The Geek Beat: Burn Baby Shower Burn

I like to think that I'm pretty clever. I've been walking through forests my whole life and I've never been upside-down hanging from a tree or in a pit with a tiger. It's because I'm pretty good at spotting traps.

And yet, despite all skills as an Eagle Scout, this last weekend I still found myself at a baby shower.

In my defense, it was a baby shower cleverly disguised as a barbecue.

My first hint that this might not be a regular barbecue was when I realized the host couple were registered at Target. Generally people don't register for a barbecue. Although I'm totally for getting this tradition started. I think it would really catch on.

You have been cordially invited to a BBQ at the Shinney residence on Tuesday, the 12 of Febtober. Please RSVP so we will have plenty of potato salad. The couple is registered at Albertson's and Chuck's Butcher Shop.

I've never been a big fan of showers of any kind. They're just way to feminine for me. I know I'm suppose to be a modern man and all that jazz, but if that means I have to go to a bridal shower and listen to women squeal after each present they open, screw that.

Besides, baby showers always seem to be for one of two purposes. Either for the parents to get a bunch of free stuff in order to recover some of the massive costs involved in procreation or for them to say one last goodbye to all their couple friends who don't have kids yet.

Have your first kid is a lot like getting married. It is a huge commitment, it is a major milestone in your life and once you do it, it's pretty much impossible to hang out with anyone who hasn't yet.

I went anyway, assuming that so long as somebody stood outside and turned large chunks of meat into food using fire, I could just focus on that and be able to shut out all the talk about onesies and spit up.

No such luck. I was thwarted by one of my oldest (and most delicious) nemesis of all time: sloppy joes.

And by the time we started playing games, all pretense of being anything but a baby shower was thrown out quicker than old coleslaw.

I'm not saying you can't play games at a barbecue. Far from it. There are a ton of really fun games that can be played in the context of a barbecue: baseball, horseshoes and “see who can fit the most jello in their mouth” for example.

However, one game you never play at a BBQ is “Guess how fat the hostess is.”

Playing this game will get you kicked out of most BBQs with grill marks on your face.

And yet, some how, this is perfectly acceptable at a baby shower.

Well we couldn't just guess like normal people would. That wouldn't be fun. We had to take string and make a loop the size we thought our ever expanding host would be. When we laid them all down next to each other, it became as obvious as the fat guy at the gym that none of the guys had any idea how big a pregnant woman should be (not even her husband which is discouraging).

Then we had to guess the weight and length of the baby when he is finally born.

This is another spawning tradition that I've never understood. Why do we have to measure our babies like fish? It just gives me the impression that if one isn't big enough we can just throw him back, or sneak him under our waders and hope the game warden (or doctor) doesn't catch us.

I also hate it because I have no real frame of reference to go off of. I have not real idea how big a baby should be at birth. You could tell me that the average infant is three inches long like a new-born kangaroo, and I would not feel comfortable calling you a liar.

Since I had no idea how many inches or pounds go into an average baby, I just said he'd be 6 1/3 crayons long and hoped for the best.

Hundreds of people have told me how heavy and how long their babies are, and I have paid more attention to infomercials about home meat dryers than I have to any of these announcements. I think it's because I don't have a kid yet. Once I do it'll be competition, at which point I'll start lying about the size of my posterity, just like I lie about the length and width of everything else I care about.

And seriously, why can't we just say tall? Babies are people too you know.

Still even despite the lack of an actual barbecue, I had a good time. I'm proud to say that I've survived a baby shower.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go take a man shower. I still feel icky.

Geek on.

Steve Shinney is a veteran of many crappy barbecues who thinks that showers should be held for anyone for any major life event. He is currently planning a “just got an X-box” shower for himself.

100th post, in 3rd person rather than 3-D

The ever handsome Steve Shinney was walking to the bus stop this morning, when he noticed the sign at the Hooters across the street was proclaiming proudly, “We have Wi-Fi!”

