Monday, December 28, 2009

(un)Friendly drunken X-mas tips

I've heard two different comedians comment on something in the past few days, and have heard SHITLOADS of "normal" people also mention this over the past years. I normally don't correct this sort of thing, (hahahahhahaha yes, this is the one thing I'm not a pedantic twat about) but I figured since he's the reason for the season, we should talk about Constantinople Jesus.

Dear Dumb Shit Christians* Who Complain About X-Mas taking the "Christ" out of Christmas - It is called X-Mas because X is the greek symbol "Chi" which is the first Greek letter of Christ.
It's not us atheists pissing on your pagan holiday substitution for Saturnalia.
Constantine is fucking with you, yo.

I'm very tired of the majority religion (Christianity) attempting to adopt a persecution complex in this country. You Are Not Persecuted. I've never worked for a company since graduating college that required me to work on Christmas.
I've only had Yom Kippur off if I've requested it myself**.
I'm not spending my money on political organizations to prevent Shar'iah law; I'm giving money to the ACLU*** to protect gay rights and a woman's right to choose. These battles are fought because Christians have defined the battleground.
And fuck you for doing so.
In your quest to prevent gays from happiness, you've forgotten what agape means. We're all worms according to your God; fruit of the knowledge of good and evil assure us of that.
But no, you're fucking better than the gays.

Cry about the war on Christmas. Whine about the secular takeover of America.
And do it all married up, because some animals are more equal than others, piggies.

In vino, veritas.

*Not all Christians are dumb shits. Even if most of you are, you're on par with the secular/other religious community. Dumb shititude is found aplenty in all races and creeds***.

** Never took it off to atone. FYI.

*** Admittedly, it's been a while since I gave them money. Sort of a hypocrite right now. Alcohol!

****Look at this blog for multiple examples of what an atheist Irish know-it-all prick dumb-shit looks like

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Night's All Right

Last night I made some headway on a couple of bits.
Still frustrated that my holiday-inspired Santa bit (ok technically it's about the Egyptian plagues but the punchline has the word Santa in it) is not working at all.
Well, the punchline's not working. The theoretical payoff.
The exposition to get us there is filled with little quips that seem to work, but the whole thing's ending not with a bang, but a whimper.

The sets this week have been good. Been in the moment more than I have been in a while, and it's allowed some stinkers but also some goodness.
I'll start recording soon; I hate hate hate watching myself (even the Comcast Open Mic where I killed) so it's going to be a real exercise in pain.

Cindy Cornelsen said something wonderful last night that I have to remind myself of nowadays: Open Mics aren't supposed to be fun, they're work. They're the dues/whatever that you're paying to get better.

I keep forgetting that. It's work. If I want to do this I should treat it as a job, not a dalliance. Otherwise I'm just shitting on the mic and not taking it seriously.

Tonight is also work, but it will be entertaining. Stop on by.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simple Math

Some simple math here.
16 comics * 5 minutes each + 5 minutes for a hostess for a show that starts at 9 means I'll be getting up around 10:30, in time to go home with my wife still awake.

Lineup shifts a bit and suddenly the math is 20 * 5 + 5 = 10:50 PM which is really damn close to when I turn into a pumpkin. But doable, so I stuck around.

When I was put up around 11:20 to a shit room, joy filled my heart. This must be the dues I've been hearing about, and I'm happy to pay them.

I'd say NEVER AGAIN but they have $2 Bell's drafts so I may end up there just for the ridiculously cheap beer.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My favorite passage in Infinite Jest

I've been thinking about this book a fair amount lately; its affect on me is akin to the Wire's. . . . things stir memories, and I mull over the details.

IJ was probably the hardest book I've ever read; it required an attentiveness I rarely lend to fiction. Labyrinthine multi-paged footnotes.
A chronology that doesn't make sense until 2/3 of the way through the book - is the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment before or after the Year of the Whopper?
Tough reading.
Very powerful. Most of the book hits me on some level or another, and recommend it to anyone who's got the fortitude to plow through 900+ pages of meandering genius.

This was one of the passages that blew me away. It's between the tennis coach (a wonderful character in his own right) and one of the boys at Enfield Tennis Academy, LaMont Chu.
The tennis coach speaks first.
“You burn to have your photograph in a tennis magazine.”

“I’m afraid so.”

“Why again exactly, now?”

“I guess to be felt about as I feel about those players with their pictures in magazines.”


“Why? I guess to give my life some sort of meaning, Lyle.”

“And how would this do this again?”

“Lyle, I don’t know. I do not know. It just does. Would. Why else would I burn like this, clip secret pictures, not take risks, not sleep or pee?”

“You feel these men with their photographs in magazines care deeply about having their photographs in magazines. Derive immense meaning.”

“I do. They must. I would. Else why would I burn like this to feel as they feel?”

“The meaning they feel, you mean. From the fame.”

“Lyle, don’t they?”

“LaMont, perhaps they did at first. The first photograph, the first magazine, the gratified surge, the seeing themselves as others see them, the hagiography of image, perhaps. Perhaps the first time: enjoyment. After that, do you trust me, trust me: they do not feel what you burn for. After the first surge, they care only that their photographs seem awkward or unflattering, or untrue, or that their privacy, this thing you burn to escape, what they call their privacy is being violated. Something changes. After the first photograph has been in a magazine, the famous men do not enjoy their photographs in magazines so much as they fear that their photographs will cease to appear in magazines. They are trapped, just as you are.”

“Is this supposed to be good news? This is awful news.”

“LaMont, are you willing to listen to a Remark about what is true?”


“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”

“Maybe I ought to be getting back.”

“LaMont, the world is very old. You have been snared by something untrue. You are deluded. But this is good news. You have been snared by the delusion that envy has a reciprocal. You assume that there is a flip-side to your painful envy of Michael Chang: namely Michael Chang’s enjoyable feeling of being-envied-by-LaMont-Chu. No such animal.”


“You burn with hunger for food that does not exist.”

“This is good news?”

“It is the truth. To be envied, admired, is not a feeling. Nor is fame a feeling. There are feelings associated with fame, but few of them are any more enjoyable than the feelings associated with envy of fame.”

“The burning doesn’t go away?”

“What fire dies when you feed it? It is not fame itself they wish to deny you here. Trust them. There is much fear in fame. Terrible and heavy fear to be pulled and held, carried. Perhaps they want only to keep it off you until you weigh enough to pull toward yourself.”

“Would I sound ungrateful if I said this doesn’t make me feel very much better at all?”

“LaMont, the truth is that the world is incredibly, incredibly, unbelievably old. You suffer with the stunted desire caused by one of its oldest lies. Do not believe the photographs. Fame is not the exit from any cage.”

