Friday, December 29, 2006

Stirring up some excitement

Have you ever wanted to charge into the CEO's office and fall to your knees, tearfully (and falsely) confessing that you are a spy from the competition, who has been paying you handsomely for juicy tidbits of corporate espionage?

Uh, me neither.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

You say Poe-Ta-Toe

Several different people lately at work have been complaining of "migraines".

Now, no one can really say how much pain another person is in, but if you're lounging in your chair, chit chatting, grinning and joking around, it doesn't count at a migraine in my book.

If you're under your desk in the fetal position, with the trash can over your head, weeping because a field mouse 2 miles away is squeaking too loud - that there is a migraine.

Otherwise, just say "headache", OK?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


It's 49 degrees right now in central Florida. And on Christmas, a tornado did a million dollars worth of damage just down the road.

Spring Break better kick m'f'ng ass, that's all I got to say.
Elvis was banned, but hula hoops were just fine?  Hey, did the Hawaiians ever get a cut of the hula hoop profits?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's a damn good thing I'm not sexy

Now in my first ever customer service job, I've discovered a horrible truth about myself - I simply can't say NO to people. I just want to help them, make them happy, and send them on their way.

Monday, December 25, 2006

22nd Annual Etcher's Christmas Awards

It's the 22nd Annual Etcher's Christmas Awards!

Hosted by Robert Loggia

Guest appearances by:
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Carol Channing

Musical Guest:
Robert Goulet

Psssszap! Technical difficulties, please stand by.

We now join The Simpsons, already in progress!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Is it just me?

It's so odd to think that the name of this product was developed by a committee, approved by management, submitted for consumer testing, and actually made it onto the box.

People got paid for dreaming up this name. Wow.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

it ain't writers block... but it'll do until the real thing comes along

I've been whining about work lately, I know. It's leaving me drained - there's just so much new data that my brain is so busy processing this high-priority shit that all the fun wordplay I usually entertain myself with has been locked off in cold storage .

I mean damn, there have been days recently when I didn't even blog, and I'd been so good about posting 5 days a week for years! (Did I mention my brain runs BASIC? Explains a lot, I know. I think I have some bad sectors right now...)



023 bytes free
RUN writefiction

Syntax Error line 23431: Ha ha yeah right
Syntax Error line 43564: AS IF
Syntax Error line 89712: Talk to the HAND

During November, I wrote a total of about 200 words for NaNoWriMo, and had to spend 4 hours in bed recovering afterwards. Then I flaked out of Craig's fun writing contest. I suck!


When scientists working on artificial intelligence finally figure it out, this is what it'll be:

Three or more separate (often conflicting) drives or agendas which result in an internal discussion or debate over which action to take - this is consciousness.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Horse Country!

We moved from Southern California to Florida around 6 months ago...

I'm still getting used to having clouds in the sky, and actual weather. Oh, and livestock around every bend. There's a horse farm behind Best Buy. And another one behind the grocery store. Circuit City sells hay and live bait.

It's odd. Beautiful too.

This sticker is on all the gas pumps round yonder. I like to think no one gives Mr. Commissioner a hard time.

The sky! Clouds! Too beautiful to be real, it must be special effects.

Did I mention we live across the street from a graveyard? Yep.

One of the businesses in our area. I am not at all affiliated with them.

Umm. We might just be in NASCAR country.

A horse ranch.

Another horse ranch.

One of a thousand horse-related businesses in the area.

What's this? If you guessed "A horse ranch" you guessed rightly!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Welcome to the Wis-Dome of Tomorrow!

There's a saying, something about The only true wisdom is realizing that you know nothing. (Did I get that from Bill & Ted? Probably.) On one level, I believe that. I'm an intelligent person, and while I know many things, I'm still in the dark about 99.9999% of everything. I believe this.

And yet I feel like I SHOULD know everything. One layer of me demands that I know the answer to any question, and if there's something I can't answer, I actually get pissed at myself. If something stumps me, I MUST go look up the answer (at home or work). If I can't look it up right away, I'll jot it down for later research. As compulsions go, I could do worse.

It's this need to be completely credible that's driving me batty with the new job - since there's far too much for anyone to know, and even if you could somehow memorize it all at this very moment, all of the policies and procedures are under constant revision, so there it is: unending frustration.

I can't deal with feeling LOST. They say it can be up to 6 months before you feel completely comfortable. Good grief, I'll have killed someone by then. I won't give up without really giving it my all, but feeling lost all the time is exhausting.

Friday, December 15, 2006

LubDub LubDubLubDub

Have you noticed? A song with a speedy beat seems to slow down when your heart rate is elevated? Listening to my ipod while on the treadmill, I frowned at the music slowness. Since I'm old, I checked the ipod's battery level.

Remember cassette walkman? Your batteries would get low, and the songs would start slowing down. Kids today probably think cassettes are funny.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

-50 to Coolness Factor

It's not cool to carry an umbrella, but you kinda gotta when you live in Florida.

Not that I was ever cool to begin with - I'm the guy with the fan on his desk, a lunchbox full of drinks and snacks, an ever-present tin of mints, a little bottle of pills, tiny tube of travel lotion, and a little rubber non-slip strip for my keyboard.

Did I mention I've only had the desk 2 days? Yeah it's uncool, but my geek ass is prepared!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Phantom Presentation?

Remember a while back when I mentioned that our 'fixed' cat was in heat? It seems that she might well be fixed, she just doesn't know it. The phenomenon lasts about a week every 6 weeks or so, with the wiggly backside and yowling.

She doesn't spray pee anywhere, no misbehaving at all - she just rubs her face on everything (more than usual that is), twitches her backside and calls out to boyfriends who never reply.

We never took her to the vet for it, because she never made a mess or anything. She seems ok... Any ideas? Should we be worried?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Una Noche Mas!

