I’ve decided to post this list after having kept it scrawled in notebooks over the years. The inspiration for it comes from one of my favorite people on this planet, Tom Rhodes. He has a list of over 1000 things he simply calls “Happiness”. I started keeping my own list a few years ago – which has been edited and updated and deleted from sporadically over time – but still serves as my own reminder that there are far more good things than bad on these little paths we all stumble down.

I desperately wish that I had thought to start my list all on my own, but if I have to credit someone for inspiring me to do it I am thrilled that it is Tom. Do something nice for yourself and go look him up.

But enough about that… here is my first 150.

1. Having a job where I don’t have to shave if I don’t want to
2. Kona coffee
3. Listening to Collective Soul’s “Tokyo” while circling over Tokyo
4. Knowing that Miyajima Island is the most beautiful place on Earth
5. Feeding the deer there
6. Daishoin Temple
7. Walking through the Mayan ruins and realizing the genius that existed long before I ever did
8. Spawn comic books
9. Holidays where everyone makes it and nobody fights
10. Seeing Prince play “Purple Rain” live
11. Getting a whole row to myself on an airplane
12. The resilience of The Tree of Life in Southern Bahrain
13. Red and purple Skittles 14. The orphans I met in Djibouti and the way they still have more fun than most of us despite their circumstances
15. Cheetahs, and how they remind me of race cars covered in really pretty, but dirty, carpet
16. Looking up at the CN Tower in Toronto like a total tourist, amazed at the sight of it against one of the clearest, bluest skies I’ve ever seen
17. The bank of the Ottawa River
18. Alexander Keith’s IPA
19. Seeing the Rolling Stones play for over two hours with no break
20. Street vendor hot dogs
21. Applause breaks
22. Snorkeling the reefs off Onna Village on the Okinawa coast.
23. Skydiving, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with having survived a two mile fall at over 110 mph 24. Watching Tiger Woods play golf in clutch situations 25. Spending the day with Abrahim in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, learning about the city’s history, dodging donkeys in the street, experiencing the coffee ceremony, and being happy to have made an unexpected friend
26. How Ethiopia is not what I thought it would be 27. Injera and wat
28. October
29. Guinness
30. Daydreaming about having Anthony Bourdain’s job
31. Trans-Siberian Orchestra live
32. Not smoking anymore
33. Cafe Du Monde beignets
34. Walking the Corniche in Qatar, seeing green grass and blue water in the middle of 110 degree heat and lots of sand.
35. Knowing that Glenn Beck takes himself seriously
36. Glasses of ice cold water with no ice
37. Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”
38. Sweet pickles
39. Wandering through a fishing village on the outskirts of an island in Incheon, South Korea as the sun came up, wondering how I was going to get to the airport but also not really caring
40. Beating my friend JR Brow mercilessly at pool, despite the fact that he is better than I am
41. Knowing that the billboards for the “Janis Joplin Museum” in SE Texas are misleading and that it’s really just some of her clothes and a car recreated by college students.
42. Getting to know Dimebag Darrell before he was killed
43. People who get tattoos on their necks
44. Going out for Turkish food in Saudi Arabia with Don and Bryan and our friend Cliff, who made Saudi seem a lot less scary and a lot more delicious
45. My mom’s lasagna
46. The fried shrimp my Dad used to make
47. Chocolate pop tarts
48. The way Kennedy’s laugh reminds me of someone ringing a glass bell
49. My bed
50. Paella and the other things Isaac surprises me with at Espana when I make it to the Valley
51. Staring at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in person, and then laying in the grass of the Museumplein on a perfect April day in Amsterdam
52. Winning at trivia with Dianne and Rob
53. Blackhawks helicopter rides
54. Drinking Jameson and talking with my friend Jes at her beach cabin, until long after everyone else had left or gone to bed
55. Hanging out at Krumz Bar in Bahrain with Sam and Doug and Rod before it closed down, and thinking that if everyone could laugh that hard for that long, there would be less violence
56. Spinny rings
57. The black leather cuff Josh Wolf sent me
58. Blow pops
59. Grape slushees at Sonic
60. Sitting at the top of Turner Falls in the Arbuckle Mountains when the park is empty
61. My secret Mark Nason store
62. Sweet potatoes
63. Driving a tank
64. Any beach on a clear night
65. Hitting golf balls off the third floor of Saddam’s old palace
66. Star Trek: The Next Generation
67. Saul Williams
68. Knowing that one day my friend Kevin is going to have to admit that I’m funny
69. Hunter S. Thompson
70. Paulo Coelho
71. Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”
72. Medium rare steaks
73. Watching Anderson Silva fight
74. Running a 4:54 mile (not anymore, but I did once and I will again)
75. Taking the train
76. Getting a Burger King double cheeseburger for $1
77. Fire
78. Lays potato chips
79. Angie, both the song and the person
80. World music
81. Falling asleep watching recordings of Cirque du Soleil
82. Motorcycle rides on long, empty, autumn roads with Rise Against playing on my iPod
83. Everything that is Colorado Springs that isn’t the actual city: Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, Pike’s Peak, etc
84. Big Paddy’s “Man You Don’t Meet Everyday”
85. Danny Elfman soundtracks to Tim Burton films
86. Mitch Hedberg jokes
87. Phone calls from my friend Joey Diaz once a week, like clockwork, just to say hi
88. Strong water pressure
89. The number twenty-seven
90. Leather-bound notebooks
91. Dive bars
92. Final Fantasy video games
93. Comedy, Texas
94. Adrian Fulton’s four foot tall painting of me
95. Recurve bows
96. New Sharpies
97. Dragons
98. Didgeridoos
99. Rao’s Bakery
100. The intro to Sweet Child of Mine
101. Having all my stuff back except for my toaster
102. Girls with glasses
103. Rediscovering Chalk FarM’s “Notwithstanding” album as I drove back from Dallas in February 2000.  I was playing CDs blindly and at random out of my case as I drove, and had never taken the time to listen to the entire CD.
104. Corn dogs
105. Origami
106. Pad Thai
107. My conversations on the patio of Little Woodrow’s with Paul, about everything important that no one has figured out but us.
108. ted.com
109. Unexpected waterfalls
110. Discovering Banksy in a book on the Candlebox tour bus a few years ago.  The guys had gone in for sound check and I was hiding from my ex-girlfriend.  I ended up flipping through the entire thing and falling in love.
111. Going “no no no” with Khloe and watching her throw her head back and laugh
112. Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”
113. Successfully recreating Paula Dean’s Gooey Butter Cake for Christmas even though I’d never baked anything before.  Ever.
114. Sunlight bouncing off the copper windows of the Horseshoe hotel, bathing the riverbank in gold light as I hide there from the city of Shreveport
115. Imitating the songs from Labyrinth with my youngest brother.  What babe?  The babe with the power.  Hey lady, that’s my head!
116. Arguing the price of an impala mask with an African salesman on Sam’s behalf.  It took me three different languages to win.
117. Finally leaving Yemen
118. The post- workout sensation at the Reverend Bart’s gym.  Not the workout, but afterwards.
119. Café sua da at Mai’s.  RIP.
120. The LXD
121. When your ears clear after a flight
122. Blondes with short hair
123. The Arabian Desert in the middle of the night
124. The grass outside this particular church in Landstuhl, Germany
125. Cowboy Mouth live
126. Winning over a punk rock audience that came to watch music and got me instead
127. Marcus Aurelius
128. Michael Franti & Spearhead
129. Hanging my feet out of the blankets, and untucking the sheets with my feet if I have to
130. That part of the day where the sun has gone down but it’s still light outside
131. Standing in centerfield, top of the first inning of a night game in spring, waiting for the first batter to step into the box
132. The Tao of Jeet Kune Do
133. The bottom half of ice cream cones
134. Chinese takeout
135. Finishing another chapter of writing and clicking Save one last time
136. Nailing the perfect metaphor
137. Finishing my first script, despite the fact that no one will ever get to read it
138. Waffles with grape jelly
139. Authentic Cajun seafood
140. Finding $10 chimineas in Mexico and trying to get them back home
141. Nag champa
142. Being caught up on bills and realizing that I’m off for the next three weeks
143. Climbable oak trees
144. Floating neck deep in the Gulf of Mexico waiting for the sun to come up
145. Swimming with black tip sharks 10 miles out in that same Gulf
146. Text messages from friends saying they heard me on XM, despite the fact that I’ve never, ever heard myself on there
147. Canyon canoe trips through Big Bend, knowing you can’t get back out for four days
148. True silence
149. The visuals of Avatar
150. Arvo Part’s “Tabula Rasa” (thanks Greg)
151. Ben Loory’s love of Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as his proofreading

