A Note of Change

September 19, 2012

For the past half hour I have sat here trying to type out a post about my dislike of taking naps.

I know that you’re disappointed to read this, but I’m not going to publish it.

Yeah, it was going to be pretty bad. I’m doing you a favor.

I’m pointing this out because I have started many different posts but never really saw them through because, quite honestly they were terrible. (Or just plain boring). But you don’t come here to have crap thrown at you like you’re seeing the gorilla exhibit at the zoo.

This is a a no poop-flinging area.

So you get this in it’s place.

That is all…

D.A.

 

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Today Was The Day

June 12, 2012

Today marks the beginning of my self-proclaimed “Summer of Doing Things”. 

So far?

I went to a friend’s house and wasted a day away while making up a board game and eating pizza. That sounds like a pretty good start to me. Later I fell asleep on his couch and rediscovered that stretching out on the floor is amazing. It just cracked my back and realigned everything. I couldn’t believe it. I rarely lay on the ground…but if I can…I highly recommend it for you.  

I’ve also learned something about myself. Actually, it’s not so much that I’ve learned something but have finally defined something about myself. 

:::takes deep breath:::

Do you know what a “kick” is? Not the one for scoring goals. Not the one that you saw in Inception. 

A “kick” is a period of time when you obsess over something. It can be something real or it can be an activity. It can even be a place or a person (think like a crush). It’s not to be confused with an addiction. Addictions are long term and result in bad things. A kick is a short lived love of something. Most of the time you end up doing that activity for a few weeks and then you suddenly tire of it and stop. Then..weeks…months…even years later…you return with a newly revived vigor. 

They’re wonderful.

My life in recent years has been defined in different kicks. 

Such as…

  • Writing
  • Guitar
  • Sound recording
  • Exercise
  • Computers
  • Board games
  • Magic: The Gathering
  • Making stupid internet videos
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Reading
  • Lamps
  • Zombies
  • Comic Books
  • And many, many more…

So…why am I pointing this out this potentially obsessive compulsive behavior for all to see? Because I think it is actually a very healthy thing to do.

Really.

I think the more interests a person has it shows that they are keeping themselves stimulated and active. Yes, it might mean that our thoughts are sort of roller coaster at times but how is that any different than anybody else? Everybody goes through “phases” in life. My phases just happen to be focused around different activities rather than bouts of depression or relationships or life events. (I’m not saying living life in a way that is guided by these moments is bad…I’m just saying most of my life has occurred in bursts of interests from time to time.)

I think most people go through these “kicks”. At least I’m hoping that most of you go through this. Otherwise I guess it would seem that I’m a little crazy…

Am I crazy?

I guess it doesn’t really matter…I’m going to keep explaining anyway. 

I also think there’s a reason why kicks are defined over a certain period of time (usually short). It’s simple; we run out of fuel. When I’m in the middle of a kick I’m pouring out my juices of attention. (That’s a thing by the way…juices of attention. The trademark belongs to me D.A. Bancroft. All rights reserved. You can buy your T-shirts that feature this awesome catchphrase very soon.).

And trust me when I tell you this, I pour out until I run dry of everything I have to give. Then, when the well is dry, I allow myself to fill back up. But that takes time. 

To fill it back up all I have to do is just wait. The daily routine around me will cause me to remember certain aspects and interests as I go along my merry way. Sure enough when that cup becomes full once again it starts to pour and the kick begins again. Usually my efforts are a little more focused and contained the second or third time around. It’s almost like I pick back up right where I left off.

So…since I’ve told you about my past kicks…let’s explain my latest one. 

Right now I’m going through a “I really need a DSLR camera” kick. It’s got me in such a tight grip that I’m starting to think I might actually pull the trigger and buy one.

Do I really need one? Absolutely not. It’s almost ridiculous to imagine me running around trying to take pictures and videos of things (In 1080 p might I add…). But it could be a whole lot of fun, and for the “summer of doing things” it could be perfect. A new interest and a wide open horizon of possibilities. 

So if I end up purchasing one…what do I plan on doing with it?

Probably a lot of things. Maybe not much. I dunno really until I actually follow through and try this thing out. 

I might use it to really try my hand at photography. I’ve never really tried before but I think it would be a lot of fun learning a lot about it and seeing if I can develop the “artistic eye”. I could also start recording some of those silly videos me and my friends keep talking about. (And no, these friends are a dozen teddy bears that I keep in my closet, they’re real people.) 

