chutzpah

Imagine opening a web page and it taking 50 seconds to load. Now imagine that you were paid to set that page up. Now imagine that you paid someone else $1000 to solve any such issues. Now imagine that they shined a flashlight on it, shrugged, and stopped answering your emails. Now imagine feeling their neck tendons snap in your hands.

God knows I have.

Last year I bought forum software and extra support its developer. They shrugged. Desperate, I ended up splitting the forums across eight minuscule pages just to solve the issue, a hack that understandably did not delight my client.

Yesterday, the developer wrote to see if I'd like to pay another $1000 for an additional year of his fine, fine support. I said no. And then a miracle happened. He pushed back.

He sees that I'm running multiple forums, not just one. The support license I purchased is just for one, so no wonder that level of support failed. What I need to purchase is the more expensive "farm" license. That's when all blood vessels in my head burst.

I'm trying to compose my response. "So what you're saying that the kluge I implemented out of desperation after your lack of support is, in fact, not supported and therefore the cause of your failure that predated its existence?" is kind of wordy. I'm pretty happy with "Dear Fucker of Mothers," though.

On the surface, it was a great night in bachelorhood.

Girl 1, a bartender, gave me her phone number. On my way to pick her up some dinner, I stopped at another establishment for a drink. There I got reacquainted with Girl 2, a bartender, who suggested that we check out some new Italian restaurant sometime. Enter Girl 3, a barfly with whom I clicked. We made plans to have dinner that night, after I finished getting Girl 1's steak. I dashed out the door to the restaurant, where, yes, I sat at the bar and waited for the steak. I made little progress with Dude 1, a bartender.

I dumped off the steak with a grateful Girl 1 and headed back to Girl 3. At this point, she was chatting with a much better looking guy and conspicuously ignoring me for the 20 minutes I sat on her other side.

The shallowness of some people. I swear.

endangered pander

This morning I was going to rant about how Hollywood is awkwardly wedging China into aspiring blockbusters. In The Martian, for instance, the hapless Americans, capable of setting up a huge Mars base, are mysteriously incapable of launching food into Earth orbit without gracious Chinese help. In Gravity, an astronaut saves her own life only by lily-padding to the nonexistent Chinese space station.

And so I was going to satirize this with my own awkward infusion of noble China into today's post. I was going to title it "Pander Express." But I needed a third example, so I googled "movies chinese pandering."

Sigh. Colbert did this exact bit three months ago. His writers even thought of a sweet and sour joke. Jerks.

runaway ralph

I was driving home from a movie theatre last night when I noticed a leaf caught on my windshield wiper. No, wait. That's behaving weirdly for a leaf. Did it just...amble to its right?

The mouse and I gazed into one another's eyes. He was bemused by the 35 mph winds. I was amused that he was walking along my windshield wiper.

Click.

The wiper shot the mouse to my left, and he whipped around the corner of the car, where he grabbed hold of the mouse-sized gap in the driver's door window. He clung on, sticking his head into the car and glaring at me. Amusement: canceled.

We gazed into one another's eyes again, one of us enraged, the other terrified. I'll let you sort out who was whom.

hateful eight

The kids coined a useful new term to describe someone who is conspicuously trying to seem edgy, to shock. It was impossible to watch Hateful Eight without thinking that Tarantino has gone full-on edgelord.

I say this as a fan: it is puerile without counterpoint. Or any kind of point. It was three hours of "meh" punctuated by the occasional "Jesus H., Quentin." As a rule, if I'm thinking about the filmmaker during his film, both have failed.

babysitting

Clemson alum Terrell was in town, so I suggested that we go to a Clemson bar to watch her alma mater play in the championship game.

She said she'd be late, so I got there early and snagged us a booth. After the place filled up, some 20 people were without a table, so I walked to the standing mass o'humanity and held up two fingers. "I've got room for two," I said.

Youth and dexterity prevailed, and soon a couple of recent graduates were seated across from me. We chatted about their journey to Seattle, and they asked if the Seattle Chill ever abates. (It doesn't.) The boyfriend left for the bathroom, leaving me seated across from his hot 22 year old girlfriend.

That's when Terrell walked in.