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SLADE HAM is a stand up comedian. He has performed in 52 countries on six continents, a journey that can be followed in his book, Until All the Dragons Are Dead. One day he hopes to host a travel show and continue to trick the world into paying him to do the things he loves to do. Slade is also an Editor for The Nervous Breakdown's Arts and Culture section. He keeps a very expensive storage unit in Houston, TX.

168 responses to “Happiness, Inspired by Tom”

  1. Anon says:

    And now I get to add this piece to my list. Thank you, Slade.

  2. Mary says:

    Being from Southwest Louisiana, I happen to be rather intimately familiar with the Janis Joplin museum. It’s just far enough from my home town that my best friend and I could drive there together on a Saturday and pose for photos next to the car and discuss the quality of the paint-by-numbers they keep under glass and still be home in time for dinner. Port Arthur, Texas. A great place to run a red light.

    This was a really nice piece and has inspired me to try something like it when I get home tonight. I won’t do the exact same thing, but I feel a need to write about something nice, something that makes me smile and will hopefully make other people smile, too. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Slade Ham says:

      I know Port Arthur all too well. I grew up in Beaumont. Janis, ZZ Top, George Jones, Johnny Winter, the Big Bopper, Tracy Byrd, Mark Chesnutt, Clay Walker… We’ve spit out our share of musicians in SE TExas.

      That museum is a joke though. The paint-by-numbers… hahaha! The only time I went there, the “curator” told me a story. Apparently she used to babysit Janis back in the day. “SHe was quite the painter,” she said. “If only she’d stuck with it, she really could have made something of herself.

      I just grinned.

  3. Guinness is brilliant.

  4. JB says:

    This put me in a better mood. Thanks.

    I have to concur on the grape jelly and waffles. Butter is key, though. As I remember it, the warm waffle melts the butter and reduces the jelly and they come together, and, man, it’s hard to believe how glorious a union it is.