“So I’m stuck in the cage from either side. Fame or tortured envy of fame. There’s no way out.”

“You might consider how escape from a cage must surely require, foremost, awareness of the fact of the cage.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Living With A Monster, part 1

Most drives were innocent enough; a family going out to run errands. Shopping, or dropping one of us off at an after-school activity. Karate, soccer. Things parents send their kids to hoping to teach self discipline and teamwork.
This day was warm, spring giving way to summer.
The car windows slid up smoothly, thumping home to seal us in.
It just played at the back of our heads first; a skunk on the road? The sickly sweet smell of decay from far away? Had our father protected us from something with his superior sense of smell?

Dad grinned, and flicked the windows-lock shut.

The smell worsened. Rotten eggs, sulfur. Budweiser and hotdogs with onions, 2 days later. Bits of them hanging on inside a small intestine as bacteria feasted, emitting their own wastes that were taken up by our father's own waste management system and hurled forth from his buttocks into the hermetically sealed cabin of our Ford Taurus.

It's the laughter that hurt the most. We choked and mashed our window open buttons uselessly; that route of escape was shut off from us by the fart monster.

Long road trips were drives of inevitabilty; the excitement of "hey we're going to visit family in New York!" was tempered with the knowledge that by 8 hours into the road trip, one of us will have passed out from methane poisoining at least once.

Years later, my brother and I lived together. He lived in the basement, I upstairs.
Early morning, and I go to the shared bathroom.
The smell hit me as soon as I opened the door to the basement.
I'd read about septic tank leaks killing whole families; I'd obviously caught the beginning. "Steve?" I yelled down into the basement, fearing he'd succumbed to the biohazard.
"Are you ok? It smells like a sewage leak."
Low laughter greeted me.
Like father, like son.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Comedy Dates

couple of new ones for december hanging out in that thar calendar widget on the right.
Clickety clickety for info.
Depending on your persuasion, we've got me emceeing an improv show @ Ginger's next week, or a suburb gig in S Barrington the following week, or the politically bent Accountants of Homeland Security on the 21st.

I will probably tell the same jokes at all of them, barring any fancy new life experiences that may happen.
Improv set will be more loose because they reward longer walks.

Either way, I'll be outspoken against slavery in all three shows. And it's not just a bit - I'm really against slavery.
Letting you know I walk the walk.

JB - Taking Tough Stands Since Late 2009

Another Thanksgiving bites the dust

Good times. Quick hits:
I spent some time with kids this weekend. Some of the most fun you can give a kid is lifting him up over your head and throwing them around a bit. Even if they're crying and screaming, "put me down!", they're still storing up the memories for later fond remembrance.
And if they're not and I'm traumatizing them, well, maybe next time you'll keep your stupid germs to yourself.

I also like scaring them when they're real little. It's the only time you can really get them to love being scared. Or hate it. Hey, I'm not a doctor and they should stop being such crybabies.

Did I mention the kids got me sick? They did.

Other fun stuff:
Been playing Race For The Galaxy non-stop with my wife. It took her a long time to get it but I think she beat my ass the last two times we played it.
A seriously hideous learning curve, everything is self-contained on the cards in its own icon-based language. It's elegant once you "get" it, but until then reading cards is like attempting to read a native american map. (You can't do it because you can't speak Spanish! Also, they mapped over time AND space so they tell stories. Also they were not into three dimensions.)

I picked it up very quickly because in essence I was learning a new "set" in Magic The Gathering. A new set of mechanics, some card interactions, and a board of on average 10 cards and I'm ready to go.
Also, seriously: Abandoned Alien Colony is a card, as is Pirate World.
My wife, that's who.

But she got it. I'm happy she stuck with it, because GOOD sci-fi based board games are rare or very expensive (Space Hulk, I'm looking at you)

Now how do I teach another 15 people to play it?!
I know: water boarding.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tales of a poorly cooked turkey.

"Honey, which side is breast-up?"

That was the first question of many dumb, dumb turkey questions asked today.
We'd brined the turkey overnight, and rinsed it off in the morning. We'd read at least a dozen different ways of cooking a brined turkey - breast side up, no breast side down, no turn it every 15 minutes for the first hour for even browning, no baste it with butter an hour in, no slit the skin and slide two sticks of butter under the skin, no cook it at 500 degrees for a half hour and then drop the temperature down, no you have to grill it or it's a fraud.

This is the problem with the internet: So many voices, not enough experts. And certainly no way to tell if someone IS an expert. (It's easy to tell when they're not - their names will phonetically spell curse words or indicate sexual prowess)

We settled on a happy medium: cook it for an hour breast down, baste with butter. Cook another hour then flip to breast up for the last hour.

The weirdest part about our turkey: no neck! Didn't see neck one! So that step was wrong on all of the instruction sheets. They all said:
Step (1) - remove giblets and neck
But we only found giblets.
3.5 hours later, though, I found the neck shoved in the turkey's ass.

That's also when I handed the bird over to the father-in-law to carve. (years of experience beats youthful enthusiasm in MY book)
Here's what makes me feel better about the realization we had then:
It took him about ten minutes and a bone-saw to figure out the turkey was breast down.
We cooked the whole damn thing backwards.
Brining, thank goodness, allows for a ton of mistakes. The turkey was delicious (and moist!) and the dinner was great.

Happy T day all; hope it turned out as good for you guys.
(side note: I have a glass splinter in my foot and a bruise the size of a baseball under my right armpit. These are the injuries my cat gave me playing with him. Jailhouse cats make SHIVS of GLASS)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The internet isn't private

This shouldn't be a new revelation to anyone, but the internet's a public place.
You post something online, and it's probably stored in a database somewhere.
I went searching for some of my old stuff for this post, and found some.
Old writings. I was disgusted with myself and abandoned the post entirely.

The fear of something being out there forever makes it harder to be honest.
OK maybe you can be honest in an Aes Sedai sort of way, but I'd rather not drive off the internet bridge with a campaign staffer in my car.
Metaphorically speaking.

But I've got to get past .7 postings a week.
This means I have to start posting pictures of kitties.

This is Lady Catterly and Vlad. They're at that window because some birds have a nest in our neighbor's vent. They stare out that window, and Lady occasionally becomes overcome with desire and starts chirping softly.

I too would prefer stories of plane crashes.

The fact of the matter is I've been spending all my free time writing jokes or playing Torchlight. Joke-writing's not adventurous.
Nor is explaining how great/bad/mediocre I did at an open mic.

You know what is adventurous? Some brotha-truckin' TORCHLIGHT PORN!
MooseSquirrel, my alchemist in Torchlight!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

.7 posts per week

That's my current benchmark according to the Google Reader. Pretty bad.
Since rule #1 about blogging is not apologizing for not writing, let's just say I'm unhappy with myself right now.

