Saturday, September 27, 2003
Damn, Now I'm Gonna Have to Start Wearing Pants Again
Fly the friendly blog.
Well, I went and did it. I took a job.
Okay, that's a bit misleading. I suppose I didn't 'take' a job, per se. That makes it sound like I barged into some office, all commando-style, and ripped the employment away from some poor unsuspecting sap. Like I held him down and gave him a noogie, saying, 'Stop firing yourself. Stop firing yourself.' and then stole his job away. But really, it wasn't like that. Honest.
No, in truth, I was offered a job, free of charge. All I had to do was accept it, and write my name on the dotted line.
(Well, okay, it was really a solid line, if I'm going to be honest with you people. (For once.) And frankly, it's been quite a while since I've seen a dotted line for signing. Where did this saying come from, anyway? Was there some shift from dotted to solid signing lines a few years ago, and the vernacular just never caught up?
Or was there a famous dotted line-containing document, and people just assumed they were all that way? Like the Magna Carta, for instance -- did it have dotted lines for signing? That was for-frickin'-ever ago, too. Did they even have lines back then? Or words? How the hell did I get onto this topic, anyway?)
Okay, lost my place. What was I talking about? Ah, my brand spankin' new position. Right.
(Not that it's a 'spanking position', by the way. That's just a figure of speech. I don't expect any sort of ass-touching of any kind at this job, much less being asked to 'assume the spanking position', or asking others to do likewise. Oh, sure, there might be a little pat on the rump now and then for a job well done, and I certainly expect to do my share of ass kissing. But spanking? No. Not in the forseeable future. Sorry to get you unnecessarily lubed up over that. Down, boy.)
Anyway, it looks like I'll start in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I've got to get orientation taken care of, and go in for a checkup and some tests. My new employer's a hospital, see, and so they want to make sure that no one who comes in is... um, sick. Even though a hospital is full of sick people, all the time. They know how to handle that sort of thing. So I'm not quite sure why the people working there can't come in with a touch of pneumonia, or a bit of tuberculosis. I'd think that would be a fantastic way to recover, while you're working. You could keep your mind off the yellow and black shit you're coughing up by getting in a couple of hours of work in between the heavy sedation and painful treatments. I'd think they'd encourage that kind of thing, actually, rather than trying to eliminate it. Makes sense to me.
But I suppose some of the patients there are hanging on by a thread as it is, so it's probably not a good idea to introduce any new scary systematic diseases into their lives, either. So I guess I can see both sides. In any case, I'll have to go through the testing wringer next week. Hopefully, there won't be any surprises. (Lord knows I have enough crippling diseases as it is, without hitting the germy jackpot again. Those little bacterial bugs and viral vermin can suck on my Leftwich, you know what I'm sayin'?)
So, I can take the next couple of weeks to relax, and really let myself go. I can finally stop answering the phone again, and thank fuckin' heaven for that. In the past two days alone, I've talked to twelve people trying to sell me shit, or convince me I'd won something, or looking for cash. Bitches, bitches, bitches -- all of 'em!
(Even the Boston Globe called, for about the thirteenth time this summer. Those assmunchers just won't give up.
Them: Get the Globe! Get the Globe! Only two dollars, for a limited time!
Me: No, thanks.
Them: But it's only two dollars. Two dollars!
Me: Really, no thanks.
Them: Well, how about the Sunday Globe, then? Only seventy-five cents! Far less than newsstand price!
Me: Nope. Not today, thanks.
Them: But you can't beat this price! It's amazing!
Me: No. Look, just no, all right?
Them: Everybody loves the Sunday Globe! There's comics, and local news, and all sorts of goodness!
Me: Look, I'm not interested, all right?
Them: Okay, but just Sunday? It's a really big paper! You'll love it!
Me: Damn it, no.
Them: All the cool kids read it! Try it, you'll like it!
Me: Not gonna happen.
Them: All the cool kids read it! Try it, you'll like it!
Me: You just said that. What are you, some sort of hypermanic Annoy-O-Bot or something?
Them: All the cool kids read it! Try it, you'll like it!
Me: Look, no. I'm hanging up now.
Them: Get the Globe! Get the Globe! Only two dollars, for a limited time!
Me: Christ, the thing reset. Somebody plug this thing's finger into a socket, would you? *click*
Really, I thought I was done with these fuckers a long time ago. Apparently, they didn't read my last ode to the Globe. Oh, well. Guess I'll have to finally get that air horn I've been thinking about, and blow it in their friggin' ear next time they bug me. That should be fun.)
Okay, where the hell was I? Still talking about the job? That sounds about right.
So, it's pretty exciting. Soon, the money will be rolling in again, and I'll be getting up early like most of the rest of you poor saps, and re-entering the rat race. I suppose it'll be nice to be a fully-functioning member of society again. (Well, mostly functioning, anyway. No reason to expect a miracle to happen, right?) But it should be fun, and ought to give me some more material for you folks, as I bumble and fumble around the new office, breaking shit and pissing people off. Really, it'll be a laugh riot. I may be looking for another job soon, if I get my ass fired, but you people will be entertained. And really, it's all about you, isn't it?
(What, it is? Really? Damn.)
Well, that's it for now. So, enjoy the weekend, and I'll be back with more on Sunday evening. Hey, maybe I'll have some good shit from my weekend trip, too. We're going to a wedding my wife's old high school friend is having, and I won't know anyone there. Certainly seems like a golden opportunity to get plastered and be arbitrarily rude to people I'm never going to see again, doesn't it? I just have to stay sober enough to remember all the kooky shit I end up saying to people. It's a very fine line to walk. I'll let you know how it goes. Happy weekend!
Friday, September 26, 2003
Five Really Stupid Things to Say, aka the 'Homework of Hilarity'
Blogging for those who can't blog themselves... and probably shouldn't in the first place.
So, I'm taking a standup comedy class at a local adult education center.
(Yes, I know that some of you are well aware of this fact, and that I mentioned it here, and here, and even here. But some of these people are new, and I don't want to lose anyone, okay? Lord knows there are only about three of you already.)
