They're like really flat vampires

I had a good night.

I slept tight.

I should have known I was forgetting something.

I was very disappointed to learn that bed bugs really exist. I was even more disappointed to learn that they really do bite.

What really got me upset though, was when I learned that they bite me.

My wife and I recently discovered that we have a colony of bed bugs living in our mattress. To my wife, this was a disgusting and extremely annoying inconvenience. To me it was just plain shocking.

I don't think I would have been anymore surprised to wake up and find a unicorn chewing on my foot.

I probably wouldn't have been anymore shocked if I had found a small family of tooth fairies living in our closet.

Before the moment of actually seeing the bed bug crawling around our bed and the 45 minutes on Wikipedia doing bug related research (did you know that there's an entry for wet T-shirt contests) I would be more likely to believe that the strange bite marks we had been finding all over our bodies were from the Utah Chupacabra (much rarer than the Mexican variety).

I think the reason I would be more ready to accept on of these other supernatural possibilities over the prefect natural bed bugs is that until I smashed one with my own bare hands, I had no idea that bed bugs were perfectly natural.

Until the job people of the Internet gave me the low down, the only source I'd even heard of bed bugs from was my mom. Now my mother may make the best meatloaf on the planet. She, however, is no entomologist.

Ever since I've been legally able to ignore everything my mom told me, I've been operating under the assumption that everything my mother told me was wrong. I retroactively applied this theory to all the things she had told me in the past.
Since from the time I was in feety pajamas my mother warned me of two things, bed bugs and the witch that would come out of the kitchen closest after my bed time (my mother was an expert at child manipulation).

Now I have to accept that fact that my mom, the same women who told me that if ate all my vegetables I'd grow up big and strong like Superman (four hundred pounds of broccoli later I'm still only 5 foot 5 and get beat up by fifth graders on a regular basis), was actually right about something.

This changes everything, I literally have to rethink the way I view the whole world.

If there really are bed bugs, then maybe some of the other crap my mom told me was right too.

Maybe the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus really are watching me all the time, judging whether I got candy or underwear each year.

Maybe fat kids really do have feelings.

Wow, maybe some day I really will regret hitting my sister in the face with my yellow wiffle bat.

Nah, probably not that one.

That's it for me, I'm off to kill more bed bugs, that's what I do now.

Geek on.

Steve Shinney is an former super gullible six-year-old who, once he got used the idea of his mom's competence is really enjoying having a whole new species to squish.

Oh Thank Heaven, For Mouthwash

A fictional short story based on true events. This is version one, will see many rewrites

In Jack's defense, it was really hot that day.

Heat will make people do things they'd rather not. A health nut will buy ice cream. A serious business man will frolic in the sprinklers in his best suit. A middle aged woman will think that wearing a bikini is OK, even though she's let her body go in recent years.

Throughout human history, heat has lead to all kinds of horrible things, none any worse than what my best friend for life, Jack Pattywack, did that hot summer afternoon.

It was mid-August, which is the only month in Idaho when the asphalt actually melts enough you can write dirty words into it. Me, Jack and our other best friend Brian Batowski had been out mowing widow McGrady's lawn and trimming the edging.

We had tried to out smart the heat by starting really early in the morning before the sun had a chance to warm up and really start convincing people to do crazy things like play strip lawn darts.

There's only one real problem with this plan, no matter how early you start you have to actually finish quickly or the sun comes back. We'd been at it most of the day because we only actually worked when she'd come to the back door and holler at us.

It was a system that had served both parties well over the ten years since her husband died and we started doing her yard work. It gave us motivation to keep working and it got her off the couch once in a while after she cracked her hip.

Finally, by the time the heat was making swimming in a public pool sound hygienic, we decided to call it a day. We'd been at it for hours and old ladies don't play baseball or anything in their backyard anyway so it didn't have to be done anywhere she couldn't see from the house.

Being extremely financially responsible for three high schoolers, we decided that the way the ten dollars we'd earned would best serve us in the future was by buying Slurpees to keep us from dying from heat stroke.

We had to go halfway across town to find a Seven and/or Eleven that didn't have our pictures behind the counter. Once we found one that were our money was considered good the three of us when up to the Slurpee machine to make our selections.

“What ya gonna get gentlemen?” I asked.

“I'm gonna get the frozen Coke,” Brian told me.

