And Now For Something Completely Serious.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I don't ask for help a lot; at least not anything beyond the "Help-me-understand-why-people-purposely-watch-Jersey-Shore" sense. But I'll be honest, I'm in a really tight spot right now. First part's pretty long-winded, but I'd appreciate the read.

As you may have gathered in my previous post, I failed Calculus III last semester. It was mostly a combination of not understanding the subject matter itself, how it was presented, and (the majority) my increasing lack of motivation due to disappointing results with every new unit. It sucked, but I accepted the final grade, realized it was mine to earn, and vowed I'd never let it happen again. For context, this grade put me pretty far below my required 2.6 GPA for scholarship money; at the moment I'm sitting at a 2.36, hoping I can bring it back over the edge.

Enter this semester. Differential equations, while closely relating to calc III, doesn't require it as a prerequisite. I'm doing quite well in all of my other classes, but diff eq is just not cutting it. I do fine on the quizzes, do the homework with a fair degree of success, understand the material in class... and then completely bomb the tests (2 so far). Doing some quick math (ironically) after the second grade got back, I realized the very maximum grade I can get at the end of it all is 74, which for my Canadian compadres, translates to a C down here. Realistically, though, a D would be in the works, even if I did ace the remaining test and the final.

So right now I'm facing a dilemma. Today is the last day to withdraw from a class without penalty, but I'd still have to take it somewhere down the line to get my degree (however far away that looks at the moment). I don't know if dropping it now would affect pre-req's for other classes, and in turn, my graduation date; but on the other hand, doing so would see to it that my remaining courses boost my GPA past that 2.6 I need. Furthermore, my study-abroad program in Oxford will consist of calc III (replacing the earlier grade) and another class, which I'm pondering if I can slip diff eq in the slot that'll free up next year because of it.

In short, I'm pretty terrified for my future right now. I don't know whether I should go headlong into this, or enact my plan shown above. And believe me, I hate to be the one doing this to you on what was probably otherwise a decent evening, but I need advice... motivation... Courage Wolf... anything right now.




And Now For Something Completely Different

*cough* *hack* *death* ...Damned dust.

Hello and welcome to another semi-regular... well, considering the last entry was over a quarter of a year ago, I'll say "undead"... blog post. I'll be honest, I'm pretty much only writing this because I have 11 posts in the entire existence of this page, and I might as well make it 12 so I can average out to one a month. So without further ado, I present the return of Old Man Dan's ramblings, in absolutely no coherent order whatsoever.

1) If you'll notice that likely-fossilized post just below this one, you may notice a brief mention of a sunburn. Well, that turned out to be crippling sun poisoning from which it took two weeks to recover. Itching. Skin bubbles everywhere. Not pretty. It's only by the miracle of having never broken a bone (yet) with which I can say it was some of the worst pain I've had to endure.

2) Oh, and that "Drowsy Chaperone" thing? AWESOME. The character of Aldolpho worked so well for my strengths... especially that of being comically hopeless. Even got a review in Florida Today about it. "Feldzeig hires gigolo Adolpho (scene stealing and hysterical Dan Smith -- he of great timing)"... I'll definitely take that. The whole cast and crew did fantastic, and we heard nothing but praise.

3) Failed Calc III. What a terrible class.

4) Saw Young Frankenstein: The Musical at the start of the month... to say that it was tear-inducingly hilarious would be an insufficient description of its genius. It's literally as if the entire movie, original jokes and all, happened to be in musical form. Amazing.

5) Apparently one of the girls on MTV's "Teen Mom" makes about $280,000 a year. This really had no place in the post, I just wanted to incinerate any shred of hope you had for the world. Happy New Year!

6) Gots me a new Canon Powershot SD4500 for Ecksmas. The old camera was the first I ever had; lasted about 4 years before it kept yelling at me to change the batteries even when they were brand-new, so I upgraded. (God, I hope I'm not as easily replaceable when I get senile.*)Haven't had much opportunity to really test its merit, but so far it's treated me well. Also got Epic Mickey and a metric shit-ton of candy, the former being a really freakin' cool game.