It's a horrible statistic. I think my life is better lived without hard numbers and data.
Data I'd rather not see:
floss/brush ratio
caloric intake due to liquids (soda, beer)
Workouts per week
Non-work-related websites visited at work per day (Answer: ZERO. I program holistically; all websites are work related)
Daily depreciation of my car
Pounds of undigested meat in my colon

Ignorance is blissful indeed.
Palin/Beck 2012!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Games games games

Dragon Age: Origins.
Tales of Monkey Island 4.
Team Fortress 2

These are currently my favorite things.
Three of those were released in the last couple of weeks. Here's my nutshell review:

Torchlight: Wizard needs food, badly! Steampunk diablo-clone. Fun. Hardcore (one life, no saves!) is opt-in with no need to unlock it. I forgot how much hardcore mode makes me adverse to the game, but if it exists I'm compelled to play it.
One life.
I spent a couple hours last night leveling up an alchemist and then sloppily killing myself on the last mage of a group. He was looking promising, there were only 2 or three mobs left, and I decided to play one-handed.

The funniest thing about hardcore is it puts the cost of gaming in stark relief. Gaming ultimately gets you little but RSI; I may be awesome at TF:2 (I'm not) but it means nothing.
Torchlight shows that immediately: I spent 3 hours that was immediately wasted by a few moments of inattentiveness.

Dragon Age: Origins at least has a large unfolding plot, so I can rationalize it as reading a new-fangled book-type thing.

Secrets of Monkey Island is the same, even more so. In Dragon Age, cowering from responsibility in my origin story got my cousin killed. My flub had consequences.
Monkey Island - no such plot interaction. You figure out the puzzles and enjoy the story and humor, but unless it throws us a curve-ball in act 5 I'm guessing Guybrush gets the girl, cures the pox, and LeChuck becomes evil again somehow.
I'd expect no less than the continuity of a Simpson's episode.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

frightening tales of woe

I have too many things in my systray.

I have elected to Unhide them for the time being; both Steam and Impulse (gaming services) are easier to launch from this area than launchy. That statement is technically untrue; Launchy is faster but the next command will require a mouse-click. (find game I want to play, click on it to launch)

Rambling. I don't know what possessed me to click on Glenn Beck's book on Amazon before 7 AM today; morbid curiousity compelled me to seek out the 5 star reviews and yell at the computer screen for a while.
There were some well reasoned 1 and 2 star reviews which I sought as a palate cleanser after the 4 line, 5 star "PEOPLE who want HEALTH CARE are LEACHES" Hemingway-esque masterpiece of a review.

The comments beneath each 1 star review are priceless. An army of idiots trying to prove they can argue with idiots.
MusicLover appears in a few of the low rated threads. Music Lover is the Randall Flagg of the Beck review; s/he appears in multiple forms and posts the same thing:
Hey, did you even read the book? Hmmmm? I thought not!
Here's her in another form, Uriah Heep:
sorry, sir, seems youve missed the concept here -- that is, to review products ... objectively ... that youve actually read. maybe you got lost on your way to

In almost every one-star review there's someone crying that they didn't read the book.
My all time favorite is in the best one-star review for the book. Five paragraphs of deconstructing Beck's arguments in the book, and the second review comment:
Ah. So you didn't actually read the book.

What a surprise - yet another dishonest review. Are all Beck's detractors so intellectually dishonest?

"Straw man idiot," indeed.
I love it.
Allowing comments on heavily trafficked web pages is beautiful; it gives us a window on the soul of humanity. It's an ugly window:

Monday, October 26, 2009


The remaining 6 days of my trip were spent in varying degrees of pain due to Montezuma and his poisoned waters.

Here's two words when put together, make you frown inside:
Mexican Buffet (in Mexico)

I view American buffet's standards as sketchy. Keeping internal foods at 140 degrees farenheit to prevent bacteria from forming is hard.
I know, I worked at Subway.
(Side note: I wrote "Sandwich Artist" under title for my resume coming out of college. Meant to be tongue in cheek, multiple people at my first job somehow took it seriously and referred to me as "The Artiste" behind my back)

In both buffets' defense, my wife did not get sick.

In fact, I think I know why I got sick.
I'm a mouth breather.
Not all the time, just in the shower. Can't help it.
Every morning I'd be spitting water droplets from my slack-jawed front-hole.
Those little droplets housed an army of diarreah.

We went on a few tours, saw a ton of sites, and got fleeced by the locals for all they could beg/borrow/steal. Rather than fumble through explanations, I'll just link to My Flickr Stream for Oaxaca.
Cheers, all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still in Mexico City

I forgot to mention the closing hours of the first day. The museum sits at the beginning of a huge park; in the middle of it is this castle on Grasshopper Hill.
It's Mexico, though, so it's Chapultepec.

It apparently has a very rich history which we learned nothing about because it closes at 4:30.

You're probably thinking to yourself, "It's named grasshopper hill because it's a hill made of grasshoppers, right?"
No, stupid.
It's called grasshopper hill because they eat grasshoppers.
Which I did not do. I could lie and say the opportunity never presented itself, but it did multiple times.
My hang-up is this:
If I grew up in a tourist town, tolerating stupid tourists who don't bother to learn my language, who muck up traffic, talk too loud, and spend too much money on garbage . . that's the kind of shit I'd come up with.
"Let's tell them we eat grasshoppers, it'll be funny."

p.s. I don't think it's named for eating grasshoppers but here's the wikipedia entry. It's good, gives you some perspective of the urban crush coupled with this park.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mexico Day 2: DF

Mexico City is an enormous, chaotic place. A testament to organic 20th century growth, its sprawls for miles with no method to the madness. Our friend Eric's place is on the outskirts of the beltway that surrounds the city proper. 45 minutes and 200 pesos to anywhere in the city we cared about.
Eric offered us a tour of the poor areas next time we come. It will be a driving tour, as it's too dangerous for us to walk ("rich" gringos). It may be too dangerous to even follow traffic laws.

The night we landed we cracked open some 12 year old scotch to commemorate our safe arrival and thank our guests for having us.

The following morning, we set out.

Mexico City's Museum of Anthropology was the first (and only) destination. The facility is enormous, wrapping around a central roofed courtyard. The roof is held up by a gigantic pillar.

The remnants of their 60th anniversary party (held the night prior) is in the foreground.
Normally the space surrounding the pillar is a fountain. There's a bunch of carvings symbolizing a bunch of stuff all over the pillar, but since you didn't spend 50 pesos on the voice tour, you're S.O.L.

