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Where the Hell Was I?

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Stuff By Me

Proud Moments

  Punchline Fever!

Standup Standup

  11/16/03: Comedy Studio
  12/03/03: Emerald Isle
  12/17/03: Emerald Isle
  01/07/04: Emerald Isle
  01/08/04: The Times
  01/18/04: All Asia Cafe
  01/22/04: The Times
  01/25/04: All Asia Cafe
  01/28/04: On the Hill
  01/31/04: Chops Lounge
  02/04/04: Emerald Isle
  02/08/04: The Vault
  02/15/04: All Asia Cafe
  02/18/04: Emerald Isle
  02/22/04: The Vault
  03/10/04: Emerald Isle
  03/24/04: Emerald Isle
  04/01/04: Comedy Studio
  05/17/04: Comedy Connection

'Me' Things

  101 Things About For Me

  101 Things Posts About Me

  #6: Six Stitches
  #7: What's in a Name?
  #11: The Speling Bea
  #19: A Capital Weekend
  #35: Road Trippin'
  #36: Geronimo! Ditto!
  #40: Three for the Ages
  #43: Mishaps on the River
  #47: Puzzled Over Puzzling
  #53: Justifying My Tuition
  #55: My Yearbook Quote
  #56: Whatever It Takes
  #65: Pissing in the Middle
  #78: Losing My Faith
  #85: Goodbye, Teeth
  #88: A Painful Separation
  #91: An Only Child
  #98: Nothing But Putrid
  #99: Bovine Dreaming
  #100: 'Dudden Hurt'

  My LinkFilter Posts
  My LinkFilter Journal

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  Current Term: pudsnugglers

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  12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003
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  02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004
  02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004
  02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004


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World Star Gazette

Charlie/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Massachusetts/Watertown, speaks English. Eye color is hazel.
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United States, Massachusetts, Watertown, English, Charlie, Male, 31-35.

Where the Hell Was I? has moved!

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Saturday, August 02, 2003
I'll Call Your Sweaty Ass, and Raise You Three Chewed-On Stogies

Boldly going where no blog has gone before.

I've been watching the 2003 World Series of Poker the past few days. I think I'm addicted.

Now, mind you, I can't actually play poker myself. Well, not very well, anyway. I've never had a 'regular' poker game, nor even attended a party where the stated goal was to piss my money away to friends and others over a game of cards. I've never been to Vegas, I'd rather play hearts -- or even the seventeen different kinds of solitare that I know -- than poker, and the closest I've come to betting on my card-shark skills is a few hours of semi-successful video poker at a casino in Connecticut. So clearly, I have no idea what I'm watching.

However, despite all that, this show is mesmerizing. I simply can't stop watching it. For me, it's a sublime study in the sociology of a certain seedy segment of society. Namely, the risk-craving, pot-bellied, cigar-chomping, cadaver-resembling, indoor-sunglasses-wearing segment known as 'professional poker players'. And they're fascinating.

Here, I'll give you some examples (pics are from WSOP coverage at The Good Gambling Guide; check it out!):

There's the 'bad boy', the 'John McEnroe ot Poker', Phil Hellmuth. He pouts, he bitches, he taunts, and yes -- if you clicked the link and looked at the picture -- he really does look like he has a badger up his ass most of the time.

Then, there's Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson. Gee, he doesn't look like the sort of guy who spends fourteen hours a day in a casino, now, does he?

You into the old school types? Well, then. I submit for your approval living legend Amarillo Slim Preston (on the left in photo), who won the event in 1972. That's 1972, kiddies. I was two years old. Many of you weren't born yet. And he's still playing among the world leaders well into his seventies. How fucking cool is a sport like poker, when you can play it in your Depends? Rock on, Slim.

Okay, so I haven't seen an episode with this guy, Dave Develfish Ulliot, but he's classic, isn't he? He's got 'poker monkey' written all over him. Well, that or 'creepy street person'. So let's hope he continues to rake in the scratch playing cards. How'd you like to have him rummaging through your trash looking for aluminum cans?

Want more? Well, if you thought the face of poker has changed much over the years, you only have to check out mugs like Dan Harrington, Jason Lester, Jeff Shulman, Bruno Fitoussi, Dutch Boyd, and Scotty Nguyen to realize just how wrong you are. This is your father's Oldsmobile, kids, and I suspect it always will be. It's a sweaty, smoky, trash-talking mindfuck, with a few hands of poker thrown in to break up the tension. It's ego-driven, male-dominated, and testosterone-laced action. 'You raisin' me, punk? You raisin' me? I'll take all your money, and the shirt off your back, bitch. You ain't nobody.'

Okay, so they don't really say things like that. But they're thinkig it. The snide comments, the offhand backhanded compliments, the delay tactics, the choreographed deliberations and diversions. It's all one big way of saying, 'Fuck you, skippy. Your fat ass is about to hit the poor house, while I take a bath in this mountain of chips.'

It's the ultimate reality show, and I don't even like reality shows. But that's because most of them are contrived, ridiculous nonsense. Get ten comics together in a house and let 'em fight it out. Yeah, that's real. Throw hot young near-models together, let 'em shack up, and swap one out every week. Sure, that happens to me all the time. Fly a gaggle of misfits off to some backwater hellhole to eat bugs and compete for showers and hamburgers. Wow, it's like, soooo real. Fuck that.

But this poker tournament -- this, I can relate to. Even without knowing the first damned thing about poker. These guys are pale, pissy, and out of shape. They think everybody's out to get them, and they're playing a screw-or-be-screwed game. They trust no one, watch the other guys' every move, and make sure they don't do anything stupid along the way. They wear bad clothes, eat bad food, and stay up until three in the morning. Now that's a reality show! That's my friggin' life in a nutshell, except for the second-hand smoke and the enormous wads of cash. But still, it's as close as I get to relating to anything on TV these days, so I'm gonna keep tuning in.