7) Not only did we not see a single tropical system at Florida Tech this year, but there were maybe two thunderstorms max for the entirety of last semester. (And I actually think both occurred even before my last post.) Dammit all, I need excitement! In the form of gratuitous light shows and loud noises! (Naturally-occurring loud noises, that is. If those douchenozzles below my room blast their "music" one more time, I will personally drive a screwdriver through their cranium... or, failing that, mine.)

8) Having lived in the South for over a year-and-a-half now, I can honestly say I've never been prouder to be Canadian when it comes to politics. We know to not take ourselves too seriously; our politicians do awesome stuff for comedy shows all the time, with essentially zero political gain. Heck, even Prime Minister Sweatervest, with his constant and quite impressive imitation of a robot, rocks out every now and then. Compare that to the States, where if it's good for Democrats, it MUST be bad for Republicans, and vice versa. Look, I know political parties exist to identify a lot of what you stand for on a public platform, but slander and calling for blood doesn't seem so much impassioned as batshit insane. "I strongly disagree with your views" is rational; "OBAMA IS A SOCIALIST SEEKRIT MUSLIM!!!1!" or "BUSH IS A 9/11-CAUSING NAZI!!!1!" is not.

I probably have a bit of liberal bias, but it's only because the other side usually makes it so damned easy. 2010 saw the rise of the Teabagger, after all (or rise-fall-rise-fall-rise-etc., depending on context). I've gotta say, I don't think the amount of vitriol spewed forth in political opposition was as bad during the Bush administration, although this is coming from an out-of-country observer. FOX is an entirely different beast altogether for me, I must admit; it's a sad state of affairs when Comedy Central provides my news, and FOX News provides my comedy. At risk of hypocrisy, to everyone currently embroiled in hatred towards "the other side", whichever one it may be, I offer good ol' Abe's take that "a house divided against itself cannot stand". Loosely translated: shut the fuck up and get along already.


Well, discussing politics tends to drain me of all creativity (and occasional will to live), so I'll leave it there. I will, at the very least, attempt to update this before my new record of 111 days is up.


*More so.


Deep Thoughts, Or Something

As cliché as that title sounds, I felt like writing all of a sudden and find myself with nothing in particular to write about. Seeing as how I haven't had an update in over two months, I figure I could have this as a placeholder, so... here we go.

1. So far, my sophomore year can only be described as "weird". A week after I started my classes, my grandma passed away, facilitating a trip back up north for the weekend funeral, then immediately back down to Melbourne. The funeral went about as good as you could possibly expect such a thing to go, but it's probably the only time I've ever "visited" Canada -- about 36 hours back in the country, in total. Anyway, besides classes (really, who the hell wants to hear about those?), being back has been pretty good. I'm in an even bigger room now with awesome roommates, and 2 out of 3 of them enjoy cooking... which makes for a good symbiotic relationship, since I enjoy stuffing my face. (Don't, uh... don't read too far into that.) The new show for College Players is "The Drowsy Chaperone", and all you really need to know about my role can be summed up quite nicely right here. Also I've been commissioned by our on-campus TV station to do the news program we're just starting up, and they've essentially given me carte blanche to (try to) be funny on television. We're doomed.

2. As of this writing, I'm very sunburned. Like, the-lobster-should-be-ready-in-a-few-minutes-dear sunburned. I have a history of being in Florida and having to go to the same clinic just outside of Disney property for treatment (where, and I don't know why I remember this specifically, Robin Hood is always playing), and this is not unlike one of those times. Despite my best sunblocking efforts, my skin is apparently heliophilic as all hell.

3. Loud music sucks. I'm not talking about like the cannonfire from 1812 Overture, that's just pure concentrated badass. I'm referring to the idiots residing in the room below mine who feel the urge to inject heavy bass into their daily (and oft-nightly) routine. Pro tip: If my room is shaking and we're not in California, either I'm having sex -- statistically unlikely -- or your (c)rap music is up way beyond a sensible level.

And don't even bother with that "If it's too loud, you're too old" shit. I know it. I'd have motion-activated Gatling guns installed on my lawn if it were legal and I were rich.

Come to think of it, buying a subwoofer and blasting 1812 Overture at their doorstep might be a viable solution.