Anyway, I had my first class on Tuesday, and it was pretty cool. We didn't do a whole helluva lot, really -- just sat around and chatted amongst ourselves, and picked up some general info from the guy running the class. But I think that was because none of us had prepared any material beforehand. From now on, I think it'll be a bit more involved. Which brings me to the matter of this week's homework, which I've decided to share with you.
(In other words, I've decided that I don't have anything else to talk about right now, and so I'm going to throw shit out there until I find something you're interested in. And my standup workshop homework came up first. That's the way it goes.)
So here's what we were asked to do: come up with no less than five subjects that could be massaged (and rubbed, and otherwise inappropriately touched) into a short bit. Things to 'riff' from, in other words; ideas that might lead to a series of a few related jokes in the final act.
(Oh, speaking of which, I should probably start reminding you early and often that our class will be doing not one, but two live club shows in the course of our work, and I expect each and every one of you within the sound of my typing fingers to park your asses in the seats and then proceed to laugh them off. The asses, not the seats. Of course. You already knew that. Sorry.
I'll have more specific information as soon as I get it; for now, all I know is that one of the dates is November 16th. So mark your calendars, you folks close to Boston -- I don't really give a pair of hooters whether you laugh at me, with me, or even about me. Just get your ass there and laugh it off, all right? That is all. For now.)
So, back to the homework. There's a bit more to it than just coming up with the ideas, of course. He also gave us a few suggestions on how to generate those 'sub-ideas' that are the actual jokes, by finding associations and contrasts and shit like that which don't make logical sense. And are therefore funny.
(Not that I'm suggesting that everything works this way, of course. There are many things out there that don't make rational sense, but are absolutely, undeniably, horrifyingly not funny. Take tax law, for one. Any damned sense? No. Any hilarity, even a teeny shred? Nope, not a bit. Bitches.
People can be like that, too. Like Andy Rooney. His shit never made any sense. He might as well have been speaking Mandarin Chinese during his little bits, because I never knew what the hell he was talking about. And it sure as hell wasn't funny. And that's just one example. There are certainly many, many other people who make no sense and yet are soberingly non-hilarious. Just off the top of my head, there's Billy Bob Thornton, and Charo, and that Gallagher dude. How long is he gonna milk that melon squashing bit, anyway? Get a fuckin' life, ya dildo.
Oh, and I should probably say Drew Barrymore, too. She's out of her tiny little mind, of course. But she likes taking her shirt of in public, so I'll spare her. Any girl that's willing to fling the old mamms around at the drop of a hat is okay in my book. And, um, I just dropped my hat, if you know what I'm saying. Uh, 'oops'.)
All right, where the hell was I? Ah, the homework. Gotcha.
So, I thought I'd share my initial ideas with you. If nothing else, then you'll have your appetites whetted for the shows. And, if you're pretty new around here, it'll give you a chance to dig through the archives a bit, because all of these ideas come straight from the blog you're reading right now. (And don't you feel special, hmmm?) So here they are, my Five Furious Fingers of Funnitality for next week. We'll see which of these survive the next stage of development.
1. How I Got My Stitches (i.e., stupid games I played as a kid)
2. I Am Such a Damned Sucker (i.e., how gullible I am... er, was)
3. Grocery, Schmocery (i.e., funny things about food shopping)
4. Adventures in Interviewing (or Goltar, Master of the Universe)
5. The Wall of Wisdom (i.e., how to get people not to 'share')
Now, obviously, I reserve the right to decide that any of these are pure crap, or at least not fertile enough to turn into a minute or so's worth of side-splitting material. But for the moment, these are the guns I'm going into battle with. They may jam, or blow up in my face, or shoot 'dumdums', but they're the best I've got for now. I can only pray for better before the class ends. Because all of you people will be there to see what I've learned. It'll be hard enough for you to still respect me when you see what I look like. If I lay a big fat hairy egg in front of you, you'll never come back to visit.
And that will never do. I simply won't have it. I shant. Shant, you hear me? Shant!
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Wanted: Motivated Individual for Audiovisual Entertainment Evaluation Position
Readers check in... but they don't check out.
Okay, I need to hire somebody. I'm having some issues around the old house.
Oh, it's not to clean the place up, though we could use that, too. And it's not to balance our checkbook, no matter how much we need financial help. Hell, it's not even to do work on our hundred-year-old house, certain pieces of which are in varying stages of falling-downness. No, all of these are minor problems that I'm sure we'll eventually work out without requiring the assistance of an outside party. But there is one dilemma that's just not going away, and I think we may need some professional help.
I need someone to come over and watch TV for me.
Yes, that's right -- television. As many of you may remember, my wife and I are the proud parents of a TiVo unit. She hasn't really gotten the hang of it yet -- she still tapes the same two exercise shows over and over, letting them copy over themselves in a seemingly endless circle without ever watching them. Clearly, she needs a bit of practice with this whole TV-at-your-fingertips thing.
But I've done a bit better. I've got maybe ten shows that I ask the machine to tape just about whenever they're on -- the Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, the Powerpuff Girls (that's right, the Powerpuff Girls; if you don't like it, you can suck my ass; I'm comfortable with my manly manliness), South Park, Coupling, and a few standup showcase series on Comedy Central. Actually, quite a bit of stuff. Add to that the occassional movie or special event that I want to see, and you're looking at four hours or so a day being taped. Maybe more.
And therein lies the problem, you see. I'm not looking at four hours of television a day. Or even the ninety minutes or so it would take to watch it while whizzing past the commercials. And so, the shit starts to pile up. And up, and up, and up. And the thing can only hold thirty-five hours or so of material before it has to start chucking stuff to make room for the new shit. Which is not what I want. I taped that crap for a reason, and the shit ought to be watched before it gets recorded over like last week's Red Sox game or some lame-ass Roseanne rerun.