    Cheers,
    JB

    • D.R. Haney says:

      I always enjoy lists of this kind. I’ve made a few myself, and I imagine many have done likewise.

      I’ll return to comment again, but for now: I’m glad that was for a fact Jameson you meant in your comment for me the other night.

      Also, I’m really envious that you’ve been to places I’ve never been. I would love to spend a year or two globetrotting.

      • Anon says:

        Envy is not exactly a “happiness thing” but I will happily second the feeling. Forgive me, Slade, if you’ve documented this elsewhere but how is it you’ve been so many far-flung places? I’ve been to several states and… um… had a cup of artichoke tea from Vietnam. That’s about it, for now. I plan to rectify this in the next few years (before my daughter hits puberty so I don’t have to cause any international incidents) but finances and family obligations restrict me.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I tell jokes for a living and I’ve been incredibly privileged in that I’ve been able to get into a literal shit-ton of places to perform for the military. If we have a base there, I’ve probably been there.

          I try to get over at least twice a year, but it’s not always possible. It’s quite humbling. Those kids are amazing.

        • Anon says:

          And I can guarantee you that your efforts are appreciated by them. My nephew-in-law had served in a Stryker unit in Iraq and has rotated back – on foot, this time – to Afghanistan just after Christmas. A touch of home goes a long way.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Wow. I have become very partial to Strykers. I did a show when I was there at a little outpost, or base, that housed a Stryker unit. The guys were awesome, and when our helicopters were delayed they gave us the full tour, and at the end of it let me drive one. They ride smoother than a Cadillac.

          I’m attempting to get into Afghanistan later this year, though it’s been a little difficult since things heated back up there.

        • Anon says:

          Let me see what I can do. 😀

      • Slade Ham says:

        Duke, you know as well as I do the trade off that comes from trying to do what you want to do. I get to toss out the reciprocal, don’t be anything near envious. I almost didn’t post this, and then thought better of it. I’ve seen some amazing things, no doubt. But there’s that thing about greener grass and whatnot.

        I’ve never spent more than a month in any of them, which doesn’t give me near the same experience as true immersion would. On a side note, I may be in Kosovo later this summer for a week or so. Hopefully I’ll be able to duck over to Serbia while I’m there. I can chin-chin for real then.

        And yes. Jameson most definitely. I don’t know how I missed the comment on the other post. It is my favorite vice. I’m glad we agree on that.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Well, there’s something to be said for dipping in and getting out. I like the idea of amassing a great bank of experiences, of things seen and heard and smelled and so on.

          At the same time, I find that I don’t really luxuriate in the bank of experiences I’ve amassed so far. I forget about things until a random comment, say, jogs my memory, and I chide myself for forgetting, only to forget again.

          As for Kosovo, that’s a sore point for Serbs. They consider, and always will, Kosovo as theirs. It’s the cradle of their culture, as they see it. Now it’s declared itself a separate country, with the blessing of the U.S. I never went to Kosovo when I was living in that part of the world, but a friend did, and let’s just say he had a much better time in Belgrade.

          Yes, I am glad we agree about Jameson. I’m also partial to Maker’s Mark.

        • Matt says:

          Both of those are pretty good. I’ve recently acquired a taste foe Gentelman Jack.

    • Slade Ham says:

      I should have mentioned the butter. I may have to go back and edit it. You are most definitely correct, sir.

  5. Richard Cox says:

    Nice list. My favorites were you hitting golf balls off Saddam’s palace and winning over the punk audience. The second one is your version of Tiger playing golf under pressure.

    I did a list exactly like this on my MySpace blog a couple of years ago. Except mine was 25 things I like followed by 25 things I hate. The I hate list was way more popular for some reason, I think because it was funnier to read.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Hate lists are always more entertaining. You and I most certainly agree on Tiger. He’s magical under pressure.

      The driving range at the top of Saddam’s palace is a fun story. The Army put a tee box at the top of the Al Faw Palace and you can drive balls out into the lake. I have pictures somewhere. I should write about in more detail.

      It seems Hussein built palaces for every one of Iraq’s “victories”. There is a Freedom Over Iran Palace, etc. I have a piece of marble from inside the half finished Victory Over America Palace. He was building it when we leveled it 🙂

      • Richard Cox says:

        So now I have to ask, Mr. Ham, about your golf game. Do you play regularly? If so, where do you play in Houston?

        My buddies and I have a rotating Tulsa/Houston cup, by the way. They come here for a few days in the fall and we go there for a few days in the spring. Usually like 10 or 12 guys who throw in some money and compete for the cup, which is named for whoever wins it. Last time we played two rounds at Houston National and one at Tour 18. Anyway, I’ll be down there in the late spring, probably. If you’re around, maybe we can grab a drink. Or if you’re up for it, you could always compete for the cup.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Hahaha, let there be no misunderstanding. I am a HORRIBLE golfer. I hesitate to even use the word “recreational” to describe myself. I do, however, love watching the game, and Tiger to me is like watching a wizard do magic tricks. It’s like he hits a remote control golf ball.

          I’ll never tire of watching him.

          And while I won’t compete for the cup, I would love nothing more than to catch a drink. I’m assuming by the way you didn’t refer to the prize as the Cox Cup, that the last time didn’t end in your favor? 🙂

        • Richard Cox says:

          Good catch, asshole. I did not win last time. But I feel the spirit of Ben Hogan this time around…perhaps because I’ve been watching videos of his swing for weeks. I’m going to win this time. And if I don’t, I’ll post a piece saying I did and label it “Fiction.”

