This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I Apologize for the Formatting of the Previous Post

It is completely screwed up. I attribute this to the fact that I cut-and-pasted it from Word, and I must have been using some crazy format or font that affected things like how close the periods were to the beginning of the next sentence. I'll try to fix it, because it now looks like I dictated it to a goat, but I can't promise it won't end up more crappy than it is right now. I also promise to get this situation fixed before Part III, which you all should be very excited about. I haven't written it yet, but it will knock your socks off, even if you're wearing like 70's tube socks or something. If you're going sockless, it will create socks for you just to knock them off. Maybe I'm overselling this, but this is that sort of age. I just want to fit in. Overpromise to get people in the door and then underwhelm them with fine print and bad service, is what I always say. I think I work too much.

Friday, August 05, 2005

This is the Kind of Thing That Happens Here, Part II.


Let me start this by pointing out to those who would use my own words against me; i.e., “I’m glad the name ‘Queen Mike’ didn’t stick,” that attempting to call me this after I myself mentioned that you missed your chance is totally lame, and violates all sorts of making-fun-of-people protocols. I’m sorry you forgot to keep calling me that, but it’s now invalid. Let’s move on, shall we?

Ah, the bombs. They rained down on us from above, making huge noises and scaring the crap out of people who were trying to sleep. Actually, Clay MacGyver found out how to make a loud explosion out of plastic water bottles, water, and dry ice. Sounds like a grade-school science project, doesn’t it? It was fun because of the moments of anticipation where you could hear the bottle expanding and the label cracking. Then, when you least expected it, BOOM! It echoed off the houses and faded away, but not before blowing the skin off of nearby rodents. I mean, it was seriously loud. He would roll them in a ditch, and we’d have a minute of fun listening for the explosion (or a minute of non-fun covering our ears, depending on the fortitude of the particular person). Had 90% of the dry ice not evaporated because something was mistakenly left open, we would have had big booming fun all weekend. As it was, the last bomb rang out on Saturday morning, and after that we sat in relative silence, pining for some more dry ice. Another of the crazy cousins, Anna, was told to bring some on Saturday night but that didn’t happen. This is the kind of thing that doesn’t happen here, I guess.

So after 3am a man named “Sunshine” (real name: Dennis, I think) shows up in a golf cart with a big cooler strapped to the hood. Sunshine may have been drunker than all of us combined, which is saying something. You could tell that everyone out there loved Sunshine, and he loved all of them, even when he was getting into belligerent cuss-tacular verbal altercations. Somehow the crazy cousins found out that our friend Pat was from Minnesota, which means “Yankee,” which means somebody to razz by overpronouncing long O’s, i.e., “Minnesoeta.” Again, thank God they didn’t latch on to the fact that I’m from Wisconsin and my wife is from Illinois. Another missed opportunity for you people. Anyway, Pat was having none of that, and they got into the aforementioned verbal altercation.

Sunshine didn’t want to get up on the porch, so he stood in front of us as we all sat on the porch and watched him. The bright lighting and the fact that he talks with his hands all the time gave it the feel of a one-man play, with us porch people as the audience. Eventually we all got to meet Sunshine, and as he shook my hand I felt a little trepidation, because he could tell I wasn’t drunk. The drunk never fully trust the sober, because they know that the sober are (to themselves, inside our minds) constantly making fun of the things the drunk are doing. That’s yet another reason it must be a total drag to be a designated driver. I don’t know this, I’m only speculating. I don’t hang around drunk people very often.

Before Sunshine arose on our camp Clay got the idea that we should pile in the back of Kirby’s truck and drive to the cemetery. Mind you, this was at 2am, and Kirby was on like his 10th beer by then. But he was up for it, as was most everyone else. The reason Clay wanted to do this was the fact that Juli hated driving over wooden bridges, and there was one on the way to the cemetery. He was going to have Kirby stop on the bridge and freak Juli out. Good times, right? Well, I went inside after a while, and at some point my wife even came in to announce that the ride was commencing and that we should all get up and pile in the truck. I think people’s enthusiasm for drunken truck rides (not to mention anything that involved getting up) was really waning by then, and it ended up not happening…yet.

