Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weird Al Lyric Story Challenge

My aunt challenged me to write a short story comprised entirely of Weird Al lyrics. I could use any of Weird Al's parodies or original songs, although I had to use at least three consecutive words from a song at any given time (no picking and choosing single words from different songs to string together into sentences).

I accepted the challenge and set to work. It was insanely difficult. I had to get pretty creative with enjambed lines sometimes, and I took liberties with punctuation and capitalization. Most of the story makes sense, though. I color-coded the lyrics and put a key at the end of the story.

Without further ado, I present my Weird Al Lyric Story.

I meet some chick, ask her this and that, like "Are you pregnant, girl, or just really fat?"

"You know I'm fat. That really makes me want to literally smack a crowbar upside your stupid head."

"But that's just perfect. A long, long time ago... riding in the bus down the boulevard and the place was pretty packed... Couldn't find a seat so I had to stand. Engines burned out and that's when the red alert came on the radio. I couldn't get to the door... I think this bus exploded in a giant fireball and everybody died except for me. You know why? Because I'm fat! I'm fat! You know. I'm a lucky man.

"Fat. You know, it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soda. I'm sure my critics will say it's a grotesque display. Well, they can bite me, baby."

And then she said "Baby, can't we just go out to dinner, please?"

Only question I ever thought was hard was "Do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?" I say "We're goin' to the drive-thru!"

Now a woman on a speaker box is sayin' "Can I take your order, please?" I said "Yes indeed, you certainly can. We'd like two hamburgers with onions and cheese. I think I'm gonna have a chicken sandwich. Ham on whole wheat."

I order all my sandwiches with mayonnaise.
I bite into those buns and... stop, don't go no further... That's not what I'm hungry for.

And now my woman's got this weird look frozen on her face. She screams, "Eat it! Eat it! Open up your mouth and feed it!"

I put my ear piece on because I'm tacky. Stephen Hawking's in my library.

She leaned right down next to me and she said, "How come you're always such a fussy young man? You dumb mouthbreather!"

"Okay, now here's the deal. I'll try to educate ya--"

And she said, "I could care less."

"That means you do care. At least a little."

"Oh, you're a lost cause... Get out of the gene pool."

"Really, now, I got snazzy suits and ties... got that swagger."

"I hate these hamburgers with onions and cheese."

We caught a ride back to Olive Garden. I say, "Tonight we're gonna party like it's the Renaissance fair."

And she said, "Bored to tears. Just stick it in your pointy ear, White and Nerdy."

That's when I swore that someday, someday I would marry her. Someday...

They laughin' and rollin' their eyes 'cause I'm so white and nerdy. Turned the other cheek... I really don't care... 'cause I'll be laughin' my head off when my wife says... "I do," plus once you see my sweet moves you're gonna stay amazed.

"Word Crimes"
"Amish Paradise"
"The Saga Begins"
"Another One Rides The Bus"
"Party in the CIA"
"Perform This Way"
"Trapped in the Drive-Thru"
"White and Nerdy"
"Eat It"

Friday, July 25, 2014

Jack Mast Mosaics

My dad has given my blog some attention on his personal blog a few times, so I just wanted to take a moment to brag on something cool he does.

My dad's name is Jack Mast, and he makes some really cool mosaics.

Really, check out his mosaic blog. Look especially for the "barbecued iguana" and sunset beach ones. They're awesome. We've got a huge one hanging on the wall at home, and he used real seashells in it.

Sometimes his mosaic hobby completely takes over the dining room table, but it could be worse. I mean, he used to make tie-dye t-shirts, and while nobody can deny that tie-dye t-shirts are fun, I kind of have half a drawer full of tie-dye shirts that I don't know what to do with.

Now, mosaics don't have to be stored in dressers or closets. You can just hang them up on the wall, and they'll sit there and shine awesomeness down on you. And they look really cool.

So definitely check out his blog. He's got all kinds of pictures of the mosaics he's done and the process he uses to make them.