It takes quite the glare to make you feel guilty when you're innocent, but she unleashed exactly such a withering glare as I stammered an explanation.

sucking down

Friends and I were talking about our undergraduate degrees, and as usual under such circumstances, I could only envy theirs. They'd gone to schools focused at least partially on their educations. I did not have that luxury.

• • •

When you're poor in Ohio, you go to Ohio State. Ohio State at the time had more students in my major than my subsequent grad school had total undergraduates. I was one of 45,000 commuting students. I will remember this stat forever because of another: there were fewer than 6000 parking spaces. Even when my first class was at noon, I arrived at 6:30am so that my $600 car might gasp and knock in a space of its own.

The_Ohio_State_University_December_2013_05_(Lincoln_Tower).jpgThe scale of the place is massive. Each college has its own den of bureaucrats with which you must deal, and after you wait for hours, each office invariably sends you to the remote Lincoln Tower, the university's massive central administrative building. Abandon all hope. I was once behind a guy named Drew at the Arts & Sciences office. He was trying to drop a class. The clerk said that his records showed him as female. "Can you change that?" Drew asked. No, she grinned sadistically. He'd have to go to Lincoln Tower. "Fuck that noise," he said. "I'd rather wear a dress." Everyone but the clerk laughed. Nope. He would have to trek the mile to Lincoln Tower and get his gender reassignment surgery before she would process his drop form. Then trek back, wait in this line again, and then find out what other dance she'd make him dance. This would take a full day, guaranteed. His eyes welled, and then he unconfidently began his quest.

It took years, but I found the shortcuts in that maze. While my peers kissed their professors' butts, I befriended the lowly clerks and secretaries. They were more my people. I would chat with them about their lives. I baked them cookies. It was genuine friendliness on my part, not a crass strategy, but the advantages soon became clear. The most powerful people at Ohio State do not have fistfuls of degrees. They do not drop pretentious Latinates into your conversation, like turds in your crab bisque. No. They are the overlooked, the underpaid, the despised, the truly fucked. They became my friends. Soon I was shooting through my undergraduate years like I was fired from a rail gun. Frictionless.

• • •

I listened to my friends' college tales of with unconcealed envy and zero recognition. When I'd been struggling to find parking and drop classes, my friends had been on the crew team and reading and retaining John Irving. I was happy for them, but I stewed in envy.

"The only thing I learned at Ohio State," I said bitterly, "Was how to exploit obtuse bureaucracies."

"Uh..." said my friends.

And with that, self-awareness kicked in. I've been manipulating moronic corporate bureaucracies ever since, profiting both myself and my friends, including those present. I'm not sure why I didn't see the parallels before that moment. I suppose sometimes people need to hold a mirror up to your face.

• • •

In 2007, my Microsoft boss fucked over one of my peers. He was an average worker and human being but not deserving of his vilification, yet she angrily drove him right out of the company. I did what I do: I stayed in touch. I sent him a joke a couple times a year. A few years later, now a peon at another corporation, he contacted me about a consulting gig. And then he helped me navigate around the corporate bullshit, straight to vendor cash. This would balloon into a full-scale business that changed my life and those of several friends. Today he is gone, but I continue to feed at this trough.

And it all began with me emailing him in 2007—when he was broken, disgraced and downtrodden—that his former boss had dropped a pen and split the seam in her pants.

reunited and it feels so moot

Since summer, I've reunited with 5 people whom I had not seen for a collective 61 years. Four of those reunions were on purpose. The fifth, an accidental encounter at her sister's house, made me pray for the sweet release of death.

Either hers or mine, lord. I'm not picky.

If I were to score the encounters, I'd say I finished 1-4. I eeked out my first win just last week. For the others, I concluded that I'd been right to sever things in the first place. All I seemed to accomplish was to replace our mental images of one another with more wrinkled, fatter versions.

Lesson learned: chop more, stitch less.

• • •

Crap, I forgot the Portland reunion. So it's 7 friends I had not seen for a collective 92 years. Jesus, I'm old.

my "when would you kill" drinking game

In bars, I'll sometimes throw out this question: if you could go back in time and kill a celebrity, thereby saving them from themselves and preserving our fond memories of them, who would it be and when?

My go-to example is Michael Jackson in 1983. He was at the height of his powers and popularity, and there wasn't a lawsuit, dangling baby or grotesque surgery in sight. The weirdest thing about him was his glove. I don't know about you, but that's how I like my Michaels. Mel Gibson or Michael Richards in 1995? Also excellent choices.