We went to bed at 3:50am. We were staying in Juli’s grandparents’ lake house, two doors closer to the lake and the alligators than everyone else. At least it was quiet. No bombs went off after 2:30 or so.


Stepping inside Juli’s grandparents’ (heretofore called simply “Mimi’s”) old lake cottage was like stepping into the early 80’s as reimagined by someone who really loved the 70’s. Many of the walls and furnishings looked like they were made up of stuff somebody found lying in the dirt 25 years ago. It’s not that the place wasn’t nice – it was, especially the central air. It just looked like it was the victim of several different time warps at once.

It had: Ziggy sheets, Smurf pillowcases, 5 Reader’s Digests dated 1982-1987 (sample story: Is the Soviet Union Winning the Cold War?), a cavalcade of different-patterned towels and washcloths, a full working shower with decent water pressure, floors made out of hundreds of one-square-foot tiles, none of which seemed to have the same pattern, a “Holiday Inn” bathmat, light bulbs in the ceiling that turn on-and-off via a piece of string attached to a pulley (more on this later), and a bizarre pillow that weighed like 6 lbs, bounced when you dropped it, and felt more like a wet Nerf football in a pillowcase than something you sleep on. Pillowfights at Mimi’s house must have been a brutal affair.


We clawed our way out of bed after a pleasant night’s sleep at about 10am on Saturday. This made us still tired. I immediately went on a run with my wife. This made us insane. First of all, we had to walk up the hill I wasn’t sure we could climb in a car. After that, we launched ourselves South on Hwy 92 like 2 pale bats out of heck, carefully running against traffic so as not to be Stephen Kinged. It was hot and it was asphalt, which is better than concrete but not as good as grass. I tried running in the brush along the side of the road, but that got me nothing but annoyance and black specks all over my legs that looked like flattened gnats. We were planning on running/walking for 45 minutes, but that got extended when Jill saw this sign for a “Historical Marker” 1 mile up ahead. We just had to get to that thing, no matter how long it took to get back. The Marker turned out to be this lame story about a railroad that no longer existed, but was really important back in 1890. History can be so disappointing.

THINGS WE SAW WHILE RUNNING THAT WARM MORNING: A super-secretive-looking sunken compound of the Army Corps of Engineers (the ones responsible for Dam B and its lake), a freshly dead animal I like to think was a cat and not a small dog, the so-called “Dam Store,” about 100 dogs in people’s yards, 1100 pickup trucks, and two men from a Baptist church that stopped their pickup by the side of the road and gave us tracts and invited us to church on Sunday. We declined, because we’re Lutherans.

When the day started, Juli’s mom started a big pot of gumbo, which is a concoction involving chicken, shrimp, and the color brown. It’s a shame that we now associate brown with UPS, no? It could be associated with something good and yummy, and not just a corporate “expensive mail” carrier. We got to eat the gumbo at around 3pm, which meant Juli’s mom spent at least 4 hours working on it. Bravo, Juli’s mom.

The food situation at camp was free and easy – people brought stuff, and you could eat what you wanted all day. They just left most of the food (none of which was perishable – we aren’t total hicks) on the counter. It was so nice to live this way. This is how vacation should be, man – all bless and no stress. You don’t need a meal schedule, it just cramps your style. Of course, people were probably resentful of the fact that Jill and I didn’t bring much except some alcohol. Next year, my wife’s potato salad should shut them up.

Oh! And I also discovered something called “Fruit Leather,” which is like a superconcentrated fruit rollup that you can’t actually roll up. It’s just a flat slab of some foodlike substance with a thin layer of fruity taste painted on. It’s awesome, and I bet the kids just go crazy for it. You can also use it to repair your shoes, if you use enough polish and don’t mind constantly waving away flies and small rodents.

My big quandary for the day was whether or not to take a shower. This may not seem like a very exciting question, but I mention it to show you just how free and easy lake house life is. That was my big dilemma. Just so you know, I didn’t on Saturday, but did on Sunday after our second run of the weekend, because my stink was at too high a level even for me.