I love you, Dad! Also, I'm sorry I teased your tie-dye hobby.

Outlines Don't Actually Have To Look Good

Many people who write papers for high school and sometimes college English classes have to turn in an outline with their paper. This practice creates a lot of hate for the practice of outlining.

I mean, I can see why. People plan papers in many different ways. Not everybody plans their paper with an outline. For some people, having to make an outline is just more work. It's kind of unfair to force everyone to turn in an outline (unless you're actually trying to teach someone how to make an outline, in which case there shouldn't be an entire paper attached to it).

Personally, I don't think teachers should grade outlines. They're supposed to help you organize your thoughts and make a solid argument. They're not supposed to be shiny and perfect.

I make outlines for all my papers, but since I don't have to turn them in, they are certainly not pristine examples of wonderfulness.

Fun fact: You don't actually have to put that much effort into an outline. You just have to put in as much effort as is useful to you.

I had this thought earlier today as I was looking through my downloads folder and happened across a file entitled "The Flaw in Ragged Dick." It was a paper I wrote for a children's lit class I took once. Since I couldn't actually remember what the flaw in Ragged Dick was, I opened up the folder to take a look.

I found it was a very early version of the paper which was mostly just an outline. It was probably something that I'd started at the library and then emailed to myself to finish later.

But I just had to laugh as I read on, because the amount of effort I put into that outline decreased drastically as it got to the end, and it was kind of goofy. Here:

You can kinda see where I just kinda said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get the picture, whatever, moving on."

See? Outlines. As much effort as you feel like putting into them.

And if you feel like not putting in any effort at all, that's just fine. Your paper, man.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Iron Skeeter

Okay, okay, okay, I'll stop laughing, I promise.

Nope, can't do it.

But you guys saw her face, right? The video looks okay?

Good. I don't want any of you to miss this.

She's got her headphones in again. I'm going in.


She really thought she had me that time. I'm dying, you guys. This is hilarious.

But you know which one was my favorite? The time she was actually fast enough to catch me, and she tried to smash me between her hands, but then she opened her hands back up... and I flew away!


Okay, she sat back down. Gonna give it a minute or two, let her think I've gone away.

Recalibrating, checking systems... A minor bit of damage, but nothing I'm worried about.

What do you guys think? Subtle this time? Yeah, subtle this time.

I'm just gonna sneak up behind her... hover right next to her ear... Activate buzz, volume at 85%.

She can hear it through her headphones!

Whoops, too slow!

Aww, come on. You getting tired or something?

Sheesh! Temper, temper! It was just one little bite. Or maybe two. Or twelve, but who's counting?

You guys are seeing this, right? It's hilarious.

Oh, yes. Please try the flyswatter again.




That hurt. She whacked me a good one, you guys.

But you know what?

I'm wearing a suit made of a gold-titanium alloy, that's what! Ha!

You guys are getting this on the video feed, right? Look at her face! Look at it! She's all, "HOW are you still ALIVE?"

Aaaah, you guys. This was the best idea ever. I'm gonna dive in front of her laptop screen next.

I ammmmm Iron Skeeter! Na na na na na na na Iron Skeeterrrr!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy 75th Birthday, Batman!

Today Barnes and Noble celebrated 75 years of Batman by giving out free comic books and other goodies. They're also having a drawing to win free action figures and such.

When I heard about the Batman festivities, I jumped into my car and drove down to Barnes and Noble lickety-split. I like superheroes, in case you couldn't tell from many other posts on this blog.

I didn't want to just take the free stuff and run, so I used a gift card to grab a Flash trade as well. I was a little hesitant about spending money on anything from DC Comics' New 52 since I've heard almost nothing but awful things about it, but a quick bit of research showed that Flash doesn't seem to be doing too badly. The cover doesn't offend me; in fact, it looks pretty cool.

But what do I know? I typically only read Marvel comics.

