should read before you decide you want to write a blog. Once you decide you want a blog about t-shirts that don’t exist, it will be way too late to read the book. Believe me.

I usually find that instructions seem too obscure and boring until you are smack in the middle of something you have no idea how to finish. Then, the very same instructions suddenly become amazingly clear and relevant. While this process might work quite well with furniture from IKEA, unfortunately, it did not translate successfully into blog creation.

The book starts off explaining how much thought should go into the process BEFORE you create the blog. Now that I have already created the blog, this book is only helpful to me in highlighting areas where I went wrong. Allow me to share these insights in case you ever want to start your own blog.

1. Choose an appropriate title. You should definitely give your blog a short name. NOT something with a bunch of hyphens and extra words like, The Best Self-help T-shirt Catalog Ever. Now one is ever going to remember a long name like that.

2. Never be yourself. You should pick an anonymous identity so you won’t be identified by your friends and relatives. If you use your own name when you write your ridiculous blog, then everyone is going to know you have a PTA card or that you don’t care about football. It is going to be humiliating.

3. You should include pictures in your blog. Real pictures, not the same damn t-shirt over and over with some other thing written on it. People are going to catch on to that you know. They aren’t stupid.

You will find this is the case regarding a lot of things. Ironically, this inane t-shirt is a great truth of life.

4. Don’t annoy people by publishing new posts every day. You should leave the same post up at least a week. Plus, people who subscribe to your blog don’t want your crap showing up in their mailbox all the time. My last post was yesterday. But that doesn’t count because this post is a post about not making posts. It is therefore exempt.

There are other tips in this book on how you can generate traffic, but I haven’t started that yet. I think I’ll do that all wrong too, and then read the instructions.

I will tell you that, from my experience, people in Wal-Mart parking lots have time on their hands and enjoy drinking large cans of beer. I’m planning to find people in Wal-Mart parking lots, and hand them large cans of beer in exchange for reading my blog. I don’t want to skip ahead to find out if this plan is or is not part of the instructions. It would totally ruin the surprise.

Ordinarily, I would give attribution to the author here, but this guy wrote both his blog and his blog book anonymously, which is good. If I misled anyone as to the book’s contents, it is going to be way harder for him to yell at me. Hang on though, I will link you over to his blog.

Oh man… I just found out from his latest post, Random Thursday Thoughts, that “eating lunch at 11:30 is wrong. Don’t do it.” Damn. I already ate lunch at 11:30. Guess I should have read the instructions for that too. Who knew?

Turns out I had Number 4 wrong. You are supposed to post MORE than once a week. Specifically, break up long rambling posts like this one into shorter segments. Please do not mention that my addendum about avoiding length has made this post longer.

Also… Don’t eat lunch at 11:30. That rule still holds.

Making Plans for the Year 2012

2012 marks the end of the Mayan calendar. Some believe that the end of 2012 will bring natural disasters or the end of the world. My opinion regarding the end of the Mayan calendar, albeit poorly researched, is that you have to stop doing everything eventually. Based on this premise, obviously the Mayans would quit making a calendar. If not, at this very moment in time, some Mayan dude would be in the parking lot of the Safeway chiseling out dates into stone. Of course, someone would probably go by and tell him there is an ap for that. Then Mayan dude would get a smart phone, leaving people in the year 6015 incredibly worried they are going to die.

However solid my insubstantially researched theory may seem, it does not mean that we are not going to die. We just don’t have a save-the-date card. According to Gavin Cooke, author of Frozen Britain, at some point in the near future, we are all going to be fighting each other in barren wastelands for food. For survival tips, see “How to Survive a Wasteland Apocalypse.”  For actual information, you can go to  and read “We are all Doomed.” I am pretty sure that Andreas Heinakroon and I both read the same basic material; however, we have very different writing styles. Andreas knows how to reference tangible facts in order to present you with pertinent information, while I tend to get distracted and recommend you go to PetSmart and adopt pterodactyls.

