My Other New Job

Chaos in Print

So I’m now a card-carrying member of the Alberta Liberal party. Not only that, but I’m the treasurer of the Alberta Liberal Stony Plain constituency. How, you may ask, did this monumental achievement come about? How has one who has traditionally been so neutral in politics arrive at this? Well, it all starts with a boy and a dream. Actually, it just starts with a girl. But what a girl!

14 years ago, my sister reached the ripe old age of 6, and was primed to start the first grade. Now, with all of her kids in school, my mother was starting to feel bored around the house. Face it, there are only so many times you can vacuum the rug. This was the late 80’s, and daytime television had yet to reach the highs it currently experiences. So mom had nothing to do. Fortunately for her, elections were right around the corner, and opportunity was knocking. The school needed a new board trustee, and my mother stepped up to the plate. The campaign was long and vigorous, but she was soon elected to the board of 15 members.

For three years, she served the school with trust and honor. She was unique for a politician. She chose a path of openness and honesty, and people responded to that. Soon, the year of 1989 was upon us, and she was up for re-election. There was another candidate, but he was trounced. And once again, my mother served the board. 1992, and again she was up for election. But, things had changed. By now, the Klein government had taken charge, and education cutbacks were in full swing. The board was downsized from 15 trustees to 7. By sheer luck, and a good resume, mom was appointed to the interim board. When that election rolled around in 1992, and with the re-drawn boundaries, my mother was running in what was the geographically-largest constituency. And she got in by acclimation.

1995. Again, she got in by acclimation. And, she became the board chair. A slightly larger salary, and an office. I think this would be a good time to mention that the Parkland School Division #70 School Board is the lowest-paid school board in the Province of Alberta. It’s also the most effective. Mom’s got the statistics to back that up somewhere around here. But I digress. The present day is coming up.

1998. At long last, my mother had some competition! Some upper-middle class snob wanted to put in a bus line so he could send his kid to a “better” school. So, he ran against my mom. The fall of 1998 also saw my disastrous campaign for VP External at Augustana University. That was fun. Every night, we would call each other up and bounce campaign strategies off of each other. We even used the same slogan. She was “a parent who cares,” I was “a student who cares.” She won by a landslide. I lost by a landslide. This makes me wonder about the next generation of voters, and how the good old approach of getting out there and campaigning your ass off appears to be giving way to the “Rob Nichols Approach:” sit on your ass and let others do the work. But again, I digress.

And now we have arrived in the year 2000. Around January was when the phone calls began. The last provincial election was in 1997, so we are now entering the period where Ralph Klein can call an election any minute now. So, the Liberals are getting their troops in place. The Alberta Liberal Party started calling our house at all hours of the day. They needed a candidate for this area, and since my mother is so well known and loved through her school board activities, she was their first choice. With this Bill 11 crap going forward, the Liberals think that they can form the next government, and with this area being a traditional Tory stronghold, they needed someone with the presence to go toe-to-toe with our longtime Tory MLA. So they started calling Mom.

At first, Mom was a bit apprehensive to start pursing the nomination. There’s currently a big scandal going on in the school board concerning French Immersion, and she’s just about had it with politics. But we, her family, knew she had the right stuff to go for it. And so we started telling her that she should go for it. Word soon got leaked to the public that she was being wooed by the Liberals, and she was overwhelmed with public support to go for it. So, when the Liberals called again, she said yes.

With that done, the president of the Liberal Constituency, whom I shall refer to now and forever in these columns as “Retired Farmer Guy,” started calling. It was time to put in place the board of directors for the 2000 Stony Plain Liberal Constituency. Since my Dad has this job-thing that keeps him busy, and my sister has shown no political aspirations whatsoever, Mom asked me to be the Treasurer; just so there would be someone she knows on the board. And to her, I said those words that have gotten me in so much trouble in the past: “Sure! Why not? Sounds like fun!” So, back on April 18, the Stony Plain Liberal Constituency had their annual general meeting, I became Treasurer, and Mom announced that she would be seeking the Liberal nomination.

