How to get more people to donate blood

Here's an idea. How to get more people to donate blood? Give them something in return!
Like what? How about complimentary STD testing?
Last time I called around, it was difficult to find free STD testing. Even Planned Parenthood wasn't free unless you were showing active symptoms. After lots of effort, I found one place that was inexpensive ($20 I think it was,) but it was inconvenient, requiring an appointment, and it was in an inconvenient part of town. Therefore, I never did it, choosing to rely on my tried-and-true "fingers crossed method."
So think about it: What if there were convenient, all-over-the-city, no-appointment-required centers for STD testing that doubled as blood banks? You'd be motivated to give blood way more frequently because you'd be getting something out of the deal. The converse is true too; you'd be motivated to be tested more because you'd be giving back —— this would motivate the people who would otherwise not get tested because "I'm pretty sure I don't have anything." You know, for that latter group (which includes myself), it's annoying to waste my time and someone else's time, when you're darn sure you don't need to be there to begin with. However, if your time and effort actually was helping out, you'd be way more likely to do it.
Of course, the convenience factor is the most important, so you can pop in whenever you have a moment without an appointment.
What great idea. But how would it be possible to implement this? We're dealing with monolithic bureaucracies, like our healthcare system, which are only deteriorating over time. I can only imagine something as simple and effective as this existing in a free market system.

Smart Spam

So here's another one of my ideas that I DON'T WANT to exist. But I can't help thinkin' up shit.
(And, hey, it probably already DOES exist, and I just don't know about it yet.)
The idea is Smart Spam. Imagine you're on your FB page or something, and a window pops up that kinda LOOKS like an IM window. Actually, even more insidiously, maybe it's even disguised as one of your friends. You can have an instant message conversation with this thing that actually resembles a real conversation. The "person" is responding to what you're saying (or at least seems like they are, albeit somewhat distracted or maybe drunk.) At a certain point in the conversation, the person "sells" you on some product, or encourages you to check out some website. Thinking it's your friend, you do. Just got suckered!

The whole time, behind the scenes, it's not a real person at all. It's a piece of software that's programmed to interact with and respond to what you type. A talk bot. Really simple technology that's pretty easy to program. (I even programmed one myself when I was a teenager:

Okay, there it is. Please don't blame me for it when it starts actually happening.
(Shirks in shame.)


I'm now officially using this website to claim neologisms before they enter the mainstream.

(See my article on "Take a chillaxtive!")

Kinda like the urban legend of a "Poor Man's Patent": that you can mail yourself an idea and don't open the envelope so the post date is on there, so later in court you can "prove" that you came up with it first.

...Kinda like that, I'm using my website to "prove" that I came up with certain neologisms FIRST.

The following is not my invention, but is entirely the brainchild of my best friend Josh. (And I will swear on a stack of Bibles that it was indeed him who came up with it.)

Ready for it?

So, pretend you're at a party and a really lame dude says something witty and contrarian. This is the type of situation where a person would say "Touché", right? (Which, incidentally, I read somewhere is a French term taken from fencing. It just means "touch." It's kinda like saying "nice move, you win," right?)

So here's the side-splitting new twist on that idea: Instead of saying "touché," you say "douché!"

AH HA HA HA! "Douché!"

(Drawing by Katie)

Awesomize old shoes

I've been meaning to post more of my crafty DIY-type projects up here. (Shoot, I've been meaning to post more up here at ALL. I've been so busy with my rain barrel company, I haven't had time to invent useless crap.)

But anyway, here's something I did a while back that I've been meaning to put up here.

I had an old pair of shoes that were kinda ugly on the outside.

[Shown are a different pair, but you get the idea]

And I wanted to awesomize them. So I got a pelt from an old green carebear doll, cut it up and I used Gorilla Glue to stick the pieces on the outside. I didn't really have a pattern for cutting out the pelt, so I just started sticking pieces on and cutting off the excess. If you try it, it's way easier than you think. (But not super easy either, I mean, it's probably an intermediate-level craft project. If crafting were a ski slope, it would be a blue square.)

When I wear them out, most people think they are slippers, and they wonder how I'm able to do such awesome dance moves in them. ("Wouldn't that require more friction?")Then I show them my soles, and they are amazed and they want to be me.

I would have never expected to fall in love with...

Ever since I started listening to music, I've gravitated towards "harder" and "harder" rock. I like fast. I like constant rhythmic variation. I like enthusiasm (not so much aggression, as enthusiasm). Screaming makes me happy.

So, as the years went on, my music path went from "mild to spicy":
1995 Weezer
1996 Smashing Pumpkins
1997 Rage Against the Machine
2000 At the Drive-In, Tool
Around 2004, Emperor took the throne for a couple of years. This is the loudest, meanest, fastest shit I've ever heard!
So, of course, when THAT got boring, I thought I'd hit rock-bottom of "hardness." I was bummed. I had no interest in music for like three years. (During this time, I started doing karaoke every night. THAT put the final nail in the coffin which read 'I hate music'.)

Then... THEN.. last year Josh laid "August Burns Red" on me.

I got REALLY high, and I fell in love with music again. This shit is SO FUCKING GOOD I CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT.
I'm listening to it right now as I write this, and I'm so bouncy inside, I can barely type.
Go to YouTube and see what I mean.

I've listened to Messengers and/or Constellations everyday for the last year, and I'm not bored of it.
It has everything I love about metal (speed, melody, screaming, virtuoso musicianship, abrupt rhythmic shifts and unusual meters), and none of what I DON'T like: extended dissonance, repetition, nihilism, leather.

Then, one day, I said "Hey, Josh, August Burns Red gives me a boner."
And he was like (wait for it....) "Yeah, August Burns Red is Christian metal from back when I was evangelical."
After throwing up in the bushes, I realized I would just have to live with the fact that my favorite band is Christian Metal. CHRISTIAN METAL!

Of all the twists and turns my life has taken, this is the one I expected least.

But, you know, I used to listen to Satanic metal, and I didn't identify as a Satanist. Why can't I just like the music for music without having ideology rear its ugly head?
Does this say anything about ME? Does it MEAN something that I like this? Probably not. It just means I like having my brain tickled from all angles by machine-gun fast polyphony. The machine gun of Christ.

Take a chillaxitive!

When the word "Chillaxitive" enters common parlance (as in "Take a chillaxitive!"), let the record show that I invented it.