A Twist Of Fate
February, 2007 Entries

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(02/28/07 - 11:22 PM)
I swore to myself that I was going to actually take my vacation time this year - see the world, enjoy time with my wife. Read a newspaper simply because it's there.

See, here's the deal: I get three weeks of paid vacation a year (with more coming this year, because I've moved to the next Vacation Level or whatever), of which I typically take 5 days and pay myself for the rest because I can't seem to work a vacation in around everyone else's schedules. If any one person in a certain position isn't there, then I absolutely have to be. And for some reason, everyone cleverly schedules their time off in such a way as to thwart my taking time off during any time that might contain nice weather or something fun.

Okay, maybe that's not entirely true, but pretty close. The other side of this truth, is that I have certain wacky tendencies. If I begin a work week, I have to finish it, or I feel like I'm robbing myself of overtime. Also, I feel as though if I were to take a single day off, I would not enjoy it, because I would be thinking constantly about the ten hours of work simply piling up and not getting done that I would end up working ten more hours during the week to complete - thereby negating my day off. Am I nuts, or are there others of you out there?

But this year - this year was supposed to be different. I got an assistant in the middle of last year (and she's great, by the way) and she was supposed to take alot of the load off (which she did - at first) taking me from 60-70-80-90 hour weeks (really). And she did that too... at first. I went to 45-50 hour weeks, which in and of themselves seemed like a vacation (ever worked a 92 hour week? If you have, you know it's not fun. I've done it only twice, and I thought I was going to die.) But then, we got even busier than I ever imagined. And it kept coming. To the point where I'm now working 60+ hour weeks again, and I'm wondering where this is going, while knowing full well where it probably will.

All the while, my Assistant is busy as well, and seems to have a child- and hudband-induced desire not to work more than forty-three hours a week (I can't blame her, I don't know what it's like in her shoes. Small, probably.) And now she wants to change her start time so she can leave earlier - which means I'll have to do her stuff at the end of the day, also.

In July, my vacation resets. And so far, I have taken a single week - five days off. I have a day off scheduled, but I know I won't take it. Instead, I'll decide to go into work extra early, and then leave early to make my appointment by the skin of my teeth, only to come into a pile of stuff from the afternoon before on my desk when I get in in the morning. I will drive myself nuts over this sole fact from the time I punch out, to the time I punch back in - nay, the time I complete all said piles of work to zero.

Seriously, am I nuts? It's not like I need the money (I don't mean that like it sounds - it's just a negating statement of fact.) So why do I kill myself every day? I work with a bunch of guys, who do whatever the hell they feel like whenever the hell they feel like it and get away with it as I hear the, "Hard to find good help" speech. I agree - it is hard. But it's also hard for me to sit idly by and in some cases do their work too because they don't feel like being there. And anyone's absence causes more work for me still.

I don't even take sick days. I missed one day in the last four years, and that was only because my wife was incapacitated due to a back injury and that neurotic worry would have trumped even work. Pneumonia with a 104° fever for a week? Nope, I was there. Colds, flus, Leprosy... they don't exist in my world.

How does the rest of the world manage this? I can't be the only one. It almost makes me miss my old, low paying jobs from my teens. At least I had some semblance of structure then.

(02/27/07 - 10:37 PM)
I watched The China Syndrome for the first time the other night. It was campy, and probably a little dated, but it wasn't bad.

What struck me as odd, was watching a relatively thin Wilford Brimly, and a relatively younger Jack Lemmon in serious acting roles. There were alot of A and B list stars in this one, and it was kind of funny seeing them in their respective roles as well (was that Karl Malden?)

To me, Wilford Brimly will always be the portly Quaker Oatmeal™ guy who got spoofed on The Family Guy. Not a nuclear technician (unless it's nuclear oatmeal - then maybe.)

Oh, and that's another thing. Almost everyone in this movie said "Nuke-ular". Did George Bush write the script? Say it with me people... "New-clear". George, feel free to join in on this one as well, buddy.