        • Slade Ham says:

          Hahahaha. Sorry about that. This year is your year. If you lose though, I’ll pick up the first round of drinks.

  6. Zara Potts says:

    ‘A race car in a really pretty, but dirty carpet’
    That has to be the best description of a cheetah I have ever heard.
    Oh, and I’m with you on the ‘Labyrinth’ songs. What is up with that??? Is there something wrong with us?

    • Slade Ham says:

      It’s the only way I knew how to describe it. They are now my absolute favorite animal. It feels like, well, dirty carpet… but majestic still somehow.

      And I am a HUGE Bowie fan. That movie has been one of my favorites since I was young, and not one holiday goes by that my youngest brother and I don’t reenact at least half of it, songs and all.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        I was never over the moon over Bowie, and yet the other day I walked into a place that was playing early Bowie and I was really taken with how good it was.

        I should also have mentioned earlier that I love cheetahs. They’ve got to be among my favorite animals, with that sleek shape, and those black tears on their faces.

  7. Erika Rae says:

    The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Awesome.

    You’ve inspired me to make my own list. Thanks for this!

    • Slade Ham says:

      You are welcome. And please do make your own list. I would love to see a thousand lists actually.

      And the TOJKD is amazing, even from a non-martial arts perspective.

      Be like water…

  8. Simon Smithson says:

    Slade, this is awesome. I’m going to start the shit out of my own list.

  9. Ben Loory says:

    psst… i don’t mean to be an ass, but walden is thoreau, not emerson. i only point it out because i love emerson and hate thoreau and my teeth are grinding like motherfuckers right now. but origami is awesome. also tangram, which is like origami in flatland.

    and i guess walden pond was actually on emerson’s land (just as thoreau was on emerson’s intellectual property) so it all works out.

    i’m going to go bother myself now instead of you.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Not an ass at all, Ben. I can only attribute that to careless oversight whenever it was that I added it to the list. It’s also possible that I was drunk. Regardless, it’s corrected.

      I also took the liberty of adding a number 151.

      Thanks for the heads up.

  10. Korea is nice in the morning, before the people come out. I’m not surprised you chose that.

    Looking through this list I see a lot I agree with and a lot I don’t. Which is good, because I tend to get along well with people I can argue with. In fact, the people from my past with whom I’ve had the worst falling outs have been people whose Top 150 list would have been the same as mine.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Ugh. Do tell. I love a good argument, though probably not until tomorrow. It is almost 4am here. Truth be told though, my taste is clearly my own and probably conflict with most everyone else. I like a lot of weird shit.

      The Jameson is not up for debate however. Nor are the grape slushees.

      • Really? I dislike grape slushees, for one thing. In fact, I just don’t really care for grapes that haven’t yet made it into alcohol form.

        Anyway, when I said argument I meant that if we were hanging out drunkenly and you said something like, “I really enjoy _____” then I might say, “No, ____ is better.” Beyond that, I’m not really an argumentative person.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Ah no, haha. I definitely didn’t mean to insinuate a real debate. And I believe you are in the majority in hating anything grape flavored, among the people I know anyway.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I have never had grape jelly. Not even once.

        • What I do enjoy is grape-based humour. It’s the grapest kind of humour. Oh, and films based on grapes – like the Grape Escape and the Grapes of Wrath and Grape Expectations. My favourite book is the Grape Gatsby. And my favourite animal is the Grape White Shark.

          Ok, I’m done being annoying now.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I believe I’d enjoy them in pancakes.

          Which would, of course, make them grêpes.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          And so Simon Smithson once again demonstrates his lust for Natalie Portman’s toe.

        • Slade Ham says:

          There will not be a better one-two punch than this little Simon/Duke interaction. Brilliant comment, Simon… and a brilliant callback, Duke.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Martin and Lewis?

          I’m afraid I know which one of us would be the latter.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I had you two pegged as more Lucy & Desi actually.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Dude, you so didn’t have to go there. Kevin, did you catch that?

          Also, Slade, did you steal Becky’s gravatar? I pray for your sake that you didn’t.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Steal? No. Depending on which one you’re talking about, as my cache is all fucked up now too. i can’t see hers, but I think mine is supposed to be a close up of a cheetah. I took it myself. I still see the one of me and the cat though.

          I’m pretty sure I’m about to change it back to just me though, to add to the cache confusion. Now I have to go look at Becky’s.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Btw, the Lucy/Desi comment is precisely why Kevin doesn’t think I’m funny 🙂

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I hate you, Kevin.

          Nah, I’m just kidding. You’re all right.

  11. How long did it take for you to find that “ê”?

  12. Amanda says:

    My friend owns a condo at the bottom of your item #16, and each time I visit, before i go into his building, I stand at the base of that tower and stare up like I’ve never seen it before, even though it’s only been perhaps two days. From his condo, you can see a chunk of its hull, like a ship hovering slightly to the north.

    I have a view of its bulbous top from my office window, and in summertime, my balcony faces toward the tower, too, its radio tower poking above the trees in my yard. It’s something I never forget exists, but often allow to blend into the cityscape. I love that it’s on your list of happy! In fact, that fact makes *me* happy.

