Some say that he has two left hands, and his nose can tell when it will rain. All we know is that he's called DFM.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Egomaniacs Get Their Comeuppance

I love to climb, and I love to compete. I have not missed a single climbing competition at my local climbing gym in over three years. The competitions in which I compete have three categories: beginner, advanced, expert (expert is the top division). There are no qualification standards for each division, it's entirely based on the honour system. When I first started competing I placed myself in the advanced category. In my first contest I placed seventh place. I quickly improved to fifth place, and by my third contest I had achieved the podium with a third place finish. I eventually reached a high of second place before noticing a disturbing trend.

From midway through my second year on, the better I got the worse I ranked. It seemed as though there were a number of climbers who, although much better than the vast majority of the competitors in the advanced division, were not willing to compete against the climbers in the expert division for fear of losing (even though they were scoring higher than a number of the competitors in the expert division anyways). I continued to see more and more egomaniacs stacking the middle division until I became fed up and decided to do something about it.

I felt that it was ridiculous to have climbers in their twenties with three or four years of experience competing against eleven year old kids who were just trying to have some fun and maybe win a prize. I packed up my own ego and entered into the expert category. The results were predictable - I finished at the bottom of the division for a number of months. Recently, however, I received my retribution.

In the last competition I once again entered myself in the expert (top) category. And once again a number of egomaniacs entered themselves in the advanced category. While I have not necessarily improved to the point where I deserved to win the division, there were so few competitors (two in fact) that I ended up taking first prize. The irony is that the second and third place competitors in the advanced category both achieved higher scores than I did, but have to settle with a less gold-like colour for their medal. That's why the Bible says "A man's pride shall bring him low, but honour shall uphold the humble" (Proverbs 29:23).



(DFM mad! DFM climb!!!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ladders For Rapid Strength Increase

Another post influenced by a request I received from a reader. This reader wanted information about strength training. Here's is a strength training method I have found to be quite effective. The workout is referred to as a "ladder workout" and involves doing sets with the same weight, for progressively more repetitions, until you reach or approach your limit. Then you take a short rest, start over at the beginning and work up to a similarly high number of reps. You can repeat this process as long as you like. In practice, your workout might look something like this: 2 reps, 4 reps, 6 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps. Extended rest. 2-4-6-8-9. Rest. 2-4-6-8. Rest. 1-3-5-7. Done.

Note: you also rest in between each set, but the Rest between "series" (a sequence of sets of progressively higher reps) is the longest. Also, there are no set number of sets or series to be done, you can do as many or as few as you'd like. Furthermore, you may make the jump in reps/set within a series as great or small as you'd like.

This program operates on the theory that the greater the volume (total amount) of work you do in a given exercise, the more you will improve the efficiency of the nervous system to provide electric impulse to the muscles (more electricity = more muscle fibres able to contract). The point of the easier sets is to continue to increase the volume while remaining fresh and not tiring out, thereby allowing you to complete more total reps than you would if you went all-out on each set.

To prove the effectiveness of this method for increasing the total volume of work you can complete in a workout, I propose you perform a self experiment. Take any exercise you would like with any weight you would like. For the point of demonstration I will choose push-ups. Choose a time-limit (say 15 minutes) and start doing push-ups until you can no longer complete a rep (your maximum effort). Rest until you feel fresh enough to do a high number of push-ups again and repeat the effort until you once again reach your fail point. Continue in this manner until the fifteen minutes is up. Record the sum of all the reps completed in each set within the fifteen minutes time limit. Now, rest a number of hours until you are fresh again. Choose the same exercise, with the same weight, for the same time limit. Run a series of "ladders" from a low number to a high number. The higher the number of reps in your "max" set, the greater you can make the jumps in reps/set values within a series (i.e., 3-6-9-12 vs. 5-10-15-20-25). This way you won't spend your entire fifteen minutes increasing the reps/set by one each time if your max is 40 push-ups. Continue running ladders until the fifteen minutes is up. Compute the sum and compare this value to the total number of push-ups you completed using the traditional all-out method. I am confident that you will be pleasantly surprised.