The date my mother is currently worried about is May 29. That’s the big Liberal convention where she runs for the Liberal nomination. Only members of the Liberal party can vote. And so I bought a membership in the Alberta Liberals.

And that’s whey I’m now a card-carrying member of the Alberta Liberal Party. I know, I’m sure you were hoping that it would be for some noble purpose, like showing my opposition to Bill 11, protesting the years of education cuts that Klein has made, or just because this province’s provincial park program is going down the tubes. Nope. I did for one simple reason. To show my mother that I’m behind her. And if this results in me being roped into a volunteer position for the next few years, that always looks good on a resume.

It’s time for my true selfishness to show. It should be mentioned that I’m not doing this to completely support my mother. Oh no! She has also let it slip several times in the past that I would be an ideal Executive Assistant for her, should she get elected. So another reason as to why I’m doing all this is in the hopes that, after the next election, I’ll be the Executive Assistant to the MLA, and on my way to a fine political career myself. God, I’m a bastard!

Prime Directive

Chaos in Print

The Federation will not interfere in the development of an alien culture.
— Starfleet General Order 1, a.k.a. the Prime Directive

This is something that’s been brewing in me for a while now, and I’ve just got to let it out. I really don’t like my sister’s boyfriend. I think he’s scum. I think my sister can do better. And I don’t know why she wastes her time with him. My problem is, I don’t dare express these feelings.

Let me give you a brief history of their relationship. It all started way back in the summer of ’97. My sister had a summer job pumping gas. He came in one day to fill up. He asked her out. They went out. They started dating. They became an item. It wasn’t long before she was back in school. He doesn’t go to school, being the same age as myself. My family and I soon started finding him a bit odd. Firstly, he refused to ever go to my sister’s school and meet her friends. In fact, he wanted her to quit hanging out with them altogether. Soon, he wanted her to quit the basketball team. He felt that a basketball uniform was too revealing. It was here that I wanted to say something, but I soon got my wrist slapped for that. More on that later.

So, they continued dating. If you consider him inviting my sister over every Saturday night to watch movies with his 3 buddies to be dating. He seemed somewhat controlling in my sister’s life. Whenever my sister spent a day with her friends, he had to hide it from him or face the consequences. In the summer of ’98, when my sister wanted to get a summer job, that sparked off another fight with him. You know, a good ol’ “no woman of mine is going to work” kind of argument. But, she won that one, and got a job. When my sister wanted to backpack across Europe this summer, that was another battle. He did not want her doing that. But she went. She called him everyday, but she went.

At this point, you are probably wondering why he didn’t go to Europe with my sister. Well, he believes that there is no reason ever to leave Entwistle. He thinks we’ve got it all here! That, and he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like to stray too far from his family. He was in therapy for a while, and his therapist recommended that he should move out of his parents’ house. So, he moved into a shack right behind his parents’ house. His parents finally bought him a house here in town, and that’s where he lives. Oh, and he quit therapy after two weeks because he thought he was feeling better.

Actually, he’s had quite a weird relationship with doctors. When he and my sister first started dating, he was an apprenticing millwright. But, it was hard work for him, and he was constantly complaining of back problems. Every two weeks, he was visiting a doctor in Edmonton to see about these back problems. Soon, we started looking at his schedule. These back problems tended to flare up around every payday. He would call in sick around every payday. And his doctor’s office was located rather close to West Edmonton Mall. Now, I may be jumping to conclusions, but it makes you wonder. Oh, he’s not an apprenticing millwright anymore. Now he works for his dad.

This leads into another one of his frequent complaints: weird family things. For example, my family likes to get together at Thanksgiving and have a big turkey dinner. He calls that a “weird family thing.” When we were kids growing up, we would occasionally go into the city for a day, have dinner in a fancy restaurant, and go see a movie. When he found out about that, he branded it a “weird family thing.” So let me get this straight. He works for his dad, only moved out when his parents bought him a house, thinks the sun rises and sets by command of his mother, but when my brother & his family come up for the weekend, it’s a “weird family thing.” I think there’s a flaw in his logic.

