I'm popping into Redmond, WA today, and I'm dreading it. That's not odd. What's unusual is that I'm not going to Microsoft; I'm just seeing the new Superman movie. That's how much I hate being within Microsoft's event horizon. Even if its buildings are unseen, you can feel Microsoft sucking all soul and joy from your bone marrow from afar. Hell, thanks to a convergence zone, there's a semi-perpetual darkness to Redmond. You can see it as you approach main campus. Those dark clouds over there to the right? That's where Windows 8 was conceived.
Stank wishes you fathers a happy Fathers' Day. We hope you spent Sunday sleeping in and doing whatever you wanted to do. Just like before you had kids.
This joke shamelessly stolen from Julias Sharpe
Don't you hate when you receive flowers at work and you can't find your pants? I know I do.
When I finally greeted Thursday afternoon's delivery, my sweatpants were on inside out and backwards, the tag gleaming like a belt buckle and pockets dangling tastefully to the sides.
"Are you John?" said the woman bearing flowers, a bit incredulously for my tastes.
I rummaged through the house for a tip, finally handing the woman $5. She was stunned.
"Wow, thank you!" She looked up. "No one ever thinks to tip."
"That's because you usually deliver to women," I snapped as I signed. Why did years of watching women not reach for checks choose that moment, of all moments, to bubble to the surface? I do not know. But I will never forget the contorted look on that delivery woman's face as she returned to her car, both grateful and offended.
Longtime readers know that I've long hated Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, way back to when he was rationalizing how his team was really a co-champion. You remember his team? His dirty USC team? The one stripped of titles and slapped with sanctions two seconds after he fled to Seattle? Yeah, that team.
Pete's continued to vomit self-serving nonsense in the pros. He remains the only person in the world who argues that Golden Tate really caught that ball in front of the replacement refs last year.
This offseason, Pete's players have been slapped five times for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. It's an epidemic. And Pete is tackling it head-on and without equivocation. Compare his statement to that of his rival, 49er coach Jim Harbaugh.
"It has no place in an athlete's body. Play by the rules," Harbaugh told his players. "You always want to be above reproach, especially when you're good, because you don't want people to come back and say, 'They're winning because they're cheating.'"
Asked Tuesday about Harbaugh's mention of the Seahawks suspensions, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said: "We've kind of dealt with this to set into motion a really clear mindset to take care of business and treat this situation that is around the league very seriously. I don't know about commenting about anybody else's team, but as far as we're concerned we feel like we've addressed it directly."
Feel dazed yet filthy, don't you? Welcome to Pete Carroll.
This Atlantic article frames the NSA privacy snafu perfectly, swatting aside government claims of effectiveness as the irrelevancies they are.
I don't mean to overstate things, but this is easily the best invention since the wheel. Yeah yeah, your feet are toasty. But the real pleasure is in throwing your clothes on the floor before putting them on. Dryer-warm, every time, and all it costs you is wearing whatever airborne fecal matter accumulates on your bathroom floor. So worth it.
My childhood friend Crawford and I were rummaging around a junkyard. A real junkyard, with precarious stacks of wrecked cars tossed casually about by a forklift operator we could only assume—hope, even—was blind drunk and furious with life.
"Holy shit!" Crawford said. "Holy shit holy shit holy shit." He had such a way with word.
I investigated and soon was equally overjoyed. There in his hands, his gloriously grubby, stupid, evil hands, was a diesel truck horn. That we would take it home was a certainty. But how to install it, and in whose car?
"I really don't see that being much of an issue," he said, removing key components from his engine to make space for a giant old fire extinguisher we would use as an air source. And thus did we engineer what only teenage boys could engineer: a ridiculously loud car horn that one activated by pulling on a rope inside the car and deactivated by letting it finally run out of air 60 seconds later.
Many years afterward, Crawford was a teacher in a small Ohio farming town, the type of town that has 20 kids in its high school marching band, four of them pregnant. I was visiting, he was in meetings, and for whatever reason I was driving his car. Yes, the same car.
Some idiot was weaving and driving slowly, and I was more than delighted to reach for the rope. The eruption of the horn was so loud, you felt the concussion hit your chest. As cars lunged out of the way in the little downtown area, I noted that everyone within sight was intensively admiring our engineering. A half mile later, the horn finally fell silent.