It occurred to me yesterday that I need to retire this bar game, now that every possible answer is "Bill Cosby." Or maybe I just need to travel back in time and kill the game in the 80s.

欢迎, chinese readers

Some bureaucrat at the Great Firewall must have set his elbow on the wrong key, because this page suddenly has Chinese readers.

I'm banned no longer!

Welcome!

欢迎!

Here's the Wikipedia article on the Tiananmen Square massacre.

rectified

In the 90s, I stopped the sentence "Macintosh is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation" from being published on millions of boxes. That was certainly my most important save, but this weekend's is the one I find most amusing.

Capture.PNG

To someone from anywhere else, Seattle drivers are a bewildering combination of slow and aggressive.

First, they'll laze in front of you and make you brake to avoid hitting them, and then they'll drive below the speed limit. If you ever want me to shred my vocal chords, I highly recommend employing this technique. Bonus points if I'm in the freeway's fast lane and you drift into my path, make me brake, and then go no faster than the person you're presumably passing.

That happened to me twice last night, and the first offender was special. He went slower than the guy he was "passing," enabling some 20 cars to pass me on the right. Trapped and going 47 in the fast lane, I employed a custom used everywhere but Seattle. I flickered my brights at the guy, the international sign for "You're slow. There's a special lane for you special people, and this ain't it." I knew he wouldn't understand. No one here uses that convention, probably because no one here grazes the speed limit anyway. In a city where nearly everyone is sucking anti-depressants right out of the bottle, few drivers have anywhere they particularly want to be.

I flickered my brights twice. They were on for a total of an eighth of a second, but that was enough to homicidally enrage the guy. How dare I! He slammed on his brakes, which is amazingly less effective when you start at glacier speeds, leaned on his horn, and then blinded me with his brights for 10 miles, now going 70 in order to, oh, who knows. Avenge himself? Because after all, he's the victim.

And then 20 minutes later, it happened again. Another putz, another offense taken.

I'd say I miss Pittsburgh, but I pretty much miss everywhere else.

truth and consequence

The holidays always bring my lowest readership of the year. If I'm not an alternative to working, it seems, I'm out of your thoughts completely. I understand. Given the chance, I wouldn't think about me, either.

That's one reason I haven't posted much. Here's the other: I saw Darcy last week. I'm in Day 7 of the subsequent depression, as is my custom.

I can't bear to rant again about how painful it is to see her eager subjugation to a cheating fuckup, nor about how she's so enthusiastically morphed into the sort of pointless corporate-climber twinkie I despise. It's all I've thought about for a week, and I'm sick of thinking about it. I think about it all day. I think about it when I can't sleep. I think about it when I can.

I will now combat this by thinking about it.

Darcy has taught me about a heretofore unknown flavor of depression. Romantic devastation hurts more, but not by as wide a margin as one would think. This disappointment nonsense is shockingly severe. I am disgusted with her. I am embarrassed for myself. I mourn the person I thought she was, or the person she used to be, or wherever that confusing rat's nest of grief leads. I am angry about having wasted so much time, energy and money on helping someone who, in the end, did not need help becoming an utterly inconsequential person. I fret about opportunity cost; who didn't I help because I was helping her? Maybe someone who might have affected the world in some small way. Maybe someone who would have helped me pay forward my debt to those who helped me.

I feel all these things, all at once. It stings like a motherfucker. And nothing hurts more than the sentence my brain cannot shake: her inconsequentiality is my inconsequentiality.

three times a-lazy

Gosh, I hope in the next Star Wars movie, there's an even BIGGER Death Star for them to destroy!

Five writers in the writers' room. Five.

dark roots

I spent last week in Spokane, visiting friends and generally enjoying the people. Generally.

The dogs came along this time, which meant a few things:

  1. In the grade of hotel that allows dogs, they do not leave boxes of peanut brittle on your bed.
  2. Someone peed in my car on the way across the state.
  3. During the leash-up at my hotel room's door, Fredo slipped behind me into the hallway. He immediately discovered the pleasures of room-service. Specifically, he discovered my neighbors' trays of half-eaten food left on the hallway floor. He discovered the hell out of them.
I'm pretty sure that point #2 had to do with Fredo, as well, in that same way that I'm pretty sure that Adam Sandler's next movie will feature a fart joke. I can't prove it, but what possible counter-argument is there?

