We are starting into the back half of 2010. If this were a marathon, we would be at mile 13.1, bravely telling ourselves we feel great, but suspecting other truths as we're wishing for nothing more than a cold beer and to stop running; in a round of golf, we'd be standing on the 10th tee, me and my buddies cracking another beer and toasting a sport where, just like a pub crawl, you get to walk and drink and hit things with a stick; bowling, we'd be approaching the 6th frame in our multicolored footwear, after having just toasted another sport where you get to drink and then throw with all your might heavy objects that roll fiercely forward and smash into other things. Of course I have plenty more halfway themed sports correlations to the meaningfulness of today, but well, a. ) you get the idea, and b.) I'm thinking of beer for breakfast, you know?
My chums, it was the weirdest thing! The sky suddenly went all crinkly, like the world was in 2D! Hello?! Is this not proof of the matrix?! Come on, who's with me on this!
July 3, 2010
A guy is painting a mural on the side of a building. He has concocted a trite winter scene with kids playing shinny, adults drinking hot chocolate by a bonfire and snow falling everywhere. The problem? It's horrifically bad art. There's no perspective, no proportion, no scale, no color, and all of the people in the mural are wooden, like statues with hockey sticks and coffee mugs. As much as the composition and execution suck, by far, the most egregious foul is that he painted variations of his own face onto the faces of everyone in the picture. Seriously, they're all versions of himself. It's a head shaking schlockfest and it should be funny, but it's not, it's just sad, melancholy sad, like he doesn't know he's doing it badly.
July 4, 2010
It was a magical mall moment. The father is standing, balancing a baby in one hand and two ice cream cones in the other, while the mother sits below them on a bench reading a flyer. The father takes a lick of one cone and then offers the other to the child, who starts to lean in like he's going to lick it, but instead punches it, knocking the scoop out of the cone and onto the top of the mother's head, who screams when hit and jumps up, falling into the father who pushes the other ice cream cone into the baby's face. In a split second of shock, the mother stops screaming and the baby starts. It...was...hilarious, and I thank my lucky stars that I was there to see it.
He wanted an air about himself, so when Russell G. Culpepper decided on plastic surgery, he opted for a permanent shadow, giving himself a sinister man of mystery look, even though he managed a luggage store, Wally's Bag World in the Bleckman Mall, even though Wally fired him because he was scaring away the customers, even though his foppish moustache mitigated the mystery man thing and sent mixed messages to the world at large.
July 6, 2010
Oh, this is bad. I decided to clean the grease trap on the barbecue grill, a long, shallow, awkward tray full up to the gunnels with liquid grease. Gingerly, like a bomb disposal, I walked toward the kitchen carrying the ordinance - and things were going great!, until I tripped and started spilling the grease, on the carpet, in the dining room, for five feet. The streak, it's pretty unbelievable actually. I'm not sure how to clean it without making it worse, as if that were even possible. This is bad.
July 7, 2010
And it gets badder still. My lovely wife comes home and sees what I've done and just can't quite believe it, continually looking around for the cameras she knows must be filming her because this...this can't be real. The streak, it now looks a year past nasty. I made it worse trying to make it better. It's approximately twice as wide and half again as long as it was. Trying to keep the dogs away from it has been a giant freak show. The streak, it has become the focal point of our home. And not in a good way, like a beautiful fireplace or an artfully crafted but well hidden kitchen recycling center. Naturally, as an ex-American, I contemplate suing the barbecue grill company for their exceedingly poor grease trap design, but quickly reject the notion when I realize that we would have to live with the streak the whole time because it's evidence and well, that would just be a gigantic mistake. My best guess? Some carpet salesman is about to get lucky.
July 8, 2010
Susan lost her cell phone, but has another one she can use. The problem is obtaining another SIM card. Our telco says they would be happy to send her a new one in the mail for $40, or she can visit the local store and purchase one for $10. I tell the woman that there is no local store and she tells me that the one in a city 2 hours away is considered "local". I ask her how a hundred mile commute is by any stretch of the imagination considered local. Not only does she not answer my question, she hangs up on me! Grrrr. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if somebody invents a phone where you can reach through the lines and strangle whomever is on the other end, I will buy that phone, whatever it costs.
I could use a break. Maybe today I'll get one of those, Congratulations Keith!-you've-just-won-an-all-expenses-paid-trip-to-a-beautiful-warm-luxury-spa-in-the-sun-you-lucky-devil-you!-hurry-paradise-awaits! invitations in the mail. You think? I'm gonna go check the box right now.
July 10, 2010
I sit two feet away from my current router. Those radio waves emanating from that single antenna have been an issue of thought, but not true worry. In shopping for a new router, I see they now have 2-4 antennas on them. Suddenly, sitting two feet away from that scares the bejeebers out of me. 4 antennas - wouldn't that be like having 19 cell phones strapped to your head?
July 11, 2010
I suspect a hydraulic hose leak or pump problem on our tractor, so I get on the Internet to see what I can find out about it, and discover that my issue is a common problem with my model year, that it's originally a manufacturer's defect, and am told exactly how to fix it (with pictures), how much it will cost and where the replacement part can be obtained. The information came from people in the US, Canada, the UK, Brazil, Peru, Portugal and Japan. Within minutes I had all the information I needed from multiple sources around the world to fix a very local problem. Well jeez, how fabulous is that? I mean, really.