When I picked up Crawford a half hour later, he'd already heard about the incident. His boss had given him the standard issue Ohio-hick-town-when-your-dick-friend-drives-your-car-he's-representing-the-entire-school speech. Surely you know it.
Surfing Google Earth last night, I came upon the home of quite possibly the coolest person on the planet.
Like many, I work with people who live all over the world. In just the last month I've dealt with people in India, China, Israel, and even the wilderness of downtown Vancouver. Saying "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Can you repeat it?" is a fundamental part of my job.
Of my job. As in I get paid to understand English spoken as a second language. When my work-day is over and I want Chinese food and the money is flowing the other direction, I am far less interested in linguistic wrestling.
Imagine my delight yesterday when I discovered that my local podunk Chinese restaurant allows for web orders. No more yelling slow, over-enunciated English at people on the phone? Sign me up. I placed my order and hopped in the car. Click click click click vroom.
Then my phone rang.
And so we struggled for five minutes, me impatiently practicing the same strategies I do at work, only now I was paying for the privilege. From what I could tell, he merely wanted to confirm that the order hadn't changed in the 48 seconds since I clicked Submit. It was excruciating.
When I picked up my order, it was obvious from the fish stench wafting out of the bag that he had, in fact, changed my order during that phone call.
I considered the conversation that would ensue.
Some headlines catch my eye. Others snare my eye, stuff it, and mount it on the wall.
My profession attracts more than its fair share of frauds. Failed lawyers and failed burglars and dropouts wake up one day and decide that they're writers. Clueless bureaucracies, who for some reason think there are no qualifications for writing jobs, hire them. This is why you hate user manuals. They were written by failed mall cops.
Lest they be proven frauds, these people cannot get into management fast enough. Thus is my line of work stuffed with managers of managers of documentation managers. I'm not kidding. This is a career goal for these people. They want to manage documentation managers. I've heard exactly this goal declared countless times at Microsoft. I don't know what the exact opposite of "curing cancer" is, but this is an excellent starting point in the search.
I've managed to avoid these people for the last four years, but they're seeping back into my life. Bereft of capacity for original thought, they think and speak in bumper stickers. Our languages are mutually unintelligible. When they lapse into buzzwords that they heard in some meeting somewhere, I have to ask what they mean. When I speak of common industry practices, they have to ask what I mean.
I am not cut out for this. I need to hire someone just to suffer fools. Someone deaf.
I snuck away from work last week midday, to see Iron Man 3 at the local theatre. The audience was the usual daytime smattering of the self-employed, the unemployable, and escaped convicts. All male. I was just starting to wonder which asshole would ruin the movie first when long-haired-punk asshole, resplendent in arm and neck tattoos, stood up, turned around, and addressed the rest of us.
"Turn. Your phones. Off," he ordered, dripping menace.
And then a miracle happened. An audience let me enjoy a movie. They actually behaved themselves. Under implicit threat, but it counts.
I want to put this guy on my payroll. I want him representing me at every social situation.
To waiters: "Write it. The fuck. Down."The possibilities....
To staff: "Google. It. Yourself."
To parents: "Parent. Is. A verb."
My bachelor weekend in the honeymoon suite was not without its statements. I thoroughly enjoyed watching what I wanted to watch on TV, for instance.
Okay, but I did enjoy driving around pastoral San Juan Island with the Jeep's top down, blaring Nine Inch Nails, smoking a cigar, and aiming at happy couples.
Far be it from me to say I told you so.
So I'll delegate.
Says longtime Stank troll John: "I believe you called this in the first 24 hours after his capture."
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friend Troy Crossley is believed to have started the movement, but it has since gained traction largely thanks to an 'army of teenage girls' who say he’s too 'cute' to be guilty. (Video)"You just don't KNOW him like I know him!" I imagine a crying, hysterical, fantastically stupid 13 year old girl screaming at me as she slams the door I paid for in my face.
That reminds me. Gotta make that vasectomy appointment.
Shopping for beach vacations and looking all the beautiful couples featured therein has me bracing.
"Just one tonight?" I imagine the maitre'd asking.
