Sunday, August 28, 2011


If you’re not a god, don’t even bother with it.

Most multitasking several people is studies think a now multitasking great suggest is way that productive of multitasking’s but failing supposed actually to benefits struggle accomplish are with several a concentration things complete and all load time at of management once crap

Monday, August 22, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse Lurches Another Step Closer to Reality

It’s alive—or at least it’s twitching a lot!
That’s good enough for, like, a B-plus!”

If the venerable Victor Frankenstein were alive today—and also real, instead of a figment of Mary Shelley’s imagination—he would be pleased to learn that human society has come one step closer to recreating the most spine-tingling and exciting of his many crimes against nature: the reanimation of dead tissue.

Gotham is lucky the Joker
didn’t realize that zombies are
even cheaper than gasoline.
The eminent Swiss alchemist would be surprised and a bit confused, though, to learn that despite mad scientists’ long history of advancement and achievement in a broad array of scientific endeavors, zombie technology’s recent stagger forward was made not by an evil supergenius bent on world domination, a misunderstood loner with a grudge against the society that rejected him, or even a psychotic clown with no backstory who embodies chaos itself.

No, this latest offense against God has come from a far more mundane and surprising source—an acolyte of the culinary arts. A cook. A chef. We may never know this chef’s name, or what dark moment of his (or her) twisted, hellish life pumped her (or his) giant floppy hat so full of amoral, destructive hubris, but when the surface of the Earth is teeming with the living dead, we’ll certainly curse that unknown name for all we’re worth with our dying breaths.

Perhaps more shocking to the poor fictitious Dr. Frankenstein (who was, incidentally, no doctor at all, but a college dropout) is how this mysterious chef has been creating these profane proto-zombies. Eschewing the time-honored and traditional methods of harnessed German lightning, the Umbrella Corporation’s T-virus, voodoo, an alien asteroid hovering above the South Pole, the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, or even rage-infested monkeys, this master chef/madman has been dragging the dead back from beyond the grave using a far more commonplace and insidious ingredient:

Soy sauce.

Zombie squid: approximately fifty times more terrifying than live squid.

Yes, you read that right:

Soy sauce. For the love of God, SOY SAUCE.

The following video is not recommended for the faint of heart, the weak of stomach, or those who believe that squid deserve to live despite being both delicious and very, very ugly. Or, for that matter, those who live in fear of ordering a dinner that’s capable of making a quick getaway. If you do not count yourself among the above, please review the video below and realize that for today, all you’re watching is a relatively harmless, headless squid thrashing around on a bed of what appears to be caviar and possibly egg noodles, but someday—someday soon, perhaps sooner than you think—that soy-drenched living corpse lurching its way toward your boarded-up windows as you huddle in fear in the cellar, your ammunition nearly spent, may well be the moldering, shambling remains of somebody you once knew, thirsting for human brains. And you won’t be able to say you weren’t warned.

We realize that Frankenstein’s monster, given its ability to think, reason, and know right from wrong, doesn’t fit the traditional definition of zombie. For our purposes here, though, it’s close enough.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Remembering Bill

I wish I’d had a chance to know Bill Jubert better.

Bill died in October 2010, some four months after the meningitis outbreak that also took the lives of two other Fort Collins hockey players, Nick Smith and Brian Wormus. 

I never got to meet Nick, and although Brian and I had played against one another for several years, we may have spoken only once. It’s hard to be sure. I don’t mean to dismiss them, I just didn’t get to know them.

Bill, on the other hand, I’d known for more than ten years. I didn’t really know him outside of hockey; the few times we saw each other outside of our own rink were either barbecues with teammates or minor-league hockey games at the local arena. But in that limited way, at least, we’d known each other for quite a while. 

In fact, we skated together on my very first Fort Collins hockey team: the Raging Rhinos. (The team sponsor was a plastic surgeon—look up “rhinoplasty” if you don’t get the joke.) I knew nobody else in the league but my brother, knew nothing about how to draft a team, and had played in barely a dozen hockey games up until that point, but somehow I had been allowed to be a team captain. Granted, there’s not a whole lot of work involved in being an adult-league team captain, but I didn’t know how to do any of it.

