BRING ON THE COFFEE CUPS!

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Do it Stupid!

Much like this man I find the world to be a dangerous and confusing place where I often end up poorly layered over images of burning buildings.I consider myself a reasonably intelligent individual. I am capable of bathing and dressing myself, I can cook at least three different things, I know how to do my laundry and only ruin on average one shirt per load. Despite these incredible feats of raw intellect I have an almost aggressive lack of common sense. I instinctively approach solutions from the most backwards and counter-intuitive way possible. Usually this approach fails to get me the desired result or even worse, it works, and I end up doing this task like a moron for the rest of my days.

I was attempting to make toast yesterday by holding slices of bread over a disposable lighter when I realized that I am a vast untapped cautionary resource. I am a living example of how to do things stupid. At the urgings of Michelle I inserted the toast into our toaster oven and began to formulate a comprehensive list for our beloved readers that might allow them to rule out the worst way to do something. If you're a lot like me you may already be doing many of these things the same way I am, but it doesn't have to be like this! Learn from my example and change your ways! Deny that cruel genetic heritage that makes so many of us otherwise relatively functional morons fall prey to our instincts and attempt to parallel park a car by driving at top speed into a space and hoping we fishtail into position.

Three Cautionary Tales Without Common Sense

Cautionary Tale One: Smoking CigarettesI can't even start a car without setting myself on fire.Smoking cigarettes is a bad decision to begin with and the logical side of me recognizes this fact. Unfortunately for my lungs, vascular system, and pretty much every other part of my body other than maybe my skeleton, my stupidicular system overruled common sense once again and I took up smoking. Even among those who have defied logic and started puffing on OMG CANCER STIX, there is a certain degree of common sense. You take a cigarette; you put it in your mouth, light it, and inhale the smoke until it gets close to the cottony filter. At this point you stub the cigarette out in an overflowing ashtray that resembles nothing so much as a blooming onion from one of those chain steak restaurants. I've managed to reach that point after years of practice, but my first foray into the seedy underground culture of smoking was not so successful.

I went to a gas station where the finest cigarettes are sold and purchased a carton of a type called "Marlboro Lights". These are basically starter cigarettes for men. Women usually start with something similar but involving the mysterious element "menthol". With my box containing smaller boxes which in turn contained a total of 100 "Class A" cigarettes I returned to my postage stamp sized studio apartment to enjoy a night of smoking the likes of which God has never imagined.

Lacking written instruction on how to smoke I started by removing all of the cigarettes from their packaging and, using my experiences growing up in rural Illinois, shucked them like ears of corn. This involved tearing off the filter portion of each cigarette and heaping them on a non-stick oven sheet. Once I had all 100 cigarettes piled into a mound I took a bottle of lighter fluid and liberally doused them all. Then I covered my head, shoulders, and the oven sheet with a blanket and lit the pile. A few things happened all at once after that, I have some difficulty remembering. Basically the fumes from the lighter fluid had collected inside the blanket apparatus and the instant I struck a match a fireball exploded inside. Fortunately my face did not catch on fire, although I did lose a good portion of my eyebrows. Less fortunately the blanket and pile of cigarettes did catch on fire. I threw the blanket off my arm and into the sink, and then rushed back to the pile of burning cigarettes to try and get my money's worth. Waving the thick fumes of acrid smoke into my face I inhaled deeply and promptly vomited directly onto the pile. Luckily the puke extinguished my bonfire of nicotine. I say "luckily" because immediately after puking I passed out.

Other Things that Could Have Gone Wrong:

I could have accidentally purchased the elusive "Class B" cigarettes which contain radioactive elements that gradually transform you into a hideous mutant with super strength. A concentration of "Class B" cigarettes of that magnitude would have surely transformed me in that first deep draught of their gamma ray smoke.

During the time at which I began to experiment with cigarettes I was drinking enough alcohol daily to preserve entire corpses. I was a walking human pickle on most days, and it is just fortunate I was not on that particular evening. My alcohol rich vomit could have spewed across the fire and ignited a napalm-like substance on the floor of my apartment.

I could have been arrested for starting a house fire intentionally. Then, vaguely remembering some stupid thing about speeding tickets I read on the Internet, demand that the cop show me the radar gun. Obviously the only recourse of the police at that point would have been to beat me to death.

