Transparent Fish Head

Who needs eyelids when your head is transparent?
No one. That's who.
So take a look at this fanciful fish recently observed underwater.

Although it had been discovered long ago, the fish was rarely ever observed with it's "Fluid filled shield" due to the fact that it would rupture when being pulled towards the surface.

Pretty crazy, but mainly just pretty.

Take a look at it here.

where have you been all my life?

Super nunchaku man, you have managed to fill that hole in my life I never knew existed, and probably didn't even need to be filled in the first place. But here you are. And I wish you were here with me now to solve all my problems... NUNCHAKU STYLE!!!

Day by Day - Mardi Gras Week ( Biola Chimes 2/25/09)

Day by Day - Mardi Gras Week

On February 24th it’ll be that time of the year again. The time to celebrate the defending of Frances claim on the territory of Louisianna! It’s Mardi Gras week, and now it’s time to celebrate the only way we can! While on contract.

Monday - Tap Your Feet and Nod Continuously Day

Dancing is a big no-no here at Biola, but Mardi Gras is a day of celebration. Celebrate today by indulging in a bit of rhythmic foot-tapping while listening to your favorite Michael W. Smith song and perhaps slightly swaying your head in an agreeable, yet tasteful, nodding motion.

Tuesday - Feast In The Caff

“Mardi Gras” after all does mean “Fat Tuesday.” So today head over to Biola’s Caff and feast upon the plethora of white-chocolate chip cookies as well as their delectable soft-serve ice cream. Indulge in an extra slice of pizza in additional to the other two slices you probably just ate. Mardi Gras only comes once a year! I think.

Wednesday - Wear The Mardi Gras Colors

The Mardis Gras colors include purple, the symbol of justice, green, the symbol of faith, and gold, the symbol of power. Although all these colors might make for a confusing and perhaps even blinding outfit, wear it anyway. In any case, it will provide a bit of distraction during classes/

Thursday - Make a Parade Day

Mardi Gras began in 1827 when a group of students returning from Paris donned costumes and began celebrating in the streets. On this day, celebrate in a similar manner by wearing your costume from your Church’s harvest festival, dressed as your favorite Bible character, and then march across campus whilst singing cheerfully.

Friday - Catch Mardi Gras Beads Day

Secular connotations aside, there’s no reason not to catch a Mardi Gras necklace if it’s thrown your way, and there’s even less reason to avoid going ahead and throw Mardi Gras necklaces at other people. They might not understand it, but they’ll enjoy it nonetheless.

Saturday - Masquerade Day

Many consider traditional Mardi Gras celebrations to have their roots in Roman celebrations. So apparently they were into wearing masks too. On this day throw a private Masquerade in your dorm room, even alone if you have to. Although your roommate may question exactly what you’re doing, just keep on keeping on.

Sunday - Recovery Day

All that partying burns some serious carbs. On this day take a load off and revel in the fact that you have successfully celebrated what Mardi Gras is all about, even if you're still not entirely sure what that is.

Boyfriend Material - Chimes Opinion Article 2/24/09

Boyfriend Material - Chimes Opinion Article 2/24/09

If there’s one thing I’ve always known about myself, it’s that I don’t make for great boyfriend material. For one, I’m afraid of just about anything that has more than two legs. For twosies, I have zero capabilities when it comes to sports or any variation of physical activity. For thirds, I do things like wear pink headbands, cuddle with huge unicorn stuffed animals, and enjoy watching episodes of “General Hospital.” I could list off all the names my roommate Micah calls me, but they generally all start with “h” and rhyme with “romorexual.” So imagine my surprise, and innevitable guilt, when I one day realized that I had a girlfriend.

“Come on now, Newcott,” you might say, “Look at yourself! You’re an upstanding humor columnist for the local Chimes periodical! Surely, you must think higher of yourself!” Well that flattery will get you nowhere, good sir. Right now you’re talking to a man who frequently mixes up the names of his girlfriend’s roommates, is frequently mistaken as Jewish because of his nose, and who once worked at a Quizno’s for less than 24 hours before quitting. This is the kind of man who zones out during conversations if he happens to see a dog with a poofy tail, and who frequently goes into violent giggling fits if he happens to think about said tail later that week.