Oh, and here's the very most bestest part: ...um, wait. I should probably throw in a disclaimer first. This tourney actually happened in May, and I assume that it aired then, and that I'm watching reruns. But since I missed it the first time, then you might have, too. So, if knowing in advance who wins the thing would ruin it for you, you should probably piss off for a while. Because the very most bestest part is who came out on top. Don't say I didn't warn you. Major spoiler just below.


Okay, now we've driven off the riff-raff. Back to the best part:

So, the very most bestest part is that this guy ended up winning. Why is that so cool? He looks a lot like all the other long-timers and old pros, right? Well, yes, he does. But he isn't. His name is -- if you can believe this sort of thing -- Chris Moneymaker, and he started playing poker about three years ago. He got into the tournament by parlaying a $40 investment -- on an online poker site -- into a World Series invitation. He'd never played for money against live, in-the-flesh and in-your-face, professionals before. And he kicked all their asses. How cool is that? Plus, it's finally proof that the Internet is actually good for something. Other than this blog, of course.


So, watch the show. It's interesting on many levels, not the least of which is that some goon walks away with two and a half million dollars for five days of 'work'. And you might learn a thing or two, even if you don't play cards yourself. For instance, if the boss starts scratching her chin when she promises you a raise, you can be pretty sure she's bluffing. Or if your spouse starts fiddling with a pen when you ask for some lovin', then clearly, you're not getting any tonight. And if none of that entices you to watch, at least you can tune in for this: these are world-class, professional athletes, playing at the top of their games. And you could still kick their asses in a fight. And at the end of the day, you've got to be pleased with that. Bet on it.

Friday, August 01, 2003
An Uneven Start to a Rocky Relationship

Some people call this a sling blog. But I calls it a Kaiser blog. Mmm-hmm.

This is going to be my most painful blog post ever.

(Well, at least for me. I can't promise that it will hurt you more than some of the groaners that I've laid on you in the past. You'll have to be the judge of that.)

Anyway, I'm eating a quick lunch now, but I just got finished raking three and a half tons of gravel over our parking area. And no, for once, I'm not exaggerating. Three and a half tons. Hence my pain, and current drippy sweatiness.

Now, I don't know whether any of you have worked with gravel before. If not, I can tell you this:

Three and a half tons sounds like a hell of a lot of gravel.
When the truck dumps it out, it doesn't look like that much. Gravel's pretty heavy, after all.
As soon as you start raking, or shoveling, or scooping it with your hands, you realize that three and a half tons really is the enormous fucking truckful that it advertised itself to be.

So, with a garden rake and a three-foot shovel, I did the best I could. I spread it around our parking 'bunker' (basically an uncovered garage, about twenty feet square), and tried to even it out where possible. In the end, I'm afraid it's a bit lumpy and uneven. On the other hand, so's my friggin' back, so I'd say that's pretty fair. I don't think I'll be doing any rowing, or situps, or bending over -- or standing up straight, for that matter -- for quite a while. Which is rather unfortunate, really, since I have a job interview in about two hours.

So, I'm gonna wrap up this post, finish my lunch, take a shower and try to put myself back together again. I want to put my 'best foot forward', of course, but I'm afraid at the moment, it'll be coming forward sideways and limpy, dragging my less-best other foot behind it. 'Hi, thanks for seeing me today! My name's Charlie, but my friends call me Quasi.' I'm not sure I like my chances.

Still, if they don't have a need for a crippled software engineer, I can still get a job ringing those enormous church bells. Hell, it can't be any harder than sloughing that gravel around. And they'll probably feed me, too, which is good. Given my current hunchy condition, I was limited to what I could easily reach for lunch today. So I'm having an artichoke heart and salsa sandwich on pita bread, with dill pickle chips and lemon juice to drink. I smothered the sandwich in brown mustard, hoping that would mask the ickiness, but it's not really working. Now that I think about it, I don't recall the bottle saying 'brown' anywhere on it. Or 'mustard', for that matter. I think the stuff may have been salad dressing in a former life.

Oh, well, it probably won't kill me, at least. (Which is what I said about the gravel a couple of hours ago.) So I'll gobble it down and go get ready for my interview. I just hope I can get a tie on, now that my neck's all crooked. Maybe a bolo would be easier. Anyone out there got a string tie an old hunchback can borrow?

Hey, three quick notes before I leave:

1. Don't forget to read this week's Carnival of the Vanities. It features me -- little old me! -- plus a bunch of people cooler than me, and a bunch of their posts, too. Definitely worth checking out.
B. Also, I'm still working on 100 Things About Me. The things are all there, but because I'm a masochistic freakin' idiot, I've decided to turn each one into its own blog post. I'm up to fifteen or so entries, and chugging along. Soon, you'll even be able to post comments over there! Won't that just complete your whole life?
III. Hey, does anybody know what's happening with Bob the Corgi? She was nice enough to leave me a cool comment on my birthday post, but as far as I can tell, her site's been down ever since. Coincidence? Eh, probably. Still, Shelley at Cynical, A Life, if you're reading this, you might want to watch out. You left a comment, too. You could be next! *gulp*

Thursday, July 31, 2003
Dude, I Don't Know What You're Looking For, But I Know I Don't Have It

Mister Blog, that's my name; that name again is Mister Blog!

So, the pervs are back. I thought we were done with them, but apparently they're not done with me yet.

For those of you just tuning in -- poor bastards -- the pervs I'm referring to are those waves of Web searchers who find this site by querying for a certain bubbly, boobly blonde's animated alter-ego. Now, I don't want to encourage these folks by throwing down more terms for their searches to hit on, so we'll just call the bimbo 'Mamela Sanderson', and her cartoon character 'Ripper Stella'. You with me so far? If not, then you've either been living under a rock for a while, or you're irretrievably dense. I'll take pity on you and provide this link, so you can catch up to the rest of the class, but you need to know how slow you are. Work on that, okay?

