Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rafa says WHAT? Swine Flu

What was originally a small outbreak in April has overtaken the world in a year. Those damn Mexicans. They just couldn’t keep away from the pigs could they? Yes, our next topic is the infamous Swine Flu. There are many misconceptions and mixed ideas about this pandemic that need to be brought to light. Many people know, but few people truly understand the H1N1 strain that has come to be known as the Swine Flu. If I may be allowed to be frank, some people are just idiots. There is one topic in which all idiots seem to agree and congregate—transmission. Everyone is under the delusion that random objects that fight other diseases can somehow magically help this one. These people are truly daft and should go back to school…or at least have someone give them a good knock on the head.

First, let’s ponder on the idea of an outbreak. Whenever we witness some kind of disease ransacking any community, we usually observe a myriad of people wearing…masks. This really simple apparatus uses many small, interwoven layers of thread made of multiple materials to protect against disease. What many people don’t ask themselves is what kind of disease. Masks are used to prevent the inhalation of bacteria and other large particles. What is swine flu? Is it a bacteria? Is it a large particle? NO. It is a virus. Guess what, people? Viruses go through masks. In technical terms, the viruses we are talking about are about 10-20 nanometers across or about 100 times smaller than the average bacteria. Ergo, anyone buying masks for protection against the Swine Flu is just wasting time and money for nothing. The only thing that masks might be good for is when a subject already has the virus and is trying to keep snot, mucus, etc., in. But the point still stands that no matter how much one keeps in, the virus will still get out. Go outside, breathe fresh air, and walk around…when you see people with masks, just point and laugh at their innocence. It’s cute, really. They might as well not have a mask on in the first place.

Secondly, as people attempt to cope with the spread of a disease, the population in general searches for an answer. While everyone knows that the way to stop viruses in general is through the beauty of inoculation (except conspiracy theorists and Mormons among others) and that as soon as a viral outbreak is detected, a vaccine program is kicked into high gear, there are still people that attempt to discover remedies of their own. This whole section will be devoted to the most outlandish and hilarious attempt of a remedy I’ve heard for the Swine Flu—antibacterial. Now, I could simply state that antibacterial has the word bacterial in it. This in itself should lead a normally cognizant human being with an average sized brain to deduce that it must target specifically bacteria. But it wouldn’t be so funny unless I poked more at these people. My hypothesis is this: people that use antibacterial to fight off a virus have a brain the size of an Inuit’s nipple. It is the household equivalent of using water to clean oil. Just because water cleans, doesn’t mean it cleans oil. Antibacterial equals bacteria. Antiviral equals virus. Antibacterial plus virus equals low IQ. What should be done is to put people that have committed this atrocity through preschool again. That way, they will entertain their minds with the simple objective of not getting the triangle shape into the square or circle, and the world will rid itself of yet another step back in the evolutionary chain.

Lastly, there is the case of the hand washing. Even though it states everywhere that one should wash hands every chance one gets, I have a qualm. If one were to touch an infected area in, say, a guardrail in a staircase, all one has to do is wash one’s hands with soap and water and the virus will be destroyed. I agree. But, what happens if immediately afterwards, one touches the shirt or pants…or the wallet…or the phone? Isn’t the virus transferred there too? That means that even though a person might have killed the virus with the soap and water, all he/she has to do is touch the same section of clothing that they touched before washing their hands to get infected again. Additionally, knowing that the virus will remain alive and active for a couple of days gives multiple chances for infection. Does this not make the washing hands idea moot? The only way that you could be completely sure you aren’t contaminated is to burn all of your possessions in a massive prevention bonfire as you walk through your door to your house. This includes apparel, glasses, masks, phones, wallets, credit cards, money, etc. Afterwards, and just for good measure, you would take a long disinfecting shower. Seems like a lot of work to not get sick…even if you’re already not sick.