I am currently using this method with a 53 lb kettlebell to great effect. Roughly three weeks ago I struggled to shoulder press the bell three times with my dominant arm. By performing two series of ladders three times a week I have since increased my maximum effort to 8 repetitions. In the first week I performed the ladders as follows: 1-2, rest, 1-2. The second week was completed using a 1-2-3, rest, 1-2-3 pattern. The third week involved two series of ladders with a top set of 4 (1-2-3-4, rest, 1-2-3-4). That's a 267% increase in less than a month. Try it out for yourself.



(You might want to think twice before you say "bite me" to this guy)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Wonders of Kettlebells

A kettlebell is essentially a cannon ball with an iron suitcase handle welded onto it. It is a traditional Russian strength and conditioning tool and there have been some wild claims made about its effectiveness. Kettlebells have been described as "weightlifting time ten," and are purported to add muscle to "hard gainers" and shred fat from "hard losers." Additionally, dedicated kettlebell users have been known to complete marathons without running a single step in preparation. When I first heard these claims I thought it was just a fad, and I continued to refuse to believe the hype for another three years. When I finally did order my first kettlebell to test out the claims, I was immediately turned into a convert.

Kettlebell exercises are divided into two different categories. Heavy kettlebells can be lifted slowly to build strength, and lighter kettlebells can be moved in various arcing patterns for ludicrously high repetitions as a way to boost cardiovascular fitness.

Any exercise that can be done with dumbbells can also be completed using kettlebells, but the same cannot be said about the reverse. Because of the shape of the kettlebell it can be swung between your legs - with no fear of having a wide dumbbell take out your knees. Furthermore, every exercise can be completed with the "cannonball" above the handle or below, effectively doubling the number of exercises that can be completed with a dumbbell before even considering the new and novel exercises that can only be performed with a kettlebell.

I won't waste my breath trying to convince you any more, since you if you are not yet intrigued by a device that is "weightlifting times ten," then nothing more I can say will interest you. Suffice it to say you owe it to yourself to check out Russian Kettlebells and see what all the hype is about.



(Even ferocious, man-eating Alpacas know the value of kettlebells, do you?)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dogs vs. Babies

I spent a half-hour playing with my roommate's Black Lab/Border Collie cross today. That dog is quite possibly the most beautiful dog and playful dog ever. Her two favourite games are catch and wrestling, and she could do both for hours. As I was wrestling and playing catch with her I started comparing her to a human baby. After carefully deliberating for at least a minute, I came up with the conclusion that dogs are better than babies. Here's why:

  1. My friend tells me that dogs are fully mobile within 9 days. Even in human terms that's still only 63 days. At 63 days a baby is barely crawling around. Point: dog.
  2. The aforementioned Lab/Collie is rather good at wrestling. Human babies on the other hand are awful at wrestling. They just lay there and get pinned without putting up a fight. When I try to body slam the dog, she flips out of my hands and comes back and tries to nip me (a worthy opponent). When I body slam a baby it just flops on the floor and cries a lot. Point: dog.
  3. When I play catch with the dog, she chases the ball and brings it back. If I throw the ball at her head she catches it. The baby, on the other hand, doesn't even move. If I throw a ball at its head it will just get hit in the face and start crying some more. Point: dog.
  4. When I go out for training runs with the dog, she pulls me along and makes me work extra hard so I get in extra good shape. When I take a baby out on a leash, it just drags along on the ground and makes nasty scraping sounds on the pavement. However, I still have to work extra hard. Tie, no point awarded.
  5. Within months the dog was trained to poop outside. Babies, on the other hand, do not seem to get this message no matter how long I leave them out in the snow. I could leave the baby out in the snow all night and it would still poop its pants the next day. Point: dog.
Well, there you have it. This highly hyped contest turned out to be a bit of a landslide for the dog. In soccer, a 4-0 score like this would probably have gotten the coach fired. I hope you babies are proud of yourselves, you've failed again. That makes me wonder though, who would win in a match between babies and the Washington Generals?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dirty Hippies

The saying, "don't let the bed bugs bite," had always seemed ridiculous to me. As far as I was concerned bed bugs were an urban myth. Sure they may have been an issue after WWII, but outside of jails and homeless shelters they were a thing of the past. Right?