So we hung our at the lake house all day on Saturday, just eating and talking and so on. Juli picked a mushroom with a cool cap (head? top?) on it, and looked in her “Giant Book of Shrooms” to find out what species it was. She then pointed out the coolest kind of shroom she ever found out there, a monstrosity named “The Bearded Tooth.” What you’re picturing right now is accurate – it looks like a big white tooth with a bushy white beard. It’s something a college science prof would have in his room just to be cool. Anyway, Juli found her mushroom with the cool cap in the book, and the matter was settled. You might think it’s weird to be so into mushrooms, but hey – some people think learning is fun. Especially teachers. They also had a book to identify birds. Speaking of…


The wildlife out there gets all over everything. These houses are literally built into the middle of the woods, so you get to see all the stuff that would be hanging out in the woods were there no humans around. I mentioned the hummingbird feeder before – this was fun. Those hummingbirds dart around like fricking Nightcrawler, seemingly teleporting from place to place with their buzzing wings. They would come, drink a little nectar, and then disappear into the trees. Little green lizards were also crawling all over the porch. My wife thinks they’re cute. I also saw a bunch of cool birds, but you can see them in any woods if you look hard enough. That’s why there are bird-watching societies with the pith helmets and the expensive cameras.

At some point in the afternoon we decided we’d had enough of this heat crap and went for a “sit” in the rancid Dam B lake. That lake water stunk, man. I say a “sit” because we all got chairs and planted them in the water, 10-50 feet from shore, and just sat down. The water waved in, but only the hanging bottom of my shorts got wet. Now, some people swam, but we don’t care about them. Us old people sat in the lake, basking in the shade or the sun, depending on our ratio of desired tan to actual tan. The lake floor was made of black sand and little sea plants, and was soft and squishy to walk on. We didn’t see any gators or sea snakes, but you can rest assured they were out there with us. Buzzards circled overhead as we sat there, as if they knew something we didn’t about the whole situation. I’m totally serious about this, by the way. There were a buzz of buzzards flying at the level of the tree-tops (which in East Texas means several stories above the ground – those trees were tall), just waiting for us to become carrion. This is the kind of thing that happens here.

We got back from swimming and my wife chose the opposite life-path as me and took a shower. This is not the problem. She then dried her hair by plugging the hair dryer into a plug that’s attached to the hanging-string-pulley-thing that turns the light on and off. This also was not the problem. The problem came after she was done drying, as she turned the dryer off and unplugged it. As she did this, the lights went off. All the lights went off. Now, it was daytime, so no biggie, but we still had to go over to Kirby and tell him that we broke Mimi’s cabin. We felt kinda bad, until Juli’s mom came back with word that it wasn’t our fault. The problem was caused by the wiring itself, which wasn’t really wiring at all but a rigged-up and torn apart extension cord that they were using as electrical wiring. Who knew you could rig an extension cord to function like that? Hey, it was working fine until we plugged our high-falutin “Yankee” machine into it.

And Kirby fixed it anyway. What a mensch.

Night fell like a fat kid falling on cake and what did we set out to do but the very crazy thing we had avoided the night before – pile in the back of a truck and drive to the cemetery in the dark. This was probably the weekend’s most blatant example of us adults regressing to our pre-teen years. There’s something about sitting in a truck bed with 8 other people that makes you think of childhood and all the crazy things you did. You wonder how you made it out alive. At least Kirby was sober this time (I think – it’s hard to tell with him sometimes). Anyway, we drove first to an Exxon station to get some ice cream (freaking the clerk out as we unpiled ourselves and invaded the store – you’d think she would have been used to this sort of thing by now), then down past the people in the car in the woods (doing God-knows-what) to the cemetery, then to the wooden bridge which caused Juli to predictably freak out and jump out of the truck, then back home. Sitting on the passenger’s side of the truck bed, I was looking out at what was on the driver’s side. This turned out to be bad, since all the interesting stuff (the car, the cemetery) was located behind me. All I saw were houses, woods, and a buttload of stars. The tall trees caused a Texas Stadium-like “hole in the roof” effect that was kind of cool, with all the stars in the middle. The worst thing about the ride was the hair-plastering wind, which caught us non-lake folks off guard and prevented the whole experience from being perfect. But we were riding in a truck bed – what did we expect? This is why mankind now sits inside the vehicle.