July 12, 2010
The World Cup comes to an end with Spain, South Africa and Octopus Paul, the big winners. It was splendid to see this uber event staged in Africa, and they embraced it as their own, showing (and deafening) a billion viewers to their passion for football. There was the sublime and the ridiculous, the glorious and the ignominious, together, often at the same time, making this World Cup emotionally wonderful and a treat to watch. Bravo to all who participated and made it happen.
-- Ma'am, could you please describe him for our sketch artist?
-- Yes, yes I can. He wore red pantaloons with slippers to die for, and had pale blue skin. He sported a high fez, a big 'ol shark's mouth belly, and a moustache that just wouldn't quit.
-- Where did you meet this fellow?
-- On Craigslist. I was looking for a genie in a bottle. His ad really sounded promising.
-- So what's the nature of the crime here?
-- He said he'd call me back!, but he never called me back.
-- I see-
-- Oh look, that's him! You've drawn him perfectly! You even got his manly, toothy grin - I love it! May I keep this? Are you going to arrest him? 'Cause I'll pay his bail money right now. You can release him into my custody. I'll vouch for him. I love him, don't you see?! Can't you see that! Oh hurry officers, tell me you've caught him. Tell me now!
-- Lady, we're still in your apartment.
-- Yes, yes I see. That's so silly of me. Now go! Hurry! NOW!
-- You're crazy.
-- Yes, crazy in love! Now GO!
July 14, 2010
I was described by someone as the kingpin of something. Ooh, it sounded so rich. The demigod in me was thrilled. And this woman was right, I was the kingpin, however, there were multiple kingpins on this project. But wait, I stopped myself, said to her out loud, Can you even have multiple kingpins? Doesn't that undermine the definition of being a kingpin? She gave no reply - doubt!, I'd made a dreadful mistake. Here we were actively engaged in creating, shaping, massaging my legend to be, you know: me, kingpin, and I went and instilled doubt about my legacy... Oh dear. Oh well! Tee hee.
July 15, 2010
A woman in Texas has won the lottery 4 different times for a total of $21 million. Still think that "luck" has a damn thing to do with it?
July 16, 2010
Words and their associations are so powerful that they can seismically shift one's life by just being told something. Stand in front of a person who speaks a language you don't understand and have them berate you as a loser geezer with no redeeming qualities, few brains, a waste of flesh really, and oh yeah, you're ugly too, and watch how the words, because they mean nothing by association, roll off your being like rain from above. Now stand in front of someone you can understand and let them have at it. How awful do you feel? The power of words by association. So, if you are thin skinned, easily hurt and emotionally fragile, I suggest you move to a foreign country and make no effort to learn the language. Then, because you will only be able to understand yourself, spend that time filling your mind with good, bolstering, will making stuff about your strengths and hidden talents and inner beauties so that when you move back to your native place of understanding, even though others will still be talking about you, now they will be saying different things. Good things. Because that's how you feel about yourself since your return. And everyone will see that. And everyone will talk about that. Bon voyage.
These medieval Kevlar helmets are perfect for today's ultra modern policeman with a flair for the traditional. Aren't they delish! And I adore the fact that there are two styles of medieval to choose from, though the one exposing half your face might come back to haunt you. But why stop there? Here at A Flair For Cops we think they ought to replace the boring old nightstick with big ol' jousting spears -Take that, you criminal! - and wouldn't they be a perfect match to these awesome throwback helmets!!!!! Now, and this is the honest truth, my only goal in life is to get rid of those horrid green jackets! Who picked that colour! It's hideous! And those stripes! Don't get me started. And instead of Police, they should say, Coppers of the Realm! or something cool like that. Ok, this is Barry from A Flair For Cops, over and out.
July 18, 2010
I sit down to do some work but before I get started the phone rings. The conversation is a long one. When I'm done with the call, I no longer feel like working. And so it goes. Ta.
July 19, 2010
My my, what a splendid little weekend we had. Our new social network team got together for some work and some play. The play part went so well that even golf got cancelled. Listen, when you have to cancel a play date because other play dates have left you too played out, then you're doing pretty darned swell, I'd say. Even better, when we finally got down to work, it went just as well as our playing! Tickety boo. I still can't tell you anything about what we're doing, but after this past weekend, I'm closer than ever to maybe doing so. Saying something. Spilling beans. But not yet. Not yet.
July 20, 2010
What happens to regular people when they get exposed to the spotlight of public scrutiny is the source code for reality TV. It works because it's compelling to watch someone other than you go through something challenging/horrible that you're not. Think the Roman Coliseum. And even though it's contrived, formulaic, and manipulated in the editing room for dramatic effect, reality TV is, at its core, just regular people living their lives - except they have a director, multiple cameramen, grips and key lights. Now I don't want that in my life, but I might watch some other fool who does. It's the cotton candy of television programming.
