February 2016 Archives


My dog died yesterday at 7 years old. It was extremely sudden-onset canine influenza. On Thursday, her regular vet said her lungs sounded good and advised we give her cough two weeks to clear up. On Friday, she was still spunky. We played. On Saturday, she took a turn for the worse and I hospitalized her. Sunday morning, she was gone. It was that fast.

I'm sad, of course, but not as sad as her brother. He's inconsolable, refusing cookies and comfort. He just sits in the corner, looking out the window for her. It's fairly devastating to watch.


While I'm at it, here's my favorite Poindexter picture. That's her stomach. She's using me as a hammock while I sit on the back deck.

irises 010.jpg



I don't know much, but I know Hollywood, and I know that I dearly wish I were releasing a black-themed film in 2016.

my literacy program

Longtime readers may recall the sign next to my front door.

Yesterday, it failed me. It failed me in the worst way imaginable:

  1. The knock occurred during a business call.
  2. It was religious missionaries knockin'.
Despite my living at the end of the Earth, Jehovah's Witnesses used to come to my door at least twice a year. Apparently Jehovah considers me a huge "get." Since the sign went up three years ago, I hadn't heard a peep from them. Not until yesterday.

I opened the door and was instantaneously awash in their banalities. I tapped on the sign with the business end of the baseball bat in my hand. "Be sure to read the fine print."

They looked at the sign.

"Sound out the words," I coached.

Their eyes grew three sizes that day. Suddenly flustered, they apologized and scampered off.

hi john!

I'm looking at real estate for the first time in 14 years. You think you remember how irritating realtors are, but you don't really. Sure, I created a burner email address just for them. I've deleted two such addresses already, in fact. Sure, I bought a burner phone just so they don't have my real number. And these safeguards do offer me some measure of sanity. But only some.

Given the option of emailing or calling, I always choose email. "Are there any pictures of the garage?" I'll write the listing agent.

"Hi John! What's your number?" comes the response.

"I don't have a phone. Can you just email it?"

"Hi John! What's your mailing address?"

"Tell your mother that you're a failure. And tell your client that you blew a sale."

Variations of this conversation have happened a half-dozen times. And any contact results in a shitstorm of spam about how invaluable it is to have that particular parasite take $15,000 of your money for putting little red "sign here" stickers on paperwork for the house you found without their help.

I fairly hate them.

In related news, I forgot how incredibly hard it is to text from a flip-phone. It's like threading a needle with wet thread. Using your butt cheeks.

hat trick

The last three movies I've seen were about a captive woman and the child she raised in captivity, subprime mortgage fraud, and pedophile priests.

Save me, Marvel!

quit again another day

It has been a long time since I quit a job. Too long.

When I worked for Annette, I must have quit a half-dozen times. She has a folder of those emails. At that point, I had bought the house in Metamuville and was ready to leave Microsoft. Every irritation, every asshole, every utterance from marketing twinkies was instantly The Big One. "I've fucking had it," I would write. "I'm done. Set a date." And then Annette would guilt me into staying so that I could quit again another day.

Over five years ago, I started a gig as a consultant. They piled work on me until Amy came on board to help. The business continued to swell until one year, we employed some 23 people. For a company run off servers in my bedroom closest, it was massive. I found myself appointing leads, attending meetings with platitude-regurgitating executives, and getting farther and farther from contributing anything meaningful. If you've ever worked with me, you can guess how unhappy I was.

But this time was much, much worse. Friends depended on me. Their mortgages and children depended on me. Specifically, they depended on me not quitting. I was trapped there for years. Amy proved invaluable counsel. "I need you to talk me down from a tree," I would tell her in a rage, and then she would calmly talk me through whatever was pissing me off that minute. It worked for everyone for a while.

And then "everyone" slowly drifted away as work slowed down, until it was just me, Amy, and an intermittent smattering of misfits. And now Amy's leaving, and I'm back to where I was in 2010. I knew it was coming, but still, when I heard, I was inconsolable. I don't know how to do her job. And I sure don't know how to talk myself out of a tree. What will I ever do without Amy?

I'll fucking quit, is what I'll do!

Free of Amy's mitigating influence, I am now in a three-point stance, poised to quit. This is the role I was born to play. The decision has been made; I'm just waiting for a suitably satisfying provocation. You know, for maximum anecdotage. Stay tuned.


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.

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