Oct 26

Well, Loyal Blog Reader, it’s that time of year again. Where we finally dissasemble the fake Christmas tree from Target, and make room for Halloween* pumpkins.

*For those Readers who do not celebrate Halloween, please insert a word substitution of your choice in place of Halloween so that this blog is all-inclusive.

You may have noticed that the average Halloween pumpkin looks a bit blase, and you may have heard of the tradition of sprucing up the average Halloween pumpkin** by piercing it*** with a sharp tool to provide it with a desired countenance.

**For those Readers who feel that stabbing an innocent pumpkin is a barbaric discriminatory practice, please note that you may puncture almost any innocent vegetable equally, including but not limited to cucumbers, lettuce heads, and genetically modified corn.

***This practice is known as “carving,” to lesson the impact of its savage connotation.

Having read this, I’m sure you are eager to fit in with societal expectations by providing your own plain pumpkin with a face. Yet, you simply aren’t sure how to proceed. Allow me to enlighten you. Simply follow the easy steps that are provided below, and you will find your pumpkin carving experience to be a success (and to adhere**** to the principles of nonviolence).


You may find that it’s difficult, though not impossible, to carve a pumpkin that doesn’t exist. Therefore, before gathering your carving utensils, please consider purchasing a pumpkin so that you have something to carve.

While this step may sound uncivilized, it’s really not. Step Three will explain why.

See? No permanent harm done.

The typical American family uses the following carving utensils: Scissors. Make sure to have left-handed scissors nearby so that you are not discriminating against the right side of the brain. Also keep child-friendly scissors on hand. These are scissors that are shaped like a small, friendly child.

This is self-explanatory. I won’t insult your intelligence by describing this step.

Now that you’ve gutted it and radically altered its appearance, you may find that your pumpkin feels somewhat vulnerable. Let your pumpkin know you value it by asking its opinion on an important matter, such as its views on the upcoming election.

I suggest putting the pumpkin on the Welcome Mat right outside your door. This location has always worked well for me, except for when people accidentally step on and crush the pumpkin on their way inside.

As you can see, the pumpkin carving process is quite simple when following the aforementioned steps. Reader(s?), please feel free to leave your comments or questions regarding the process and I will most certainly respond to them. Remember, there are no stupid questions, only stupid blogs. 🙂

–Troi out

Oct 25

Continuing with the blog theme of carbohydrate-heavy breakfast foods, let us now move on to donuts. Bad donuts. And by bad, I mean naughty.

I stopped in at the nearby Voodoo donut shop to buy a couple dozen donuts for a middle school and high school youth group event that I was hosting at a church. It was decidedly early in the morning, and I figured that coffee and donuts was the only way to survive the long day ahead. (Have you ever seen a bunch of caffeinated middle school students? It was a bad idea.) Entering Voodoo donuts, I asked for an assortment of donuts.

“Any in particular?” the cashier asked.

“Nope, just whatever you have. And a few vegan ones,” I replied.

I didn’t think to peer inside the boxes as I left the donut shop. After all, donuts are donuts, right?

As the young, previously innocent middle school students opened the box to begin consuming the donuts (while I chugged a keg of coffee), I noticed that they were gathering with interest around a few particular donuts.

“Um….” they began tentatively. “What is THIS one supposed to be?”

I managed to pull myself away from the coffee long enough to set my eyes upon a donut that was shaped exactly like…..well this is a PG-rated blog so I can’t actually tell you, but it rhymes with “rock and walls.”

Not really the type of donut that should be brought to a church event.

Under duress, I find that my lying skills take a nosedive.

“That’s the Cross,” I answered in a panic.

“Then why is it frosted with the words ‘sweet lovin’?” one youth asked.

“Because you know, the Cross exemplifies the love that Jesus has for us,” I responded, as I mentally plotted how to seize and destroy the donut before any adult church members began walking by.

“What about this one?”

There was ANOTHER ONE?? What was Voodoo donuts trying to do, get me FIRED??

“It looks like a –”

“No, no,” I cut them off, starting to hyperventilate. “You’re holding it upside down. It’s actually shaped like an ice cream cone.”

“Really?” they continued. “Because it sure does look like a–”

They couldn’t finish the sentence because I was already devouring the donut to dispose of the evidence.

While the rest of the morning passed without incident, I did learn a valuable lesson that day, and it would be remiss to exclude you, Loyal Blog Reader, of said lesson. While there are many innocuous donuts out there, please anticipate during your next trip to Voodoo donuts that every donut is guilty until proven innocent. Investigate its origins, shape, size, jelly or custard filling, family tree, criminal history, and aspirations for the future, to assess the risk of a given donut before buying it, and certainly before presenting it at a Church event. Using this simple process, you will find yourself avoiding the unfortunate predicament in which I found myself that morning.

–Troi out

Oct 18

Lately, I have been eating a very balanced breakfast. I balance equal amounts of coffee and creamer. I balance a coffee cup in each hand, and I balance doing work while simultaneously slurping my coffee.

But recently I’ve been remembering back in the olden days, when I rode my horse and buggy to work and I estimated my time of arrival at the office by observing the position of the sun in the sky relative to the horizon. Back in those days, I didn’t drink my breakfast, and my breakfast didn’t solely consist of caffeine with a splash of cow in it. Back then, I went out into the fields and picked my cheerios straight from the vine, and I ate each nourishing whole grain with milk squeezed fresh from the local milkman. On special occasions, I made pancakes from scratch. I scratched open the Bisquick pre-made pancake mix, dumped eggs and milk into the batter, and poured my creation into the skillet.

But these days, when work begins at 7:30am, meaning that I have to leave my apartment at 7:00am, meaning that I need to be up by 6:59am, there is simply no time for such frills as opening a box. Who has time to crack an egg? And certainly, dumping batter into a skillet is something no modern woman has time for. Pancakes are clearly a thing of the past.