That's where my new hire comes in. I've decided that I don't have to be the one watching this stuff, just so long as someone views it before it's shit-canned by the TiVo engine. At least then the effort I made in getting the shit recorded in the first place won't have gone to waste. Somebody will get their entertainment value out of my excellent taste in TV shows; never mind that it's not actually me all the time. I'm willing to share the love. I'm cool like that.
So, I'm in the market for a couch monkey. Someone who can come over and sit in our living room for two or three hours a day, and watch the shit that I'm not going to get to. Ideally, the person would take notes on the shows, maybe even report on the highlights, but I'll be happy just to know that someone watched the good shit that I recorded before it got whisked away back to the ether from whence it came. Honestly, the hilarity that's sitting there now for a couple of days and then expiring is just appalling. I'm sickened. Really. Bleh. See? Bleh. Sickened.
So please, folks, if you know anyone who can do the job, let me know, all right? Things are already critical, and we're leaving town for the weekend. Things may get taped and copied over that I don't even know about. Oh, the humanity of it all! I may swoon, or whatever the manly equivalent would be. (Belch, or something, I don't really know. I was never all that close to swooning before, so I'm not really sure what the alternatives are.)
Hell, maybe you can do the job. Really, there aren't many requirements, and you seem like a smart enough cookie. Look, all you gotta do is come by, check out the list of recorded shit, and watch five or six of the oldest shows. That's it. You can even make yourself a sandwich if you want. (Just don't touch the beer, man. We're not that close.) I mean, really, how hard can it be, right? It's the easiest job ever. A monkey could do it. (Well, this monkey could certainly do it... but she's too talented to ask her to do this. Besides, the commute to Boston and back might be a wee much for her.)
Anyway, if you're interested, leave a comment to tell me why you should be my new couch monkey. Maybe I'll get several responses, and we'll set up a rotating system or something. You can even come over now to practice if you want -- the spare key is underneath that ugly-ass plastic frog thing by the porch. Just let yourself in and give it a whirl. But remember what I said -- the beer is mine. You're gonna have to do a lot more for me than babysit my TiVo if you want to get your grubby hands on those puppies. I don't put out for all the hired help, you know. You've got to earn the good shit, baby.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Can We All Just Go Back to Telegraphs? Please?!
If you're not part of the solution, then you'll probably like it around here.
I've had my weekly dose of telephone shenanigans today. I may not even answer the phone again until the weekend, for fear of overdosing on the weird shit that seems to come through the line every damned time I pick up the receiver.
First, it was the glass company. Which one, I don't even know. But here's the conversation, in its entirety:
Me: Hello, this is Charlie.
Her: Hi, this is <garble garble> from <blah blah blah> Glass. Do you happen to have a windshield with nicks or cracks?
Me: Um... no?
Her: Okay, thanks. Have a nice day. *click*
Now, maybe it's just me, but isn't that just a teensy desperate on their part? Are they really cold-calling everyone in the greater Boston area, just on the off-chance that they'll get a few bucks' worth of business? How many people do you think are sitting around with a big spiderweb crack in their car's front window, just sitting by the phone waiting for a glass replacement company to call? 'Oh please call... oh please, oh please, oh please. Don't make me look in the Yellow Pages; it's been six weeks, so call already! Call... now! Now! Now! Oh, why won't you call me!?'
Frankly, I don't see it. The number of hits they get with this approach have got to be minimal, at best. Even with short calls -- my conversation took all of about six seconds -- they're gonna get to what, maybe eighty people a day per dialer? Out of a couple of million or more within hailing range of their garage? And in those eighty or so people, they have to find at least one who has a car, has a cracked windshield, is too lazy to do anything about it, doesn't already have a garage that'll do it, actually has the money to pay for it, and is willing to give their business to some chick who randomly spam-calls them on a Wednesday morning. Who's bright fucking idea was that?
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this sort of ultra-specific -- and yet completely untargeted -- mass-dialing does work, and I'm just behind the curve. Maybe soon all sorts of companies will be using this cunning and innovative technique. I can't wait until we hear these sorts of things in response to our 'Hello? in future:
'Hi, I'm just checking in to see if you have a llama that needs to be spayed or neutered. Free spitguard and clipping shears if you make an appointment now!'
'Hey! We're offering a two-for-one special today on thirty-foot steel girders. They're great for skyscrapers, dams, reinforced bunkers -- you name it! Now's the time to stock up, because this offer won't last long!'
'Hi there. Do you or anyone you know happen to need a replacement rear bumper for a '73 Corvette? 'Cause we've got 'em, and they're cheap, cheap, cheap!'
'May I interest you today in an emergency organ transplant? Kidneys, lungs, liver... anything you have that might be critically failing? We're number one in customer-patient satisfaction, you know.'
God help us all. And this on the day that the 'Do Not Call' registry gets called into question. I can see the potential for vein-popping annoyance in my near future. And yours, too, unless you've been waiting for that big sale on jumbo-size steel beams or recycled hearts. In which case, just stick close to the phone. Your lucky day is coming soon.
The other telephonic tomfoolery to which I was exposed came courtesy of ING. You know, the savings account people that are always advertising with their annoying orange letters and dots and shit like that. Everything's orange with them. I can't help but wonder if they're leading us into some fully color-coded investment options. Red for the people who like risk, and green for the retirees and conservative among us. Blue for overseas investments, et cetera. It'll be the Garanimals of personal finance. 'Oh, no, sir, we can't possibly add that mutual fund to your portfolio. You've got mostly blue and purple in there now, and we couldn't possibly add an orange. Think of the clashing!'
Anyway, I was just calling them up to change our address. Everybody else in the world -- including all of the mass-market weiners -- have made the transition to sending mail to our new home. But ING has not.
(Maybe it stands for 'Idiots Not Getting the message' or 'Intentionally Not Going to change your address; I don't know.)
