Thursday, March 31, 2005
According to the story, the man was overheard yelling "You don't know God from Godzilla!" at the police who were arresting him. This concerns me - because as an upright citizen, I hold our country's police forces to a higher standard. Granted, nobody's perfect and all cops are human and therefore capable of making mistakes, but if it is indeed true that the thin blue line can't tell the difference between a dinosaurian havoc-wreaker and the man upstairs it seems we have bigger issues to tackle than whether or not social security is in a bit of a pickle.
Maybe it would help if we could outline some differences between God and Godzilla. This way we could give little laminated cards to cops which they could use as a handy reference when faced with a large, powerful force. Said cards could make the difference as they try to decide whether to take the force into custody for damage to public property or ask for said force's blessing. Here's what I was able to think of off the top of my head:
Appearance: Giant (200'+ tall), screeching lizard
Address: Underwater, sleeping. Shhhhh...
Political Affiliation: Libertarian (You leave him alone, he leaves you alone...)
Media Contact: TOHO Studios
Turn-ons: Friendly children, leveling cities, Jet Jaguar
Turn-offs: Nuclear Weapons Testing, CGI versions of self
Appearance: Multiple - reportedly seen as burning foliage in addition to physical manifestation, but only known witness died thousands of years ago after being lost in the desert for 40 years due to lack of Mapquest.
Political Affiliation: Independent
Media Contact: Holy See, Vatican City (Offices also in Salt Lake City, UT; London, UK; Shao Lin Temple, Tibet, PROC)
Turn-ons: Forgiveness, Charity, Puppies
Turn-offs: Taking his name in vain, Covetousness, Athletes who tell reporters he was "on their side today"
As you can see, it's pretty easy to tell the two apart. But then I started thinking of the similarities between the two:
1) In their early work they were portrayed as violent and wrathful - destroying cities, crushing the weapons of their foes, etc. (e.g. Old Testament God, Original Godzilla movie) but later work revealed their softer side (e.g. New Testament God, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster).
2) Both have one son (e.g. Jesus, Son of Godzilla)
3) Both can breathe fire (Well, I'm sure God could if he really wanted to. I mean...he's *God*)
Those are all I could think of. Still, maybe it's not as easy to tell God from Godzilla as one would think.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
First, he gets to be late to school through no fault of his own. That automatically raises your coolness quotient. Kind of like how when I was a kid, sometimes on wintery mornings in MN one of the buses would get stuck and need to get towed out of a ditch or something. All the kids on that bus would be usually an hour late or so. But you knew they were survivalists when they arrived. It was a 2nd grader’s equivalent of the movie “Alive” (“Yeah, it was a long time, but my mom had packed an extra granola bar so we lived off that and burned the extra napkins she packed for warmth until help arrived.”).
Second, he gets an awesome story to tell all his friends at school and use to impress the girls with his bravery. Yeah, he’ll probably embellish it a bit, adding details about how the SUV driver was Osama Bin Laden and how he personally leapt out an open window to tackle him as he was running away from the scene of the crime – using his black belt in ankle-biting to subdue him until the police arrived.
Third, he gets to watch policemen walking around and see the lights flashing. As opposed to adulthood, when those things cause us pain (because we’re the ones paying the speeding ticket, not Dad) as children they are a source of utter fascination. That’s the reason I think that COPS is so popular – not because adults are watching it so much as because little kids love watching policemen work. No matter how boring it is in real life, to little kids it’s the best reality television ever. I still suffer from this a little bit even today, although I’m more focused on fire trucks usually.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Yes...I'm "the candy guy".
I don't know quite how it all started, but back when I worked in Cleveland there was a small bowl for sweets in my group. Like everyone else, I contributed every now and again, and it was shared in an idealistic, communal spirit that would have made Marx as happy as a crocodile in a barn full of blind and paralyzed chickens. Back then however, I was a ravenous consumer of anything chocolate going back to when I was a toddler. Ask my mom about the time I threw a tantrum until she gave me a piece of unsweetened baking chocolate. My, my...*that* was a lesson in deceptive packaging.
