Friday, February 17, 2012


As much as I hate to admit it, I've pretty much stopped being angry. That's why I haven't written anything good in a very long time. However, don't fret, because you still have an window of insight into the mind of Aaron Hamma:

Adventure By The Pint

I'll be in the habit of updating this blog a little more often than this one (I promise!).

Please check out my new blog and keep checking back for updates!


Sunday, November 20, 2011


Busy expanding the Zazzle store...lots of new items, mostly Dungeons and Dragons flavored. Check it out.

The Aaron's Obs and Ops Zazzle Store

Also, don't forget to check out Dustin's work...

House of Pancakes

'Tis quite good...

And please stay tuned for more new stuff coming soon!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Goodbye, Facebook...

Dear Facebook,

This is a very hard, but also very necessary letter to write.

We've both done a lot of changing over the past four years, both for better and for worse. Sure, we had some good times playing Mafia Wars and Castle Age, but you and I both know that it takes more than fleeting fun to build a solid relationship.

I can honestly say that you are the biggest cause of stress in my life. At first, I thought the fact that you could put me in touch with people I had lost contact with was amazing. As it turns out, I lost contact with most of those people for a reason: they're idiots. Now I'm constantly inundated with status updates of my "friends" complaining about how poor they are and how much their life sucks. (Hint: If you have access to Facebook, you're already better off than a lot of people on this planet.)

I need to end this relationship, before I drive myself crazy. I would say the normal bullshit of how I'd like to remain friends, but I don't mean that. I want you out of my life, and off of my iPod, for good.

F@*$ you,


Friday, November 11, 2011

Math, Society, and You...

Like many of you, I often get sucked into Facebook. Also like many of you, I end up taking silly quizzes and polls because, let's face it, sometimes I have absolutely nothing better to do. The most recent poll I took was a simple, straight-forward math problem:


The answer is 15. Not 0. 15. No, there are not different ways to do this problem. I also don't care what your calculator says (yes, it's wrong). The answer is 15.

"But anything times zero equals zero!" according to many people in the comments section. Which is true. But only the last 5 is being multiplied by zero. What happens to all the other stuff? It becomes 15.

At first, I was sad at the number of people who answered zero. Seriously, this is a very basic math problem that a ten year old (or younger) should be able to do. I'm sure there are many people don't remember the most basic math skills, but I feel that this goes deeper than that. I very much felt like arguing with these people, until I came to the realization that this isn't really a math problem.

This is a social statement, and not about how many of us forgot the Order of Operations (PEMDAS ring any bells?) This problem is a statement about how we, as humans, tend to focus on the one part of the problem we recognize and solve it, rather than looking at the problem as a whole. Most people will see "x0" and think "anything times 0 is 0, so the answer is 0."

This is a wonderful statement on seeing the big picture. Do me a favor: Next time you're faced with a problem that you think has a simple answer...STOP! Look harder, because it might not be so simple.

Votes at the time of writing this:
0: 585,787
15: 415,075

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Don't Want Any Magazines, and I Love My Vacuum

Author's Note: The topic of religion is briefly addressed in this post. In no way am I attempting to demean or belittle any particular faith or denomination.

As I have said, my family and I have recently moved into a new house. It's a bigger house, with an actual yard, in a much better neighborhood. I never thought there would be anything that I missed about the old house. But, after only a couple of months, I found it.

This neighborhood has a ridiculous amount of solicitors.

At the old house, which was located in an alley, we would get two or three salespeople per year. Now, it's two or three per week. It's starting to get out of hand. Last night at around 8:00, a guy rang the doorbell and tried to sell us siding for our house. The same guy woke me up at 8:30 this morning to try again. No means no, mister.

I thought about putting a “NO SOLICITING” sign under my doorbell, but realized that's a bad idea. From the salesperson's viewpoint, a sign like that means one of two things: either a) a challenge, or b) a sucker.