At any rate, I've never read a Flash comic before, so I won't know if this one is destroying all the comics that came before it.

I'm excited, you guys. I've only read Superman and a small bit of Batman. It's a new DC character for me! I've always liked Flash on the TV shows I've seen, so I have high hopes for this book being worth the money. I just need to finish reading Watchmen first.

Ah, but Batman... 75 years and you're still awesome! Where would the modern superhero be without you?

Happy Birthday to the Dark Knight!

Just One More

I have one more doughnut left.

Out of the 24 doughnuts I bought close to midnight on July 11, I have one more left. I've been keeping them in the freezer and eating them whenever that "I never wanna see a doughnut again" feeling went away.

Why did I buy 24 doughnuts?

Monday, July 21, 2014



Dear Mosquito in the House

Dear Mosquito in the House,

We are not friends.

You are not welcome here. Either go back outside immediately or crawl into a corner and stay there for the rest of your life.

This is my place of residence and sanctuary. You have invaded it and preyed upon me when I was most vulnerable.

This offense is unforgivable. It will be your last.

I hope you enjoyed the blood you stole from me. I hope it satisfied you. As I lie awake tonight, scratching my arm and my feet, I will be thinking of all the various ways I can kill you.

If you want to live, don't let me see you again. If I see you, bad things will happen to you. If I see you, you will learn just how insane mosquito bites can make a person. If I see you...

...I will end you.

Most sincerely,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Get Off Your High Horse

Click for full view.

For the past two weeks, I've been writing blurbs about private high schools for the magazine. After one week of writing blurbs, I arrived at the office to find a stack of edits and comments that somebody in the editorial department made on them.

I won't lie; I grumbled a bit as I looked at all that red ink. But the fact was that I had written the blurbs as a creative writer and hadn't adhered to the proper newsy style of writing. The edits were a much-needed reminder that I am not, in fact, all that and a bag of chips and that I have a lot to learn. They did teach me something, though, and for that I am very grateful.

I'd like to give a big round of applause to everyone in the editorial department who puts up with me, my creative tendencies, and my various shenanigans twice a week. Thanks, you guys. You're awesome.

(I hope you don't mind that I used an Oxford comma just now.)

In other news... here's that comic strip I've been promising you for a few days now! I spent four nights working on this: one to do the sketch and layout, one to ink and color the big first panel, and then two panels per night for the next two nights (and I skipped a night or two in between). I did it entirely on my Bamboo tablet and I'm extremely proud of it. It may not look like much, but GUYS.... I put some serious effort into this one.

Like, I had to figure out how to draw a horse and everything. Horses aren't super easy to draw. Especially when they're anatomically incorrect. I nicknamed the high horse "Spaghetti Legs."

Just for fun, here's the sketch layer that I made the first night and occasionally altered very slightly:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Relay Foods

The other day, a representative from Relay Foods came to the door. I was the only one home, so she talked to me. Relay Foods is pretty cool- you order groceries on their website (and we're talking all the local, organic awesome food, like the kind you buy at farmers markets and stuff), and then you pick them up at a specified pick-up area on a specified day.

They were selling welcome kits for 70% off, so I thought, "Hey, why not?" I bought a kitchen basics kit for $15.

Today I walked almost literally across the street to the elementary school (seriously, a five minute walk) and grabbed my bag of food. The people at the truck were super friendly. They had my order all ready to go in a plastic bin that was insulated with some kind of pillowy thing and had a label with my name on it. The lady also checked my eggs to make sure none were broken. The whole experience just gave me the feeling that they really cared about my food and me.

Here's what I got!

Ah, the local, organic goodness. And I didn't have to go to the grocery store to get them. Also, this is the first time in my life that I've ever seen milk in a glass bottle. They actually ask people to bring the milk bottles back so they can use them again. They give you your deposit back if you do.

I'm pretty happy with my purchase, but my favorite is the sunflower bread. THIS IS SOME OF THE BEST BREAD I'VE EVER TASTED. It's sweet, chewy, not too crunchy, and it's got sunflower seeds baked into it. So awesome.