Speaking of flawed logic, he was home schooled. Enough said.

Even more so than me, he is highly susceptible to fads. But, we carry this weakness to different extremes. For example, I’m currently into Pokémon. This drives me to watch the cartoon, and read a few websites. When he was into mountain biking, he had to run out and spend $5000 on a new bike, which spent most of the summer forgotten in our garage. When he hits a hobby, he spends a lot of money, and he’s into it short-term. And, this has encouraged my sister to spend lavishly on him. Back in January, my sister spent a few thousand dollars on a ski trip for his birthday.

And that brings us to present day. Shortly after they returned from that trip, they broke up. For about the last year, they were fighting a lot, and during this ski trip, they finally decided to end it. I was ecstatic. At long last, it was over! A week later, she was hanging out with him. She was spending a lot of time over at his house. I finally asked her what was going on. She said that they broke up on good terms, and that they managed to remain friends, and it’s not her fault if I can’t understand that. Well, for friends, they sure fight a lot. I don’t think I ever made my friends cry as much as he makes her cry. Since the time they’ve been spending together has continuously grown, I’m assuming that they are back together. And still, I can’t say anything.

Why have I been silent all this time? It’s like this. Way back in the fall of ’97, when they were first dating, and he started laying down the you-can’t-hang-out-with-your-old-friends act, both myself and my parents started voicing our concerns. We were quite vocal. When I came home from college for Christmas, my parents pulled me aside. Apparently, all of our concerns (and my open hatred) were having kind of a Romeo and Juliet effect. The more we disagreed with her, the more she was shutting us out. And my parents wanted her home for Christmas. So, they told me to keep my mouth shut, and we hoped that soon she would see he was wrong for her and dump him. And I’ve been silent ever since. For 2.5 years, I’ve been silent. I never expected the consequence of this. Not only has my dislike for him just been brewing for 2.5 years, but my silence has made him like me. He likes me. Not only does it make my blood boil when looks at me and says “Hey, buddy,” but it makes me feel like the most duplicitous two-faced bastard on the face of the planet. And all because, 2.5 years ago, my parents laid down the prime directive.

Non-interference. It’s a bitch. From day 1, about 75% of their calls to each other have resulted in her breaking down in tears. Now, I’ve never been in a relationship, but I’m sure that one of the requirements of being a good boyfriend is not making your girlfriend cry on a weekly basis. I just don’t know how my sister puts up with it. My sister has begun openly considering going to NAIT in the fall and taking photography. I wonder what kind of toll that will have on their relationship.

Through the time that the Prime Directive has been in effect in Starfleet, a precedent has been set. The whole key is involvement. It just basically states that you will not get involved. But, precedent states that when one of the parties turns to you and asks for help, you are no longer involved. The Prime Directive no longer applies. And for years, I’ve been wondering if I should interpret my sister’s tears as a call for help. I want to help her. I just don’t know how.

Old Feelings, New Beginnings

Chaos in Print

Who out there has seen The Shawshank Redemption? One of the finer films ever made. Anyway, in the film there’s this character whose name escapes me at the moment. He was sent to prison when he was just a kid, and spent his whole life there. In his 70’s, he finally makes parole, and gets himself a fine job bagging groceries. But, it’s not long before he hangs himself. When word gets back to his friends still in prison, they speculate as to why he killed himself. The best explanation they come up with is that when you are in prison for so long, the walls become security. You become used to the rigid order day in and day out, and when you are finally freed, the lack of order gets to you, and you’d do anything to get it back. The prisoners of Shawshank Prison called that “being institutionalized.”

Shortly after I saw The Shawshank Redemption, I went back to Augustana to visit some old friends. There, I began to see how college life can be like a prison. You get up, march off to the cafeteria for breakfast, the off to your regimented classes for the morning, until lunch time rolls around. Then, the same thing happens for the afternoon. After supper, you’ve got your free time, which is generally spent in your dorm room studying. As much as people want to get rid of that order and head out into the real world, they know how scary it is out there. That’s where you get the people who take seven years for a three year program. All they look forward to is getting out.

