Tuesday, September 28, 2010

War of the Words

I have grammar on my mind. Mainly because for some reason it seems that is all I’ve been doing lately. I edit at my job, I have an editing class, I’ve been taking editing tests in another class, editing essays in another class and reading Shakespeare in another (if you don’t see how this is related, then you have never seen a journalism major trying to read the retarded babble that is ye olde english).

Then last night I edited admission essays for students trying to get into CU’s journalism school. I still have no idea why they asked me to do this; I never actually wrote an admission essay. Due probably to a clerical error, they let me straight in so I had no idea what I was doing in this workshop. This of course was not what the students wanted to hear; most of them picked up their essays and ran to somebody else. But the point is I still showed up.

Believe it or not I showed up mainly because I actually enjoy editing. Of course, this is mainly because writing is one of the few things I don’t regularly mess up. I’m sure many of you find this highly amusing. “Mitchell,” you are probably saying, “I see more spelling, grammatical, factual and ethical errors on your site than on an episode of Jersey Shore.” To witch I reply its nun of you’re business or there business.

I’m going to be honest, I don’t really bother to look over these rants for errors; that would upset the very strict deadlines I work with. My strict schedule is as follows: 20 minutes brainstorming ideas (and by that I mean sleeping on the couch). 40 minutes of research (as in watching Golden Girls reruns). 10 minutes writing the actual thing (as in spewing verbal sewage all over computer screen). 25 minutes confirming facts (by eating a sandwich). So as you can see, this leaves little time for any actual proofreading. Besides, that sounds like a lot of work for a stupid blog that nobody pays me to write.

But I honestly do like editing good writing. Notice how I say good writing. Editing good writing is fun and easy. Editing essays written by people with the IQ’s of gerbils who were dropped on their heads at birth is not as fun. In those cases it’s easier to crumple up their essay and throw it in the trash (oh wait, sorry we are in Boulder, so you have to throw it in the recycle bin). Do you want to figure out if you have good grammar or have gerbil poop for brains? Here’s a quick and easy little test. What is wrong with the following passage:

Justin Bieber, the teen age singer who’s prepubescent, angle-like voice has captured the hearts of girls worldwide, was arrested for cocaine possession yesterday after cops found five kilograms in Biebers bedroom.

A. Teenage is one word; it’s whose not who’s; it’s angel, not angle; and there is an apostrophe in Bieber’s.

B. Ain’t none nothing wrong with this their sentence. ‘Cept prepubescent ain’t a real word. Might be sum sorta fish.

C. Justin Bieber is my favorite singer in the world and he would never do cocaine.

D. Justin Bieber is not a singer; he is a whining abomination. And we don’t use kilograms. We’re Americans dammit, not Canadians.

If you said A, congratulations! You are correct and you have what it takes to work in writing (By the way, you may think the angle-angel is a pretty obvious mistake, but I know at least one person who doesn’t know the difference, and she knows exactly who she is). If you said B, you should just go back to whatever part of Alabama you came from and never touch a pen or pencil again in your life. If you said C, I hate you and isn’t it past your bedtime? If you said D, you may not be grammatically correct but I like you, so I’ll give you a pass.

The one thing I admit I still have no clue about is active versus passive sentence structure. My editors always tell me about this. So I’m assuming active structure goes something like “Bob ran around a lot,” while passive would be “Bob went to sleep.” Speaking of sleeping, I’m going to go brainstorm my next article.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Coming from Hawaii, I obviously like seafood. Because of that, I try to keep up with all of the trendy seafood news more than I would keep up with other not so important things, like politics or what drug test(s) Lindsay Lohan is failing now. So you can imagine what I was thinking (hint: it was “huh?”) when I read this story.

Now genetically modified organisms have been a subject of debate for awhile. On one hand, you could get more out of the animals and feed everybody in the world. On the other hand, you could start sprouting tentacles from your back.

Now as a person who was asleep for a large portion (99%) of the only genetics-related class I ever took, I’m a little foggy as to how this whole genetically-modified stuff actually works. I mean when you read the story it sounds like they just put three different species of fish in the water, turned on some Marvin Gaye, lit some candles, turned out the lights and waited for things to get freaky. A friend told me they use DNA splicing or something, but that doesn’t sound nearly as fun. Unless maybe the scientists are listening to Marvin Gaye and saying “Oh yeeaah” in really deep voices while they are splicing.