Coming Up Next: The conclusion of the weekend, and the conclusion of the matter.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Picture 2): The Nectar Feeder (if you look closely you can see a hummingbird's butt).
Picture 1): The Redneck Wind Chime.
Picture 3): Juli pointed up and told me to getthemoth geththemoth getthemoth. This is what I got.
Picture 4): The Lone Star Pledge.

This is the Kind of Thing That Happens Here, Part I.

This is the Kind of Thing That Happens Here – A Defense of All Things East Texan.

By Michael Pape


We are driving to the Lake House in Dam B, which is apparently (I say apparently because you won’t find it on any map) the name of a town. We are driving there because we were invited by a girl my wife teaches with named Juli, whose parents own the house. This is an annual offer, but it’s our first time taking them up on it. I am riding in the back seat for reasons that are unimportant right now – all you need to know is that we are in a rental car. This rental car doesn’t have cruise control, which is annoying my wife. She’s also annoyed by the fact that she is driving in unfamiliar territory, on a 2-lane highway, at night, with her eyes bothering her. The directions said it would take 3 ½-4 hours to get there, and we are approaching hour 5. We are not lost, however. The only turn we miss is the very last one, because the road looks more like a driveway in the dead Texas night.

OBSERVATION: East Texas looks a whole lot like many parts of Southern Wisconsin, from the trees to the terrain. All it’s missing is the massive amount of natural lakes (a situation which the Army Corps of Engineers has tried to address by building them, including the one in Dam B).

The road they live on is a dirt road that turns into a steep gravel private road after a quarter mile. And I do mean steep. We, like all intelligent people, start to wonder (a) if we’re on the right road, and (b) if we’ll be able to get back up the gravel death hill in our rental car. Very quickly we see our destination, so (a) is taken care of. We don’t figure out for sure the answer to (b) until the very end of the trip, but I will tell you not to be too worried since I’m at work in Dallas right now writing this. We must have gotten out of there by Monday somehow.

We get out of the car. The Lake House with the Texas flag painted on the roof is beckoning us. We enter, and the world changes…


Cell phones, TV, radio, movies, restaurants.


Full Showers, toilets, food, drink, air conditioning (yes!), washer/dryer units, beds, cameras, crazy cousins.


When we got[1] out of the car, we were immediately invited to go down “to the lake,” which is I’d say about 80 yards or so from the house. We walked this in the dark, because there were no streetlights (save the big one in the yard of the lake house, which may or may not have been put there by the city). We had a mag-lite and what looked like a portable floodlight trained on the ground as we walked. This floodlight came in handy when we got to the lake, for we were able to avoid all the crap on the beach that the people who came before us had graciously pulled out of the lake (as well as the evil snakes that slither on in the darkness). We stood on the beach looking out at the dark water, and Juli’s mom used the floodlight to show us a few of the alligators that were chilling in the lake, minding their own business. You couldn’t see their bodies, just a pair of ghost-like orange eyes. As the light shone on them, they all started to move to the middle of the lake, as if they were having some sort of alligator conference. It occurred to us that they may have been plotting the best way to attack us, if it came to that.

Truthfully, I didn’t see for sure that they were alligators. But the stories I was told (one of Juli’s cousins was attacked by one, and several people later went out “hunting” for them in the boat) convinced me. It’s my imagination anyway, so deal with it. They were green, scaly, massive alligators, and they prowled the shallow man-made lake like fricking U-Boats.