I might try to make some recordings of me doing some science demonstrations for my classroom. This could come in handy because sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to set up a demo for students. While they can be wonderful learning moments we may not have all the materials to repeat the demo 3 or 4 times a day. So…if I recorded myself doing this (let’s say over the summer months) then I could just throw them up in video and can actually point out some pretty amazing things while not having to worry about burning down my lab room. 

I have even heard of something called the “flipped classroom”. This is where the teacher puts all the lectures and lessons online for students to access at home and all the homework is done while they are in my classroom on school days. Then the kids receive help from me on their homework and we won’t lose any class time to me teaching stuff. 

I dunno…that’s a little extreme but it’s a possibility. It’s even more possible if I gave myself a few trials to see if things like that would even work. 

Hey…I could even try…blogging…on video…”vlogging” as they say. 

But…I dunno…that would be awfully….different…

Still…I could try…

So you see? The sky’s the limit! I could do anything! (Well, I don’t think I could cook with it…or bathe with it…or perform a jet engine repair with it either…)

Anyway, maybe in a week I’ll tell you about how I have successfully navigated away from the strong current that is pulling me toward buying a camera. Or maybe you’ll see a nice crisp picture of a pile of leaves that made me “feel the artistic urge.” 

So I end with this… If you were me…in my position…would you do it?

D.A.

Tuesdays Are For…

May 22, 2012

Not working and writing a love letter to YouTube.

Actually, I did go to work, but immediately left due to an illness that was rendering me incapable of being able to hold the attention of some 15 year olds for and hour and a half.

As of now I’m feeling a lot better and I’m certain that I will be returning to work tomorrow.

So…what  did I do to occupy my time while I was out sick?

1. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. (Yeah, I was that kind of sick…)

2. I slept for another three hours. From the hours of 1:30 to 4:00. I woke up a new man. I recommend sickly naps whenever possible.

3. Listened to a little music.

4. Browsed Reddit.

5. Rediscovered my fascination with YouTube.

Actually, I need to explain this one because I’m pretty sure I’ve never mentioned my love of YouTubes little community they’ve created.

This means I have a habit of falling in love with some particular YouTube videos and then try to watch every known video of said people involved with a particular video. I even find the videos they took in 2007 about their cat’s trip to the vet. It gets a little out of hand.

Why do I do this? I’m mesmerized how some people can create a fun experience for little money and still have thousands or millions of people watch them. It’s what reality T.V. wishes it were. It’s much more real than anything that’s usually put in front of us. Even with people learning about nice cameras and lighting, they still do this for relatively little money. They also manage to be their own content creators.

That’s a freedom I like really like.

I’ll admit this here and now, I have attempted to start a YouTube channel and post videos of silly ideas me and my friends had come up with. We even posted them. They were horrible…but they were fun.

No…you will never see them. Ever.

So instead of rambling on about why I like videos so much, how about I just turn this post into a compilation of my most obsessed over videos from YouTube?

Warning: This is not good.

For all of you who have children, please turn them away. Those with heart conditions you should also steer clear. For those brave enough to press forward, remember, logic and reason have left this post. I’m now going to be irrational in the videos I love. Many of them are just silly and may not seem that funny/interesting to you. Some might even make you cringe with their datedness…if that’s a word…

(I also think this may qualify as a really big guilty pleasure. So…I feel guilty about it…but don’t make me feel any worse than I already do.)

This all really began in 2005/2006 (not long after the creation of YouTube). The first video is of a SNL Digital Short called “Dear Sister.” It was funny to me at the time (still is). Then there were tons of parodies of the same concept and it was remarkable. I think this really set the bar for me because, for whatever reason, the video kept getting pulled from YouTube and that taught me to watch the video tons of times before it’s gone forever.

(If I implant it into my brain, then nobody can remove it. Perfect plan.)

Actually, you can’t even find an official version of the video through NBC or YouTube itself. The only real version I can seem to find is now here…with the service provided by YouTube…

After that came “Old Gregg”, a skit from the comedy troupe The Mighty Boosh. Very weird…very uncomfortable…but that’s what makes it great.

I’M OLD GREEEEEEEEEGGGGGGGGGGGG.

Then came a student created unofficial music video for the the band MGMT and their song “Kids.” It’s done really well and probably cost less than $50 to make. The creator is a guy named Jon Salmon and I think he got some friends to wear some make up and sing along to make a hypnotic video.