“Don't you always get that?” I asked even though I knew full well that he did. Sometimes it's best to give the neurotic a chance to explain themselves.

“Well yeah, but why not?” he asked in that know-it-all tone that always accompanies a rhetorical question.

“Because you should really expand your horizons my friend.”

“I don't think so,” he responded. “It not like I've never tried the other kinds, I have and I like Coke best, it's a classic flavor and and American original.”

“What do they sponsor you now?”

“No but they should,” he grinned. “Besides, even if I hadn't, it's not like there's a lot of other horizons available to me. This is a four color Slurpee machine: red, blue, my brown and gree– Jack get your mouth off of that!”

I turned around a saw Jack suckling from the green Slurpee nozel like a baby calf.

“Dude, this is why Burger King doesn't have a soda fountain in the lobby anymore,” I reminded him pulling him back.

“I just wanted to know what flavor it was,” he muttered, as if it justified his lack of tact and candor.

“What do you mean you wanted to know what flavor it was?” I whispered harshly, trying to to draw the attention of the attendant who obviously didn't see what happened in the big round mirror they use to make sure no one shop lifts or takes the latest edition of “Shiny Cars and Skanky Women” out of it's protective plastic bag. “You know what flavor it is; it's green.”

“Green's a color not a flavor,” he said.

“Green is so a flavor,” I retorted.

“No it's not,” he said sounding a little to high and mighty for a guy who was just caught red-handed sucking on a public beverage dispenser. “It could be lime, green apple, watermelon or something entirely new and yet they just have it label as green. They're practically requiring I taste it. They probably want me to to try it so I can tell everyone else what it is.”

I sighed. “Everyone else already knows what it is. We're in Idaho, it's either lime, lime or lime. No fancy flavors here.”

Brian and I decided to delay our serious philosophical discussion until later and hurried out of there before Jack decided to put another part of the store in his mouth. I got a cup of red cherry, Brian filled up with his precious brown frozen Coke and Jack decided to stick with his green flavored one.

We payed and made our way outside to enjoy our spoils.

I squinted as I stepped out into the light. I stared up smugly at the sun, grinning that I had beaten him at his own game.

We took shelter under a large tree, full of leaves and home to several birds who treated us to a victory song. If you've never heard “Eye of the Tiger” performed by robins, you're missing out.

We sat down to discuss our big plans for the rest of the day.

“I say we go fishing down in the river,” Brian suggested.

“Nah,” I said, shaking my head “I lost my pole while we were running from the bees last time, remember.”

“Oh yeah.”

“You could just throw rocks at the fish,” Jack suggested. “You just throw sticks in the river most of the time anyway.”

I shrugged. I had to admit he had me there. I did think throwing sticks was more fun than holding one for a long time.

“I mean honestly Skippy, why do you even bother coming fishing with us?” Jack continued waving his Slurpee hand enthusiastically. “Do you truly understand the simple joy of the struggle between man and fish or are you jus–” he was interrupted by subtle plopping sound.

We all looked down and saw a sticky green fluid on his shoe.

Jack chuckled. “I must have split some Slurpee on my shoes,” he said. He bent down, wiped it off and licked his fingers clean.

In the matter of about a second and a half, I watched Jacks face changed from confusion to disgust and finally to horror.

“That's not Slurpee!” he yelled in terror. He dropped to his knees, looked up at the heavens and cried out “Nooooooooo!” just like in the movies.

His yelling scared the birds out the tree.

I like to take that whole "One man's trash" thing to an unhealthy level

I used to think when I graduated college and got a really job that wasn't as a janitor, I'd finally be able to stop eating donuts from the garbage.

I was wrong.

As I look back at my life, I'm a little concerned to discover that most of my difficult moral questions have come from deciding when eating food out of a garbage can in an office somewhere was stealing and when I was morally justified in taking it.

You would probably be really concerned to discover how rarely I've considered whether or not eating such food was sanitary.

I'm not exaggerating though, I really used to spend a lot of time staring into garbage cans wondering if I was allowed – morally – to eat that last couple pieces of cake with so much frosting that no one wanted them.

I even looked to the Bible for guidance, but it didn't help. For a book supposed to have all the answers, it was strangely vague on the moral standing of dumpster divers.

I'm not one hundred percent sure on that though, I didn't check in the front part. I never read those chapters because I'm always afraid I'll find something I really like will send me to Hell.

