Repost: I was once bitten by a vampire.

When she said she was a vampire, I just thought it was bawdy talk.

I saw this story – Florida Teen Murder Suspect Says She’s a Vampire – and it made me think of the time I was bitten by a “vampire.”  Retold here for your reading pleasure.

I want to share with you one search term that came up a number of times, a disturbingly large number of times.  It was, “Real Vampire Pictures,” or some variation of that term. The point is people were looking for information on real vampires.

Let me be perfectly clear on this point.  Vampires are not real.  They don’t exist.  Okay, yes I was once bitten in college by a girl who said she was a vampire.  And, yes she bit a couple of other guys that night.  And, yes I woke up with two very distinct fang marks on my neck, and it really freaked my roommate and me out.  And,  yes this vampire coed may have warned me that others would be coming for me because she had marked me, but they haven’t.  And I’m sure… relatively sure, it will never happen.   And I think I heard one of the other guys she bit died shortly thereafter… holy crap!  Vampires are real!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, they aren’t real, but the story about me being bitten in college by a girl claiming to be a vampire is 100% true.  And, she really did leave fang marks. She was a very polite vampire because she asked me if she could bite me before she did.  In my defense, I didn’t think bite actually meant bite.  We had a serious communication problem.  The relationship was doomed from the beginning.

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Guns N’ Roses before Rush?

Is it just me or are there others out there that think inducting Guns N’ Roses into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame before Rush is completely bogus?  I mean Tom Sawyer alone should earn Rush a spot in the hall of fame.  GNR was part of that whole embarrassing glam rock phase.  Rush was on the tail end of social change rock movement.  I’m a bit baffled that the hall of fame has repeatedly passed them over.  I guess I just don’t know music.

It’s the end of R.E.M as we know it.

The coolest band to ever come out of the state of Georgia is calling it quits. R.E.M, fronted by Michael Stipe, is taking it’s collection of ecletic lyrics and iconic songs and putting up the going out of business sign. Here’s the announcement from their website:

“As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

To Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and the already retired, Bill Berry, thanks for 31 years of great music.  I give you the only fitting R.E.M song to accompany this announcement.

That’s it. I’m moving to Canada.

OMG – The Canadian mint has issued a coin that has… wait for it… Sasquatch on it!  Canada here I come!

The latest collection of Canadian commemorative coins steer far away from traditional images of prime ministers and historical monuments. Lake dragons and underwater panthers have usurped the poppies, hockey players and royal newlyweds of coins past…The Canadian Mint also has a Sasquatch coin for sale.

Canada has officially become the coolest country ever.  Here’s the entire story: New Canadian commemorative coins feature lake dragons and underwater panthers

I ate industrial cleaner.

Here is a recreation of part of the label from my Dave’s Gourmet Ghost Pepper Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce.

A hot sauce and an industrial cleaner in one convenient bottle

I ate something that doubles as an industrial cleaner!  I don’t know if they’re joking or not, but after my experience with the sauce, I’m guessing they are totally serious.

This is my first encounter with the dreaded and, some would say, infamous ghost pepper.  I added a dash to my soup yesterday, and got through about half a bowl before I couldn’t eat anymore.  In fact, I didn’t really need to eat for the rest of the night.  I felt full and honestly, afraid to move too much.  I’m not giving up on the sauce yet, but I will have to build up a tolerance to it.  Half a dash from here on out.  Why subject myself to such torture?  Because it’s there!

Tedy Bruschi, lighten up!

"Ochocinco make Bruschi mad!"

Chad Ochocinco tweeted about his lack of catches against the Dolphins on Monday and ripped his quarterback about his metrosexual inclinations… Wait!  What?  He didn’t tweet any of that?  He actually praised his quaterback and his team’s performance?  That can’t be because Tedy Bruschi nearly blew a gasket about Ochocinco’s tweet.  So, what exactly did he tweet?

Just waking up after a late arrival,I’ve never seen a machine operate like that n person,to see video game numbers put up n person was WOW!

Oh-My-God! The nerve of Ochocinco!  How dare he be so supportive.  He’s actually promoting his team instead of himself.  What happened to the old Ochocinco that obsessed about his name and creating the next quotable phrase that would make him a pop culture icon?

How did Bruschi respond?