Swine Flu has wreaked havoc on the populace of this majestic blue and green orb in space. Everyone has become so preoccupied with prevention that we have allowed panic to unfold, which almost always leads to stupidity. The uneasy should breathe a collective sigh of relief after reading this blog…either that or become even more paranoid. Masks don’t work, I won’t even mention antibacterials, and washing hands is a moot point. There are other, true ways to combat the virus: bleach, alcohol, and baths, among other things. The point is, do not freak out and get scared. The virus isn’t airborne so there is no need to shoot everyone that coughs or maintain children under house arrest. H1N1 dies about 3 feet from the person that is sick (when they sneeze or cough into the air) and can only be transmitted for about 3-5 days after a person has shown symptoms. Overall, Swine Flu is just simply another flu. Everyone has had one in their lives. It sucks, but we move on. How’s about we stop yapping and moaning about how sick we are and how much we hate pigs and focus on other things so we can all stop being ignorant buffoons? Good.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rafa says WHAT? Airplane Bandidos

Once again, I find myself 35,000 feet in the air in the midst of a muse. I have come to realize that airplanes are alwys the host to a certain type of person that could be considered morally reprehensible. These outlaws think they can use and abuse the laws of flight. Tricking the flight attendant, disobeying rules, and just outright annoyances that make them worthy of a big slap in the face. We all know them; we've all seen them. If you don't know's you. Welcome to the world of the airplane bandidos.

You are in your seat looking out the window, buckled up, and waiting for the airplane to start moving. As your gaze shifts, you notice a person sitting on the other side of the aisle, texting on their phone. Didn't they ask a while back to shut off electronic devices? A flight attendant walks up the aisle, looking from side to side, checking for electronics. The person notices and quickly hides it under something. As soon as the imminent danger has passed, the person takes it out and continues...all throughout the flight. It kills you. Yet you don't speak out. There are rules for a reason and these people seem to figure themselves a regular John Dillinger—above the law. The truth is, they are not. Now, I recently discovered a technique to defeat these perpetrators. There is a button over one's head that one can press to get backup. It is somewhat like a police radio on an airpline. It calls the flight attendants—the cavalry. Soon the women and gay men of the flight attendant ranks assemble around your seat. Point at the outlaw and let them destroy him. You just flight attended his ass. Congratulations.

Next up is the people that really rile one up—the seat takers. You walk into a plane and approach your seat...but wait, it's taken. In it sits a person that will give you hell for at least 5 minutes (it's especially bad if it's a child, because then the mother pounces). You can fight all you want, but the person will assert his/her dominance over that seat. They will oftentimes pretend not to have their ticket and, even if you show them yours, they will still not be convinced without some other sort of evidence. It's like fighting about religion. They have faith that that's their chair...even if it's not and they are wrong. Soon, the plane gets backed up because one has to involve the flight attendants. Then, the fake voice of disgruntled acceptance takes over: "Oh! My ticket said 34D, not 35D! I'm so sorry." there is no solution to people like this. They are like people at stores that back up just have to deal with them.

Now, I will clear the air with a more humorous outlaw: the walker. The airplane is ascending into the clouds, but has not reached cruising altitude. The "fasten seatbelt" sign is still on but you hear a bit of commotion. Up in front of you, someone just realized their bladder is about to burst and has to go to the restroom. Now, if anyone has seen a giraffe or a horse newborn that doesn't know how to walk and is always falling in the most amusing yet cute ways, you will see the smilarities with these walkers. Since the plane is taking off, there is turbulence and that makes the floor unstable, thus, the person walking reverts to the early stages of life when he could barely walk on his own. In his present state (not being an actual baby), though, he gets no help from peers. It is like a full grown Bambi just prances by one's seat, hitting chairs and realizing that overhead compartments don't make very good supports. The flight attendants just sadly shake their heads. There's always at least one. Maybe the pilot will get mad and castigate them. Whatever happens, the rest of the plane enjoys the comedy. It's great to have people to laugh at.

Even though some airplane bandidos might be funny, they should be considered a serious threat. If a plane has bad turbulence, who is to blame but the man texting on his phone. After watching Soul Plane, I'd believe that. The people that take your seat are no less at fault. They not only bother you, but also everyone around you to the point that you actually start wishing that you could drop them from the sky at 40,000 feet. The walker is different. Even though he is, quite frankly, hilarious, he becomes like a big, fat, giggly blunt object that might cause trauma if he comes into contact with somebody's skull. The fact of the matter is, airplane bandidos believe they have too much power and they should be taught a lesson. All we need is a private police force for hire that can be installed in every plane to keep the peace. Law & Order: Airplane Passengers Unit...yeah...