I've been listening to a lot of Pandora lately - and it seems like no matter what station I create, it's just a matter of time before the Spanish version of the Jennifer Lopez song Waiting for Tonight plays - it's Una Noche Mas (isn't that one more night, instead of waiting for?)

I guess all my musical roads lead back to that song, which is a bit troubling, when I started out with Tricky and Zero 7.

Still, it's an upbeat song and even though I only know 2 words of Spanish, I sing along joyfully - ever true to my white and nerdy roots.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Crap Crap Crap

Work in an hour! Me not ready! Too much pressure! Eeep!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Nowhere but up

First 'day' on the phones, I took 3 calls. Granted, they were far longer calls than they would have been if an experienced rep had been handling them - every single bit of information was a bit of a struggle - imagine if you had to look in the instruction manual before each button press on your remote control.

I did okay - I'm not very happy with my performance, there's a lot of room for improvement, and I have a bad tendency to rush. At least it's Friday! The weekend will give me some time to digest what I have learned.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Deep Breath! Let it out!

After 6 weeks of training, today will be my first day speaking to customers. I'll have another 8 weeks of mentoring before I'm left all alone with the customers - how cool is that, how excellent is that? How many companies take customer service so seriously? This company rocks!

I'm a bit nervous, but I feel well-equipped by the training. It's all good - there's just a lot of self-induced stress on The First Call.
It's all good baby!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Chance discovery of deliciousness!

Did you guys know there is such a thing as pumpkin-apple pie? It's one of the most delicious food sins one can participate in.

If you knew and didn't tell me, consider me vexed. No tickle for you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Awkward without context

I've been very careful not to stimulate her, but she's got the dither-fidgets something awful. She just wouldn't shut up, so I had to lock her in the bathroom overnight.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Consider Toilet Paper

Have you ever tore a package open, and realized that you were the first person to ever touch the item?

Like a pen:

Millions of years ago, a forest is buried by a volcanic catastrophe. For eons, the plant and animal matter ferment into bubbly black goo.

Until one day, this oil is pumped to the surface from deep under the Gulf of Mexico, piped a few hundred miles to the processing plant, where the petroleum is fractioned and polymerized, automatically blended with synthetic resins in the XJ400 processing vat (7500 gallons at a minute, 18 million gallons a month).

Here it meets the ink cartridge, made in Argentina by the world's finest pressure-treated plastomer cartridge die (the GetterdunKreig YT12, made in Berlin).

Next robotic fingers as delicate as feathers and strong as steel pluck the tops and bottoms (ventral and dorsal, in penmaker jargon) out of the sterilized bin while the pieces still hot, still soft. The pieces are spun together like kite string and deposited (as gently as an infant onto a changing table) onto the packaging conveyor.

The blister packer eats pens like a Hungry Hungry Hippo eats marbles. Packaged pens emerge glistening and dewy with possibility, (though most are resigned to their fate as doodlers).

And at the end of all that, you casually pop the package open and are the first (and possibly last) person to ever touch them.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Is it possible to pursue discipline without feeling self-righteous and pissy with your coworkers?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ok, Dumbass - here's what you do...

We use a lot of web-based tools at work, including MPK - a high-powered search engine for policies and procedures.

Last night I dreamt that I was using MPK to look up solutions to my personal flaws. The answers seemed so obvious as I read them, though the harsh language was a bit uncalled for.

I mean, I'm like, an important internal customer. Sniff!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Colon is just fine, thanks. Peachy.

I'm not a hypochondriac, and I never get sick, but:

a) I have a cold right now.

I'm no wimp about being sick, so you can trust me when I say this:

b) My spine hurts. I may have sprained it by spending too much of my life sitting? Aren't we built to be hunting and gathering and adding to our butterfly collections?

I have a friend who likes to joke about calling off sick from work with the excuse "My colon hurts." I'm not very superstitious, but I'd never joke about something they seem so eager to probe with a camera at the end of a 30 foot cable.

As for the spine hurting thing, it's just good I'm not a patient of Dr. House, or I'd be in the midst of a simultaneous MRI/
Lumbar Puncture right about now.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lost for a reason?

From the lost gospel of Bobediah:

Accursed are the whiners, yea verily. How I long to smite them!

Smite!Smite!Smite! with the big stick, which then turns into a cobra and envenoms them all but good. HA! Fuckers.


Whining should not be confused with venting, which is totally appropriate in the right environment. If I could teach my kids one thing, it would be that 90% of everything that goes wrong in their lives is their own damn fault.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Too Much Nothing!

Somehow, even though I just started work less than a month ago, I had 4 days off from work for the Thanksgiving holiday.

It feels like 3 days too many. Now I have no desire to so much as get dressed. This might be an issue, since 'casual days' ended on Friday.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Little Known Fact

I was born the day after Michaelmas. True story.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Silly Human!

I caught myself trying to decide on a beverage to accompany my breakfast slice of pumpkin pie - 2% milk or egg nog.

How ridiculous is that?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

They've Never Wintered in Ohio. Clearly.

It's 52 degrees here in Central Florida right now... I love it. Cindy had told me that the temp wasn't 95 year round here, but I refused to believe her. I figured it was just part of her ploy to get me to move cross country.

(Like "Free Video Card Tuesdays" at Best Buy. Can't believe I fell for her fiendish lies on that one.)

Of course, all the natives hate this 'cold' weather, (wimps!) but I just keep thinking about how I'll spend the money I'm not blowing on air conditioning.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cause it wasn't funny

Last week I met someone who claimed to be The Devil.
"You seemed taller in all those woodcuts." I said.
No one laughed.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Boo doo dee!

We're sorry, but you first must dial a '1' when calling this number.

Please hang up and try your call again.

Sure, we could add the '1' for you, but then you'd never learn.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Real Life Conversation # 10

Him: Okay Babe, I gotta run. Another day, another dollar.

Her: Hugs! (arms open wide in toddleresque cuddle expectation)

Him: Hugs! ...Wait, are you covered in cat hair?