So I give Relay Foods an A+ for their welcome kits. I'm not sure if I'm going to buy a whole lot else from them because it might get a little expensive, but I might need to get another loaf of sunflower bread. Seriously, it's one of those WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIIIIIIFE moments.

If you've been keeping up with the blog, you might be a little confused as to why I did not post a cartoon today. Well, I worked on it for a few hours. I have one panel completely finished. But as I was working on it, I decided that the comic just wanted to be colored. So I'm coloring it. And it's taking longer, as I knew it would. But it just looks so much better that way...

(If you've seen this episode of Spongebob, you'll understand what I really mean)
(It'll probably go up in the middle of the night.)

To tide you over, here's another low-quality photo I took of my computer screen with my cell phone. Because I'm apparently too lazy for screenshots.


Here's a preview of a little something I'm working on for you. It'll probably go up tomorrow.

What's this? Primitive sketches within well-defined panels? It can't be... It is! A comic strip in its early stages!

Not Photoshop- ArtRage. But still cool, I think, and so far, I haven't messed up my layers. It probably won't be colored, but that just means you'll get to see it sooner.

Isn't this exciting? I'm excited. I haven't done a cartoon in a long time. I'm practically shivering with antici

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy 77th Birthday, Krispy Kreme!

Today was Krispy Kreme's 77th birthday. To celebrate, they offered this deal: Buy one dozen doughnuts and get the second dozen for 77 cents.

The line and drive-through at the Richmond Krispy Kreme wrapped around the building all day.

We went at 10 P.M. in the hopes that the line would be shorter, but there was no such luck. We waited in line for about an hour and a half to get our massively discounted doughnuts. It was okay; I got free samples of two different doughnut holes and a citrus-y slushy drink.

To pass the time, I took pictures of the doughnuts at each stage visible from the big window.

We dubbed this the "doughnut elevator." All the dough is arranged on this conveyor belt, snaking around, some shelves going up, some going down.

The conveyor belt eventually dumped the dough into a fryer...

...and then a part of the machine flipped the floating doughnuts over so they'd fry on the other side, too.

Then, with the grease dripping down through the slats, the doughnuts passed under a heavenly waterfall of glaze. Krispy Kreme employees hooked the glazed doughnuts out with a plastic stick and packed them into boxes by the dozen.

And that's how my doughnuts got into these boxes.

Mmmmmmmmmm. Happy Birthday, Krispy Kreme! Here's to another 77 years of deliciousness!

NO, I haven't eaten them all already. I've only eaten two.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Too Many Things

This summer, I'm interning with Virginia Living Magazine. But I'll be honest: I only work there two days a week. If you've been wondering what I do the other five days, here's a picture:

1. Microsoft Word document
I'm working on a story! I'd like to make it something I could release periodically in small parts, but it's taking me a while to get off the ground. I'm going to write a few chapters to make sure I have my head on straight. We'll see where it goes from there.

2. Photoshop Elements 12 window
I've been trying to learn a few Photoshop tricks. I have the software. It'd be nice if I could do more than just use the brush tool. I've actually been poking around in tutorials online. So far, I've only done one, but there are a few others I'd like to try. It's just a little disheartening when I attempt something and it looks nothing like the tutorial. Wouldn't it be nice if I could just download Photoshop skills into my brain? Ah, but then it wouldn't mean anything to me...

3. YouTube window
Okay, yeah, I kind of watch YouTube all the time. Way more than I should, in fact. But sometimes it's helpful for research. Today, for example, I looked up violin and guitar duets to see if they're actually a thing. It turns out they are, and they can be quite nice. That's a detail I needed for some character development. I'm also watching a Let's Play/walkthrough of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Because I'll never actually play it.

Another video site I frequent is ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com, home of the Nostalgia Critic and all his friends. I really enjoy listening to other people analyze movies. It helps me look at old favorites from different angles, and it's really informative on how not to tell a story.