I am, in fact, distracted even now. While I was looking up the link on for the description of our imminent demise, I noticed the “‘Cool’ Equation” blog post. Following the Heinakroon step-by-step approach, you can learn to be cool in order to give the “impression of a person who knows how to survive in the world.” Apparently, it worked for Samuel L. Jackson. Sorry to cut this short, but I gotta go work on my “laid-back, carefree poses.” I am going to be so popular during wasteland apocalypse!

How to be a Good Parent

When registering my son for school, I was approached yet again to join the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The entire point of the PTA is for people to have boring meetings that I will refuse to go to. People will continue to ask me to go to them, and I will continue to tell those people that I cannot go to their meeting because I have to go home and shoot heroin. This system works fine for me.

This shirt will definitely get you out of the next bake sale.

The PTA Membership person used to be the same woman who bugs me about buying yearbooks (I am really good at saying ‘NO’ to her). This year, the person in charge of PTA Membership is the same woman who consistently points out seemingly mundane things my son does and uses them as examples of how he is a genius. For example, when this person observed my son selecting a green cupcake, she told me that people who like green are really smart. Unfortunately, my son ruined the illusion by pointing out to all of us that his selection was based not on icing color, but the fact that this particular cupcake was chocolate. He is going to be a rocket surgeon for sure.

The point of my telling you all this to explain how much harder it is to say ‘no’ to person who thinks your kid is a genius than it is to say ‘no’ to the yearbook nagger. Why is this person always telling me my kid needs a yearbook for elementary school? I never had a yearbook in elementary school. Why would you ever have a need for one? Who needs to reminisce about that cute boy you had a crush on in kindergarten? Nobody. The kids can’t even sign them. Their handwriting is terrible. Yearbooks are stupid until junior high.

As I approach the PTA membership table, I get ready to throw up my hands and yell, “Heroin Addict!” I find if I yell it loud enough, I can skip the Volunteer Registration table altogether. Before I even get a chance to declare drug addiction, the New PTA Membership Lady is telling me how lucky this school is to have my genius son back  this year. As the conversation goes on, it becomes increasingly harder to balk at the PTA registration form.

I decide, rather than yelling about narcotics, to express my concerns logically. At the end of the discussion, we hit a compromise. I would join the PTA by paying the $12.00 membership fee. The money would help the PTA do whatever they do for the benefit of the children. As part of this deal, I will in no way be directly involved in any PTA meetings or activities. It is like adopting those children in Africa you never have to see.

So, I got my card today: my very own PTA card with my name on it. As New PTA Membership Lady hands me the envelope, she says, “You are such a good parent.” Granted, I’m used to hearing this all the time, just not without the sarcasm.

All I can say is that if this card is all it takes to create the illusion of good parenting, I should have bought one a long time ago. I told my husband that if Child Protective Services ever shows up at the door, I am handing them my PTA card and all will be resolved. He told me I will probably be drunk and give them the AAA card. I hate it when he’s right.

How to Survive an Unexpected Football Party

Your first sign of an Unexpected Football Party will be your husband coming home early with queso. If he then starts frantically gathering up Legos from your living room floor, you will know something is definitely awry.

He will insist that he told you he was planning a football party. You might even vaguely remember him saying something about people coming over. However, stand firm that any statements made to you after or during a bottle of wine are null and void. Don’t panic, but this is NOT a drill! It is an Unexpected Football Party, and you, my friend, are the host. In case this happens to you, and it almost certainly will, I will explain how you should conduct yourself, using my own experience as an example. First there are a few rules you will need to follow.

Rule Number One: Never, under any circumstance, let people take you aside. As you will be able to tell from the following example, people taking you aside is bad news.