Because I loved eating the chocolate, I became one of the most frequent consumers of it. Inspired then, no doubt by guilt over ruining the utopian candy-land we had created, I started bringing in more candy, more often. Eventually, people came to realize that if they just let me eat all the candy I'd always re-fill it, relieving them of the responsibility of bringing it in as often. By the time I had left Cleveland for Chicago, I as filling the new bowl I had supplied as often as once a week.
But something happened when I got to Chicago. I found that my candy highs were not as fulfilling as they once were, and I started weaning myself to the point where I really don't eat any of the candy that I bring in anymore. Rather, I have become a "candy dealer". Pushing my "junk" on the unsuspecting youth of my company. I'm the shady little weasel, hiding in the shadows offering free ones to the new management trainees "if they bring their friends next time". Yes, I am a powerful evil.
Being in this position as a lord of the underworld has given me a whole new appreciation for that life perspective. For example, one of the tasks that all candy dealers have to deal with is simple supply chain issues. It can get expensive to buy candy, particularly in any sort of volume, so one has to constantly be looking to score good stuff cheap. That is why yesterday was an awesome day. Yes, the day after Easter...the greatest day a candy dealer can hope for. Everything is at least 50% off and sometimes more.
As I was walking through Target running errands, I came across two aisles where they were unloading their excess candy. People were loading up on Cadbury Creme Eggs, peanut butter eggs, and Easter-themed M&M's in a frenzy that pitted a variety of candy consumers against each other - yuppie moms, grandmothers, diabetics in denial, and the candy dealers. It was like nothing I've ever been personally involved with. I never thought I'd need to start pushing people in a consumer situation before, but when the elderly nana hip-checked the mother of four into her own cart I knew I needed to watch my back. I took advantage of a sudden restocking of Peeps distracting the crowd to score 5 bags of M&M's and some creme eggs. I should be set for work at least for a few weeks with this score....awesome.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Back in the day, car dealers were only interested in fleecing you out of money when you actually bought the car. Subsequently, if anything needed fixing, you would take your car to a local garage, or gas station to get it fixed. There, the mechanic would take you through a complex process of diagnosing what was wrong using the following technique:
Mechanic: So what seems to be the trouble?
Owner: I don't know, it's making this noise whenever I turn left.
Mechanic: What's it sound like?
Owner: (makes a sound like a muskrat in a clothes dryer)
Mechanic: Hmmmmm...I think I know what to do...
The mechanic would then take a day or seven to order replacement parts, leaving the owner stranded long enough to fall in love, solve crimes, invent rock-n-roll, or whatever other plot points needed to be resolved in the particular Michael J. Fox movie we happened to be watching.
These days however, auto dealers realized that there is way more money to be made fleecing owners on the maintenance side of the business. But because everyone kept taking their cars into their trusted mechanics, they devised "the diagnostic" which is a computer who lives inside your engine, gathering secrets about it which it will only tell to computers at the dealership. What sort of secrets it gathers I prefer not to think about. Of course this makes figuring out what the problem is very easy for the dealer. But the problem is that if the diagnostic doesn't see anything wrong at the moment, it assumes nothing is broken. Thus, in my case it made for trouble, since every time I brought it in to get looked at the diagnostic refused to tell the dealer's computer what was wrong (not unlike a passive-aggressive significant other).
Needless to say, the dealer kept my car for two days and eventually figured out what they thought was the right answer - and that would essentially cost me $2100 to fix. Naturally, I calmly inquired whether the service guy was high and if so, when would he be talking sense again so I could call back. In the end, he confirmed the diagnosis and I refused to get it fixed, choosing instead to get another problem fixed that would not require me to sell a kidney on the black market.