Her: (coy) A bit.

He Waits for the Girls-Gone-Wild-Style-Shirt-Raising.

(They Hug)

Her: What, no appreciation for the boobage?

Him: (robotically) I am in work mode. No such thing as boobage at work.

Her: Good answer! Remember that! Have a good day at work, Drone 2471.

Him: Roger Roger.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Reports from Japan describe the PlayStation 3's diabolical hunger for small pets, especially ferrets.

Really, who buys the first launch of a video game console? They catch on fire, scratch your DVDs, and whizz in your sock drawer when you're not looking.

*Wait at least a year to buy a console, people! That way, other suckers have suffered through all the hardware issues. If you just gotta try one out, rent the console.


*Unless it's a Nintendo. Those dudes really have their shit together. Unfortunately, almost no one will make games for the Nintendo - but isn't a new Zelda worth buying a console? Of course it is.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Yes! Yes! You Dirty Girl!

Pepperidge Farm Chili & Cornbread Pot Pie is one of the best things you'll ever remove from your oven and devour with a savory glee much too close friends with that thing called lust.
I have to warn you, it's only available in some parts of the country...

It's F'ing delicious, that's what it is.

Go buy yourself some right this instant. I'll wait here. GO!

Friday, November 10, 2006

"Book em, Lou!"

Where is Billy Ocean?
Where did he go?
You don't just unleash hits like "Loverboy" and "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" and then vanish.

I suspect foul play. I suspect Rick Astley.

Billy Ocean, 80's sensation.  Yes, I am old.  This post is for other old people.  You youngins won't get it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


We use these little cheap squirtguns that we bought at the grocery store to discipline the cat. Where a "No no!" doesn't work, a quick SQUIRT gets the point across right away.

Would it be wrong to take it to work and use it on my coworkers?

Those people who love to whisper during the tests, or email jokes while we're supposed to be studying?


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Soo doo what now?

At work, we're allowed to pick a pseudonym if we don't want to use our real name when dealing with customers - this doesn't mean we can use a different name each time - the name must be approved, noted by management, and you must use it consistently.

I'm fine with my first name, but my very simple last name is too tricky for most people - they get confused, stumble, and assume there's a silent Q in there somewhere. Most folks usually pronounce it as "Kur-Lick-Oh".

I'm thinking about a nice and easy one syllable pseudonym surname. Something like *Mahasamatman.


*10 Points to whoever can tell me the source of this name.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I completely forgot to blog on Tuesday! How is this possible?

Monday, November 06, 2006

A bit of historical insight

I had yesterday off, which meant it was a perfect day for many hours spent NaNoWriMo'ing. But I just wasn't in the mood to sit at my desk for hours on end.

Instead, I scrubbed the whole house from top to bottom, washed linens and towels, shined my shoes, cleaned out my closet, (and would have cleared out the garage, if only we had one).

So - in answer to all the anthropologists still wondering about the cultures who are into megaliths - like pyramids, henges, Moai - there's a simple answer:

They were just procrastinating NaNoWriMo.

Friday, November 03, 2006

personalized greeting #16

Thank you for calling Etcher Wireless, where it's off the hook. Whaazaaaaap?
I don't know who this is.  I thought it was a funny pic though.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Billions will enter! Dozens will win!

It's the 1st Annual MC Etcher NaNoWriMo Character Name Contest!

Billions will enter! Dozens will win!

How to enter:
Comment on Etch-A-Sketch Attention Span between 2004 and 2006.

YES! You've already won! I'm using all your first names in my latest book. That's right Hector, I know your real name! Bwa ha ha ha!

All that's left is for you to decide if you want to be a good guy or a bad guy...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Good clean fun

Let's say your neighbor habitually leaves their keys hanging in their front door, the front door open, and you can hear them BS'ing and watching TV. Loudly.

Would it be wrong to borrow their keys, hide them somewhere outside, and send them on a fun treasure hunt to find them?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Well crap.

After deciding recently that I couldn't participate in NaNoWriMo this year because of the demands of the new job, I'm having second thoughts.

You're not allowed to study at home in any way. In fact, you're forbidden to even think about work while at home - I had to sign a waiver to that effect. You're not allowed to enter class more than 5 minutes early, either - so no showing up an hour early to brush up.

So it looks like I could try NaNoWriMo!

But I'm not prepared! No story idea, no outline, nothing. Usually I'll do a lot of mental processing on a concept a few weeks before I start a long project. But not this time. Will that turn out for the better? Is no prep a better way for me to go?

We'll see.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Real Life Conversation # 9


Him: Ingenious Nudity? This I gotta see! Ha ha ha!

Her: That's indigenous.

Him: Doe!

Friday, October 27, 2006

coulda shoulda woulda

I'm supposed to go to the post office today, but that will involve closing all the windows. And getting dressed. Surely you understand my dilemma.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

actually looking forward to it

I'm starting my new job on Monday, and I am SO READY to get out of the house. When we first moved from California, I spent the first few months telecommuting and the next couple of months searching for a new job when the work-from-home gig ended.

So I've been sitting at home alone ALL DAY EVERY DAY FOR SIX MONTHS. It might sound like heaven, but it got old very quickly. Since we moved, I don't have any friends in Florida to hang out with - it's just me and the poor harrassed cat for many many hours every day.

I wasn't nearly as prolific with my writing as I hoped I'd be. I wrote a handful of short stories, but nothing I'm very happy with. I think even as a professional novelist, I'd want a part time job just for some human interaction beyond my poor harrassed wife.

I think you need a certain amount of work friction in your life to give you something to vent about - or at least some work-loathing angst to motivate you into your creative hobbies, if just for distraction or to become a professional hobbiest and thereby change your situation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Psychosis Encouragement Internet Radio

A spoof of the most excellent internet streaming radio site, Pandora.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Available Date: YESTERDAY

All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something All play and no work make Mike something something

Monday, October 23, 2006

Real Life Conversation # 8

Breakfast at a local home cookin restaurant...

