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KeithSpeak - January 2014


January 1, 2014
Sure you're hung over, sure you drank to excess last night, acted the fool in public, maybe got too loud, a little belligerent, got arrested, spent the night in a drunk tank fending off other drunk drunks, and perhaps it dawned on you as you sobered more quickly due to the grim reality of your circumstances, that just as sure as this spoon is able to reflect its environment, so are you. So then and there you make a New Year's resolution to stop drinking and hanging out with bad influences. Just like you have every year for the past five years.
January 2, 2014
The backup on my computer kept throwing an error code and would never complete the backup. After a day and a half of searching for the solution I stumbled across a really technical paper that described an exploit that looked suspiciously like what was happening on my system. So I go mucking about and find a mysterious folder that has one 80GB file in it. I can't open the file but I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be there. I first try to copy the folder to an external drive but it won't copy. Now I'm more determined than ever to nuke this file. If I'm wrong, I could be killing off my own computer. Crossing my fingers, I commence destruction. Destruction takes a whopping 45 minutes. When the folder was gone, and my computer hadn't crashed, I rebooted, reran a full virus scan and then tried backing up my system. It worked. My question? How the hell can an 80GB malware file "sneak" onto my computer?
January 3, 2014
I'm having ice cream sandwiches for breakfast. They are incredibly delicious. Easy to savor. Why haven't I heard anyone before extol the virtues of this wonderful breakfast treat? Am I the very first? Oh joy! And they said I would never amount to anything! Those fools!
January 4, 2014 
John was worried about being away from Twitter. The cruise ship didn't have the Internet so he had no way of telling the world about his life. His bottled up thoughts started to drive him crazy. What if someone hijacks his Twitter account while he's gone? Posts awful, hateful things and everyone thinks he's saying them? What if the perpetrator purposefully exceeds the 140 character limit and never finishes his thoughts? How stupid would he look then? John knew that even if he deleted the tweets once he regained control of his account, they'd still be out there. His reputation would suffer, his followers would be disappointed. In the end, his hashtags would be ignored. There were six more days left of the cruise. The four women he suspected were men tried to comfort him, but John was clearly worried.
January 5, 2014
He played professional rugby. He was not to be trifled with. He was tough, had no sense of humour and took offense easily. He was the friend of a friend and we all went out for a night on the town. He got into fights, caused property damage, got us thrown out of multiple places, and was in general an enormous pain in the ass. At the end of the evening, I pulled my friend aside and told him that I never wanted to see this temperamental, dour, joyless, combative, easily slighted human being ever again. My friend, being inebriated, turned to the guy and told him everything I just said. Good god. Fortunately, I was able to use my razor sharp intellect by calling my friend a liar, loudly denouncing his lying lies, and telling the rugby player I had the time of my life before taking my leave with the inescapable feeling that I had just dodged a bullet.
January 6, 2014
I was sent an email with latitude and longitude coordinates and a subject line telling me to look it up on Google Earth. I do but it's a patch of ocean in the southern hemisphere. I know you can use Google Earth to go underwater, though I never have, and I suppose that's what they wanted me to do, but I just wasn't interested in someone else's mystery. I don't care if there's sunken treasure, mermaids, a portal to the underworld or an alien base down there, I'm not interested. But I am polite, so I wrote back, Lost at sea. Don't send help. Their reply was, Exactly! A fitting end to something that made no sense in the first place.
January 7, 2014
Overheard at a retail store.
-- Mom, can you give me some money.
-- What for?
-- So I can get something.
-- Here.
-- What can I buy for a dollar?
-- That's your problem.
-- Can I have more?
-- No.
-- I need more money.
-- For what?
-- There's something I want.
-- What?
-- It costs five dollars.
-- What is it?
-- Can I have four more dollars?
-- No. What do you want to buy?
-- Something.
-- Unless you tell me what it is, I'm not going to give you any more money.
-- Fine.
The kid walks over to a display with plastic superheroes on it, picks up a Wonder Woman and stuffs it into her coat pocket. Her mom is none the wiser, but the same can't be said for store security as over the PA a voice crackles, Security to aisle four.
January 9, 2014
You think you know somebody... A woman came up to me at a social gathering and introduced herself as the wife of a friend of mine. Say what? I've known this guy for 15 years. He's not married. Turns out he is. He and his wife don't live together. They have separate houses, friends, interests and lives, but they are still married, still spend time with each other, and, according to her, still love each other. They just can't live with each other. I said that I never knew and he certainly never said anything. She laughed. "That's typical. ALL of my friends know. I'm proud we have worked out a good solution that addresses both our needs; he's more private about it; and yet another reason why our arrangement exists and works." Good on them, eh.