Kids.

Then came BalloonShop. This silly trio slapped each other with meat, fruits, vegetables as well as taught us all how to eat an Oreo Cookie Sandwich. They later broke up their working relationship but each of them now tries to do their own thing on YouTube.

This particular video almost made me pee myself the first time I watched it.

Shortly after came me (along with millions of others) falling in love with the auto-tuned masterpieces of Schomoyoho. They’re attention to detail and deep hooks in songs allowed us to see the beauty in the “deep” content of YouTube. Who can forget their classic remixes of “hide yo kids“, “backin-up“, and (my personal favorite) “double rainbow all the way“? Nobody, that’s who.

The music theme stays pretty solid here because I noticed the work of Sweetafton23, otherwise known as Molly Lewis. She sings and plays the ukelele. She’s also a gigantic Doctor Who nerd…so more power to her.

Then came MysteryGuitarMan. He’s a mystery. He’s a guitar playing man. He’s also good at making videos that hold your attention as well as make you wonder how people can stay this creative for this long.

This was followed with my deep love of the musical stylings of a band called Pomplamoose. They’re very talented and their videosongs really set them apart from most other YouTubers at the time. Heck I think they started to trend of VideoSongs.

Rapping is clearly ignored in this list. Well, that was until I found out about Epic Rap Battles of History. They’re both being awesome and funny. It’s a win/win.

Recently I have been drawn to the vlogs of two girls named meekakitty and nanalew. They have their own individual channels but they also collaborate quite often on musical projects. These are really impressive “music videos” that I’m sure aren’t expensive to make  but look amazing.

There are tons of other videos/people that I have obsessed over their work before but I just can’t remember them at the moment.

And yes, I know most of these videos are already popular. They don’t need your views. But I’m only posting them because I have watched them many times myself. (Okay, since most are musical I have just ended up playing them and not watching them but you get my point.)

Anyway…this became a very long love letter about YouTube. Sorry about that. Maybe I’ll make up something exciting for tomorrow. Like a post about bookmarks.

Mmm…bookmarks…(could happen)

D.A.

Thirsty Thursday #1

May 3, 2012

There’s nothing much more American that sitting around with your buds having a beer. It’s almost like a male ritual. The hiss and pop of the can or the crack of the bottle cap is known as a peaceful gesture. Just look at men’s behavior next time they get alcohol in their hands. Their body language changes. They relax. They feel comfortable. Every once in a while they take a nice swig of their brew and let the day’s troubles flow away.

I love this concept. To walk up to a group of friends and say “beer me”, and to have it recipocated, would be a real pleasure. It let’s you feel like you’re a part of the group. You belong here.

Some guys like the popular big name beers. Other’s prefer to go with the lesser known beers. Even fewer have found locally created micro-brews to sip on. Everybody has a preference.

I’m telling you all this because I want this but I can’t have it.

There is one little hang-up.

I don’t drink.

It’s not because I’m a recovering alcoholic. It’s not because I have an allergy. And it’s not because I think I’m above people who drink.

Nope. It’s just … icky. In more ways than one. (Mostly because any alcohol tastes mysteriously like urine.)

So, since I’ll never enjoy the feeling of having an ice-cold brewski in my hand, I should at least make the attempt to find something that can come close to being a slightly cool alternative. Something that can let me feel like I’m a part of the group when my buddies are standing around the grill having a beer.

So I’m going to pick gourmet soda.

Okay, maybe it’s not that manly of a substitue, but it’s something. It will also look a lot better than standing there with a virgin daiquiri in my hands.

Actually for the past few weeks I’ve been picking up a few of these sodas and have been pleasantly surprised. So surprised that I feel like you should hear/see the benefits of my non-beer drink search.

What follows is the first of a multi-part series that will feature yours truly tasting the finest and most delectable gourmet sodas from around the world. (While that sounds all nice and organized, it really isn’t. Actually, it’s more like I’m just going to try to talk about a soda I found at the store that also manages to have the words “gourmet” written on them.)

So, just like a warm RC cola…you may not totally enjoy it, but it’s better than nothing.

THIRSTY THURSDAY #1

Today’s selection: Virgil’s Cream Soda

Virgil’s Cream Soda is probably not the first soda I should have picked for my weekly segment. You want to know why? Because they’re probably isn’t going to be another cream soda that can beat it. Honestly, I have had a lot of cream soda in my life and this pretty much beats them all. It beats them in the way a 1980’s Mike Tyson would beat up my grandmother in a fistfight. (Don’t worry too much, granny survived giving birth to 5 boys and would get in a few good shots with her left hook.)