Once the parts were in for that fix I dropped it off last Friday morning. When I got a call a few hours later from the service guy telling me he had "some good news" - that the fix they thought they would have to do on the ABS light was, in fact just a faulty sensor that would cost me "only about $300" to fix, not the original $2100. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! I just saved $1800! Woo-hoo! The GF will confirm how excited I was, because I called her in my excited, somewhat spastic state of glee. Of course, in her wisdom, I'm sure she was saying to herself "Doesn't he know he's spending another $300?", but kudos to her for letting me have my moment.
Of course, that feeling only lasted for an hour or two. That's when I started wondering if the whole thing was a ploy. I mean after an initial quote of $2100 - *anything* would seem reasonable. So now I'm a little paranoid that this is a new trick the dealers are doing to get more of our money and pay off their boats. So the next time someone quotes you $2100 to fix anything on your car, back away slowly.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Normally, I'd really look forward to an entire day with no plans or responsibilities. But today's kind of a lousy day outside (cold and rainy/snowy). I ran a bunch of errands (nothing worth writing about - condo association business mostly), and had the car into the shop to get a bunch of work done that's been accumulating over the last few months. But in general most of my day has been spent watching TLC and reading the biography on Teddy Rooseveldt I picked up at Borders about a month ago. I'm so far behind on my reading it's crazy. I've got this book, my friend BL's novel (just published last month - go buy it!), Paco Underhill's book on consumer psychology, and a book on strategic decision making. Sheesh, where did all those come from?
Tonight I'm taking the GF and a friend of her's in town to a play that the theater group I'm involved with is putting on. This is the glamorous and exciting part of doing board work for a non-profit. The hand-addressing party I'm going to next week is the not so exciting part. Although I've already warned the managing director that my handwriting is similar to that of a 5 year old boy. That got me out of addressing, but I'll be stuffing envelopes instead. Woo-hoo!
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Before going on, I should be clear that my office is a "business casual" environment in the truest form of the word - guys have to wear shirts with collars, and women can wear pretty much anything they want as long as there is a "sleeve" on their top. I say "sleeve" because any scrap of fabric is considered a sleeve, which I find interesting. Typically, though, nobody shows up looking ridiculous and it's pretty hard to screw up office attire.
What I encountered at work was really weird though, all females thought I looked phenomenal, but other guys either were horrifically confused ("What are you wearing a tie for? What's the occasion?") or just gave me crap about it ("Got a job interview today?"). And the response was absolutely consistent down gender lines. If you are a guy and work in an office, wear a tie one day and see what response you get.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Anyway, this morning on my way to work some kid in a Chrysler intrepid zooms up behind me as I'm driving down North Ave, zipping between lanes as me and the car next to me are driving about the same speed. Apparently this irritated him to no end because he couldn't get around us, so he pulled the "use the turnlane" at a red light, and had to floor his car to get past me. Apparently he was very irritated by my lack of speed, because he turned to me and was yelling something and gesticulating wildly. I thought about yelling something back or giving him the ol' one-finger salute. But then I thought it would be more fun to play with him. I simply blew him a little kiss and gave him a flirty little wave in the most "flame-on" manner I could think of. His response was priceless. It's totally worth doing next time someone thinks you cut them off. Although it probably is more effective when you share a gender.
In other news, last night I had my first experience hiring a plumber. I've dealt with plumbers before, but it was only for units I was renting and where I didn't have to pay for their services. But the spa tub had stopped working and I wanted to get it fixed since it was not even two years old. So this guy (who I'll call "Plumber Jim") comes over and proceeds to attack my tub with the grim determination of a rabid pit bull. It was amazing. But so much because the work he was doing was incredibly difficult but because it was really hard to get the motor out of underneath the tub. I would have given up after about 15-20 minutes, but he kept plugging away at it until he had dislodged the motor housing. And he was a nice guy too. Lots of pomade and a mini-mullet, but still cool about showing me how stuff worked and what to disconnect and when. So that the next time this happens I think I'll know what to do. Kind of fun actually. And he didn't charge me a kajillion dollars. So if any of you in Chicago need a plumber, I recommend calling Jim if you need any plumbing done (773-851-0273).