Her: What's wrong?

Him: I'm not sure. This sausage... There's something weird about it.

Her: Is it spoiled?

Him: No, it's just...different. Here, taste this.

Her: That's OK, really.

Him: Come on, it's not bad, I'm just trying to figure out what the flavor is.

Her: (Tastes the sausage) Hm!

Him: What?

Her: I think that's real meat.

Friday, October 20, 2006

An Awful Waste of Space

Sometimes while I'm watching a documentary, a historical event is described, and from somewhere inside me, a voice will say with frustration: Pshh...That's not how it happened. What happened was...

I'm no historical scholar - I know about as much as your typical high school kid. But some factoids drift into my mind, and deep in there an ancestor is shaking his head, sighing heavily, muttering a bit, then going back to sleep.

Past lives? Collective unconscious? Too much imagination? My fundamental Libra-ness craving balanced/alternate viewpoints? A so deeply ingrained need to be contrary just for the sake of conversation that I'll disagree even without anyone else in the room?

Though it also happens during science documentaries on Quantum Physics, which I don't grok in the slightest, but like to think that I do. So unless my ancestors had a deep understanding of String Theory, it's all BS.
Golly!  If you were made of yarn, what color yarn would you be?  Tee Hee!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oversensitive as a good thing?

I'll eat just about anything, except for all kinds of melon and coconut, which for some reason taste vile. It's likely that my tolerance of just about everything is a result of not having a very sensitive sense of taste.

Cindy on the other hand is highly picky of what she eats, and loves the smell of coffee but not the taste. (She seems to have a very sensitive sense, and I've encouraged her to become a professional taster to no avail).

Yesterday my breakfast was oatmeal, with a couple of fresh Kiwi fruit after. Due to its enzyme action, Kiwi will eat into your mouth - similar to what fresh-cut pineapple will do.

A few hours later, I fixed myself a hot dog with mustard and relish. Eating it was a transcendent experience. It was as if I'd never tasted real mustard or relish before! So tangy and zippy and flavorful! The flavors were so strong that they actually hurt a bit. It wasn't that the ingredients were gourmet - they were the boring, normal products I've eaten a hundred times. It was my over-sensitive mouth.

I wonder if this sensitivity could be used in some way - you'd eat a specific appetizer which would prime your mouth for the meal to follow. Since I don't know anything about real cooking, it's likely such a practice has been around for a thousand years or so.

I wonder - if I could really taste most of the food I eat, how much of it would taste horrible?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Say What?

I've been misreading a lot of things over the past week. I either need glasses or an exorcism... Both?

"report fisting"
(it was actually "phishing", but at first I wondered why Gmail was so concerned about fisting as to post a link in my email)

endangered species fetish high prices on black market

catered party toys - great for corporate gatherings!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Word Verification? ? ?

The word verification functionality for posting comments doesn't seem to be going anywhere... When it was first introduced, I'd hoped that it would soon be upgraded - but no sign of that yet.

Such as:

a) When I'm logged in to Blogger, why do I have to perform a word verification check to comment ON MY OWN BLOG? I think I can trust me not to post spam. Probably.

b) I have a certain group who regularly comment on my blog, and most other blogs are the same. Why isn't there a way to add "Trusted Pals" to your blog settings, so those follks who comment all the time don't have to bother with word verification?

Maybe this is solved in the Beta? If so, I haven't seen any sign of it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

What the...?

Sunday afternoon, as we were enjoying the sunset on the patio, Cindy pointed out a twisted, freaky something in the grill of the air conditioner. I couldn't bring myself to get too close or to touch it, but I took a whole slew of pics.

Any idea what the hell this is? A dead gecko? A twisted bit of twig? A mummified frog? Help! My vote is for 'alien critter'.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

2 NaNoWriMo's Per Year?

My new job starts October 30th, just in time to screw up my hopes for NaNoWriMo. The first 6 weeks at the job will be training classes, and I'll want to spend my off-time studying and getting lots of rest.

A 1666.66 word session (one day's progress, breaking 50,000 words into 30 days) usually takes me about 3 hours, if it's any good at all. Training periods are not a time for burning the midnight oil, so unless the training is very easy, I soak it all up like a sponge, and I have nothing but free time at home, I'm gonna have to skip NaNoWriMo this year, damn it.

I've spent 99% of my working life jumping from one small company to another, and it was great at the time, but not a good way to build a career. I'll probably stay with big corporations from here on out (just for the next 30 years or so...).

Hmn, I wonder if the FX network would be interested in doing NaNoWriMo as a 30 Days episode? Probably not interesting enough, compared to most of their topics.

In the past, Cindy has pointed out that November is a bad month for a lot of people (such as, those in retail) and that there should be a NaNoWriMo in the Spring, as well. It's a good idea, what can we do to make it happen?

Kitty Baby!

Her favorite is when I munch her tummy.
She loves it when I do this. She loves it so much.

Friday, October 13, 2006


What do you folks know about online college courses? Any experience with them? The new job offers lots of tuition reimbursement, and I'd be silly not to take advantage of it.

What sort of criteria should I look for when researching?

Any high-quality sites come to mind?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

a # of unrelated thoughts

Help me, internet!

There are 3 things troubling me lately, and I don't know of an efficient way to look them up:

1) What is it called, where those fat men put a giant top hat over their head and shoulders, prance around with no shirt on, with eyes and a creepy mouth painted on their torso? It's some kind of performance piece, but I could not find it with a google search.

2) What is it called, when you just put two eggs in the skillet and simply stir them up as they cook? It's like scrambled eggs, but without the proper ingredients and mixing. For lack of a better term, I'm calling it "Lazy Man's Scramble".