January 10, 2014
I'm sitting next to a 16 year old kid who is texting away on his phone. He finishes. I ask him how many texts a day he writes. He guesses 200. He then tells me that he is on 7 different social networks and has to constantly check and update them all day long. He estimates he spends about 8 hours a day on the phone. Ding. A new text. Excuse me, he says politely, and goes back to his social life inside the smartphone. Technology meets the modern world; no one said it would be pretty.
January 11, 2014  
If someone said there were sea monsters waiting, I wouldn't doubt them. This place is creepy, shrouded in eerie, a grayscale minimalist nightmare. It looks like the kind of place that would swallow you whole and pretend you were never there. Keith? No, no Keith here. Is that even water? Is that ladder just a come on, a tease to get the gullible or fearless to climb down? What if the sea monsters installed the ladder? How many countless curious have sacrificed themselves in the name of these beasts?! Someone should put up a sign or something. Others might not be as perceptive as I.
January 12, 2014
El muerto. Death. Décès. Everything we know, everything we ever knew, dies, except maybe bismuth-209 (the element with the longest half life - a billion times the current age of the universe - it will be the last thing left when there's nothing else left). So we know we're gonna die, and I suppose that means all kinds of things to all kinds of people, but there's no denying it can be a beautiful relief, an early outlet for those unable to cope, a certainty for the rest of us. Well isn't that some kind of a gift, knowledge wise?
January 13, 2014
An overseas operator called me to accept the charges for a collect call from Chucky in Bahrain. I don't know anyone in Bahrain. I don't know anyone who would call me collect from Bahrain. I know no Chuckies. So I declined. Weeks later a friend of mine, Ron, calls me from London and starts giving me grief about rejecting his collect call from Bahrain. I asked him why he told the operator his name was Chucky and how was I supposed to know it was him. He said that he wanted to fool the people that were following him. What? He said that the next time I get a collect call from a strange place, that I should accept it because no matter what name he uses, it will be him. I told him that's unlikely to happen. Ron got mad, said, "Fine!", and hung up. Um, am I missing something?
January 14, 2014
Many years ago I had dangerous friends and criminal acquaintances. These fellows were mostly in it for themselves, although there was an ad hoc brotherhood of sorts that functioned on an us and them basis with the law of the land being the diving line between the two sides. Anyway, I gradually moved on, lost touch, switched sides. This morning, I read an Internet article on one of the guys I used to know. He was just sentenced to 14 years in Elmira for armed robbery and extortion. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here eating Pop Tarts and drinking hot chocolate. Well well, dodging two bullets in one month, not bad.
January 15, 2014
I'm watching a TV program about genius children and this one precocious lad states that at age 2½ he is going to start writing fiction. That's in 4 months. The dude has just entered this reality, how does he even have a concept of fiction? How will he even know how to write either creatively or mechanically? And realistically, wouldn't tweeting be more to his level. Am I wrong?  
January 16, 2014
Grace and beauty are what make this world but a dream.
In nature, stealth is where it's at. Toss in night flying and a mean streak and, well, you get the picture.
Both of them scare me.
January 17, 2014
Ate something last night that didn't agree with me. This morning, 14 hours later, I still feel awful. I just want to rewind to that moment yesterday when I said, "Ok, it doesn't smell great, and it's a little green around the edges, but it should be all right", before eating what I shouldn't have. Then I would feel wonderful today instead of sick and crabby. But as we know, that didn't happen. Drat.
January 18, 2014
Silver Linings
A friend got sick and told me that all he did was lay on his couch for about a week and either sleep or watch TV. He said it was great, like a vacation. He asked me if I knew how incredibly relaxing it was to be able to just go to sleep anytime you wanted without people thinking you're just lazy sod. Pure pleasure, he assured me. Oh, and watching TV in the middle of the afternoon when normally his boss would be breathing down his neck was heaven itself. Heaven, he sighed. He concluded with, Sure, the sick part sucked, but the rest was fannn-tastic.