Bill must have sensed this—perhaps it showed in my inability to set lines, shoot, pass, turn, or even stand still without eventually falling down. Over the course of that first season he would occasionally offer quiet, unassuming advice on, say, who should bring the beer (a good rule of thumb is for the guy who gets the game’s first penalty to buy next week’s beer), which players might work well together as linemates, where I should position myself in the offensive and defensive zones, and what I should try to do with myself in the event that I stayed upright for a whole shift. Clearly he realized that I didn’t know what I was doing, but he may not have realized how great it was that he knew, and how much it meant that he was willing to help.

In the years that followed I skated either with or against Bill just about every season. Even taking into account the three or four weeks a year where there’s no league hockey or drop-in ice time going on, we probably bumped into each other a couple of times a month. When we had time for more than a wave or a nod, our conversations were nothing out of the ordinary—just friendly locker-room bullshitting about anything or nothing, mundane and amusing, pointless and pleasant, as fun and as eminently forgettable as one might expect from two guys who knew they’d see each other again the following Wednesday.

Off the ice he’d usually greet me with a hello, his voice deadpan and bemused, as though I’d done something vaguely humorous simply by showing up. 

On the ice was surprisingly similar—I’d carry the puck into his defensive zone several times a game, and he’d greet me as casually as if we were passing each other in the parking lot. Then more often than not he’d read my feet, or my shoulders, or my hands—I could never quite be sure what would give me away—and he’d lean in at just the right moment to poke or sweep the puck away, then make a looping pass out of the zone to a waiting forward, patient amusement in his voice as he wished me better luck next time. He’d never talk trash, he’d just talk, and each time I turned and crossed back over his blue line, spitting out bad language and trying to catch up to the play that had so suddenly reversed directions, I wondered if he talked simply to screw me up, or for the added pleasure of having a conversation in the time it took to steal the puck off my stick.

I never did find out the answer.

At the end of that first hockey season, my brother—that is, my goaltender—and I invited the Raging Rhinos over to grill and have a few drinks on our deck. A good part of the team made it, including Bill. I was glad he showed up; despite the sporadic pointers he’d given out over twenty-some weeks, I wasn’t quite sure what he thought of me. (He was always, even years later when I knew him a bit better, somewhat hard to read behind his thick beard and big glasses.) 

The evening eventually blackened into night, and as folks began to drift toward the door, straight-faced, inscrutable Bill—after a long, solemn pause—grabbed me in a comically over-the-top bear hug and told me he was going to miss me. As if one of us were leaving the country, as if the next hockey season were four years instead of four weeks away. As if he were playing the lead role in a particularly hammy soap opera. 

I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m laughing now. 

Twelve years later, all I can think of is one damned story. After twelve years, there should be more, but this is all I’ve got.

On August 13th and 14th, Fort Collins-area hockey players will come together for a second annual hockey tournament in memory of Nick Smith, Brian Wormus, and Bill Jubert. We know they had lives outside of ice hockey—all three were married; Brian and Bill were fathers, and Nick was about to become one—but this is how we knew them; the game is what drew us together. 

I wouldn’t have gotten to know Bill if not for hockey, so to hit the ice is the best way I can think of to remember him. If I can find where I belong on the ice, it’s at least in part because he pointed me there a long time ago.

Thanks for that, Bill. I’ll miss you too.

Bill Jubert (bottom row, far right) with friends and teammates, 2008.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Loneliest Number: An Empirical Study

Astute readers who can get past the burnished-chrome blouses and pants, the vertical stripes, and the disconcerting mustaches will recognize the above band as Three Dog Night—especially if, being readers, they can indeed read the phrase “THREE DOG NIGHT” when it appears onscreen at about the 0:14 mark—and will perhaps be able to identify the tune as their top-five rendition of the song “One,” originally written and recorded by Harry Nilsson in 1968. 

The band—not to mention the general public—was almost certainly unaware that Nilsson conducted extensive research into numerical loneliness, laying down a bedrock layer of scientific certitude upon which he would build his lyrics. He began his research more than a decade before he wrote a single verse, at a time when the members of Three Dog Night probably couldn’t muster up any sort of mustaches at all. 