The museum is spread over the different areas civilizations arose in Central America. The prehistoric peoples, the Olmecs, the Michoacans, the Mixtecs, the Aztecs, the Mayans, and more. Each first floor is the anthropological/archaeological stuff - finds of prehistoric peoples, the pottery/technology, and ruins.

Since I paint miniatures, this diorama was amazing to me. It's based on a fossil find of a mammoth with stone tools, indicating the mammoth was hunted and slaughtered for meat or gladiatorial sport. (WHO KNOWS!)

When looking at this diorama, you're standing over transparent glass, and below you is the recreated mammoth dig site.

I didn't get a picture of that because I'm an idiot who doesn't know about pikchurs.

Here's a picture of part of a temple in another section of the museum. Since I don't know pikshurs and the museum doesn't allow flash, I consider any picture less then slightly blurred to be an act of will surpassed only by Lance Armstrong's battles during the Tour de France.

This is one of at least 8 partial temples in this museum; most regions represented had at least part of a temple.

The rest was a blur.

We saw the famous Aztec Calendar (most famous because it flawlessly synchronizes with Microsoft Outlook, the first and last device to ever do so)

And this guy which is famous for a bunch of reasons, none of which I can remember. (I used to be SO GOOD at education, too!)

He might be the first representation in stone of King Hippo, who later rose to prominence in the NBL.

Finally, this is one of the coolest things about the Mexican cultures - a reverence to the dead, and a belief that they rose every year on Dios de Muertos.

(Central) America, Fuck Yeah!

The sheer amount of skull iconography throughout all of the cultures is fantastic.
Probably unsurprising that many were involved in human sacrifice.
Later in the trip we see both a necropolis (at Mitlan) and a place where human sacrifice definitely occurred - Teotitlan, which is now covered by (and later discovered/uncovered in) Mexico City.

edit since I'm an idiot:
Teotitlan's where we bought some rugs. I meant Tenochtitlan.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mexico Day 1: The Flight Out

My wife and I were seated in the exit rows on a 737 in the second leg of our trip - Miami to Mexico City.
737s have an annoying "feature" in the exit rows - the arm rests aren't real arm rests, but are solid block of metal containing your meal tray. Typically not a big deal, but I have massive thighs and felt a little pinched. Let's just say I was snug as a bug in a rug, provided bugs in rugs are vulnerable to blood clots.

We'd been in the air for about 2 hours. Since the flight was about 2.5 hours, it was amusing to me when the flight attendant came over the speaker and said "we were told we should review evacuation procedures with you." She told us about seat belts, and exit rows. I had a vague memory of them not doing it when we got on board, so I chalked it up to an in-flight checklist they somehow screwed up.
Pretty funny, though, them telling us about seatbelts this late in the flight.
This is obviously not necessary.

That's when they told us about crash positions.
Amusement metamorphosed into a cold trickle of fear in the back of my mind.
What's going on?
Crash positions are NOT part of my flying experience.
It has to be an emergency broadcast system sort of test. Can flight attendants do their jobs?
I looked around in confusion. Faces reflected confusion and fear. What was happening?

The captain explains the situation. The flaps are frozen in place (down) and we can't land with them. Flaps give a plane extra lift, and allows it to land at a much slower speed than without flaps. What we were going to do was basically like a person jumping out of a car at 15 mph. Yes, you can do it unhurt with some training. If I were to try it, I'd break both legs and probably eat a half pound of gravel. But we've got pilots. They've trained for this sort of thing. So I'm not going to be worried.

The flight attendant walks up.
He shows us how to open the emergency doors we sit beside to get extra legroom.
Suddenly the full burden of the responsibilities of Exit Row Passenger become clear.
What if I can't open this door? It would be just like me to break my wrist while opening the door, and somehow getting it jammed shut.
My alarm mounts.

"But look outside first. If you see fire outside the door, do not open it!"

My alarm remounts.
Fire? Now we have to make judgement calls? I'M A PASSENGER!

***flashback to right before flight, waiting to board***
CNN is playing its usual garbage; the only reason I'm watching it is because I'm addicted to staring at light emitting boxes.
They're doing a piece on how a spider walked all over the Pope and he didn't notice it, and it was all caught on film! Ha ha ha.
I can't resist being a boorish prick in front of a whole bunch of strangers, so I crack a few pope jokes in poor taste.
Wife, mortified.
Me, not quite so proud as I would have thought. Didn't get a single laugh.
Certainty in my atheism is my only salve.
*** end of flashback ***

Man, if the Catholics are right, I'm in big trouble.
My wife and I make eye contact, lock hands, and kiss. Calmness floods me. If we're crashing now, I'm happy it's with her.

we get closer to the runway, and we all assume crash positions. I've always considered myself to be inflexible, but boy, was I able to stretch in this situation. I probably injured myself trying to prevent injury. I turn my head to look out the window. We are going fast. We touch ground in what feels like a normal landing, except for the speed. It feels like the pilot is standing on the brakes; we're bleeding speed fast. I clap a couple of times because I think we've made it. (yes, I'm that guy who jinxes the whole flight. I've ruined more Michigan State football games in the third quarter by saying "cheers to another victory!" than I can count)
Seconds go by and the plane bleeds speed down to normal levels. We come to a stop, and the plane erupts with applause. Racing across the tarmac are fire engines and ambulances, lights flashing.
We've made it.

60 seconds prior, I was wishing I would live.
Now, I'm wishing that we get to use the slide. I've always wanted to use the slide.

We're towed into the gate, with no slide.

Thus begins a 9 day trip that takes us from Mexico City, through Oaxaca, and into Puebla, where we honeymooned 11 months ago.
The camera was stowed for the flight out (who thought I'd need it??!) but we took plenty of pictures of stuff.

More to come on Monday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

paradise: lost

I never wrote about my honeymoon I think.

I'm just going to share a picture from the hotel we stayed at right now, and maybe post a write-up later this week.
Could be the project my wife wants me to do. (apparently freeing Mars isn't a big enough project for her. Fascist.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

odds and ends

Red Faction: Guerrilla is awesome.
You're essentially the Taliban of Mars. The goal isn't suicide bombing, but I'm so miserable at this game I'd be better off if I COULD blow myself up on purpose. As it is, the tank shells are doing that job for me.

The single player game plays (and has been called) Grand Theft Auto: Mars.
The major difference is (and I guess it's actually the Red Faction franchise's "signature") everything can be blown up, sledgehammered, or run over.
Buildings on stilts that may as well be in Malibu - remote charge on each strut, run to a safe distance, detonate and watch the whole god-damn thing slide down the mountain. (then if you're me, try holding off the response force until they hit me in the face with a tank round)

I'd recommend taking it for a spin, lots of fun.