Aanyway, I've covered this ground a few times, so I won't go into detail here. If you're really interested -- I mean really interested, you can read this post, which points to the earlier comments I made on the subject. For the rest of you folks, suffice to say that I lampooned Pam's... er, Mam's, that is, show a few weeks back, and in the process littered a bunch of related words all over the blog. After a couple of days, Google indexed the site, and the anime wanker crowd got hold of it (with their 'free hand', I presume). Something like 90% of my hits came from these jokers looking for naked toon titties.

(Look, not to rehash old material here, but I just want to be clear that I've got nothing against raging horndogs, or internet porn, or even wacko nutjobs. (As opposed to nutty whackjobs, which can be very painful, indeed.) I mean, who doesn't like a little spice in life -- the occasional womens' prison scene, or a dip in the old whipped cream from time to time? Who among us doesn't need to get tha freak on once in a while?

It's just that I don't see the point of cartoon porn. Unless someone's drawn something so outrageous that it would be impossible to recreate in the real world, then how is pen-and-ink flesh better than real, live fleshy flesh? I just don't get it. And in this particular case, I really don't get it. Not that, ahem, Mamela isn't a lovely girl and all. She's got the best bazoombas money can buy, so they'd better look good. But we can see her breasts -- the real, in-the-silicone, 'authentic' items -- on a million different web sites. We can print pictures of them, and order candid cam videos of... um, 'Sommy Gee', smacking 'em around with his nasty 'Gee Willicker'. Christ, if she flung her tits around any more often, somebody'd dip 'em in plaster and give 'em a star on the Walk of Fame. So why the hell would we need a stylized, animated version? It just escapes me.)

Anyway, the point is, I was inundated with these search hits. And that was fine, for a while. Publicity is publicity, so I rolled with it. But it started to get old, and I wasn't too terribly distraught when the post slipped off the bottom of the page and into the archives. Things went back to 'normal', and I was actually happier. Alone with the crickets and the tumbleweeds, since nobody actually reads this shit for its own sake, but happier. Of course, after a few days, the archive got indexed, and the sweaty, hairy palm crowd came surging back. At least they were confined to the archives, though, so I could sort out the 'toony spankers' from everybody else. I thought that's how it was going to be for the forseeable future.

But then, just as suddenly, the hits stopped coming. This was a week or two ago. For some reason, my archive pages dropped off the radar screen, and the pervs stayed away. I don't know how it happened, or why. Google's just schizophrenic, I guess. But the hits tailed off, and leveled out, leaving me with just a small core group of returning customers. Life was good again, and I thought that's how things would be from then on.

Sadly, Google's capability for indecision knows no bounds, because as of a couple of days ago, the pervs are back in town. Hits are up, up, up in the archive. (Though I suspect certain enthusiasms are down, down, down when the folks realize that I don't have naked pictures lying around anywhere.) Anyway, we'll see how long this wave lasts before Google spazzes out again. Maybe next time it'll index documents top to bottom. Or just the odd-numbered pages. Or nothing at all. Who the hell knows?

In the meantime, though, the rest of the archive is also indexed, which gives me a whole world of entertainment value. (Which I already commented on once. And now I'm doing it again. I never promised you a non-redundant rose garden, people.)

For you see, queries for naked cartoon strippers are not the only searches that come down the pike. No, sir. Check out this partial list of other freaky cries for help that I'm unable to answer properly:

  • where is hell -- Hey, I'm the second hit! Does this mean that I'm nearly next in line to find out myself? I'll go pack my swimming trunks!
  • big schlongs -- Yes, well. I don't know about schlongs, in the plural, or big in the, you know, size sense. But I think we should talk. Call me!
  • WOONSOCKET CALL OBITUARY ARCHIVES -- This one sounds serious! I don't know what you need, but if you want, I'll drive over to Woonsocket to find it for you. Would that be okay?
  • wedgie girls underwear tear pics -- I'm not sure whether the searcher's looking for 'tear' as in rip, or 'tear' as in 'cry'. If it's any help, when I give my wife a wedgie, there's usually a little of both going on. Does that help at all?
  • what happened to the dell intern chick -- I don't know, but let's hope the guy who did that last search didn't get hold of her.
  • britney spears clogging cue sheets -- I don't even know what this means. Does that make me old?
  • porkjuice -- Folks, whatever you do, don't try this search at home. Ewwww.
  • rooting and shagging -- I don't know about you, but I'm always rooting for some more shagging. Nonstop, 24/7.
  • yugo incest movie -- Um... dude. I don't even know what to tell you. That's wrong on so many levels. Does it mean anything that this came through Google Italia, by the way?
  • elastic wedgie -- Well, you can't have one without the other, now, can you? Two great tastes that taste great together. I wonder if this is the 'tear girls' guy again, getting back to basics?

So keep 'em coming, folks. I don't have all the answers, but I'm doing my best over here. Unless it has to do with incest, or Yugos. Even I have my limits.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Thanks for the Vanities

De Doo Doo Doo De Blog Blog Blog

Hey, everybody. There's nothing much going on here at the moment, as I'm working on my 100 Things About Me pages. Check those out if you like; I should have at least a handful going up every day.

In the meantime, though, I wanted to send warm thanks and a hearty 'Hi-de-ho!' out to Dan at Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. He's hosting the Carnival of the Vanities this week, and a little number of mine that I like to call 'A Wall to Save Us All' is included. So thanks to Dan; go bask in the collective genius of the latest Carnival.

(Hey, I said 'collective genius'. Even if my post is crap, it's still elevated by the good stuff. So there!)

At Least It Wasn't That Damned Geico Gecko

Here we go, bloggers, here we go!

Okay, let's see if we can really keep the post short this time. Those 100 Things About Me aren't writing themselves, you know. And apparently, I'm not writing them, either. So I'll keep this short and sweet, but I needed to share. It's link-to-a-story time, kids; gather 'round. Uncle Charlie's gonna write something that looks like it actually might belong in a blog. For once. Here goes nothin':

The folks at the University of Florida evidently don't know an alligator from a crocodile. Which is not all that big a deal for most of us, of course -- I personally don't know the difference, either. Just that there is one. And the distinction has never really been an issue for me, so I haven't bothered to find out what it was, or give even the merest hint of a damn. Ditto the separation between 'dolphin' and 'porpoise', or Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Or for that matter, the Barbi twins. Who among us really needs to know which is which? And why the hell would we care?