And now, I find myself in a fine job bagging groceries.

Close to a year’s worth of job hunting, and this is all I get. Bagging groceries. And part time to boot. It’s not so bad. Instead of spending my afternoons watching Jerry Springer and Batman: The Animated Series, I spend it making sure bread doesn’t squished at the bottom of a shopping cart. And, since I’m on my feet for 5 hours out of the day now, I think I’ve begun to lose weight. I’ll be back to my old slim self in no time (although, I haven’t been my old slim self since I was 9). But at least I’m making $6.25 an hour. I’ll be rolling in it come June, when it’s time to start paying my student loans.

And the people I work with are OK. There’s my boss. She seems to be a delightful person. I’ve only been working for about two weeks now, but she strikes me as being one of these people who would rather be your friend than your boss. I’ve never understood that kind of managerial style, because it hurts more when you screw up and your boss comes down on you. Actually, what has me afraid is, now that I’ve been working for a couple weeks, she actually looked over my resume. Word is once again getting out that I have a B.Sc. Last time I had a job and my co-workers found out I was going for a B.Sc., I was turned into Mr. Wizard. I have no desire to be Mr. Wizard again.

Besides my boss, I have two groups of co-workers. First, we have “the elders.” Since I usually work afternoon shifts, these are the people I tend to be working with most of the time. They are a group of grandmotherly ladies, who are just killing time until the C.P.P. kicks in. They are nice, and tend to be tolerant with a new guy like me, just learning the ropes. The second group I have dubbed “the punk-ass teenagers.” These are high schoolers who are doing this as their after-school jobs. They tend to come in around 3 or 4 o’clock, just as my shift is ending. The female punk-ass teenagers seem to be nice enough, but its the men who make my spider-sense tingle. Like every bully who ever beat the crap out of me, they tend to look down their nose at me. I think that they’re just pre-occupied with sizing up the new rooster in the henhouse. Oh, to have raging hormones again!

But if this job is giving me one thing, it’s an appreciation for the life of a super-hero. Very often, it’ll get quite busy, and all 5 tills will be open. One bagger between 5 tills. Oh, how is one supposed to assess where one is needed? Do I go to the till where there are 9 people lined up with baskets? Or the one where there are two full carts? Just when I’ve settled in, I’ll here that cry from a cashier: “Mark! This person needs help out to his/her car!” So, I’ve got to drop everything and help that person out to their car. I come back in, and once again my dilemma begins. Which till gets a bagger, and which doesn’t? Which mother will be stuck bagging her own groceries? Who will live, and who will die? How does Superman do it?

This, in a nutshell, is my job. Whee. Once again, I find myself longing for order. How much so? Well, my sister was looking at her post-secondary options a month or so ago, and left the NAIT calendar lying around. I picked it, and flipped through it. I stopped on, of all things, broadcasting courses. Once again, I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming the Scarecrow professionally. Should I do it? Should I once again become a dark avenger of the airwaves, only this time do it for money? Doesn’t that make me a sell-out?

I feel that this is good for me. Someone once said that before you know who you are, you must first know who you are not. I’m sure a few months of doing something I don’t want to do will help me decide what I want to do a whole lot quicker. Near the end of The Shawshank Redemption, we find Red, one of our main characters, in the exact same situation. A lifer, in his 70’s, finally out on parole. He finds himself in the noble profession of bagging groceries. And, if the irony isn’t enough, he’s living in the exact same place where his friend hanged himself. For a moment, Red ponders going down the same path that his friend went down. But then he remembers that his friend Andy, who escaped a few years earlier, hid a message for him. Red seeks out this message, and finds that it’s an invitation, inviting him to join Andy in Mexico. So, Red boards a bus, and heads to Mexico. As life progresses, I hope I can be like Red. Freedom shouldn’t be a curse. If I don’t like bagging groceries, I can do something else, and I’ve already begun formulating “the plan.” There’s one thing I know for sure, and that is that bagging groceries is only a beginning.