In non-video gaming news, I accepted a position at a company TEN MINUTES from my house, that has an average start time around 9:30 AM. I'm not mentioning names or anything since this is not supposed to relate AT ALL to my professional computer side, but I'm very excited.
My commute is moving from 2.5 hours a day (normal traffic) to .5 hours (bad traffic).
I'm looking for a bike this week so I can start biking to work like I was in high school again. (maybe get my fat IT ass into shape)
So yay me, I'm very excited.

Not much else going on. MSU Spartans disappointed me sorely from South Bend this weekend, but I got to see friends I haven't seen since the wedding. Mixed bag, that. Great friends, team so shitty I'm embarassed to wear the gear.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Getting Old

Everybody ages. Few do it gracefully, it seems.
I just saw a show air a whole piece on the plastic surgery Sylvester Stallone's bought for his mug. It troubled me on a couple levels:
  1. Why was Stallone's face considered newsworthy on ANY show? Stallone was like the bad Ahnold copycat.Rambo was Stallone's Commando, Demolition Man was his Total Recall, and Rocky was his Kindergarten Cop. (just kidding. The abortion "Stop or My Mom Will Shoot" was K Cop's doppelganger) Maybe I guess we're talking about him because of some oblique connection to America's Health Care - if rationing is imposed, who will fix Rocky's face for Rocky: Seniors Tour?
  2. I was struck by the saying, "Kill your idols" - the piece not only considered Stallone's work newsworthy, but did n the style you would expect for war crimes. Guilt was implicit, his condemnation preordained. It was one of those, "Jesus, I don't think I want to be famous" moments. Let me fall apart due to aging in private indignity.
Because I've been aging. I turned 34 this year. I'm not suffering crippling bone marrow loss or liver spots all over my body. My degradation is subtle. It's the clock in your car that stops holding onto the time, and only flashes 12:00. Your car runs fine, you can play music, nothing's really broken . . . nothing that matters anyway.
I fear what starts to go early lends insight to the kind of old person you'll become. If you start retelling stories. . . you'll end up as Abe Simpson.
I've started forgetting about my fly. I've gone sometimes half the day with it not only open, but wide open. I've been alerted to the fact more than once by a stiff breeze hitting me just right, and shame floods my soul.
Just this morning, I walked around with it down half the morning. My wife doesn't even tell me anymore (I suspect foul play).
This foreshadowing is ominous; it doesn't indicate I'll be the grandpa who hands out candies to his grandchildren, or tells boring stories that lend insight to the wacky times we live in.
This foreshadows me on the porch, paunchy and half crazed, wearing boxers and a robe with no shame at all. Yelling at cars to slow down and watch out for cats.

Admittedly, the signs could be much worse. I've only defecated as an adult when drinking has been involved.
So there's always that.

Friday, September 4, 2009

back in the saddle . . .

So I've been performing the last couple of weeks. Not much (still have a wife!) but a number greater than zero performances a week.

And I'm running into the same god damn problem I've run into every single time:
the things that make my comedy great is its subversive nature.

These ideals are orthogonal to Job Hunts and Corporate Employment.
It's neo-Orwellian these days, particularly with the tight employment market.

Here's an excerpt from a fun interview I had earlier this week:
*in the midst of salary discussions*
Them: "This position is contract to hire."
Me: "So W-2, or do you mean 1099?" (for the uninitiated, these are two tax classifications)
Them: "1099"
1099 means completely independent contractor and therefore certain "tests" apply to determine the legal status. The primary test is this: 1099s get to come and go as they please. If you're legally a 1099, you can show up when the fuck ever.
Naturally, this is my follow-up question.
Me: "So they don't mind if I set my own hours? I'm going to work 11 am to 7 pm for them."
Them: "Oh you can't do that, they'd want you starting at a specific time."
Me: "Then this isn't very legal, now, is it? Sounds to me like they're trying to save 7.5% on social security taxes."
Them: "I think this interview is over."

No shit, you fucking rapacious vultures.
Speaking of vultures - Them Crooked Vultures is a new supergroup you should check into. The best part is their new tour they said "fuck you" to New York City and skipped them entirely.
<nelson>ha ha!</nelson>

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ever since instituting a draft policy

I instituted a draft policy recently, where I survey posts prior to putting them on the internets.
This is mainly to reduce the use of Yet Another Public Apology as a tag.

The problem is I'm not publishing a fair amount of things.
It's amazing what you do when thinking of career.

I guess I'm a sell-out to the man.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good news everyone!

More potential employers researching you on the web

In case any future employers (or, hell, current) come a sniffin' around here:
This is a Comedy Blog.
Chances are you disagree with almost everything in it.

What you should marvel at is my communications skills, my flair for analogy ( e.g. ), and the amazing job I do hiding my racist viewpoints.
I could hide those viewpoints at your business if you'd like.
I'm also good at pushing broads around.

Please post any job openings in the comments.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Withdrawal Symptoms

Wife's out of town for business.
This means I'm fending for myself with food; this isn't a big deal. I'm not completely helpless without my wife.

I can procure food. Hell, I even know how to make stuff.
Normally Andrea's judging my diet, and forcing me to eat far more vegetables than somebody with incisors was ever meant to eat. So things don't get too out of control.
But she's gone, so they did.
Sunday I woke up, and ate a bowl of frosted shredded wheat. It was delicious, so I had a second.
3 or 4 hours later, it was time for lunch.
The cereal at breakfast was so delicious, I went for it again. More shredded wheat.

Since I woke up at 7 AM, it was only noon before I'd had 3+ bowls.
I was hungry again at 2. Since I thought I was eating lasagna around 8, I figured I should carbo load with some more cereal. This time I went for the maple-pecan granola. I think it's only supposed to garnish cupcakes or something, because it was more like gruel when I added milk.
Delicious, delicious gruel.

Around 5 PM I found out the lasagna plan was a bust, so I had to get more food at 7.
For some reason, I decided beer (with live yeast) and Little Caesar's Crazy Bread was a good capstone to the day's festivities.

My digestive system appreciated this sort of treatment so much that it woke me up at 3 in the morning, gurgling with delight.
I ate 8 tums from 3 to 5 am, to no avail.
At 5 I was sitting on the toilet. I sounded like some sort of hellish bagpipe, mostly air and a little spittle. I didn't know at the time, but a lightning storm was going on over the lake, and causing flickers through the bathroom skylight. It was really subtle.
Between the dump and the flickering light I kept seeing at the corners of my vision, I was certain I'd crapped myself an aneurysm.

The only thing you can do after something like that is take a shower with towels you plan on throwing away.
So I showered up and went to work, still gurgling.
(Don't worry though, I ate well today. Oatmeal and Chipotle burrito)

Tonight I expect more tortured cries from my body, and maybe an endocrine failure.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Afternoons

Douglas Adams expressed it best through Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.