Laudromat-at-Night.jpgThus did I unexpectedly end up at a seedy Spokane laundromat at 7am. Although it's been several decades, this environment is still very much...well, not home. That would imply that I ever didn't hate every second of being there. But it's surely familiar.

The same folks were there, too. The bedraggled middle-aged clerk was holding forth about her religion, hating her job too much to care if anyone got her fired. There was a strung-out homeless guy doing a wash and generally making expert use of the bathroom. There was a guy who clearly had shattered his eye socket some years ago and who, equally clearly, had never had it treated. It healed badly, and that half of his face looked like it was melting. I wondered about his peripheral vision when he was driving. I wanted to slap him like Burgess Meredith in Rocky II.

Now you didn't even see that comin', did ya? And that's comin' from a broken down pug like me. What do ya think a Buick would do to ya?

Hurt me bad I guess...

It'd hoit ya poimanent!

And of course, there was the well-dressed professional guy who was completely out of place, unexpectedly at a laundromat, fidgeting nervously and not making eye contact with the plebeians surrounding him. I found his air of superiority offensive.

I didn't know these people, and yet I knew them intimately. Eye-socket guy and sink-bath guy got into a spirited debate. As near as I could tell, the core disagreement involved which of them loves weed more. Someone entered Jesus into evidence. I marveled as they fervently disagreed about who was more certain that Jesus' healing miracles were reliant upon weed.

I am witnessing a miracle, I thought. This is the stupidest argument ever conceived by stoners. Which means it is the stupidest argument that has ever been.

A twitchy guy in a baseball cap and comically baggy clothes walked into the laundromat, nervously surveying the room and walking to the other side. He brought no laundry. He was just pacing and unsubtly watching us.

Aaaand I'm out, I thought, gathering my things.

"This is some shady-ass shit going on over there," said eye-socket guy, gathering his things, his peripheral vision just fine, thanks.

There's no place like home.

tolerance, inc.

Last night I learned something during a conversation with a bunch of 20-somethings. Not from them, of course. Perish the thought.

They were discussing the assholes in their lives. Friends, family, neighbors. I listened as they compared how they handle them. And that's when I realized a central truth of my life.

"I don't deal with assholes unless I'm paid to do so," I said.

Friends? Family? Neighbors? Please. I'm like the Terminator, ripping off malfunctioning body parts, tossing them aside, and moving forward without so much as glancing at it twitching on the ground. But if these same assholes paid me? Sure, asshole, let's hang out. I already do that for a living.

cleaning our own homes

The mooching, cheating spore who has derailed Darcy's life is Muslim. Or at least he's an Arab who was raised Muslim. I don't think he's practicing anymore. Regardless, the morning of the Boston marathon bombing, Darcy and I had the following conversation.

She spoke with Grave Importance. "When Cheating Spore heard about it, his first thought was I hope they weren't Muslim."

"Wait. That was his first thought?"

My first thought had been Fuck. This is horrible. My second thought was of my friends in Boston who I knew were watching the marathon.

Noting my offense, Darcy explained. "You have to understand how rough 9/11 was on him in school. Kids were really rude," she said, actually mustering condescension.

"I'm sure, since it appears to have completely destroyed his sense of empathy."

She sighed, exasperated by my self-centeredness, and tried explaining again how Cheating Spore was the real victim of 9/11 and the Boston bombing. It was then that I realized she had become his brainless Apologist-in-Chief.

I let it go. And then I let her go from my life. I barely talk to her anymore. I can watch the intellectual self-mutilation no longer.

• • •

I've thought about that moment a lot lately. In the wake of an alarming amount of police violence toward minorities, the outrage of the nation's police is channeled at Quentin Tarantino for criticizing them. Sure, his comments overreached, but he's not exactly killin' folk. Looking at zeal with which they're attacking Tarantino, I question where that outrage has heretofore been. One would think it might be directed at, say, the fellow cops who are killing civilians.