Yay, it can count. Yes, motherfucker. Same as last night. And he'll grimace and sadly shake his head, and then he'll show me to the shit table scarcely bigger than my plate, next to the server station.
I will read. Reading in a restaurant is one of my favorite activities ever. More booze, more food, please! Note the absence of "more you." Yet someone will feel compelled to fill the void and chat me up. They doubtless think they're doing me a courtesy by noticing my solitary state and alleviating it with their company. Meanwhile, I will nod my head politely as I google what the penalty is in this country for stabbing a chatty waiter with a soup spoon.
The worst such vacation was after a breakup. I'd booked and paid for a bed and breakfast, and darn it, no breakup was going to stop me from using it. This was an excruciating exercise. It was car shopping after losing your license. It was going to the prime rib buffet after your lap-band.
I weathered the doilies and floral arrangements and the his and hers slippers, but each made me feel just a little more the abject failure. Then I walked into the communal kitchen and I saw the whiteboard. There, in our host's lovely cursive, was my monument to futility.
My search for beach waiters continues unabated. Yes, I know about Cancun. I don't do Mexico. I've looked at everything else, though, from Greece to Belize to Hawaii and back.
The gold standard was set when I googled the most expensive thing I could think of: "four seasons bora bora." It did not disappoint. For a mere $2100/night, plus wifi fees, I'm sure, you too can dive off your bungalow deck and climb the ladder back up to your lovely overwater home-bigger-than-my-house.
But even here, there is no Fau the heavyset beach waiter, no drinks, no club sandwiches. You'd actually have to go inside and order room service.
Four Seasons. Feh! I spit on your Faolessness.
I was about to rant about the lower primates who make entire careers out of running documentation groups and utter things like "I need to manage managers." But then I came across Senhor Testiculo. Stop the presses!
This unintentionally funny footnote comes courtesy of the Charles Schwab website, not normally known for its interest value to readers.
This is the best variation on the "he was such a quiet neighbor, we had no idea" interview you will ever see. Watch it all the way through.
I want to road-trip with Charles Ramsey and Uncle Ruslan. I'll just sit in the back seat with my McDonald's and listen to them discuss the issues of the day.
Flo and her child were here, and the kid immediately took to Fredo.
"Sit, Fredo!" she said, while Fredo stood there and panted. Next to me in the other room, Dex sat down.
"Lie down, Fredo! Shake hands?" Nothing, nothing.
"He's a moron, honey," I said. "If you want to shake hands, try Dex here." Instead, she grabbed a tennis ball and took Fredo outside.
"What's the deal with him?" Flo asked. "Don't they have the same parents?"
God knows that was my thinking when I went back to the same well a second time. Dex is my smartest dog ever; I figured so long as I was getting a second dog, I should dip into the same gene pool. But then again, my sister Nadine and I have the same parents, so in retrospect I'm not sure what my point was.
I looked out the window at the child and Fredo. She was trying to teach him to fetch. She sure was picking up her own throws a lot. And as I worked my way to the door so that I could puncture the kid's fantasy, I saw Fredo learn to fetch. And then he did it again, and again, and again. And I was forced to reconsider my estimations.
Flo's kid is wicked smart.
And with that overdue admission to Darcy, I said aloud what everyone in my presence has known for a year.
If you are a small-business owner, you understand. It is not like other jobs. There is no one else on whom to slough work. If you don't do it, mortgages don't get paid, only one of them your own. The business runs you. I haven't had a planned day off since 2010. I cannot remember the last day that was completely untouched by work. And sliiiiiiight cracks in my psyche are starting to show.
"I double-dog dare you to fire me, motherfucker!" I said to the client.
"I double-dog dare you to quit, motherfucker!" I said to the staffer.
So yeah, I'm looking at beach vacations. I have something very specific in mind. Just me, on a shaded lounge chair, on a hot beach, my only human interaction with Fau, an agreeable, heavy-set beach waiter who barely speaks English and who endlessly brings me booze and club sandwiches. I don't want fucking volleyball, or fucking snorkeling, or fucking couples massages, or fucking hiking. Beach. Fau. Club sandwiches. That is all.
Anyone know if this actually exists?