Number one: the packaging is incredible. I don’t know much about the history or background of the company, but let’s be honest, there isn’t anything more manly than featuring a burly and bushy bearded male wearing an apron and green flannel. The apron tells me that he is a professional in making tasty fizzy drinks. The flannel tells me he probably does this as a hobby because his other job is chopping down endangered redwood forests with an axe. Even his powerful stare would supress the growls of an angry grizzly bear into the equivalent of  a sneezing squirrel.

The color of the soda is perfect. An amber glow is the only way I could describe it. Why is this important? Because most cream sodas have a clear or urinish sheen to them. This looks like a hearty ale. It doesn’t only look inviting but it practically lulls you into pouring it’s sweet goodness inside your belly.

What waits inside is one of the clearest and most refreshing vanilla aromas that could fill your nostrils.

The taste is remarkable.

The first sensation to cross your taste buds leaves you surprised by how light the drink is. It’s not overpowering. A good balance. It is a carbonated drink but it’s not too sharp on the tongue. It gives a slight sizzle and calms down nicely. This means you don’t have to worry about the “bite” that is usually found in more artificial drinks.

This lack of a bite and full aroma that swirls around your sinuses allows you to appreceiate every drop. And trust me, I did. The bottle in the photo above lasted less than two minutes. And I think that was the second bottle of the day.

The second sensation is the aftertaste. It’s pleasant. It’s does stick around for a little bit, but that’s okay. If you’re not used to drinking a soda then you may even say it’s a little sweeter after it leaves the mouth. If you’re a seasoned veteran of the soda taste (I’m calling myself a vet now) then you’ll find it soothing.

Let’s put it this way, if sodas were hats, Virgil’s would be sitting on top of the Pope’s head.

Overall rating: excellent. If you can find this in a store, it’s well worth the money. There are only four bottles per pack but you won’t regret your decision. Just make sure they’re cold and you’ve got the grill on because there couldn’t be anything much better than that.

(If you’re really interesting in learning more about the company/drink…I’ve provided you with the link to their heavenly creations: Virgil’s Root Beer/Cream Soda)

D.A.

Into The Fire

April 24, 2012

Occasionally, the world seems to crash down around you. Other times it seems to put itself on your shoulders like an ugly sweater made of lead. And sometimes the world just keeping poking you until you yelp out in pain, then it keeps poking.

Different people deal with stress relief differently. Some people have to surround themselves with friends. Sometimes people need to be alone.

Most of the time, I’m the person that needs to be alone.

Even if I got in an argument with somebody or I had to make a very heavy decision, I would need to chill out.

Actually, I would need to look into the fire.

I mean this both literally and metaphorically.

Literally, starting into fire is a comforting thing to do. Almost any fire will work but most of the time it should be a campfire. A fireplace would suffice as well. As long as it has an orange flicker and wiggles as it destroys something it’ll work.

Why fire? Well, it’s pretty simple. Men like myself have always stared at fire. Way back in the day when humans were wearing loin cloths and banging rocks together men still stared into the fire. It’s a beautiful thing. The flames seem to draw you in. It’s relaxing.

It also means I can focus on the fire. I can let it cook my thoughts away. Not permanently however, only for a short period of time. As soon as that flame goes out, I focus back on the situation that put me there.

But at least I was able to take my brain off the topic for that little bit.

Metaphorically, looking into the fire could be a way of refining or cleansing my mind. It burns away all the underbrush so it will prevent a much larger fire from starting. Inside of just being a small fire in a confined area, it would spread to the entire forest. This is like a little disturbance messing with my head but later spreading to insert itself into my heart and personality.

We all need to let things burn away every now and again.

If some of these thoughts made you say something like “Wow, this guy’s really saying something here.” then you probably need to stop. I’m not really saying it. It sort of stolen from this couple who writes books for couples and relationships. The book I’m referencing is called Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Read Maps. The people who wrote it are Barbara and Allan Pease.

No, I didn’t read this book, only heard some people today talk about the subject of it. And it sort of makes sense to me right now.

Sometimes I just want to get away from everything, not just people, but from my brain as well. And just like a child being distracted by shiny keys I get distracted by fire.