Recently, a friend of mine had to evacuate her apartment while it was treated for bed bugs. A cursory search of the Internet showed that many major cities in Canada are experiencing a resurgence of the blood suckers. Apparently, when you sit on an infected bed the bug attaches to your clothes, then you carry it onto a bus where it attaches to the seat, then to another butt. Eventually the bug gets carried to your neighbour's apartment room and you get kicked out of yours.

While Dr. James Dobson would have you believe that it is homosexuals who are the greatest threat to your family, the evidence of bed bugs in my friend's apartment is proof that it is in fact dirty hippies who are the greatest threat to the family. I demand that hippie marriage be outlawed immediately! Where's Eric Cartman when you need him?

[Ed. note: the existence of bed bugs in many five star hotels would seem to disprove the "dirty Hippies" theory.]

Sunday, January 25, 2009

M and DFM's Excellent Adventure

For the past number of years I have been hanging out with my friend M so often that when we come into places people always yell, "hey, it's M and DFM!" Unfortunately, some people mishear this greeting as "hey, it's MandDFM!" This can cause problems when people think M's name is MandDFM. For example, there was one particular occasion when M walked into a room first and I followed a few seconds afterwards. The greeting we received from the well meaning host was, "hey, it's MandDFM... and DFM!"

Well M and DFM were at it again this weekend. Determined to "seize the day," we embarked on a wild safari of Biblical proportions. The temperatures were approaching "minus 5 billion degrees," but we had been working on our personal discipline and easily toughed it out. Even though we were both eaten dozens of times each by the ferocious beasts, M and I still managed to miraculously survive with the evidence of our daring escapade intact. For your amazement, I have included some of the more spectacular moments from the trip. [Caution: Do not read this before you go to bed. You will get nightmares.]



Our journey actually started the day before, 2 274 miles away in the Gobi Desert. Since we had the time, M and I decided to split this hike into two days. Upon arriving at the West Pole, we were immediately eaten by the giant Guinea Pig King who had a number of kangaroos for servants.



After this rather inhospitable welcome the Guinea Pig King placed us in cages while the other inhabitants of the West Pole tried to feed us pop corn and bread crumbs, before eating us.



Our first visitor was the dreaded man-eating Snowy Owl. He turned his head all the way around twice before eating us in 2 bites.



Next came the fearsome man-eating White Wolf. This guy here not only ate M and I, but he ate our unborn children too. You can see the blood lust in its eyes.



This Takin was featured in Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. He actually did not eat us though, because he was too busy using the hay to clean out the bones and raw meat from his last meal of four school children. Interestingly, this Takin has been said to be the inspiration for the Golden Fleece.



Similar to a snake, the man-eating Bactrian Camel cannot chew its human meal. Rather, it unhinges its lower jaw and swallows its prey whole. Interestingly enough, very few people know that this is how camels eat. Here, the humps you see are actually the outline of two unfortunate young women. They are slowly being digested alive by the digestive acids in the camel's stomach.

After M and I were turned into camel feces, we were flushed into an underground water world. But before we had a chance to drown, we were eaten twice each by the Ravenous Red Toad.



The Red Toad carried us to the other side of the world and spat us out on the gorgeous plains of the East Pole.



The first inhabitant we met was the menacing man-eating Buffalo. Wizened by our experiences at the West Pole, M and I pulled out a red cape and were able to have the Buffalo narrowly miss gorging us with its poisonous horns.



We again ran across some man-eating Wolves, but they had gone cannibal from not feeding on human flesh for too long. M and I took advantage of the distracted killing machines and moved on quietly.

Surrounded by so much danger, M and I decided it was time to learn how to defend ourselves. We observed the locals in their natural environment and were able to eventually agree upon the ultimate fighting weapon:

video

With our newly perfected martial skills, we easily chopped our way through the remaining threats until we found our ticket out of there.



We chased this murderous Mountain Goat up the rocky embankment and eventually trapped it at the top of the cliff. Defeated, the mountain goat was bound by ancient law to transfer us to any place we wished. We grabbed hold of its horns and were teleported back home. It was a good thing too, because we hadn't eaten in a while.

Friday, January 23, 2009

An Apple A Day

It is a rare day when I am able to walk around my campus and not find a "hip" undergrad with a Macbook (that white one, you know the one). For the life of me I cannot understand why. Universities are supposed to be institutions of higher learning, are they not? Then how have so many students "slipped through the cracks" of the education system? It is clear that young adults today have not the slightest grasp of basic mathematic inequalities.