I've had a few people call me a fair weather fan for not wanting to spend 20 grand and a year of my life following a team I'm fairly certain will stink. To this, I say "Be my guest." If you show me the receipts, I will a sign an affidavit acknowledging that you are indeed the better fan.
I'd delayed a go/no-go decision on relocating to Pittsburgh for this football season. I'd put it off until after the draft. Maybe it will be miraculous, I thought. No sense aborting the plan until you've given divine miracles a chance to play out.
And then I watched the Steelers trade a 3rd round pick for a 4th round pick, to a division opponent, so that they could draft a safety who tripped and fell during his 40 yard dash.
And I'd thought this would be a tough call.
Kindly kill yourselves. Preferably before you further taint the human gene pool.
It's spring in the great northwest, which means my thoughts once again turn to torturing Katrina with caterpillars. Oh, she doesn't mind them so much. But she's positively phobic about moths and butterflies, which, gloriously, the caterpillars I send her daughter become.
"HE GOT OUT!" seven year old Annalie shrieks as Katrina desperately bats imaginary butterflies out of her hair. "MOMMY! HELP ME CATCH HIM!"
This is an annual tradition, but it's not the only time I've aimed Annalie at Katrina like a shoulder-fired RPG. Meet Cookie, the kid's douchebag of a cat, who tortures Katrina endlessly during her workdays. Cookie came home a day after I introduced said kid to the animal shelter website.
"Look at all those puppies and kitties. No one wants them. If no one takes them home, they'll be killed!" Annalie gasped, horrified by this heretofore unexpected evil. "And look at these horsies over here..."
While Annalie was at school the other day, Cookie went after the butterflies, mangling their cage and setting them free inside the house. As Katrina recounted how the one Katrina-torturing device forced her to handle the other, I swooned from pleasure. Rapture.
Being a dick simply does not get any better than this.
Our country being as preoccupied with substance and character as it is, how long before murderous Dzhokhar here is receiving panties in the mail?
It's a trick question. Of course he already is.
Enormously satisfying thought: let the first charge against him be vehicular manslaughter, for accidentally driving over his brother during flight.
Installing a home alarm system has been nothing so much as a quantifying of my sloth. Previously, only the dogs knew how seldom I moved during a workday. Now there it is in my alarm logs, screaming "loser."
Front door: Closed
Apr 22 - 6:37:34 AM
LR motion: Open
Apr 22 - 6:37:35 AM
Kitchen motion: Open
Apr 22 - 6:37:36 AM
LR motion: Open
Apr 22 - 12:12:07 PM
Kitchen motion: Open
Apr 22 - 12:12:11 PM
LR motion: Open
Apr 22 - 12:20:50 PM
LR motion: Open
Apr 22 - 5:20:51 PM
It's hard to find a silver lining in the Boston tragedy and this morning's lockdown, but I found two slight upsides.
First, when has this ever happened? There was more traffic in the 17th Century.
Second, the uncle. I love this guy. He's the antidote to every coddling, enabling, oblivious parent of a mass murderer who I've ever wanted to smack.
My whole life, I've dreamed of spending an entire football season in Pittsburgh. And now I can. I can afford it, and my job is portable. And thus did I begin plans about six months ago to spend the 2013 season in the 'Burgh. And then a funny thing happened.
They went 8-8. And then in the offseason, they lost a bunch of starters to free agency and the salary cap. They are for all the world looking like a 6-10 team to me.
It's at this point when one starts totaling expenditures in his head. When one asks himself "Just how much effort and money am I willing to devote to watching my team suck?"
Answer: not much. Time to stop the offseason bleeding, boys.
My secret evil plan to gentrify Metamuville cannot work fast enough, as flyers for spring theatre have begun to sprout like so many weeds.
Quilting experience is not necessary, the auditions announcement says.
When I am distributing bones to chew on, Dex's concern is that each dog get one. Her brother Fredo, meanwhile, muscles Dex off her bone and munches it while lying on his own, saving it for later.
When I'm sad, Dex empathetically places her chin on my thigh. She doesn't whine or nudge for petting. She just wants to let me know she's there. Her brother Fredo, on the other hand, drops his bone on my bare foot. I'll give you something to cry about, bitch, he seems to say. Not thinking about Roger Ebert anymore, are you?