I'll admit, I used to be a sucker. That's what happens when you try to be nice and polite. Most of the time, you need to be downright rude and just shut the door in their face to get them to leave you alone. Then there are the religious people, who don't believe they are “soliciting.”

Please don't get me wrong. I have nothing against religious people. At least, not until they knock on my door and tell me that everything I believe is wrong. I can guarantee that I am just as set in my beliefs as they are in theirs, and neither of us is likely to change any time soon.

So, I've decided to follow the only available course of action. I am going to give my house a reputation amongst the door-to-door sales community. (For some reason, I can see all the salespeople gathering in the back of a dimly lit warehouse, swapping stories of their time “on the road.”) I want salespeople to walk by my house and say to themselves, “I've heard about that house...”

You want to try it too? Here's the plan:

1) Whenever possible, answer the door completely naked. This shocks the salesperson and immediately gives you the upper hand.

2) Keep a spray bottle full of liquor (I recommend cheap whiskey) near the front door. Before answering the door, spray yourself a few times and put on your drunk face. When you answer the door, keep yourself propped up on the door frame, as if you can't stand by yourself. Also, belch as much as possible. (This one is much more effective before noon.)

3) Make your own religious pamphlets. Being agnostic, this one is really easy for me. I just need to draw a question mark on a blank piece of paper, then fold it in thirds.

4) Let your small child answer the door, and pretend like they own the house.

5) If you speak a foreign language, convince them that you don't speak English.

If you follow all these steps, solicitors might start leaving you alone. Even if they don't, at least it will be a LOT more fun when one comes to the door.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Second Chances

Author's Note: I've already touched on this topic briefly, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Read the original post here.

I'll be the first to admit, I've made a lot of mistakes in my life.

I can also say that I have learned a very important lesson from each and every major mistake I've made. (I got my first set of dentures a week after I turned 27. Lesson: Don't do meth.)

My life now is pretty damn good. There is an amazing woman who (for some unknown reason) loves me, and we have the best little boy two parents could ask for. We bought a house, and I'm going to school so I can get one of those "real jobs."

Now that I'm halfway to my degree, I've been thinking about applying for a job in my field. I'm already dreading the interviews.

My most recent experience with job interviews has not been pleasant. Last summer, I had quite a few of them. Unlike most people, I have a horrible habit of being honest during an interview. For example:

Interviewer: Why did you leave your last job?

Usual Answer: I felt that it was time to move on to something new/expand my skill set.

My Answer: Because I had developed a drinking problem and could no longer deal with stress in a reasonable way. I have since stopped drinking heavily, though I do still have a beer or two occasionally. I have also been diagnosed with a brain disorder, and have been on medication for the last (insert time period here).

Most potential employers will at least finish the interview, but I did have one gentleman stop right there. He asked me why I told him all that, and I couldn't help but look at him like he was crazy.


He proceeded to tell me that I wouldn't be getting the job, and he encouraged me to lie at my next interview. I told him that I wouldn't. It's not fair to myself or my potential employer. I've done my share of lying, from the little white ones to the giant ones, and it's brought me nothing but trouble.

I shouldn't have to lie about who I am to get a job. Like I said, I've learned something valuable from every mistake I've made. I've apologized to the people I hurt. I've tried to make amends the best that I can. My only hope is that I will someday find an employer who will be impressed by my honesty, not offended by it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How I Spent My Summer (So Far...)

Author's Note: I got home from taking my last final about half an hour ago, and summer school is officially over. All I want to do is sit on my couch, maybe have a beer (even though it's only 10:30 am), and watch TV and movies while I forget everything I learned this summer. Needless to say, I'm feeling rather uninspired at the moment. I've decided to take this opportunity to share with you one of the essays I wrote this summer. This is much more serious writing than you're used to me doing, but I hope you enjoy it.