Let's take the top of the line Apple Macbook for $1749 Canadian and compare it with a similar product like the Dell Studio XPS for $1779. Before we start though, I will list all of the components that are equal between the two laptops.

  • Both have the same graphics card
  • Both have a 13" LED screen
  • That's it
Now comes the math homework.

  1. Is a 2.4 GHz processor better than a 2.53 GHz processor? Macbook user's answer: Yes. Correct answer: No.
  2. Is 2 GB of RAM better than 4 GB of RAM? Macbook user's answer: Yes. Correct answer: No
  3. Is a 250 GB Hard drive larger than a 320 GB Hard drive? Macbook user's answer: Yes. Correct answer: No
Iam aware though, that many Macbook buyers are enamoured with their product's "user friendly" nature. However, I had a coworker who said he could not e-mail me because his Mac would not recognize my e-mail address. How is that user friendly?

Or perhaps Mac users are referring to increased security or a better operating system interface when they sing the Macbook's praises? If this is the case, then why not just install a linux based operating system like Ubuntu? You can adjust the settings to give you the same applications dock (that string of logos on the top or bottom of your screen) and looks, and Ubuntu is just about bullet proof when it comes to preventing viruses.

I'm also aware that Macs are often used by amateur movie makers who fancy themselves pros, and want to use "what Hollywood uses." If that is the case, prepare to pay an extra $199 for Final Cut Express 4, and another $189 for Aperature 2 (the photo editing software). For the Dell, one can buy the top-ranked software in terms of "user friendliness" for video editing at a fraction of the cost - Corel VideoStudio is only $70. CinePaint is free (open source) and is used by Pixar.

Since logic and math have failed to come up with a good reason for buying a Macbook, I am forced to conclude the following....

(this image was made on a Dell laptop using Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). Price of software: $0)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bar-barians

For those of you interested in becoming more fit, a goal is vital to keeping you motivated. I suggest at least one of your goals be related to a bodyweight exercise such as pull-ups, push-ups, dips, one-legged squats etc. The nature of the goal can range from completing just one repetition of an exercise (e.g., your first pull-up), or to setting a new record (e.g., my own goal of holding a handstand for one full minute).

Body weight training is something that is largely independent of location, money, or time, which makes it a great fitness tool. Even a stressed out accountant can do some push-ups on his or her coffee break. The top of a door can be used as an impromptu pull-up bar, and dips can be completed between two chairs or in the corner of your kitchen where counter tops meet.

Whatever exercise you choose to work on, or wherever you decide to do it, I have come across a couple of great sites on body weight fitness that may help you attain your goal(s). The first is a blog created by Mad Money for the calisthenics troop, Bar-barians. The blog can be accessed here. The Bar-barians perform unbelievable feats of strength on what can best be described as standard playground equipment. They have an official website of their own which can be accessed here. I strongly recommend checking out the forum where you can access training ideas and any information on any other fitness concern.

The Goode Family

In 1961, Polish Science-Fiction author Stanislaw Lem wrote one of the finest pieces of literature DFM has ever read. His masterpiece is called Solaris and revolves around the question of whether the illusion of recreation of reality is in fact reality. In the novel, the narrator falls in love with a clone of his ex-wife taken from his memory. When confronted with the possibility that the he may only love the clone because the clone has been modeled exclusively upon the positive aspects of his memory, the narrator is thrown into inner turmoil since the only way to determine if he loves the clone is to take note of his reaction to its destruction.

Similarly, Mike Judge has a new television series called The Goode Family coming out on ABC in early March '09, which also deals with a problem and which also looks to be just as brilliant as King of the Hill (which means it is as brilliant as Solaris too). The show revolves around a family, the Goodes, constantly afflicted with liberal guilt about being white and privileged and human. The central problem the family faces is how to act in an appropriately progressive fashion when the rules for acting progressively are constantly changing. In the following link, Mike Judge and the other creators describe the show and the Goode Family. Enjoy, and continue to support good writing; continue to support Mike Judge.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Banned Books

Sorry about not posting the last couple of days, but I have been rather busy. Today's post is regarding some of the books in school libraries that have been banned or challenged by parents. We all know that kids can be stupid, but parents of kids can be downright idiotic. Sometimes this fat-headedness manifests itself in the form of parents trying to censor the books that appear in the library of their child's school. I have not read every one of the books on the following list so I cannot comment directly, but here are some of the more seemingly outrageous instances of censorship gone wild that I have found.