When we got back to the house, people started drinking, and I was invited up on the “roof.” It turns out that “roof” is not a euphemism for anything – my wife and I were taken by Juli up onto their roof. When I went up, the ladder seemed real unstable, but I figured that Juli did this all the time and I didn’t want to be a ninny. When I got up there, the roof turned out to be made of wavy steel that buckled slightly when you walked on it. Getting to the ridge, I saw the Texas flag painted on the other side of roof. Yes, there’s a lot of Texas pride out there in East Texas. They’re planning to paint something else next to it that I don’t remember right now – possibly a “Lone Star Beer” logo. They do love that logo[2].

As I was about to come down, Juli discovered that the ladder was upside down. That would explain the instability. She flipped it over, and I climbed safely down, thankful to be on the solid earth, no matter how many snakes there were down there. This is the kind of thing that happens in East Texas.


I don’t know for sure that I was the only sober person who was still awake at midnight that night, but I suspect that to be the case. Even people who never get drunk were loopy. This made everything funny, especially to them. It’s amazing how much drunk people laugh. These are the things you notice when you’re sober. It’s ok, though. I’m not complaining. And it’s not like they were totally plastered or anything, or showing the amazingly bad judgment of the average drunken horde. They were happy, and they were loose -- in a good way.

I don’t know why, but that night the subject of this blog came up a lot. Ok, I do know why. People were wanting to know how everything that happened would come out here, and what I would say about it. Once the non-blog-oriented ones got their questions out of the way (that I answered badly, btw – see a couple of posts ago on the word “blog” and its lack of meaning), and my friend Clay got over making drunken fun of its web address (at one point he said it was at “” Come to think of it, I’m not sure if he was making fun of it or just too confused to get it right), people wanted to know what it was all about. This whole story is in many ways only being written to avoid disappointing them. How I hate disappointing people. It’s the pleaser in me.

So this is what went down that night, as I saw it.


Bud Light in bottles (I didn’t have one – I’m from Milwaukee and I drink Miller), Shiner Bock in bottles (an ok beer that Texans swear by for some reason), Guinness in bottles (brought by me, secretly hoping nobody would drink them so I could drink them at home, which I did last night), Milwaukee’s Best in cans (famed cheap beer that the cousins and Juli’s dad seemed to be a fan of. I had one – it wasn’t good, but I don’t really like beer), Tequilla shots (I didn’t partake, but they seemed to fuel the drunkenness more than anything else), and finally Smirnoff Ice products for the ladies (I mean, no dudes would drink those, at least not in East Texas).

Juli’s dad Kirby is a trip and a half. Seriously, the man is funny sober, drunk, or neither. The man is even funny sleeping (as he sits in his chair on the porch and his head rolls back and hits the side of the house). He was describing all the people who were related to them who happened to own houses near the house we were at[3] – it seemed like about ¾ of the houses were owned by somebody who was in some way related to them. This gave that part of the road a family atmosphere, as well as a feeling of being in a foreign country far away from civilization with a bunch of people who knew the language but you didn’t. Kirby described the name of the couple across the street, the Montauks(?), as “French for we’re really German.” This is the kind of thing Kirby says.

We were talking on the porch, which is directly in front of the house. Directly in front of that porch – too close to the porch, if you want to know the truth – is a horseshoe pit, in which one plays the ancient game of horseshoes. We got some rousing games going, and all went well except for the fact that I thought my wife was going to hit the porch every time she threw a horseshoe. This isn’t a slam against her, it’s just that it would have been easy for the shoe to slip a little too early, with her in the state she was in[4]. As these horseshoes were going on (and I did play a game in which Kirby and I won, mostly because Kirby’s awesome at horseshoes even when drunk), people berated me about my blog on the porch. There certainly was a lot of blog material on that porch, so I didn’t mind.


Two nectar-things that attracted hummingbirds, a “redneck wind chime” (4 Lone Star Beer bottles strung from a board), some sort of Texas Pledge of Allegiance, a sign on the window letting you know which subjects of conversation were off limits and would result in a $5 fine, a one-person chair swing, a ledge with a shootload of empties on it, and the porch floor itself, which reportedly floated in one day from Dam B, completely intact and practically begging to be attached to the front of the house.