4. Water bottle
I've been drinking a TON of water ever since I arrived in Richmond. I'm just always thirsty. My personal theory is that we only eat multigrain, super-fibery food in this house and it makes me thirstier than usual.

5. Bamboo tablet
Mostly connected with the Photoshop business

6. Game Boy Advance
I wasn't super interested in the Nintendo DS when it came out, and now I'm too cheap to buy a 3DS, so I'm still playing on the Game Boy Advance I got for my tenth birthday. I've had it for over 11 years. I haven't had this particular game pak for that long, though. It's The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, with the Four Swords game included. I actually bought it used from Amazon right before I left for Richmond. 

Since I've been interested in the Legend of Zelda franchise lately, I really wanted to try playing one of the games. Thanks to my aforementioned cheapness, my options were limited to Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Wii games.

If you know the Zelda franchise, you might be saying something along the lines of, "Wait, what?! Why didn't you buy Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword? They're great games, and they're much more recent than A Link to the Past!"

Because my brief moments with the Wii are few and far between. I don't have it with me in Virginia. My hopes are not high for being able to take it to school with me in the fall. It was a family Christmas present one year, although I'm the only one who still uses it. Now that both my sister and I will be at school, maybe I'll be allowed to take it along? I mean, we have it. Somebody should use it. I'd really love to play Twilight Princess. And Skyward Sword, even though I've already watched the whole thing online. But I have to beat A Link to the Past, first, and it's a lot harder than you'd think it would be. Puzzles, man.

7. Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job
It's been a while since I've read a book that wasn't assigned to me by a professor. This one is pretty interesting so far! My aunt recommended it to me. So far, I find it funny and intriguing, even though it's about death. Can't wait to dig more into it. My aunt had a graphic novel that Christopher Moore wrote, which I also read, which was called The Griff. I wasn't so enthused about that one. The idea was solid and really very interesting, but the pacing was off. It was adapted from a screenplay version that Moore had written earlier, and you can really tell. The panels flash by and whip back and forth from location to location just like scenes in a movie might, but while that kind of pacing works for a movie, it's just too fast for a medium that tells its story in just a few panels. Moore seems much more at home writing a book, and I am definitely hooked. I just need to hurry up and finish it before it's time to leave.

8. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen
A lot of friends have recommended this comic/graphic novel to me, so I thought I might as well read it. The guy at the comic book store had only good things to say about it, although he wanted to make it clear to me that the book was much better than the movie. I haven't seen the movie, but I've heard plenty of awful things about it. I haven't gotten too far into the book yet, but I'm really intrigued by it. The guy at the comic book shop said it best when he described it as "a deconstruction of superheroes." It's really a different look at superheroes, different from any of the bright and shining or dark and gritty figures you'll see beaming up at you from your usual Marvel and DC comic books.

9. Notebook, pencil, and marker pens
I bought the notebook in a pack of three at Target, just because I wanted something to write and doodle on. I bought those pens specifically because the editor at the magazine I intern with uses that kind. Hers is red and full of frightening power, though. I doodle, both for the sheer joy of putting ink on a piece of paper and in an attempt to learn to draw better. I've been using a few online tutorials for that, as well.

So that's what I do with my other five days of the week. I also go for long walks (and occasional runs), watch movies, cook and buy food, hang out with various friends, and sleep. I sleep a lot. Well, I don't really sleep a lot, but the specific hours I choose to sleep sometimes make it seem like I sleep a lot.

I do a lot of things. I'm engaged in so many different things that it's taking me forever to do any single one of them. I do one thing for a while, then I put it down and do some other things, and then a week or two later, I finally get back to the first thing. Too many things. I am spread too thin. But I'm really happy that I'm getting a chance to do some of the things that I don't get a chance to do during the school year, like reading a book for fun and playing video games. Vive summer!