And, while I'm ranting on mispronunciations, let me also offer the following (and if I have before, I'm sorry):

  • Decimated means that one tenth of something is gone - not all of it. If you decimate an army, you have a little way to go just yet before you hit the canteen and high-five your platoon buddies. If a town is decimated, it means that nine people are going to be thanking whatever religious figurehead they subscribe to, while the tenth guy is learning how to make a sleeping bag out of the Tribune.
  • Nauseous means that you are in some way toxic, and are thereby causing others illness. Nauseated is what you are when your stomach feels like there's a band of toads running laps in there. If you say, "Whoa, that ride made me nauseous!", then you either ate alot of garlic on said ride, or you'd better be sweating like a fat kid at a Susan Powter book signing.

Phew! I feel better.

(02/26/07 - 11:48 PM)
"Skylar In Yankeeland". Holy cow, I finally found a copy - and it was worth the wait. Well, mostly.

For those of you unfamiliar with this character, it is one of Gregory McDonald's lesser (if at all) known characters, who first appeared in "Skylar" by said same author. I didn't know what to make of him at first, but after the first book I found I just couldn't resist the Southern charm that Mr. McDonald had imbued within him.

This book is something of a reversal of the first book, and plays to the Country Mouse / City Mouse theme. While a well-written piece, it's ending seemed far too scattered to have come together so nicely (think of buckshot re-assembling itself into shell form as it hits its target.) And there were just too many events occuring in too short a period of time as to be wholly plausible. On the whole, I still recommend this series, if for nothing else than to giggle an afternoon away.

(02/25/07 - 11:35 AM)

Friends don't let friends make isometric workplace drawings.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from the National Association of Condescenting Paternalists.
"Where condescension is - so are we"

(02/24/07 - 11:57 PM)
Dateline, 1946. Okay, so I wasn't alive. My parents weren't even alive. But people still wrote books. It's true! In fact, I just finished Frederic Wakeman's "The Hucksters". It was a little tough to appropriately enjoy this book for one glaring reason - MGM made it into a film in 1947 starring Clark Gable, Deborah Kerr and Sidney Grenstreet - and I had seen the movie.

The good news? The movie diverged somewhat from the book, and was tolerable (I mean, c'mon - Clark Gable.) The bad news? I was either born 28 years too late to understand how to enjoy this book, or this book wasn't very good to begin with. I'll give it its due, and say it was the former - but only because I don't know any better.

I don't recommend this book. Nay, I can't recommend this book in any way, shape or form. Don't read it! Read something good!

(02/23/07 - 10:36 PM)
I got an e-mail today from a temp agency, letting me know that they had just an army of skilled people eagerly waiting to join my company. Which is amazing, because I can't find skilled people to fill my positions but once in a blue moon. Clearly they are doing it right, and I'm just an amateur. Or, maybe they're just finding and then Bogarting all those highly-skilled people. Stabling them like thoroughbreds until just the right buyer comes along. Yeah, that must be it. Curse you, temp agency, and your amazingly adept feats of business acumen!

But then, I read a bit further and saw...

"Since 1998 (over 10 years) we have been..."

>Count on nine fingers< Oh... oh! Hey! HEY!! That IS over ten years! Heck, I never would have realized that! Wow! You guys really ARE good! Where that extra year came from, I'll never know, but who am I to doubt you now!

(02/22/07 - 8:00 PM)
I wrapped up "Airframe" by Micheal Crichton (of "Jurrassic Park" and "ER" fame) last night, and while I found it to be an oddly satisfying read, I wondered at length what Mr. Crichtons' motivation was to write this particular book? It wasn't quite a mystery in the typical sense. It wasn't really a thriller, nor did I feel that it in any way qualified as Literature. It was an extremely well researched fictional story about an airline company, an oddly anomalous accident, and the resolution of the events evolving from said accident. I think the reason that I personally was satisifed, was that there was a great deal of detail about a world (the backside of the airline industry) that I heretofore knew nothing about.

That being said, I don't think that this book is for everyone - for alot of people, actually. It's fairly dry, and certainly calls into question how it fits in with its' bretheren works like "Sphere", "Jurassic Park", "The Andromeda Strain" & "Congo" to name but a few. Fortunately, I am not a devout follower of the Crichton religion, so I had exactly one expectation - to receive an excruciatingly well-researched novel into my 'lil noggin. And, as always, Mr. Crichton did not dissappoint.

