When the dead rise, it's time for coffee.

Browsing Posts published by Melvin

From: Ava <RITA>
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:44 AM
To: Thomas <RITA>; Michele <RITA>; Timothy <RITA>; Melvin <RITA>; Kim <RITA>; David <RITA>; Charles <RITA>; Jeffrey <RITA>
Subject: Office of Public Affairs Titles

Lately I have been getting calls asking for the title of various people in this office. I don’t have a correct listing so if you have a moment would you please forward to me your title for future reference. thank you…. 

From: Kim <RITA>
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:45 AM
To: Ava <RITA>; Thomas <RITA>; Michele <RITA>; Timothy <RITA>; Melvin <RITA>; David <RITA>; Charles <RITA>; Jeffrey <RITA>
Subject: RE: Office of Public Affairs Titles



I got a call this morning. I sent them to personnel. 

From: Kim <RITA>
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:51 AM
To: <RITA>; Ava <RITA>; Thomas <RITA>; Timothy <RITA>; Melvin <RITA>; David <RITA>; Charles <RITA>; Jeffrey <RITA>
Subject: RE: Office of Public Affairs Titles

 Also, why didn’t the caller just ask the DOT operator to connect him to that person and ask him to verify his own title?


From: Dave <RITA>
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:51 AM
To: Kim <RITA>; Ava <RITA>; Thomas <RITA>; Timothy <RITA>; Melvin <RITA>; David <RITA>; Charles <RITA>; Jeffrey <RITA>
Subject: RE: Office of Public Affairs Titles


Probably because most people would find it easier to go to one central location to get the answer instead of trying to track down a whole office full of people with that one question.


We all know that unfounded optimism about the upcoming college football season is as deeply rooted in Gamecock tradition, as the Cockaboose, Tally Ho! and inexplicable losses to mid-major teams (see homecoming game against ECU circa 1994). Thus, I feel that I have as much a right to analyze the “keys” to a successful season, and in turn…underwrite optimism, as Stewart Mandel (SI) and all of the other pundits have to presume that the ‘Cocks will field a mediocre team (a cowardly prediction I might add, because predicting the Gamecocks will suck is no different than placing bets on both red AND black at the roulette table).

With that said, here are my five brilliant keys to a successful season:

1. Throw a few complete passes to the guys in garnet.

One of the worst kept secrets in the SEC is that if you stop the running game of USC, you have not only stopped the offense, but are going to also reap the benefits of the Gamecock Rotating Quarterback Cluster Fuck (GRQBCF) throwing beautiful spirals to your defensive backs. Honestly, who thought that we would look back on the Phil Petty seasons as the glory days of Gamecock quarterback play? What a completely unacceptable notion…

I know this key is a no-brainer (in fact, my worst kept secret is these are ALL no-brainers), but it is a bottom line issue that could continue to undermine the stronger aspects of the team–i.e. defense, Spurrier, my will to live. And, if the passing game can’t even manage to be average, it doesn’t matter how improved the offense line may be, or how talented the young running backs are, they won’t be able to run the ball with 8 million guys crowding the line of scrimmage.

Also, how many leads have the Gamecocks blown the past few years because they can’t chew up the clock?

If Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia could have resisted the urge to throw ball into triple coverage just a few more times, perhaps last season would have ended differently. Considering how often the defense was forced back onto the field after making a great stop, they performed admirably, and did enough not to lose with marginally competent quarterback play.

If Garcia limits the mistakes, then maybe the Ol’ Ball Coach doesn’t feel the need to evoke the Stephen McCollum QB chimera, and the Gamecocks manage to steal a win or two–versus the other way around.

2. Survive the first last two games.

Historically, most college football teams that start the season strong, end up having a decent year, because they take care of a few teams that should be beaten, gain confidence, and have the opportunity to establish a chemistry among the starters. However, like most things Gamecock, this precedent does not hold true. Yes…yes..I know “Georgia is our bellwether game, and makes or breaks our season,” but it is time to move past this obsolete concept. The SEC has evolved since 1992, and the Gamecocks (and fans) need to move past this idea that Georgia is the Gatekeeper to their Keymaster for a successful season. While ideally they do start strong by taking care of the Wolf Pack, potentially upsetting Georgia (or at least being competitive) and avoid enabling that ass clown Howard Schnellenberger by virtue of an FAU upset, the key will be to someone how survive the “orange crush”.

By survive by no means am I suggesting that the ‘Cocks beat Florida and Clemson. I’m not even suggesting they split–what I mean is: don’t get outscored 87-20. While it would just be gravy to upset Florida and beat Clemson, we have to be realistic. USC is coming off a season that ended…well…horribly, and lost their best defensive backs and their best linebacker. Let’s temper our expectations, and hope for better play on both sides of the ball; even if the ‘Cocks are not quite at the same level of the SEC elite, and…ugh…Clemson.

