Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Circuitous Discussion on the Loss of MoJo and the Need for JoMo

Do you remember (or have you even heard of) Shakey's Pizza? They used to be a large pizza chain in the US, but alas, there are only a few left now, which I don't understand with great adds like this from the 80's. How could that commercial not save them? Hmmm...

Anyway, the reason I even started thinking about Shakey's is because of one of their delicious menu items that I remember eating frequently as a kid: the classic, the tongue-burn inducing, the twice-fried MOJO POTATOES.

Now this is going to sound odd and seem like a tangent, but stay with me here.

A few years ago, Darron and I used to drive by a place called Shaker's Pizza in Fremont when we both lived up in the Bay Area.

We joked that this had to be no coincidence, and that Shaker's Pizza was trying to use the previous coattails of Shakey's to gain popularity....and perhaps even sold JoMo potatoes in a-little-too-close-connection to its predecessor.

Perhaps Shaker's marketing strategy worked because they are still around, and at the pinnacle of their popularity, even made an appearance on THE Casual Critics Review of Fremont's Red Lobster. You know you've made it when you are a passing comment on a shit website's review of a DIFFERENT restaurant.

So why the hell am I mentioning all of this???

For about the last week, every time I try to workout, I feel this lack of energy, drive, desire...MOJO! I have nothing to tap into. No gas is in the engine...and much like all the Shakey's, I don't know where it went. I am getting desperate and looking for energy anywhere I can find it. Coffee. Bars. Gus. Crack. But nothing. My MoJo, for the last week at least, is gone.

Point being...I want my MoJo back, but if it's gone the way of Shakey's, I would seriously even settle for some of that Shaker's JoMo right now.

Friday, August 28, 2009


The best thing about going camping and ending up placing the tent by a skunk den is that showering definitely lowers on the “to do” list:

To Do List While Camping

1. Bug Spray
2. Lock Bike
3. Megan Fox
4. Shower
5. Roast Marshmallows

To Do List While Camping Next to a Skunk Den

1. Bug Spray
2. Lock Bike
3. Megan Fox
4. Roast Marshmallows
5. Shower

You see…VERY different.


Darron (you may know him as one of THE Casual Critics, or from his exploits as playing the “pea” in a recent rendition of Princess and the Pea at the Huntington Beach Playhouse. Don’t believe me? Check it out.)and I had some free time this summer, so we ended up taking a camping/road biking trip to Lake Cachuma, California. When we arrived at the campground, we asked the ranger on duty which site would be the best. She said it depended on what we liked, and we should go check out the campsite to see. We didn't seem to mention that we liked being haunted by skunks, but that's what we got. Remind me not to ask her for any financial advice.

We went out and drove around…finding that site number 455 was somewhat isolated with a great view of mighty Lake Cachuma. Why we wanted isolation, in retrospect, seems odd. We are two relatively straight guys.

Once we found 455, we hurried back to the ranger, not wanting anyone to stake our territory. I even let Darron out before I parked so no one would take our wonderful and fresh smelling spot.

Lucky us, number 455 was still available. When we returned to set up our tent, we found that the ground was dry, hard, steel-like, and impenetrable. But we kept at it. Taking our time to get our tent set up in the PERFECT spot.

That night, at about 8:30, while we were grilling up our dinner, I happened to watch two skunks walk right toward us. The two turned into four. As we try to figure out where they are coming from, we find two of them, turned...butts and tails up, facing us. We ran. And then ran some more.


The next morning, I ask Darron if skunks are nocturnal. He says yes. I walk out of the tent to use the restroom, and there is one of the skunks. Waiting for me. I run back into the tent. The skunk it right outside, and starts calling his friends: Gaguuuu...Gaguuuu...Gaguuuu. And we hear them answer back from around the campground: Gaguuuu...Gaguuuu...Gaguuuu.

I have translated that conversation into:


I am a linguist after all.

We have had enough, so I call Tauni about how to get rid of skunks. It turns out, we could use fox or coyote pee to keep them away. Unfortunately, we were fresh out, so we discuss peeing directly into their den with our own urine. I'm not saying we did this. But I'm also not saying that we didn't.

The second night, camp 453 (which was vacant the first night), has some campers. I ask Darron if we should warn them. He says: No. We had to find out the hard way; they should, too. I ask him if we should at least move the tent away from the skunk den before it gets dark. But he again declines and states We’ve made peace with the skunk.

At about 8:30, they return, and Gaguuuud us all night long. I'm STILL sore.


If being attacked by the skunks wasn't enough, here are some of my favorite Darronisms that came up in no particular order:

Darron's Take on Wildlife

If you are even exposed to a bat, you should seek medical assistance immediately because they could bite you so quickly, you might not even know it. And then you could have rabies....and die.

Darron's Take on Sports

I am really looking forward to the Angel game. I just hope no one gets killed. Two people have been killed there this year.

Darron's Take on Farm Animals

What a beautiful horse. Just don’t pet it. It will think your fingers are carrots and bite them off.

Darron's Take on Piers

This is a great pier. If I were going to kill someone, this is where I would take them.