When a straight white guy says something bigoted, I'm the first to smack him down. As a straight white guy, is that not my job? To keep my own house clean? Other communities cannot act against my own with the same morality authority I can. And I expect no less from them. I can't repudiate Islamic extremists as effectively as Muslims can. With regards to police shootings, my actions don't carry nearly the weight that would thoughtful cops.' On the flip side of the same issue, I can't really be the one to say that Michael Brown isn't the best martyr for that cause. And I can't denounce the bomb-chucking demagogues in the GOP as effectively as the Republicans can.

Perhaps the desire to bitch about other communities would abate if we all stopped bitching and picked up a broom.

the ugly indian

I visited friends on Seattle's eastside Saturday. The friend part was fun. The Seattle and eastside parts were typical, which is to say execrable. Visiting Seattle has become an exercise in grasping a reliably electrified wire.

The people are entitled douches, they can't drive, and there are way too many of 'em. I was at a dead stop on a suburban freeway on a Saturday afternoon, glaring at the two empty "Rich Folks Only" toll lanes and despising the fuckwit who thought of that jack. I crawled the two miles to their next entrance point and then paid the fuckwit.

I ended up clothes shopping at Macy's, in what used to be whitest Redmond, home of Microsoft. The influx of Indians the last ten years has been astonishing. I'm sure whites are still a majority, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it. As I entered my dressing room, Indian guys entered the adjacent rooms. I was undressing when one of the men kicked clothes hangers and wadded-up clothes from his room into mine. He has an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to disposing of trash, I suppose.

I violently kicked the stuff back into his dressing room.

"AND THIS IS WHY YOUR COUNTRY IS SUCH A FUCKING PARADISE THAT YOU MOVED HERE!" I yelled.

how come i'm only hearing about this now?

A snake bit a porny model's breast and died of silicone poisoning.

I shall not even attempt to make this funnier than it naturally is.

so very sorry

Spotify, I don't know what I did to you to make you keep suggesting Kelly Clarkson, but I'm sorry.

resistable link of the day

I was researching probiotics when...

vag.PNG

prescription for happiness

Longtime crush Emma contacted me the other day to catch up.

I am a weary, suspicious burnout of an old man. No one who knows me would correct that statement. (In my head, I hear Dorkass say "You're also fat.") I am decades removed from adolescent excitements. Yet when I saw Emma's name on my phone, long-dead butterflies in my stomach burst to life. What is it with this woman? I thought. No one does that to me anymore.

We chatted for a while about mutual friends and her husband and kids. One would think that I'd be disappointed that she's still happily married and that her life is a Norman Rockwell postcard, but I am uncharacteristically altruistic on all matters Emma. If she were ever that unhappy, it would break the dessicated remains of my heart. My lofty principles are no doubt aided by the certainty that I would have no shot whatsoever.

Nevertheless, she remains my ideal. I can't help it. Whenever someone asks for what type of woman I'm waiting, her face alone flits through my mind. "I don't know," I'll lie.

Here's a telling life choice: I'm waiting out a happy marriage between two people younger and healthier than me. This plan is a mortal lock.

the gift

When I first showed up at Microsoft for an interview, I had driven literally straight from college. That explains, I think, the naiveté evident in my next sentence. I was wearing a suit.

The interview went well, and as my sweatpants-clad future boss walked me out of the building, she flicked her fingertips at what a college student thinks is a power tie. "And that's the last time you'll wear one of those," she said.

She was wrong, of course. In the intervening decades, four social occasions have required that I wear a tie, and I assure you that I bitched incessantly through each event. Such is the spoiled life of someone in the tech industry. I whine about having to wear pants.

This morning, I slip on tie #5. As I wondered where my ties are, I also wondered if I could possibly remember how to tie one. And there they were in the back of my closet, covered with a layer of crypt dust, relics of low-budget early-90s fashion. And on the end was the last tie I wore, a plain red one, still in its knot from 13 years ago.

Thank god. I have no recollection of deciding to leave the knot, but I thanked my younger self for his foresight.

unbearably

If I'm ever more smug than when I see an old love interest show up in Facebook's "People You May Know" feature when:

  1. we have zero mutual contacts, and
  2. I never searched for her,
I don't know when it could possibly be.

the new abs of empathy

CT6XvpYUkAAx0_A.jpg


You think you've cringed hard, but you haven't seen his hashtags yet.