(This is an actual picture that I took of a woman next to me on my flight. She was texting and browsing Facebook while in the air. My inspiration...)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Inflight log

I had decided when I took my connection plane from Charlotte, NC to Denver, CO that as I made my way back to my beautiful island the next week, I would keep a log. It would go by hour and I would report on happenings in the air. Well, I forgot. At least on the flight from Denver to Atlanta. But, much to your pleasure, I remembered on the connection from Atlanta to San Juan, PR. Oh what a flight it was.

I can't find anywhere to put my oversized carry-on. Honestly, it weighs a ton. Note to self, don't let yoga mom buy any more rocks in Colorado.

I finally walked up the flow of angry people to first class (all the way from the back of a full 747 I might add) and put my bag there.

Oh god my mom is talking to the person sitting in our row. Ok no wait, she just moved to the window seat...I'm in the middle.

Oh god I think the person next to me is a schizophrenic.

She just asked me if were moving yet...we're not. She's a schizophrenic.

We're moving...and she just asked me if we're moving again.

Oh god the plane just made a weird noise.

We're taking off! WOOO!

Ok...we should be going up now.

I hope the pilot knows the track ends and there are trees and possibly pedestrians there...

And were off...I was a bit worried there.

Turbulence time.

Schizophrenic lady just asked me if the turbulence is because were going down...oh god this is gonna be a long 3.5 hours.

I just finished my newest blog! Not this one...the spam one. Go check it out. It's the least you can do after I have had to turn my body to the point where i almost face schizophrenic lady cuz she keeps trying to read what I'm typing in my phone.

I just had to open schizophrenic lady's peanut bag...and she coughed all over it. I feel dirty. And not in a good way. Oh god she just coughed on it again...

Schizophrenic lady just asked me if we're almost there. we're not.

My mom left me the middle seat because she didn't want to talk to her! I thought mothers were supposed to protect their offspring!

Movie! Yes! I'm saved!

No we're not there yet schizophrenic lady...I'm watching a movie.

Movie wasn't too bad. I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if schizophrenic lady wouldn't have been staring at me the whole time.


I've come up with a plan. I actually gotta go to the bathroom, but i want to stay here for as long as I can. I will play the good Samaritan and let people go before me. Sacrifices must be made to protect my sanity.

Damn it. I knew it couldn't last long. I gotta give in.

I'm back in my seat. I have also realized that--we have an hour left schizophrenic lady!--that every time she laughs she coughs...ugh

Wow...I can't believe it. Peace...quiet. No coughing.

Her husband is here and he is also schizophrenic...not because of his actions, but because he married her. That makes him crazy by default.

I knew it! He thought a flight from Atlanta to Puerto Rico was 30 min! He IS crazy! He didn't take too well to all the facts that I used to disprove him either. It was fun though.

We started our descent. Yes...finally. Schizophrenic lady just said finally as well...then she laughed and coughed. Only a few more minutes...god...

Her husband just came back. My mom told me not to make eye contact...good advice. I took it.

She is going crazy looking around everywhere and coughing! Get me outta here! Not literally though...I don't want to get pulled out of a plane...

Gotta turn off my portable electronic device. It's been a heck of a long time next to a crazy lady. Finally. Freedom...she just coughed.

In the last minutes before landing, there was a negligible amount of turbulence, little kids were asking their parents what the big black thing coming towards them was (I prayed it wasn't the ocean), and schizophrenic lady coughed about 5 or 6 more times. I'm glad it's over. I'm never sitting next to crazy people again. I hope you all learn from me...the bathroom idea worked really well! Use it! But, as with everything, the flight, like my log, comes to an end. Rafa over and out.