Ah, but this is the University of Florida Gators we're talking about, so you'd think -- you being an intelligent and reasonable person, of course -- that someone at the school would have taken the time and effort to make a list of what makes gators, um, alligatory, as opposed to crocodilitatious. Personally, I'd have thought they'd have that info just lying around for when people ask, maybe printed on the campus phone list. You know, for emergencies.

But the very least they could have done would be to look it up before snapping a picture of some ugly amphibian and slapping it on the cover of their football team's media guide. Right? I mean, it's a simple chore, isn't it? Even if they took a picture of the wrong snaggle-toothed, armor-coated beast, they'd at least catch it before printing off the guides and sending them out. Wouldn't they?

Well, apparently not. The errant info books made their way to the media, and it seems that some newsman -- those fucking smartass journalists, you know how they are -- checked the Gators' phyla as well as their facts, and found them wanting in the biology department. Another sad day for state schools, student athletics, and the sorry state of southern edumacation. The score in this round: Pigskin 7, Sheepskin 0. Ouch.

If nothing else, I'd have expected the football folks to have enough 'mascot pride' to do a little due diligence, wouldn't you? After all, aren't they and the hoopheads the only ones who really give a rat's ass about the school mascot in the first place? You only see the cheesy costumes come out during games, or maybe pep rallies. So who better to know the details of the chosen school animal, or color, or tree, than the football department? Look, here in Beantown, we have the Boston College Golden Eagles. Not once have I seen them advertise with a Golden Cockatoo, or print up Pink Eagles in the game-day programs. It just doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to stay on top of.

Speaking of birds, though, my favorite line from the story involved the Florida spokesman eating some serious crow. When asked about the mistake, he said, by way of excuse:

'We asked for an alligator, we paid for an alligator and unfortunately we did not get an alligator.'

Well, that explains everything, doesn't it? Maybe I'll cut just a little bit of slack for the old U of F ('F' standing for the school's grade in Taxonomy 101, apparently). Sure, it seems like a strange comment for the spokesman to make, but you know what? This may sound crazy, but my buddies and I had the exact same problem the last time we went to Vegas. Of course, we didn't end up with an alligator or a croc for our money. Instead, we were ripped off even worse, and got stuck with a three-legged turtle, a newt, and a couple of bullfrogs. Which actually ended up working out okay for what we wanted, once we got the Vaseline into--

Hey! Look at the time! Whew! Well, this post has gone long enough, then, hasn't it? *Yaaaawn.* Yep, I'd better wrap it up and get to bed without saying another word. Gotta keep these short, just like I promised. Yep, yep. Okay, then -- nighty night. Nothing left to see here. You should probably move along now. Nice seeing you. Bon voyage, and all that. Or as the Greeks are fond of saying, 'What happened in Vegas stays in Vegas. Especially when cold-blooded animals are involved'. And who am I to argue with the Greeks?

Note: No amphibians were actually harmed -- or even fondled -- during the making of this blog entry. Any similarities to actual semi-aquatic animals, real or imagined, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
(Still, don't tell Kermit. He gets all squishy when we talk about Vegas. Best to let sleeping frogs lie. Trust me on this one.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2003
It's as Easy as, 'One, Two, Twelve, K, Delta, Nine, T, Sixteen, Bleh!'

New and improved Blog™ -- now with 58% more blather!

Hey again. Looks like I'll be posting some shorter entries for a while, at least until I get my 101 Things About Me fleshed out.

(I just had to goddamned different, didn't I? Oh, noooo, can't just think of 101 things. No, that's not hard enough for Charlie, is it? No, I've got to go and turn each thing into a post, too. Which is twice as many posts as the rest of this filthy blog. Which means that soon there's gonna be three times as much pointless, unread shit here as there is now. Beautiful. Man, if I wasn't already out of work, I'd be heading that way now. Is it too late to change the name of this thing to: What the Hell Am I Thinking?)

Okay, it's not quite as bad as all that. My 101 things are finished, and I'm almost four percent done with the posts for each. Almost four percent. That deserves a cookie, or a beer, or something, doesn't it? Sexual favors? Anyone? No? All right, back to blogging, then.

Lessee, what else have I got? Oh, yeah, here's a good one. I don't know about the rest of you folks, but apparently I live my life under one big stinkin' umbrella of It Can't Ever Be Fucking Simple, Can It?. And I don't even mean the times that I make things hard for myself -- I mean, I do that all the time, and I've learned that the only one who deserves a good, hard spanking for that is me. I'm still working on convincing my wife that I need nearly-daily spankings, but I'm slowly working on that.

(Well, recently, that's taken a, ahem, 'back seat' to some ideas I have involving a French maid outfit, but the spanking thing is still on the list. And no, you uber-pissy freaks, I'm not gonna call it a 'Freedom maid' outfit. Get the fuck over it already, would you? Go hunt bunnies or something. Get it out of your systems, for Chrissakes.)

All right, so where was I? Ah, nothing's ever friggin' simple. Right.

I'll give you a recent case in point, which is, oddly enough, technology-related. You'd think, perhaps, that since I'm a software engineer and a gadgety sort of fellow (I know how to program my VCR, for instance), then techno-crap might occasionally work around here without a hitch. Ah, but that wouldn't be deliciously ironic, now, would it? Nature -- or Fate or God or Santa or whoever you think is peering down at us -- wouldn't get its rocks off quite so jollily if I had a hard time with, I don't knoiw, knitting, or spot welding, or animal husbandry. These are not things that I'm supposed to be good at, that I have on my resume, or that I claim to have any experience with.

(To be fair, I did attend college in Kentucky. So I saw some things happen to particular sorts of animals that could loosely -- and I use the term loosely loosely -- be described as 'husbandry'. Or at least 'pimpery', or maybe 'one night standery'. But I'm not sure that these sorts of ungodly practices are part of the official duties of true 'animal husbandry'. I'll have to check on that, and get back to you.