4. About a month ago I got to experience Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, henceforth referred to as Pottersville. I must say, the themeing was quite impressive... and the frozen butterbeer was damned good, even if it was only butterscotch cream soda. Seriously, I'd drink that stuff straight out of the keg they have set up outside. Anyway, the only new ride there was awesome (Forbidden Journey) and is a gamechanger for dark rides. The sets are pretty cool, although the screens that move with your vehicle have projected images, and therefore are blurry as hell.

Speaking of which, I managed to get my Premier annual pass renewed for only $200. That may seem like a lot, but A) I saved $90 by renewing online, and B) it pays for itself in about 2-and-a-half visits. Plus apparently I get a Harry Potter commemorative holographic ticket next time I go back, so... you know, there's that.

5. There's this really cool music program called Synthesia which I've become rather fond of. Basically, you can download MIDI file sequences like this one and run them in the program, which scrolls the notes Guitar Hero-style along the correct keys. Since there is an abundance of MIDI files floating around the net of songs I've always wanted to learn but can't read the sheet music for, this is a good application to have. So far I've learned the full songs to Twister and Jurassic Park, and about half of Harry Potter thanks to Synthesia.

6. I have a sudden craving for poutine that I won't be able to properly satisfy until December. Dammit.

7. Why do girls date douchebags?

I know that seems a little forward, and I don't mean it as a blanket statement. Some women get involved in active relationships with guys who are clearly and unequivocally douchebags (or douchenozzles, douchecanoes, any variation on the word), and then are shocked -- SHOCKED -- when they finally realize he's been treating her like shit since Day One. As much as I naturally see the good in people, usually with the aid of my specially-patented rose-coloured glasses, I can't help but wonder if those types of women simply deserve to have it happen to them.


...Well, I hate to end it on that note, but I honestly have nothing else to say for now. Thanks for listening/tolerating.



Where We're Going, We Won't Need Running Commentary

"Once this baby hits 88 miles an hour... you're gonna see some serious shit."
--Dr. Emmett L. Brown

Twenty-five years ago today -- July 3rd, 1985 -- these immortal words (among others) were played for North American audiences for the first time. Since then, Back to the Future has become one of the most enduring films of all time, despite having been set in two different times altogether. Since I realized I haven't done a post in a while (sorry, entire month of June), I've decided to fill the void with random thoughts as I watch the film. Enjoy.


The Universal logo just came up without any indication of putting on my 3-D glasses. So far, so good.


Aaaaand cue the boldest and greatest film logo in history. Seriously, look at this thing and tell me you don't want to make sweet, sweet love to it.


Pro tip: If the reckless scientist tells you there's a "slight possibility of overload" with the expensive musical equipment, don't test aforementioned scientist's theory unless it's in the form of rock music.


Fun Fact: The guy at Marty's audition saying "I'm afraid you're just too darn loud" is none other than Huey Lewis, the man who wrote and performs the very song that Marty & Co. try out with.


"I just don't think I'm cut out for music." Who is he, Chad Kroeger?


"I can't believe you loaned me your car without tellin' me it had a blind spot." Enter the greatest bully in history, Biff Tannen. Were it not for him, the biggest buttheads of the world would remain oblivious to the fact.


Two great things introduced in one scene: the Delorean time machine and Alan Silvestri's score.


To hell with Call of Duty, I want the game that Doc's playing with the time machine. I believe it's called "Race The Car Directly At Us So If The Experiment Fails, We'll Still Save On A Funeral".


I know Homeland Security didn't technically exist in 1985, but something should've tipped off the powers that be about the Libyan terrorists... perhaps the Uzi's, bazookas and/or sketchy Volkswagen van.


Ah, here we see a fine demonstration of 1950's cultural tolerance as Old Man Peabody greets our hero with scattershot and ethnic slurs about mutants. Still, despite this and a few other things, I'd still want to go back to 1955 the most. Disneyland opening day road trip, y'all.


The guy constantly wearing the 3-D glasses (listed in the credits as "3-D") would probably LOVE the current trend in filmmaking.


George McFly is up a tree looking at half-nekkid ladies through binoculars. Looks like someone needs an Internet.


Lorraine thinks Marty's name is Calvin Klein because it's written on his underwear. Dear Lord, can you imagine that being filmed today? "The hell kind of a name is TAPOUT, anyway?"