If it turns out that double dipping in the salsa is a sin, I want to be able to plead ignorance.

These quandaries were pretty common for me too. Until my wife forbade me, I earned most of my income from various positions as a janitor. I enjoyed it. It was honest work, but simple and the only one that rewarded me for not being squeamish at the site of vomit.

The best part about being a janitor was those special occasion when I would find a treat, stashed away somewhere just for me.

I used to wonder if the people who worked in the office new what I was up to. I think some of them thought it was interesting, and would set up mazed of garbage for me to dig through like a lab rat through a maze, only instead of cheese, I got a slice of cold pizza.

Other employees, however, considered be a pest and would tied their food up in the tree, to keep me out.

Some times I have to team up with a bear to get at it.

Don't think I would just root around in the break room garbage like some kind of raccoon with a mop (the best stuff was always in the conference rooms), I did have standards: I'd only eat stuff that was separated from the “real” garbage by a box or bag.

Or if I was really hungry, a memo.

When I stopped janitating (the verb form of janitor for those of you still learning English) and got a real job in the other side of an office (the side that doesn't clean the toilet) I thought that the good times were over and I'd have to start paying for all my meals.

In truth however, things have gotten better, because now, as a full-time employee, I have access to the garbage long before the janitor even get there. It's like a dream come true.

I no longer wish I could be invited to meetings where they have donuts – one of which there was today – I just wait until the meeting finishes, the table is cleared and the lights are turned off. Then it's mine time to shine.

Or steal.

I really don't care anymore, it's a free donut.

Geek On

Also, turn your flash off

I just got back from a big family trip to New York. A lot of stuff happened that probably wouldn't be funny if you were there.

I would like to give everyone a little travel tip. Don't take picture out of the window of the plane. I know to you, it's a priceless memory of your experience 50,000 feet over the Great Lakes, but to the rest of us, you look like a moron with 24 picture of the wing of your plane.

Geek on.

Five years and thousands of dollars later, they still get my name wrong

Did you hear the distant rumbling on Saturday? It was faint, but it was distinct. It was the world changing.

Well my world at least.

As of two days ago, I’m officially a college graduate. No more going to class with out showering, no more counting pudding as a balanced meal, no more pretending that I know what I’m talking about for 20 or more pages.

No more.

People are often asking me if I walked. I did. It was an interesting experience.

They one email I did get about stuff (way back in February, thanks guys) said we were supposed to gather on the quad at 8:30. I may be perpetually late for class, but for work and meetings and stuff I deem important, I’m usually pretty punctual. I rocked up about twenty after. There were maybe 50 people there, only 3 at the spot for the College of Science.

On another note, it was really cold, windy and snowed a little. Those robes are not insulated at all and have no pockets. Basically everyone just stood around and wished their hands weren’t so cold.

It was about this time I realized I had to pee. Not a big deal. I figured I’ve had to pee during most of the important events in my life so far, why should my college graduation be in different?

"It shouldn’t" is the firm answer my bladder gave me.

As more and more people started to show up, I noticed that I didn’t know any of them. I was concerned why I was the only computer science major on the field. Was there a special graduation for us online? Was there some major project that was due in a few hours that I had completely forgotten? Was there a LAN party in the CS labs that I didn’t get invited to?

Eventually I just relaxed and realized that most computer science majors were in that particular field so that they wouldn’t have to walk through nature, especially when it’s cold, windy or early.

We then walked across campus to the Spectrum for the commencement ceremony.

I don’t know why I was so nervous walking that sidewalk I’d traveled many times before, I think it had something to do with the fact that I’d never worn a pointy hat and dress in front of that many people before.

This year BYU had Vice President Dick Cheney for their commencement speaker. We had a reverend from Salt Lake. Not as famous but a lot less controversial. He did a good job, talking a lot about the opportunities and responsibilities we will have in the future to share our time, talents and treasure with the community.

He later specified that the latter meant sometimes donating to the university when they called and asked for money.

I think they told him to say that.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to make this observation but as I was sitting there, I couldn’t help but notice that the higher ups on the stand kinda looked like wizards in their colorful robes and funny hats and all.

I also thought they looked like high ranking KKK members, but I figured, “you look like you can turn me into a frog,” would go over better than “You look like you hate black people.”

All in all, I’m glad I did it.