Cautionary Tale Two: Health and Hygiene

Case closed granny!I mentioned earlier that I am fully capable of bathing myself, but this was not always the case. I mean I have always, in the end, walked out of the bathroom smelling fresh and clean and sanitized, but years ago this involved long hours of difficulty. What's worse is that I have a terrible record of caring for my health. I once shattered my knee and then assumed it was sprained and hopped around on one leg for roughly two months. When I finally went to a doctor he slapped me in the face and told me that I was lucky my leg hadn't dissolved like a vampire caught in sunlight out of pure rage at its mistreatment. This sort of occurrence was all too common in my youth, but I will now combine some of the "greatest hits" so to speak in a cautionary medley for all of you common sense impaired readers out there.
Do not attempt to brush your teeth by attaching steel wool to an electric razor. The razor will not sufficiently agitate the steel wool to brush yours teeth, the steel wool will bloody your gums and lips, and the interaction of the blades of the electric razor with the steel wool may spark sufficiently to start a house fire. If, in the process of doing this, your arm catches on fire DO NOT douse it with the nearest bottle of liquid as that liquid may turn out to be rubbing alcohol.

Shampooing does not necessarily have to involve dissolving an entire bottle of shampoo into a bottle of boiling water and then throwing it on your head. According to the bottle of "Suave" shampoo the actual procedure is to massage your hair covered with the shampoo into lather. After experimenting a little, and depending on the volume of your hair, I discovered that a tablespoon or so of shampoo works best when massaged by your fingers as opposed to an electric massager.

The seat on a toilet can actually be raised to allow for a man to urinate while standing without making a mess. Conversely I have personally verified that it is possible to stand directly over a toilet with your genitals angled down and urinate into it without urinating all over the seat. Whichever way works better for you.

Rumsfeld is a secret brother-in-arms of mine when it comes to common sense. When walking on a damp log if you feel yourself about to slip you should obey your reflexes and throw your arms out. This is much more favorable than the "throw your mouth out" as I have discovered that the mouth, while effective at softening an impact, is far less durable than the hands. If you do unintentionally use your mouth to catch yourself while falling I would have to recommend against extending your tongue between your teeth. Studies conducted by me on slippery logs at the age of five, logs that I had no reason to be running on, empirically revealed that it is far preferable to land on your hand than it is to land on your mouth with your tongue sticking out. To verify my results I actually conducted this study twice and a related study at a swimming pool that involved the inside of my lip.

If you're really drunk and absolutely have to ask some sobbing girl to punch you in the face, at least request that she take her class ring off first. Also, try to stand more than a foot away from a brick wall. While most girls lack the strength or conviction to punch a man in the mouth hard enough to knock him over they do generally have the strength to slam your head into a brick wall and chip your tooth with their class ring. Before you start writing me e-mails about domestic violence and deserving it, I didn't even know the girl's name and I was making fun of her and she got mad and I told her if it would make her feel better should punch me in the mouth. Owing to my lack of common sense I did not expect her to take me up on this offer.

Deodorant/antiperspirant sticks are invaluable components of everyday hygiene. One might not realize that "invisible gel" deodorant actually is not invisible at all when applied in incredibly large quantities. In fact if anything a large volume of "invisible gel" deodorant applied to the underarm resembles a particularly tenacious circle of armpit sweat. Applying way too much is doubly recommended against if you have the habit of placing both arms on top of your head whenever reclining in a chair. Signs indicate that someone who does this may earn the temporary nickname "Juicy Pits" or "JP" from coworkers. Not me though, seriously, uh, not me on that one.

There are hundreds of different hygiene and health mishaps I could give you, but most of them are unique situations that even the most common-senseless person would be unlikely to reproduce. One final note I would like to add to this cautionary medley; never shit your pants when your preschool class is lining up to go out for recess. This experience will probably scar you for life and reduce your ability to function in society without a slight yet constant sense of shame.

Cautionary Tale Three: Cooking With Zack

They're laughing now, but soon a stream of obscenities will be pouring from their mouths that would make a sailor vomit into a gutter out of sheer horror.I consider myself a fairly capable cookeryist these days, but it was not always so. In fact, as little as a few weeks ago I was still struggling with the concept of using more than two ingredients in a recipe. Much like with my "Health and Hygiene" section I have accrued a vast knowledge of how you absolutely should not fucking do things in the kitchen.
Prior to cooking be sure you have all of the items and ingredients needed to make the recipe you have planned. If you have no common sense like me it is suggested that before you even start thinking about recipes you go into the kitchen and label every single utensil and cooking machine type thing. Then place them all in a tub labeled "food stuff for making food" and place this on the kitchen table. Then whenever you need something for a recipe you can dig it out of the tub and arrange it on the counter top and look at it with pride. Then put it all back in the food tub because you're still not ready for cooking.