Another pro tip: If a guy wearing a strange metal hat drags you into his house without consent and hooks you up to a machine, you'd better hope he's just a well-intentioned scientist.


Doc Brown is marvelling at the ability to shoot home video. I think the thrill would wear off quickly if he were introduced to Youtube; he'd spend the rest of his days as a scientist experimenting with the properties of Diet Coke and Mentos.


If I played a drinking game for every time the title is mentioned in the trilogy, I'd be on the floor before the Delorean even flies.


Maybe this "great Scot" Doc keeps bringing up is Braveheart?


"Make like a tree... and get outta here." Looks like Biff is already overqualified to post on the Interwebs.


"Silence, Earthling! My name is Darth Vader. I am an extraterrestrial from the planet Vulcan!" Eh, still beats the prequels.


First it was George in a tree, now it's Lorraine back at Doc's place. Was stalking just sort of a "thing" for teens back then?


The look on Doc's face when the car catches fire has more acting in it than the entire Twilight franchise.


When Doc is tuning up the electrical wire near the clock tower, a policeman stops him and asks if he has a permit for his "specialized weather equipment". They never actually show how he weaseled his way out of that, but I like to think it somehow involved a tire iron and a well-placed Yakity Sax.


Speaking of musical instruments, I think that Johnny B. Goode could benefit a little bit from the now-popular Vuvuzela Treatment. "Hey, Chuck! Y'know that new sound you were lookin' for? Well, listen to this!" *BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ*


That's some amazingly slow, plot-solving lightning right there... and I love every single damned millisecond of it.


Doc for the win with the bulletproof vest. Of all the scientific reasoning in the world, "Well, I figured... what the hell?" is among the best.


And so, our hero gets the girl, our hero's dad gets the girl, Marty gets the 4x4 and gets the eccentric old man to come back and say something's wrong with his kids while riding in a flying car. BEST. MOVIE. EVER.


Well, I thank you all who have read this crazy on-the-fly review of an equally crazy (and awesome) on-the-fly film. Happy 25th, Back to the Future!




Now that I have your attention, hello again, world. I’ll try to make this as short and sweet and painless as possible, but I’ve been down that road many times and people usually lie about that. Especially if your present location is within 50 yards of an unmarked van. But not my van. Maybe.

...Well, anyway, here’s another attempt at a summary of the goings-on since... April 11th? Geez, I’ve neglected this blog more than Kirstie Alley and her waistline. (Aah, Kirstie Alley jokes... if it weren’t for the fact that she’s now gotten considerably less planetary, you would be the purest form of comedy. Suppose there’s always Rosie.)

1) My freshman year of college is done, and by God, what a whirlwind tour it’s been. I’ve finally found an acceptable place among the nerds, geeks and generally unwashed masses of college life... which at Florida Tech seems to constitute the majority of the population. (The geeks, not the hygiene issues.) Going into it, I honestly wasn’t either nervous or excited... just really “meh” about the whole deal. Hell, it still hasn’t really hit me that this is big-time college we’re talking here, ‘cause honestly, it just feels like a way more awesome/expensive version of high school. Only, with way more people who understand my pop culture nerd jokes. Which is AWESOME.

2) Speaking of college, my final Semester II grades appear to be less than stellar but manageable: 3 B’s and 2 C’s. Overall GPA is 2.78, and I need above a 2.6 to keep my scholarship. Get your ass in gear, self.

3) After all that quasi-educational tomfoolery, I stayed in Florida for a couple more weeks waiting for my sister to finish her exams/ungodly essay assignments. My uncle owns a townhome in Port Charlotte, very close to Punta Gorda. The backyard faces the 15th hole of a golf course, and lemme tell ya, I’ve never had so much morning entertainment as when I watched people sail 3 balls in a row into the pond on a par-3. Classic.