Darron's Take on Swimming

Mark: If I pushed you off this pier, would you forgive me?
Darron: NO!
Mark: No? Come on…you wouldn’t?
Darron: I wouldn’t have time…I would be dead.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Soda and Boobs

Conversation Number One -- I'm Not a Good Mentor

I'm in a classroom before a presentation I needed to give today. I am all alone, and will be for awhile. I get up to use the restroom, when half way to the door, I realize that my keys are in the computer's flash drive. We aren't supposed to leave the classrooms unlocked, ever, for any reason.

I think Eh...I don't need to lock the door. I'll only be gone a second....and there is nothing to steal except the sodas people get for showing up to the presentation.

On the way to the bathroom, I walk past a student...and HAVE TO LAUGH at myself as I momentarily worry that he might go into the open room and take a soda....not that I CARE...they are just sodas....but the possibility is there. Nah...Who would do that...and I'll only be gone another thirty seconds...I'm so stupid.

But wouldn't you know it, as I return from the bathroom, I catch him leaving the room WITH a soda...and I feel like I am in the middle of that Seinfeld episode when the guy who is going to play Kramer in Jerry steals the raisins.

As he hurriedly walks around the corner, we have the following conversation:

Me: Excuse Me! Can I help you with something?

Him: (He walks back toward me...soda and a handout for the presentation in hand) Are you a professor here?

Me: (Staring at the soda) Yup.

Him: You'll probably be my teacher.

Me: (Still staring at the soda) Huh?

Him: I have a class in this room next Wednesday.

Me: Ohhhh...well, many teachers use this room. In fact, those materials you have are actually for a meeting we are going to have in here in a second (I didn't mention the soda...but I am still staring at it.)

And then, for some reason, he tells me about his placement test, how he did on it, and some of his life history. While he thumbs through the presentation materials in his right hand, all I can do is just fixate on the can of soda that he has under a napkin in his left....the water slowly dripping off of it...the napkin soaking up the condensation...

We go on...him telling me about his life, me indirectly hinting to return the things he has taken from the classroom. We have a five-minute conversation where the words were about school, but the context was about a stolen can of soda.

Seriously? Who goes into a classroom and just takes a soda?

Conversation Number Two -- Who am I Kidding? I'm the Best Mentor Ever!

At the store tonight, Tauni bought one of those magazines that discusses the lives of movie stars. Alyssa Milano's wedding photos were on the cover, and the sixteen-year-old checkout guy didn't know who she was. So the following conversation ensued:

Me: You really don't?

Him: Nope.

Me: Who's the Boss? Charmed?

Him: I haven't seen those.

Me: Have you seen Embrace of the Vampire?

Him: What's that?

Me: Do you like boobs?

Him: (He looks at me, my girlfriend, my girlfriend's boobs, and then back at me.) Yeah.

Me: Then you'll like this movie.

Him: What's it called again?

Me: Embrace of the Vampire

Him: I'm going to put it on my Netflix queue right now (reaching for his phone)

Me: It might not be there (meaning it's old and not that popular so they might not have it)

Him: Yeah, there might be a wait for it (thinking I meant that too many people have it at home)

I molded a young mind tonight. And I didn't steal ANYTHING from the store...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

If Darron and I were in Charge...

Easy step-by-step directions on how to catch a terrorist.

darron_evans: ha - the list of indicators often
associated with suicide bombers released by the FBI
darron_evans: Irregular, loose-fitting clothing not
appropriate for warm weather, possibly with
"protruding bulges or exposed wires" or a noticeable
chemical odor.
mcnastabator: hahahahha
mcnastabator: NO WAY
darron_evans: nice exposed wires
mcnastabator: if they say anything like "I have a
bomb" in arabic or english...they may also have a bomb
darron_evans: if you see a suspicious looking man humming
or whistling the tune "La Bamba," notify police
mcnastabator: hahahhaha
mcnastabator: anyone heard "ordering" the "bomb
burrito" when not in an establishment that has such an
item on their menu, such as an italian
restaurant...please watch carefully
darron_evans: Giggles: Hee Hee
darron_evans: I'd like a bomb burrito.... err... I
mean a bean burrito, please.
mcnastabator: see
mcnastabator: that is suspicious
darron_evans: yes - my antenna would go up, definitely
mcnastabator: but sir, we only have ice cream here
mcnastabator: would you like a waffle cone?
mcnastabator: NO...I want a BOMB burrito...WINK WINK
darron_evans: when in a restaurant, and the guy next
to you tips the waitress a thousand dollars, and she
says, "Thank you! Oh my gosh, thank you!" and he says,
"You'll never get to spend it. We'll all be dead in
about 30 seconds." you should be suspicious.
darron_evans: let the police know right away.
mcnastabator: hahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaha
mcnastabator: hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahah
mcnastabator: I'm still laughing
mcnastabator: hahahhahahahahahahah
mcnastabator: I might even give that a
mcnastabator: lkjfahlkhsfklahdsfklhsd
darron_evans: Disco: Roar
mcnastabator: you'll be dead in 30 seconds
mcnastabator: we have to put these on our sites
mcnastabator: this is classic
darron_evans: yes, i'll cut and paste and email it to myself