The End

Chaos in Print

Note: Well, looking at my calendar, we are approaching the 1-year anniversary of the end of my college radio show, Chaos In A Box. Cleaning out my hard drive, I found this, which I wrote the day after my final show to sort through my feelings. To celebrate the one year anniversary of the end, I’m posting it as my latest column.

The last 12 hours have been crazy. A wild rush of emotions just trying to find a voice. Kind of like the morning after a big party. I’m looking around and going “What the Hell was I thinking?”

How did it end? What was going through my mind as those final words were spoken? Well, what I was saying was what I was thinking. It was a stream-of-consciousness thing. The best thing to do at the time, I felt, was to try and communicate exactly what I was thinking. Talk through it. And that’s what I did. I had known from day 1 what the final song I wanted to play was going to be. When Return of the Jedi: Special Edition came out, I then knew of two final songs I wanted to play. After I hit play to send out “Victory Celebration,” I wondered if that’s how I should leave it. But, I knew I had been planning what song I wanted to leave people with since day 1, and I knew I had to stick with it or else it would be one of those regrets of my life things. So, “Victory Celebration” ended, and I had to play my favorite song of all time: “UHF” by “Weird Al” Yankovic. As the song played, I began doing the regular end-of-show routine: putting CDs back in the back, packing up my CDs, putting the last few songs I played into the computer. Just the routine. Well, I stashed a couple of station CDs in my bag. It’s my last show. I’ve been good for 3 ½ years. Who’ll notice? Then, the song ended, and I said my final final words: “You have been listening to the final Chaos in a Box. For the last time, this is Mark Cappis returning you to your regularly re-broadcast crap.” And I looked around. Knowing that this is the last time.

Those X-Men stickers I stuck up in my first year were still there. I’m surprised no one tried to take them down over the years. One last look at the vinyl collection. I wonder what ever happened to that first pressing of the Star Wars soundtrack I stumbled across in my first year? And, what I’ll miss most of all, that little yellow DJ chair. Whenever I came back from summer, I knew I wasn’t fully back until I went up to the station and sat in that chair. And I’ll never sit in it again. I turned off the lights, and began walking down the stairs. On the second step, I turned back and looked around. For the briefest of moments, I was back in January, 1996. It was the day after Lowel’s organizational meeting of the semester. I didn’t know my timeslot yet, I didn’t even know if I was going to be on the air, but I knew I just had to get a second look. For 15 minutes, I sat up there, and dreamed of changing the world. And now, the dream has ended. I spoke aloud the word “Good-Bye,” and walked down the stairs. My minded drifted to something I heard on Entertainment Tonight: when they had finished taping the final episode of Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld stayed on the set and left at 5am, just so he could be the last to leave. I think I understand why he did that, now. As I walked down the stairs, the things I should’ve said started popping into my mind, but I dismissed them. I was happy with how it ended.

Walking back across the bridge to my room, I ran into Arlo, who was off on a midnight sev-run. We hugged. I made him cry with my final words. I offered him some M&M’s. Once again, it was brought up that I should be doing this professionally. And once again, I said no. From my visit to the Bear that one time, I have seen how everything you say and play is regulated. I don’t think I could survive under those conditions. I would have to quit being me. I returned to my room, only to run into a some people in the floor lounge. The apologized for missing the end. That was OK. I got into my room, went to my VCR and hit rewind. I was already beginning to forget my final words, and I wanted to remind myself. I had felt somewhat emotionally detached in this whole experience, but listening to the tape of my final words finally drove home that it was over.

I didn’t feel like going to sleep. I felt like taking a walk. I strapped my walkman on, and headed out into the stars. Walking through the darkness, alone with my thoughts. I’d been walking a lot lately. I feel as though if I stop moving, things will crumble around me. I don’t remember my thoughts. It was like all I was doing was repeating “Wow. It’s over.” in my head. Just one thought stuck out: in high school, I had this one experience that finally hammered home that the experience was over. Shortly after writing my second final exam, I asked my computer science teacher for the key to the computer lab so I could go up there and clean out my computer account. Up there, alone in the computer lab, I started going through my files. I printed out what I wanted to keep, and then deleted everything. When I was done, and I was staring at the my now empty directory, that’s when it hit me. High school is over. My final show was a similar experience. College is over.