I think the worst case scenario would be to barely qualify for bowl, after getting waxed at the end of the season–again.

3. Pray that Stephen Gilmore and Akeem Auguste are as good as advertised.

If there has been one consistent strength since Steve Spurrier lept into the deep abyss of Gamecock football, it has been the play of our defensive backs. From Ko Simpson and Jonathan Joseph to Captain Munnerlyn and Emmanual Cook, the ‘Cocks have remained one of the top 20 passing defenses in college football. I mean, imagine how ugly it could have gotten the past few years if opposing teams could not only run the ball on us, but also pick apart the secondary?

For the past three years, Munnerlyn and Cook provided NFL-level talent at the cornerback/safety positions, and almost completely shut down this year’s number one overall pick in the NFL draft, Matthew Stafford.

Now they are gone. I repeat: these guys are gone.

Stephen Gilmore and Akeem August–and now C.C. Whitlock after getting the opportunity to play more–show tremendous athletecism and promise as replacements. But, they are young and inexperienced, and will be facing Jevan Snead, Saint Timothy Tebow, Southern Cal-transfer Ryan Mallett (who the fuck wants to transfer from the beach to ass-backwards Arkansas, even if it means you get to start?) and the improved Russell Wilson–all complimented by the usual SEC speed at the skill positions.

If there is any single position beyond quarterback that could be the difference between finishing the season 8-4, or 5-7, it is cornerback/safety. These guys are young, so they are going to get torched or miss a tackle occassionally, but let’s hope that the learning curve is at a minimum.

4. Put your offensive playmakers on the field.

Heralded recruits Jarvis Giles and Alshon Jeffrey did what they needed to do–finished school and were granted early enrollment. These two players have it. They are the type of football players who have proven they know how to make plays, and have the athleticism to back it up. The Gamecocks are not defending a title, or bringing back group of offensive players who fueled a successful 2008 season. In fact, no one currently on the roster has proven they know how to win–there should be no veteran player loyalty, overcoaching or factors to stand in the way of getting Giles and Jeffrey on the field.

Brian Maddox? Come’on, he needs to get carries, but he is not a gamebreaker…he should be chewing up the clock in the 4th quarter.

[Insert receiver's name here] have proved absolutely nothing. When Smelley and Garcia weren’t getting sacked or telegraphing passes to the defense, they were watching serviceable throws being dropped by Dion Lecorn, Jason Barnes and Moe Brown–or worse falling futilely into the turf after a poorly run route. These players obviously have to be on the field, but until they indicate they can run the routes and make the critical plays necessary, then they should not stop Jeffries from being on the field.

5. Transcend the history of mediocrity, and learn how to fucking finish games.

The Gamecocks need to stop having moments like this. Period.

Duh, I know. I wrote this in non-linear pieces, between actual work, and over 6 hours…so cut me some slack.

…I finally concede there is no possibility I could ever win a fight with a chimpanzee. Not only could I not win a fight with a chimp, it would not even be close – the battle would be similar to this brief summary of the 911 call about ‘Travis’ the chimp attacking a friend of his owner:

“The chimp killed my friend” and “He’s ripping her apart.” Herold pleads with the dispatcher for police to “please hurry” to save her friend from the beating. At one point, she even yells for the police to shoot the chimp to stop the attack.

Simply replace ‘her’ with ‘him’, ’she’ with ‘he’, and ‘Herold’ with ‘Dave’ or ‘Scott’. I would be ripped apart, or at minimum, horribly disfigured; the chimpanzee would die in a hail of gunfire.

This post probably seems random to most of you, but there are several individuals out there who know exactly what I am talking about–YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

P.S. Oh BTW….dude who keeps ripping Obama on here; I have two words for you: Herbert Hoover. And, chili dog (just because I think its funny).


Mmm…exactly how I like my sprinkles–obscene.

The above image was sent to me while I was at work.

I especially like the acronym STFU, and Snoopified “shiz”, being intermingled with actual swear words.

(Honestly, I would be pleasantly surprised if she could successfully bake a cupcake; even if it has ‘bitch’ sprinkles.)