So, anyway, I had to call to set things straight. Which finally happened, but not until I'd been put on hold for a while, which is where the problem lies. Now, I've got no problem with being put on hold for a few seconds. really. I'm not one of those 'Type A' bastards who's got to have things done now, now, NOW! And frankly, I appreciate the fact that ING chooses not to subject their customers to Muzak or easy listening crap or any of the other uncontroversial-but-dreadfully-eye-gougingly-boring forms of non-entertainment that many companies use to annoy the people they have on hold.
The problem, though, is what they do use to annoy the people they have on hold. Namely, a series of clever little radio commercials for their products and services. Which, again, is fine, I suppose. It seems a little self-indulgent to plug your own shit when you've got a captive audience who's already called you, but fine -- I can forgive that. And to be fair, the commercials are sort of cute, I suppose. They're mainly tongue-in-cheek tales of the adventures of ficticious folks who either do, or should have, use ING's investment products to build their money. No problem there. But they don't start these commercials for each caller; they run constantly, just like Muzak would. And so, it's quite possible to be put on hold in the middle of one of their little mini-plays, and hear something like the following, as I did:
Old Woman Voice: Oh, yes, I've been wanting to do this for years!
Old Man Voice: Aaack! Let go of the knob! Let go of the knob! Aaaauuuuaaaahh!
Now, maybe I'm the only one who finds that particular exchange somehow inappropriate -- though strangely titillating -- as a 'Hold' message. And a narrator did soon after kick in to explain what the hell any of this (and the minute or so that I missed before it) had to do with the services that ING is peddling these days. But then again, maybe not. I'm not the only smartass I know, after all, so I'm sure there are other folks out there who'd be inclined to wonder whether they'd accidentally stumbled onto a 'Granny Humpers' porno soundtrack. You know the kind, where 'Dirty Gerty' slathers herself in stewed prunes and does unspeakable things with a walker, or uses Grandpa's 'shakes' to her own advantage. That sort of thing. Um, not that I'd know, of course. I'm just saying. Um, yeah. Moving on.
Anyway, I thought it was a bit odd. But for a company that takes six months or more to register a customer's address change, I suppose that synchronizing their 'Hold' tapes to their callers is pretty low on the old priority list. So I shouldn't really be surprised.
In other news (silly reader, seques are for kids), it looks like I may be gainfully employed again soon. I have one offer on the table. (Well, okay, technically 'on the hard drive', but I could print it out and lay it 'on the table' any time I want. So I'm counting it. Nyah.) I've also got another lead who are checking my references now as a last precaution before making me an offer, apparently. So as long as my old colleagues don't sell me out -- bribe money, don't fail me now! -- I may have two jobs to pick from. Oh, the decisions! Whatever shall I do?
I know -- I'll go pour champagne all over myself to celebrate! That always puts me in a good mood. Of course, I don't think we actually have champagne in the house right now, so I'll have to use cooking wine or tequila or something, but that's okay. Any booze bath is a good booze bath, I always say. Maybe I'll write more later, after I've dried off and sobered up. Ta!
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
The Sox Are Locks! (Though That Might Be 'Bol-Locks')
The secret ingredient is bile.
I had promised to tell you about my interview today, and then my How to Be Wicked Funny class. But they both went really well. So well, in fact, that I really don't have any good stories from either. Oh, I could make shit up, of course, or sell out some of the people that I'm in class with... but that's just rude. (Meaning, someday I might give this URL out to the class, and they'd be in prime position to kick my ass if I butchered them here. So, no. Just no.)
So, I've got to come up with some other shit. Let's see... I know! I'll show you the article I wrote for a local independent paper. It's been a couple of weeks now, and I haven't heard back, so I'm pretty sure that they've passed on it. (And if not -- well, fuck 'em. The least they can do is send me an email or something. What am I, a friggin' mind reader?)
Anyway, here it is. Those of you who aren't baseball fans might not appreciate it. And those of you outside the Boston metro area might not feel the poignancy of it all. And if you don't hate the Yankees with every fiber of your being, then it won't mean much to you. And... well, while I'm at it, if you don't read this blog, then you're never going to see it, obviously. So, for the one or two of you that's left, here it is -- my first attempt at 'real' public journalism, which was thoroughly ignored by the intended publisher. I guess that 'name in lights' thing will just have to wait.
Forget Christmas, folks. This is the 'most wonderful time of the year', at least for New Englanders.
(Really, what's Christmas got to offer, anyway? We run around willy-nilly, fighting each other for the last self-wetting doll, and pretending we like fruitcake and that 'nog' business, and for what? A screwdriver set, or a bunch of socks we're never going to wear. 'Ho ho ho', my fanny.)
But now -- mid-September -- now is the pinnacle of celebration. The veritable apex of joy and hope. The true season of brotherly love. And why, you ask? What makes this time of year so wonderful, and joyous, and downright magical?
Because the Red Sox haven't blown anything yet, of course.
As all of my fellow Sox fans know all too well, hope springs eternal. There's no dictum or mandate that says this won't be the year that we finally hand those damned Yankees their well-deserved lump of coal. Hey, anything can happen, so maybe it will. As Joaquin Andujar once said, 'Youneverknow'.
(Okay, so he probably said it more than once. Don't split hairs; I'm making a point here.)
Anyway, there's still time. As I write this, the Sox are four games behind the Yankees, and one and a half games up in the wild card standings. There's every indication that they'll make the playoffs, and maybe -- just maybe, if we cross our fingers and click our heels and wish ever so hard -- this could be their year. And by extension, our year. Maybe we'll finally have a Christmas without visions of pinstripes dancing in our heads, with a Steinbrenner Grinch stealing all the Sox' toys.
But nothing's been pilfered yet. And though we still have the nightmares -- Clemens and Buckner and Dent, oh my! -- we awake each morning in September with hope anew. This is Nomar's team, and Pedro's and Johnny's and Trot's and Kevin's, too. Hell, sometimes it's even Manny's. Maybe we can do it, after all. Maybe we can put the curse and history and the Yankee mystique to bed once and for all.