I got back at about 1am. Time to watch Beast Wars and Shadow Raiders. Shadow Raiders was good. A nice, goofy episode. Beast Wars was surreal. We met the aliens. They fused together their captives of Tigatron and Airazor to create their emissary to the planet: Tigerhawk. I’m still trying to comprehend the dream sequences in that episode. And the aliens! They look kind of like the villains on Shadow Raiders. Crossover potential? Hmmmm.

2am. I went to bed. I slept. I don’t remember my dreams, but I do remember dreaming.

I awoke at 8:30. For the first half-hour, I just lied in bed, in a semi-conscious state. At 9, I figured I should start doing something. I finally decided to read those Death collections I borrowed. I popped my CD compilation of my MP3s into my CD player, and began reading Death: The High Cost of Living. The opening pages were read to Unicron’s Theme. Not a promising start. Shockingly, most appropriate music for Death: The High Cost of Living: Opening titles from Star Trek: First Contact. Most appropriate for Death: The Time of Your Life: Change the World by Eric Clapton. Hanging over the whole proceedings was this sense of loss. Maybe reading Death helped. I have trouble dealing with the fact that the person who best shows by example that you should lead life to the fullest is Death. Maybe she just knows. This whole experience just felt like one of those “perfect moments” that are so fleeting in our lives.

11am. I should start doing something. Maybe I should write, reflect on this. I check my e-mail. Oh, so Kenten wants to know what I felt. Maybe I’ll just send him what I write. And I began writing.

It’s going on to lunch time, now. I should go eat something. My plans for the day are fuzzy. Maybe I’ll watch some movies. Maybe I’ll go for a walk. Maybe I’ll read those Sandman‘s. Maybe I’ll fall in love. I just know I’m not going to study. I don’t feel like doing that. Did a part of me die? Have I been re-born? I don’t know. But the sun is shining. The music is playing. Life goes on. And I have a day to conquer.

Midnight Ramblings VIII

Chaos in Print

NOTE: You know the name, you know the premise! Every once in a while, I send a rambling e-mail to my buddy, here called “Neelix,” just to unload everything that’s currently bugging me in the world of pop culture. This time around, though, I’ll be confessing my deepest, darkest, sexual fantasies. You might want to skip over the one involving popsicle sticks and chocolate frosting. Enjoy!

Hey Neelix!

OK, so I just rented Pokémon: The First Movie. If you remember my original review, then you’ll remember that I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between it and that classic from my childhood, Transformers: The Movie. I kept thinking that Pokémon was missing something that Transformers had. At first I thought it was the death of a hero. Who could forget the death of Optimus Prime in Transformers? But now that I’ve seen Pokémon: The First Movie again, it finally dawned on me. It wasn’t the death of a hero! It was the sneaking in of a swear! Who could forget that scene in Transformers where Spike says “shit?” So, this is my proposal for the sequel, Pokémon: The Movie 2000, coming out this July. When Team Rocket fails in their next attempt to kidnap Pikachu, Meowth should turn to his teammates and say “Ah, shit. We do we even try anymore?” But there has been more on my mind than sneaking swears into G rated movies.

Lately, I’ve been pondering one of the greatest questions of the universe: why the hell did I quit watching Sports Night? I’m not talking about ITV’s nightly sports wrap-up, but about the same-named comedy-drama that takes place behind the scenes of a sports channel news show. I was a devout watcher in the first season, but when it came back in September, I caught the first few episodes, but then quit watching. But now, I’ve just gotten back into it, and man does it rock! I just couldn’t believe it when Natalie and Jeremy broke up. They were made for each other. But then, things just got weird when Jeremy started dating that porn star. And then there’s Casey and Dan. They were the best of friends, but then when Casey made that “100 most influential people in sports” list and Dan got left off, there was a tension between them that you could cut with a knife. Things came to a head tonight when Dan snapped on air. I can’t wait to see what happens next. This show just rocks! Why did I ever quit watching it? It’s starting to replace Ally McBeal as my favorite quirky comedy-drama.