And just to nip any ideas you may have in the bud -- no, yours truly was never involved in this sort of farmy tomfoolery. For one thing, I'm not from Kentucky myself. So I wouldn't even know which beasticles qualified as, um, 'good eatin'. So to speak. And besides, I have two long-standing rules that would disqualify me from this sort of nonsense:

  • First, I have vowed never to pork anything that's actually made of pork, or any other tasty meatstuff. (Okay, so maybe 'meatstuff' in the current context is a poor choice of words. But you know what I mean, and it's not a verb, all right? Filthy perv.)
  • Additionally, I have a self-enforced rule never to bump uglies with any creature who's ass is hairier than my own. (This has served me very well throughout the years, though it did cost me a date to the freshman Spring Fling. Carrie Sue, if you're out there, I only hope I let you down easy.)

Anyway, I was a latecomer to the game. By the time I got to school, all of the good udder was taken. And the last thing you want to do is come between a man and his, er, livestock. Those farmboys have pitchforks, and they know how to use 'em.)

Okay, way off topic, as usual. I did say this was going to be shorter, didn't I?

So, back in civilization, I'll tell you about a recent technological clusterfuck that I managed to stumble through. It happened a couple of months ago, soon after we moved into our house. I wanted to set up a wireless network, so we didn't have to string eight thousand feet of cable all over half our rooms to hook up our computers. Fine. So I go to a local computer store, and I buy a USB wireless adapter for me, and an internal FireWire card for my wife's Mac, and a wireless access point, or WAP, to send out the signals. So, of course, WAP is the first friggin' sound I hear as I thump my head against the desk when I try setting it up. WAP! WAP! WAP! WAP! WAP!

See, I thought I'd do the smart thing, the clever thing, and buy a USB card and WAP from the same company. Namely, SMC. Aha, I thought to myself, these two will talk to each other right out of the box, and then if the Mac card doesn't work, I'll have yet another opporunity to bad-mouth Macs to my wife. Mwaa ha hah! Mwaa ha hah! Mwah!'

(Okay, fine, there was quite a bit more 'Mwaa hah'ing after that, and the other customers in the store started staring at me, but I'm trying to keep this at a reasonable length. Work with me here, would ya?)

So, anyway, I bring the shit home, set it all up, and what happens? Well, of course the WAP -- which I configured using my own very-non-Mac-like computer, I might add -- chirps happily back and forth to the Mac, sending packets whizzing back and forth around my head and generally getting along quite nicely. And to the USB adapter, it's own SMC cousin, sitting three feet closer, and configured by the very same machine that breathed life into the WAP itself? Nothing. Not one damned peep. Complete radio silence.

All right. Fine. I'm used to this. Remember, It Can't Ever Be Fucking Simple, Can It? So I started fiddling with stuff. I changed from the custom IP address I really wanted to use back to the default. Mac fine, my machine mute. Okay. I downloaded new software for the USB adapter. Same thing. I took the adapter off the USB hub and plugged it directly into the machine. Nothing.

That's when the little twitch I get over my eyebrow began. I kept trying things -- oh, I got creative, all right -- but now it was personal. I unplugged and replugged. I uninstalled, reinstalled, and reconfigured.

I motivated ('C'mon, you lousy shit. I know you can do it. You know you can do it. Now frickin' damn do it!').
I begged ('If you just work, I'll set you by a window. Look, grass! Trees, for Chrissakes! What do you want from me?!').
I used reverse psychology. ('Fine, ya lousy hunk of shit. You like that damned Mac so much, why don't you marry it?!').
But mainly, I cursed. ('So fuckin' help me God, if you don't get your damned shit together, I'm gonna tie this cable around your fuckin' throat!').
In my frustration, I even made up new words. ('You butter-shittin' heiney-lover-munchy-fuckin' dingle-humpin' prickety-ass ho!).

And then, of course, I wept. Wept and cursed, cursed and wept. This went on for about three days. Finally, I called customer support. (Hey, I'm a man. Three days of unmitigated vein-throbbing fury is about right before admitting defeat, right, guys?) I had three conversations with customer support -- all of them can be summed up with these four lines:

Him: Can I get your (account/registration/social security/phone/etc.) number?
Me: Yes, it's (whatever the hell he was asking for).
(Repeat above steps around thirty-eight times)

Him: Okay, did you try (downloading software/reinstalling/resetting/banging your head with a frying pan/etc.)?
Me: Yes. Yes, a thousand times, yes.
(Repeat above steps approximately two hundred and thirty-five times)

Which is to say, the diddledick on the other end of the line knew less than I did. So now I had struggled with the damned thing, lost, admitted defeat, and shamefully called in outside help... only to be stuck right back where I was. At that point there was a little more cursing. Mainly weeping, and gnashing of teeth, but I think I managed some curses in there, too.

Anyway, to make a long story...um, actually quite long, I suppose... I finally figured out the problem. On my own, thank you very much. It turns out that the software that shipped with the WAP -- not the adapter, but the WAP itself -- was out of date, even though the product was nearly brand new. So out of date, in fact, that the good folks (read: Satanic buttmunching asswipes) at SMC had seen fit to ship USB adapters that were 100% incompatible with this less-than-a-year-old-but-entirely-useless-to-me WAP software. Folks, if there really is a Hell, I can only hope that there's a special circle cordoned off for these sons of bitches, and that the circle involves piranha, and blenders, and colonoscopes, and... and... well, I don't know what else. I'll make a list. But it had better be fucking bad, whatever it is. Frigging morons.

