Saturday, October 15, 2011

Viral Videos

Viral videos are fantastic. They're awesome, and I would be willing to bet quite a bit of money that the majority of people have seen one that they liked so much, they showed other people (but I guess that's kind of what a viral video is) The closest thing I ever came to being in a viral video was for a talent show the college I went to put on every year. We did a music video to “Uptown Girl” which you can see here.
It can't be all that hard to make a viral video, right? I mean, there are millions of them. So I took the liberty to see what some key elements are when it comes to popular online videos. Here are the spark notes.

  1. Catchy music.
  2. Someone hurting themselves.
  3. Some sort of stupid internet trend/meme.
  4. a baby or cute animal.
  5. Usually short.
While I was unable to get a hold of a baby, and I completely forgot I owned a hamster, I think I did the best I could with my resources. So, while my wife was at work, I set about making this video. Enjoy, and make it viral.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Brief Personal History of Organized Sports Part 1: Karate

For the first time in years, I have entered a sports league. It isn't that I have anything against organized sports, per se, it's simply that, in a long and sordid history with them, I've never been any good. Don't get me wrong, I love playing games. Street hockey and backyard baseball were awesome growing up, and if you challenged me to a game of croquette or beach volleyball, I'd be all over that. Once something gets organized, it generally went down hill for me. They say that what's most important about sports is having fun. This statement was probably made by someone like Babe Ruth or Harry Potter, or someone else that never lost at their selected sport. Winning is fun, no one can argue against that. Over the span of my life, I've rarely won at organized sports. I think it might be easiest if I break this post up into the different sport's I've attempted.

I distinctly remember my first attempt at “organized” karate. Having grown up with an Okinawan grandmother, I figured I was a shoe-in for karate. At 5 ½ My mother enrolled 3 older siblings and myself in a karate studio (dojo?) It was awesome. Despite the teacher (master?) yelling incomprehensible things to an inattentive 5 year old, I was having a blast. I was determined to kick the hardest and to run the fastest. My dreams were quickly shattered. The downward spiral probably began with my attempt to become a yellow belt. I loved my karate uniform (Gi?) But I noticed that the only people that had a white belt were people that had enrolled after me.
Decidedly, I needed some color in my awesome ninja attire. The problem was, this required me to memorize a routine that was decidedly more difficult than actions like “kick” or “yell High YA!” There was a loophole, one that I had every intention to exploit. You did your routine, side by side with two other students. I strategically took my place in between the two others and used what I assumed to be my peripheral vision, but turned out to just be full head turns instead, to watch and follow their every move to the T. After a grueling 2 ½ minutes the routine was over. I was singled out by our master(?). Like I said before, I didn't comprehend much of what he said (not because he had a heavy asian accent or anything, he was about as white as they got.) I was hopeful, but I did not receive my yellow belt.

Shortly after this incident came the one that ended my career in karate. In the midst of doing exercises that had nothing to do with breaking bricks with our fists or walking on glass, my body had decided that enough was enough. As I stared into the confused face of my training partner, I unloaded the contents of my guts right there on the floor. I left that building crying in the arms of my mother, never to return again.

This was one of my first, but certainly not last attempts at succeeding in organized sports. The longest bought came in the form of baseball, a sport loved by my entire family, of which I had little skill in, even after roughly 6 years of playing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Musicals

                This weekend I have the privileged opportunity to attempt to survive a weekend among the elements. For labor day weekend (and my birthday) I will be camping with my wife and her family. I probably will not survive. I've considered the possibility that this is some type of life insurance scheme concocted by Shannon, but the jokes on her. I have no life insurance! I will spend two nights in what will be the psychological equivalent of a haunted mental asylum, except instead if a padded cell with thick walls to protects me, I'll have to fend off the bears behind a paper thin piece of fabric that die-hards will insist is a shelter. If I'm not eaten by the bears, I'll almost certainly contract typhoid fever from the mosquitoes, as I can't afford enough DEET to physically bathe in. (as opposed to the non-physical bathing, I guess)

               I may be overreacting a tad. We'll technically be at an RV park, Shannon and I will be in a tent across the way from her families fifth wheel. Also, the campsite has wifi, so that's a plus. I've never really been “real” camping. It's not that I wouldn't love to test my skill roughing it in the woods, but have you seen “Grizzly Man”? Look, all that to say: Just because I can't have a musical movie marathon this labor day weekend, doesn't mean you can't. Seriously, you have three days to kill, allow me to suggest a few of my favorite musicals to watch this labor day weekend.

Saturday: The Pirates of Penzance

                This Gilbert and Sullivan classic follows Frederick, a man who was mistakenly apprenticed to a band of pirates until his 21st birthday. The performances in the 1983 movie version are excellent, with Kevin Kline perfectly exaggerating the image of masculinity as the pirate king. It is a story of mistaken identity, duty, and lots of misunderstandings.