Drop the awe factor, OK, Ocho, Chad, drop the awe factor,” Bruschi began. “You’re not a fan, all right. You’re not someone who’s on another  team or watching TV. You’re not an analyst. You’re a part of it. They want you to be a part of it. So get with the program because obviously you’re not getting it and you’re tweeting because you’re saying, ‘It’s amazing to see’? It’s amazing to see because you don’t understand it! You still don’t understand it and it’s amazing to you because you can’t get it.

“Stop tweeting and get in your playbook,” Bruschi went on. “Wake up! If you’re just waking up now — I don’t know when this was, six minutes ago? — get out your bed and get to the stadium and watch some film if you still think it’s amazing. If you’re in it and you know what you’re doing and you execute out there you don’t think it’s amazing. You know why? Because it’s what you’re supposed to do.

Finally, someone with the courage to bash a player for showing love for another teammate!  Way to go, Bruschi!  You clearly have set aside the most pressing issues in the NFL to take the time to bash a guy for… well, for being supportive of his team.

Seriously?  Tedy, you could pound me into a fine dust, but I feel compelled to give you two pieces of advice that may anger you to the point of a battering rage.

1. Shut up!  Chad Ochocinco was doing nothing more than giving props to his team and teammate, Tom Brady.  In the history of team sports, that has never been perceived as bad.  Not once!  I gotta think somebody pissed in your Corn Flakes just before you made your statement.

2. Have some human decency and add another ‘d’ to you first name.

If you choose to follow only one of the two pieces of advice, I would suggest going with number one.  I can live with the Tedy thing.

Do gorillas understand what happened on 9/11?

I know it sounds like an odd question, but a wall posting by Koko.org on Facebook made me think about animals and their capacity for empathy. For those of you who don’t know, Koko is a western lowland gorilla that has been taught to speak using American Sign Language by Dr. Penny Patterson. Koko has a vocabulary of over 1000 words. For Oz Chronicles fans, Koko’s late companion, Michael is the inspiration for Ajax.

In November 2001, Dr. Patterson posted this on Koko’s blog:

While many people know that Koko is fluent in sign language, most aren’t aware that she also understands a great deal of spoken English. So, when she overheard staff discussing the 9-11 tragedy, then later caught a minute of a Charlie Rose TV segment describing the incident, Koko became quite anxious. Here’s an excerpt of our dialogue:

Penny: Why are you upset?
Koko Feel very sorry (then a big audible sigh).
Penny: Talk about the trouble?
Koko: Man cut-neck, know takeoff.

Koko’s sign “cut-neck” was exactly the same as gorilla Michael’s sign, when we asked him to describe what happened to his mother, who was poached when he was a baby in Africa. (You can see Michael signing this on video in the recent NATURE documentary “A Conversation with Koko.”)

Later, Koko signed “trouble” when she heard a low-flying plane overhead (we also have this on video).

This isn’t the only example of animals showing empathy towards humans. I watched a Nova special called Decoding Dogs that explored the relationship between man and dogs. Recent DNA studies have revealed that the domestication of dogs may go back much farther than first thought, by as many as 87,000 years. Because of that long relationship with humans, dogs have become attuned to our emotions. In fact, 100,000 years ago that empathy may have assured their survival and in turn, assured the trait was passed on to their offspring and the generations to follow. Dogs are the only animal to actually read the right side of a person’s face. Even wolves, the domesticated dogs’ wild ancestor, don’t show this trait. Incidentally, the right side of the face is where human’s reveal (however subtle) their current emotional state.

In Koko’s case, she didn’t read her human companions’ emotional state. She actually processed the information through language, which I find even more incredible. By listening to the conversations around her, and perhaps recognizing sadness in their tone, she was able to understand that something bad happened. Beyond that, she was able to grasp some of the details of what happened. For instance, she knew it involved a plane and death.
The evolution of technology and understanding suggests that there will be a day that we bridge the communication gap between humans and animals. That day will be both exciting and terrifying. They may even have a few questions for us that will be tough to answer, like “Dude, why did you put a strip mall where that forest used to be?”

Here’s a video demonstrating Koko’s empathetic nature.

College football so far

The Vols’ new uniforms? Go ugly or go home!

Post-season note: This post could not have been more wrong.  On every level it misses the mark. 

The First Week of College Football  Is it just me or does everyone else think that Sports Center is exponentially more interesting now that they have news and highlights from actually football games. In my opinion, slam dunks, homeruns and the latest grunt from your choice of tennis star makes for such mediocre television. But, I come to praise football, not bury the lesser sports. Here’s what I observed.