Just the other day I saw my girlfriend walking across campus wearing her familiar blue sweater. In an effort to grab her attention I gave her my frequently used bird call. “Heeeey Yoooo!” I yelled at a high pitch. “Heeey Yooo! Lookupeer! Lookupeer!” Yet she did not turn toward my direction. Was it because I forgot to shave/use deodorant that morning? Or the morning before that?

I tried again. “Heey! Yoo! YOOO! Lookupeer!” Again, she did not respond. Perhaps it was because I had made her watch numerous episodes of “LOST” the night before and then suggested that we pretend to be Kate and Sawyer together. I just didn’t know.

"Say, Kate, the sea might be rough, but not nearly as rough as I. The only place I'm LOST is in your eyes..."

Even though I may be inept, I am also determined to a fault. So I continued my bird calling, this time louder and more intense. “HEEEY!! YOOO!! HEEEY!! YOO! LOOKUPEER! LOOKUPEER!”

Finally, she turned my way. When she did, my eyes were met with an expression of fear and confusion. No, this girl was most certainly not my girlfriend. In fact, this stranger was someone I had never seen before in my life.

Standing awkwardly, I briefly considered turning towards the nearby bushes and continuing my calls as though I was addressing something else. Instead I continued staring at her with my jaw open in a stupor. Assuming I was mentally ill, the girl walked away. The strategy still works.

So I thought I’d add that to my list of faults.

Number 172: I frequently mistake other women for my girlfriend.

On the other hand, maybe that just shows how much I want to be with her. The trouble with trying to be better boyfriend material is that it’s just hard for me to accept sometimes that someone can love me even when I know how unworthy I am of that love. She deserves better than anything I could provide, but I wouldn’t want her to be with anyone else. There’s no way I can earn that love, instead I just have to learn how to accept it. And maybe that’s what love is sometimes, accepting someone as perfectly flawed, and then being accepted in the same manner.

Hey look! That dog has a poofy tail!!


Days Like That 70's Show

Below you will see the first episode of the American television series, That 70's Show.

First episode of that 70s show

Now here's "Days Like These."

You might not spot any similarities at first, but eventually you'll start to notice similar character names, vaguely familiar actors to fit the cast, and even scenes that are downright identical if not slightly altered. In fact, almost entirely identical.

Don't believe me?
Here's Episode 23 of That 70's Show. The one entitled "Grandma's Dead."

The reason for these similarities is simple. "Days Like These" was the British import of "That 70's Show," although not many people will ever remember it.
In 1999 the American series That 70's Show was remade by the British ITV network using almost "verbatim" scripts with minor cultural changes. As well as the obvious switch in locations from "I Love Wisconsin!" to Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

It failed almost as miserably as "That 80's Show."

After 10 episodes the series was permanently canceled, resulting in the remaining three episodes to go unaired.
That 70's Show from then on became imported directly to the channel, and it was one of the first.

Not so ironically, in days like these (and I mean our own) it's easy to view some of our best television here in America as being adaptations from what has been exhibited oversees. We have the Office for example.
But this case is an unusual one in not only who's doing the importing, but also in the interpretation. Something, be it cultural or otherwise, prevented That 70's Show from having the same effect when it was reinterpreted. Yet it was imported anyways in it's original form to find better success.

What that says exactly about peoples taste, or need for authenticity, is free to be interpreted.

In any case what we have to look at here is a version of "That 70's Show" from a different, entirely British, alternate universe. It's an uncanny, almost eerie, look at a world where Topher Grace has been replaced by an English android.


Pretty Bird

I have a little call when I want to get Beth's attention.
Like most things I do, I stole it from The Three Amigo's.

"HAAAAY YOOOO! HAY YOO! LOOKUPEER! LOOKUPEER!" This is pretty much all I yell at the highest pitch possible, and I tend to do it on a daily basis.