So, I downloaded the WAP firmware, and the damned thing worked, finally. The worst was over. But of course, it's never truly over, now is it? No. Nature's got to get in one last nipple-twister or two, just so you don't forget who's the boss around here. So of course, everything worked just peachily when I added encryption to the network, to keep our neighbors from scamming our feed. Everything, that is, except keeping that damned Mac online. It simply wouldn't connect. I found tricks and tips and step-by-step instructions -- a '$' before the password, only use so many letters, or all digits, or no digits, or put on a tutu and dance the lambada when you reboot. Nothing worked. The one machine that had worked from day one simply refused to play ball. So I hacked it to little tiny bits with my bare hands, and knelt among the shards, with a foamy, maniacal grin on my face.

Oh, wait. That's what I wanted to do. Right. What I actually did was to mutter, 'Fuck it', turn encryption off, and warchalk my own sidewalk so all of our neighbors can suck their porn down through our big hairy fat wireless pipe. Yeah! That'll teach 'em to piss around with me!

So, anyway, that's my wireless story. So much for short posts, eh? Hey, at least I'm still four percent done with my 101 Things links. Oh, right. Almost four percent done. Harrumph. No rest for the weary blogger, I suppose. Guess I'll have a look at that next, then. First, I need a beer, though. Just reliving all this wireless nonsense has got me all frothy and twitchy and bothered, and not in a good way. Hey, maybe I'll sniff a couple of local network packets before I get going again, too. There's a lot of activity on the WAP; I'll bet the guy up the street is downloading farm animal pics over our connection again. He's from Kentucky, you know. Sick fuckin' bastard. Probably works for SMC, too.

Thou Shalt Collect Two of Every Adjective, and Pronoun, and Conjunction...

One o' these days, Blog -- pow! Right in the kisser!

Howdy, all. Short, late note this time, but I realized, just a tad tardily, that I've been blogging now for forty days and forty nights. And how could I let something of such Biblical proportion slip by, eh?

Yea, sayeth the author, yon blog is my ark, and shall protecteth me from the rising waters of ridicule. And verily willith it shield me from the furious waves of they who giggleth, not with me, but at. Smiteth down the unwashed heathens with wit, and with irony, o blog, soeth the restest of us shalleth liveth in peace forevereth more. Amen. Eth.

(Tee hee. Any time I see something written in 'ye olde Biblical style', I can't help but picture Sylvester the Cat trying to wrap his slobbery, lispy mouth around all those 'eth' words. Thufferin' thuccotash!)

Anyway, forgive the oddities above. It's mighty late, and I'm in need of sleep. Pay no attention to the drivel you see. I mainly wanted to slip in the forty days comment -- it's already forty-one or forty-two, so I couldn't wait much longer. Oh, and I wanted to post the first link to my 101 Things About Me page. Most of the links aren't filled in yet, but I'll be doing some work there in the coming days. (Hopefully days, and not weeks!) Anyway, check it out. I'll eventually put a link on the sidebar here, but only after I've put a little more meat on the entries. Until then, it's pretty much a list like anyone else's -- long, startling, and, in the end, scary. (You can make your own John Holmes jokes here, folks. I'm too tired.)

So, that's it. If you want to leave me any comments on the list, you can drop 'em here. (The list is on a different server, and with no comments hooked up to it.) I'll drop in again after I've had a few hours of shuteye. Until then... well, I suppose it was put best in a movie, as most clever things are:

'In the meantime, rest well, and dream of large women.'

Nighty night, folks. And have a pleasant tomorrow.

Monday, July 28, 2003
My So-Blogged Life

You can be a fly on my wall if you want, but you'll have to take a number

Well, here we are again, eh? I've decided that given my ever-advancing age, I should make a concession to my olditude and conform to something. (You know, other than allowing my ass to conform to the seat of my office chair. Nobody really needs to know about that. Though, of course, now you know about it. Funny how blogs work sometimes, isn't it, kids?)

Anyway, I'm not normally one to do the 'vogue' thing, or follow the latest 'chic' trend, and not just because you have to make a funny face to say either of those words. Nor is it because most of those trends involve skimpy clothing, and my ass would probably have a hard-time fitting into the low-riders all the kiddies are wearing these days. (Man, what's up with me today? Read my ass blog! Extra, extra -- see me write about my ass. It's all ass, all the time!)

But moving away from my ass -- slowly, gingerly, so as not to startle it -- I don't normally do the 'in' thing. First of all, by the time I hear about it, it's no longer in. (Hell, look at me now -- blogs are so 1999.) And anyway, I usually can't be bothered. For one thing, I was born with this inherent, crippling, recurrent laziness, which makes it sometimes very difficult to get off my ass and join the herd. (Sorry, there's my ass again. Last time. I promise.)

And for another, the herd are often collectively morons. Look, if I have to wear my clothes so that six inches of underwear peek out the top of my pants, I'm just gonna pass, okay? Maybe it's just me, but when you reach the point when it doesn't really friggin' matter whether your fly is open, because the flap on your boxers is peekin' out above your belt anyway, then you've got some serious thinking to do, and not just about your fashion sense. I'd appreciate it if you'd also take a quick look around your life, and find some way to ensure that you don't pollute the gene pool with your seed, okay? We don't serve your kind around here, dude.

(Hey, speaking of flies, and the checking thereof, is it so hard for people to figure out how to discreetly check whether their zippers are still flying high? Sure, it's not the most heinous faux pas in the world to finger your fly in public, or to stare down at your crotch as though Mr. (or Mrs.) Happy is going to start performing tricks. But it's not pretty, either, and more to the point, it's not necessary.

Look, most people seem to want to be furtive about it, and come up with these wild, hare-brained schemes to 'secretly' double-check the barn door, but they all fall into the We Know What You're Really Doing, Buttmunch category. Yes, I'm talking to you, dude, when you 'miss' your pocket with your hand and just 'happen' to brush your zipper on the way by. And you, young lady, when you pluck invisible, non-existent 'lint' from the bottom of your blouse, so you can sneak a peek at your pants. And you old folks who 'smooth the pleats' in your pants, but start the process at your crotch (where there are no pleats, and frankly, probably little else at this point). Will you people never learn? Have you no sneaking skills? Who raised you, anyway?