We'll storm into the playoffs, and advance to play our New York nemeses. We'll spank them in four games, and go on to win the whole. Freaking. Thing. The Sox will be World Champs, and the monkey will be off all our backs for good. Maybe we'll even decide to only chant 'Yankees Suck' when we're actually playing them. You know, like other teams' fans. Maybe, just maybe, we'll have it all.
Hey, it's still September. Anything can happen, right?
Damn. Five hundred words without a single 'bumblefuck' or 'asshatter', and they still didn't publish it. What the flying shitball does a guy have to do, anyway?
Eh, really, it's all right. I'm not sure that's my strongest effort, anyway. I'll chalk it up to practice. (Well, I'll chalk it up to practice and give that paper a big fat finger for not even acknowledging that they'd heard from me. But really, it's all about the chalking, and not the fingering. So I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it. I just wanted to work 'fingering' into this post somewhere. Yes, I may have some issues I need to work out.)
So, that's about it for that. Speaking of 'fucklybird' and 'shitterific', though, I'd like to point out a new feature before I go. It's yet another of my unceasing attempts to gather fresh eyeballs around here.
(Not that I don't love your eyeballs, if you happen to be a long-time reader. Because I do. Yours are the most cherished eyeballs of all, really. No one can take away the special ball-bond that we share. Erm, 'eyeball-bond', of course. I suppose this is one of those times where it helps to be specific.
Anyway, your eyeballs are the very most bestest of all. I wouldn't trade 'em for the world. It's just that... well, there's always room for more, you see? I promise I won't love you any less; it's just that I'd like to have as many eyeballs around as possible. Look, I won't get jealous if you look at other blogs, just as long as you keep coming here, too. And I'll still write every loving word just for you, okay? I just think we should expand our horizons, that's all. I suppose what I'm trying to say is -- I want to see other balls.
Damn. There's that 'specificity' thing again. Bitches!)
Anyway, back to the new feature. I decided to join BlogSnob, in an effort to attract more people (and their balls) to the site. If that's how you got here, then welcome! Cruise around, put your feet up, stay awhile. Make yourself nearly at home. Not quite at home, though. We have quite enough crotch-scratching and inappropriate farting around here as it is. (I swear she never did that shit before I married her...)
As for the rest of you, I encourage you to hop out there and check out some of the other sites in the BS network.
(Yes, I'm abbreviating, because BlogSnob is just too damned long for me to bother with. Sure, I'll waste two thousand words on a phone call or a trip to the store, but eight letters for some other web site is just too taxing. Besides, I just think I belong in a 'BS network'. And I defy anyone to say differently. So there.)
Anyway, check out the constantly-rotating link at the bottom of my 'Linkitation' section. It'll point you to a new blog every time, and may just earn you a new daily read. You know, if you're into that sort of thing. And if you can spare the time while still reading this crap. Remember, you're not allowed to leave me. We need each other. You complete me, and all that shit. Don't forget.
If you're going to try it out, though, you may want to act now. It may be just a matter of time before the BS folks boot me the hell out of their little club. See, after signing up, I found that they only approve sites that don't contain 'spicy' language. And that's just not me. I fling more 'shit' than a jungleful of monkeys. I throw 'fucks' around like Wilt Chamberlain in his heyday. And I am the undisputed world champion of throwing down 'Goddammit!!' (Sorry, Cartman. Maybe next year, you fat-ass dingledick.)
So, eventually -- like, oh, after they read that last paragraph, maybe -- they're sure to notice their mistake in actually approving me, and kick me out. But until then, what the fuck, right? Ride the wave, baby, ride the wave.
So check out those links. Just do it after you've had your WTHWI? dose for the day. You're allowed to rub those eyeballs all over somebody else's blog, but you're coming here first, dammit. I'm an open-minded son of a bitch, but I'm not gonna be the one getting sloppy seconds, you got that? Who's yo' daddy?
Monday, September 22, 2003
Now This Is a 'Two for Tuesday'!
Three sheets to the wind, and seriously considering a fourth.
Okay, here's the story so far. I'm looking for a job. I've had three interviews.
The first was about a week and a half ago, and went really well. I liked the people, and they seemed to like me. The office was really cool, and the work is exciting and cutting-edge. Everybody that I've talked to about my interviews gets jazzed about this one.
The second interview... well, if you're interested in the second one, read this. It'll tell you just about everything you need to know about that experience. But really, it went okay. I got along well with everybody, and I think the work would be pretty interesting, though this job does have some 'maintenance' and 'jack of all trades' responsibilities that don't exactly grease my pole, if you know what I mean. But onto every pants crotch a little water must spill, as they say. So I'd be willing to take the boring with the good, if it comes down to that.
The third interview was just this past Friday, and it was dismal, at least towards the end. I was asked all sorts of technical questions, and I mumbled, grumbled, fumbled, stumbled my way through it, all the while eyeballing the window behind me and wondering whether I could survive a three-story drop. Really, it wasn't cool. The first part went okay, and the work would be pretty interesting, but they probably weren't convinced that I could speak English by the end of it, much less do the complicated sorts of things that are on my resume.
So, today one of these places called me back for a second interview. This is very exciting, of course, as it means that I may finally have been deemed 'employable' again, after two-plus months of looking. And it's nice to be wanted. Ask any porn star.
But the thirty-two thousand dollar question is: can you name the company that called me? Is it number one, number two, or number three? Let's review, just once more:
Number one: Did well enough on the phone interview to warrant a face-to-face meeting the same day. Thought I did well, and everybody digs these guys.
Number two: Have an 'inside person' -- a friend of my wife's -- who put in a good word for me, and felt like I aced all the hard questions the interviewers threw my way.
Number three: Got the interview more or less randomly (through a friend of a friend), and pretty much bombed the part where they tested my in-depth knowledge of the technology they use. Had to admit more than once that, 'Sorry, I just don't know.'
So, again, who do you think called me back?
That's right, number three. Sheesh. What a country.