Until today. Today during my weekly grocery shopping trip, I found my heart’s desire: Batter Blaster. Pre-made pancake batter in a propellent can that can be sprayed directly into the skillet. Eggs? Already in there! Propellent? You betcha! And no messy mixing required!

And as I danced happily through the store, propellent pancake batter in hand (being careful not to confuse it with the hairspray I was also carrying, in a near-identical can), I was floored that I myself had not conjured this wonderful invention. Peanut butter and jelly, hamburgers and french fries, pancakes and……propellent! It’s plain to see that these two items should never have been apart!

Upon blasting my batter into the skillet this afternoon, I must admit that I was disappointed by the result. Sure, my aerosol pancake tasted fine, but I was still expected to butter it and put the syrup on top of the pancake of my own accord. What, does the batter blaster company expect me to take care of all of these details on my own??!

Overall, I give my batter blaster pancake four stars out of five. While there are still a few kinks to work out, my propellent pancake sure does take me back to the old days, when we cooked up those homemade cheerio breakfasts.

–Troi out

Oct 12

Dear Reader,

For decades, leaders in the entertainment industry have foretold the consequences of inventing machines whose intellectual capacity will eventually combine with self-awareness and free will, culminating in unstoppable power that will wreak havoc on the weak human minds that carelessly created them. 2001: A Space Odyssey, I-Robot, Terminator, Terminator 2, Terminator 3, Terminators 4-10, Finding Nemo, the recent box-office bomb Eagle Eye, and various other films have given insight into the inevitability of such a catastrophic end.

I have been told that so-called “scientists” have also considered this possibility, but I’m fully aware that their intellect pales in comparison to those in the entertainment industry. Really, who listens to scientists these days when their geeky claims are asserted next to Hollywood legend Arnold Swartzenegger, belting out with unquestionable authority the words “I’ll BE BACK!” (And his prophecy came to fruition: He did come back, just a few short years later, in Terminator 3!)

Yet I didn’t realize just how pervasive this too-smart machine epidemic had become until today, as I attempted to leave a well-intentioned but admittedly raucous rendition of “Happy Birthday” on my friend’s voice mail machine. After all, friends don’t judge, and I knew my pal would be gloriously happy to hear my tone-deaf harmony as it drifted cacophonously through the phone lines.

Her voice mail machine, however…….not so happy. Just a few bars into my song, a cold automated female abruptly cut me off with a simple: GOODBYE. This female did not offer me so much as an explanation. Nor did said female offer an apology, or even a suggestion that I take voice lessons. Simply: GOODBYE.

How did this automated woman know the depths of my poor serenading capabilities? Who taught her to evaluate the song coming through the receiver; who instructed her to shun voice mails that didn’t meet the minimum criteria for pleasant aural reception??

What’s next? Will my radio start changing my station selections? Will my computer log me off when it knows I haven’t yet finished my laundry? Will the candy machine in the recyclying room at my apartment laugh at me and deny me my Hershey’s bar because it knows I cheated and ate two at work already?? Will I REALLY have to go with Arnold Schwarzzeneger if I want to live???

(Or was my experience with my friend’s voice mail today a random occurrence that I read too much into?)

–Troi out

Oct 11

Exaggeration Saturation

There is a fine line between fact and fiction. In today’s fast-paced society, when the average attention span lasts only 4.2 nanoseconds, a person who dares to recount an event knows that he or she must grab the audience’s attention in 4.1 nanoseconds or less. The technique that such a brave fast-paced storyteller has developed is a hybrid of fact and fiction known as FACTION. A faction is a group of fictitious comments that were once facts, but that have dissented from the rest of the facts and now refer to themselves as “enhanced facts.”

These enhanced facts were once empirically-based, quantifiable facts who simply realized that they were more attractive to their audience once they spiced up their story. People who discriminate against the enhanced facts refer to them as exaggerations. They do not understand the perspective of the enhanced facts.

A friend of mine is an excellent FACTION teller. He absorbs us with tales of walking 50 miles when he got lost; of being so hungry he ate ten whole pizzas; of waiting 2 hours for the bus one day when it was running behind. As engaging as these tales are, you might be wondering how to derive actual facts from a story filled with these enhanced facts.

My friends and I have developed a strategy called the Rule of 1/2. When our friend begins his FACTIONAL story, we simply arrive at the truth of the tale by mentally dividing every numerical value in his story by 2. In other words, he walked 25 miles, ate only five whole pizzas, and waited a mere hour for the bus. This method of using the Rule of 1/2 can be applied in your own lives if you are friends with a teller of FACTIONAL stories.

If you plan to employ the Rule of 1/2 when talking to a teller of FACTION, please note that there are exceptions to this rule. For example, my friend will sometimes use reverse exaggeration. “Troi,” he will exclaim, “I don’t know why you don’t want to drive to Montana with me, it’s only like two miles past Oregon!” In such cases, it is necessary to turn the Rule of 1/2 upside down so that it becomes the Rule of 2/1, otherwise known as the Rule of 2. That is, you will be multiplying these inversely enhanced facts by 2. By doing so, I thereby deduce that Montana is not two miles from Oregon, but at least four miles from Oregon.*

*A map would have misled me into believing that Montana is only two inches from Oregon. Thank goodness for the Rule of 2.

Remember that there is no shame in being direct in your attempts to clarify the type of conversation in which you are partaking. Ask your conversational partner: Is this a factual, fictional, or FACTIONAL discussion? Your partner, of course, will know the right answer, having read my highly informative blog that boasts nearly 1,000 readers per hour and which yesterday topped the New York Times top ten bestseller blogs list.*

*That was a FACTIONAL statement.

–Troi out

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