Rafa says WHAT? Spam

Since the creation of the amazingly versatile world wide web that soon came to be known as the Internet, two things have been an almost certainty: Trojan viruses and spam mail. In this case, though, we will be familiarizing ourselves with spam mail. Everyone knows what to expect in the subject line--a smart phrase about God, someone insinuating you cannot please anyone with your small penis, or the telltale "Fw:" symbol being repeated ad infinitum. Yes...these things haunt our every day. Assuming the message is not deleted immediately and has been sent by one of your friends, inside is a lengthy description that is sure to turn what used to be slight curiosity into complete disinterest and an overall feeling of stupidity for actually opening the blasted message. We have all come across it...and now, I will provide the information and tools to fight back.

We will begin with regular not-sent-by-friends spam. These messages often include things like offers from companies saying you have been victorious in a competition you never entered and have won a whole lot of money in some random country that you never knew existed, or a continuous attempt at selling you an unnecessary amount of penis enlargement pills/treatments. Often creating high levels of embarrassment for the person that receives them, these spam emails are highly annoying, yet there is no escaping them. The following course of action is for those that are smart enough not to be fooled into believing that they might be rich in a country that ends in -istan or that their penis is the size of a cocktail sausage: spam the spammers. They send you hundreds of emails that end with "Do not reply to this message", but I believe that one needs to ignore this. Simply forward them the same message they sent you. Maybe if we all spam the spammers, they will see the error of their ways.

Second, let's accept that some of our friends could be considered spammers. We have all opened our email and read that telltale headline that begins with "Fw:", debated weather to open it, and hated the fact that we eventually did. Normally, one of two things composes the bulk of the message: a story about someone that died or a story about God. The story of the person that died normally entails a curse or a catch for not forwarding the message and is structured somewhat like so:

[insert name] was [insert age] when [he/she] got this same message. [he/she] didn't think much of it and deleted it. [insert variable timeframe], when [he/she] was going to bed, [he/she] didn't know what was about to happen. Suddenly, [insert any scary, fictitious, gory, ghostly, ghastly, horrible, ect. figure you may know] appeared and, with a [insert murder weapon (preferably blood covered) here], he [insert killing method here] him to death. If you don't want the same to happen to you, you have to send this message to [insert random number] friends in [insert variable timeframe].

Honestly, writing it like that makes one of these spam emails look more like a section off of a Mad Libs book. It's usually aimed at superstitious people that will believe anything...and I mean anything. If your friend sends you one of such messages, feel free to respond with anything from a "you're gullible" or "do you actually believe that??" to any number of curse words or your own made up, crackpot story about a murder. It's as easy as filling in the blanks.

God has recently been the topic of many spam messages. It's sad that our religious friends have sunken to the level of a Jehovah’s Witness or a Televangelist. The spam message is not as complex and fear inspiring as the one with death and killing in it, but it is still equally as annoying. Normally, it begins as a nice message: a poem...a joke perhaps? Then, after the message has sufficiently tricked you into believing it might be like a greeting card, it pops that one word that just makes you sigh and shake your head: God. It then proceeds to tell you to thank him for the previous statements as they are His work and then gives you more messages of peace, love, and worship, which repeat His name a couple hundred more times.

After what seems like an eternity, they offer you something unprecedented--a catch. Usually, the message tells you that in order to receive the aforementioned blessings from the Almighty, you must first...forward the email to your friends. My question is: since when has God needed you to forward an email to bless you? No, scratch that. When did God decide to bless through email? It's remarkable really. It is my expert opinion that the people that send you these types of messages will never cease. Therefore, you must do your part and either send the message back to the original spammer or delete it. If you choose to send it back, here's some advice: the person that sent you a death threat should receive a re-written one with an even crazier story (as I offered before) and the one that pretended to send you Gods message via email should get a link to my blog. They should all learn.

Spammers, no matter what we do, will continue to escape the email filters and send messages to our inboxes. Whether it's a crackpot story, a false accusation, or a conditional blessing, as we open our emails, we are filled with apprehension about which we might find. I'm not asking people to go to the extremes of copy pasting the whole message about God in a new email, writing in font 72 the words "God does not exist!" and sending it to the spammer. What I represent is the group of people seeking to educate the spammers. It is the beginning of spammer rehab. If that doesn't work...we will have to openly declare war.