Regardless of how it happens, we do know what we end up with. The “frankenfish” is twice as big as a normal salmon but takes half as long to mature. Personally, salmon is my least favorite fish, but if this whole experiment means that when I order a salmon filet I get a huge chunk of meat the size of Snooki’s poof then I’m all for it.

In fact, I say they start making other genetic changes to animals. Like they should make fish that have legs and can walk around on land so that the darn state of Colorado can actually have fresh seafood. Not chunks of tuna that have been frozen so long that you could use them as dry ice. And don’t try to tell me that Colorado has fresh fish. Catfish and tilapia are not fish. They eat dirt or something because that is the texture that they have when you eat them. I don’t trust fish that swim in rivers. People pee in rivers and throw rocks in there. I much prefer the ocean, which is much cleaner, at least when BP isn’t dumping oil into it.

They should also breed fish without bones. I mean, I’ve watched fish in aquariums and I still don’t see what they need bones for. Jellyfish live in the ocean don’t need bones, and frankly if all I had to do all day was float around in the ocean (which actually describes me on my breaks in Hawaii) I think even I wouldn’t need them. This way, I would not have to work around bones when I try to eat fish. As an official lazy person, I don’t like food that requires more calories to eat than you get from actually eating it. This is why I rarely eat crabs or pistachios.

While genetically modifying animals opens up a world of genius possibilities such as the ones I have proposed, it also opens up a can of worms. (Haha get it? Worms? Because you catch fish with worms? Oh never mind. You people have no sense of humor). Every sci-fi killer animal movie I have ever watched has begun with scientists experimenting on some sort of animal, and trust me, I have watched a ton of these movies. It’s normally all I do on weekends.

Because of these movies I have a natural distrust of scientists. For one thing they never experiment on cute, cuddly, non-threatening animals like koalas. No, they experiment on sharks and crocodiles and generally things with large teeth. The next thing you know, large killer animals are eating women running around in bikinis that are somehow bulletproof (the animals, not the bikinis). I always yell at the screen “You idiots of course the killer animal is going to escape its small cage! Now it’s going to go and terrorize a group of students on spring break and eat the minorities first but somehow make the two main characters fall in love!”

These scientists are saying that all this genetics mumbo jumbo is safe, since these fish are apparently engineered to be sterile. I guess this should mean that the possibility of large killer salmon terrorizing the South is low (and praise the Lord, there is already a movie about that very scenario). But I don’t care if they are supposedly sterile. Marvin Gaye can get anyone in the mood…

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hawaiian Home Field

So I’m a little upset right now, because the University of Hawaii lost to the University of Colorado this weekend. I had been looking forward to this game for a while, because it meant that I got to stand in the middle of the CU student section wearing nothing but UH green and a stupid grin on my face. Then of course, UH decided to suddenly start choking like octogenarians at a care home steak buffet.

Now throughout the week I got a lot of criticism for rooting for Hawaii instead of Colorado. Apparently they thought that I was not being very loyal. This confused me, since I thought that rooting for Colorado, a school I have been associated with for less than four years, over Hawaii, a place I have lived for 18 years, was the exact opposite of being loyal. Besides, I pay the University of Colorado tons of money. If anything, they should be loyal to me. The board of regents should be showing up to my exams and holding up signs and doing the wave in the back of the room.

Besides it’s not like I chose to come to CU because I grew up watching all the great CU teams (if there were any). In fact, I was unaware there was a state called Colorado up until about six years ago, and I only found out then because I did a Wikipedia search on Coors. If the University of Hawaii had a journalism school, I would be there.

Of course I don’t really expect everybody to understand. Growing up in Hawaii with no pro sports teams, most sports fans there have very wide and varied tastes when it comes to the pro teams the root for. Some people have good taste, while some people root for the Denver Broncos. I mean, my dad roots for the San Francisco 49ers while I root for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, even I know that it is pretty hard to have two teams farther apart without somehow involving Alaska.

But UH is the one thing that all people in Hawaii have in common. And it’s not just football. I’ve watched (and genuinely cared about) everything from volleyball to water polo. I remember a few months ago, UH’s women’s softball team went to the World Series tournament while my parents were up here visiting me. This of course meant that instead of actually doing anything, we sat inside and watched the game. Well my dad and I watched. My mother actually affected the game by screaming at the television. At one point, we were all ready to leave for sushi but she would not leave until one UH girl finished her at-bat. Did I mention that it was a 19-pitch at-bat?