The format for the list is as follows: Author's name. Book's title. Reason for challenge/ban of book. [My comments]

  1. Briggs, Raymond. Father Christmas. Santa Clause was misrepresented.
  2. Browne, Anthony. Piggybook. Language "too British."
  3. Dahl, Roald. James and the Giant Peach. Undermines adult authority.
  4. Grahame, Kenneth. Reluctant Dragon. An attack on home, the family, and adults. [Incidentally, the premise for this story is that a friendly dragon is the subject of a town's prejudice. A boy from the town shows everyone that the dragon is friendly and there is no reason to fear him. The town's people welcome the dragon. That's it.]
  5. Handford, Martin. Where's Waldo? A woman's bare breasts are visible on one of the pages. [Any of you who have tried to find Waldo before will understand how absurd this sounds. Then again, how will the parents ever be able to explain to their son that women have breasts?]
  6. Heine, Helme. Ten Naughty Little Mice. The mice are "eliminated" in a way that is too violent.
  7. Hodges, Margaret. St. George and the Dragon. Makes women look silly. [Perhaps there's a good reason?]
  8. Joyce, William. A Day with Wilbur Robinson. The pictures are weird.
  9. Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Anti-Christian.
  10. McCloskey, Robert. Blueberries for Sal. Makes children underestimate the danger of bears.
  11. Munsch, Robert. Pigs. Uses the word "pee."
  12. Munsch, Robert. Thomas's Snowsuit. Undermines the authority of school principals in general.
  13. Pare, Roger. Annick ABC. The word "nudist" is used.
  14. Steinbeck, John. Grapes of Wrath. Depressing.
  15. Stevenson, R.L. Treasure Island. Portrayal of Long John Silver is demeaning to the disabled.
  16. Weis, Lyle. No Problem We'll Fix It. Against two-parent families. [The book depicts a functional, single-parent family.]
  17. Williams, Garth. The Rabbit's Wedding. Unsuitable to show marriages between blacks and whites in a "kid's book". [The book is about the marriage of two rabbits. One rabbit is white and the other is black. The book is illustrated in black and white.]
Well, there you have it. I hope you had a good laugh. If you have heard of other cases of censorship equally as laughable then feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Afghan Solution

Some while ago, I saw a woman on TV comment about Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. This was shocking, not because she was commenting about it, but because of what she had to say. Her response was "I don't even know why we're over there!" At first I thought I had misheard, but then I realized she was just ignorant. At the time it had not been seven full years since the start of the campaign. If you think about it WWII would have just ended at this time. Do you think any Americans were asking themselves in 1944 why we they were still fighting over in Japan? But that did raise an interesting dilemma. Why has it taken so long to finish what amounts to essentially the World's largest game of hide and seek? A friend mentioned something that helped me realize the answer. We don't need better weapons or more Canadian soldiers. What we need are the Israelis.

Israel, as a nation, is a killing machine; it kills often and it kills well. But what is its secret? Practice.

Modern Israel was born on May 14, 1948. Less than 24 hours later it was attacked by the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq (at the same time). Israel won. Since then they've been the New York Yankees of modern warfare.

In October of '56, Egypt, Syria and Jordan signed a military alliance against Israel. Israel responded with military efficiency that would have made Hitler jealous while he was sipping wine in Paris. In 8 days Israel captured the Gaza Strip and the entire Sinai Peninsula.

The UN Wuss Patrol eventually came in and restored the political boundaries back to their original positions. However, less than a decade later, in 1967, Egypt kicked the UN forces out. This violation of the treaty, combined with consistent terrorism from its neighbouring countries, prompted Israel to engage in a three-front war. In six days Israel defeated Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian forces. In the process it captured Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights.

Fast forward to 1973 and the Israeli people are celebrating Yom Kippur - the most sacred of national holidays. Egypt and Syria launch a two-front, co-ordinated strike against Israel and are not only rebuffed, but driven back. Israel advanced to within 20 miles of Syria's capital.