It’s Christmas Eve, most stores are closing, the next 24 or so hours are going to be devoid of access to amenities such as groceries and liquor. I need to make a deposit, withdraw a little bit of cash for myself and to pick up a few last minute gifts, so a short detour to the ATM while traveling to the girlfriend’s parents should be fairly innocuous. If you were to dig a little deeper, the fact that I bank with a credit union located 400 miles from my home, could make this event seem much more precarious. Actually, I tend to make all events precarious. All deposits, card and check issuances, and miscellaneous banking activities are done remotely. The inconvenience is a small price to pay for the scarce fees, numerous free products, and perks such as instant ATM deposit credits.

So, my girlfriend and I, free of stress, head out the door to enjoy a late Christmas Eve dinner with her family, where we’ll have a little wine and open a few presents. We are a little late, but what else is new? I am always late.

As we drive through the neighborhood I casually mention: “Oh…I need to stop at an ATM and make a deposit, and withdraw cash for the next few days.” I pull next to an ATM, perform the transactions–oooo…its a little chilly outside–and jump back into the car. We drive down the main street, between the row-style shops, noting which bars happen to be open, engaging in friendly conversation: “We should rent SuperBad from RedBox DVD on Wednesday; good thing we have a debit card!” 

Uh-oh, we need gas!

I pull into the gas station, step out and place the pump in the gas-hole…thing. I open my wallet so that I may swipe my debit card through the reader…

Hmmm…where is my debit card?


I frantically throw my wallet onto the back seat, jump into the car, and yell, “I forgot to grab my card from the ATM!”***

***I have committed this error about two to three times a year since 2000. Seriously, I can’t help myself, I gleefully grab my cash and skip away, forgetting the single most important part of using an ATM.

“You fucking idiot, how could you do this on Christmas Eve!? How can you do this all the time?” the girlfriend yells.

“Maybe I can get back in time before the ATM eats it!”

My car screeches down the road, luckily there is no traffic…I hold small shred of hope that the universe will show mercy on me. I pull up beside the ATM, jump out of the car, wide-eyed and briefly optimistic…

The ATM sits there, cold and merciless, the receipt dangling from the dispenser, and the card nowhere to be found. A guy sees my misery and bewilderment, the receipt held futilely in-between my thumb and forefinger:

He says, “Did you leave your card in the ATM?”

Me, “Yeah…”

Him, “That sucks dude…well…Merry Christmas!”

I will stab him with a  filthy icicle, and use his skin as currency until my new debit card arrives!!!!!

Oh well…at least I will be able to..um…buy things in 7-10 business days.

h/t  to Amber

Wow…I am already pissed off, and I have barely begun to write about this heaping pile of horseshit that attempts to pass itself off as a legitimate contender in sports video game history. I mean, just look at the box-art: John Elway’s big, fat fucking face, with his Austin Powers teeth…posed so ridiculously with the NES controller as if beckoning, “See, I play the Nintendo.”

And…I like John Elway.

Where do I start with the numerous issues that turn the John Elway’s Quarterback gaming experience into a boring, poorly designed excuse for a competitor to Tecmo Bowl?

Well I will take the easy route and just give you a list:

1. It doesn’t have an NFL license. So, you can play as different teams named after cities with NFL franchises, but there are no actual logos or players. In fact, the colors aren’t even the same, which means that the Steelers are fucking baby blue, and Indianapolis is PINK…it doesn’t make any goddamn sense. If you can’t use the team colors, at least don’t make them look like a bunch of pussies.

2. The graphics and animation are terrible, even for the era. The field is in a vertical* layout, lacking any indication of texture or context, with flat, poorly animated players that appear to be doing a jig. Their helmets resemble a storm-trooper’s, with a creepy black void across the front. The end-zone celebration is even more shameful, as the little characters hop around, arms flailing like those scary inflatable wacky armed creatures that are always in front of car dealerships:

3. You only have 9 plays to choose from on offense, 6 on defense, and then kick block/return. Hooray…you’ll be bored by the selection in less than 10 minutes. Inexplicably, you cannot deliberately run the ball. You can only choose from the same 9 pass plays, with your only opportunity to run being a QB scramble–this is futile, because you’ll be sacked the moment you even decide to try this maneuver.

4. One play will always score a touchdown, removing any possibility of a challenge:

Here is a good example from YouTube of John Elway’s version of the “foot-sweep” in Mortal Kombat (notice the annoying “CHARGE!” jingle):

5. John Elway’s Quarterback is vastly inferior to Tecmo Bowl and its successor, Tecmo Super Bowl. In Tecmo Super Bowl you play with real NFL teams and players contemporary to their release, and can customize plays and the depth chart; an entire season can be simulated. In John Elway, its just an arcade style, you against the computer or a second player–there is no comparison.

Which would you rather play?