The commencement thing, the jury’s still out on college. We’ll see how this whole grown up life deal turns out.

I don't know what ado means either

Part of the fun of being married the the world's cutest foreigner is that I get to learn the English language all over again through teaching it to her. It's fun, although sometimes I have to admit that I don't know as much about my native language as I would think.

For example, today, I realized I don't know what a pass is. Like if there were ever some bad guys getting away, and it fell to me to "cut them off at the pass," I would have to just stand where I was and hope that I was already there.

Geek on.

We all know that green is the bad boy of the colors

So they ran a "meet the editors" thing in the paper today. Not my idea but not my section.

It was very colorful. Mine was on pastel blue.

The manliest of the pastels.

Geek on.

It's never sexy when you know the truth

Guys, if you ever hear a female say to another that she has a nick rack, she’s talking about the vast number of towels she has displayed in an artistic fashion.

Geek on

Deoderat Showers FTW

I have a secret.

Lean in close and I’ll tell you.

I didn’t shower this morning. Can you tell?

Actually I’m really mad at myself. My new year’s resolution this year was to shower everyday before I go to work/class and I made it until today. 3 months and change is pretty good but I was so close.

I used to skip my morning shower all the time. I figured the 20 minutes was better spent sleeping than making myself not smell like cesspool. Some days I loved it. I was like a spy. I had a secret and I couldn’t let anyone get close to me or they’d find out. Most days though without a shower to truly wake me up, I’d just stagger around like some walking corpse: The undead – or, more accurately, the unwashed.

Anyway, today’s the one day a week I can get away with it so it’s ok. I’ll get some brains, I mean soap, working for me later.

Geek on.

Pre-emptive Critic: Music and Lyrics

Peanut butter and jelly. Surf and Turf

Some things just go together. I’m hoping that “Music and Lyrics” and my eyes aren’t one of them.

I don’t like it because it’s a romantic comedy about an odd couple. I hate those. The only good movie about an odd couple was “The Odd Couple.”

Plus there’s just something about Hugh Grant macking on Demi Moore that gives me the heebies with just a touch of jeebies.
After Moore flashed her “music and lyrics” to David Letterman so many years ago, she’s been trying to shake her whore image. Now she’s paired up with Grant who ever since shaking a whore has been trying to save his career.

This combination just doesn’t work for me. It’s like cheese and breakfast cereal, it just doesn’t work.

And if by some weird chance it does, it shouldn’t.

I pre-emptively hate this movie.

Playing Command and Conquer doesn't count I'm afraid

So I'm supposed to be writing a column about the military, but I don't really know that much about the real miltary. All I really know if what my uncle Mike has told me over the years and I'm sure he, being an Air Force man, has a little bais in that direction.

I’ll admit I’m not very familiar with the military that fights today’s wars. I am however really familiar with the military that fought in the conflict known as the Star Wars.

I’ve just been informed I’m not allowed to write a column about how what this country really needs to get out of Iraq is our own Death Star.

Of course, a Death Star is pretty much my answer to every problem.

Professor: Mr. Shinney would you like to turn your final project in?

Me: (brandishing a remote menacingly) Would you like some Death Star to the face?

Professor: You get an A.

Me: (continues to brandish)

Professor: I meant two As. Three. Four As and the naked female class mate of your choosing!

Geek on.

And I read that thing about the lady who died from too much water, now I'm really scared

I’ve said before that I’m terrified of doctors. Not actually doctors in the way that if I say one on the street I would run like a little baby who could run, but going to the doctor. I hate going to the doctor because he (or she in theory but so far all my adult-life doctors have been men) always ask me to do things. Things that are good for me. Which usually mean things that will make me miserable.

Like when the doctor told me not to have dairy for 10, right over Christmas, prime eggnog season. Or the time I had to were wrist bracers that cut the feeling off in my fingers.

This last trip to the doctor, he told me to make sure I drink 64 ounces of water, everyday. 64 ounces! That’s not including any pop, milk or juice I may drink, it has to be pure water. I’ve never peed so much in my life.

And the problem is when I watch TV I discover that I have all the symptoms of bladder issues that they advertise medicines for. So I’m all paranoid that I have something seriously wrong with bladder or my prostate or something else down there in the important region and when they get to the end of the commercial they tell me to talk to me doctor and the whole horrible cycle begins anew.

Geek on.