Monday, January 26, 2009

Star Trek Mad Libs - How Nerdy Can You Get?

I've loved Mad Libs ever since middle school, so as soon as my son got old enough to appreciate them, we bought a stack, and the hilarity commenced. My son is a Star Trek nerd, so awhile back he asked me if there were any Star Trek Mad Libs. As far as I could determine, there weren't, so we did what any self-respecting nerd family would do: we made our own! Dear Son has a book called The Star Trek Compendiumthat includes summaries of all the episodes of the original series. I Mad Lib-ized one of the summaries, we filled in our own words, and the results were hilarious. In case you, dear readers, would like to share the fun, I've included our homemade Star Trek Mad Lib below. Just copy it into a blank document, get your friends to suggest some words to fill in the blanks, and prepare to laugh. Helpful hint: It's especially funny with lots of potty-mouth words. Have fun!

Balance of Terror

Stardate _________ (number): The Enterprise is ____________ (verb ending in –ing) along the Romulan ___________ (adjective) Zone, a border between the Federation and the Romulan _____________ (noun). As Captain Kirk is performing the wedding _____________ (noun) of crewmembers ______________ (name of person - female) and _______________ (name of person - male), an Earth outpost announces that it is under attack from the Romulans. Kirk witnesses the destruction of the _______________ (noun) but is helpless to __________ (verb). The Romulans have perfected a/an _______________ (noun) that renders their _______________ (plural noun) invisible, and Kirk reasons he must _______________ (verb) and _______________ (verb) the enemy _______________ (noun) before it can return home. To the surprise of all, _______________ (plural noun) intercepted from the Romulan _______________ (noun) reveal that they look almost exactly like _______________ (nationality – plural), which causes Lieutenant _______________ (last name of person in room) to express his distrust of Mr. Spock. When the Romulan _______________ (noun) is finally cornered, he _______________ (verb ending in -s) his _______________ (noun) rather than surrender—and _______________ (same last name of person in room), whose _______________ (noun) has been saved by Spock, realizes his prejudicial attitude is _______________ (adjective).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Facebook ads are funny

I'm in Denver for some meetings, so I'm accessing the internet from my hotel. I log into Facebook and accept a gift someone sent me with one of the *many* Facebook gift apps (Do we really need so many? But that's a rant for a different post.), and I see this:

Facebook ads are funny

Now I've been in Denver since last night, and I've spent almost all that time in my hotel room, so I find it hard to believe that 2 people here have crushes on me and 3 people hate me. I suppose the room service person might hate me, because I was short of cash and didn't tip as well as I normally would. And maybe one of the loud pot smoking guys I passed on the sidewalk last night has a crush on me (weed does strange things to some people), but somehow I doubt it. Does anyone ever click on such ridiculous ads? Even their target audience--teenagers--are probably savvy enough to recognize such obvious BS. But then I can't understand how spammers make any money, but they must. Apparently H.L. Mencken was right--No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. *Sigh*

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Byron Hot Springs and other New Years fun in California

I've been really slacking on my blogging lately. I'm blaming Facebook. Anyhoo, when I haven't been working or Facebooking, I've been traveling. We were supposed to go to Crater Lake over New Years, but our workhorse SUV got damaged from driving in the snow and ice of Christmas week. Our temporary replacement rental car wouldn't make it over the snowy passes, so we (by "we" I mean "I") decided we should go to California instead. Specifically, we (by "we" I mean "I") decided we should go to my lovely (ahem!) home town of Tracy. It's a *long* drive from Portland--about 10 hours for normal people and 12 hours for my family, because certain family members (I'm talking to *you*, Tony) are incapable of making a bathroom stop that takes less than 20 minutes.

Goodbye Oregon, Hello California!
Goodbye Oregon, Hello California

Mount Shasta from the car window:
Mount Shasta through the car window

We did finally arrive, late in the evening on New Years Eve. I headed out to a party (Hey, it was New Years Eve. So what if I'd been on the road for 12 hours!), then over to visit a friend, finally dragging my exhausted butt back to the hotel at about 3 AM. We spent New Years Day in San Francisco and San Jose, exploring Fort Point (SF side of the Golden Gate Bridge) and the Winchester Mystery House. Fort Point was beautiful but windy and cold. The Winchester Mystery House is interesting but a bit too expensive for what you get. Still, it was a fun trip. Here are a few pics:

Golden Gate Bridge from near Fort Point:
Golden Gate Bridge from the Presidio

Plaque in front of the Winchester House:
Plaque in front of the Winchester House

Friday was, "Janet plays with her friends day." First was breakfast with Diana. Then I headed out to Byron Hot Springs with John and his daughter. If you haven't been out there, I highly recommend it. Byron Hot Springs was a 5-star hotel and hot springs resort, a playground for the wealthy from about 1870 through the 1940s. Eventually it closed and was abandoned. The ruins are still standing in what is now a cow pasture. The building is reasonably safe if you look where you're going (i.e. don't step into the elevator shaft or any of the many holes in the ground - and watch out for cow patties even in the building), and it's fascinating to explore. Even the graffiti is interesting. There's also an abandoned house on the property, plus the remains of a couple houses that burned down long ago. I think it would make a great setting for a low-budget horror flick or music video. It was so cool that I went back again later in the day, this time with the family. You can get a sense of the creepy vibe from some pictures:

Front and side of the old hotel:

Stairway into what was probably the lobby:
(That's Tony and Corbin in the doorway and Jerry on the stairs)

Jerry sits on the main staircase:

Anyone need a potty break? Or a broken potty?

Some positive graffiti:
Yes. Yes they are. And this trip provided lots of evidence of that.

Creepy hallway:

Elevator shaft. Lookout below!

Kitchen and lobby area:

And then there's the surreal--how about a cow grazing among the palm trees?

If you're interested in the history of the place, there's a book about it, which I have ordered from Amazon but not yet received. There's also a short blurb about it in the Wikipedia entry for Byron, CA and a page about the site's use as an interrogation center during World War II. The current owner is a wealthy developer with plans to restore the place to its former glory, according to this article on

Saturday we headed back to Portland. Apparently the family learned how to speed up their bathroom stops, because we made it in only 11 hours. Let's hear it for efficiency!

Can I go back now? I'm tired of the Portland rain! Maybe I could camp in the old hotel...