Nilsson’s notes on the subject were believed to have been lost—mysteriously stolen from his workshop long before his death in 1994. But they were discovered by accident in a vast U.S. government warehouse, crumpled into loose balls and used as packing material inside a partially-burned crate containing a large, metal-plated chest of undetermined Middle Eastern origin. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, Nilsson’s notes on numerolonliness are reproduced here in their entirety:

  • One, according to empirical evidence attained through observation and controlled testing, is the loneliest number.
  • Two can be as bad as one; it’s the loneliest number since (see above).
  • The third-loneliest number: Twelve.
  • Three, in terms of love, really is a crowd.
  • Four is surprisingly well-adjusted; it’s actually the eighty-second loneliest number.
  • Five: alone, but not lonely.
  • Seven: Has struggled with feelings of inadequacy ever since Aerosmith released “Big Ten-Inch Record” in 1975.
    • Eight. . . . Eight. I forgot what eight was for.
    • Nine is looking for Mister Aught, but will settle for Mister Aught Now.
    • Ten needs to be okay with itself first before it can be comfortable with anyone else.
      • Thirteen only hurts the ones it loves.
      • believes love is forever.

      7 and 2: unlucky in love, too.

      Monday, August 1, 2011

      Today in Rock History, 1981: Radio Star Dies; Video Beats Murder Rap

      MTV: active 1981 to, well, 1998 or so.
      At 12:01 on August 1, 1981, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes—who insisted on referring to themselves as “The Buggles,” for some appalling reason—announced, to the dismay of the cable-television-viewing world, that the radio star had been killed. Even more shocking was their claim that the death was, in fact, murder—and that the guilty party was none other than Video, the radio star’s longtime collaborator and sometime rival.

      In more recent years, murder and music have intertwined often enough to leave the public jaded and desensitized—Marvin Gaye was shot by his own father in 1984; Tejano singer Selena was murdered by the former president of her own fan club in 1995; rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls were killed less than six months apart in 1996 and 1997; famed “Wall of Sound” record producer Phil Spector killed actress Lana Clarkson in 2003; and, of course, the Flaming Lips famously butchered Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in 2005.

      In 1981, however, a more innocent world still reeled from the death of John Lennon (apparently a moderately well-established musician in his own right), and was captivated by the simple fact that The Buggles, for all their dense and timeless lyrical artistry, failed to mention the name of the murdered radio star—so it could have been practically anybody.

      . . . well, not anybody. They distinctly used the phrase “radio star” at least a dozen times, which suggests that the victim could not have been, for example, Donnie Iris, Joey Scarbury, The Vapors, or anyone from the Sugarhill Gang or Lipps, Inc. But practically anybody else.

      News of Video’s supposed guilt spread rapidly, especially among insomniacs, the jobless, and teenage malcontents watching TV without proper supervision. The accusation caught fire in part because of video’s well-established (and perhaps deserved) reputation as a corrupting influence on the young, a useless degenerate, and a crass defiler of all that used to be good, pure, and right about the world.1 The radio star, who was heard back on the wireless as early as 1952, had already had its heart broken “by pictures” [that is, “moving pictures,” one of Video’s many aliases], so it was no great leap to conclude that Video was guilty of murder.

      Video: Tried and convicted by the media, which is kind of ironic,
      when you think about it. Unless it’s not—irony is a tough concept
      and we’re not sure we get it. Thankfully, we know you don’t either.

      The prosecution’s case, however, could not withstand its star witnesses’ inexplicable assault on their own credibility. They personally urged the jury to “put the blame on VTR [Video Tape Recorders],” and displayed a bizarre and confusing distrust of “machines and technology,” going to far as to demolish the court recorder’s stenotype machine and swallow several of the pieces before being restrained by bailiffs.

      The accusers. And yes, we all
      dressed just like this in 1981.
      Most bizarre, though, was Trevor Horn’s obvious mental unraveling on the stand. Asked to describe the scene of the murder, Horn, confused or possibly deranged, claimed that it took place “In my mind . . . and in my car,” thus either implicating himself in the crime or inadvertently suggesting that it was all a product of his troubled imagination.

      Charges against Video were eventually dismissed. The long-awaited coroner’s report stated that the radio star died when its motorcycle crashed into a helicopter, having lost control after suffering from a heart attack induced by choking on vomit. The coroner's toxicology screen showed that the radio star’s blood contained fatal levels of alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, paint thinner,2 dihydrogenous oxide, hydrochlorothiozide, and perhaps the most unpredictable and concentrated drug of the middle decades of the twentieth century—half a pint of Ozzy Osbourne’s blood.

      The death was ruled an accident.

      The radio star was 27.

      One small step for [a] man (right), one giant waste of man’s time (left).

      1. Opinions expressed at Bowling in the Dark do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff at Bowling in the Dark.
      2. Or possibly Everclear. Chemically speaking, they’re essentially the same thing, although it’s possible that drinking paint thinner is less dangerous.