It was during horseshoe time that Porno Mike showed up. The oldest of the cousins, he dwells year-round in a lake house across the street and down a bit from where Juli’s house is. We were repeatedly warned not to “cross the street,” because strange and icky things were rumored to go on inside. I repeatedly didn’t know whether or not to take the warning seriously, because Mike didn’t seem at all “porno.” And in Porno Mike’s defense, we did eventually cross the street with Juli when he wasn’t home, and we didn’t see any porn lying around. It seemed like a normal bachelor pad, actually. Ok, so there was a disco ball hanging from the living room ceiling, which is admittedly a bad sign, and a hot tub, but there were no signs of sketchy behavior.


“Hi, I’m Mike. I like porn. Wanna cross the street?”

Porno Mike was so named to distinguish him from me, “Clean” Mike. If they only knew, right? Anyway, after playing around with names like “Dirty Mike” and “Hardcore Mike”, we settled on Porno Mike, who will be referred to as P.M. from now on. There was a little confusion when Kirby misheard my clarification name and called me “Queen Mike.” I thank God every day that the name didn’t stick.

Another cousin, Aaron, brought a dog to the festivities. This dog was tied to the streetlight, and was trying to chew through the chain. When asked if the dog was likely to be successful in this endeavor, Aaron said, “No way. He’ll never chew through that.” Of course, an hour later the dog was free and in danger of getting hit by horseshoes. This is the kind of thing that happens here.


The one group of people that it’s still ok to bash or portray openly as stupid and evil are “hicks.” They have other names – rednecks, hillbillies, etc. All these prejoratives conjure up a picture in the mind of the average American who considers himself civilized. I am here to tell you that the picture you have in your head is wrong. These are not stupid people, these East Texans. They are not what we would think of as hicks. They have the same capacity for thought as anyone else. The priorities are just different out in the country, and you know what? They like it that way, and I don’t blame them. The lake house had a relaxed atmosphere, purposefully created to be comfortable and natural and fun and easy and rewarding. These people know what they are doing, no doubt about it. That’s why they have a tendency to view “Northerners,” or “Yankees,” or “Citified jerkoffs,” with a mix of distrust and disdain. They don’t like being told that they are stupid, or racist, or backwards, or in any other way inferior. The “Yankees”[5] want to tell them what to do, when many “Yankees” themselves are hateful stupid sinful creatures who think that it’s a good idea to dedicate one’s life to gathering material possessions. Is it more civilized to “keep up with the Joneses” or to “hang out with the cousins”? I’ll let you discuss that amongst yourselves as you wait for Part II.

[1] Switching to past tense now, for the sake of clarity and comfort. Just think of the preceding part as being written as it happened, and the rest as being written later.

[2] Lone Star beer is quite well-marketed, judging by the massive amounts of Lone Star logos I saw. They even had a framed Lone Star “quasi-constitution” in the Kitchen, signed by some Texans and basically telling people “from the North” to stop bothering them.

[3] This sentence sucks but I don’t feel like changing it. The next part of the sentence clarifies, so suck it.

[4] To be fair to her, and you know that I’m always fair, she did win two games of horseshoes. To be fair the other way, she won because she was playing on the same team as Kirby.

[5] There are few things I hate more than being referred to as a “Yankee” because I come from Wisconsin. I might be a Badger, but not a Yankee. I really, really hate the NY Yankees, you see, ever since they ruined baseball. I use the term here to fit in with the East Texans, even though I wish they would give it up.

In the Spirit of Local TV News...

...Today's news will not give you any good information whatsoever. It'll be nothing but fluff.

Jen Aniston is upset, confused, and lonely; also, she wants to have babies. Her and Brad Pitt have split, citing "Irreconcilable Jolies." She doesn't blame America's favorite skank Angelina, though. There are apparently "levels of growth" that have to happen with two people at the same time, and if they don't, Brad Pitt gets to screw whomever he wants. At least that's what I got out of it. It's possible that Jen Aniston is just trying not to be bitter, or has joined a cult. Both those things are real possibilties. Anyway, none of these people is ever going to be happy without Jesus.