CT6Ypl5UEAAw6BC.jpg

Source

the second-worst thing about terrorist attacks

Whenever terrorists strike, my initial reaction is, of course, grief. Dread quickly follows, but not dread of subsequent violence.

First come the co-opters. They make every issue about themselves. Friday night, I cynically opened Facebook and waited for the French flags to appear across people's faces. It took several hours, but soon enough, thar they blow'd. It was exactly the same folks who'd peered at us through rainbows a few months ago. I suppose they mean well, but I dreaded its inevitability. There's more than a whiff of self-aggrandizing attachment to someone else's tragedy.

Then come the jerkoffs, straining to interpret events as validation for their beliefs. It's Obama's fault. It's Bush's fault. It's immigration's fault. It's religion's fault. It's the wrong religion's fault. If everyone in France were armed, this wouldn't have happened. Every event can simultaneously validate every possible agenda. The human mind is nothing if not facile.

Next come the apologists, racing to be the first to be contrary. We must consider the conditions that led these people to such desperate acts, their Microsoft Word macro tells us. Also, this isn't real Islam.

Me, I just felt awful for the victims. I'm broken that way.

more than just a pretty face

My boss of five years recently hired Trixie. She's 24, smoking hot, and tragicly unqualified for the job she holds. Armed with her degree in media communications and a six month internship as a local TV reporter, she was appointed a program manager at a Fortune 500 tech company.

I began to berate my boss, as I am wont to do under these circumstances, but he stayed his vivisection. "Oy. Trixie. Yeah. Before you say anything, did you know she's the daughter of the administrative assistant of the CEO?"

And just like that, my stabbiness shifted targets. I'm nothing if not reasonable.

And thus has my job come to include a task that both amuses and appalls me. I stealthily redo Trixie's work. The sequence goes like this:

  1. Trixie produces something incompetent.
  2. Boss, seeing that it's incompetent, tells her "Great work, daughter of the CEO's admin!"
  3. Boss then asks me to redo her work but to keep my involvement a secret.
  4. Boss uses my work instead of Trixie's.
  5. Trixie never notices (see incompetent, above).
  6. Repeat.
My work + her face = a potent combination. There is little doubt in my mind that in five years, I'll be working for Trixie in addition to working as her.

sexist thoughts, part deux

Steph visited Seattle for four days. When I discovered that she didn't check luggage, I almost proposed on the spot. True, she's a friend happily married to another friend, but that's how much a woman not checking luggage means to me.

I gots scars.

Beyond that, I can think of only one other bias I hold against women. They should almost never be given jobs that involve speaking into a megaphone or intercom. A poorly amplified high-pitched voice is a spectacularly eyeball-bursting sound. Other than that, ladies, you have my blessing to do what you want with your lives.

Except rap. I forgot girl rap. It's awful. No.

sexist thoughts, part 1

Anybody who's read this page for 10 minutes probably suspects that I vastly prefer the company of women. And I don't mean that as a euphemism for anything, either. This preference has as least as much to do with men as it does with women. I do not see the point of socializing with most men. I hate golf, I spend as little time as possible maintaining my yard, I think cars are an absurd way to spend money, and I've no interest in comparing penis size. Read into that what you will.

Meanwhile, a single mother raised me. When she died, a succession of beleaguered girlfriends and female friends, mentors, and bosses took over, chipping away at my rough edges until I vaguely approximated a human. They shaped me. You can certainly bet that anything redeeming about me, I learned from a woman. When I survey my life, I often feel grateful, even indebted, to other people. Yet I feel indebted to no man. Not one.

Men are the valets of my life. They're there. I see them. I even opt to interact with them from time to time. But their sole purpose is so optional, so redundant, they are utterly superfluous.

• • •

Tangent: Why do valets need to adjust my seat in order to drive my car 40 goddamned feet? And why, when I have a freakishly short 29" inseam, do they need to move the seat forward? The prevailing theory is "just to be assholes."

warning: trigger alert

Those of you scarred by dogs so moronic that they hike their leg on your deck, pee on said deck, and then scamper through their puddle on their way back into your house might want to skip this post.

IMG_4701.JPG

contact
moron taxonomy
stupid church signs
super bowl xl officiating
percy chronicles

Monthly Archives

Pages