Not much more to say. Monday's creeping up, waiting like a grue for night to fall.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An Onion Brief that Pays Off

Area Man Does Stuff - normally briefs are a great punchline and a mildly amusing story. This one pays off all the way. I offer kudos, Onion Writers.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Screaming Females and the Dead Weather

Sweet show last night.
Screaming Females front woman is a demonic combination of Grace Slick and Kerry King.
Band rocked.

Dead Weather's good but I agree that the singer gets sort of washed out in the supergroup's heavy sound.

Tonight I'm going to the top of the Sears Tower to stand in a glass box. This will cost me $30. It would cost $15 but I'm not waiting in line with the unwashed masses from Indiana. (get it? Masses?)

After that we're going to dine at the Publican. I assume we're going to eat the shit out of some pig. Figuratively speaking, of course.

In a third non-sequitur, the dungeons and dragons campaign is apparently stillborn, but I'm still painting dwarfs and goblins. Though right now I'm painting a Cryx Warjack.
May God have mercy on my soul.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Good, Yet Incompetent, Samaritan

A week ago Saturday was beautiful.
The only clouds were the kind that looked like animals.

This fine afternoon had neighbors out drinking pina coladas and strawberry daquiris in the backyard. My three cats are running around the yard. They pretty much work as follows:
Vlad: The youngest, he's also the most timid of the bunch. Only likes being outside if I'm outside, sticks close to the other cats or me. I've never seen him in the street.
Sylvester: The dumbest. His original name in the shelter was "Chopper". As expected, he lives most of his life through his mouth. One of his signature moves is standing in the corner of our bathroom, and scratching the tile over and over.
Lady: She's adventurous. I've found her 2 blocks over sitting in a garden. (50% chance she pooped in it) I've seen her scoot 6 feet up a tree, ears folded back on her head, look around wildly, then fall out of the tree. She's also the only meower of the bunch right now.

Mostly they just chase bugs, wander around the neighborhood, and act like little "land mines" for dog owners. (Dog owners sometimes miss the cat hiding in my too-long and needs to be cut grass. The dogs never miss them.)

This particular Saturday was exciting because a couple of bands were playing at my favorite burger joint in the city, Kuma's Corner.
Their 4th anniversary was on, and Clutch was headlining with Baroness opening for them. I was ready to head over after a pina colada.
I finish the drinks, and begin kitty wrangling.
It's easy 95% of the time; when they don't want to be caught you end up herding them towards the door.
Sometimes though, Lady goes on an adventure.

This time, I couldn't find her.

I looked from 5 PM to 7 PM before I got the text message, "Clutch is on!"
Then I muttered "fuck you, Lady" under my breath and went inside. I left both doors open until midnight, and went to each of them every half hour or so and looked around for her. Nothing. I closed the doors, turned off the lights, and went to bed.
She got out over Memorial Day as well, and was waiting at the door in the morning when I realized she was missing in the morning.
This morning, no dice. Nobody.

I walk around the block, making that kissy noise (tch tch tch tch) and calling her name softly. As I round the third corner to come home empty-handed, I notice a sign on both apartment doors.
It's 6:30 AM. I called immediately.
I called about once an hour until he called me back at noon.
His story follows.
He saw the cat poking around his yard, and he assumed (wrongly) the cat was lost. Well fed and looking well taken care of, he assumed (rightly) that she had an owner.
Being the cat lover (he owns 2 himself) and fine upstanding citizen that he is, he decides to keep an eye on the cat. Unfortunately, he'd also made plans to see a movie at 5:30 PM. Since he wanted to help but didn't want to let a cat interfere with his plans, he made the perfectly logical choice of putting Lady inside his house where she'll be safe.
He prints up signs when he gets home later that evening and puts them up at the apartment and a house or two around here. (not mine)

When he was at the movie theater, he saved a girl with the heimlich maneuver. He thought she was choking to death from a popcorn kernel. Unfortunately, she'd only inhaled a little soda. She really didn't need the 3 broken ribs from the heimlich maneuver.

OK I made up the last paragraph.
The rest was true. I'm not really sure how I feel about it.
On the one hand, he thought he was doing me a favor. That's cool. But the cat was 3 door away from my house; this wasn't even adventurous for her yet.

Also, Pitchfork is going on now. We went last night but ditched before Built to Spill. Was really cold. Jesus Lizard fucking rocked, as did Yo La Tengo. Tortoise bores me to tears. Yes they're really good musicians and probably better than me at math and counting. But it's a big yawn to me.

Here's a picture of me from Pitchfork.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Smooth Criminal
Originally uploaded by DingleBerryCrunch
I'm not going to make jokes about it or anything.
But I remembered this photo I took in Florence a few years ago.

I still find it amusing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

favorite chat interaction of the week

My friend, a crazy anti-Obama guy for reasons related almost 100% to Ron Paul (and the healthy skepticism of a comedian) is sitting on chat.
Since I know he's been slammed for his anti_obama-ness before, I open chat and text:
I forgive you for your racism

Which spawns this rant

wow you're so predictable. Carl no like Obama, Carl must be racist. Gimmme a fucking break :P:P
So does that mean you said 'ooh black guy great chance to reverse racist past must vote for him no matter what?'
I can't possibly have issues with his monetary policies, his foreign policy, his lack of experience, his voting 'present' more than 100 times to the point where Daschle lectured him and he admitted he was hiding his true opinions in order to be electable. nope! Must be racism!
ok well thanks for playing, not sure why you felt the need to bug me about something that i never said

At which point I tell him

God love Carl. Now buy his book or the black people win.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Random randomness

Sunday morning.
Up at 6:30 AM. In the gym before 7 AM. Since it's the weekend, I'm using my punch-card for the Galter Life Center instead of the usual gym by work, LA Fitness.
I'm not linking to LA Fitness because the music they pipe into the gym is so bad it causes me physical pain and anger.
It was a light workout because I hurt my neck Friday night by sleeping wrong.
Injuries from sleeping is a new development since my thirties, and not one I'm fond of. Apparently Friday night while in a sleep, I added an additional 2 pillows under my neck, allowing my head to rest at a right angle to my body. When I woke up . . . surprise! Unbelievable fucking pain.

Naturally, I forgot underwear when I went to the gym. I free-balled it home and put on underwear.
It's a very very old pair that I'm happy to say fits again without cutting off circulation. So either I'm losing weight or my penis has shrank. Too early to tell either way.