Recommended reading:
"Timeline" - Michael Crichton

(02/21/07 - 10:55 PM)
Holy shit, I have opposable thumbs! >GASP< Oh - Two of them!

(02/20/07 - 9:47 PM)
I know I will probably say this again sometime in the very near future, (in fact, it's practically a certainty) but does anyone else feel eerily like they are actually living in a Dilbert™ comic strip? I personally never connected so strongly as I do now. The reasons' names shall remain veiled in the mists, but suffice it to say that I have certain workplace interactions...

And said interactions are with individuals across a broad spectrum...

And said individuals often contact me in various ways to ask me things like:

  • "I just sent you an e-mail - did you get it?"
  • "I'm going to send you and e-mail now. Call me when you get it."
  • "Do you remember, In June of 2001, you quoted this one part for us?"
  • "We used to buy that part for $35.00 in 1993 from another vendor - why is your price $42.00?"
  • "Why can't you make the part from the print that we gave you? Sure, it references other prints, but can't you work without those?"
  • "I don't know what the material is - can't you just pick something?"
  • "I need you to quote this part. Now, there's no print, and we're not sure what size or quantity it will be in yet. Can you just give me a ball-park estimate?"
  • "Quote this in increments of one up to one-hundred pieces, would you? We don't know how many we might want to order."
  • "Why can't you hold the same price for one piece as you did for three? It's not that big a difference."
  • "This component is made from virginal Unicorn horn - you have that material in your stock, right? So, can I have the part today?" (Okay, I might possibly be exaggerating just a little on this one, but the premise is sound.)

(02/19/07 - 8:15 PM)
I finished reading "Deep Storm" by Lincoln Child yesterday. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, he's typically associated as co-author of numerous best-sellers with Douglas Preston (their first being "Relic" which was a great book, but a crappy movie.)

Preston has also written many excellent books on his own, including "The Codex" (one of my personal favorites) and "Tyrannosaur Canyon" (also a good read.) Likewise, this is Child's third foray (after "Utopia" & "Death Match") and the first of his solo works that I had read. And I was skeptical - really skeptical. In fact, I had pretty much written him off as being the no-talent partner of a guy with a heinie-load of talent.

Whoops, my mistake.

May I have some A-1™ for my Crow please? Yes, thank you. Er, as I was saying... This book did not disappoint. It was interesting, it was well written, and the plot seemed well researched and tight. Good for you, Lincoln! I can't wait to read your other books.

I also finished "Wintersmith" by Terry Pratchett. With Terry, you never quite know what to expect. And I had been cautiously avoiding this particular title until I had the time to read it all in one go, so as not to get bored, and therefore not pick it up again. Further, with his Tiffany Aching series for young adults (of which this is the third installment) I really don't ever have extremely high expectations.

Again, I was wrong.

How about mustard? You got any mustard? I mean, c'mon, this is alot of Crow to eat without something on it. No? Okay, fine... Anyway, this book hits all the right marks, where the others - while decent in and of themselves - simply haven't. I was pleasantly surprised that the Nac MacFeegle (a group of characters running throughout this sub-series of DiscWorld novels [think militant Smurfs™ on Vodka, crack and testosterone, and you pretty much have the idea]) not only didn't annoy me on this go 'round, but instead (for the first time, in my mind) made a positive difference in the story. Good for you, Terry!

(02/18/07 - 10:15 AM)
We were watching "Scrubs" last Thursday, killing a half-hour. On the show, Todd had a shirt in one scene that said, "www.thetoddtime.com". One line was mentioned about it, and that was it.

So, I wondered, "Is this for real?"

Yep, it's real - and as I was trying (and failing) to satiate my curiosity, I watched the counter on each refresh (about once every five minutes) gain roughly 100 hits. Holy crap, I can't believe the server didn't crash.

Ultimately, I was amazed that such a small thing could generate over 18000 hits within eight hours of its airing. More specifically, I was astounded by the number of individuals who responded to what was ostensibly a briefly-liminal promotional campaign. Further, I think that the numbers mounting were a testament to the number of people watching this show - especially if you figure that for every one who hit the site there were probably numerous people who didn't think twice about, hadn't had the time to try it yet, or didn't have Internet access.