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
On a completely different topic, have you ever noticed how funny people look when they are spooked? I really hadn't noticed it before. But I think there's something to this. There have been numerous video postings on big-boys.com of people using an air horn to scare roommates, girlfriends, etc, and it's sad to say but they are kind of funny. I also wonder what kind of gum the guy in the upper left of that picture is chewing? Maybe this explains the popularity of fear factor because I can think of no other logical reason why anyone would watch it.
Monday, March 21, 2005
You aren't scared? Well, notice that the story doesn't specify what happened to Lucky. Presumably, he's spending his days (before being auctioned on ebay and purchased by GoldenPalace.com) munching on unholy lettuce leaves and soiling the hands of the faithful with his evil turtle-pee if they try to pick him up. Beware, my brothers and sisters, of the reptilian anti-christ!
I mean honestly, wouldn't you think that Satan would choose a slightly more intimidating animal as his agent of darkness? I mean, what possible mayhem could a turtle cause? And what happens to all the other red-eared sliders now because of their new reputation for being the preferred embodiment of evil? Will gang members start snatching them up as signs of how tough they are? Will they start training them to be savage pit-fighters, taking them for walks down the street in little choke collars with metal studs?
I can only imagine what a pit-fight involving red-eared sliders would look like. I'm sure it would be a bloodbath...or, more likely they would circle each other until one of them pee'd on the other one and was declared the winner (so, does that make it a "pee-bath" rather than a "bloodbath"?). Oh, the horror...somebody call PETA
Besides, today I get out of the office for almost the entire day. It's the first time in weeks that I've been able to travel anywhere. On the docket today is what is sure to be a thrilling trip to a manufacturer of piano hinges, where I'll get to see how they are made and talk with them about new types of hinges that are being developed. I always like the plant tour parts of these visits, it's neat to see how stuff gets made. I mean, yes, hinges aren't the most complex thing in the world but it's still interesting. After the hinge company we're going to visit a manufacturer of pull handles, which I'm sure will be "gripping". Hopefully I'll be gone long enough that I can just go home when I get back. That way my key failure this morning won't haunt me throughout the day.
Last night I discovered that the GF is completely infatuated with my old-school Nintendo. She's way better at getting extra lives at the end of Super Mario Brothers 2 than I ever was. Anyway I have a number of games that I have aquired over the years and of my original games (i.e. those not purchased via ebay 2 years ago) the onyl one I haven't beat was Friday the 13th, which I have determined is the most difficult video game ever created. It's impossible to beat and I hate it. More on this later but we're getting ready to head out for hinge-land. Woo-hoo!
Friday, March 18, 2005
For the first time in a long time I have no big events going on this weekend. I'm meeting a friend for brunch on Saturday, but other than that I've got nothing. It's supposed to be nice outside though so maybe I'll get to run around and explore the city some. I feel all full of energy because I went to bed at 9:00 last night and woke up this morning even before my alarm clock went off, having had a full 8 hours of sleep. It was awesome! The strange thing is though that I still got to work at my usual time - shortly after 7. I think there must be a great equalizing force that exists on the commute between home and work that automatically speeds me along when I'm late, and slows me down when I'm early. If this is true, then I should probably just start sleeping in later. Or going to the gym in the morning.
Work should be pretty simple today. I have a meeting with a manufacturer of impact wrenches where they want to tell my why their new impact wrench is soo much better than their last impact wrench. Should be gripping...
Thursday, March 17, 2005
So, who's your final four? Finalists? Champions? And finally, who's missing from the field?*
FF - Raising Arizona, Caddyshack, Princess Pride, and Airplane
Finalists - Raising Arizona, Airplane
Champion - Airplane. It's the funniest movie ever made, and survived a tough scare from a scrappy Princess Bride team in the semifinals and a seasoned veteran Raising Arizona club.