Start small. Cheese sandwiches may seem simple but they often involve not only three different pieces minimum, but also the use of a knife. Cold cereal is a good baby step but if you were to say, make a bowl of cereal containing mealworms and not realize it until the last bite you might find yourself discouraged from the world of cookery. Find a strainer and place the cereal in this before placing it in a bowl. That way you can be sure that it doesn't contain any bugs. If you're doing this with Grapenuts instead of regular cereal then crush each handful of Grapenuts before putting it in the bowl. This will at least kill any insects hiding within and prevent their evil from spreading inside your body. The next step is to add milk but milk is dangerous and the date stamps are often confusing. The first few times try making it with water, once you feel comfortable with this step then move on to using milk.

Screaming at tomatoes will not make them easier to cut.

Never cook rice. Cooking rice is the most difficult task a human being can perform in the kitchen unless they are assembling nuclear bombs over the sink. If you have a recipe that calls for cooked rice then you should order takeout and have someone more knowledgeable cook the rice for you. Whatever you do you shouldn't call your Asian friends and ask them to come over and cook rice for you, they get offended by this for some reason that I'm still investigating.

Pre-heating an oven involves more than just turning the oven on while you unwrap the frozen pizza. I'm not sure why or how but if you turn an oven to the temperature setting it may take several minutes for it to actually be "pre-heated". Also be aware when cooking frozen pizza that the instructions on the box are always wrong. The pizza will never be done even at the high end of their estimated cooking time. Unfortunately, frozen pizza is either undercooked or burned, there is no "lightly browned toppings" state. It's sort of a Schroedinger's Cat deal. The pizza is perfectly cooked inside the oven until observed. When you turn on the oven light or open the oven the pizza then either reverts to an undercooked gooey mass or is blackened until it resembles a coal miner's face.

Contrary to the old saying a watched pot does boil. It just takes really long and is fucking boring, but if you're like me and always overfill pots when cooking it pays to endure the boredom to prevent a boil-over from extinguishing the pilot light and causing an explosion. It's important that you never attempt to cook with grease or oil unless you are oblivious to painful burns and know how to operate a fire extinguisher. If you're a giant pussy who couldn't operate a fire extinguisher if he was being chased by a lava monster like me then avoiding grease and oil is probably a good idea.

If you decide to impress your girlfriend by making an "old family recipe" you should probably try to get the recipe from the family instead of selecting a similar recipe from the Internet. Things will only get worse if your girlfriend gets there before you are finished and is treated to ten minutes of you shouting swear words at a food-processor full of puréed vegetables. Luckily most girls can actually cook things and she may come in and save your attempt. You'll lose points but you'll at least get to eat. Unfortunately she may not, choosing instead to run into the kitchen and scream swear words at you while you scream swear words at inanimate objects containing parts of food. This night ends tragically with a thrown wine bottle, a slippery log, and a bloody mouth.

Pretty much any time I go into the kitchen my common sense flies right out the window. I could walk to the refrigerator to get a fucking soda and end up with a shard of glass stuck in my eye or a part of my body on fire. It's like entering into a magical world of pain that contains everything you desire most.

I would like to dedicate this article to all of the common-sense impaired out there. We may be sweeping your floors, fixing your computers, or curing your cancer, but whatever it is we're doing don't trust us anywhere near the kitchen. Hell, don't even trust us when we're alone in a room reading a book. Someone is going to get hurt, and it's probably going to be ourselves.

Surviving RPGs!

Roleplaying Games for consoles and computers can offer up difficult realities to exist in. Fortunately R-Lo and Corin Tucker's Stalker have teamed up to give us all a survival guide for these brutal realms of adventure and spikey hair. It's just what the doctor ordered!



It's also worth noting that almost every form of liquid is extremely helpful. In fact, any status or effect can be fixed by drinking a beverage of some kind! Most shops carry the "confusion-causing purple rattlesnake of upper west side Pittsburgh" antivenom, despite the fact that there is no Pittsburgh in the game. If there was, however, you'd be able to laugh that purple rattlesnake in the face as you shrugged off its only attack! Even death can be cured by a potion, so the only way a wizard could really fuck you up is by casting his "close mouth" spell on you. Luckily, in that case you'd be able to respond with the powerful "..." counterattack.

If you find yourself enduring the slight inconvenience of death in your latest roleplaying game excursion, then take heart! Lowtax and CT's Stalker can make sure you get the right power up you need to defeat the lobster monkey fire king of weapon blade. Head on over and find out how!

– Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (@sexyfacts4u)

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