    : )

    • Slade Ham says:

      Well then, I’m happy to make you happy. It is much taller than I expected it to be. I only went to Canada for the first time this past Fall and I have fallen in love with the country, and your city in particular. I can’t wait to get back there later this year.

  13. Irene Zion says:

    Slade
    this is really inspiring.
    I’m going to start my own.
    Thanks.

  14. Matt says:

    Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……….

    This is exactly what I needed after reading Zara’s story. Lots of fun.

    Cafe du Monde beignets are indeed awesome. Back when I was working in the French Quarter I used to head over there after I got off at 4 or 5 in the morning to grab a couple, especially if it’d been a shitty night.

    I can play the didgeridoo!

    • Slade Ham says:

      A big plate full of sugar covered dough and some chicory coffee… there’s not a lot that won’t fix. Maybe not an attempted stabbing, but most things.

      I cannot play the didgeridoo though I do have one. I love that distant, haunting sound. Maybe I should learn to play it.

  15. Lorna says:

    I can’t even imaging how many sticks of butter it takes to bake a Paula Dean Butter Cake. Baking is way cooler than cooking any day. 🙂

    • Slade Ham says:

      Sixteen table spoons actually, and a pound of powdered sugar. It’s decadent.

      • Richard Cox says:

        Holy shit. Is that the cake only or the cake and the frosting?

        My favorite chocolate cake calls for, among other things, 2 cups sugar, a stick of butter, 8 oz sour cream, 1/2 cup buttermilk, and 1/2 cup vegetable oil in the cake mix. Then another stick of butter and pound of powdered sugar in the frosting. When you add the flour and chocolate, etc, the damn thing must weigh ten pounds. I figured up the calories one time (it fits into a 13 x 9 pan) and it was a shade under 10,000.

        • Slade Ham says:

          There is no frosting on this cake. It’s just buttery crust and filling. It’s almost made like a pie but it’s a cake. And it’s made of sugar and little baby angels.

          Yours sounds incredible. I am having a serious sugar craving now. 10,000 calories. Geeeeez.

          I dig the new avatar btw. Hahaha. Did Anon start a trend?

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Um, Anon started still another trend. Recipes are being swapped on the self-interview post.

          I just emptied my cache, Slade, so that I can see the new avatar. Fucking great. Steve Irwin would be proud. Which is stupid thing to say, but fuck it, I said it, so there.

        • Anon says:

          Yeah, sorry about that. It’s a bad habit and part of why I can’t ever go back to Milan. Petty, envious bastards, the lot of them….

        • Slade Ham says:

          I can’t keep up with the trends. I have one half-recipe and a cat picture. If anything else changes, I’ll be in bed, NyQuilled up, dreaming about the Croc Hunter and butter cake.

        • Lorna says:

          Mmmmm, cake. I’m going to give that Paula Dean Butter Cake a try. It sounds delicious and no need frost it. That’s a bonus. I’d try Richard’s chocolate cake too if he would lead me to a complete recipe. 🙂

        • Richard Cox says:

          Lorna, I will happy to provide said recipe. I didn’t see this earlier, and I’m not at home now, but when I am I will transcribe the recipe for you.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I suddenly feel like I’ve joined a Garden Club, hahaha. I think I want to make a grey, silhouette avatar of me killing a bear.

          I can use it to counteract the fact that I find myself actually looking forward to that recipe as well…

        • Anon says:

          The avatar could be you killing the bear with the cake. Tres butch!

        • Slade Ham says:

          And… done.

        • Anon says:

          LOL! My God… what have I done?

        • Slade Ham says:

          You have sucked me into your Gravatar World, that’s what. This can only get uglier 🙂 Photoshop is the devil.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Richrob, are you going to share the recipe here? ANd tell me, what the hell is a stick of butter?

        • Richard Cox says:

          A quarter pound of butter that looks like an office building when you stand it on end!

          And yes, I will share the recipe here. For all the TNB world to enjoy. It’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Jinkers! That sounds like a lot of butter.
          I look forward to the recipe – and the resulting TNB bake off!

        • Richard Cox says:

          Genius, Slade. Pure Genius.

          I wish Photoshop worked in real life. I suppose that would be the Holodeck.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Is your Gravatar bear killer emerging from a bottle? Like a Genie? He looks awfully thin at the waist.

        • Anon says:

          I feel the urge to use a picture now. Or go retro-generic. I have been outplayed at my own subtle game. (:

        • Anon says:

          He’s all about the obliques, brother. Twisting situps all day long!

        • Slade Ham says:

          You and I and our Holodeck wishes, Rich… I tapered it at the waist because reality is too painful to recreate. At least my Gravatar exercises.

          And no, Anon. You shouldn’t. You are the Wright Brothers of Gravatar fun. Your image is the Kitty Hawk that made all of this day-wasting possible. It would be a shame to lose such an iconic little square.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Yeah, you had the idea, Anon. We’re just riding your creative coattails.

          What’s next? An animated .gif? Sound effects? 3D holographic immersion with 7.1 channel DTS?

        • Anon says:

          You know, I was this close to switching it to my newly-cropped image of “Anon the Greek” when I read your comment. Very well. I shall remain the primitive proto-quasi-custom-generic and simply enjoy the show. Rather fitting, I suppose….

        • Anon says:

          Oh, no. Not animated. I don’t think I could control myself then!