Outside Looking in - Undercover Brother, LA Story, Army of Darkness
* = In selecting candidates, the authors only chose movies that were predominantly comedies (not other genres with funny parts like Nightmare on Elm Street 4, etc) and that were not sequels - thus eliminating Austin Powers in Goldmember (which I find the funniest of the three) and Christmas Vacation.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
The point is that watching baseball live is, I think, different from watching any other sports event live. There is just so much happening that is outside the game: if it's a nice day, the food, talking with your friends about whatever. You just don't get that from a football game (nfl or college), NBA game, or indy car racing (all of which I've seen live). All those other ones I'll watch on TV (well, except racing, that doesn't really excite me either way) since you usually can see the action better on the small screen. But I can't watch baseball on TV. Until the world series, I suppose.
Tonight I'm taking the GF to this local vegetarian restaurant for dinner. It's called Green Zebra and it's getting all sorts of crazy cool reviews, the NY Times even wrote a ginormous review for it's food section. I'm super stoked because she has no idea where we're going. Yay fun! View their online menu, friends, and let me know what looks good as I have almost no idea what most of the stuff is. It's a small plate place, so we'll probably get 3-4 plates between us. Vote now!
Monday, March 14, 2005
On a happier note, I went clothes shopping this weekend. Since I myself was born lacking the gene for shopping or "outfit assembly" I enlisted the GF to help out. For some reason this idea got her frightfully excited and she told me she had been looking forward to it. I can only attribute this to her youth playing dressup with her Ken doll (aside - I have no idea if she ever owned one actually, but it helps fit the theory). Now she has a life-sized Ken doll and can't wait to dress it up. We started by going through my closet and getting rid of clothes I no longer wear, or which the GF gave me a certain look when I held it up (which I translated as something along the lines of "oh my god what is that *thing*"). I now have an entire garbage bag of clothes waiting for the goodwill, except the stuff that was no longer wearable.
We first went to Marshalls, because my mom accidentally got me gift certificates for there instead of the ones for Marshall Fields as I had requested. But we ended up spending a long time there because there was a lot of decent stuff and it's all super cheap! The GF enjoyed herself too, which I can only explain with a theory about how finding good clothes in such an environment is like hunting on the serengeti plain - lots of work but worth it when it works out. Then we went to TJ Maxx across the street and got even more stuff. I ended up with probably about another week's worth of clothes for work and some casual stuff. It was fun, but by the end of the day my feet were killing me (5 hours of walking around on concrete does that to me). Needless to say, I think all my clothes shopping will be done at those two stores for a long time. They rule.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Well, much for my big plan of getting up early and coming into work for a full 8 hour day today to get caught up. I just couldn't drag myself out of bed to do it and ended up taking the morning slowly. Needless to say I just rolled in here about an hour ago. Speaking of which, I'd better get to work now.
Anyway, just wanted to vent about my shattered dream...
Friday, March 11, 2005
One wonders what other songs a person could do this for? And which ones would be the funniest? "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails would be on my list - I think it has great humor potential...
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Needless to say this hasn't allowed much time for blogging. Which disappoints me tremendously, because I know how awful I can get about keeping in touch with folks. I feel like this is a way for me to do so with multiple people simultaneously, so it's way more efficient than emailing (Where I always have to keep up with who I've emailed recently and all the different email dialogues I have with people). The internal debate of the day is just how big to make the observing audience for the blog. I mean, when I started it it was more of a daily life log - so it's even more boring than it is today, what with my inability to figure out how to post pictures. I worry somtimes that the world is passing me by in important technologiucal ways. Here I sit, with only rudimentary skills in HTML, blogging, Microsoft Access, or even Powerpoint for that matter. Meanwhile all my friends who used to rely on me for techno-geekness have already mastered all of them. So many things to ponder once time frees up.
Thankfully, the end is in sight. The deadline for this project is Monday so after coming into work for about another 8 hours Saturday I should be a little more free for more regular updates. So stick with me folks, it's only going to get better. Even if I can't post pictures yet.