SquirrleyMojo claims I performed a
Mise en scène in my last post. Since I did...that thing she said I did... without knowing what it is, that must mean I be genius. Yes, brilliant am me. Although... When your writing progresses to the point when it is best described using French terminology, (roman à clef, avant-garde, merde) it might be a good sign you've gotten too pretentious.

Or German terms, for that matter... (with the possible exception of farfignugon) - -

3) Yes, I know that I misspelled 'farfignugon' - can anyone clue me in on the correct spelling? A gold star awaits you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On the way to the drug test...

The South is a lovely place, and the people couldn't be sweeter.

...But when you're trying to find a new address for somewhere you've never been before, and you really really need to pee, have to need to pee, can't pee until they hand you that special cup, but that can't happen till you find the medical building how horribly overgrown all the foliage is really hits you.

For those of you who don't know, Florida is a barely-contained jungle. Without what little maintenance that goes on, the whole state would be swallowed up in a year or less. And by maintenance, I mean Mother Nature, in the form of hurricanes knocking down trees.

Damn, people - it's called pruning. And no, that's not a term for canning prunes.

a typical Floridian shopping center

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Arbeit 3: This Time It's Personnel

I got the job! I'll once again be a contributing member of the household! No more cooking breakfasts or washing laundries for me!

Bwa ha ha ha ha!!

My training will begin October 30ish, pending the results of my drug test. Unless my 'Raisins & Spice' oatmeal has something freaky in it, I'm good to go!

Thanks again for all the positive energies y'all sent my way!

Arbeit Update

Thanks for the well-wishings, all!

I just got home from the "assessment testing", which was all automated/taken using a PC. I thought I did okay, except for running out of time on a timed test and only getting half of it completed. I took my time and made sure all the questions I did answer were correct. Most of em.

I must have done all right, because they want me back for an interview with an actual human at 2pm today.

Also! While I was taking my assessment test, I got a call for a completely different job. Nothing for two months, and now two calls in as many days?? Whaa?

Further updates as they hit the fan.


I have a job interview Tuesday at 8:30am! You've never heard of the company, but my research indicates they are great.

I'd like to take a moment to mention the fact that 100% of the interviews I've had resulted in being hired. Oh yeah baby! Spotless record!

I'll let you all know how it turns out.

Monday, October 09, 2006


We moved into this apartment complex in July, and were tickled pink about having a washer and dryer in the new apartment - for the past 8 years, we've been schlepping our dirty laundry to a laundromat (or to the apt complex laundry room, not much better).

It's a stacked unit, with the washer below and the dryer above. I've never used such a unit before, but hey how hard is it? Laundry science is pretty intuitive. Early on, Cindy remarked "Does this have a lint trap?"

Me: "Yeah, I didn't see one. I guess it's just that high-tech. I think that button on the right makes cappuccino."

(I should mention that my glee for having an in-unit washer/dryer has been diminished lately, since it seems to take longer to dry the clothes every time. This sucks! I'm fickle that way. If you take 3 hours to dry one load of clothes, I'll turn on ya).

Today I was doing laundry, and suddenly the dryer started making a horrendous sound, as if I were fluff-drying pots and pans. I opened the dryer door to discover some sort of hatch-cover had come off from the inside of the dryer.

Well what do you know, it was the cover for the lint-trap! The trap itself had become so full that it forced the cover off. Oops. I pulled most of the lint out in one giant mass - I could see the lines of sandy colored lint where I'd washed the sheets every few weeks, almost like an archaeological view of our laundry habits. I also dug out big fistfuls of lint that had been unable to congeal into the mother-load.

I'm posting these pics for educational purposes - I am not proud of being such a moron. I'm just lucky it didn't catch on fire.

In my defense, the dryer is in a closet, and it's totally dark back in there

This is a lint trap. It might not look like one, but it is. See the finger-grabby holes? Yeah. Don't be a moron like me. .

I wonder if there's a way to turn lint back into clothing.  Some kind of lint-printer.

Oh, I should mention that the dryer works beautifully when it's not choked with enough lint to suffocate a water buffalo.


Sadly, today was not my first laundry calamity - there have been others.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Jobs I Could Totally Do

I'm still looking for a job, and spend an unfortunate amount of time cruising the job posting web sites. It's troubling how poorly written most job opening blurbs are, and how many words are incorrectly spelled.

For some reason, many of them feel compelled to start out by asking you "Are you ready for an exciting career move?" and spend the next 500 words describing the history of their company. Who cares?

Also, they seem so insistent on something called a "degree".

I could totally do these jobs:

Cyberknife Therapist
"Well it seems you're putting too much pressure on yourself. You're just a cyberknife, what do they expect? I think you spend too much time bolted to your steel frame. You spend every day grounded to the generator. Get out, go to the park. Adopt a kitten."

Speech Pathologist
This seems to be where political speeches go after they die. The speech is already dead, right? I'd just take my time, dig around in there with a red pen. I could start out with city councilmen, and work my way up.

Park Ranger
Oh I can range, baby! In a park even.

I know iron pyrite, like on sight. It looks like gold, but brother, it ain't gold.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nobel Prize in Breakfast Science

5:00am: Making breakfast. In the dark. Sleepy.

5:15am: Serve breakfast. In the mostly dark.

5:30am: Clear breakfast dishes. Still dark. (Still sleepy)

5:32am: Discover plastic magnet. Plastic that clings to other plastic like a magnet. This is amazing! This invention might just be worth a bit of cash, a medal or two, and a trophy wench or three.

5:33am: Call Stephen Hawking and Bill Nye to gloat. (They were the only scientists conveniently on my speed-dial).

5:34am: Oops, it was just sticky with syrup. My bad.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Real Life Conversation # 7

Overheard at the Sears Eye Care Center:

Guy: "It's awful. She was diagnosed with Immaculate Degeneration."

Girl: "Diagnosed with what now?"

Guy: "Uh, Immaculate..."

Girl: "Could it be macular?"

