The Six Flags Story

Scott at bottom right and me standing behind him.

I had meant to put this story up ages ago, but I kept forgetting about it. Only recently did someone remind me about it, and I’m glad that they did. Sometime a few years back, my friend, Scott, and me, used to go to Six Flags pretty much every weekend. We had one of those season passes and it was always a great break from college. Or maybe just part of the experience.

Scott and I always did pretty dumb things together from the start. This actually goes way back to middle school where we first met in 6th grade. It was just a fluke that we ended up together, considering we both graduated early, etc. Either way, after one particularly good night doing the college lifestyle, the next morning we decided to go to Six Flag’s Fright Fest. It was still relatively warm and there weren’t too many people yet, so we decided to hit all the good rides first.

Scott wasn’t feeling too great from the night before, and I recall him throwing up a few times on the way there. He decided he should get something on his stomach, and so he bought some popcorn from the vender right after the gate. By the time we made it to the first ride, The Poltergeist, it was obvious he was feeling considerably worse. We looked really out of place next to all the little kids in their Halloween costumes, but we pushed on. I’m not sure why we thought it was a good idea to go on one of the faster rides right off the bat, but we did anyway.

About half way through the ride, I could see Scott’s face and he obviously was not doing well at all. So, by the end, he was fighting with the restraints and I kept screaming at him to not puke on me over and over. He held it in and wormed out of the chair restraint and jumped out out of the ride right as it pulled in. Immediately, he ran over to the edge of the platform and threw up a disgusting mixture of last night and gross leftover popcorn for the day before. I was dying laughing — it’s always good to see a bro in pain, after all.

What we didn’t realize is that immediately below the platform was a little girl exiting the ride. This poor girl was soaked in vomit, covering her princess outfit. We both realized we just ruined some little girl’s princess dreams; she’ll be scarred for life on one of the great’s American holidays. I’m truly sorry, but it was one of the best coincidences in history, and my favorite Six Flag story.

Pranks and Total War

So this is one of the stories I had intended to write a long time ago, but never got around to it and then forgot about it completely until Emily reminded me about it the other day.

Angry Dan Balogh

In sophomore year of college, I was living with Dan in the Trinity dorms. Although we’re pretty much bros for life, no homo, we started really getting on each other’s nerves and the only way to solve our differences was by pranking each other, and our suitemates, Andrew and Mike. I don’t really know how it started or who was the initial cause, but I definitely remember being locked in the closet once and Dan having all his belongings super glued to the desk. KJ, one of the baseball guys and our friend, actually pranked me pretty good by putting mashed potatoes in my sheets and pillowcase. This was when I was briefly dating Emily, and it definitely made things very awkward — but memorable. The escalation of these pranks turned into a phrase called “Total War”, which basically meant that we were about to turn on each other — all bets were off.

The most memorable prank ever, and probably the greatest prank in the history of human sentience, was on Dan and his crush, some girl named Shelby (who we jokingly called “Cholbi” for some reason…). While Dan was taking a shower one day, I grabbed his phone and changed my name in to the girl’s, so that they looked identical. I actually had to write a research paper that day, so I headed across campus to the library and started researching. I decided this was the perfect time to test and see if he would be able to tell if it was me texting him or the girl, so I sent him a message that invited him to study at the library with her.

Of course, Dan, being the ladies man he was, took up the offer and said he would come to the library at the far end of campus. While this was happening I was on the second story of the library researching for my paper when I saw Emily and we started talking and procrastinating. I let her know about the prank and she decided to stay and watch. When Dan finally got to the library, I told him that she was downstairs and to come find her. When he couldn’t, I said that she went upstairs. In the process of about 20 minutes, he walked around looking for her. Then Emily and I saw him wandering around aimlessly, so we called him over and said hey. I’m pretty sure I was smiling the whole time and Emily was trying her best to be serious (that’s hard to Emily). I asked what he was doing and he coyly just said he was studying, looking for some books. Yeah right, Dan — good cover.

So, after he left, I sent a text to him telling him to meet me at Coates, the university student center, which is a good walk from the library. He did that and when he got there, he texted back asking again where she was, and I replied saying she was in the bathroom and to just wait. So Dan did. For like 35 minutes. Later on, he responded with “I’m going to kill you. Total war.”

I’m sure he pranked me back, but how could anything live up to that? Dan, you got punked.

That Book Changed My Life

So, I just posted a few seconds ago about my Spring Break in Austin for SXSW, but I wanted to make a separate post for one of the funniest stories I can imagine.

I'm actually a vegan, I swear.

After Brennan and I got finished with a technology conference, we were already feeling a pretty good buzz and started walking throughout the 6th Street area when we realized we were starving and hit up the nearest source of food, a pizza cart. We started smashing on some meat lovers pizza, when, like the true hawks we are, noticed an attractive female ordering a pizza and holding some book. I decided the best thing to do would be to start a meaningful conversation with her, so I approached her and said “that book changed my life”. She turned around and started agreeing with me and explaining how the book illustrated why the meat industry was the worst part of America and that she converted to a vegan diet after reading it.