Then there's this Saudi Arabia thing...Bush's "friend," some guy named Sayd, just died. Hey, that rhymes! Sayd died. That's super. Anyhoo, they replaced him with Abdullah (and the only Abdullah I know is the old wrestler Abdullah the Butcher, so this guy is already starting on the wrong foot with me), a Saudi prince who himself is "at least 80." Are we going to have to go through this Saudi Funeral butt-kissing fest again in two years? I hope not. And check out this story on -- the headline says "New Saudi King Rejected," but it's like 12 dudes in England who don't matter doing the rejecting. Boo, deceptive headlines! Boo!

This story appears to be from another planet. Mauritania? AFX? What are these things? Anyway, there was a coup in this fake country and Forbes is reporting about it. One thing remains true: When the Pro-US President is away, the anti-Pro-US President forces will play.

The President signs the trade agreement "CAFTA" today after a bitter and protracted fight. Does this mean my job is going to be outsourced to Belize? Probably. Whatever the result, I'm almost positive this is a bad idea. Oh, sorry...this was actual news. Carrying on...

Apple has made a mouse that works on both Macs and PC's. This is revolutionary, because we PC users have been working with just a keyboard all this time. Wait a second...Apple, keep your crappy mice away from me! Our mice are just fine thank you very much. It is the height of arrogance for Apple to think that this is revolutionary. But seriously, Apple just made a mouse with an extra button. That's it. That's the revolution. It's about dang time, right? Once, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that mice should have one button because "it's impossible to push the wrong one." This is how Apple views the average Mac user -- as a drooling moron who can't learn to use any new things. Now they're backtracking and becoming more like PC's, so it's only a matter of time until Macs are totally boring and run way faster and get viruses like every 5 days.

There was a 13-player trade in the NBA yesterday, the biggest ever (I think). Here's the deal: I'd tell you all about it, but I can't get to any sports site here at work with the "governor" on my computer. I hate that guy. And hey, I warned you I wasn't going to be informative. You knew that going in. Anyway, Antoine Walker was involved, so you know at least one team got ripped off. I hate that guy, too.

Man, if you can get to this story, do so. Researchers are helping people lose weight simply by lying to them. Fake memories of bad experiences with fattening foods are planted in the chubby person's squishy mind, causing them to no longer like the food. Nobody better try this with me and cheese, or I can't be responsible for my actions.

The National Night Out to fight crime was last night, and I as a Pizza Guy got to drive by a bunch of block parties with white people in them. I checked this morning and crime still exists, so the National Night Out is a failure again this year. But at least Mrs. Henderson baked those yummy chocolate chip cookies, right? Nope, she's dead -- drive-by. Happy National Night Out everybody!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Some Info For the New Readers

First of all, hello to you and thanks for reading. After this weekend, my blog stats have gone through the roof. That means new readers, unless the same three people are traveling around the country, going to random computers, and clicking on this website just to fool me. Seeing as that's pretty unlikely (especially since Brian R. now has a job), I'm going to assume there are new readers to whom I want to be friendly and help make the most of their visit (that is, if they ever visit again). Here are some important features of this page you might be wondering about, starting from the top...

At the top is a blue Blogger bar with a search box in it. I'm not exactly sure what that search box does, but I will say that whenever I've used it I've been totally disappointed. It's just pure crap. Steer clear of it.

The "Next blog" button will take you to another blog, at random. Use at your own risk, and only -- and I do mean only -- if you're really bored.

Underneath the "This is Epth Nation" spiel you have the main content of the site on the left side, consisting of my posts for the last 7 days. The posts go from newest (at the top) to oldest (at the bottom, obviously). This can be a problem for those of us who like to read from the top down. Have you ever seen the movie Memento? It's like that. If you haven't seen it, don't worry about it, it's a little overrated.
At the bottom of each of my posts are two blue things you can click on. The first is a time marking, which you can use to link directly to that particular post. For example, the post immediately preceding this one (and hence, right below it) has a link to: This is functional if you want to say, tell all your friends about something I've written. You could e-mail them that link, which will never ever change.