Of course this doesn’t HAVE to be fire. It could be working out in a wood shop or just browsing the clearance section at Books-A-Million. Either way, I don’t have to talk to anybody, I can just focus on the pretty colors of the covers and move on to the next.

I think this explains my weekly ritual of going to the comic shop every Friday after work.  I unwind by just looking at the same comics that were on the wall last week. I don’t call anybody after work and ask them if they want to take the 25 mile drive just to got buy 8 bucks worth of comics.

And nobody in the store really questions why I’m there. They know I’ll talk when I’m ready.

It’s good to know what my fire is.

D.A.

 

Quaint Dream and Reading

April 23, 2012

Yesterday I awoke with the strangest memory of the strangest dream. I’m going to relay every detail to you. Maybe there is a special meaning behind it. Maybe it’s just random firing of synapses in my cerebral cortex while I enter R.E.M stages of sleep. Maybe it’s not really a dream but a memory from some very odd sleep walking.

In my dream I wake up. I’m in my bed and everything seems normal. Bed sheets are green, lights are off, and fan is on.

I drudge myself out from under the covers and stumble toward my shorts that are laying on the ground. The shorts are the same shorts that I had worn the day previously and had taken them off before I went to bed. As I shakily place one leg into the opening I manage to lose my balance more than usual. I step through and feel constrained. I try the other leg and can’t quite reach through the other side.

My shorts have magically become pants.

And then I woke up. For real wake up.

Weird…I know. But that was the entire thing.

I should take this opportunity to mention that I’ve been reading a lot lately. This feels really good because I haven’t read anything of substance for a long time.

But this sword is double bladed. While I’m reading more, I’m writing less. I know this shouldn’t be true. The experts (whoever they are) always say, “writers read.” I’ll be honest, I know I should read more, but if I were to do that, my brain would be more preoccupied with reading than writing. I just feel so engrossed in a good story that I really don’t want to put it down. (Also, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I read very slowly.)

What exactly have I been reading?

I’m so glad you asked.

  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King
  • Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
  • The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
  • Thud! by Terry Pratchett (currently reading)
No, I’m not really into reviewing books but here’s a statement that works for all of them.
They’re all good.
Those of you who have followed my blog for a while may be quick to notice this isn’t the first time I’ve posted updates to my reading list. Those of you with impeccable memory will also notice that none of these books are on that list.
:::Gives self the finger of shame:::
I’m terrible at sticking to reading plans.
Yeah, well, so what? What about your reading list, huh? How you read anything that’s actually on it? I have my doubts…
D.A.

This certainly is a strange mix of novels. But

 

 

Pinky

April 9, 2012

It is widely held that today, April 9th, is in fact, a Monday.

Go ahead and fact check me. You’ll see that I’m not lying.

And yes, everybody says some old axiom about Mondays being the worst day of the week. Everybody wakes up and feels extra groggy, maybe they forget the sugar in their coffee in the morning, and lose one of the files from last week. Mondays are designed to make everybody feel like they are just one step behind normality, and normality had chili for dinner last night…

But the old axiom didn’t hold true for me today. Today I put a Monday on the defensive.

How?

I wore a pink shirt.

As a man, most people usually assume that men who wear pink shirts are either gay, fashionable, or wearing a formerly white shirt that’s been washed with the wrong color. But for me, I simply just like pink. Red is too strong, and pink is pleasant. Makes people around you think of you differently.

Had I been wearing a grey shirt today, I’m sure my joke at the check-out line at Win-Dixie would have been considered extreamly awkward. Actually, it was probably weird anyway because now there was some guy making comments about customers driving off after they placed their groceries on the check-out counter.

Wow…

My seemingly solid Monday just turned into a very strange one…

D.A.

 

But when I am, I try to write stories the old fashioned way.

This is what I did today during one of my classes that had to take a midterm. That goes to show you how bored I was. I was also not capable of using a computer at the moment because I didn’t want to sit there in a silent room with me pounding on a keyboard the whole time. That’s right, I’m a nice guy.

My handwriting clearly needs help. It looks a lot like an old form of Klingon. I’m not sure if you can really see this writing up close but it’s mostly a ugly hybrid of cursive and print. Each letter only resembles those found in the English alphabet. And it’s very tiny. Like Hobbit tiny.

One thing that does sort of make me proud is how straight the lines of text are on the unlined paper. I’m pretty impressed with myself. Usually when I try something like this it looks like half the words are sliding off an invisible shelf.