        • Lorna says:

          Oh man, I can hardly wait for a moment to create my own Gravatar! I’m missing out on all the fun.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Unfortunately Gravatar won’t let you use animated .gifs – or fortunately in our case. As for you Lorna, you can use any image, off your hard drive or the web. It’s insanely simple.

        • Anon says:

          When I was a teenager, I once lost so much blood that I lost the ability to see in color. Tip for the day: When your brain only processes visual signals in monochrome, go to the ER. Anyway, this page is starting to give me flashbacks to that incident. Thank God for Zara’s pic!

  16. Nichelle B says:

    Colorado Springs is by far, my favorite place… ever… Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, i didn’t get to seven falls, but i will! Royal Gorge (a short drive away), a Rockie’s baseball game, never too far! a night at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park = amazing! (and kind of creepy)… Next time i go.. i want to stay a lot longer than 10 days… maybe forever… except i hate cold and snow… it happens..

    a very fine job you’ve done here!!

  17. Slade Ham says:

    I went hiking in Estes Park yeeeears ago. One of my more memorable trips. Seven Falls is a fun trip just because of the views at the end of the trails. I’m there again at the end of April I think. It’s always one of my favorite trips of the year. I hope you make it back there. Just go in the Summer.

    • Nichelle B says:

      I went in the summer, best time to go in my opinion, get out of this humidity for a minute…

      another note, i totally commend you going overseas, my Cousin is newly in Afghanistan and so far pretty much hates sand… kudos to you for giving them something to look forward to, and i hope that you do get a chance to go over there, for his and everyone else over there’s sake!

      • Slade Ham says:

        The sand in Iraq was more like moondust – the product of being driven over by tons and tons of heavy equipment. It is unbearable, and I imagine Afghanistan has become similar. I can’t imagine spending any great length of time there. My hat is off to your cousin.

  18. Brandy says:

    Labyrinth! I met David Bowie and was completely starstruck…he was my first 5 year old crush.

    • Slade Ham says:

      A crush as a five year old? Wow, nice. I’m pretty sure Prince is the only person alive that would make me starstruck. And MJ would have too, I think.

      • Brandy says:

        …what can I say? Alas, my attraction to evil men pretending to be Prince Charming who eventually turn my world upside down OBVIOUSLY started at a tender age.

        And please tell me you didn’t have a crush on Carrie Fisher when you were 5?

        Bowie walked into the art gallery I was working at in Maui. I turned around, and he was there like magic. My first thought was “You remind me of the babe” (which I couldn’t say) followed by my second thought of “You are still incredibly Hot” (which I also couldn’t say).

        I think besides Bowie, Paul McCartney is the other man that would make me starstruck.

        • Slade Ham says:

          There’s not a man on this planet that didn’t have a Carrie Fisher crush. She wasn’t MY sister.

          So you at least got a picture with him, right? It’s BOWIE.

        • Brandy says:

          No! He was completely low key and only there for a few minutes. We used to get Hollywood people in all the time and mostly they just wanted you to pretend they weren’t famous.

        • Slade Ham says:

          But he’s DAVID FUCKING BOWIE!

        • Brandy says:

          I had no fucking camera! I was at work. For the record his name should always be said like that.

          I need to go get my avatar now..I’m like the only naked one on here.

  19. Debbie says:

    This was fun Slade…now I have yet another project!!

    And I totally get Brandy’s 5 year old crush on David Bowie. Apparently I was 5 when I informed my parents I was going to marry David Bowie.

    I would also like to agree with you about #’s 2, 28, 29, 33, 62, 64, 71 and 102.

    This was great.

  20. Alana says:

    You always manage to cheer me up. Thanks. 😀 This reminds me that I can’t find my Trans Siberian Orchestra CD, and it has my fave Christmas song ever on it. Oh well. It’ll turn up.

    • Slade Ham says:

      I miss the days of CDs. I don’t think I own one CD anymore. Everything is on a hard drive now. Which is your favorite? Christmas Eve, Sarejevo 12/24? I’m only guessing because that’s the popular one. I think I originally found that song on a Savatage CD.

  21. Lorna says:

    How does Anon get that skinny little Avatar? And Richard has a golf Avatar?….. I want one with hair.

    • Anon says:

      The joys of a boring-assed job, minimal supervision, an obsessive personality and MS Paint, that’s how. (:

      • Anon says:

        Just refreshed my cache and wowza! Bravo, Mister Cox! Tell me you did that by hand and I will be damned impressed.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Haha. Alas, Anon, that work is courtesy of Photoshop. I used an image of my own follow-through and worked a little magic on it. A little hand editing was required, but I didn’t draw it from scratch.

        • Anon says:

          Good on you, regardless! I’ve never played golf – one of the few people in my working circles that doesn’t, apparently. Nothing against it at all, just… I don’t know. No particular draw for me.

    • Anon says:

      Lorna, the caffeine just reached my brain, apparently. My apologies. Go to http://www.gravatar.com, create an account using the same email address you provide when commenting here, then upload a pic (or drawing, with or without hair). When you use that address here, the pic is imported and displayed.