*(As of this moment, the site has now received 242,000+ hits.)

(02/17/07 - 5:24 PM)
I just finished reading Tim Dorsey's latest book "Hurricane Punch". It wasn't bad, per-se, but it wasn't his best work either. I think the premise was good, but it felt cobbled together and the ending was (in my mind) a little predictable.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dorsey's work (he is probably among my top-five living authors), his main character is the anti-hero Serge Storms - a psychotic, vigalante, fount of Florida history, serial killer that you can't help but love (I know, it sounds nuts - but trust me on this one. Or better yet, read them yourself.)

Serge is debatably one of my favorite characters going in Book-Land at the moment, and coming off his last novel, "The Big Bamboo" (again, adequate, but nothing like "Triggerfish Twist") I had hoped for a swing in the opposite direction from "just okay" to "Wow".

Still, is wasn't bad...

(02/16/07 - 9:27 PM)
So, I'm sitting in my office today when one of my lathe operators knocks on my door. I look up and the guy is drenched from head to toe, and I think to myself, "This ought to be interesting..."

He says, "Heath, man, the sink in the bathroom... I was washing my hands, and the handle on the cold shot up right in front of my face and water started spraying everywhere. So, I put both hands over it to try and stop it, but that just made it worse because it just shot all over the place. So, I finally looked for a shutoff but I couldn't find one. So I went in the utility room and found a shutoff there."

Do you know how hard it is not to crack up at a moment like this? On a scale from one to ten, this was about a "Q".

So, I went to survey the damage. There was a veritable lake on the floor, the walls were soaked, the ceiling was soaked. Well, pretty much everything was soaked. And the faucet handle had components EVERYWHERE - springs, washers, seals - stuff I couldn't identify all over the place.

Does anyone know where I can get a job as, say, a Gong Show-esque panelist of some kind? Please?

(02/15/07 - 8:37 PM)
Kinda Looks Like A Furry Nipple, Doesn't It?
This Means Something - This Is Important.

(02/14/07 - 11:58 PM)
People keep asking me, "Dude, are you on MySpace™?" And I keep telling them "No". And then they proceed to tell me how great it is, and how much I'm missing. And I proceed to tell them, I know how great it is, and I know what I'm missing - because I've already been there and done that. At which point, I get the Hippo Doing Sentence Diagramming look from them.

So, I would like to set the record straight, and learn y'all something in the process.

Myth #1: The Internet was created as a de-centralized form of communication for use during a major war-time event (i.e. - A flock O' nukes from Ivan and Co. across the pond.)

The Truth: Before there was the Internet, there was ARPA (the Advanced Research Projects Agency). And working within ARPA, within the Pentagon, was a guy named Bob Taylor (who was also a one-star General.) Bob was sad, because he had alot to keep track of at various research facilities across the country and he had to learn how to communicate, via different terminals in his office and often different instruction sets with the computers at these facilities. Even more annoying, sometimes these facilities' work overlapped - wasting valuable taxpayer dollars and time. And we know how Uncle Sam likes to be penny-wise with the good taxpayers' dollars, right?

So Bob called a 29-year old guy named Larry Roberts (nee - genius, Larry Roberts) and said, "Lar - fix this." And thus, the first four interconnected computers were born. They were called IMP's - Interface Message Processors. What'd they do? They translated computer languages and instruction sets so that Bob could talk to any computer he wanted on one terminal without having to know umpteen arcane computer languages. It also allowed the four science facilities equipped with IMP's to trade and share information - making them more cost and time effective in their research and development. The ARPANet was born.

Bob was so pleased with the work of Bolt, Beranek & Newman (the company that built the IMP's) that he had them keep building them, and an offshoot called the TIP - the Terminal IMP. And thus, the Internet was born.

Oh, and later on a guy named Tim Berners-Lee developed HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) as a keen way to keep track of stuff on his computer - but that's another story.

At any rate, the Internet grew exponentially from year to year - Honeywells, VAX's, PDP's all talking like a long-lost bunch of cousins. And everyone was happy. Pretty much. Except...