Recently I ran into trouble however when I saw Beth walking across campus. Noticing the blue sweater that she often wears, I began calling out. "Haay Yooo! Haaay YOOOO!"
Sadly, she did not turn her head. But with myself not being one to get turned down easily, I continued yelling.
"LOOKUPEEER! LOOKUPEER! HAY YOOOO!" Still, she did not turn towards my direction. Again, I screamed louder "HAAAAY YOOOO!! HAY YOO!! LOOKUPEER!!!"
Finally she turned my way.

It was then that I realized that it was not Beth.

The girl stared at me briefly with an expression of both concern and fear.
Briefly I considered turning towards a different direction and continuing my bird calls as if it was someone else I were addressing, or perhaps feigning mental illness.
Yet I froze in place with an unparalleled look of confusion.

Then we parted ways.


Chill Pills and Umbrella's

They're made out of pill bottles.

And they're made by Jean Shin, an artist who makes instillation out of different discarded items. Like umbrellas.

Pretty cool if I do say so myself.

Day by Day - Rainy Day Week

Day By Day - Stay Inside Week (Chimes Article 2/18/08)

If one word could describe the La Mirada area over the past week, that word would be "rainy," followed closely by the words "polluted" and "infested with rodents." But since the rain has been coming down especially hard this week it's time to look at all of the adventures to be had indoors.

Day One - Make a Blanket Fort

No rainy day is complete without an extravagant blanket fort. Make sure to cover the majority of your dorm room, living room, and/or bathroom with sheets and pillows. No pillow fort is complete without some level of exclusivity. Place a handwritten sign in crayon prohibiting the presence of individuals of the opposite gender from entering. Mine just says "No girls club," with various letters depicted in reverse.

Day Two - Recreate the Cat In the Hat

Many may not consider Dr. Seuss to be much of a realist, but I consider that a challenge. Much in the same way that mischievous anthropomorphic cat showed up on a rainy day, make your own kind of mischief on your own! For this challenge I dressed my cat Stiggy and forced him to balance our fishbowl, umbrella, and birthday cake all at the same time. Although he might have to go to the vet now, the important thing is that I was entertained for a brief period of time.

Day Three - Jump In Puddles

On this day throw on some rain-boots and go splashing out in the street by jumping into any puddle you find. Bonus points if you happen to jump in a puddle with someone standing nearby. Take those complaints as compliments while you stomp your heart away.

Day Four - Try To Fix Your Umbrella

For some reason the umbrella keeps opening inside out. On this day spend a solid six hours trying to fix it before finally giving up when you realize it has stopped raining anyway.

Day Five - Stare Longingly Out the Window

Nothing encompasses the feeling of a rainy day like staring longingly out the window whilst droplets of water cascade across the thin sheet of glass separating you from the one you love somewhere out there in this cold, unforgiving world. Try to hold your head in your hands as a single tear rolls down your cheek and lands alone on the window frame, serving as a profound reminder of your own loneliness in this barren emotional landscape.

Day Six - Bake Cookies

Because why not? It's rainy out. That's reason enough to bake cookies. It's also reason enough when it's not rainy at all outside, but at least today you can use the weather as some kind of reason and enjoy it. Savor that scrumptious treat as the rain tortures all those unfortunate souls caught out in the open. It's a beautiful thing.

Day Seven - Throw Cards Into a Hat

Nothing truly encompasses wasting time like throwing cards into a hat, except perhaps playing World Of Warcraft. This activity serves as the ideal time-waster when it's rainy out and want to use that as an excuse to do something of no importance whatsoever. Cherish it.


This and That (the little things to keep you checking in)

Here's a Japanese dog that spends all of it's time walking on it's hind legs.

It's funny because he thinks he's a human.

Here's another band I came across recently and, coincidentally, found myself enjoying quite a lot.
Their name is aptly titled Found.

Admission Number Two - Found (via: songbytoad)

When You Fall - Found (via: songbytoad)

The Joy Of Stiggy - Chimes Article 2/17/09

When my roommate Anthony adopted a black cat, it took me a while to get past my superstitious nature. When the two of us crossed paths each night and my sight would lock onto the shimmering gaze of its yellow eyes, I wondered what was in store for the next day. Would it be an unexpected bus whilst I crossed the street, an open sewer drain, an unwieldy football thrown haphazardly toward my crotch? Who knew what was in store. However, the two of us began to connect.