Lastly, the most infuriating gameplay quirk of John Elway, that really could just be an overreaction on my part, is when you scroll through the list of ‘teams’ to play as, it doesn’t follow any real sequence. So, if you accidentally scroll past ‘Pittsburgh’–for example–when you try to scroll back up….IT FUCKING GOES TO SOME OTHER RANDOM TEAM. This turns what should be a simple, straightforward process, into a another good reason for this game to have never been sold.

*Thanks SK–you asshole.

While most NES games managed to avoid the plague of irritating futility that killed the Atari 2600, Cybernoid revives the mediocre formula that made so many of the 1st generation console games unsatisfying. I mean, the graphics are OK for the era, but Cybernoid has the three critical attributes of a video game that would make it annoying as fuck:

1. Repetitive, irritating music/sound effects.

2. A nearly impossible gameplay concept that requires superhuman reflexes…complimented by…

3. …repetitive, irritating levels.

What I find to be intriguing, is that according to Wikipedia, Cybernoid is a critical success. I find this to be intriguing, because I specifically recall renting the game after reading a review in Nintendo Power that declared it to be the most difficult game they have ever played. In fact, Cybernoid is so fucking difficult, that the game-player is given 9 lives. In this case, I am not so sure 9 is enough–in fact, you would need an anomalous mathematical quantity of lives…like googibalifintomolisillion lives. Inexplicably, the game has THREE difficulty settings: Easy, Hard and Lethal.  Jesus Christ, isn’t Easy lethal?! I can only assume that setting Cybernoid to ‘lethal’ is an experience similar to watching that video cassette in The Ring.

Anyway, the box itself claims that Cybernoid is an “international hit” which leads me to imagine Jean Girard twisting Ricky Bobby’s arm and demanding, “Say you like Cybernoid…”

So, as with any shitty video game, I will preface a description of the actual game-play with the lame-ass story (from Wikipedia) that is supposed to inspire you:

Pirates have raided the storage depots of the Federation and stolen valuable minerals, jewels, ammunition and the latest battle weaponry. The Cybernoid ship has been depatched[sic] with instructions to retrieve the stolen booty and to return it to storage within a specified time limit. The pirates have activated planetary defence systems and the Cybernoid will have to battle with these as well as the pirates themselves in order to retrieve the stolen booty.


As the..ahem…Cybernoid….you look kind of like a Toyota Prius with a giant squirt-gun attached to the bottom:

The weaponary and power-ups are about as lame as what you would expect from such a flaccid protagonist–little dots that emit from your gun. I think you can briefly clear the screen of all the enemies with a “bomb”, which is way less effective than you would think; more on that in a moment.

Basically, your goal is to survive each screen by navigating through a room until you can exit through the other side. Your ship kind of hovers around, and can…get this…shoot left OR right. Each room is littered with dangerous things you can’t touch without exploding, while volcanoes, other ships, little balls, and all kinds of shit that out numbers you is flying in your direction–thus, you have 9 lives…BECAUSE YOU WILL DIE CONSTANTLY.

Even if you retrieve the power-up that can clear the room of all enemies, it is kind of like the first sledge hammer at bottom of Level 1 in Donkey Kong: its more of a distraction will cause you to make a mistake and DIE AGAIN AND AGAIN, than a strategic advantage. Once the screen is cleared by the bomb, your amnesty lasts only a second, because all the same shit comes flying at you…again. Prepare to get really pissed when you finally pass the 3rd or 4th room, and then you fucking lose your last life.

Each room may look a little different, but its just your little pansy Cybernoid crashing into shit as your try to achieve the ultimate goal of exiting:

Go ahead, ruin five minutes of your life before getting bored and frustrated, by playing Cybernoid yourself.


What is the definition of a pet? For some individuals a pet is a loyal labrador retriever; companion who both shows and accepts your affection. For others it may be an old house cat who is a fixture in their family life, or a hamster, or any other living creature for whom they take responsibility for because they care about them. I have three dogs that drive me to the brink of murder-suicide, but despite their life-ruining neediness, I enjoy spending time with them–I would spend two hours walking my dogs on the South Side river trail over almost any other activity.

Then there is my girlfriend’s Nanday Conure (a parakeet), Tiki. The reason Tiki is still alive is because we rescued her from a family that was terrified of her, and kept her locked in a cage 24/7. She is obsessed with my girlfriend, and will sit with her for hours, demanding head scratches and making happy little noises. However, Tiki and I share a burning hatred for each other. When I am even within her line of sight, she puffs up and begins grabbing anything around her and begins tearing the shit out of it: clothing, furniture upholstery, skin, etc.