Speaking of Ally McBeal, are you still watching that? Things have really taken a weird turn this season. See, Billy started acting all male-chauvinistic, which eventually lead him to bleaching his hair, divorcing his wife, and dating his secretary. Soon, that evolved into these wild hallucinations. He finally went to see a doctor about it tonight, and it turns out he has a brain tumor. This does fit in with what I’m reading. Apparently, he’s going to die of this brain tumor in the season finale. That sucks. I kind of liked him before he got the tumor and started acting all wonky. And what about Nell? She’s launching some kind of Machiavellian scheme to take over the law firm! This makes me wonder if she’s dating John simply because she loves him, or if it’s all part of her plot. I used to like her. I used to defend her to people. Now I hope someone smacks her. No, better yet, I hope someone crushes her. Argh. I’m just too involved in my stories.

Speaking of stories, did you watch Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story? If not, I’m going to have to report you to the un-Canadian activities committee. I thought it was OK. I really started thinking it was weird in that scene where Anne was locked in a jail in war-torn France (for it takes place during World War I), and she rigs a stove into a cannon to blow a hole in the wall, just like MacGyver. Actually, it gave me a great idea for a spoof: Anne of Green Gables Episode I: The Phantom Menace. While fleeing from the planet Naboo, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn set down in the small town of Green Gables for repairs. There, they sense that the force is strong in this feisty young red-headed orphan girl. Can Anne become a Jedi, fight off the evil of Darth Maul, and find true love with Gilbert Blythe? OK, it’s still in the planning stages, but I tell you, there’s potential in this spoof.

Oh, speaking of Star Wars, I got bored one day and came up with this. Tell me what you think:

The Top 10 Signs That, Despite Your Best Efforts, You’ve Become a Geek:
10) You got a weird tingly feeling when you saw the trailers for Episode I.
9) You actively debate how well a Starfury would handle the Death Star Trench Run.
8) You consider “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Dare To Be Stupid to be the greatest album ever made.
7) You get the jokes in User Friendly
6) You repeatedly ask your lover to “hail to the king, baby.”
5) When you’re in a mall, you keep you’re eyes peeled for Agents.
4) You’ve been shopping for toys from the 80’s on eBay.
3) You know for certain that the truth is out there.
2) Your spell checker recognizes the names “Boba Fett,” “Jadzia Dax,” and “Ranma Saotome.”
And the #1 sign that you’ve become a geek:
1) You’re reading this list in line to see Episode II.

What do you think? Granted, I’m no Letterman, but I’m still new to this whole comedy thing.

Actually, I’d like to get serious for a second. Recently, I had this incident with my sister. I was online for 0.5 minutes, when she announced to me that she needed to make a phone call. So, I got offline, and she made her call, which lasted about half-an-hour. When she was done, she came up to me and announced that she would not feel guilty about me getting offline so she could use the phone, and despite my manipulations, she would never feel guilty about that. I was stunned. I thought I was just being nice, not trying to send my sister on a guilt trip.

This made me flash back to my infamous “vote no” campaign. When I got up in front of the cafeteria to announce that I was giving up the campaign, my detractors said I was just manipulating emotions to try and win votes. So, this leads me to my dilemma. Am I some kind of idiot savant at manipulating people? I mean, I don’t mean to do it, if I do it at all. Maybe society has just grown so cynical that when people encounter someone who’s nice, they instantly don’t trust him/her. Perhaps society has grown so mistrustful that when we listen to someone speaking from the heart, our first instinct is to think that there is a hidden agenda behind it. Or, perhaps, despite my best efforts, I am just a despicable human being. I don’t know.

Boy, that sure ended things on a downer. I think I’ll go build log cabins out of popsicle sticks, and eat a can of chocolate frosting. That always cheers me up.