Around 1982, the PLO set up shop in southern Lebanon and decided to terrorize northern Israel. "Operation Peace for Galilee" was launched and Israel summarily wiped out the bulk of the PLO's organizational and military infrastructure from the area.

Wiped out the bulk of the infrastructure? That sounds pretty good to me. My guess is that if Israel were in charge of The Afghanistan Mission, Osama bin Laden would have had his testicles burned off about six years ago.



(For those of you who don't know, this is supposed to be a picture of a Mossad agent. The Mossad is Israel's secret service.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cooking With DFM

I had spent all week preparing to make a meal of grilled Basa fish. I had my fish, my garnish, my sauces, etc. There were just two problems. 1) My most elaborate meal to date has been an omelet, and 2) It's winter and I didn't want to stand outside bar-be-cuing my fish when I wasn't even sure how best to grill it. Subsequently, more "rational" thinking prevailed and I decided to do what I normally do in situations of uncertainty: blindly jump into the deep end head first and rely on my time-tested powers of Optimism to get me through.

First I grabbed a frying pan. Next to boiling water, stirring things around in a frying pan is my most common method of preparing food to date. I chopped my Basa fillet into bite-sized pieces and threw the lot into the pan. It then occurred to me that while tasty, fish alone would not likely be considered a "complete" meal. So I chopped whatever I could find in my refrigerator - which happened to be some mushrooms, tomato, spinach and parsley. I added this salad to the frying pan to cook along with the fish. Now I had my vegetables and my meat, so I was halfway there. My next step was to cook up some potatoes. Although my experience with potatoes ends at peeling them in large quantities, I suspected that it may take longer to boil a potato than it would to complete the frying of my fish (especially since I'd have to take the bus to the grocer's first). Instead, I settled upon the next best thing: Tator Tots. I had luckily already pre-heated the oven and so I prepared a baking sheet and threw these in. Three down, one to go. The last choice was obvious. The cherry on top of this fish cake would be none other than God's favourite fruit (or at least mine), the apple.

It must be said that my timing was a bit off. My fish/veggie delight finished three minutes earlier than my Tots, and so the vegetables were a bit cold by the time I had the whole meal ready to go. Unsurprisingly to those who know me, I couldn't resist and started a bit early on my apple. All-in-all it wasn't a bad meal though. I'm sure the cooks/chefs among my reader base have a fancy name for what I've done, but as Hank Hill would say (and do), "I just fell back on natural instinct."

Here is the meal before it was masticated beyond recognition:



I fear the presentation may need a bit of work before I go on Iron Chef though (yes, that is a half-eaten apple).

Friday, January 16, 2009

How Not To Wear A Scarf

Scarves have one legitimate purpose: to keep your face warm. That's it. However, within the past year or so I have noticed an alarming increase in the number of scarves worn for a different reason: people trying to look foolish.

Take a good look at the following pictures if you don't know what I mean:

A) The No-Knot Knot



This is a safety concern for a good number of reasons. For starters, the ends of the scarf could be caught up in the wheels of an oncoming bicycle. If the bike in question looks like it should have died 40 years ago, but has been restored for purposes of making its rider look like a wanker, then this would be alright. However, there is the distinct possibility that the scarf may get caught up in the wheels of an important bike, like a ten-speed (these are often used for legitimate transportation purposes). This would be a tragedy since the scarf would not be in a position to choke the wearer.

B) The Tumor Knot


(This knot is not discriminatory. It looks equally ugly on both men and women.)

I call this one the Tumor Knot because it looks like the wearer has a giant cancerous growth coming out of his/her neck. Enough said.

C) The Hacker Knot



Believe it or not, that name is not a joke. Apparently this really is called a hacker knot. I prefer to call it the Fat Neck Knot, because that's what it makes you appear to possess. This is a great knot for attaching your baggage claim ticket to your luggage when you are traveling on the bus or a plane. But I fear the most you'll receive for using it to attach your scarf to your neck is a punch in the face.