There are many joys in having a pet, and twice as many if you happen to take no responsibility for it and in turn leave that responsibility on the shoulders of your roommate. After a while I began to accept the fact that our kitchen would perpetually smell like cat diarrhea as opposed to the smell of rotting cottage cheese often left out by one of my other housemates. The problem here is that in an apartment filled with guys, any problem concerning a cat could easily go unnoticed. Yes, a pet can leave quite a mess, but that mess may in fact be overlooked when the "soaking" pots and pans in the sink have rusted holes clear through the bottom. There were times in which I doubted we even had a cat at all. Was a feline responsible for peeing on the couch, or did Micah have some explaining to do? The mystery would continue to go unsolved.

Our cat has been granted the name Stiggy after the British racecar driver of a similar name. This name came as a close second after considering Obama, which we respectfully turned down out of political differences. Stiggy has a number of delightful quirks which make him a delightful scalawag within the household. For instance, Anthony taught him how to fetch a strand of shoelace, which means he chases it for a few feet before forgetting what he was running after or even where he is. Sometimes he will move with such abounding speed that he will slam face first against the glass sliding door leading out on to the balcony. It's for this reason that we collectively decided it would be best if Stiggy has no notion of the outside world. We reinforced this fear of the outdoors by means of Jon loudly yelling each time he approached the doorway.

There is something undeniably intriguing when considering that our apartment, filled with dirty plates, discarded food and probably a number of unintentional animals hiding away under the fridge and stove, is the only world Stiggy knows exists. I could elaborate on how this reflects our tendency to acknowledge the sinful world we live in rather than focus on the eternal one just outside our door, but I think I'd rather write about the time Stiggy got his head caught in the window blinds and meowed until he was set free. So much like myself.

There are many joys in owning an animal, but there are far many more joys in watching that animal find itself in embarrassing and confusing situations and then watch it try to free itself. Much in the same way I yell and claw frantically into the air when I find myself in any kind of awkward situation, Stiggy reacts in a similar manner. As was the case when he was dabbing his paws in my glass of water and then proceeded to fling water across the entire room. Sometimes things get a lot worse before they get better. I think it's safe to say that I have learned more from Stiggy than he has ever learned from me, and although all that really means is that Stiggy is one incredibly stupid animal, it also means that I have learned from that stupidity and am now a better person because of it.


25 Random Facts You Always Have Wanted, and Probably Need, To Know About Me, Zachary Newcott

Yes. This is the same questionnaire being spun around facebook like the mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it! But here it is anyway, for your viewing pleasure.

1. Although I avoided making this note, I actually secretly really wanted to do it.

2. I was once hit in the head with a hammer as a child. We were building a tree house and I was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

3. On rare occasions my leg shakes for no reason at all, but I have theories concerning it’s correlation to my emotions. I’m probably like a dog in that respect, also in other ways, of which I will not elaborate on.

4. For a short period of time Anywhere But Here starring Natalie Portman was my favorite movie.

5. I still can’t decide how I like to abbreviate my first name.

6. After school I used to always watch General Hospital with my mom and my sister. I kind of miss it. Sonny, Carli, Jason, Lucky, Luke and Laura, we had great times together.

7. I don't like to eat fish, but I really like sushi.

8. I have to hide my enjoyment of sushi from my mom.

9. I once worked at a Quizno's for less than 24 hours before quitting, and I regret nothing.

10. A video of mine was on HBO Family once when I was in middle school.Not many people know this about me, and I rarely mention it.

11. I can’t write very well when there’s music playing or the television’s on. It frustrates me.

12. Needles apparently make me faint when they’re being jammed into me. This also frustrates me.

13. I have been told I look like, and perhaps have even been mistaken for, the singer Josh Groban, although not so much recently.

14. When I set my alarm clock I usually wake up one minute before it goes off.

15. I can’t down things.

16. I once took tap dancing lessons in elementary school. I was, and still am, quite terrible at it.

17. I starred in my high school’s rendition of Les Miserables as Sailor #2. My only line was this: “Lovely ladies / Smell 'em through the smoke / Seven days at sea / Can make you hungry for a poke.” I went to a public school. Somehow this captivating performance of mine failed to be mentioned in the Washington Post.