Guy: "Whatever."

Girl: "Your way makes me think of a dead nun or a virgin with leprosy."

Guy: "Whatever. She has some vision problems, OK?"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Like, Eeeeew

One of the civilized things my darling wife has taught me is to check the expiration date on the groceries I'm about to purchase and devour in the car on the way home.

In my bachelor days, I'd wolf something down, then as I was tossing the container in the trash, I'd discover that my just-eaten grub had expired two weeks before. Oops!

So now I check almost every item before I put it in the cart - lately I've been dismayed by the amount of expired food I've come across. What to do with it? I've been putting the stuff back on the shelf, hoping the store's staff will do their jobs.

But I go to the store the next week and find the same expired item still on the shelf. I'm tempted to just go to the grocery for the express purpose of filling up a cart (or three) with expired products, dragging them up to the front and asking to see the manager.

"Hi, all of this stuff is expired. Oh, and did I mention, the Channel 4 News Team is on their way. Public health issue, you know."

I've never worked in a grocery store... What would the manager do?

Would this be a righteous act or the cry for help of a bored, unemployed jerk?

Monday, October 02, 2006


I love the Aflac commercials! The duck is so earnest, so energetic and happy.

Here's a link to the Aflac commercials page. In the latest commercial, the duck is gleefully shopping for groceries in some sterile futuristic store.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

35 years old and still no convictions! (felony, that is...)

Kitty likes bookshelf!

Can't you see I'm trying to nap?  Why must you always harass me?
Still trying to teleport...
At least I haven't yet forgotten how to be silly.

I have freakishly large nostrils.  Um...All the better to sniff you with, my dear?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Spacecraft: Now officially a variety of PORN

Hubba hubba! Oh Baby! Yowza! Oh, you dirty girl!

SpaceShipTwo and its mothership, hot!
SpaceShipTwo Cabin, wooo!

I have a fistful of dollar bills - where do they go?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

woe is me, boo hoo, sniffle sniffle

During High School, I didn't have much of a plan. I was gonna join the Air Force for at least one tour of duty, maybe make it a career if it agreed with me. Hey, I could retire at 38 and then start on a second career! I grew up as an Army Brat, so I had an inkling of what a military lifestyle would be like.

After the physical exam, I was disqualified from military service because of my awful-bad depth perception (how had I not expected that?), and then... nothin. An endless string of jobs.

I'll be 35 on Saturday, and what?
I thought I'd be further along than just this rented space.


I keep expecting a switch inside me will go CLICK and suddenly I'll feel passionate about something. Anything. I've been waiting for that moment for about 25 years now.

Maybe it's just low hormone levels. They have testosterone gel, you just rub it into your skin. Hmn. My last physical was in 1990, so maybe it's time for another one?

If you take too much testosterone, your estrogen levels increase as a result and you're likely to end up with breasts. Big ole man boobs - it's officially called Gynecomastia - just one of a million pieces of useless information bopping around in my brain.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Miss You Mort!

The first game I ever tested was 'Mort the Chicken', in which dozens of cute lil chicks are kidnapped from the farm by a race of extradimensional cubes.

Just before the portal to the other dimension closes, Mort bravely dives in to save the chicks - he must then rescue them all one by one from a variety of strange environments. It's a game best suited to 8-year olds, but it's wacky and odd and fun in its way.

I was thinking about Mort this morning, musing that I hadn't seen him in about 6 years, and that I really should own the first game I ever tested. I just ordered it from Amazon.

For our E3 booth that year, we had a giant Mort made out of fiberglass. After E3, he lived in the conference room - he was like 8 feet tall, 200 pounds, and was topheavy. He fell on several people, and it was funny. Oh Mort, you wacky chicken.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Maybe that one lady in the hat is still alive

Cindy has to get up before dawn for her job - such things should not be legal. I'm a good husband, and I fix her breakfast every day.

So this morning at 6am, I was watching a documentary on flying aces of World War 1.
Footage from so long ago always strikes me as bizarre.

This footage showed workers building the planes - women sewing up the cloth panels for the wings, men installing engines, and so on. It was 89 years ago, so if they were even 20 years old during filming, they'd be 109 now.

They all seem so industrious and lively, they had hopes and dreams and hobbies and secrets. But they're all dead. But there they are, moving and talking and puffing on pipes and it's just weird.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'd get mighty tired of Ramen Noodles

I caught the premiere of the new show Jericho a couple nights ago - it's about a small town in Kansas, and what happens to the people there following a series of nuclear explosions in major cities (is it full-scale nuclear war? dunno yet).

It's a fairly well-done show, (so far that is - this was the first episode). There wasn't much melodrama, and overall the reactions of the people seemed pretty realistic.

I think biological warfare is a lot more likely at this point than full-scale nuclear war (though a single nuclear device hidden in a trunk to take out the capitol seems pretty credible) but no matter what the catastrophe is - be it nuclear or biological war, meteor impact, or supervolcano, 99.999% of us are wholly unprepared to survive more than a few weeks after such a disaster.

Some people would say "I don't want to live after something like that." and they're welcome to assume the fetal position and wait to die. I would want to live. So what would I do after such an event?

Well, in our house, we have water for about a week - two weeks if we only use it for drinking, and probably two weeks worth of food. (It's more important to have solid methods for purifying water and preparing the food that you'll hunt and gather, since you will run out of rations eventually). Can your area sustain life? In Los Angeles, I would say hell no. Here in Florida, where water and wild animals are everywhere, yes. But is your homestead defensible against looters? We have a big patio door and far too many windows.

If you have to get to a better area, you can't assume that your car and/or the freeways will be usable, which means walking with whatever you can carry. Walk to where? If you get little or no rain in your area, the most important thing is a good source of fresh water, the nearest large river.

The Department of Homeland Security has a list of what to do, most of which involves hunkering in a public shelter, and then returning home later, waiting and listening to your radio for instructions. Not very helpful advice if the radio stations have been knocked out by an EMP.