Also during those two weeks, I went to Universal for a day thanks to my annual pass, with absolutely no lines. To put it in perspective, I rode Dudley Do-Right out of national pride 4 times and rode Hulk twice in the front row to dry off... and if you don’t know what either of those things I just mentioned are, may I suggest you either Google it or kindly DIAF. Also also went to Epcot for my sister’s 21st, whereupon she proceeded to “drink around the world” with friends. Not a big fan of the limoncello as I recall, but I showed her up by drinking all the free Smart Watermelon I could get. (Seriously. They have free Coca-Cola products at one place in the park, and the stuff from China is like liquefied carbonated Jolly Rancher Watermelon. Love.)

4) Coming back to Canada wasn’t too bad of a drive at all. I hadn’t been in the People’s Republic of Canuckistan since before the Vancouver Olympics, so it was nice to watch the Stanley Cup Finals commence with limited retardation on part of the announcers. (Lookin’ at you, NBC.) Also I can drink and gamble legally now, but have yet to take advantage of the latter. The former has so far only involved Smirnoff Ice, which is also pretty good, I guess.


...And so here I sit, bored on a Monday night, watching roller coaster DVD’s and eating my comfort food of Wavy Lay’s and Helluva Good French Onion dip. (I am SUCH a catch.) I should probably also write about the LOST series finale, but it’ll have to wait until a later time, which is probably yesterday but somehow not. Also I’m in purgatory.


*With purchase of equal or greater beer. As I understand it, this excludes all American brews.


Old Man Dan's Video Roundup

I figure there's gonna be a lot of these, but hey, might as well start one now. Here's a random collection of (NON-pornographic) videos I've found online recently.

1. 150-cc thrills abound in Mario Kart: The Movie.

2. Doc Brown meets the Governator. It's about time!

3. Windows 7 was waaaaaay too many people's idea.

4. While we're on College Humor... what would it look like if retro video games destroyed New York City? Freaking AWESOME, that's what.

5. Probably the crudest video I'm going to post... ever... but it's just so damn funny. "F*ck Planet Earth"

6. And, rounding out the list, the single greatest contribution to modern art: Final Cello Countdown.

So... basically, this list was done because I've got pretty much nothing else. But hey, there's always bitching about finals in a couple of weeks.




I can't believe I actually managed to do it. I nearly doubled my record for most consecutive waking hours this weekend, topping out at 42. What could possibly have compelled me to undertake such a seemingly-impossible task? Read on, or else be damned to lack of knowledge.

I woke up around 8:00 am on Friday, not exactly willingly. Normally I'm allowed to sleep in 'till 10:00 due to my awesome schedule, but for reasons unexplained my biological clock wouldn't allow for it. (Which is odd, because I'm so old, my biological clock usually just flashes 12:00, 12:00, 12:00...) Anyway, Friday night I had another performance of "While The Lights Were Out", mentioned previously, and afterward came the main event: Relay For Life.

I'd never been to a Relay event, but for both family members who have attended in the past, it was a blast, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Prior to the event I'd managed to reach my goal of raising $150, with thirty of those dollars being donated online DURING the event... thanks again, Lorraine! Our event was held inside our rec center, though the weather outside was good enough all night to warrant being outside for it... oh, well. The theme was Heroes For Hope, though I seemed to be the only one dressed as a superhero... Captain Canada was very well-received. Tent areas and the like were set up for each participating team, and many awesome fundraisers were to be had at each campsite. (Lemme tell ya, the Panther Paws lady won me over with a back massage at 5:30 in the morning; almost fell asleep in the padded chair apparatus thing.)

The highlight of the night came rather early in the event: Miss Relay. A few days beforehand, I'd been selected for the honorable position of dressing up like a woman and participating in something of a beauty pageant. My stage name was "Donna Cherie... but you can call me Cher" for a reason: damned if that outfit, black wig and all, didn't make me look like her. Trust me, there's at least 20 photos of my get-up circling Facebook at the moment. Anyway, there were three portions to the pageant: Q&A, talent, and "finances". I can't even remember what my question was for the Q&A, but it got a laugh all the same. I totally won the talent portion by improv-singing "My Heart Will Go On" in falsetto; those standing O's never lie. And then came the most fun part... earning money within a 10-minute timeframe. Problem was, they never told you HOW to earn the money, and as such, I shamelessly whored myself out to men for cash.