When I put them outside in the morning, Dex searches for an acceptable place to urinate. It must meet some minimum standards. It must be comfortable. It must be hygienic. It must be private. The process is a huge production. Her brother Fredo, meanwhile, whizzes wherever and is back inside munching on Dex's bone within two seconds.
When I'm angry at Fredo, Dex assumes that I'm really angry at her. After all, I wouldn't be angry if she were making me happy. It ruins her entire day. When I'm angry at Fredo, Fredo doesn't notice and blithely goes about his day, oblivious.
Most of my Web forays into grammar result in some fuckwit replying "great the grammer police are here no one cares it doenst matter and nether do you. you make me laugh! LOL!"
I'm not paraphrasing. That's what they all say, word for word. Or maybe I just can't tell them apart.
Here's the best such encounter I've ever seen.
The idea occurred to me, as such ideas usually do, when I was drinking.
"Hear me out," I said to some friends who play in a gay softball league. "You guys need money for uniforms. I need childless people under the age of 85 to move to Metamuville and set up Pho restaurants and antique shops."
Thus was the Metamuville Gay Softball Invitational born. I lure a bunch of Seattle gays to the Metamuville baseball diamond, pump them full of alcohol, and hand them real estate ads as they round third. They fall in love with affordable waterfront property close to Seattle, and voila. I've gentrified Metamuville.
Allie was appalled. "That's not what that word means! Gentrify doesn't mean 'replace a bunch of cranky old white people with people whose company I prefer.'"
Well, it should.
I wondered why Fredo barfed this morning, but I only wondered casually. Why does he ever barf? Then I saw my bathroom flooring.
When it became clear to me that I alone could not provide my dog, Dex, with enough stimulus, I determined to get her a friend. Dex is by far my smartest dog ever—she recognizes people's ring tones and parses my conversations for phrases of interest, like "I'll be right over." It made sense, then, to dip into the same genetic well. Her parents had another litter two years later, and that's when little brother Fredo was born.
Fredo is a complete moron. Like his movie namesake, he's also a sweetheart, but when I speak to him I'm not even certain he understands that I'm addressing him. He looks right past me.
This morning I stepped out of the shower to find Fredo sitting by the front door, placidly sniffing the spring air and watching the world go by. He was a vision of adorableness. Then I looked outside and saw, not eight feet away, a family of deer munching on my garden. Fredo looked up at me, love in his eyes. Ain't dey purty, Dad?
His older sister snapped out of her bed and trotted over. She saw the deer. She growled. I opened the screen door. She tore after the dear, barking ferociously. As they scattered in fright, Dex made sure they remembered her. So did Fredo. He was the one prancing beside them, gaily enjoying a romp amongst friends.
In keeping with the fine company tradition of cloying absence excuses, this morning I awoke to this:
"I’m going to go in this morning to school and see [child's name] give her book report. She puppy-eyed me into agreeing."It's no "baby music-appreciation class," but it's freaking second.
I think I probably speak for most of the extended Stank family when I say of gay marriage, "Wait. Are we really still talking about that? Seriously? For the love of god, can everyone shut up already and do the patently obvious thing?"
I find it hard to believe that actual (as opposed to religious whackadoodle) conservatives are against extending marriage rights to gays. Conservatives are the ones who despise special rights. Why would they promote special rights for straight people?
This leads me to wonder: are there any non-Christian opponents of gay marriage out there?
I was admiring these stunning photos that some Russian guys took after illegally climbing the Great Pyramids when it hit me. The Russians are seriously pulling their weight on the Internet lately. Thanks to their infatuation with dash cams, the stream of entertainment is constantly replenished. Sure, they gave us the only footage of this year's meteor. Yawn. But they also gave us drunken driving!
And if you really want to be pressed back into your office chair, check out the the work of recently-arrested Black Devil.
I recently, far too recently, became aware that some folks make a living scooping dog crap. "Where have you been all my life?" I will say, forking over money that could not possibly have been better spent.
"What do you still DO?" asks Flo.
Hiring Dogcrap Guy has been an exercise in pun parsing.
Peek a Poo
the execrable Poopless in Seattle
and my favorite, in a walk: Doody Free Seattle