And if for some reason you’re trying to read what I wrote, please stop. That’s my next little project/goal. If you want to keep it a surprise don’t look at the answers. Oh, I guess I should tell you what that goal actually is…

5,000. 

Yup. 5,000 words is my goal. I think I can accomplish it. I think I could kill it. I just don’t know if I can hit 5,000 and still keep it interesting to read. I’m starting to think I have a short attention span when it comes to writing because I have pretty short attention span when I’m reading.

When is it going to be done? Whenever I decide it’s ready…that’s when. I’ve had the idea for about a week now, but yesterday I actually planned out what’s going to happen (most likely, things can always change later).

I wrote a lot (for my standards) last month. While I thought it was great, I want to try something that I put a little more effort into. I also want to allow myself to be lazy. I did a lot of work last month. So far I haven’t really stopped that pattern, but I don’t want to get my hopes up that it will continue only to have it all fall apart in a couple of weeks.  So I think pacing myself will be for the best.

Oh, and I think this story is going to have some Elvis impersonators. Because what story doesn’t get better when you read about overweight and uncommitted Elvis impersonators?

So I guess you’ve got that to look forward to.

I’ve got a teacher work day tomorrow…but no work. So that means I’ll probably end up writing a little while I’m there. I’ll probably listen to music and make my coworkers wonder what’s wrong with my musical taste…

THHHEEEE HIIIIILLLLLSSSS ARE AALLLIIIIIIVVVVVEEE WITH THE SOUND OF MUUUUUUSSIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCC…..

D.A.

With the sound of muuuuussiiiiiiccccc….

Yes. I’m singing. And yes, I do sing like Julie Andrews singing the title song to the movie “The Sound of Music.” It’s that really old musical/stage play that features Nazis chasing around people and nuns. People sing. I’m sure there’s a romance or two involves. It’s considered to be very important in film….

I’ll be honest…I’ve never watched it. But everybody knows that song!

Why am I singing it?

Austria, of course. I have put four marbles in this beautiful country. They rest in the hands of a charming human being known as Katrin.

Why does this special person get four lovely marbles? Mostly because she asked…

But also because she wants to drop the marbles in Germany, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, as well as her home of Austria. (I spelled Lichtenstein correctly on my first try.)

As for photographic evidence…I’ve got a plenty.

This is what Austria looks like by the way. Very lush and European. Also there are mountains. Amazingly beautiful mountains.

And here’s the lucky winners of a cheap cargo flight to Central Europe.

I know what you’re thinking. This person collects old cameras. You are right to be jealous. They are a super cool person. The marbles are now even cooler than when they left here.

So I thank her and all her marble-loving qualities so I could get four steps closer to realizing my goal.

Thanks Katrin. You’re awesome.

And now I make a quick vanish. I have something funny to show you tomorrow. Okay, it’s probably not that funny. But at least you now know I have something planned for you. So that’s good. Rest well knowing that.

D.A.

Good Boy

March 28, 2012

Good Boy

D.A. Bancroft

He wasn’t much older than a boy when he joined the police force. He had barely made his way through the academy. A simple boy that grew up on a farm outside of Chambers, Nebraska, and really had no place in a city like Los Angeles. He also shouldn’t have been promoted as quickly as he did.

“Alright Ricky. Cut the blue wire. The blue one. Go ahead. Cut it.” said Bomb Tech 1st Sergeant Raymond Butte.

“Woof!” replied the fat yellow lab known as Ricky. He wagged his tail not knowing of the danger that laid between his chubby paws.

That danger was a Class III detonator that was attached to a dozen sticks of dynamite. It was located inside of a Mercedes van parked outside of a few buildings downtown. A crowd had gathered after the L.A.P.D. Bomb Squad arrived with it’s lead investigators. Unfortunately, there had been some serious downsizing in the department. As well as some strikes over pay cuts. There was also the problem of a lack of funding in the first place.

In reality Raymond and Ricky were the entire Bomb Squad. But bomb scares were so uncommon these days that the police department figured they could float by on the two dimwits for a while and hope that things picked back up before things started blowing up.

Raymond wasn’t a smart guy, he knew that, but he recognized how his bad situation could end up. If this bomb went off inside of this plaza it would be more than Raymond’s job. It would cost him his severance pay too. Also, it may result in his immediate death.

“Hey man, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” hollered a concerned bystander nearly 40 yards away behind the police tape surrounding the scene.