Sunday:Little Shop of Horrors

                       Made in the 80s and set to the backdrop of 1960s New York, “Little Shop of Horrors is a cautionary tale about the difficulty of stopping malicious actions, once they're put into motion, even if they're for good causes. Seymour Krelborn (played by Rick Moranis) Works in a plant shop on skid row. His compromises start small but grow to monstrously huge levels. This movie directed by Frank Oz, and sports a Jim Henson Creation as the villain. It expertly weaves 80s camp with fun 60s style music. The movie has a number of cameos including: Bill Murray, John Candy and James Belushi. Steve Martin has a small but great role.

Monday: Fiddler on the Roof

                      Giving a glimpse into Jewish life and tradition, “Fiddler on the Roof” is a classic. If you haven't seen this movie yet, you should make it a priority. It follows the life of a Jewish family in pre-revolution Russia. A father tried to protect his family while staying true to his heritage.

               This isn't an exhaustive list, but it's a pretty good way to spend a small portion of your labor day weekend. Have fun!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No holds barred birthday list.

It never fails. Every time I have to come up with some list, or ideas of what I want for my birthday, I always feel like I have to compress it into a reasonable spectrum. Not this year. Here it is, this is what I want for my 23rd birthday.

1. A Capuchin monkey

2. A jet pack (like the one in “The Rocketeer” with the helmet and jacket too)

3. A Scarpar. (please ignore the music in the video)

4. A pirate themed home theater.

5. An Air-Swimmer shark.

6. A Delorean

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cover letter for Apple CEO application

To whomever makes the decisions at Apple,
My name is Daniel Robison. I believe it would be in our mutual interest to seriously consider me for the position of CEO of the Apple corporation. My superior people skills, along with a history in both customer service and personal “market research” will more than qualify me for the position. I wish to usher in something one step beyond a golden age, a rhodium or “unobtainium” age, if you will. I understand your skepticism in hiring a recent college graduate with little to no experience as a CEO of a large company, but in my defense, I once was the president of a club called “the mega monkeys”, Our club meetings consisted of the type of physical and technological activities that would be required as a CEO, namely climbing trees and talking about our favorite video game character “Mega Man”. Allow me to explain in detail why I would be the next Bill Gates of your company.
      As I stated before, I have experience, not necessarily in a CEO position, but in customer service. I worked three seasons at a county fair, during which time I served greek “food” to thousands of people. This food was enticing and delightful to the consumer, much like your gadgets and what-not, while at the same time ridiculously over-priced. I began to understand the marketing strategy of Apple during this time in my life. It's amazing how similar the business practices of a carnival food booth and a major corporation are. I feel I have completely grasped the concept of making the customer feel comfortable and happy with their purchase with one hand, while picking their pocket with the other. But it isn't just enough to sell, you have to get a strong fan base. While your fan(boy) base is already vast and strong, I believe I have the skills to maintain and even grow that base.
       I once worked at a well known body lotion store over Christmas break, and let me tell you, we sold 12 oz bottles of lotion for over 15 bucks, and people raved about it. I feel that I have the capabilities to procure and cultivate a whole new generation of fanboys. I have over 30 people following me on twitter, and if each of them invites 30 of their friends to buy an iMac, well, I think the scenario explains itself. We're looking at a increase of 100% due to my business savvy mind. My ultimate goal with this base is to create a throng of “super” fanboys that defend any action we take, as well as praise any product we produce. If all goes according to plan, I hope to be able to expand our company to more things, not just electronics. We could have our money producing horde buy fast food, I'm thinking maybe a hamburger called “iMac” (note: if I am not hired for the position, please don't steal this idea, it's mine, and I think it would be in our interest if we all remained gentlemen about independent ideas.)
       I alluded to my personal market research, allow me to explain. I had a roommate in college that would swear by his macbook. While I was much too poor to afford something that fancy, I could see that he liked it very much. I think that is the key, to find people that like Apple products. Which, according to comments on some blogs I've been reading, shouldn't be hard. Where I live it is hard to find mac users, but they're out there, we just have to believe. If hired as CEO of Apple, I intend to spend the majority of my day getting the Apple name out there, specifically in youtube comments. I figure if I spend the majority of my day watching and commenting appropriately to the content of each video, while subliminally promoting Apple products we could have a marketing home run.
      Youtube comments would just be a slice of the bigger marketing (apple) pie. I once worked as a bag boy at a large grocery store chain. I know the influence that pressure has on people. I was asked to either pay union dues or leave my job. As I was in high-school and only working about 10 hours a week, I realized the dues would be about a quarter of my paycheck. If we used similar tactics in marketing I believe we would boost sales among weak minded individuals. Our fanboys would pressure their peers into buying our products. I realize this model is very similar to your current strategy, I myself often feel foolish because the only apple product I own is a 1 gig ipod nano. I would seek to improve upon this strategy, and really bring it home by encouraging our customers to personally insult both consumers and competitors who resist us. Much like the business practices I learned from that window shade company and Christmas tree lot.