Well, the public Geeks (we're proud of the moniker, and I promise you that we were using it looooong before the "Geek Squad™" and the MySpacers) wanted a piece of the action. Sure, there were the Phone Phreakers who enjoyed manipulating the back-end of the phone company, but it just wasn't enough.

The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) was born, and touts itself as the first BBS (bulletin board system) in real time.

Myth #2: The WELL touts itself as the first BBS in real time.

The Truth: Kinda, sorta, but not exactly. See, there was this guy named Bill Basham who wanted to find a way to make it so that people could talk to one another in real-time (NOT VIA POSTINGS, W.E.L.L.!) in what would later become know as "Chat". So he tinkered with his Apple™ computer, and D-Dial (Diversi-Dial) was born. You go, Bill!

D-Dial was a National phenomenon and every hacker, phreaker, and cracker worth their salt was either on it, or spawned their own system. King Blotto, John Draper (a.k.a. Captain Crunch), and all the rest were here. It was a Geek Utopia.

D-Dial spawned, years later, The GalactiComm™ BBS. And the BBS's spread like wildfire. The public Internet was, at best in its infancy - text browsers were the norm, and extremly cumbersome. In fact, you had to be pretty smart or well connected to access any of this stuff. Being able to even GET THERE was a mark of Geek-hood, and a badge of honor. Stop bits, parity, Kermit, baud rates, text editors, WinSocks, emulators, terminal programs, Hayes strings, war dialing - there were alot of hurdles to being a Geek - hurdles that no longer exist today. BBS's became one to two-hundred-plus phone line places where everyone knew everyone, and barriers of gender, race, color and creed were smashed - if you were a Geek, you were pretty much accepted. When you logged on, everyone said hi, because they knew you. You could play games, post in the SIG's (special interest groups - later dubbed Forums), leave messages for those currently absent, e-mail, etc. It was a playground for an elite group of Geeks - and they thrived in it.

Anyway, the BBS phenomenon spawned an idea - why couldn't BBS's link up and become Uber-BBS's once in a while? Then you could meet people from all over the country and see what was a-happenin' in their neck of the woods. So, BBS's would agree to link via programs like MajorLink and others whose names I've forgotten. And you could do just that.

This was just as Windows™ was gaining a stranglehold, and GUI's (Graphical User Interfaces) were eclipsing text-based (DOS - Disk Operating System) OS's (Operating Systems) becoming the rule, rather than the execption (tip of the hat to Xerox PARC).

As time went on, Windows™ made "Geeking" as we called it easier and easier. GalactiComm™ eventually went to a GUI-based system and the Internet became a featured option on most BBS's that planned to stay in business for longer than a month. This was a good and bad thing. Good, because it inspired people to explore even more Geek-like things, but bad because it broke up what I feel was the most important aspect of being on-line - the sense of strong community that had pervaded for so long. And, it eventually led to its demise.

So, that's it in a really, really small nutshell. I was Geeking when I was 14 (Wanda even earlier - she was on D-Dial, I wasn't.) So we've been there, done that, and we've been there at a time when it was in a Golden Age - the time when people in the know refer to when they say, "Do you remember when...". Yes, I do remember. And in some ways, I miss it because everyone can now access this sort of thing and that makes for an extremely loose and transient community - if any can exist at all. Moreover, it makes it next to impossible to meet new people. And I cherish the time I got to spend meeting and getting to know so many people I otherwise never would have met. And I know that no one will ever again experience anything quite like that - and it makes me sad for them.

So, no - I'm not on MySpace™, nor will I be. Why have Jell-O™ when you've already had fine pastry? I'll take the memories I have, and you can keep the new ones. I'll always be cooler than you, you newbie JAMF, so - Nyah! >Grin<

Recommended reading:
"Where Wizards Stay Up Late" - Katie Hafner & Matthew Lyon
"Cyberpunk" - Katie Hafner & John Markoff
"Dealers Of Lightning" - Michael Hiltzer
"The Watchman" - Jonathan Littman
"Insanely Great!" - Steven levy
"PC Roadkill" - Michael Hyman

(02/13/07 - 10:37 PM)
Okay, let me start by saying this: I hate Star Trek. I think the idea of Star Trek is interesting, but the execution leaves so much to be desired that the show is not worth watching - nor following fanatically. That being said, I am also not a fan of William Shatner - his acting, his writing, his musical career... er... shit. Alright, >SIGH< I like his music.