The blue "comments" thing on the bottom right of each post is also important. Through that you can give me feedback. You have to be a member of "Blogger" to comment on the blog, though. They will provide a link to sign up if you want to. If you don't want to take the time or effort to do that, just e-mail me at and tell me what's what.
Clicking on that "comments" thing will also allow you to see the comments that have been made by others on that particular post, so you can see if somebody beat you to it.

Also, underneath a couple of the posts are ads, which are totally my fault. The less said about them the better, though I'm always amazed at the stuff they advertise here. They use the words of my posts to find "keywords", so they could be about anything. Right now they're for "reality tv" for some reason.

On the right side you have a bunch of stuff that's not very important. You start with the "contributors" on the top. Jill, my wife, is a contributor for editing purposes only. I say this out of love and appreciation, because as a contributor she could potentially screw up all my posts if she got mad at me. But she doesn't post outside of the comments sections. Underneath that is a google search bar that will get me a very small amount of money if you use it and click on anything on the other side (note: The results you get from that Google search will be led by advertising links, because that is a Google Adbox. Sorry). Contrary to what would be cool, that box does not let you search my site. More on this later.

(side note: Don't let them tell you that I couldn't hurt a fly because I just totally killed a fly just now. With a credit card ad that came in the mail, no less. Who said junk mail was useless?)

Underneath the Google box are direct links to all the posts from the last 7 days. Under that mess are the archives, which you can use to browse the site, week-by-week. There's over 300 posts in there, and some of them are big, so watch out. I like to think most of them are worthwhile (and as I explained not too long ago, I look back and enjoy them quite frequently), so check them out. That's also the best way to get a real feel for what we do here in Epth Nation.

Underneath the archives are links to the blogs of my friends and a couple others I think are interesting. They are not guaranteed to be interesting to you, though. Caveat Clicktor (let the clicker beware) or somesuch. At the very bottom of the page is a decorative blue bar that does absolutely nothing. Again, I'm sorry.

Here's a tip: If you want to search the site, go to and type this search: pants (where pants is whatever word you want to search for. If you want an exact phrase, put it in quotes, i.e., "Papa John's"). This method has been tested in a controlled environment and it works. BTW, I've used the word "pants" a total of 5 times over the course of this blog, always as a noun.

By the way, when you see "BTW" or "btw", it means "By the way." W/R/T means with regard to. N/A means non-applicable. And Cemetery is spelled with all "E"s.

And btw, this is a LOL and IMO and IMHO and ROFL-free zone. Those abbreviations have no place here, and had best be left at home.

What A Crazy Weekend

Ok, I'll post a full celebration of my weekend and all things country (besides music, of course) later on in the week, because:
1) It's going to take a while. Need I remind you people that I'm doing this posting at work? The Man makes me be productive sometimes, especially on Mondays.
2) I'm very tired from the weekend itself, and you should be too.

The short version goes: we get there at 11 on Friday and stay up until 4, we are told not to "cross the street", drunken and potentially dangerous games of horseshoes ensue, my wife and I run twice during which we are handed a tract from a local Baptist church, we chill all day Saturday, we sit in chairs in a dirty man-made lake, some people chase snakes and alligators, we pile in the back of a pickup truck and drive to a cemetery at night, gumbo is eaten, a much more subdued night happens on Saturday, we wake up and Jill shoots a gun.

Also, this blog was a topic of conversation, and people were wondering if whatever they were doing was going to "make the blog." While this gave me the attention I so crave, it also made me come to fully hate the word "blog" and the concept of a weblog. I don't know what I'm doing here, but I don't feel like it's a blog. I mean, what is a blog, anyway? Nobody knows what to do with that. People were asking me what a blog is -- it could be whatever one wants it to be. And that makes it a crappy word that means nothing. Could blog apply to all publishing on the internet? You betcha. Sucky word, sucky concept. I'm done with it. Check the top of this page for a change.