Perhaps some of you are now confused. You've only ever seen people wear scarves in a manner similar to those pictured above. You may now be thinking, "but DFM, how then should I wear my scarf?" Good question. I'm glad you asked. Here is how to wear your scarf:



Yes, that is Randy Parker from A Christmas Story. This is the only known time in the history of modern cinema when a scarf was worn appropriately. After carefully scrutinizing the picture you may think, "but if I wear a scarf like this, I'll get too hot when it's not cold enough for a scarf but I still want everyone to know how hip I am." I guess you've got me there.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Handstand Training

I am writing this post in response to a request (yes, I actually take those). I have been working diligently the last couple of weeks and this morning popped up into a 40+ second handstand without any fuss. At the risk of sounding like a motivational speaker, I wasn't always this good and I had to work very hard to become so. But, unlike a motivational speaker, I will now share with you the secret of my success.

Before you even start doing any handstand training you should have at least a base level of shoulder strength, otherwise you're trying to run before you can walk. These numbers aren't set in stone, but I would think that being able to bench press at least 135 lbs (or something similar) or complete over 30 push-ups would be a decent starting point. If you're lighter, a smaller bench and more push-ups is acceptable, and vice versa for the heavier readers.

You can complete this program by just kicking up into handstand after handstand while you fall over, and it's possible that you will eventually learn to hold it, but this is like throwing spaghetti at a wall. My method is tried and tested (on myself) and I'm positive it will work for you.

Your first step is to learn how to do a headstand. Get something very soft for your head - like one of those folding mats at the fitness center, or a couch seat cushion. Place your head on the soft item and your hands should be at least a foot to a foot and a half behind your head and roughly shoulder width apart (a triangle is what we're going for here). Next, either balance your knees on your elbows and then straighten up into the headstand, or for the more gangly or impatient of you just try kicking up against a wall or otherwise. Obviously this will put a lot of strain on your neck, so if you don't think you're up to it, then work on strengthening your neck first (various ways, perhaps that will be another post).

Once you've mastered the headstand, you can begin learning the handstand, the DFM Way. The trick is to find a lot of couch cushions, mats, etc. that you can stack up on top of each other. One idea might be a stack of text books on top of which you place a pillow. Balance in your headstand on top of your tower of books/mats (if it's a folding mat, then just fold it up)/cushions, etc. Once you've accomplished this feat then violently push yourself up into a handstand (or as close as you can get). You do not need to hold this handstand for even a second. Just pushing up hard is all that matters (note: the higher your stack, the easier this will be). Once you've pressed up, then fall over or step back down and try it again, and again, and again. Eventually, after a few days perhaps, you will improve to the point where you can push up, balance momentarily, and then lower your head back down to the start. When you can do this, work to the point where you can go up and down, up and down, for at least 8 or more reps (a rep, or repetition, is one complete cycle of up and down).

Once you have accomplished your 8+ reps, then remove one book, mat fold, cushion, etc. from your stack. Repeat the entire process. By the time you have gotten down to the ground in this fashion, you should have no problem holding a 20 second handstand or more. Good luck.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why Babies Are Stupid

Because they can't read or write. In all seriousness though, I still think they're stupid. Take their incessant crying for example. What good does that accomplish? You look at the baby's face and you think that it's going to implode from all the strain. You try everything you can think of to make the little monster stop, but it just keeps going. Then, you find out that the only problem was that it had some gas in its gastrointestinal tract. Talk about your ultimate hypochondriac, or what?

I have the solution. I call it the Cry Collar. Essentially it's just a regular old bark collar for a dog which I place around baby's neck ("Awww, isn't she cute?"). The basic theory of the bark collar is quite simple. When the dog barks, the collar zaps the dog with an electric shock. If the dog barks again, the collar increases the strength of the electric shock. This process is repeated until the dog stops barking, or is killed. My Cry Collar would do the exact same thing. Baby cries, baby gets zapped. I have never met a dog stupid enough to continue barking long enough to reach a lethal dose of electricity. Let's see if we can say the same for a baby.

Now some of you might complain that my idea isn't PC enough for the 21st Century. But that's just because you don't love your baby enough to teach it some self control over its crying. I mean, I got zapped with electricity all the time as a kid (I deserved it though... I just didn't know when to stop....) and I turned out just great!

The Coffee Shop Story: Adventures In Naivete


My friend, M, and I decide to step into a small, high-end, specialty coffee shop for some tea and pastries. While standing at the counter a homeless person asks me if I can "spare any change?" I do not, in fact, have any money to spare (my friend was buying my meal for me which makes the story even more funny), so I told said homeless person that I would give him half of my scone.