      • Lorna says:

        Thanks Anon. I was about to respond with the question of “how to apply” since I already seem to have all the other aforementioned (“boring-assed job, minimal supervision, an obsessive personality and MS Paint”) requirements. 🙂

        • Slade Ham says:

          Yes, Lorna, you must get a Gravatar. It’s all the rave. And then you must change it constantly so that Duke and I have to keep refreshing our cache.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Good God, I refresh my cache and see that you’ve changed your gravatar again. But what is humanoid doing, exactly, to that bear? It is a bear, yes? Will it soon be burned by that ball of flame? Or is it a birthday cake or a giant pine cone that the humanoid is keeping from the animal’s reach? Alas, the humanoid is exposing his vulnerable abdomen, which appears already greatly reduced. Or is the humanoid a puppet?

          All these questions!

        • Richard Cox says:

          Excellent Gravatar, Lorna. I was wondering when other shades/colors would begin to show up.

          Cake recipe to follow shortly.

        • Lorna says:

          I think we’ll need some tea to wash down chocolate and butter. We should ask Slade where he’s hiding the tea set.

          I thought my Gravatar needed some eyes and earings. I may need to plump her up after she consumes the cakes.

        • Slade Ham says:

          There is no tea set.

          Or was that spoon?

        • Richard Cox says:

          Lorna, here is the super manly chocolate cake recipe:

          First mix 2 cups flour and 2 cups sugar and set aside. Then flex your muscles.

          In a sauce pan, put 1 stick butter, 1/2 vegetable oil, 4 tablespoons cocoa, 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Pour over flour and sugar mixture. Drink a protein shake mixed with a tablespoon of creatine and belch loudly. To the cake mixture, add 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs slightly beaten, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 8 oz sour cream. Do three sets of 10 curls with a 50 lb dumbbell and drink two beers. Mix the cake contents well and pour into 9 x 13 greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees F until toothpick comes out dry. While the cake is cooking, feel free to do 800 lb squats and maybe shoot some HGH.

          Make the frosting when the cake is almost done. Put 1 stick butter, 4 tablespoons cocoa, and 6 tablespoons of milk in a sauce pan. Melt. Add 1 lb powdered sugar, 1 cup coconut, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Pour over cake while hot.

          Give yourself a high five and a fist bump. Grunt loudly. Beat a bear into submission (but do not use this cake. A beehive is preferable).

          Fini.

        • Slade Ham says:

          God this sounds delicious, and I’m almost buzzed enough to go buy the ingredients now. Luckily you wrote in instructions that sound like exercise, so I may take a pass.

          I’m going to find a real beehive one day, and all this laughing is going to stop.

        • Lorna says:

          Thanks Richard. I have everything but the 50 lb dumbbells. I’m not even sure I am able to curl a 50 lb dumbbell. Very creative recipe. I like this playground!

        • Richard Cox says:

          No dumbbells?? What are you going to substitute? Also, that should read 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. I have to drop at least one word per paragraph in anything I write. It’s a disease.

        • Lorna says:

          Yes, I have dumbbells. Just not 50 lb dumbbells. I could either try to grip two 20 and one 10 lb in one grip and risk dropping the dumbbells on my feet. Or…..I could curl my 45 lb overweight puppy dog and call it good.

        • Anon says:

          Definitely go with the puppy. They wiggle alot and are asymmetrically shaped so it’ll be like using a kettlebell on a bosu ball. Good, solid core work there, which will help burn off some of the cake.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Am I making this up, or has the phrase “puppy curling” managed to come up independently in two separate posts? Over in Erika Rae’s MiniPoo piece maybe?

          I have to be making that up.

        • Anon says:

          No, no, no – it’s just that both were me. Although the Erika piece was in relation to the fine Olympic sport of sliding a puppy across a sheet of ice. This “curling” is more of a weightlifting event… using puppies.

          I’m big on improvising.

        • Lorna says:

          Puppy Curling…..it should be an Olympic event. Will it be gender specific? Will there be a need to petition in order for the women to participate? hmmmmm.

        • Anon says:

          Interesting idea. And would there need to be gender uniformity with the puppies? I mean, if you had the big, burly Swedish men’s team using these female Chihuahuas, they’d devastate the women’s team from Brunei using male Great Danes, right?

        • Richard Cox says:

          It looks like Lorna made herself a manly chocolate cake. Hence the defined biceps.

  22. Slade Ham says:

    Honestly, I’m so confused at this point even I’m not certain anymore. Here’s what I think happened:

    Anon went grey. Richard followed. People started turning into cats. I couldn’t decide which direction to go until Rich started offering to share recipes, which prompted me to threaten to do something more masculine to counteract the tea party like atmosphere that was starting to emerge (the girls-around-a-little-table-in-pretty-dresses kind of Tea Party, not the republicans-have-lost-their-mind kind). I suggested an image of myself killing a bear and Anon said I should kill it with a cake. I don’t remember why.

    Regardless, I blame Adobe products for their ease of use.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Ah. Thank you and Anon for the clarification, as well as for the history lesson. I last signed off in the people-turning-into-cats phase. However, at one point, before I cleared my cache, I saw a big green eye. Did that have anything to do with jealousy? And of whom was the eye jealous, if it ever was?

      • Slade Ham says:

        You did indeed see a green eye. I think I’m going back to it actually. The meaning behind it is nonexistent. It’s my eye, and I colored it green. It should have a more interesting story.