So, I'm going tomorrow to meet with four more people. Until I get there and have a normal interview, I'm not going to be thoroughly convinced that they're not just calling me back to laugh at my answers from Friday. Maybe they had me on Candid Camera or something. But, assuming it's on the up-and-up, I'll give it the old college try. Hell, if they're still interested, then I suppose I am, too.
(This feels a little bit like getting hammered on your first date with someone, and them still calling you the next day. I mean, sure, they said they'd call, but you just knew they were only saying that. You were pretty drunk, after all, you dog, you. You even got a little frisky there on the ride home, didn't you? Until you started feeling sick and had to lie down in the back seat, that is. Man, why did they call you back, anyway? You're such a hoser!
Um, anyway, I guess it could have been worse. I'd say I was figuratively drunk and incoherent, but I don't think I proverbially puked in their lap and then asked for tongue in the goodnight kiss. Proverbial tongue, of course. I even redeemed myself a bit right at the very end. But still -- I didn't really expect to be hearing from these folks anytime soon. So this is quite the surprise.)
Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I sent a nudgy email to the number one company, fishing for some info, and got... nothing. Nada. Zilch. Crickets. Granted, I only sent the email this afternoon, so there are plenty of good reasons why I haven't heard back yet, and oodles of opportunities for them to get back to me. Still, if they don't, then I don't know what the hell to think. Maybe I showed up drunk to that interview, and only thought it went well. Who knows? I'm just ridin' the wave, kids -- I'll let you know where the fuck I am once I get there. I just hope the natives turn out to be friendly. Eep.
In other news, I'm happy to say that, surprisingly, a second interview is not the most exciting thing that's going to happen to me tomorrow. Maybe it should be, given the lukewarm job prospects I've had lately, but frankly, it's not. Normally, it would be, but tomorrow, it isn't. That's just the way the cookie bounces.
For you see, tomorrow is day one of the class I signed up for, namely 'Standup Comedy 101'. Or whatever the hell it's called. 'How to Be Funny in Twelve Easy Steps'? 'Hilarity for Dummies'? 'Learning from Ray Romano's Rather Public Comedic Mistakes'? Really, I'm not sure what the name is, just that I'm pretty psyched about it. (And you should be, too, people. If I learn anything, maybe this shit will magically get funny one day. Just don't hold your breath, all right? I'm not makin' any promises over here.)
So. we'll see how that goes, too. Surely, the class will be good for some blogging hilarity, even if I'm just relaying how funny all the other people in class are. ('Not necessarily. And don't call me Shirley.' See? Look -- hilarity! I'm funnier already! Woo hoo!)
Anyway, I'll report on both events tomorrow or the next day. Hey, maybe they'll both be noteworthy, and I'll have an idea backlog for the first time in forever. That'd be cool -- this 'making shit up as you go along' crap is for the birds. (Swallows, specifically, but I hate to mention them when I don't need to. It gets the kids out there all giggly -- 'He said, swallows'. You know who you are.)
So it looks like tomorrow's going to be a full day. (Well, if you can call any day that gets started around twelve-thirty in the afternoon 'full'. I gots to have my beauty rest, you know.) But it'll certainly be interesting. To me, anyway. Maybe to you, too -- who knows? You'll most likely find out if you tune in over the next couple of days, because -- since I've got nothing else lined up -- I'm probably going to write all about it. It's either that or the gunk that comes out of my navel, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to hear about that.
(Man, if only this were a photoblog. Then we'd have a gunk display. Hell, I'd have a whole 'Gallery o' Gunk'. I'd post up the navel shit, and the between-toe shit -- maybe even some inside-the-ear shit, if I've got any of that handy. (Or, more likely, Q-tippy.)
But I wouldn't stop there. Oh, no -- that's just the beginning of the gunk funk I'd throw down. I'd find you some shower-wall gunk, and under-the-fridge gunk, and crusty toothpaste-lid gunk. I'd snap pictures of all sorts of kitchen gunk and bathroom gunk and body cavity gunk. I could classify them by location, and color, and consistency, and what kind of face the dog makes when I make her smell each kind. (Hey, I'm not gonna do it myself. Damn, people, I'm an artist and all, but that's just wrong. Smelling my own gunk... please! What kind of pervert do you take me for?))
So, I think I'm off to bed to get my snoozies and rest up for tomorrow's big fun. Hopefully, I'll end up with lots of good stuff to tell you about from my interview and my class, and we'll all have a good chuckle together. A larf. A tickle, but not in an aggressive, sexual way. You know, unless you're into that sort of thing. (Where you put your mouse when you're reading this stuff is really no business of mine, when you get right down to it.)
And so, good night, sweet readers. I'll be back tomorrow, just like every day, to bring you a little sunshine. (And piss and vinegar, and maybe even some bratwurst. But not all in the same bowl. That wouldn't be tasty.) Until then, sleep well and wish me luck in my two big adventures tomorrow. With any luck, they'll both kick ass. How cool would that be, eh? Not only will I learn to be funny, but I'll land a new job, so I'll actually have real material to write about! Christ, I won't even know how to act.
Yeah, I'd definitely better go to bed; I'm starting to get giddy just thinking about it. I'm gonna go lie down now. I'll fill you in tomorrow. G'night!
Sunday, September 21, 2003
A Tie By Any Other Name Would Still Be a Damned Stupid Idea
Baring my soul... because baring the good stuff would get me thrown in jail.
Have you ever stopped to think about some of the ridiculous shit that we do, without batting an eyelash, just because other people do it?
And I'm not talking about the really stupid, 'go along with the herd' mindless shit here, like buying a Ford Taurus (didn't do it), or learning to like tofu (not going to do it), or watching that Chicago movie. (Damn. Did it.)
I'm talking about more basic, general, everyday things. Conventions that we follow because we don't know how not to, or because we'd feel stupid if we didn't, or simply because we're too lazy to stop following. These are things that don't seem odd to us, because we and everyone around us has been doing them for so long. But when you take a long, deep breath and sit in a comfy chair to think about them for a bit -- I mean, think really hard -- many of them turn out to be a lot of foolish nonsense. 'Horsefeathers!', as my grandpa would say.