Here's how this came about - and I swear it was an accident. My brother came over one day and someone had given him an album by Shatner called "Has Been". I told him I just had to hear it - mostly because I wanted something to heavily scorn at precisely that moment. So, my brother went one better and gave it to me, having little to no visible interest in it.

And then I listened to it. And God help me if I didn't like it. Alot.

So, I first want to apologize Mr. Shatner - Bill - wherever you are, I'm sorry. I highly recommend this album because it's different and your choice of material is superb - but I still feel psychologically dirty. Perhaps it's the whole I can't get over him having been Captain Kirk thing. But with a cover of Pulp's "Common People" (featuring Joe Jackson of "Steppin' Out" fame) that rivals Pulp's version, you have to sit up and take note. And Henry Rollins, while an odd choice also >SIGH< works here.

Does anyone have any soap?

(02/12/07 - 11:46 PM)
I finished reading Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child's second novel Mount Dragon tonight, and while it was a decent read, I found myself trying to figure out precisely where I had read this same story before. Then I figured it out.

So, here's the skinny: If you've read Michael Crichton's "Prey", then you've essentially read this book. If you've read Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress", then you've essentially read this book. And finally, if you have read Stephen King's "The Stand", then you probably get the gist of this book, but it may be unsatisfying to you as it is not nearly as painfully long. Or you could just say that you've read it twice - you pick.

(02/11/07 - 2:42 AM)
My old friend, and Best Man, Bryan was in town tonight. His girlfriend du jour who I hadn't met until tonight (and whom I like immensly for him, it turns out) arranged for all of his old friends to get together and go into Chicago for dinner - via limo, no less.

We ate at Dick's Last Resort, and the food wasn't half bad. For those of you unfamiliar with this place, it is much the same as Ed Debevic's was in its heyday. The staff insults you and degrades you, paper fights are almost mandatory and paper "condom" hats are the rule, rather than the exception (My wife got one that said, "The health department finally closed my legs!" - which is wholly untrue, but seeing her wearing it made me laugh hysterically - what the hell is wrong with me?) The house band wasn't bad, either.

Let me also say to all the parents in this place with children - "What the HELL are you thinking, bringing your pre-teen kids to this place?" Booze, loud music, gynecologist jokes over the public address system, profanity, and condom hats? And you think this is a kids scene? Yeah, little Tiffany looks just adorable in her paper condom hat, Dad. And that girl at the next table over with "I Love Anal!" on her hat - yeah, explain to little Tif what that means, will you Daddy? Dumbass. And we wonder why kids are so screwed up today. But, I momentarily digress.

We then went to what I can only assume were "trendy" clubs (having no concept to contradict) - Shenannigan's and The Hangge Uppe. I can only assume that they were trendy because there were lines outside, surly door and interior personnel, a cover charge, and $4.50 domestic beers (Wanda and I had one apiece the whole night which we thought may have been a bad idea because everyone else around us seemed toasted like a patty melt and had started drinking early - and often.)

I realized a great many things this evening, and in no particular order they are:

  • Injured knees are like hot girls - drunk, single men cannot resist manhandling them.
  • I no longer have the same concept of "fun" as I once may have had.
  • Having a hot wife at a club is keen, in that what everyone around you is attempting to achieve as their ultimate goal is already right next to you.
  • Club music is pretty much the same 30 songs, no matter where you go.
  • Inevitably, in a group of 13 lushes, one guy is gonna puke in an ice bag before the night is out.
  • Bryan was happy that I came.
  • I have eardrums. No, I said, "I HAVE EARDRUMS... NO, NOT BEER BONGS - EARDRUMS! EARDR... NEVERMIND!"
  • "Limo driver" has to be one of the world's worst professions.
  • Even thirty- and forty- somethings can be as messy as second graders on meth.
  • I'm clearly not "trendy" material.
  • James (the band) is still alive and well in the club scene.
  • Blond wigs, big sunglasses, crowns, yachting hats and fake moustaches - while extremely tacky - are a good way to meet people at a club, apparently.