But it’s not just UH. We tend to root for any team with Hawaii ties. The most recent example was a Hawaii Little League team that went all the way to the final before losing to a group of robots from Japan designed to look like children. I never watch Little League, but I watched every single game Hawaii was in.

I also like watching national TV coverage of Hawaii teams. For some reason, they always feel the need to play generic Hawaiian music while showing cutaway scenes of beaches and people surfing. I’m not sure why; it’s not like we are a foreign country or something. You never see them playing country music while showing people drinking on lawn chairs in the dirt when Alabama plays do you? That and they can never pronounce the names of anybody on our teams.

Anyway, despite losing to Colorado, which is a truly humiliating thing, I am, and always will be a UH fan through and through. So I may take a bit of heat this week. A lot of people have been teasing me about how UH used to be the rainbows, and how gay that apparently is. I invite them to say that to these guys.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fire Burning

As many of you probably know, I’m a very skeptical guy. But I am now confident that the apocalypse is upon us. And I am not saying this just because Heidi and Spencer might be getting divorced (although I’m still not exactly sure who Heidi and Spencer are). I’m convinced the apocalypse is coming because there have been a lot of strange things going on recently.

As most of you probably know by now, there is a raging wildfire right now in northwest Boulder, Colorado. Seeing as I am currently sitting on a couch in south Boulder, you can see why this concerns me. This fire has been going on since Labor Day, and is still going strong. Or at least I think it started on Labor Day. I spent my three-day weekend like I do all of my extended breaks (sleeping), so for all I know this fire could have been burning since Friday.

All I know is that I finally awoke from my slumber on Monday evening and smelled smoke. I assumed my neighbors were having a BBQ, and quite frankly I got a little upset I wasn’t invited. Sure, I have no idea who my neighbors are (or if I actually have neighbors), but is that any excuse not to invite me over? Anyway, I went outside and I instantly noticed it looked like I had just walked into a gas chamber (or Los Angeles on a good day). Within a minute, my brain was able to connect the dots (okay, so maybe it was more like ten minutes, but give me a break; it was the weekend) and produce the following thought: “Fire?” After another few minutes, my brain produced a second thought: “Uh oh?”

So I rushed into my apartment and tried to figure out where the fire was and finally learned that it was located at Four Mile Canyon. Of course, this didn’t help me at all since I had no idea where Four Mile Canyon was. For all I knew, Four Mile Canyon was right across the street. As it turns out, I’m not in any immediate danger, so all of you out there can breathe a sigh of relief (or a sigh of disappointment, depending on whether or not I irritate you).

Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky. Almost 8,000 acres and 100 homes have been destroyed the last time I checked. One of those houses actually belonged to my professor, who is homeless yet still felt it necessary to come to class and was still more prepared than me. And it does not look like this fire is going out any time soon. The governor has claimed the state has “no more resources” and firefighters reported that as of Wednesday they had “0 percent of the fire contained.” It looks like we’re just going to have to sit here and wait for the feds to come and help us, which the people in Louisiana find very funny for some reason. The only way this news could get bleaker is if it somehow involved Justin Bieber.

On the bright side, none of this matters because we are all going to die anyway! That’s right; we’re going to get hit by an asteroid. Apparently, we barely dodged two just the other day. Now, I’ve made fun of NASA, mainly because like all government departments they spend too much money on stupid projects, waste time with bureaucratic bulls**t and in general are about as useful as a lead life preserver. I got some criticism for this, but I think that this article justifies my view.

NASA didn’t know about this thing until very recently. Apparently it snuck up on them, which is unacceptable. I mean, it’s a giant rock hurtling through space, not a goddam ninja. NASA needs to get their priorities straight and stop taking pictures of pretty nebulas and start looking out for killer space spheres. If you just yelled at your computer screen, “Hey, the plural of nebula is nebulae, not nebulas,” then you also need to get your priorities straight and focus on the grave matter at hand. Also, “Killer Space Ninjas” would be an awesome name for a band.

So as we can see, the apocalypse is coming, and only the fit will survive. Not to brag, but I think I will be one of the survivors. For one thing, I have the ability to just go to sleep and ignore everything. And I think I’m going to start now.