In the event of something major, millions of people would need help - We should expect to be on our own for months on end if something drastic happens. Fun thought, I know. To be truly prepared, you would have to take some pretty drastic steps. But what to do - live in a bunker? I've always liked the Hobbit style houses. I'd want a bit more headroom though.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spoon or Fork?

Soups with noodles, meats, etc - Fork
Soups without goodies (i.e. tomato soup) - Spoon
Chile - Fork
Pineapple Chunks - Fork
Pudding - Spoon
Ice Cream - Spoon
Ice Cream Cake - Fork
Cake with Ice Cream on the side - Fork

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Real Life Conversation # 6

Me: Dude. Did the cat just say "Where's Mama?"

Me: Of course not. Don't be silly. All she says is 'Meow'.

Me: It sounded exactly like "Where's Mama?"!!

Me: Yeah, ok, whatever.

Cat: Where's Mama?

Me: Did you hear tha-

Me: Fuck! No. No I did not. Just turn up the music, ok?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Is it like Children of the Corn?

Have you actually listened to the lyrics for KT Tunstall's "Black Horse & The Cherry Tree"?

It reminds me of the
Twilight Zone episode where the boy wishes people into the cornfield.

Is it just me? And just what is the "big black horse" representing?

I came across a place in the middle of nowhere
With a big black horse and a cherry tree.

I fell in fear, upon my back
He said "Don't look back, just keep on walking."
When the big black horse said, "Hey lady!"
Said, "Look this way, will you marry me?"

But I said no, no, no, no-no-no
I said no, no, you're not the one for me
No, no, no, no-no-no
I said no, no, you're not the one for me

And my heart had a problem, in the early hours,
So I stopped it dead for a beat or two.
But I cut some cord, and I shouldn't have done that,
And it won't forgive me after all these years

So I sent it to a place in the middle of nowhere
With a big black horse and a cherry tree.
Now it won't come back, cause it's oh so happy
And now I've got a hole for the world to see

Big black horse and a cherry tree
I can't quite get there 'cause my heart's forsaken me

Monday, September 18, 2006

Open wide and say Ugh.

Trying to sell your writing is about half as fun as a root canal, in case you didn't know. The assorted Writer's Digest books, such as Writer's Market (or books like them) are unfortunately pretty damned necessary.

(There are of course online resources, such as
this one from Writer's Digest, though you must pay a nominal fee to subscribe).

To keep with the dental motif, let's compare slogging through the hip-deep mud of the Writer's Market to the high-pitched VEEEEEEEEEEEEEER of the dental drill. Bad. Cringe-worthy. Of course, it's not Writer's Market's fault - The true blame lies with the publications who write the entries - but you get the idea.

Here's an example of an entry, only slightly exaggerated:

Magazine: 6x9, 100 pages; 99lb cream white vellum cover stock; 73lb cream white vellum paper. Highest quality original lead Times New Roman Typeface, hand-set in antique press, printed with the ink of giant squids. Annual. Estab 1913. Circ 150

Needs: "Highest quality, very well-written and cutting edge but nothing extreme...No Fiction, Nonfiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy, or Porn. Gay ok if 'done right'. No nudity or suggestiveness."

Receives: 50,000 submissions per year.
Accepts: 1 or 2 submissions per year.
Responds: In 2 years on queries. Do not send ms.
Publishes: 5 years after acceptance.
Pay: 1 author's copy. Additional copies $50.
Advice: Send only your best work!

What the hell is the deal with queries, anyway? Unless you're famous and popular, can they really accomplish anything? It's like writing a story about how great your story is. "It's a boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds different girl but then decides he's really in love with his father. It's a black comedy. It's ever so much fun to read. Shall I send it to you?"

Why not just write and send thousands of queries, and only write the stories for the ones they like? Ppthtp!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Credi-Bull #14

Credi-Bull - a news item that might be fact, or might be fiction.

When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night."..Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play!

The 2006 World's Fair and Expo was held this August in Stockholm, Sweden. The most popular attraction was the 5.5 meter (that's 18 feet tall) Mommy robot, named M.A.R.Y.

For a small fee, fair visitors could go for a 'ride' on MARY - she can cradle and rock a full-grown adult in her arms, which are covered with a space-age foam and synthetic skin that feels like the real thing. MARY sings lullabies in eight languages and smells of vanilla. Extra security was required when a participant from Belgium refused to end his turn, demanding a nap.

Real or Fake?
(Vote in the 'comments' section, answer to be revealed there on Monday).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Better late than never

To any poor soul out there who reads my blog via an RSS or other web feed, I want to apologize.

I especially need forgiveness if you have a ding-ding! chirp! or aah--ooga! that goes off when something has been updated, since it usually takes me 10 tries to get my blog looking just the way I want it, with line spacing and picture location and etc.

And after all that, I'll re-read a post from a few days back and find a typo. Ack.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I won't say Poop. Can't make me.

Cleaning the toilet is no fun. A bleach tablet in the tank helps a lot, but still, it's an icky place, and who wants to get any closer than necessary? We have self-cleaning ovens, why not toilets? Hmph.

For example - You know, when you...
you know... and then afterward there's... um. Dad calls them 'racing stripes'.

How about a battery-operated water pick for the toilet? It would be contained within the toilet tank, so you would never run out of water - just a little tubing and the spray head would live outside the tank.

Then after using the toilet, you could spray off any...deposits that may have accumulated. You could use it to easily rinse the sink, as well.
.How not to potty.

.....I suppose this might work.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Me no likee... me no sure...

As you probably know by now, THEY are redoing the original Star Trek series, replacing all the effects with computer animations. I don't really know that there's a need. It would have to be very well done not to ruin it. Cleaning up the footage is one thing, completely replacing it is another.