18. I'm not Jewish, but I'm pretty sure my nose is.

19. I once ran for Student President of my school just so I could give a speech. I continued to make posters for my campaign months after I lost.

20. Although I got a C in Karate, I did earn an orange belt.

21. My first word was “taxi.”

22. I occasionally wake up to find myself making out with my pillow.

23. I once stole a cardboard Britney Spears cut-out from a Mc Donalds.

24. Donald Sutherland is the scariest man I have ever met.

This is the least scary image I could find of him.

25. I drove across the country once, and I highly recommend it.


Valentines Day - Chimes Opinion's Article 02/07/09

I want you to know that at this very moment I'm sitting by my fireplace wearing a silk robe and pouring us two glasses of vintage 1999 sparkling apple cider. That was a good year, but not the best. For you see, this will be the first Valentine's Day I get to celebrate my status as "In a Relationship" on Facebook. I know you're jealous, but here, come sit on my shag carpet as I whisper sweet nothings into your ear. I know the pain of being alone, on this, the finest of all holidays. I know how it is to celebrate the martyrdom of that wise cat Saint Valentine when you're so lonely, and all you want to do is listen to Dashboard Confessional while crying in the shower.

SHHH! Don't speak.

I'm going to level with you. Right here and now. Since I'm already taken by a beautiful lady there's a part of me that wants to point my fingers in your face and say "GOTCHA SUCKA!" But I've been where you've been. I know how it feels to find yourself downing a box of Toblerones while watching “Legally Blond” until three in the morning. We've all been there, and it isn't pretty. Especially if you left those Toblerones in your car all day and are forced to squeeze melted Toblerone chocolate into your mouth but keep missing and find yourself covered in chocolate and weeping uncontrollably. Such is life.

Here's the deal. I'm going to tell you that, "I love you," and then I'm going to wait an excruciating couple of seconds before following it up with an "as a brother in Christ," but don't go thinking that I don't mean it. Because I do. You can always count on me, specifically if you want me to give you a back massage. And although that back massage may feel like being stabbed numerous times in the spine, it still says more than any words could.

You look tense. Perhaps if I press play on this CD player I could provide you with enough comfort to get through Valentine’s Day as a fine single lady.

Oh what do you know, it looks like I left the great philosopher Marvin Gaye in here. That man had a lot of great ideas. I believe he once said, "If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else." You should remember that if you end up drinking virgin apple-tini's all night while stalking the MySpace profiles of your past loves. C'est la vie.

Here's what I want you to do. I want you to find that one special someone (and I know you have a special someone) and at some point on cupid's holiday I want you to draw close to the one you love and whisper in their ear, "You were the best mistake I ever made." If you don't know what it means, they will.

If you're really brave you can follow that up with a sly wink. In the unlikely case that the results are less than expected, just do what I do and pretend it's part of a facial tick. The goal here is to confuse them into submission.

I can tell from the way that you slapped me that you don't approve of my technique for finding love. Well, to each his own. Line them up and knock them down, as I like to say. But to you I wish the happiest of Valentine's Days.

Latest Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Blind Pilot

Blind Pilot - Bitter End (via: you crazy dreamers)

Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds and a Sound (via: mike went west)


It has come to my attention...

Amazon is now taking pre-orders for "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."

It's a real shame considering that all the work I've been putting into "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but Also Robots Traveling Through Time" will have to be scrapped for the sake of originality. I suppose I'll just have to shove that 1,000 plus page novel off of my desk and into the waste basket. *Sigh*

I must say, it's a bit disturbing how close this book comes to encapsulating everything on this blog, perhaps even more disturbing than the author's previous undertakings. Frankly, I don't have much hope for it. The illustrations look promising, but I can't help but feel that it's just cashing in on the whole "Zombies are awesome" and "Suck it Mr. Darcy" enterprises I have spent so long nurturing.

Therefore, I deem this: Not Awesome.