January 19, 2014
I'm talking to a guy at his workstation when I notice that he has a page open to his Windows 7 Game statistics. It shows that he has played over 11,000 games of Hearts, and that his winning percentage is a measly 4%. I tell him he must suck at Hearts. He laughs and says that his winning percentage suffers because he's always playing at work, and if his boss comes around he has to quit the game immediately and that counts as a loss. He assured me that after 11,000 games, he's pretty damn good at Hearts. I couldn't help but think about all those company hours spent playing a card game...
January 20, 2014
I know people in New York City who hate the place. I have a friend in Stockholm who wants to leave the big city and move rural. I have another friend who loves his little cabin in the California mountains but only gets there once a month because he lives the rest of his time in a trailer in the city by the bay. I know many others who live where they live because of a job. Only I among my friends is living somewhere by deliberate choice and loving it. Does that make me better than my friends? Well, yes, yes it does. Giggle.
January 21, 2014
Talk about your bad moons rising... In one twenty-four hour period the computer broke, the dryer broke and the truck broke. I placed a telephone order for the computer parts, called an appliance technician for the dryer repair and fixed the truck myself. Got up this morning and found that the furnace has gone out, Maddie is sick, the order I placed for the computer parts was cancelled and the appliance repair guy is booked solid until February. The furnace repair guy came out, fixed the furnace, yea, but got stuck in our driveway (because of ice) and I had to pay 50 bucks for a tow truck to pull him out. So far, I'm pretty sure this isn't the 2014 I imagined. That one had hula girls and working appliances. What gives?
January 22, 2014   
Really, you made a billion dollars by the time you were 23... Tell me Mr. Zuckerberg, why is it that you were referred to me? Do you know what megalomania means? It's a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence. Things you seem to have in spades, Mr. Zuckerberg. Am I wrong?
January 23, 2014
This guy tells me his family's property in Virginia borders the Appalachian Trail and that during the summers he and his cousins would set up road blocks and accost hikers demanding a toll for crossing their property. "The AT wasn't exactly on our property but the hikers didn't know that," he cackled. I proclaimed that reprehensible, mostly on behalf of my college roommate who told me he had hiked the Appalachian Trail and in response to my question of whether there were any dangers en route, had said, "Yeah, there's self-enacted toll booths set up by inbred hillbillies to rip off hikers." Well Larry, you've been avenged.
January 25, 2014
I watched an eagle watching a neighbor's small dog. After observing the little pooch for a bit, the eagle flew off the tree it was in and made a slow pass over the dog's yard, landing on the fence on the opposite side of the enclosure. The dog actually stopped and watched the bird land. Sensing danger, it ran back to the porch on the house and stayed under cover. A minute later the eagle flew away. A minute after that, the dog went back out into the yard. It was a superb illustration of instincts, pure and simple.
January 26, 2014
When conformity is the rule, all else is suspect.
January 27, 2014
I got an e-mail telling me how much I've changed and that the early KeithSpeaks from 10-14 years ago were funnier and better than the ones now. I'm not disputing that, but if I had stayed the same, would I now be dinged for not having changed in all that time?
January 28, 2014
Do you think it's happenstance when out of the blue you have a thought about something obscure that happened a long time ago and then think why on Earth would you be thinking of that now? It's not happenstance. Is not. Why would the exquisite and infinite storage capacities of your mind and brain at that moment spit out some obscure, mundane tidbit of your life long after you lived it? It wouldn't. It's something relevant in some way to you. It's worth noting and reflecting upon. Is too.
January 29, 2014
Overheard two women having coffee.
-- Your husband has the tightest bum of any of the couples we know. You should tell him I said that.
-- Forget it. I'm not telling him that, he'll get a big head.
-- I wish!
-- You dirty minded fiend! That's my husband you're fantasizing about.
-- It's just so squeezable. Every time I see him I want to grab his butt.
-- Funny, he says the same about my boobs.
-- You got great boobs. So what do you think of Marty?
-- Your Marty?
-- No, Marty Scorsese. Of course my Marty.
-- What do you mean what do I think about him?
-- Would you do him?
-- MaryBeth are you talking about swapping?
-- Maybe.
Silence ensues.
January 30, 2014
This person described this other person as ornery. Ornery? Man, that is so last century. 'Cantankerous' would have been a bit more up to date. Or he could have gone with the completely modern 'dude's got a nasty disposition'. Heck even a simple 'mean spirited bastard' would have sufficed. But ornery? In 2014? Not so much.
January 31, 2014
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Neither of which you'll see at this time of the year
But it does give one something to look forward to.

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KeithSpeak                                    February 2014


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