Monday, July 7, 2014

From the Desk of Agent Wilbur

To: FuegoOfTheSpots@dogs.woof
From: AgentW@aaf.cats

Subject: Results of Continued Training of Human Subject

Mr. Fuego,

I have reviewed the data you've sent me concerning the "morning training" of the young human that lives with you. It's a worthy cause, and I've found your results most fascinating. But have you ever considered other training methods?

From what I've seen, you've been using a type of operant conditioning-- negative reinforcement. In terms a dog could understand, you remove the annoying sound of your growling when the human does what you want, therefore encouraging her to behave the way you want her to in the future.

I know you wanted me to continue this type of training while she was in my territory so that you wouldn't have to re-train her when she got back to your house, but I found I was much too tempted to experiment.

It has been my experience that dogs, being quite loyal to their human caretakers, tend to keep the same diurnal hours that humans keep. Within the agency, however, we cats exploit the night and the humans' absence to carry out our secret missions and projects.

My theory was this: If an animal were to keep the human awake all night, then the human would be awake and available to serve the animal in the morning, removing the usual bother of having to wake the human up.

My experiment began shortly after your owner and her young human companion arrived in my zone of jurisdiction. Using all the skills I've learned from my many years at the agency, I stared into her eyes and read the story of her past. I found an interesting incident with one of my brethren, a cat who had stayed at her home once and frightened her by creeping about in the night. Although the young human seemed bothered by the way I stared intently at her, I achieved my goal of finding her weakness: an irrational paranoia toward cats at nighttime.

Later on, while she was preparing for bed, I slipped into her bedroom and hid under her bed. I waited until she returned to the room, and, when she least expected it, I slipped out from under the bed and touched her with my nose.

The frightened sound she made was amusing to say the least, but I will attempt to keep my observations objective.

With that one moment of panic, I introduced her to the fact that I can be anywhere in this house at any time without making my presence known. As a feline agent, I possess the greatest stealth skills, but I didn't even have to use them after I performed my little trick. Every shadow was me sneaking around a corner. Every noise was my footstep under her bed. What glorious paranoia I caused that night.

However, that mere paranoia was insufficient to keep her awake all night, especially after she searched every corner of the room and determined that I was not there (although if I had wanted to be there, I could have done so without being seen). I had a bit of help from the weather in keeping her awake, but when the weather calmed down, she actually managed to fall asleep, and then was the time for action.

I took a leaf from your book and meowed rather loudly outside her bedroom door, hoping that eventually she would open the door and let me in. I even pawed and clawed at the carpet. I could tell from the sound of her breathing that she was awake.

I'll give her this much: she put up a good fight. It was several hours of meowing and general racket until she opened the door and admitted me. By then, the sun had begun to rise, and I suspect she despaired of falling asleep before the morning arrived in full. However, I was not willing to take any chances and botch the experiment, so I busied myself with wandering around the room and jumping on the furniture.

I also jumped on her legs and stomach. She mostly rolled over and tried to ignore me, but by the time the morning came, she had resigned herself to entertaining me by moving her foot back and forth under the blanket for me to pounce upon.

She even petted me when I granted her a brief respite and settled down on her stomach. You were right, Mr. Fuego, she is very good at petting cats and dogs.

In the end, it was my usual wait staff who served me breakfast, but when breakfast time came, the young human was awake, alert, and capable of doing it herself.

I hope this experiment has proved useful to you. Best of luck in training the young human. I honestly think you have your hands full with this one. She's even worse than the youngest human on my wait staff. I will continue to investigate the odd sleeping patterns of humans once they reach their adolescent years. Hopefully I will unearth some answers.

If you require the agency's assistance again (and let's face it, you're a dog, so we all know you will), I implore you to ask.

Agent Wilbur
Agency of American Felines
Virginia Beach Division

The information in this email is highly confidential and should not be shared with others besides the intended recipient. If you received this email in error, delete it immediately or we will find you.

Happy Independence Day from the Beach and Zoo!