Angry Japanese Sea Otter's with Valentine's, however: Most Definitely Awesome


One Man's Opinion - The Disappearance of the Lunch Tray

I’m only one man, and this one man needs a hearty meal to start his day. Also to end his day. Maybe in the middle of that day too. So clearly it was a disheartening realization when it so happened that the campus cafeteria removed all lunch trays in order to conserve food consumption.

To the discomfort of my girlfriend and her many acquaintances, I often insisted that I carry one or two trays at a time. I consider myself to be a man of finer tastes, and if I so happen to want to garnish my meal of pizza and stir-fry with a side of Lucky Charms and a turkey burger, so help me I will. This is America. My ancestors came to this country seeking a land of milk and honey, it was their dream. Well, guess what, it just so happens that milk and honey don’t fit on the same tray. Believe me. I tried.

This whole obsession with saving food is a new and scary concept for me. Suddenly people are telling me it's a bad thing to smuggle hoagies out the cafeteria by stuffing them inside of a water bottle. Is it really so wasteful that when I ate alone I used to fill an extra tray full of food just to place it next to me as a deterrent to any strangers who would sit at my table? I don't think so, and I fully expect you to do the same.

Don’t think I didn’t try to play by the university rules. I attempted to use their new food sorting receptacles (aka: buckets with signs that say “food” on them) and I found myself pouring my left-overs into the container labeled “soup of the day.” Imagine my discomfort in explaining to a close friend that their Clam Chowder was tainted by my Chinese chicken salad and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It was no fun at all, let me tell you.

“Now hold on a minute,” the cafeteria might say, “We still have trays for you to use. You just have to ask for them.” Nice try, college, but I think you’re the one who should be asking me if I want a tray. What do you expect me to do? Hold my food with my hands? Well I’ve tried it. And if you want pasta dripping through my fingers onto the floor and have an old woman behind me to trip on said spaghetti and yell “Mamma Mia!” guess what, it’s already happened. Twice. And I responded both times with a “Now that’s a spicy meatball!”

Here’s an idea for you college cafeteria geniuses, how about you take away the forks and knives too while you’re at it? Medieval Times did the same thing, and look where they are. That way I can balance all my food on spoons. Maybe take cups away too so I can drink soda straight from the tap. I mean officially, so that I finally have a reason to explain my actions or at least have an explanation for the dried syrup on my chin apart from “I decided to drink from the tap because it’s faster and I’m too lazy to grab a cup.”

Since we’re still on the subject, what happened to all the old trays? Is there somebody out there who has made themselves a fort out of discarded trays, sits on a throne of trays, and calls himself the tray table master? If so, who is he and why can he not be me?

Yes, Biola University, I fear you have be-tray-ed me.

Time Crimes - Movie Review

Time Crimes

I've had the foreign film Time Crimes (or Los Cronocrímenes) sitting on my desk for just over a month now, but only (ironically enough) found the time to view it last night. As indicated by the title, the film is a blend of thriller and science fiction. The story centers around Hector, a middle-aged man who is drawn towards the woods behind his new home after catching a glimpse of a woman through his binoculars. Up to now, it sounds like a bad penthouse letter, but when Hector investigates he is stabbed in the arm by a third party, an individual whose face is wrapped in pink bandages. His escape and avoidance of the masked man leads him to the surreal discovery of a science lab not far from his home, and oddly enough, his arrival is not met with much surprise.

It's not too hard to see where certain aspects of this story are leading, yet Time Crimes knows exactly when to show each of the cards in it's hands, or even better, what cards it once held, has currently, and will hold eventually. Time travel takes a decent amount of planning, and Time Crimes manages to cover most, if not all, of it's bases.

All in all, the story functions as one cohesive paradox, a river with a circular flow that will never end, and even more discomforting, probably never begun. There's an existential dilemma underneath it's surface which bravely suggests that humans are generally willing to do what they have to in order to maintain the apparent structure of the universe. We don't act as much as we follow the instructions we were given. This is not a brave notion because of it's novelty, rather, it is brave in it's function as a catalyst for action. The audience is not given a clear explanation for why certain characters act the way they do, apart from the fact that this is how it is supposed to take place. The roles of victim, villain, and hero are all shifted for the sake of utility, yet this alone says something very haunting.