Presently, her flight wings need to be trimmed, so she has the ability to soar around the house like a crazed, Melvin-hating eagle. So, there are numerous moments during the day when I have to pick her up. Sometimes I use the TV remote, but I am reluctant to do so on a consistent basis, because Tiki tries to rip the fucking buttons out of it. This means, I have to use my person to get her to her cage. Luckily for me, she has a developed a strategy for maximizing her potential to bite the shit out of me–and I am always dumb enough to fall for it.

The bird will wait until I approach her to pick her up, an then she chirps pleasantly and holds one foot in the air, and makes clinching motions with it–beckoning: “Its ok Jason, we are friends now…let me perch on your finger, and everything will be ok.” But, everything is NOT ok.

She waits until I gain a fragile sense of security, perches gently on my finger, and then–


 She fucking sinks her walnut-cracking beak into my flesh. I scream in pain, thrash around…the bird freaks out…flaps around the room wildly… and then usually lands on my shoulder where my face is suddenly fair-game. If she is feeling generous, she just viciously grabs the fabric of my shirt an punches a few holes in it. Sometimes, Tiki suppresses her desire to poop until the opportunity arrives to land on some part of my body, and then she shits right on me. It’s GREAT.

What kind of goddamn pet-to-person relationship is this?

P.S. I am going to upload a photo of the bird, and my mangled hand later tonight.


Visual Evidence:


Pittsburgh Summer


 Pittsburgh Winter

The neighborhood I live in is called the “South Side Slopes“, so as you can imagine…my drive to work this morning was a little more terrifying than usual.


I recently moved into a house that was renovated, including the installation of a hard-wired smoke alarm system. When I moved into the house, I thought to myself–it’s nice to know that I am going to have the security of a reliable smoke alarm system. I don’t have the greatest of luck, and if anyone is going to perish under bizarre, catastrophic circumstances, I would be the leading candidate.

For example, several years ago one of my dogs, Coconut, ventured into the kitchen of our old place. In an apparent attempt to scavenge the stove-top for any stray crumbs, she propped her front paws onto the front of the oven, turning on one of the burners. Ignorant to the activity going on in the kitchen, I was watching TV with the ol’ girlfriend in the adjacent living room. The burner that Coconut accidentally turned on, was under a “fire retardant” ovenmit. After several minutes of continual exposure to an open flame, the ovenmit caught fire. I remember watching Coconut walk past the couch I was sitting on, with a look so supsicious, I could almost hear her whistling nonchalantly and singing:

“Just walking by you…la la…absolutely nothing is on fire…bobbity boop…”

Suddenly, I smelled smoke…

I quickly ran into the kitchen, and found myself confronted with a flaming ovenmit. I screamed, “COCONUT IS TRYING TO KILL US!” and proceeded to turn off the burner and frantically douse the ovenmit with the spray attachment from the adjoining sink.

So, as you can see, a reliable smoke alarm is essential when being Melvin.

That being said, I FUCKING HATE OUR NEW SMOKE ALARM SYSTEM. After only a few days in my new place I discovered that anytime you bake anything in the oven at even the lowest possible temperature, that goddamn alarm goes off. And “loud” does not begin to describe the actual alarm that it emits. Our smoke alarm system isn’t loud–it is ear-shatteringly loud.  Since the alarm system is hard-wired, all 5 units simultaneously release a soul-piercing shriek that can only be stopped by complex series of procedures that include opening every window in the kitchen and yelling “FUCK!” alot. 

Let me run you through the typical scenario:

1. Melvin places a frozen pizza in the oven, and even though the instructions say “Bake at 425 degrees”, he anxiously turns the knob to an almost ineffective 350 degrees–he sets the time and prepares for the worst.

2. 5 minutes pass, and he begins to feel secure–perhaps the alarm won’t go off this time.

3. 1 minute later, all five alarms begin shrieking, Melvin leaps off the couch, screams “FUUUUUUUUUUUCK!” and begins to open every window, the back porch door, and turns off the oven.

4. Melvin’s girlfriend’s parrot begins to freak out form the noise, and flies frantically around the house and crashes into Melvin and a few pieces of furniture before landing on its cage.

5. The dogs bolt into different directions, taking shelters in different locations, and start to violently shake.

6. Melvin grabs a magazine, and begins to futilely flap it at the smoke alarm closest to the kitchen, continuing to press the “hush” button on the alarm.

7. Eventually the alarm turns off, no thanks to any of his efforts, and everyone–man and animal–are freaked out and a little pissed.

8. 10 minutes later, the timer goes off for the pizza, Melvin eagerly walks over to the oven…opens it…and realizes he forgot to turn the oven back on. The pizza is uncooked.

9. Repeat steps 1-8.

I hate that fucking smoke alarm.

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