Look, there's only one time-tested way to check your fly, folks, and if it means that I don't have to watch these people play their slappy-hands, don't-look-straight-at-it, pretend-you're-staring-into-your-navel games any more, then I'll tell you the secret. But just think about it for a minute, would you? When is the only time, in public, when you're natually staring downward, and no questions will be asked? Hmm? Anyone? That's right, when you're tying a shoe. You can bend down to one knee, pull the shoe of 'interest' right underneath you, and steal a glance at your zipperoo unnoticed. Your shoe doesn't even have to be untied; people have 'loose' shoelaces all the time, and they look the same as 'tight' laces, so nobody's going to give it the first thought.

Plus, you may even get a chance to zip up if you do find you have a 'Code Red' down there, because nobody actually watches other people tie their shoes. It's like looking at strangers in the elevator; it's just not done. Think about it -- the last time the person you were with had to tie their shoe, what did you do? Well, you talked to your other friends, if any were around, or you stared off into space. There's something creepy about talking to someone -- or even looking at them -- when they're hunched down there at thigh level like that. People are going to look anywhere else but at you while you're 'tying your shoe', so you have a couple of seconds to reseal your deal, so to speak, if you find a problem while you're down there. It's the perfect solution.

So that's the only time when it's safe to sneak a peekerino at the old pants to see whether your elevator's still in the penthouse, or whether it's shimmied down to the basement. The only time. Got it? Otherwise, you just look like you're trying to frisk yourself, or copping a quick self-feel, or you've got a hamster in your pants that you need to check in on. Save yourself the trouble, and bend down for the shoe, okay? We'll both be a lot happier.

Now, of course, there are risks with this method. If you're not wearing shoes, for instance, or even shoes without laces, then you're going to look pretty goddamned silly bending over to adjust your sole, or massage your ankle, or floss your toes, or whatever lame excuse you happen to come up with. So at least make sure you've got the proper equipment to play this particular game, okay? Also, for you male types out there, there's an added risk. See, if your fly actually is down, as you suspect it might be, and Mr. Winkles isn't properly, um, restrained, by your undergarments (or lack thereof), then the act of kneeling to 'tie your shoelace' may unfurl your flag for all to salute, if you smell what I'm cookin'. Which would leave you in a bit of a...um, pickle, as I think it's called. So be careful. Always keep a leg between you and any bystanders, just in case your Biggie Smalls decides to make a cameo appearance. Don't let the solution be part of the problem, men. Just be cool, and no one will be the wiser.)

Okay, where the hell was I? I got distracted again. Oh, conforming, right.

So, anyway, I've decided to give in and write a 100 Things About Me, that I'm moving off to a separate page. As soon as I've got a few there, I'll add a link to it here, and also link to others' similar lists. It seems that all the cool -- er, sorry, kewl bloggers are doing it, and so I'm gonna do it, too. Why? Because I'm old now, and I shouldn't be thinking for myself any longer. Or soon, feeding myself, or even going to the bathroom alone. But that's an entry for another day. For now, I'm gonna go work on my hundred things. Which should only take about three weeks and forty thousand words to finish. We old folks tend to ramble on and on, you know.

Sunday, July 27, 2003
I'm Tapin' Matlock, and Murder, She Wrote, and.. and... What Was I Saying?

A blog a day keeps the dickheads away

So, have I mentioned how freakin' cool my wife is? After months of rebuffing and pooh-poohing my TiVo fantasy, she actually went and offered to buy me a TiVo receiver. Yay, honey! Yay, me! Yay, TiVo! My wonderful, darling wife also surprised me with a cool book all about Fenway Park and the history of our belov'd Red Sox.

In related news, my parents bought me a dozen assorted exotic half-litre beers, some tasty salsa, and a gift pack of hot sauces. Which is nearly as cool as the TiVo. Not quite, but nearly, and certainly much appreciated.

So, if you haven't figured out by now what black arts voodoo I had to perform to receive such lavish goodies, it was thirty-three years ago today that I finally ended many hours of labor and sploop!-ed into the world, with a wry grin and one raised eyebrow. (Which was surgically lowered a few days later, but keeps creeping back up nonetheless. I can't help it -- people are just so damned consternating!)

So far, it's been quite the cool birthday. The soon-to-actually-be-purchased TiVo is the highlight as far as gifts go, if only because I've been bitching about wanting one for so long. (Well, okay, not just that. It's also going to rock serious ass, which is a Good Thing™. A Very Good Thing™, indeed. My wife's still not so convinced, but she's a sweetie, and willing to go along for the ride on this one. And once she sees that we can watch the Simpsons or South Park anytime we want -- well, okay, I don't know what she'll think of that, actually. I'll keep you posted.

But anyway -- good times, good times. I don't know how you are with birthdays, but it's been a while since I stressed over one. Actually, I really ony wigged out over one birthday. That was my twenty-eighth, and it's the only one I had even the itty-bittiest smidgen of trouble with. I thought that twenty-eight made me 'old', because I was no longer in my 'mid-twenties'. And I was right, of course -- five years later, and I'm ancient. I'm surprised I'm not losing teeth yet, or having hair come out in clumps. (Especially seeing as how I'm also the proud mortgage-owner of a house older than my grandparents. If anything -- short of little grimy munchkins running around the house yelling at each other -- will cause clumpy hair-falling-outy-ness, it's a gargantuan mortgage on a house built when the US was just forty-five states and a bunch of cowboy yahoos. You know, as opposed to the fifty states and drunken yahoos we have now. Oh, how times have changed!)

But as it happens, I didn't actually become old on my twenty-eighth birthday, as I'd always thought. The way I always looked at it, I was 'too young' until I was twenty-one, and then 'still young' until I hit twenty-five. From there through twenty-seven, I was still in my 'mid-twenties', so I was 'young enough', and then 'old and washed up' as soon as twenty-eight rolled around. This is how it is for most people, of course, and how I thought it would work for me, as well. But I was mistaken, sadly. I was cheated out of some of the best times of my life. For you see, I actually got 'old' almost seven full months before my twenty-eighth birthday, due to a coincidence of my birthdate, American legal conventions, and the policies of certain popular periodical publications. I didn't discover it until a couple of months later, but I officially outlived my usefulness on January 1, 1998. And now I'll tell you why. (Hey, it's my birthday. I can talk about whatever the hell I want.)