Ultimately, Time Crimes is just that, a haunting film. Within it's universe, the paradox the film creates functions beautifully and with intricate precision. As entertainment it moves along at a brisk and constantly perplexing pace.
All in all, it's one of the best foreign films, as well as science fiction films, that I've seen in a while.


Day By Day - Preparing For Valentines Day Week

Guess what? I've just been given a new section of the Biola Chimes. My gradual plans for college campus newspaper domination have finally commenced. Let the great experiment begin!

Day By Day - Preparing For Valentines Day Week

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and if you’re anything like me that means you guys have all the time in the world to make romantic plans for that special night. Here are some helpful suggestions to get prepared this week!

Romantic Back Alley Dinner
If there is one thing I learned from the Disney animated film Lady and the Tramp, it’s that nothing is more romantic than eating the left-over pasta from a third-rate Italian restaurant in their back alley, and then sharing only one plate of said discarded pasta with the one you love until both of your lips meet while devouring the same strand of partially digested spaghetti. Some may question the hygiene of such a dining experience. But hey, it’s cheap. And if nudging a meatball over to her side of the plate with your nose doesn’t make her swoon, then nothing will. Trust me. I know.

Dress Up Like Michael Cera
Women may say they enjoy the strong and burly men, and they do, but they also enjoy awkward “precious” men, especially if they happen to act in movies like Juno and are named Michael Cera. All this requires is to be yourself, except wear tiny yellow running shorts, eat fruity tic-tacs and sell frozen bananas.

Dress Up Like Mr. Darcy
If you haven’t learned this by now, the best thing you could do on valentine’s day is to never be yourself. When it comes down to it, there’s really only one thing women ever want out of life, and that’s to fall in love with the fictional character of Mr. Darcy. For one night, be the man of your love’s dreams, by actually being the man she dreams about. Wear tight pants, a frilly shirt, or any shirt requiring buttons. Then act emotionally distant before revealing your inner tenderness, this may require having Pride and/or Prejudice. Avoid fart jokes and anything that would classify you as a realistic male human being. She’s gonna love it!

Buy Her Flowers
Try not to remind her that the flowers will die in a number of days, and certainly don’t remind her about how this reflects the brevity of her own life. Unless she’s really into Twilight, the ladies generally don’t like being told they’re going to die on romantic evenings. Girls also generally don’t respond well to intellectual arguments regarding the benefits of plastic floral arrangements. Such is the way with women.

Romantic Picnic
There are a number of wonderful spots in the area for a romantic picnic. Try to pick one out that has a nickname involving the word “make-out” in front of it. Make-out Peak or Make-Out Park are popular with the couples. Be sure to automatically assume the area you choose to picnic is covered in fire-ants and ticks. This will constantly keep you on your toes, and her as well, if you know what I mean. Wink!

Cook Dinner
Nothing says “I love you,” quite like partially burning down part of your home. Chances are, you actually do have a stove somewhere in your house, probably near the fridge. Cooking dinner for your significant other may result in permanent scars, but it’ll all be worth it when you finally give up and just microwave her a Cup of Noodles. Place those noodles into a bowl and garnish with a wedge of lime or whatever women do when they make food. Olive oil usually tastes pretty good and sounds fancy, pour a few spoonfuls of that into there too. Now we’re cooking. And the recipe we’re using is love. Careful, that dish is served hot!

Live Together, Watch Lost Alone - New Chimes Article 2/5/09

There are two things I love in this world. One of those things is time travel. The other is “LOST.” Finally, the two have come together and had a baby, and I have named it “TOST.” After all this time, “LOST” has joined the ranks among “Terminator 1,” 2, and part of 3 as one of the only subjects on which I am qualified to lecture. It's safe to assume that if Biola ever opens a department for the studies of "Inter Dimensional Time-Traveling Robots" I am a shoo-in for the position of Master Teacher, or whatever professors call that position. Sadly, my roommates do not seem to share my enthusiasm.