July 21, 2010
Someone with a million dollar view and a beautiful home has an alien obsessed person buy the land next to him and turn it into a homemade UFO theme park, complete with kitschy sculptures of giant aliens and extraterrestrial bugs, a target painted on his roof with an arrow that spells Land Here, alien "music" that is piped out of six disc shaped polystyrene molded spacecraft that off-gas something fierce, and a workshop where he spends entire days making new UFO crap in wood and plastic. The million dollar view guy is ready to kill him with a hammer. Out of all the people and places in this world, how do these two end up living next to each other?
July 22, 2010
Is this the future for Susan and myself? Going through the checkout behind a septuagenarian couple. She is counting their money to see if they have enough for their purchase; he is staring off into space and eventually says, "These are such serious times, aren't they, Martha? I wonder, does anybody frolic anymore? Should the word be retired? Because you know, frolic means gay, and gay sure doesn't mean what it used to. Maybe it's time we put frolic to bed? Ooh, poor choice of words there. Gay - bed."
She is still counting change; he taps her on the shoulder.
"What do you think of my thought?"
"What thought is that?"
"About retiring frolic."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Clay. We need two dollars more."
"You know, frolic - gay, wild, crazy."
"We need two dollars, Clay. Focus."
July 23, 2010
Man, I upgraded the firmware on a piece of hardware and it removed my username and password, locking me out. The unit has apparently defaulted to the default username and password after the firmware upgrade. I e-mail the company when their website is no help. No reply. I e-mail them again. This time they send me the username and password. It doesn't work. I get on the phone with them. It doesn't work? Really? Huh, they say. Do a reset they say. I do a reset and the unit fails to power back up. Huh, they say again. We'll send you a new one if you'll send us the old one so we can analyze it. Sure thing. I never hear from them. I call again. They have no record of me calling the first time. Now I have a useless piece of hardware and a useless company to go with it. I chucked 'em both.
July 24, 2010
I worked my tail off yesterday throwing together a little formal garden for an outdoor shindig we're having. The design is simple, the effect is kind of trippy, but boy was it a lot of work! Took the whole day! But you can't have a garden party without a garden, eh?
I'm somewhere about the middle of our acreage, in some woods, not on any path, and come across an intact watermelon. Huh? Forced to ponder this mystery, I deduce that somebody, human or animal, put it there, so I leave it be and move on. I go back the next day and it's gone. But it wasn't eaten there because I see no seeds, juice, or rind, meaning it had been carried to that spot originally, and then sometime between my arrival and exit, carried away. V-e-r-y strange.
July 27, 2010
Dressing animals up in human clothing just to laugh at them is a pitiful thing. Saw a pig in a straw hat and overalls, a dog in a tutu, and a chicken wearing a toy gun and holster set. It was completely embarrassing and I felt sorry for the animals and the humans that did it.
July 28, 2010
It's been a hot summer, well into the 90s. We have a plastic kiddie pool set up in our yard so our dogs can cool down if they desire. Yesterday, I watched as about 30 wasps flew in, circled the pool and then all landed in it. They spread their legs out and used the surface tension of the water to stay afloat while they drank. Then, one by one they lifted off and flew away. All day long, wasps in small groups flew in to drink. Clearly the word was out. Though I found it entertaining to watch a pool full of deadly stinging beasties floating like multicolored water lilies, our dogs didn't share my amusement and avoided the pool when they could have used it the most. Drat, best laid plans...
July 29, 2010
From the A Flair For Cops website's Barry Blog:
Hi there, cop lovers, Barry here. Just imagine, and this will be difficult because of all the counter training we've had, but imagine the world is flat. You can see from end to end. Wouldn't that be something?! Silly me, but what comes to mind isn't falling off the edge, No!, it's that plane travel would be a lot more dangerous somehow if all the planes could see all the other planes in the air at the same time. Don't you think? Don't you think a lot of passengers would be nostalgic for the ol' curvature of the Earth when you couldn't see all the other planes and be scared to death you're going to hit one and die in a fiery metal canister all jet lagged and baggy eyed - so far from your fabulous self! Anyway, that's just one thought I have about a flat Earth. Basically, I see the whole planet unrolling. I don't know if they've done one like that, but wouldn't that be a delicious Doctor Who? What! Leave me alone, Mum! I DO NOT spend too much time down here on my computer! All right, all right, I'm coming. I gotta go. This is Barry from the Barry Blog, over and out.
July 30, 2010
We were on our way out to do some errands when we came across 4 bears in our driveway scavenging the remains of the cherry trees that line it. I stopped the truck short while 3 of the 4 ran across our path and scampered away, the last being a cub that was scared to pass in front of the vehicle and our 3 semi-crazed, wholly agitated malamutes barking and howling within. The little bear, staring at us the whole time, started and stopped twice before finally making it across the driveway and hurrying after the others. It was all cute and menacing at the same time. Ah, the rural life.
July 31, 2010
I have been computerizing since 1984 and just yesterday got my first e-mail from Guatemala. The fact that it was in Spanish didn't negate my sense of fulfillment at finally having a voice and an impact in Central America. It was all terribly gratifying until I ran the text though Google Translator and found out that I was being solicited for a gold fund. Sigh.