I was a huge fan back in Jr. High (this was before The Next Generation) and I just don't know if they can do it right. Look at the re-release of the Star Wars films.

They're re-recording the theme song, with new vocals. How do you write the vocals for something without words? "Aaa Aaa Aaaaaa a-a-a-aaaaaah"?


Also, did you know that Gene Roddenberry wrote actual lyrics for the theme that were never used? Nonetheless, he got a royalty every time the song was played.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Who's agitating my dots?

There are still a lot of awful commercials out there, but Nextel's Walkie-Talkie phones and GPS tracker commercial is so perfectly crafted, I lean forward in gleeful expectation whenever it comes on.

You can view it at YouTube

The best part is when Charles Robinson (Mac from
Night Court) comes in to challenge the curious guy with "Who's agitating my dots? You agitating my dots?" and as he says it, he's eating cake off a paper plate.

The cake somehow kicks the very minor gag up to another level of funny. Great commercial. I wish there was an IMDB for commercials, so I could track the writers down and send them an email.

How do you write such a thing? Where does that inspiration come from? What clicked in the minds of the writers that said "this would be much funnier with cake"?

P.S. Here is another great Nextel commercial.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Am you loving?

Hello Freind!

Are you being without the verve and hudspa of viva?

New herbal remedy MC_ETCHER will be curing ills your!

MC_ETCHER defintely pleases your partner with much long loving!

Fatigue you do feel in the after the noons?
MC_ETCHER restoring super vigor to soul!

MC_ETCHER today!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Just one of many possibilities

If the universe was created,
If there are powerful beings out there who devised it

If the high degree of fun I get from just watching my cat is any indication -

I may have a good bead on the whole "why are we here?" thing.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quorn! Without the Pellagra!

I've been wanting to try Quorn ever since I first read about it online a few years ago - but I couldn't find a grocery store that carried it. Until today!

What is it? "A mycoprotein food product" which is a fancy way of saying it's very close to being a fungus without quite being a mushroom. It grows in a vat. (If that doesn't make your mouth water, I don't know what would)

I tried the 'chicken nugget' style, (not pictured) and while it tasted almost nothing like chicken, it had a fully nominal chicken nugget texture - I never felt as if I were eating pressed fungal goo. The breading was pretty bland, it could certainly benefit from... I don't know, the addition of spices. Any spice.

It was okay, it wasn't bad. I just ate the entire 10.6oz box of nuggety blobs, so if I drop dead from anaphylactic shock, you'll know why.

Let's take a gander at the nutrition facts...
Odd, it's only 28% mycoprotein, and the rest is wheat and eggs. The whole box contained 665 calories, 270 of which were from fat. Not too exciting for something that's supposed to be a healthy alternative to real meat. 1890mg of sodium. Zero cholesterol, though.

Now that I've tried it, I probably won't buy it again.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Writer's Tool?

Over the past month, I've been looking for a job, cleaning the house, and writing fiction. Haven't been as prolific as I'd hoped - I can concentrate for only 2 or 3 hours at a time.

I don't know how those authors do it, spending 8 or more hours a day writing, putting out five books a year. I'm not a very social person, but even I'm feeling the lack of interaction. If you spend all day every day alone, just clicking away at the keyboard, how varied can your work be? Wouldn't your 'voice' end up rather flat over time?

Even if I were a professional writer, I'd need a part time job, just for the necessary level of interaction, since sitting home is a mind-numbing experience. With nothing but my own voice echoing in my head, I'm beginning to doubt myself more. A turn of phrase or a quip or a cuss word will hit me while typing, and I stop to wonder how many times in how many stories I've used the exact same wording, or very close.

A search engine would be handy for that sort of thing: your word-processing program would contain all of your past writing as part of a database - and as a feature, you could compare the current work-in-progress with all past ones.

Perhaps you use similes too often. Maybe you are overfond of the word obfuscate. The program could scan all your works and tell you how often you use individual words (the word "that" is often useless, yet I use it all the time).

Names can be an issue. I tend to use the name "Kate" a lot, for some reason - then I have to go back and try to think up a good name I haven't used. The database would also be useful in these instances - also for settings, time periods, and genres.

Perhaps even a theme-comparator, with numerous drop-downs for narrowing the theme, which could then be compared to all your other works. This would also be handy when you're feeling burnt out - you could check the database and discover you've never written a man-against-himself story. Maybe it's time.

These features could be toggled on and off, like spell-checking. Personally, I don't want to know if a word is misspelled while typing - I'd rather check it at the end of a section or at the end of the writing session (how often I click the spell-check button is a good barometer for how focused I am).

The programming functionality is definitely present in database apps already, but I don't know if it's been packaged and marketed for writers. If not, are there any search engine/database programmers reading this? Let's do lunch!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Investors Welcome!

I've had the dubious pleasure of driving cross-country many times in my life. These trips are made unfun by the rush - we can never stop and enjoy any of the cool stuff, since our destination time always falls in a very small window.

One thing you're bludgeoned with as you're driving across this country is the sense of damn this place is empty! since between cities, the U.S. is a whole lotta nothin. Often, this nothin is very beautiful, even if it's a stark desert you're driving through.

Over the next 100 years, commercial spaceflight will really be taking off (har har). Access to Earth orbit means you can be anywhere in the world in about an hour. You pop up to orbit, and land at your destination - quite zippy even compared to the Concord. Popping over to Paris for dinner will be totally reasonable.

The natural result of this - you can live anywhere and still easily commute. Regions of Montana, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and other wide-open-spaces states will no longer be undesirable places for corporate commuters to live. Cute little stylized towns will pop up all over the U.S. and the world, much to the chagrin of the locals, I'm sure.

So if you can find a secluded little town, one of those Dry Creek Gulch, Population 17 sort of places - and it's surrounded by breathtaking vistas and a good source of water... Buy it now while it's cheap.
Beautiful!  This is Lake Upsata Guest Ranch, in Ovando, Montana