After ordering, M and I sit down at one of the tables on the fashionable, yet rather uncomfortable, chairs. The homeless person sits at an adjacent table by himself and calmly ponders one of life's many mysteries (at least I assume that's what he was doing). I begin to admire how charming the homeless person looks, when the owner comes over and tells the homeless person that he has to leave. I interrupt the owner and inform him that the homeless person is my guest, and that he is waiting for the half-a-scone that I promised him. The owner tells me that he will box it up, and sure enough he gives the homeless person half of the scone and sends him on his way. Meanwhile, M can barely contain himself from spraying London Fog out of his nose and all over the establishment. And that's why I would probably be the worst business man ever.

In retrospect, this story would probably have been funnier if you had been there.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

WWHHD?


What Would Hank Hill Do? That is a question I ask myself almost every day. For those of you who don't know, Hank Hill is a character on the underrated television show King of the Hill. Hank is a Republican from Texas who hates all things asinine. So, in case you ever encounter one of the following situations and you're not sure how to act, let me tell you what Hank Hill would do:

1. Problem: Wife hints that for her birthday she'd like "something for the bedroom."
WWHHD?: Build her a shoe tree.

2. Problem: You're having a bar-be-cue and a guest asks for a medium rare steak.
WWHHD?: Ask him or her politely, yet firmly, to leave.

3. Problem: You have to take a shower with other men.
WWHHD?: Lower his eyes and count the tiles.

4. Problem: Some yoga instructor calls a pose the "Sun Salutation."
WWHHD?: Change the name to "Modified Roger Staubach.

5. Problem: You need to "explore your feelings."
WWHHD?: Fix up his truck or car, or the truck or car of a loved one/friend/acquantance/stranger, etc.

6. Problem: You see a teenager with dyed hair driving a car with a loud stereo, a wing, and neon.
WWHHD?: Call the cops.

Don't miss the hundreds of other useful tips to make your life asinine free that can be found every week on King of the Hill. It's on Sunday nights on FOX (unless there's a baseball game, or a FOX executive remembers it's been a whole week since he last screwed over Mike Judge). I know you'll enjoy. That's not FOX's policy, but it is mine.

A Sad Sad Day

Today is a sad sad day for DFM. I went on You Tube to check out my favourite show, Sasuke, but it appears as though some buffoon posted the secret code on the G4 (i.e., Devil's) message board. I'm sure he meant well, but the Fun Police came and took down the poster's profile and deleted all of his videos. The guy (coincidentally his profile was called theguy7121) had probably over 400 video clips on there. And we're talking stuff you couldn't find anywhere else. Such a shame. If he were posting videos that you could actually watch on TV I would understand, but the station in question didn't even own the rights to about 75% of the stuff on his profile, and now the torrent links for those shows are dead so there's no way to get them again. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go rip out all of my fingernails as part of my grieving process.



Good-bye Makoto Nagano, Toshihiro Takeda, Shingo Yamamoto, Bunpei Shiratori, Katsumi Yamada, and Kazuhiko Akiyama, the Sasuke All-Stars. Perhaps I'll see you again in a better life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kindergarten Cop: Great Movie? Or Greatest Movie?

John Kimble loves his car. He's also a tough-as-nails cop who "works alone." For reasons I can't be bothered to explain, Kimble is forced to go undercover as a kindergarten teacher in order to track down the identity of a drug-dealer's ex-wife and her/his son. Sounds easy, but the kids can smell fear, and when they do any unsuspecting teacher has had it! Hillarity ensues.

I know what you're thinking, "wow, that sounds like a great movie!" I know this because I thought the same thing too. John Kimble soon turns from a no-nonsense cop into a no-nonsense teacher who gets things done (uh-oh, we'd better get the union in on that before somebody learns something). You might think that the introduction of a rodent into the classroom as a class mascot or the use of a police whistle to keep law and order would be a bad idea, but you'd be wrong. This is John Kimble and you belong to him!



After watching this movie a couple dozen times I knew that teaching kids was a badass job - sometimes you get a headache and it might be a tumour. So watch out kids, your mommy isn't going to run behind you and wipe your little tushes any more. Oh no. It's time now to turn this mush into muscles!

And that's why Kindergarten Cop is the greatest movie ever.