Daniel B. Robison
(Future) Apple CEO

Monday, August 22, 2011

The proposal

One question, I found, that Shannon was asked a multitude of times was “How did he propose?” in relation to our engagement. I want to set the record straight, and tell it from my perspective. If you've been lucky enough to hear Shannon tell it, feel free to compare notes.
Things rarely go according to plan. This simple fact has made me the flexible individual that I am today. I want to tell you about the day I proposed to Shannon, and how it in no way reflected any number of scenarios that played in my head. First, a little background information.
I Knew that I was going to ask Shannon to marry me when she came to visit in August. We were going to see each other for the first time in a few months, shortly after I was finishing up working at a summer camp. I knew that I wanted everything to be perfect. Remember how I alluded to (by flat out saying) that I'm a flexible person? That very thing was the reason that I shaved my head for the camp, and, consequently, tried to dye my dark brown hair blonde. I say “tried” because being payed lower than minimum wage at camp, we were a little stingy on the quality of hair dying product to buy. Armed with little knowledge of the process, I proceeded to bravely dye my hair a rusty orange color. This was all great for a good laugh at camp, and I proceeded to spend the remainder of my time acting like a pirate. Flash forward to August, I'm proposing that night.
I used some nice hair goo to spike my short orange hair, deciding I looked presentable, and on a hot southern california afternoon, I headed to pick up my soon to be fiance from the airport. I was driving my mother's minivan that had no air conditioning and the roof was the color of my hair.
I swung by a flower stand and picked up a bouquet of red tulips (Shannon is dutch and all) and proceeded to the airport. The combination of nerves and excruciating heat caused me to perspire a little more than anticipated, but that wasn't going to thwart my plan.
I had come up with a thousand and one scenarios on how to propose, and I finally settled on having a picnic on the beach ending with a sunset proposal. So I was sweating a little (lot) that wasn't going to matter. I parked the 1996 dodge caravan and headed to the small airport's one terminal.
After much anticipated hellos and whatnot, I gave Shannon her tulips. Though they weren't as lush as they had been when I had bought them, she appreciated the gesture all the same. It became evident that the air conditioning not working was going to be a real problem, so we cracked the windows and drove to the beach. That is to say, that was the intention.
I should note that I'm not the best person when it comes to directions, and while we had plenty to talk about on the drive, it became apparent that I didn't know what I was doing when I got off the free-way and 30 minutes later ended up back at the airport. We drove through side streets, asked people on the street for directions, heck I even resorted to calling home for help. Shannon graciously laughed it off in the same manner she laughed at my hair.
Upon finding the ocean (a feat you would think would be easy in city called Huntington Beach) I paid the meter and we headed to the ocean front for our picnic. The sun had already set.
Timing isn't everything, and so what if the wind was throwing sand at us, right? I was about to propose! So we got set up and I asked her to stand up for a second, I stood on one knee and whipped out the ring. Her breath was, needless to say, taken away by how smooth I was. She said yes, thankfully, and we enjoyed the moment, despite the rapid drop in temperature.
I should mention that it was a good thing I proposed before the meal. The pre-made Trader Joe's wraps that I had packed had gone a little slimy, and contained a much larger quantity of onions than I had anticipated, leading to a half eaten meal, despite how hungry both of us were. But she said yes, and God has blessed me with the perfect wife, and I thank him daily.
Shannon and I began our marriage together on June 4th 2011. She is my best friend, and puts up with me continually. She even forgave me the time I accidently left her at a gas station in downtown Seattle the day after our wedding, but That's another story.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reusable Shopping Bags

Starting next year Bellingham will no longer provide free bags for groceries. This, along with the fact that we acquire massive amounts of plastic bags from shopping trips, mixed with boredom, I decided to paint my very own reusable shopping bags.
After seeing a tutorial on Craftster, I decided to duplicate a similar product. I bought a bulk order of some shopping bags. I attempted to iron the wrinkles out of them, which is when I found out they were made of recycled plastic and NOT cotton. Anywho, I found some stencils online, and these are the three I've made so far. On the top left we have the TARDIS, top right is Tobias Funke, and on the bottom, Cookie Monster.

Idea for these came from here thanks to Craftster user jennieingram

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Jungle Cruise Incident

Disneyland is the mecca for the young at heart. It surprises no one when I say that I love disneyland, in fact, the majority of the time I bring up the subject, people chime in with stories of their time in The Magic Kingdom. Point being, everyone loves Disneyland.