That’s about the time that she realized we were both talking to her while eating a meat lover pizza. Brennan made probably the funniest face I’ve ever seen when I said “Yeah, this was just my one slip-up”.

This has to be about the best timing on anything, ever. The moral of the story is that she turned out to be a bartender, thought our massive bullshit introduction was hilarious, and actually bought us shots at her bar when we finally figured out what it was called. That’s how winners play Austin.

Sweet, Sweet Justice

Here's what New Mexico wants you to think New Mexico looks like.

New Mexico sucks. Honestly, I don’t see why they made a New Mexico when the Old Mexico was bad enough as it is. Nearly everyone will tell you that it sucks, especially Texans. (Everything just seems smaller there — I don’t get it!) I’ve recently remarked on my twitter that when you live a bad life and do bad things and die, you don’t go to hell, you just go to Jal, New Mexico. (The town’s slogan is “LIVING IN JAL, NM”. I think this was all they could attribute to Jal — people do indeed live there. Though “DYING IN JAL, NM” might be equally appropriate.)

I think that the constant 65 MPH winds are a good start to why it sucks, but you need to combine that with the desolate wasteland and the dust to get a better picture. The worst problem is that New Mexico apparently has the world’s slowest speed limits and the most highway patrol cars in the world. Some highways in the oilfield are, get this, 45 MPH though most are a somewhat more palatable 55 MPH (which is still slower than the damn wind).

Here's what New Mexico actually looks like.

So, I really don’t mind speeding and going ten over or whatever. People who know me know that I drive offensively rather than defensively because defense doesn’t win football games so obviously it doesn’t win life either. But, right now because I have the Navy review boards going on, I absolutely can’t get a ticket or this could set everything months behind. It’s such a huge hassle to deal with a ticket in the military (seriously, why are there so many forms?) that I would do whatever it takes to avoid getting one. This means actually following speed limits that are so impractical and awful that no one besides myself will even consider obeying.

Usually, this entails that the drivers will  just pass you since there’s hardly ever any turns anyway and the possibility of a hill is also pretty remote (though there are a few here and there). I don’t mind this: if I was in a hurry I would go the Texas style minimum of 70 MPH and just say I forgot I was in New Mexico because it’s just a little worse looking than West Texas. So, that’s fine with me. However, what I do mind is when people are pissed off about me going the speed limit. If you have to pass, don’t tailgate me and then stare at me like I’m an idiot when you pass. That’s frustrating but I deal with it.

But today some tool (a Texan tool, sadly) was tailgating me in a 55 MPH when he was obviously trying to go 75 MPH. When he finally passed (in the middle of an open nowhere, so it wasn’t a big deal anyway), he not only stared at me but flipped me off. I considered speeding up and not letting him pass, or cutting him off right as a 50 foot bridge came up and he would hurl off the side of it in a fiery explosion ala an early ’90s action movie… but I contained myself and just let him do his thing like an adult. But I was still angry. That jerk.

I drove off with a smug satisfaction. Thanks for fixing this one God!

So I continued to drive and passed through Jal on Highway 18 and on my way out, who do I see on the side of the road? The truck that flipped me off and he was getting a ticket for speeding. I laughed some sadistic, insane laugh and started shouting “yes, yes!” because I was so happy at seeing this. Of course, when I drove by, I slowed down and honked so the driver saw me and my huge smile.

Enjoy the ticket, you dick.

Paying with Pennies

A bunch of coins. Yeah, I wasn't very creative with this caption.

I was a real asshole in high school. I think this was probably because I didn’t have a ton of friends and I didn’t fit in entirely well. It wasn’t that I wasn’t liked, but rather I just had a distinctive sense of humor and I really thought my accomplishments in life up to that point set me apart from everyone else in high school. In retrospect, they did, and my humor was well appreciated by those who could understand it, such as the crowd in college. I know that’s kind of arrogant and insulting to the people that went to Lee High School from 2003-2006, and yeah, well, it is. If you’re reading this now and thinking that I’m wrong, maybe I’m still just an asshole.

Regardless, the state of me being an asshole isn’t the point of this post, but rather I wanted to tell a story about what Mikey and I did sometime during one of our high school lunch breaks. I think that hanging out with Mikey, someone who felt just like I did — a very cynical, sarcastic guy, in other words — really made us feed off each other to do stupid things that stupid kids are likely to do. One such great idea was paying for lunch with of a fistful of coins. I’m not sure who came up with this genius idea, but I’m glad we did because I look back on it and still laugh, even though I know it makes me a bad person for doing so. But, this was probably nearing on eight years ago (wait, am I really getting that old? Damn!) so I feel like I’m justified in saying I’m not the same person anymore, and neither is Mikey. We’re still cynical, sarcastic jerks, but in a more endearing way, I assume.