        Let’s pretend that it’s jealous of the other eye for not getting sucked into this whole Gravatar mess.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I think you ought to say that the eye is green as a symbol of your concern for the environment. Don’t concern yourself with any potential taint of hypocrisy, since many “green” types are insincere.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Hey, wait. The whole point of the muscular Gravatar was to suggest manliness. A muscular fellow who also happens to bake a mean chocolate cake.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Sorry, man. I’m afraid Cake Baker trumps Muscular Golfer every time.

          And Duke, it would total hypocrisy on my part. I am admittedly unconcerned with the environment. I totally litter. Someone would call bullshit.

          I just have one jealous eye.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Whatever you say, Butter Cake Genie Man.

          I like how these comment boards devolve into conversations and confrontations completely unrelated to the topic of the post. Well, I guess that’s not exactly true in this case. Slade did mention baking cakes.

        • Zara Potts says:

          I don’t believe it is a cake. It is definitely a bee hive.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I clearly have no room to talk, hahaha. And mine was a Paula Dean creation at that. Maybe I needed a more masculine avatar for my own reasons and just chose to blame you. Hmmmm.

          This is purely hypothetical mind you, and in no way an admission.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I’m including a link to the full sized image, Z. It is most definitely a birthday cake. For a two year old to be exact. See?

        • Zara Potts says:

          Okay. I believe you. I do like your pointy arms and trim waist. Very becoming.

        • Anon says:

          I believe I am going to have screaming Turkish prison nightmares tonight involving the phrase “Butter Cake Genie Man”…. *shudder*

        • Slade Ham says:

          I took some creative license. Ideally, I would live in a world where I never had to do crunches… or use a fork 🙂

        • Zara Potts says:

          Anon. I’m not sure I like your latest guise. I am quite intimidated by you now. I liked it better when you were skinny.

        • Anon says:

          Are you, by chance, mistaking me for Mister Ham, the pirate ninja?

        • Zara Potts says:

          I have yet to see Mister Ham, the pirate ninja. I am still seeing Mister ham, beehive throwing bear killer.

        • Slade Ham says:

          And Duke is seeing the Green Me. Eventually my ninja face will show up, Zara. And I kinda like your current Gravatar. What is Rich designing for you? A grey one?

        • Zara Potts says:

          Oh there you are! You are a ninja! Nice work!
          Yes. I am now one big hand and a little head.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Hahaha, I see it now. I know what it’s supposed to be, but it looks like God telling a tulip that it did a good job 🙂

          I likey.

        • Zara Potts says:

          A tulip! The hand of God!
          My head looks a little like that beehive you were throwing at the bear.
          Did I say how much I like your ninja style? Although, it has to be said – you could also be mistaken for being in a burqa.

        • Anon says:

          Didn’t Don do a burqa bit?

        • Zara Potts says:

          Oh, Don did a fabulous burqa.
          On that note – Did you know that the Australians have invented a new piece of swimwear for Down Under Muslims called the ‘Burqini’?

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I was going to ask if that is, in fact, Don.

        • Slade Ham says:

          No, that’s me in a ninja suit. We won’t discuss why I own one or why I was wearing it. We’ll just pretend it was Halloween. Yes?

          I have spent time around far too many people in burqas. They do look like ninjas. Pudgy ninjas, but ninjas nonetheless.

  23. Anon says:

    In fairness, I didn’t really “go” grey. I started off grey but felt awkward about my out-of-shape appearance and slimmed down. Richard hired a personal grey-ner, adopting a similar appearance but with a more muscular physique (more so on his left shoulder but, hey, I’m too much of a scrawny bastard to talk shit to him). Don’t know about the cats but they’re quite cool. Recipes and threats thereof were exchanged. At no point did I see any Gadsden flag but, if I did, I probably would’ve asked the owners to wake me when the shooting starts because, frankly, you can’t fix stupid but you can kill it off for a little while. Then Slade mentioned needing something “manly” – like a bear – in his World of Grey to counteract the pastry effect and I recommended killing the bear with the very same cake that inspired him to overcompensate by giving his gravatar the tiniest waist I’ve ever seen on a man. I also suggested it because I was perhaps a little drunk. Don’t tell HR.

    Or something.

  24. Ducky Wilson says:

    Nice. I’m going to take a note and start my own. There are, indeed, so many reasons to be happy.

  25. Slade Ham says:

    If nothing else, it will make you remember things you’ve forgotten. Thanks for stopping by Ducky, as always.

  26. natalia247 says:

    Proof I have ADD >>My attempt to retrace my steps and to remember my point as I am reading comments…
    1.Make cute comment about happy experience Slade reminded me of.
    <<<ooo… Cool Avatars, , I want to make one>
    >>
    Ok take two @ 1. Happy Experience comment???

    2. Gather ingredients for cake…

    3. Visit the puppies and my dog that my parents are holding ransom…
    4. Might check out what’s the latest on the Olympics, nah

    P.s. love the Bear meets Cake Avatar
    5. Look up Burqua
    This is endless but now I have proof that I have ADD…GREAT!!!

  27. Lorna says:

    Yay! Another female avatar joins the ranks!

    • natalia247 says:

      Yay to you, for starting the Female Avatar Revolution:) I tried to make it grey but I failed.
      Also, I am a little bummed my comment was truncated, it’s not as funny now:( Live and Learn, I guess.

  28. […] …Slade Ham […]

  29. […] plus at least 150 other things. […]

  30. […] plus at least 150 other things. […]

  31. Jessica Blau says:

    Fabulous list–makes me want to leave the house more!

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