Upon arriving at my apartment last Thursday night I found Micah eating his second box of granola bars for the day, Jon talking about how much fun it would be to buy a pipe for a motorcycle and then make noises out of it and Anthony tracing an image of another motorcyclist. They just didn't seem to care about the most important of the love triangles on “LOST,” the one that involves Hurley, a box of pizza and fried chicken.

The fact is, there are only so many hours in the day. Between episodes of “Hills,” “How It's Made” and Korean variety shows, not every man can get to watch what they would like to. This means I have been reduced to watching “LOST” online. Although that means fewer commercials, it also means I have to avoid any plot spoilers until I find time to view the episode later. That may require going into work with my fingers in my ears and screaming "NAHNAHNAH! I'm not listening!" repeatedly at my desk. After eight hours this becomes quite tiresome, and although it may be an improvement over my usual work ethic, it also means that I have to punch anyone in the face if they so much as approach me.

I understand that some people might not be into “LOST” the same way I am. For example, I could imagine that some people don't type a series of numbers into a separate word document on their work computer every 108 minutes, just so that they feel more like Desmond. I might not understand it, but I could certainly imagine it.

Naturally, I understand that none of this makes any sense if someone has never seen the show. The great news for that person however is that even if they have never even seen a commercial for “LOST” they probably know as much about what is going on in the show as I do. As a matter of fact, they probably understand more. At this point I have been confused enough to not even mentally comprehend the fact that everything on this show is completely and utterly ridiculous. It's a slippery slope, my friend. One second you accept that humans could actually survive a plane crash on a deserted island, the next second islands are moving and smoke monsters are fighting alongside polar bears. This begs the question; do I honestly think the show will have a rational explanation for anything? No. No I do not. To be honest, I don't expect any rational conclusion at this point. Once time-travel gets involved, it's pretty much open season concerning plot structure.

Without someone else with whom to share “LOST,” I fear this confusion will only consume me further. As my best friend Jack once put it, "We have to live together, or we're going to die alone." He's a spinal surgeon so I guess I'll take his word for it.


James Bond: Quantum of Solace - Movie Review


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James Bond: Quantum of Solace

There was a time when James Bond was smooth, charming, and thoroughly ridiculous. I'm not entirely sure why women were drawn to him in the same manner my roommates are drawn to any open food source, but they were, and they are, and they both make me angry. James Bond: Quantum of Solace is the second departure from this original image. Gone are the days of jet-packs, plans of world domination, bad guys whose powers and weaknesses seem borderline supernatural, and terribly wonderful names that hardly even qualify as double entendre's once we pass the point of "Octopussy." Instead now we have Daniel Craig who faces the oncoming onslaught of explosions and untalented gunslingers with a steely expression.

James Bond still makes for a fun time at the movies. There are many explosions and a decent number of bare-fisted acrobatic fights. These moments however only serve as punctuation between expository sequences, and to be honest it was just wordy enough for me not to care or try to understand. All I needed to know was this: there's a sinister multi-millionare who doesn't like James Bond. James Bond is British, and therefore likable to every goodhearted person. Therefore the millionaire must be evil. The problem with James is that once people start to like him they get shot at, blown up, or drowned.

It's around this point that James Bond begins to fail to prove his thesis. This franchise is based upon two things, explosions and sex. At times maybe both. What James excels at is not merely shooting, but essentially using women. He's not around to protect and to serve, it's to protect and get serviced. (see what I did there?) Now we're supposed to believe that one woman is driving him for the sake of revenge. I like that, but I don't buy it based upon the franchise history, the character himself, and the overall plot structure. It functions for motivation, yet sputters in development.

James Bond: Quantum of Solace can be summarized in one sentence. The film is entirely composed of lengthy introductions and sudden departures. It's an airport where we wait until the action takes off and makes it's landing. We're nothing more than commuters while James functions as our transportation. The gritty hard-nosed style is what it is, but it's not James Bond. It's not charming, or suave. It's not quite fun until it shakes it's sense of realism, and even then the editing work is so frantic we're the ones convulsively shaking on the ground.

But in one respect James Bond hasn't changed. He's always worth a rental.