This place is pretty good. But I don't get how it is so expensive.

So, what we ended up doing was going to the bank and getting a couple rolls of nickles and pennies and then mixing them up in a big plastic bag, and then heading to Sonic, America’s  Drive-In (apparently), and ordering a few things to eat.

When the girl came out to hand us our food, we quickly took it and we both were already trying our best to stop the laughs from just knowing what we were about to do. Then, I pulled out the bag of coins, scooped up a huge handful of them and then poured it in her hands. The girl didn’t know how to react to this and just stood there trying to cup the overflowing mountain of coins while they showered down to the pavement making so much noise that everyone at the drive-in was probably staring directly at her. When this finished, I managed to stammer out one sentence while Mikey was looking the other way and crying laughing:

“You might want to count that.”

So, the poor girl sat there, collected all the spilled coins, and then counted it all out for somewhere around five minutes. After all this, she finally had the right amount of change to give back to us. Then I told her:

“Oh, you can keep the change.”

I Googled "Heaven" and I got this back. If Heaven looks like a Lisa Frank binder, maybe I don't want in.

I’m thinking right there, at that moment, God was looking down from Heaven with a big red Sharpie and crossed my name off the guest list. (He’s probably looking at me now to see if this is an apology but I’m still laughing while I write it, so I guess I’m just screwed on this one. Sorry God!) I feel sorry for this girl, and I instantly did as I said this, but I couldn’t stop from laughing. The ridiculousness of the whole situation was incomprehensible and Mikey hadn’t stopped laughing the entire time, his face buried in his clothes as he tried to stifle the laughter.

I think what this whole situation proved is that this girl was just a bystander that we dragged down, and yet, somehow, she was able to remain calm and actually not flip out on us. I’m sorry, but Sonic does not pay enough for me, if I was in that situation, to hold back. I would have thrown the coins back in my face and tried to kill me. So I guess the whole point of this story is that, one, it’s awesome and hilarious, two, it’s sad and depressing, and three, it proves that this girl was incredible.


CDs to install an awful internet service

I know that these are already irrelevant and that a younger person probably has no idea what I’m talking about. Basically, these CDs are what AOL and other companies would send you to try to get you to try “the internet” with. Amazingly, I even remember getting these offers on floppies, which are an ancient technology used by mythological humans in the 1990s. I know the concept of getting a CD just to start the internet seems strange, considering that these days if you start a computer it’s probably online. And if not, your phone is. But, back in the day, these CDs were everywhere. You’d get them in the mail and see them at every cash register. They’d be all over the place. So, as a kid, I couldn’t help but just grabbing everything that said free.

If you can imagine anything more awesome to a kid than this, your parents must have given you LSD.

Of course, I experimented with the usual ways to abuse these things — as frisbees or as microwavable mayhem. But, the point of this story is not about those obvious (though interesting) ways to break the free AOL CDs.

One of my best friends in elementary/middle school was Pierce. He and I would always hang out, and always ended up going to the movies with his mom. (I remember at least 10 cases of her bringing a soft drink smuggled in her purse and it somehow exploding in the movie theater all in her purse…) One day while at the theater we discovered what was essentially the Holy Grail of free crap — and entire box of AOL CDs. Obviously, we grabbed as many as we could carry — fat stacks of these things. I don’t know why we didn’t get a bag, but instead we just stuffed them in our clothes and tried to remain innocuous.

Secretly, this was our goal. Why didn't we use nails? Stupid kids!

When we got to Pierce’s house, we instantly decided what we had to do: destroy every last CD. After about 20 or so CD frisbees, I think we finally figured out the best way (worst way?) to possibly do it. We went outside and stuck them in the cracks in the road in front of his house and lined them up until there were probably 30 or 40 CDs. Then, we set up a laser pointer that would go from his second story window onto a stop sign right in front of the CDs. The genius result was that people would drive, get flashed in the eyes by the laser pointer, and then bust a ton of CDs with the most loud crack imaginable and then get puzzled, stop, and see what the hell had just happened.

Somehow we were never caught. I don’t get how because we did this literally right in front of his house and we would just hide in the bushes. But I’m glad we didn’t because this makes for one of my favorite childhood memories.

12 July 2010

When I was getting some food, I saw a pretty girl eating alone. I asked to eat with her and she never touched her sandwich, so I asked why. Here is the exact wording of the conversation:

Girl: I have this thing where I can’t eat because my brain tells my body I’m too fat.
Me: Oh, so you have an eating disorder?
Girl: No way! That’s dumb!
Me: You literally just gave the definition of anorexia.
Girl: Oh, but I don’t throw up or anything.
Me: No, that would be bulimia.
Girl: I don’t know what you’re saying so just give up.

I got up and left. At this moment, I don’t think I’m ever going to talk to another person again.