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, everybody!!!! Happy Independence Day!


Have you seen those Buzzfeed posts with all the obnoxious America stuff? I find them hilarious. A little facepalm-inducing, but on the occasion of my country's birthday, I find it all quite funny.

I went to Virginia Beach for the weekend with my aunt. We stayed with her boyfriend and his daughter. It was fun. They have a big, comfy house, and the guest bed was super comfy as well. The first night, I bonded with my aunt's boyfriend's daughter over MarioKart. It's always more fun to play with another person. It was just a lovely night.

Well, I mean, there was that whole Hurricane Arthur thing that happened. That was a little frightening. But Virginia Beach didn't get hit too hard. There wasn't much damage from the hurricane.

But you know what did happen? A tornado warning.


It happened in the middle of the night- 1 A.M., 1:30, 2... somewhere in there. My iPhone started beeping at me. I had mentally prepared myself for the sound, since the storm was picking up steam, but I had expected to see something about a hurricane on the screen when I rolled out of bed and checked my phone.

Nope. It was tornado time.

So I went into tornado mode. I stuck my contacts in and went downstairs to watch the news and determine if the tornado was going to be a threat. I determined the safest place in the house to hide from the tornado. I fretted and fretted over whether I should wake anyone else up.

Nobody else got up when their iPhone started beeping. I was apparently the only one who was worried. And, you know, it was all fine anyway. By the time I figured out how to work the TV (it's never as simple as pushing the POWER button these days), the storm had moved out of Virginia Beach and into Norfolk. I stayed up until the tornado warning got knocked back down to a tornado watch.

And then the entire next day, I felt exhausted and foolish. Because I was the only one who was worried about the tornado warning.

But... it was a TORNADO WARNING. Where I come from, YOU DON'T MESS AROUND WHEN THERE'S A TORNADO WARNING. If there's a tornado warning, it means either A TORNADO'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN or there's ALREADY A TORNADO ON THE GROUND AND IT'S COMING TO GET YOU!!!!! Sure, most of the time the tornado doesn't actually come to get you, BUT YOU STILL DON'T MESS AROUND WHEN THERE'S A FREAKIN' TORNADO WARNING!!!!!!

I'm almost done complaining and ranting.

When I finally got to bed, the wind kept me up for a long time.

And then when the wind stopped being loud and annoying, the cat started.

And that was why I was so exhausted the next day.

Now I'm done complaining and ranting.

The next day was the Fourth of July! And it was glorious!

We all slept in a little bit, and then we had a few rounds of "What do you want to do? I don't know, what do you want to do?" and then we went to the zoo.

The zoo has lovely taste in decorations. A bunch of the animals were inside or hiding or sleeping, but it was still really fun to see the critters that were out and about.

They just thought they otter be patriotic.

How about a tall one to celebrate our fine country?

An elephant nose how to enjoy a national holiday.

This guy was so patriotic, and I'm not lion.

'Ears a spirited celebrator!

This guy and his family celebrated in a very patriotic manor.

I would try to make a pun, but you just don't get any more American than a bison.

The Fourth of July is very near and deer to this little guy's heart.

This guy really made a big skink over the holiday.

These guys wouldn't let other countries get their goat today. 'MERICA.

I bought a red panda toy because it was cute. I didn't actually see any red pandas today, though, and that was disappointing, but now I have one to take home with me! His name is Pabu.

After the zoo, we went to dinner. There were yummy garlic fries involved.

The next day, we went to the beach! And it was so much fun! I'd forgotten how much fun it is to swim in the ocean.

I did get a little sunburn on my back and shoulders, though. Not too bad, although the redness intensifies in those spots where my arms were apparently too short to reach.

I have a birthmark on my back, and it's kind of hard to see, except when my back is sunburned and it sticks out like it's screaming, "HEY, LOOK AT ME! I'M A BIG, WHITE SPOT!!!"

I'm kind of just in a continuous state of laughter over my sunburn.