I earned 97 goddamned dollars in 10 minutes. Honest. My fake boobage was racked (ahem) with bills by the end of those 600 seconds. I didn't end up winning the competition; that honour went to a quite generous "frat girl" who pulled out a $350 check on behalf of the team. But all of the awesome, purple-shirt-wearing cancer survivors said I'd been robbed of the title, so that makes me happy, in a strange and deeply confusing manner. Also, note to women: Please do not torture yourself any longer with those damned high heels/pumps/whatever godforsaken uncomfortable footwear you decided to popularize. Had a friend who said at the end of it all, "Well, now you've walked an hour in a woman's shoes." A) That sounds like a very cheesy proverb, and B) Gimme back my almighty running shoes of comparably heavenly comfort. Kthxbai. (Got the walk down though, and thanks to the other College Players team members, the makeup actually made me look like the real deal. So... thank you, I think.)

Returning to slightly less shameful areas of interest... well, it's karaoke, so I guess that "slightly" would be like if "x" was less than 10^-5 and therefore negligible in an equilibrium constant expression. (Shameless nerd joke FTW.) I went for the women's heartstrings by singing the King's "Can't Help Falling In Love" and ended up in the finals, where I think I got in third place out of seven in terms of voting by singing "Return to Sender". Shoulda gone with Heartbreak Hotel in hindsight, but whatever.

The following are just bits and pieces I remember:

1) Theme song trivia: Can't believe we came in second by one song (15 total). Darkwing Duck and Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers were pulled from what I thought to be relative obscurity, and were fully awesome. #14 was the best, though: When I happened to hear the first second of trumpet playing, I instantly knew it was Dudley Do-Right and, considering my outfit, laughed hysterically. The judge even looked over during the answer part and said, "OK, anyone but the Canadian is allowed to answer #14."

2) Themed laps: One of them involved leapfrog, and I think the first time I came down from a leap I gave a minor head injury to my compadre, so apologies for that, Mike. Best one though was the "run-around-like-a-superhero" lap. Captain Canada, cape and all, in the bag, done, no question.

3) Tug O' War was held outside at 3:00 am, and I was one of the five who helped College Players come in second. It was rather satisfying to help the theater nerds beat 2 frats in a row. I still have the rope blisters and wear 'em as a badge of honour.

There's almost certainly things I'm forgetting, buy hey, you know... me with my addle-brained mind and all. Overall I ended up earning $250 towards cancer research, which was totally amazing for a first-time Relayer. Thanks again to everyone who donated. Oh, and by the way, you're still allowed to donate despite the main event being over; Relay season doesn't end 'till August. Send money and save lives NOW!

Relay finally ended around 11:00 am, and by that time I had already broken my consecutive conscious hours record. Honestly, I felt exhausted from all the walking and events, but couldn't fall asleep. I don't know what it is, but I just can't get to sleep when I know there's daylight outside. And so, I performed the final performance of While The Lights Were Out running on (at that point) over 36 hours without rest.

Ah, yes, Prank Night. This magical time happens during all of College Players' final performance nights. Basically the rules are, don't change the show and don't let the audience see the pranks. Well, with 40 random Sweet 'n Low packets and a hearty helping of various phalluses littered about the stage, I was surprised no one really broke character; mad props to them. Oh, and when two people drag my body off (SPOILER ALERT FAIL) they decided to drop me five times in the process, and I ended up being the only one who kept a stone face. Sweet.

I had also been volun-told a few nights before to, after the final performance, present the traditional signed cast posters to various people integral to the show. Yeah, over a day-and-a-half of no sleep made for some interesting improv. A friend presented ME, however, with a signed poster as well, because apparently I am now the official voice and spokesperson of College Players. Which is awesome, because I get to publicly represent raging nerds who happen to be very nice and like the performing arts.

After the play, we went to T.G.I. Friday's where some very nice CP'ers paid for my meal since I'd been up for so long, and done two plays and many, MANY events at Relay in between those performances. Next time you go, I wholly recommend the Gourmet Mac 'n Five Cheese. Chicken bacon penne cheesy awesomeness for $7 right there, folks.

So there you have it. The absolute longest I've ever stayed awake, coupled with likely the craziest weekend I've ever had. Now get the hell outta here, the Old Man's going to bed, and whichever one of you damn kids wakes me up, you'll be the first to die by my cane.