Random kitty update: We're remodelling our bathroom. The youngest one, Vlad, was terrified of the workers for the first three weeks, and hid under a bed every day until they left. About a week ago, I come home from work and he's sitting in the window, waiting for me. His head is completely covered in plaster. He'd apparently gotten over his fear of the workers long enough to stick his head into the plaster they were using, completely covering his head.
Very funny. He's frightened of buckets now, which can only be a good thing.
(incidentally, he's sitting behind me right now, ripping a box apart. He does this whenever he's thwarted. Current thwart level: 4 of 10, since I won't let him back outside)

Random gross consumerism update: I'm getting a beard trim, facial, and haircut at Truefitt and Hill. It will be outrageously expensive, but I've got a Big Day tomorrow so I'm spoiling myself a bit.
Take that, poor people.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Birfday To Me

First off, if you're coming from Melton's facebook link, welcome and thank you very much Chris! That was a very nice present.

34 today.
Job is utter hell. The big irony of it is the work part of the job is enjoyable and what I want to do. The culture, the HR department, and the general shenanigans that go on aside from the work is like a mind flayer boring into my brain.


Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual I are in transit, along with three modules that will get my player's group to level 7 or 9 or something.
Provided I don't kill them all first.
Additionally, I've cleared space in the basement and am setting up a "paint teh monstars" area so I can assemble the characters for their dungeon forays.

These are things you should only do after you're married, to stave off any desire your wife may have of reproduction. Then you can take the money that would have gone to your child's healthcare and spend it on more gaming supplies.
That's what I call win-win.

My wife disagrees. She calls it "god I married a loser."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Of course it was awesome

Leonard Cohen who must be like, 150 at this point, put on a great show last night at the Chicago Theater.
4 (COUNT THEM, FOUR) encores.
I knew two songs (Suzanne, Halleluja), but everyone else in the audience seemed to be Major Fans.
My wife's a Major Fan . . . that's why I was there.
Suzanne always reminded me of Tales of Brave Ulysses by Cream. Somebody should create a mash-up of those two songs so I can claim they stole my idea.

Chopped all my hair off yesterday; it was about 7 inches long or so. My next step is to come in late in a suit. That'll scare the shit out of my current employers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Apology, Captain Tripps (2)

One, apologies for the spoilers down below. Yes, the book was written in 1979 and there's only so far you can go with spoilers, but it was uncalled for.
Part of the beauty of books is they lie in wait, silently protecting their secrets until someone with diligence and will reveals them.
They occasionally eat your soul, but if you stay away from religious texts or those bound in human skin you're probably safe. (Spoiler Alert: The Necronomicon will eat your soul, EVEN IF YOUR NAME IS BRUCE CAMPBELL)

Since I have a policy that I do not edit even when I'm a gigantic asshole, the post below will stay. If blogger doesn't shut off javascript, I'll work on getting some spoiler tags down below to prevent casual ruination of The Stand. This is sort of a violation of my policy but in this case I feel it's the right move.

Captain Tripps - if you're smart like me, you've already spoken with a strong cohort of people at your job. You've all arranged a secret code and calling tree, and the moment the first case of Swine Flu appears in your state, every single one of you is calling in sick. You can probably get 3 or 4 "sick days" out of this pandemic scare!
Thanks Captain Tripps, for happening during the nicest season in Chicago.
If you're wondering, our code word here at my current employer is "snausages".
Mostly because they look delicious even for people.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Captain Tripps

Who isn't excited for a huge pandemic?
More importantly, who isn't excited for Stephen King's seminal work, The Stand to reappear as a relevant "what-if" scenario!
"What if a superflu destroyed America?"
"What if a homosexual arsonist found a nuclear weapon?"
"What if we blew up all of the remaining deaf-mutes?"

Without Stephen King's pregnant work The Stand, uncut, we'd never know.
I urge you to all go out and read this Nostradamus-like work.

P.s. spoiler alert up above. Nick gets totally blown up.
Also I don't think the Trashcan Man's actually gay.
But it's been a while.

I figured I had to mention Captain Tripps since my blog's name is in part drawn from Stephen King's late term abortion The Stand as well as Watership Down.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in a decade
-Tony Robbins
First off, apologies for quoting someone with such a Mephistophelean smile. He's obviously up to no good, and is shilling self-help along with it.

But that quote seems to ring true. Or if it doesn't ring true, now is a good time to start talking about ten years from now.
I think that's something you really don't get in your twenties - the actual scope of time. Face it - you've been alive for 2.x decades but chances are there's been less than 5 years of true autonomy.
Most of your life in your twenties are coming to grip that you're officially rudderless and adrift - no longer are you setting your course by some other captain. It's all yours, baby.

Take all the rope you need, and try not to fashion a noose.

I feel like I just completed my first decade of true autonomy. I graduated college at approximately 23, and spent the next ten years doing my thing. Didn't have 10 year plans, nor 5 year plans even. Just had a "I don't want to do what I do for a living forever" feeling in my head.

I tried out standup. I bombed for 3 months straight but at the time I wanted to do nothing more than comedy.
Now, I'm not so sure.
Part of this is me seething with resentment at not getting an audition for Just for Laughs at any of the three showcases I was aware were having them.
Part of it is not having calls returned when I'm trying to figure out how to get booked at X and Y room.
Most of it though, is taking the above two items personally. I know they're not. Show business is a tough business even if you're good.
If you're not persistent, if you have any other option but comedy, chances are you're going to drop the whole comedy route. (also, I didn't ask anyone FOR an audition; I was ignorant they were happening but I also didn't ask anyone. My fault.)

Which is basically the conundrum. The horns of a dillemma.
What is the thing I want to spend the next decade getting really good at? What do I want to become an expert in? Comedy? Writing? Technical Development?
What's the job I want to grow into so it doesn't feel like I have a job?

What's the end game of any of these goals?

I don't know the answer, but I should probably figure it out damn soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sometimes the bar eats you

Said at work this week, in hyperbole: "If I could only do X all day, I'd be a happy camper!"
Boss grins widely: "I'll be right back, I have another project for you!"

In this case, X was bash scripting. But it could have been anything; I was asking for trouble.

Even if it's something lots of fun, there's some aspect of it that's horrible.
"If I could only write purchase orders all day, I'd be a happy camper!"
Boss: "Great, because we need these individually cut, one per box of paper clips. We can't automate it because you need to increment this flyer with the number of paperclips in the PO"

"If I could just write jokes all day, I'd be a happy camper!"
Boss: "Great, we need you to write all the quips for these America's Funniest Home Videos. Make sure they're hilarious, but PG rated!"

"If I could just get blowjobs all day, I'd be a happy camper!"
Boss: "John, meet Michael."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Free Samples!

Here's the set I performed last August for Comcast OnDemand. It says Open Mic but it's really a showcase where all I had to do was bring 5 people and pay $30 to get my DVD!!!