I was born on this date in 1970. (Of course, since I was born less than nine months into the year, I like to tell people that 'I was born in '70, but I was conceived in '69!' Yes, my parents are soooooo proud.)

Anyway, I slid into the world as we all do -- naked and slimy and royally pissed off -- and proceeded to rack up birthdays. I looked forward to sixteen, then eighteen, and then twenty-one. The next few years were good ones, with fun and frolicky birthdays, and all was well, until twenty-eight loomed next on my radar. I wasn't ready to abandon my mid-twenties -- who is? -- and was just starting to work up a good lather in fretting about the upcoming loss when it happened. As I pined about the impending loss of my youth, I found that it had already hit the road. I was already an old man -- a dirty old man, mind you, but an old man, nonetheless.

It was spring of '98, early April or so, and I was chilling in my friend's apartment. My bachelor friend's apartment. Not that he was making me feel older, mind you, just because I'd been married for a couple of years already, and he was living the 'high life'. Apparently the 'high life' consisted of doing a lot of your own laundry, eating macaroni and cheese or Taco Bell for every meal, and walking around the apartment in funky underwear. So, okay, I suppose I did miss it, just a little. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that my bachelor friend also had a subscription to Playboy, and I was thumbing through the latest issue. Um, looking for a nice chicken cacciatore recipe, or something. I'm certain it was something like that.

So, anyway, I must have sneezed or convulsed or something, because somehow -- some-how -- the centerfold ended up unfolding. Accidents will happen, you know. So, I took a quick glance at the young lady now lounging in front of me -- I didn't want to be rude, of course -- and then checked out her personal stats, turnons, turnoffs, etc. Suddenly, I flung the mag to the floor and recoiled in horror. I couldn't speak; all I could do was point a shaking, incredulous finger at the hot naked chick now crumpled on the floor.

Friend: Hey, what the fuck? What's the matter with you?
Me: She... she's...
Friend: Oh, yeah. I noticed that, too.
Me: You saw? Aren't you horrified?
Friend: What? So her tits are lopsided? She can have that fixed.

(Ten minutes pass as I check this out, and we argue whether it's a trick of the lighting or actual lopsidery. We eventually decide that she truly is a freak of nature, and must list badly to the left when she walks. I almost forget that this is not the object of my original horror.)

Me: Okay, you win. She's the Elephant Man, only with a nicer ass. But that's not the point. Did you check out her stats?
Friend: Hmm? Oh, yeah -- she's turned on by the Village People. That is freaky.

(Five more minutes pass as I verify this in the mag, get re-mesmerized by her unbalanced breasts, and wonder aloud whether she pads just one side of her bra, so she can sit upright. Again I remember that this was not the point.)

Me: Dude, that's not the point. Check out her birthdate.
Friend: Birthdate? Why the hell would that matter? She's at least eighteen.
Me: Right. She's exactly eighteen. Born in January, 1980. Dude, she was born in a whole frickin' different decade than us, and she's showin' off her sugar in a nudie mag. Don't you get it?
Friend (horrified himself): Dude. We're old. So fuckin' old.
Me: Yeah. That's the point, man. It's over.

We didn't say much for a while, as our ancient-ness soaked in fully. It was worse for him, I'm guessing. He had two sisters, one a year younger, and the other about seven years his junior. I've known this guy for most of my life -- since second grade or so -- and I couldn't even begin to contemplate his little sister as an actual woman, with real body parts and turnons and needs. And she was still born in the seventies, same as us. And yet here was some hot-until-that-moment young thing staring back at us that was even younger, and a child of the eighties, to boot. That's the day I knew I was old, folks, and I realized that I'd been old since the beginning of the year, ever since the very first flirty, bouncy young teenie became eligible to grace the pages of one of the smut rags wrapped in paper on the top shelf of the magazine rack. I haven't been the same since, and frankly, I don't think I've perused a Playboy since, either.

My buddy stayed in his room for a week, staring at the ceiling and trying to get his little sister's face off of the naked chick's head in his dreams. He finally recovered, but he let his subscription lapse, and started reading Lacy Granny instead. He still had nightmares, of course, but they didn't involve anyone from his family, so he was happier, by all accounts. Creepy, and a little repulsive, but happier.

Anyway, on the bright side, birthdays haven't really bothered me since. Thirty came and went, and was just a big party. No muss, no fuss, no nail-biting worry over 'getting old'. I was already old, and will be forever. I guess it's different for different people. Maybe if I hadn't been born at the very beginning of one decade, then the transition to the next wouldn't have seemed like a big deal. Who knows? I think we all have a day when we suddenly turn old -- some people know it at the time, and others never realize. I only saw my aged-ness in the rearview mirror, but I'm glad I got it out of the way when I did. Now I can live the rest of my life, and not worry about when I'm going to lose it, or slow down, or start to go to pot. It's alredy lost, I'm like a frickin' turtle, and I've been potted, planted, and already wilted by now. So there's nothing left to fear.

So, that's my birthday story. Probably a little more rambly than usual, but it's a big day, and I'm not getting any younger, you know. It's a wonder this shit makes any sense to begin with. Plus, I'm all excited because I'm gonna finally get my TiVo. So cut me some slack, just this one day.

Ooh, plus I have a softball game to go play soon, which is always fun and always followed by much eating and drinking and general merrymaking with the team. Most of whom are also old, though few of them seem to be ready to admit it. Which is okay -- they're allowed to hang onto their delusions, I suppose. I could clue them in, but what good would that do? Better to sit and struggle to hear what they're saying, and eat my applesauce and strained peas, and then hobble with my walker back home. No need to drag them down with me. They'll learn soon enough, as we all do. Hey, at least I was lookin' at a naked chick when I discovered I was old. Who could ask for more than that?

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