(02/09/07 - 8:12 PM)
Ouch. Er, I Mean, OUCH!. No, I really mean @#$%&*! I hurt my knee at work. And I'm not a doctor, but I think I can describe the injury in purely medical terms: The little wobbly bit that keeps my knee from collapsing inward toward my other knee is either torn, pulled, or on vacation. There. That was entirely succinct.

The pain is unique and exciting, and I look forward to many, many days of its company. That, and not sleeping on my left side because when I try to it causes me to go blind in both eyes and only answer to "Mrs. Garrett".

(02/08/07 - 11:07 PM)
MmMmMmMmMm... Peanuts.

(02/07/07 - 11:12 PM)
Okay, so is anyone else bothered to the point of being homicidal by inane banter, or is it just me?

To whit: I actually listened to a guy talking to one of his customers the other day at the barbershop. They had said their goodbyes, and the customer had headed for the coat rack. He began putting on his coat, and when he got to his gloves, the barber looked up and said, "Oh, yeah - you'll sure need those gloves out there!"

To which he replied, "Yep, it sure is cold!"

Do you think, Einsteins? Do you really think that your customer doesn't know he'll need his gloves, "I will? Man, I was just putting these on because they make me feel like a sexy beast - but they keep cold out too, you say? Hell yeah - bonus!"

And do you think, Mr. Barber, that you were the only one that noticed that if you decided to wangle your dangle outside it would not be long for this world? How obtusely profound! You're clearly in the wrong business! How is it that you couldn't stop the Kennedy assination, again?

The older I get, this random and pointless banter makes me more and more nuts. And someday I'm going to just snap.

(02/06/07 - 10:49 PM)
Wanda and I finally finished watching the final season of Scrubs on DVD. We watched all four seasons in succession over the course of the last few weeks, as we had finally found something to distract us where Arrested Development had left that gaping hole in our life.

I totally relate to Dr. Cox on so many levels, and I was introspectively thinking about this. I think what makes a television show great is not just good, witty writing, but writing dialogue for characters that we can truly relate to on several levels. This is made exponentially more difficult in that your target audience is all over the map.

This show is funny, and it manages to capture (at least for me) alot of what my day-to-day life is like in some ways (evil Janitor not included.)

The character of Ted, the attorney, reminded me of a guy I work with - alot. The irony? After having this thought, out of nowhere, the same guy at work asks me out of the blue one day, "Hey, do you ever watch Scrubs?"

I told him I did, and he said - and I'm not making this up, here - "I really love Ted. He's so funny and he gets all the good lines. Like, 'Oh, man - I even ironed my going out hair!' ".

Holy crap, I had to go into negative-humor defensive mode so as not to die laughing and tell this guy that he is the physical embodiment of Ted. I mean, I really like this guy, but he's more neurotic than me (no easy task) and, like Ted, he let's the world walk all over him as he perpetually craves acceptance in any shape or form that breezes within his grasp.

So, a second kudos to the writers of this show. If you can reach such a disparate audience as that, the world is your oyster.

(02/05/07 - 11:37 PM)
Five albums that should be in every collection:

  • "Welcome Interstate Managers" - Fountains Of Wayne
  • "Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy" - The Refreshments
  • "Catastrophe Keeps Us Together" - Rainer Maria
  • "Laid" - James
  • "Four Songs Live" - Josh Ritter

(02/04/07 - 6:12 PM)
Yeah, yeah. It's a second entry in one day - cope.

I just finished reading "JPod" by Douglas Coupland, and FINALLY we have something on par with "MicroSerfs", albeit in what could ostensibly be called a sequel. This book is like one blazing, random thought about who and what we are in this day and age and why and to whom it is important - if at all. It asks (and often self-referentially answers) all of those niggling little "what if?" questions that I personally, constantly find springing to my own mind, unbidden (and sometimes unwelcome to the point of concern.) It's written in a scatter-shot format that may be tough for some to follow, but that actually gels well for me personally.