(Of course, we're not really sure what he means when he says this, as it's usually exclaimed at rather inappropriate times, and seemingly randomly. Otherwise, he's relatively normal, but he's got this Rain Man thing going on with 'horsefeathers'. He'll say it at dinner, while watching TV, when he's carrying on a conversation... I think it's his version of 'shit', to be honest. One of those all-purpose words that can be used to mean just about anything, if it's inflected just the right way.
Except that he's not bothering to inflect any more, so none of us know what the fuck he's trying to get across when we run into yet another 'horsefeathers' in our dealings with him. Just imagine someone walking around, saying 'shit' to reflect all of the appropriate sentiments. For instance:
'Aw, shit.' really means: 'I'm disappointed.'
'Well, shit.' really means: 'I really thought that was going to work. Back to the drawing board.'
'Oh, shit.' really means: 'I just dropped something of high value or extreme breakability, or both.'
'Oh, shit!' really means: 'I suddenly remembered something that's going to make me look like a moron!'
'Oh, shit!!' really means: 'That monster/tsunami/angry mob/bear/Celine Dion impersonator is heading right for us!!'
'Shii-iiit, man.' really means: 'Wow, this is good! We should eat/drink/watch/smoke/steal more of this in future.'
'Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!' really means: 'The table! On my foot! It really hurts! Get it off! Please!'
'Shit, fool!' really means: 'You must be joking! (And I must be watching A-Team reruns again.)'
Now, imagine someone in all of these situations, and more, just deadpanning:
That's my grandfather's 'Horsefeathers.' So we really have no frigging clue what he's trying to tell us. Maybe it never means 'hogwash', as I indicated above. Who the hell knows? I just felt like telling you this story, so I found a way to sneak it in. Don't you feel used now?)
All right, where was I going with all of this, anyway? Ah, the foolishness of our conventions. Okay, stick with me here.
So, an example. I've been interviewing for jobs lately, right? (Yes, it's right. You can trust me, or you can look it up. Really, it's up to you. I won't be mad if you don't believe me. Nobody ever believes me.)
Anyway, I've been visiting prospective employers over the past couple of weeks. And I've decided, as most people in my situation do, to dress up for these little trips. I wear nice khaki pants, and a button-down shirt, and my nice, not-yet-broken-in loafers. And a tie, which is the ridiculous part that I want to
aimlessly bitch about discuss.
Now, I know ties have been around since before I was born, and they're a standard, well-accepted component of the business dress code. But hear me out, all right? Just think about ties for a moment. Take a fresh look at ties, as though you'd never seen one before. As a matter of fact, let's do this. Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that you're from another planet. Your species is a bunch of spacefaring big ugly green Jell-o-mold-looking lumpy naked blobs. Let's just say that.
(And no, I'm not trying to say that you're really ugly, lumpy, or blobby. You're almost certainly not green, and there's a fair chance that you're also not from outer space. So don't take any of this personally. I just need you to be non-human and non-clothes-wearing for a few minutes, okay? I suppose you could have been a hyperintelligent bird, or some sentient cat or dog type of species, but I went with the Jell-o thing. Maybe it's because I'm hungry; I don't really know. Just work with me here -- you can go back to your non-naked humanness soon.
On the other hand, if you really are a green gelatinous monster from outer space, then this next bit will make perfect sense to you. Funny coincidence that you should tune in just as I'm using you as an example. Nice timing, dude.
Oh, and as long as I'm at it -- if you're neither a walking, talking, spaceship-flying Jell-o mold nor a clothes-wearing human, then you're probably not going to get much out of this. Either you're some other species that wears clothes -- quite possibly including ties -- and so your view will be skewed, or you're a non-clothes-wearing human. In which case, that's kind of gross. You're sitting there all naked, reading my blog. I'm a little disgusted, I have to admit. And yet -- strangely excited. Is that wrong?)
All right. Let's just say you're the Jell-o thingamabob. And you wiggle and jiggle your way down to earth in your Puddingmobile or whatever the hell you fly around in, and you run into a bunch of people. And they're wearing these things all over themselves, and it just makes no sense to you. So, being an inquisitive blobby bunch of green goo, you ask. What, pray tell, could be the purpose for these things called 'clothes'?
And so, the people tell you. (Unless you had the misfortune to land in Manhattan, in which case, they'd probably just punch you and steal your space watch. So let's assume that's not where you landed.) They tell you that in a lot of cases, we wear clothes to keep ourselves warm, and to protect ourselves from the elements and cuts and scrapes and things like that. So, long pants and parkas and gloves and woolly socks start to make some sense to you. Fine.
The nice folks go on to tell you that there's also a question of sanitation, and that we humans don't have the option of gathering up all our waste products and budding them off in a big green quivering pile of poo. Plus, some of our more interesting (and unsanitary, as it turns out) bits need support, to make us more comfortable and keep us injury-free. And so boxers and panties and bras and jock straps and most of the other undergarments begin to have some meaning for you. You're probably still scratching your Jell-o head over the whole notion of crotchless edible underwear, but eventually, someone will probably explain that to you, as well. That's a whole 'nother story.
But eventually, you get taken through pretty much the whole gamut of apparel and accessories. Shoes protect our feet. Hats keep us warm, or they protect us from sun or rain or wind. Pants give us pockets to carry things in, and thick flannel shirts allow us to easily identify the Canadians. Every garment has a purpose.
Except for one, of course. The tie. You ask about the tie, and people say that businesspeople wear ties when they meet each other, and when they do business with one another, and when they get together at fancy restaurants that the rest of us can't get into. (Don't wanna go there, anyway. Stupid poopy restaurants. Humph.) And so, you ask why they wear them. Do they exchange ties while doing business? Well, no, not normally. Are they used to display their company's logos or information, like a flag or advertisement? Um, they can be, but that's usually not the point.