Having spent the majority of my life just 40 minutes away from Disneyland, I became familiar with the park, and while I love just about every aspect of it, there were certain areas and rides that I didn't mind skipping when I visited. This story is about one of those rides, and I hope to display the very real fact that while something familiar and sometimes boring can, with a little magic, be turned into something grand.

It was late January 2010, I was accompanying my friend, now wife, Shannon to Disneyland for her birthday. We spent a good majority of the day going on Pirates of The Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, but as dusk was approaching, I thought it best to oblige my lady companion by taking her on The Jungle Cruise Ride.

Remember how I mentioned there were certain areas and rides that I didn't mind skipping? The Jungle Cruise Ride was one of them. It isn't that I hated it, but simply that I had seen it so many times, and the awkwardness that comes with feeling like you owe it to the “captains” to laugh at their jokes is nearly unbearable. I feel like I'm adding insult to injury for these poor minimum wagers who spend hour after hour saying the same thing, by not giving them a convincing chuckle. But I really liked (still do) Shannon, so I agreed that it would be really cool to go on it later in the day. The rumor was that the “captains” lay off on the forced enthusiasm later in the day. So, we embarked.

We got a chipper captain, eager to impress. Because I can't remember her name exactly I will refer to her as Captain Becky. Captain Becky had no intention of waning on her enthusiasm, even though it was clear she had been doing this same schtick all day long. Our boat was jam packed. As I was afraid of, we were towards the front of the boat, knees bowed in to avoid unnecessary contact with other patrons. We embarked on our Jungle Cruise, an Adventure of epic proportions.

Things were going just as they had been for the last few decades, we saw some elephants and some tigers and such. My giggle was becoming less and less convincing, but I had to show enthusiasm, for Shannon's sake. Captain Becky was overly perky with her jokes, and had a voice that bubbled like diet coke and mentos.

I can't imagine what training was like for Captain Becky. How many hours must she, as well as the entire noble fleet of Jungle Cruise Captains, did she have to recite these jokes to accomplish the perfect timing? She had the entire “river” mapped out in her brain, and she could navigate it blindfolded. Which, I don't know, maybe she was, cause she sure didn't see the other safari boat stopped right in front of us.

Just after we saw the “back side of water” I noticed something funny. There was another Jungle Cruise boat stopped dead ahead. I know Captain Becky saw it, but perhaps all that training didn't prepare her for any kind of catastrophe as a boat running out of gas. She looked at it, turned back to us and continued talking. The entire time, my eyes were glued to the other boat as the whites of the eyes of the passengers on the other boat grew wider. No one screamed, no one really made a sound. That is until Captain Becky, with all the force of a viking ramming ship, slammed into “Captain Jimmy's” ship.

Captain Becky's enthusiasm and cheerfull disposition vanished, replaced by the cold disposition of a teenaged girl that has just crashed her dad's Ferrari. But in this case it was Mickey's Jungle Cruiser. There was no real damage, no one was hurt or anything, but people were a little shocked. I disticntly remember one child sitting across from us who looked sharply at his dad and said “I told you we shouldn't have gone on this ride!” I was, for the first time on the ride, glowing.

We're talking about a ride that I had been on and seen over and over with little to no variation. I was ecstatic to see how things were handled. In my mind I'm thinking we're going to have to abandone ship and swim through the school of piranhas, past the head hunters and safely back to the dock, all led by our fearless leader “Captain Becky” no such luck. I turned to our captain, who, after a few moments of shocked silence joined Captain Jimmy in emptying their cap guns into the air to alert the doc. After this awesome display of firepower, she sat down and stared at the bottom of the boat. She was as lost as we were in this unforgiving rainforest. After what seemed like a decade of awkward silence becky looked up and asked if anyone had any jokes. Someone chimed in, and got a chuckle or two, then it was right back to the staring contest with the deck...and she was winning.
Like I was saying before, these people are obviously trained to know this ride like no one else, they practically have their doctorates in bad puns and old animatronics. But both Captain Becky and Jimmy were utterly helpless in this situation.
Becky, being the good Captain she was, decided to forfeit her ongoing contest with the floor, and tried to rally the morale of the troops, which, in my case, was impossible to improve because of how immensely I was enjoying the show. Shannon didn't share my amusement, but at that point I didn't even care. The Jungle Cruise Ride had become the highlight of my day. Becky asked if it was anyones birthdays. I glanced around and saw that no one was adorned with the traditional “it's my birthday” Pins that they get at the gate or city hall.(Shannon had very recently celebrated a birthday, but was not about to surrender that information.) You could hear her heart sink a little when no one chimed up. Then she remembered where she was. She was in the magic kingdom, dang it! And if it wasn't one person's birthday on this boat, it was her job to celebrate 30 UNbirthdays! So she sang, and she sang until things got going again and we docked. Captain Becky, with a much deflated ego let us off her craft without so much as a “Have a wonderful day in the Magic Kingdom!”