'What a strange thing for Hooters to brag about,' he thought to himself. 'If I were them, I'd make a sign that said something like “We have buxom women in tiny clothes!” or they could just shorten it to “Hey, we're Hooters!”'

He tried to distract himself by listening to music, but he still couldn't get his head around this concept. It didn't make sense for Hooters to brag about having Wi-Fi, something he himself possessed in his own apartment and didn't feel the need to make a sign to tell people.

He considered perhaps they were trying to compete with the coffee shop next door, whose sign also proclaimed that “We have Wi-Fi.”

'But who's business are they competing for?' He wondered 'Granted coffee shops have a monopoly on people who like to slowly drink a single overpriced coffee while they work on their Great American Novels.'

'But I'm pretty sure no novels – great, American or otherwise – have ever been read in Hooters, let alone been written.'

He considered for a moment taking advantage of this highly-toted Wi-Fi and writing his latest idea for a book ( a touching love story about a jazz musician who falls for sexy young werewolf set in the 13th century) just to be the first person to raise to literary greatness from such a location, but then he realized not only would his wife not approve (with punching) but with that many distractions bouncing around nobody could write anything.

'I can't even write if I see a dog outside my window,' he thought and pushed that fantasy out of his mind forever.

He looked down the street to the next bus stop and contemplated walking a bit further every morning so that he didn't have to wait where he had to read such perplexing signs. There were still nights when he would lay awake remembering last Christmas when the same sign wished him a 'Hooterific Holiday', a phrase that haunted him still.

Finally the bus came to carry him away. As climbed aboard he realized what it all meant.

'This sign, is a sign. It's the sign I've been watching for. It's time to bring back The Geek Beat.'

And so it was.

Somethings they just don't teach you in the MTC

Languages are a lot like fighting ninja werewolves, just when you think you're getting good at one you find that your skills are severely lacking when you need them the most.

I've been studying Chinese for over seven years. For the most part I do OK and on the occasions when I need to say a word or phrase that I don't know like “archaeologist” or “Decepticon” I have my lovely wife there by my side to bail me out (just like with the ninj-wolves).

This week however, I ran into a situation where both my leet sino-skills and lovely sino-wife both failed me.

I was still in China, doing some last minute shopping, which for me means shopping for Chinese DVDs. Chinese DVD salesmen are unintentionally hilarious. When every they see whitey they a circle with their fingers (commonly recognized as the universal sign of a DVD) and say one of the few English words they know “DVD” (which actually doesn't count because that's also how you say DVD in Chinese).

Normally I then blow them away by chatting with them about Chinese movies and movie stars, prove my linguistics manhood and move on. I'm fairly comfortable in these situations so I went to pick up a couple Chinese Television series to last us until our next trip while my wife took care of her parents' computer needs.

This is when I discovered a major chink in my Chinese armor (that phrase has never sounded more racist, I should have thought of a better way to say that). Since the last time I was in China many of the bootleg DVD vendors have moved much of the stock into the back rooms that used to be reserved for adult programming. Also the vendors seemed a lot more convinced that a white guy wondering around could only be interesting in dirty DVD was were making different commonly recognized universal signs with their fingers

I just wish I knew how to say “I don't want to go to your porn room” in Chinese.

I'm hoping for the second kind

I saw a sea monster yesterday.

I'm not really sure if it was one of the cool kinds with the lots of arms, the horns and the teeth and the ship wrecking powers like the Kraken or if it was the really cool kind with the tits and the boobs and the seashell bikini like a mermaid, but it was definitely a sea monster.

It was on my flight home from LA.

Even though the flight from LA to SLC requires passing over absolutely zero water, the plane made a small detour over the ocean. I think they were kinda hoping we would crash there. They seemed really proud of the fact that their seats could be used a a flotation device (all thought I would have felt a lot safer if the seats could be used as a parachute).

I saw something big in the water. I don't know what it was, but my world needs more magic. There fore, I'm decided in was a sea monster.

You can't change my mind.