Monday, November 30, 2009

Sock it to me!

You may be wondering where I've been because I haven't posted any fresh material for a while...or you may be asking, "Who is this guy and why does he think we care about the drivel he puts out in cyberspace?" I have an answer for you: you're obviously still reading, so, small as it may be, this means something to you. Take that.

I've been involved in a very important project - scientific research. No, I was not abducted by extraterrestrials, nor was I selected for top secret government work at a remote Nevada airbase. Rather, I designed, conducted and analyzed this research myself. In my bedroom. With no government grants, either.

You're probably dying of curiosity right now, just itching to know what could be so important that it would consume a portion of my precious time and attention, and now a portion of yours. I'll tell you: socks. Yes, those socks - the very same as the kind you (hopefully) put on your feet.

Haven't you ever wondered why some of your socks come out of the wash inside out, or even balled up? I have. A lot. I've decided to get some definitive answers to this perplexing modern conundrum, so I did what any reasonable person does: I googled "inside-out socks" and hoped for an informative Wikipedia site. Unfortunately, apparently none exist. This is obviously new scientific territory.

With this in mind, I set out to get to the bottom of the sock mystery, even if it meant doing actual work. "Fascinating" does not even begin to describe the results of my exhaustive research efforts; no, there are many other words that more accurately describe my findings, words which we shall not mention in this post.

To begin, I had to design the experiment. I used a highly specialized process and employed techniques you probably wouldn't understand even if I explained them twice and used small words. That won't stop me from trying to relay to you my method, so I will explain it thusly: I sorted my laundry - and what a painstaking process it was. Not only did I have to divide my laundry according to color (in our modern day and age, how can one feel right about segregation in any form?!), but I had to make sure all my socks were right-side-out (so if any switched to inside-out I would know. I didn't want mixed inside-out and right-side-out because then there would be no way of controlling for potential switching - this is a scientific study, after all) and counted before they went into the machine.

I've never had to do this before (count socks, I mean; I sort my laundry - I'm no Neanderthal) and it was an enlightening experience. I learned from the outset that the reason that sometimes I have an odd number of socks coming out of the laundry is because sometimes I have an odd number going in. I have effectively, and unintentionally, debunked the myth of the dryer-sock-eating-monster. It was encouraging to me to see such progress at the very onset of my study.

I had 17 ankle socks and two calf-length socks go into the wash. That's 19 total socks, in case you needed help with the math. I ensured that all socks were right-side-out before going in the wash. After the wash cycle, I discovered that the washer sometimes eats socks as well. I had 17 ankle socks going in, but unfortunately we lost one in the mix somewhere; only 16 made it to the dryer. A moment of silence, please.

Thank you.

Turns out that the sock that went MIA after the wash cycle was never recovered. S/he joined the rest of the socks in sock purgatory where they await something, I'm just not sure what.

I recovered a total of 18 socks - both calf-length socks and the remainder were of the ankle variety. All 18 socks were right-side-out, leading me to believe that one of two things happened: either socks don't go inside-out on their own, or I have intelligent socks. I'm leaning towards the latter.

While this study is far from comprehensive, I believe it lays the foundation of important work and future study.

Where's my Nobel Prize?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I ain't scared!

A phobia is a "persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it." These phobias come in many shapes and sizes. Some are more incapacitating than others.

Topping the list of the ten most phobias is arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), and ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes). Not too much further down the list is cynophobia - the fear of dogs. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a recovering cynophobic. As the saying goes, "time heals all wounds." I know that I'm not a completely recovered cynophobe but I'm working on it. However, there are bigger fish to fry right now.

I also have two lesser known, but equally debilitating, phobias. I don't know that they have names just yet as they are probably off the phobologists' collective radar. Don't laugh...these are things I deal with on a daily basis. I haven't yet developed a complex over them, but I'm convinced that's due solely to my vigilance in protecting myself against these phobias so they don't come to pass.

What are these irrational fears, you ask?

Firstly, I'm afraid that I'll be walking in public with my zipper down. Zipping up becomes such a part of the routine that there are times that you don't think about it at all. It's kind of like when you are driving somewhere familiar and all of a sudden *POOF* you're there and you have no idea how you got there, but yet there you are. When this kind of short-term amnesia is zipper-related, a moment of panic ensues - did I zip up or did I forget..I don't know...I can't remember! Alarm bells ring, my face flushes and I immediately seek a casual way of checking to make sure I'm secure down south. I'm usually able to accomplish this by a subtle belt buckle adjustment. So far I haven't had any issues, that I know of anyway.

My other phobia, coincidentally, involves bathrooms. However, this time it's a place I'm not familiar with that scares me - the women's bathroom. Sometimes when you're in a public place and in a hurry to answer nature's call you just rush into the nearest restroom. Like driving and zipping up, this can be an autopilot occurrence. Sometimes I don't check the signs well enough as I'm walking in. There is a split second of sheer horror as I realize that I may have just walked cavalier-like into the women's restroom. I wait for the inevitable screaming, but it doesn't come. There's a urinal. Ahhh...I picked the right door. I've been lucky so far, but one day, unavoidably, I fear I will pick the wrong door and have to deal with the consequences of it.

They say the best way to overcome a fear is to face it head on, so if you see me with my zipper down heading into the women's restroom, just pat me on the back, wish me well, praise me for my courage and know that I'm confronting my fear.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shirts, Shoes, Socks and Slacks

I've had a number of people recently say to me, "Jason, you're a svelte guy and a pretty swanky dresser. How do you do it?" As a result of being inundated with similar comments, I've decided to create this handy guide to help my fellow guys clothes shop like pros. Just because you may not be a guy doesn't mean you can't read and maybe even learn a thing or two. I present to you clothes shopping in seven easy steps:

Step One: Don't Be Scared
The store is not going to eat you. It may take your money, but your physical well-being is almost guaranteed. If you can't do this step, you will not be successful in your shopping endeavors.

Step Two: Locate the Mens' Department
There are some very alluring clothes in other departments; but if you stare too long, feel the fabric, or (heaven forbid) try an item on, people will think you are a creep and you may be kicked out of the store. Trust me on this one.

Step Three: Memorization
You must very casually and nonchalantly memorize every outfit and article of clothing featured in pictures or displayed on mannequins. These are your targets and the only items of clothing you need to pay attention to. If you happen upon an article of clothing you potentially like, you must first check with the pictures and mannequins to make sure it fits the style. If the item doesn't match the style, don't touch it! The only items of clothing you should be buying are on display.

Step Four: Fit
When you locate an approved item of clothing, you must make sure the item is the right size for you. This is accomplished by simply holding the item up to your body. A trip to the dressing room is not necessary if you hold it up to yourself properly. If you are an experienced shopper, you may try taking into account shrinkage resulting from washing and drying. Exercise caution, however, accounting for shrinkage is an advanced technique - do not even think about attempting if you are an amateur.

Step Five: Store Help
If any store personnel ask you if you need help, politely decline. You are your own man (or woman), help is for people who don't know how to clothes shop.

Step Six: Checking Out
Inevitably when you're checking out the cashier will ask you if you want to keep the hangers. The correct response is: "no". You don't want to seem like you're unprepared for your new clothes. You must give the impression you have plenty of hangers - remember, clothes shopping is a regular event for you. Besides, we both know the clothes are just going to end up on the floor anyway.

Step Seven: Time
You must complete all prior steps in ten minutes or less. Fifteen is acceptable in extreme cases.

There you have it folks, a sure guide to shopping. Good luck, have fun and remember: tags always go in back. Always.