As we go through life, it seems that the only constant is change. Living in Missoula for nearly twenty years, I have seen open space become urban sprawl. I have seen buildings get demolished and new ones constructed. I have seen businesses close and new ones move in to replace them. My own life has changed in more ways than I could ever have imagined. Everything around us is constantly evolving. However, if you look hard enough, you can almost always find a spot that seems untouched by time. For me, that place is the Western Montana Fairgrounds.

It's always the smell that brings my mind back to my childhood experiences at the fairgrounds. It's a very unusual smell, a combination of cigarette smoke and fried food, a fragrant bouquet of unhealthy decisions. The smell triggers my other senses. I can see the bright lights of the carnival rides and hear the sounds of a demolition derby in the distance. I can even feel hot asphalt under my feet, sticky from someone's dropped soda or beer.

I spent most of my early childhood in Butte, less than two hours drive from Missoula. I had a lot of extended family in Missoula, and my family would make the drive every August to attend the annual fair and visit family. We relocated to Missoula when I was eleven years old, and the tradition of yearly carnival rides and animal exhibits continued. I went to the fair every year that I can remember up until I graduated from high school. There were also countless other events to go see at the fairgrounds, such as circuses, monster truck shows, and horse races. Needless to say, the fairgrounds hold a multitude of childhood memories for me.

I went to the fairgrounds recently after not having been there in several years. This is a place that truly seems frozen in time. The buildings appear to be in the same state of disrepair they've always been in, but I'm sure it's just my mind playing tricks on me. The paint on the buildings is trying to escape, slowly peeling away; the green colored trim is incredibly dated. The grandstands have a very deceiving appearance about them. They look as if they're about to topple like poorly stacked blocks, but walking on them reveals them to be quite sturdy and dependable. Strangely, that's exactly how I remember them.

Other than this one little time capsule in the middle of town, everything else about Missoula has changed. Even the streets that run right next to the fairgrounds have been reconfigured. This town has grown so much, and it seems to take up more and more of this valley's footprint every day.

Everyone who lives here tells the story differently, the “I remember when Missoula was this small” story. Most in my generation tell the story of North Reserve Street. Two decades ago, it was mostly empty space. Now, it is a true monument to consumerism, with strip malls and chain stores as far as the eye can see. Just as my hometown is evolving, my life is changing as well.

The place I'm in right now is truly a place of transition. My wife and I recently bought our first house together. Other than having a child, this is the biggest change either of us has ever experienced. I absolutely despised most everything about the last place we lived, but it was still home. This house is new and unfamiliar. It's not home. I have a piece of paper with my name on it that says the house belongs to me, but it's not home.

It still feels like my family and I are staying in the house of a stranger, but for some reason this stranger's house happens to have all of our stuff in it. It smells like someone else, it sounds like someone else, and it feels like someone else. Yet I've come to realize that the smells, sounds, and feelings aren't going to change. My perception of them is what is going to change. Today's changes are tomorrow's constants.

While we were in the process of moving in to our new house, I found myself imagining how this place would become a part of who my son is. He turned three years old the week we moved in, and he will, in all likelihood, live here until he graduates from high school. He will probably identify this house as his first real home. It doesn't quite feel like home to me yet. To him, home is wherever Mommy and Daddy are, and I think he may be on the right track.

After spending all this time thinking about my sense of place, I came to the realization that my actual physical location has very little to do with my place. The people I surround myself with are a much better indicator of my place than land, buildings, or trees ever could be. My physical house may not feel like home yet, but my family is with me, and that's what makes it my place. Wherever my wife and son are, that's where my true home, my place, happens to be at that moment.

Thinking back to my recent revisiting of the fairgrounds, I wonder again if my mind was playing tricks on me. Was I looking at reality, or was my mind resurrecting my memories and showing them to me? Could it be possible that the past and present were somehow combined into one? I doubt it, but it really made me think not only about where I fit, but how I fit there. It also made me realize that things are always moving, always changing. It is the things that stay the same, whether in reality or just in our memories, that are the important things to hold on to.