My first TV credit was the equivalent of losing my virginity via gang rape. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Check it out - TwitterFeed

JSpector on Twitter linked to an URL about getting "people who matter to follow you" on Twitter. I don't really care much for that sort of thing.
I really don't get Twitter - it's stupid and trivial.
But if I don't set an example of entertaining things that are stupid and trivial, nobody would follow my lead and my blog would have ZERO readers instead of 3.

Anyway, there's a helluva gem in this article:

With twitterfeed, you can set up your twitter (and other) accounts to monitor your blog's RSS feed, so when you post to your blog it adds a new tweet with the link to the blog post automagically.
This solves the whole problem of "how do I let facebook people know I write blogs, without annoying the shit out of them?" Ok, it doesn't really solve that problem since it still annoys the shit out of them, but it doesn't force ME to do anything extra, therefore NOT annoying the shit out of me.

I swear too much.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Disposable Lens Wipes

I use disposable lens wipes to clean my glasses at work; I bought a 30 pack to give them a month or two ago, and use a couple a week to keep my glasses clean.

They're pretty cool - kind of like a wet nap for your filthy lenses. The downside is you really need a lens rag to wipe up after them, or you get a bit of streaking.

But really, who gives a shit if they're effective? The real key is that any time I open one of them up, the fumes hit me and I can't help of thinking about ether.
There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible than a man in the depths of an ether binge. - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
If that's not a ringing endorsement. . .

So every morning I open one of these up to clean my glasses, I just want to bury my face in it and breathe deep. The only thing that stops me is the fact that there's no "if you concentrate and inhale these contents you may die" warning anywhere on the packaging. (Pro tip: That's how you can tell if an inhalant will work - shitloads of warnings against it. It will get you REALLY HIGH if it's got warnings. Or it will melt your lungs and you'll drown in your own blood. Don't say I didn't warn you.)
So far I've resisted since inhaling isopropyl alcohol doesn't seem to be something to really get you off. But god damn I need something to get me through the days at work in these troubled times.

Currently the way I'm getting through is with Black Mountain's In The Future. It'll have to do until I can smuggle in a jar of ether and some rags.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feel good story of the year

Stanford was ripped off by Madoff
How is that not fucking fantastic?
It blows my mind. You're busy ripping off a bunch of people in your own ponzi scheme, and don't question this "too-good-to-be-true" investment?

It's just too rich for words.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

MicroCenter Update

So about a month ago I complained about BestBuy and MicroCenter.
MicroCenter actually read the blog, and a customer service rep contacted me to make things right.

A very impressive display of customer service, and I was pleasantly surprised.
So maybe their customer service is more like post-Perestroika Soviet Union, rather than the current Russian mob and KGB run Russia of today.

Or maybe the analogy just doesn't hold.

Anyhow, let's take a few important lessons from this:
  1. My blog is so damn famous customer service reps throughout the land read it
  2. My blog is obviously "cool" and therefore companies want me to endorse their products
  3. Best Buy is still staffed by rapists and ex-cons, and their customer service representatives rarely talk to you. Here's how it went for this customer who was having trouble with his phone:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Yay! Incoming!!!

Just got notice that my Comcast Showcase was shipped today.
May have it on YouTube by the end of next week!!
Woo hoo!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Feline Conspiracy

I googled "why do my cats eat boxes" - first hit: Why do my dogs eat cat poop out of the litter box?
Probably a google-bomb smear campaign from some tabby.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A few minor skirmishes with computer stores

Best Buy's Geek Squad is the modern day equivalent of a shyster mechanic from the 1970s. Every time I've been forced to deal with them since they became the Geek Squad has angered me.
They thwart me every time I want to do something. I'd attribute it to incompetence, not malice, except it feels so much like malice it hurts.

Yesterday I was in a Best Buy buying network cable for my wife's business. I'm also trying to connect my computer to my stereo, so I ask them if they have any cables to do so. I can't find anyone in the home audio section, so I have to deal with those pox-ridden maggots in the Geek Squad.
First Geek Squad (FGS) jerk: "Can I help you?"
The Hero: "Yes. I'm trying to connect my computer to my stereo, and am looking for cables to do so."
This is like asking a mechanic, "Can you look over my car and tell me what work I should do?"
FGS thinks he has a mark. "Let me go ask a senior employee." He leaves, probably already at half-mast thinking about the comission he's going to get on this sale.
He confers with a tall skinny kid who looks as if he's mentally handicapped, but it turns out he's just really ugly We'll call him Really Ugly Skinny Kid (RUSK).
FGS says, "RUSK says you're going to need a software solution for this."
This is tough to deal with. If I had the time, I can probably get to the right answer by using the Socratic method.
Me: "After I have the software solution, how can my stereo see what my computer's software is doing?"
FSG: "Well you'll need these cables."
And I'm out the door with the cables.
But I'm so damn stunned that someone would try selling me software when I came in for a cable, I had to talk to RUSK.
RUSK, honestly, did catch me. "Digital or analog?"
"Digital" I lied. At the time I had NO IDEA. But I figure the computer's BRAND NEW and top of the line, so it can handle digital. The receiver's pretty damn new and takes XM connections, so I'm 95% certain it can take digital too.
RUSK: "Well, digital's not on many computers we sell. Which one were you looking at buying?"
"I have a computer and a stereo already. I'm trying to buy some cables."
RUSK then proceeds to Judo Kick me all over the floor with technical stuff, and tries to get me to go ask Home Audio for a 3x5 Card Connector Cable and a Sky Hook.
I realize I need more information to battle these noxious nabobs, so I go home and figure out what kind of cables I need, how long it's gotta be, etc.
I'was NOT going to return to Best Buy for this, so I checked Micro Center. They're a pretty cool computer shop, lots of great hardware to tinker with. Their customer service, however, is the worst in the Whole World. Yes, even worse than RUSSIA.
The trick is this: I need at least 30' of SPDIF Optical cable. This is hard to come by in stores - they normally sell 6 or 12 foot versions.
I call Micro Center, I'm put on hold 4 times while they try and get someone to help me. I ask for the specific kind of cable, and tell them that I need 50 feet of it. They say "yes, we have that" and tell me they'll hold it for me for 72 hours.
I drive in to pick it up, the woman says, "oh, sorry about that, we only have 12 feet of it but didn't have your number to call you."
That's when I started shooting the place up with my pistols of justice.

Actually, I just turned around and walked out. What am I going to do, let the manager know that I'll never shop there again? At that point I'm no longer a customer. They already stole a couple of hours of my time from me, and made no effort to make it right. What could a manager possibly do except commit seppuku right in front of me?
Come to think of it, maybe I should have asked for a manager. He might've been Japanese.

I hate editing posts (hence having the tag "Yet Another Public Apology") but in this case I'm going to edit with an update because of the circumstances.
MicroCenter Done Right By Me.