Football House Guest 1 enters my house. She immediately takes me aside to ask, “Aren’t you angry about Obama making a speech during the football game?” As some of you are aware, my entire political viewpoint is I particularly want to avoid even discussing a political viewpoint (See How to be a Grownup). Undaunted, Football House Guest 1 continues, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss the pre-game show listening to Obama deliver a speech someone else wrote for him. Maroon 5 is playing.”

I had not previously considered that I might miss Maroon 5. The potential of missing Maroon 5 throws me into an existential dilemma. I was already aware of my disregard for Obama’s speech. Now I realize it runs deeper than that. I don’t care about Obama’s speech, the pre-game, whatever crappy song Maroon 5 is going to play, the football game, or the entire football season. This is a slippery slope. Now, I am starting to realize I don’t care about the conversation I’m having, or even eating queso. I have eaten a good deal of queso already, you see. That is when husband hands me a well-timed margarita. Nothing subverts an existential crisis like a good margarita.

I don’t know how I missed this one.  –Thanks, DMomzom!

Rule Number Two: Screen for high people.

Football House Guest 2 takes me aside (see Rule #1) and asks, “Aren’t you irritated that Bob brought a girl to your house who is obviously high on something?” Up to this point, I hadn’t taken the time to assess whether or not any of my house guests were high on anything. Evidently, this is something you should do if you plan to have people over for football against your will and at the last minute. I recommend having some sort of coordination testing you can set up by the front door. Maybe a line you can make people walk or an eye chart. Actually, an eye chart would be perfect. High people can’t read eye charts without thinking they are hilarious. If someone is laughing at big letter E, you should have them ejected immediately.

If only I had made this shirt before the party.

Because of the lack drug testing, we now have no proof that this person is actually high. She did mention being a “little cloudy” because of some allergy medication. I decide to give her the benefit of the doubt. Benadryl is surprisingly powerful. I take it all the time when my parents are visiting and I want to go to bed at 8:30.

Much to my dismay, the potential pothead/meth addict conducted herself most shockingly. She was the ONLY person at the Unexpected Football Party who:

a.  Didn’t care who won at the football.
b.  Didn’t take me aside to state unsolicited concerns about the football party.
c.  Complemented my artwork.
d.  Brought me a drink when she saw my glass was empty.

Granted, appreciating my art is an undeniable sign that she was definitely high. This leads directly to my next rule for someone sponsoring an Unexpected Football Party.

Rule Number Three: Always invite people who are high on something. I recommend at least two, in case one of them passes out or gets arrested.

How to Avoid Orange Ass Explosions

Ordinarily, I have a hard time with people who talk about dieting. I really don’t care if you think carbs are evil or no one should eat gluten. Unless I directly ask you why your lunch looks like cardboard, feel free to keep all that to yourself. However, I am breaking my rule to give you all a warning. Due to advances in the science of weight loss medication, dieters everywhere now have to protect themselves against ass explosions.
I used to work in a building that had a cafeteria. Every day we would go to lunch, accompanied by Mandy, the dieter. Mandy would browse over the entire array of food items, explaining to all of us how many grams of fat each contained, before selecting a shriveled dry breast of chicken as her source of sustenance for the day. I thought she was insane. She wasn’t. It turns out she was a victim of Alli.
For those of you who are blissfully unaware, Alli is an over-the-counter weight-loss pill that works by blocking your absorption of excess fat. Mandy told me one day over her shriveled chicken, that Alli was originally developed as a drug for men to reduce their cholesterol. Men refused to take it because they did not want to change their diets. I can understand that. A girl announcing fat grams in a cafeteria is totally acceptable. She might even be perceived as virtuous. A guy announcing fat grams in a cafeteria is a dick.
You may be thinking that purchasing Alli is the ideal way to reduce your cholesterol and weight. I too was lured by the potential benefits of this new miracle diet aid. Since I happened to be at The Wal*Mart shopping for beer and Cheetos, I went over to the pharmacy section, and picked up a box of Alli to read the side effects. The box very politely describes how Alli plans to dispose of any excess fat it happens to find lying around in your stomach…  through your ass. After reading, “You may have gas with oily spotting,” and “frequent stools that may be hard to control,” I couldn’t get the box back on the shelf fast enough.
Narrow escape, as it turns out. According to Jen P, the “gas with oily spotting” side effect can also be described as a “hot toxic bright orange ass river of doom.” In her recent blog post, “Alli-oop! And Then My Ass Exploded,” Jen P (@so_wakeup) shares her personal experience with Alli, a warning to us all about the new perils of dieting:

“I was essentially covered from waist to knee in a mess of bright orange oil, and wipe as I might with toilet paper, I was basically just rearranging it. I kept frantically trying to make it GO AWAY, but it just wouldn’t. It was horrifying. “

All I can say is that the marketing department at Alli must be full of evil geniuses. I don’t know how much they are paying these people, but it can’t be enough. To fully understand the politely termed “Treatment Events” on the Alli packaging, I recommend reading Jeff Kay’s, “Alli Side Effects in Layman’s Terms.”
Jeff explains that when the people of Alli state that, “You may get gas with oily spotting” what they actually mean is, “You’ll be farting Wesson oil straight through your Dockers.” The marketing people probably brainstormed for weeks before deciding that “more frequent stools that may be hard to control” sounded much better than a “sphincter that can no longer be counted as a friend.”
It’s a public service message.
Alli has effectively expanded our dieting concerns way beyond phenphendrine heart attacks. Sure, it is approved by the FDA. But the FDA doesn’t care if you are trapped in your friend’s bathroom because a river of orange oil exploded from your ass. They would probably laugh at you. In fact, I’m convinced the guys over there approved this product as a practical joke.
In closing, I first would like to thank Jen P for bringing this potential hazard to our attention. We all owe you a debt of gratitude and khaki pants. I would also like take a moment to thank my ass for not rebelling against me. I had no idea what a great job it was doing until now.
Secondly, if you are planning to diet with the aid of modern pharmaceuticals, don’t forget check the side effects. If your medication recommends you wear a lot of dark colors and carry an extra set of clothing, you might be better off without it.
For Further Research:

Go to Alli-oop! And Then My Ass Exploded,” to read the rest of Jen P’s Alli-oop Incident. Frankly, I don’t think her friend Heather was quick enough to respond to the issue. On the other hand, those khaki pants deserved to die.

For reasonable diet advice, do NOT go to “Why diets don’t work – and never will” by Andreas Heinakroon. The reason diets are doomed is because this guy posted the most beautiful picture of donuts you have ever seen.

Update on Harvard Virtual Canoe Team

Our Harvard Imaginary Rowing Team placed firstamong virtual rowing and canoe teams all over the world.

The members of our esteemed team are asfollows:

Gigi: In charge of megaphone 
@gingerblaze: Finder of imaginary bodies of water
We will treat this like the rapture. Everyoneon the Harvard Imaginary Rowing Team, at 6:00 your local time, may raise a pint ofyour favorite beverarge in celebration. 

In respect to our accomplished rowing team, I am going to ask that everyone else please refrain from raising pints ofbeverages at 6:00pm your local time as you did absolutely nothing ofsignificance to earn them. 

Based on the blinding success of our Harvard Imaginary Rowing Team, I am sure that many of you will now want to join. You can stilljoin, but now you have to beg and plead. I am not sure how much begging andpleading will be required. That will be decided on an individual basis, probably by Satan.

In fact, all requests to join the Harvard Imaginary Rowing Team should be sent directly to Satan(@SatanInSingSing) via Twitter and prefaced by significant begging and pleading. If you hurry, you might still make the 6:00pm pint raising deadline.