Well, then, what the hell are they for, you ask. They seem to be uncomfortable, all squeezed up around your delicate necks like that. They're a nuisance to put on, generally not very attractive, and they tend to flap around and attract bits of food or dirt that has to be washed off. Or they simply dip themselves into soups and drinks and plates of spaghetti, none of which seem to be desirable. So really, the green gooey 'you' would posit, what the hell is the point?
And that's my question, as well. How the deuce did this little sham get started, and what the fuck was the guy thinking who got it off the ground? And frankly, how did it ever rise in popularity? Let's play pretend again, just for a second.
(Don't worry; I promise you're done being green and sloppy. For the purposes of this blog, anyway. If you're green and sloppy in real life, then I'm afraid there's not a lot I can do for you. You may need professional help. Just try and keep that shit off the keyboard, okay?)
So this time, let's pretend that you're you, right now in the present day, but that ties have only just been invented. So you've been wearing whatever it is you wear up to this point, but no ties. They simply didn't exist until right now. And the guy -- oh, it must have been a guy that invented them; they're just too fucking sinister for a woman to have dreamed up -- who invented the tie is hanging out with you, telling you all about his new idea. Now, I don't know about you, but if it were me, the conversation would probably go something like this:
Crackpot inventor: Hey, you wanna hear about my new idea? It's gonna be huge.
Crackpot inventor: Okay, here's the deal. You know how businesspeople -- bankers and lawyers and all that -- always dress up, right?
Crackpot inventor: They put on nice shirts, and slacks, and nice shoes, right?
Me: Yep, that sounds about right.
Crackpot inventor: And we regular people do the same thing, when we're going to a wedding or funeral, or even a big meeting or something, right?
Me: Yeah, that's right.
Crackpot inventor: Okay, so here's my idea. How about, when we dress up for these special occasions, we tie a big cloth loop around our necks?
Me: Um, like a noose?
Crackpot inventor: No, no, not a noose. It's called a 'tie'.
Me: A tie?
Crackpot inventor: Yep.
Me: That you 'tie' around your neck?
Crackpot inventor: That's right.
Me: So, a big hunk of fabric tied in a knot around your neck, when you want to look nice.
Crackpot inventor: That's it.
Me: But it's not a noose.
Crackpot inventor: Right.
Me: And it's not a scarf.
Crackpot inventor: Right.
Me: It's a 'tie'.
Crackpot inventor: You got it!
Me: Um... and what's the reason for wearing this 'tie' thingy?
Crackpot inventor: Well, it'll make you look better.
Me: I see. And will it be comfortable?
Crackpot inventor: Oh, no. It'll fit tight around your neck, like a big choker chain. It'll take some getting used to, definitely.
Me: Mmm-hmmm. And will it be easy to tie?
Crackpot inventor: Well... no. It'll require a rather complicated knot. Something that fathers will have to teach their children over the course of a few years.
Me: Ah. But there'll be just one way to tie the things, right?
Crackpot inventor: One? Oh, heavens, no. There will be dozens of ways to tie these ties. That's part of the fun!
Me: The fun?
Crackpot inventor: Yep. Fun.
Me: So, let me make sure I've got this right. You've invented these things called 'ties'.
Crackpot inventor: Yep.
Me: That we're supposed to tie around our necks, whenever we want to look good.
Crackpot inventor: You got it.
Me: And we'll feel like we're being choked by the thing for as long as we have it on.
Crackpot inventor: Yeppers.
Me: And we'll have to learn how to tie the thing, and then quite possibly re-learn some new way later on, or even know five or six ways of tying the things, just to be safe.
Crackpot inventor: That's it.
Me: And everybody's going to do this?
Crackpot inventor: Sure. Everybody who's anybody.
Me: For no practical reason whatsoever.
Crackpot inventor: That's right.
Me: And people will buy these things at thirty, fifty, even a hundred dollars?
Crackpot inventor: Oh, yes. Some people will pay whatever it takes for a good tie.
Me: I see. And we regular Joes will end up wearing these things, too?
Crackpot inventor: Sure. Some people are gonna have them on every day.
Me: Every day.
Crackpot inventor: Yep.
Me: That's the plan, is it?
Crackpot inventor: Sure is.
It's at this point that I'd find something close by to use to bludgeon him to death. Seriously, no jury would convict me, if only they knew of his diabolical plan. I mean, it's crazy, right? Walking around with nooses around our necks all day, and paying out the nose for the privilege to do so. It's fucking ludicrous. But we put up with it -- even accept it -- because the idea's been around forever, and everyone else is already on board. And so, we follow suit. What choice do we have?
Anyway, I just wanted to point out that we do these things all the time. We're constantly doing things that make no rational sense, and in a lot of cases, there's really no better option. We'd be shunned, or pointed and laughed at, if we tried to buck the system on some of these issues, including not wearing a tie when a tie is expected. And so, even though I know what I do to be irrational, I put one on myself for interviews, weddings, and the like. I just don't see another way.
So at least be on the lookout for these quirks of modern-day society. Maybe you can't change the world and make things right, but at least you can be a little bit smarter than the sheep around you. You can wear your tie ironically, for instance. Wear one with smiley faces, or tied backwards, or only six inches long. Sure, it might stand out a bit, but you'll be jabbing at the convention while still following it -- you can conquer from within the system, and that's a beautiful thing. And maybe others will see your example, and begin to wonder themselves why we're following such fucked-up rigid standards, and things will finally start to change.
Unfortunately, there's not much I can do to help in this particular fight at the moment. When I strap on a tie these days, it's usually to beg for a job. So I don't really have a lot of leverage; I sort of have to go with the flow. That doesn't mean I'm not fighting the good fight, though. I've just chosen to wage a different battle on unreasonable convention, that's all. Thus, I've decided to wear my crotchless edible undies all day, every day. Who says they have to be 'novelty wear', anyway? They're not just for breakfast and pornos any more! Sure, after a couple of hours, there's a little melting that occurs, but I'm willing to put up with a little discomfort to make my stand. Join with me, brothers and sisters. (But, um, really, mainly sisters, frankly? Sorry, guys.) Vive la revolution!