“Yes, I’m a trained expert. I’ve dealt with situations like this plenty of times before.” lied Raymond. “Now just back away please, my partner is working on the situation.”

The man didn’t listen. “No man. Your partner is a dog. And for the past twenty minutes he’s been locked inside that car. That’s just stupid.” The man started to walk away. “I’ve seen a lot of crap man, but you take the cake. How’d you flunk your way through life”

Raymond’s stomach grumbled. He liked cake. He tried refocusing his attention on the pressing matters at hand. He had to diffuse this bomb and he was running out of time.

When Raymond and Ricky had arrived on the scene they had both suited up and walked carefully over to the vehicle. They noticed the bomb in the back and decided to diffuse it carefully. Raymond knew he had a time limit. So in order to save time, as well as make sure the bomb was safe from people walking around in the plaza, he told Ricky to stay in the van while he went back to the truck to bring some supplies.

When Raymond returned, somehow Ricky had locked himself inside. The recent memory of this made Raymond think that if Ricky was smart enough to lock himself inside a van, then maybe he would be smart enough to pull out a wire. It was at least worth a shot.

“Okay Ricky. I want you to bite the blue wire. Can you do that boy? Can you?” he tried inflecting his voice the way that would entertain a three-year-old. Ricky replied by flattening his ears and looking back with a blank stare.

Raymond put his face up to the driver’s side window. He could see the timer on the device counting down.

Two minutes left.

He and Ricky had not really accomplished much in their short career together. Their magnum opus up to this point in their careers had been that one time when they split that box of two dozen glazed donuts they got for free after one of their “training sessions”.

But maybe that could change today.

“Ricky,” he began angrily. “You better stop your lollygagging and get to work. You’re a trained professional. Act like one for once. We need to show people that we can be the best we can be.”

Another random citizen replied on behalf of Ricky. “That’s the Navy’s thing man.”

“Shut up.” Raymond spat back. “I’m trying to work here.”

“Could have fooled me.” said the man as he walked away.

Raymond cursed the man under his breath and look back down at the timer.

One minute.

“Please. Ricky. Do this for us.” begged Raymond. He hoped this canine could understand him for once.

The dog sniffed the bomb with interest. His belly was wobbling as his head searched around the edges of the bomb. Ricky even tried repositioning himself to smell with greater detail It was as if he had come across a new dog butt’s scent and he needed to know more.

“That’s right. Now just cut the blue wire. Just rip it out.” Raymond perked up. He felt the weight of his suit pulling him down. The heat building up inside of the heavy gear made his clothes stick to him. His underwear felt very uncomfortable.

Ricky then began to lick the bomb.

Just then Raymond then started to see how hopeless his situation was. He had been on the job for less than six months and everything fell apart. He was the only one left on the job and he only knew one thing. Always cut the blue wire.

That was the extent of his training.

Raymond counted all the things he had accomplished in his short life. He hadn’t even been to Disneyland.

Thirty seconds.

As Ricky was sniffing the bomb something miraculous happened. His collar got hung up on some of he wires to the device. With a good enough tug he might be able to disconnect the wires.

Raymond felt heartened. “Good boy. Now…up!” he commanded. He tried gesturing a lifting motion, but the suit made it look like he were miming dropping a hot plate of food.

The dog sat upright and yanked out the blue wire. Ricky’s tail wagged with delight. Raymond’s heart was about to burst out of pride and appreciation that his partner had finally pulled through.

Raymond stood there motionless. He held his breath. For a few seconds nothing happened. Then relief.

In the few seconds after Ricky had successfully saved the day Raymond began to think to himself. He pondered how he was going to turn his life around. Maybe he would actually read the Diffusing For Dummies textbook when he got back to the station. Maybe he’d take a few more notes. He had never learned about red wires, maybe they had something to do with bombs and stuff.

He even imagined taking Ricky out to buy two dozen glazed doughnuts from that place down the street that he liked so much. And since he was going to be the hero for the day maybe the boss would let him take some time off. Some R and R. Raymond imagined taking the time to visit Disneyland.

Then there was a spectacular explosion.

Not much of them were left afterward. Investigators had only found a chubby paw and some sweaty and charred underwear.

A funeral service was held. The two were buried next to each other. After the ceremony somebody had even left a few doughnut crumbs behind on their graves. They would have enjoyed that.

The strikes and pay cuts were ended and real professionals went back to work. Everybody was grateful the city was safe again.