How to be a Grownup

I was reading blogs at three in the morning, as I oftendo, when I found one that struck me as strange. It took a while for me tofigure out why I was having trouble with it. I was, literally, reading the blog… of a grownup. I know. It was quite ashock for me as well.
Alongside other members of the Breakfast Club generation, I watched AllySheedy tearfully tell Judd Nelson, “When you grow up, your heart dies.” Based on this, I always hadthe expectation that something would suddenly snap to make me startdrinking decaf and wearing shoe supports. This hasn’t happened to me yet. It ishard to convince myself that this whole thing about going to work anddropping my kid at school isn’t some long extended game developed for my amusement.Apparently, not everyone thinks that way.
Allow me to use the blog The JackB todemonstrate the inner workings of the grownup mind.
Grownups have Moral Fiber

In Jack’s well written post, “Bald is Beautiful and Other Things You Need to Know,” Jack’s son is having second thoughts about playing soccer. 

Here is what agrownup tells their son who wants to quit soccer:
“My job as his father is to help him reach his potentialand that I see things in him that he might not see. I said that he is muchtougher, stronger and smarter than he realizes and that soccer would help himsee that.”
In contrast, here is what I told my son when he wanted toquit soccer:
“Chasing a ball around on the field is stupid andthese people yelling at their kids are insane. Let’s get out of here.”
Also, here is what I told my son when he wanted to quit baseball:
“Waiting in the outfield for a ball to come to you is stupid,and these parents are even crazier than the soccer ones. Plus, it’s hot outhere.”
We finished out the season though. Not because we wereseeking some sort of moral high ground, but because that’s what you do when you’vealready paid for something.
Grownups have Political Viewpoints

Here is Jack onpolitics:
“I am not a fan of President Obama but I wouldn’t say thatI am a detractor. Part of the problem is that our government doesn’t feel thepain of the average person. My second largest monthly expense is healthcare.Thankfully we are healthy, but it wouldn’t take much to make life exceptionallydifficult. One serious injury/illness/accident and the whole house of cardscould tumble.”
Don’t get me wrong, I know what is going on in the world. I watch the Daily Show. I just never bring up politics around any one because itquickly results in people becoming opinionated and boring. For example, you should see theposts at the end of this guy’s blog.

This was going to say, “…I find your political agenda annoying” but why impose unnecessary limitations?

Sure, it is ridiculous that if you live in the United State you have to work for forty hours for someone else in order to have access to affordable healthcare. Lots of things about games are ridiculous. For example, the terrier on the Monopoly game board is the same size as the horse. Can you imagine the size of that terrier? But if you don’t like the illogical size of the terrier, you can choose the racecar, or maybe the top hat. On the other hand, I find it creepy to have a top hat bouncing around the board on its own, so don’t pick that either.

Jack is right, of course. The house of cards istilting slightly. Eventually, despite all preparation and moral fortitude, lifewill spin slightly, if not entirely, out of control. I think I just saw a damn card flying by just now, so I had betterhurry and make my point.
I thought I would become someone else when I grew up, and I never did. Apparently, some of you have grown up. Kudos to you, and I don’t even mean that sarcastically. I am glad you have your shit under control.

My appreciation goes out to all of you whodidn’t grow up. Everything spins around us, but we handle it with the irreverenceand sarcasm that these situations require. Sure, we act like grownups. We politely sharepublic transportation with crazy people. We care for aging parents and placate annoyingneighbors. We clumsily blend career, family, and last minute trips to thegrocery store. But, we deal with the daily crap life hands out with the joyfulabandon of children in a complex game.
In closing, please do not harass the grownupswith their grownup blogs. They are very serious and may get pissed at you.  Also, please do not post your politicalviewpoints. I find them boring and inane. Unless, of course, your politicalviewpoint is that political viewpoints are boring and inane. In that case,knock yourself out.
My next blog entry will be some timely advice on how to avoid orange assexplosions. It could happen to anyone. In fact, you should probably go aheadand read @so_wakeup‘s critical warning to us all: “Alli-oop! And Then My Ass Exploded.” It never hurts to be safe.