The New Uniforms –From the buzz I’ve read and heard since this holiday weekend’s slate of college football games, I may be the only guy in the country who actually liked the new uniforms. I’m not a fan of holding on to tradition for tradition’s stake. The world is in a constant state of change. College football needs to change with it. Sure Georgia didn’t fare too well with their shockingly red uniforms and space age helmets, but the new unis were not to blame. The problem was Boise State in their cool new duds played flawless. And, Maryland? Nice. I liked the NFL Europe-esque design. I hope these new uniforms keep coming. Someone call Dooley at Tennessee and get him on the road to updating my team’s God-awful, community service orange attire.

Wisconsin – Watch out for the Badgers. Sure, they played an over-matched opponent, but I still expected them to have some hiccups with a new (but talented) QB at the helm. Instead, they played effortlessly. This does not bode well for the rest of the Big 10 (which confusingly has 12 teams). My prediction. They’ll be in a position to play in the BCS title game by season’s end.

The SEC – This is the year the SEC will cannibalize itself and be without a team in the BCS title game. Yes, LSU looked awesome against Oregon, and the Tide is rolling again this year, and South Carolina is playing with both talent and grit this season, and Arkansas is solid, and Florida is going to scare some people, and Tennessee has a passing game you can’t ignore, blah, blah, blah. That’s the problem. An SEC schedule is more of a gauntlet this year than the last six years.

Georgia – If I were a Georgia fan, I’d be paying attention to the mid-major games this year, because a coach from one of those teams is going to be your man next year, or you might be able to get Al Golden from Miami. The point is Richt will most likely be an ESPN analyst in 2012.

Miami – And speaking of Al Golden. The man got completely hosed by The U’s administration. They hired him without telling him they were under NCAA investigation, a move that speaks volumes about the school’s total embrace of corruption and lack of decency. The NCAA won’t kill the program because there’s too much money at stake, but I can see everyone from Donna Shalala to the assistant AD’s executive assistant getting canned at the NCAA’s nudging.
Florida State – Sorry Seminole fans, but Florida State may be the most overrated team in the country right now. The latest poll has them at number five, and I just don’t think they’ve made that much of a recovery from Bowden’s lackluster recruiting results the last few years of his regime.

The Polls – I don’t like preseason polls because they are based on nothing but the so-called experts’ ethereal, mystical knowledge of things to come. With the season upon us, I think we can get a better gauge of the college football landscape. Here’s my far from expert opinion on the top 10 after week one.

  1. LSU – But it won’t last.
  2. Wisconsin – This is the team that impressed me most. The offense is clicking and the defense is scary good.
  3. Oklahoma – The Big 12 (which only has 9.5 teams) is in disarray this year. The Sooners stand to benefit the most from all the turmoil.
  4. Boise State – Kellen Moore should win the Heisman, but he probably won’t. Why? Rumor has it he’ll be on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. Damn you SI!
  5. Stanford – The LSU game unveiled some major weaknesses in Oregon’s defense and running game. In turn, they exposed the PAC 12’s weakness, their teams. Stanford has Luck. Luck has the talent to carry the team through the less than stellar conference.
  6. Alabama – They have a new quarterback, but in an Alabama system, QB’s are required to play smart not lights out. As long as the guy behind center doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, the Tide will stay in the hunt.
  7. Texas A&M – Never discount a team with talent and a chip on their shoulder. The coaching staff has an “us against the world” card to play all year. That kind of thing works in college football.
  8. South Carolina – I think Spurrier is inside Garcia’s head. He knows just how to pull the kid’s strings, and turn him into a spirited leader. The Gamecocks are not a team you want on your schedule this year, and it’s not just because of their semi-phallic name. They have an offense that can score at will.
  9. Virginia Tech – The ACC doesn’t have much to talk about beyond Maryland’s new uniforms. The Hokies have the potential to dominate the conference.
  10. Houston – I know. I know. Houston? But, they beat a major conference (albeit weak conference) opponent, and they have a cake schedule ahead of them. They could be this year’s TCU and bring in an undefeated record come bowl season.

My BCS Title game teams: Wisconsin/Oklahoma (I would have gone with Boise over Oklahoma, but I can’t with the SI curse looming.)