The one disappointment in the whole thing (and a rather egregious one, at that) is Coupland's injection of himself as a character. He self deprecates in what I think may have been a concerted effort not to appear self aggrandizing, yet in my mind even this dodge of self-induced celebrity falls short. He isn't necessary to the plot, and as such I think the book might actually have been stronger had he fabricated a lovable-evil character instead of becoming it himself. Still, on the whole, even that wasn't enough to sully me on this particular book - and that says something about its unyielding strength.

Doug, you have another hit on your hands - and it's about damn time.

(02/04/07 - 11:02 AM)
Whoo-hoo! Super-Ball Sunday! Yay!

Now, for those of you who know me, I am the hugest sports fan around. So when I heard that the Chicago Cubs were playing the Baltimore Colts, I was stoked! I mean, Walter Payton-Manning is my all-time favorite noseguard! I haven't been this excited since Lee Trevino introduced his new ceramic racket. I figure that since I can't find Jimmy The Greek on TV this week (where are you at this week, Jimmy? Did you have gastric bypass and I missed it in the latest issue of Collier's Sports Amalgam?) I'll go out on a limb and say that the Colts will win it all by two goals in the top of the tenth inning.

I can just see it now - the action, the scrums, the dismounts, Bea Arthur! God, I nearly wet myself there in anticipation!

And I love those commercials! Alcoa Auto Parts ("Alcoa can't wait!"), Butter-Made bread, Congreaves Inflammable Powders! I hope they have that delightful young crooner Nine Inch Nails for the halftime show this year. "Head Like A Hole" always warms my heart and cheers my spirits up to no end. Not like that Michael Jackson harlot of recent years, showing off her ta-ta buttons. No thank you, indeed.

And I can only hope that that handsome and insightful John Madden will be on hand to explain to me all of the little nuances that I might otherwise miss by actually watching the game. I swear, I could just sit back, close my eyes and listen to his lilting voice as it carries me to the higher ground that is profound understanding of the game of football, while showing erudite and perfect mastery of the English language. Oh John, you make me so wistful at times. People say that you ramble on and make no sense most of the time - but we know better, don't we, John? We, the truly sports-enlightened, understand you and accept you. We know that your only goal and dream is to help us attain a perfect and succinct understanding of all things Bea Art... football.

In conclusion, I can honestly say that there is no fan greater than I. God I love Bea Arthur - er, sports! Go sports teams from my local prefecture!

(02/03/07 - 10:46 PM)
I am Dagny Taggart. Well, not gender-wise. But everything else fits.

(02/02/07 - 11:15 PM)
Ooh! Ooh! My wife, Wanda, who is my wife (she'll ge that, but no one else will) reminded me of another story I had forgotten about. I'll paraphrase to get the point across, without actually having to remember specific facts. Here goes...

My niece, Hadassah, normally lets her mom tuck her into bed before nap time. One day though, her mom took a bit more time with her brother, and so by the time she got to Hadassah, she was tucked in already. Really tucked in, in fact. The reason? She had seven bananas under the covers with her, and didn't want her mom to know.

(02/01/07 - 10:15 PM)
We have a vacancy at work. Specifically, we have a vacancy left by the guy who took 30 sick days a year and threatened to kill me in company - twice. Am I sad he's gone? I'm going with "no" here.

Needless to say, we have elected to place an ad - a very specific ad, in fact - in local newspapers to try and fill the 5' 4" void left by said former employee. The ad says something to the effect of:

"Seeking highly skilled, full-time Bridgeport/Retrofit Mill Operator", etc.

Seems simple enough, right? If you're the right candidate, you will know what these things are and therefore, perhaps apply. Right?


Honest to God (I can't make this up, people) here are some of the calls I have fielded in the past three days:

"So, is this like a machine operator, operator job - or like a phone operator, operator thing?"

"How old do you haveta be to do this job?"

"Is this a general labor position?"

"Is this a full time position?"

"I used to man a punch press - is this the same thing?"

And, my personal favorite:
"What was the ad for that you was runnin' again?"

Want to make it worse? I'm betting at least one of these people will procreate - maybe two - and possibly together.

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