Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Speaking of harsh

I spent much of the day preparing distribution lists for an end-of-year report. Sometimes people don't want to get reports any more. Which is more than fair, The hard copy report cost money to send out (printing and postage) so for each report that's not needed then the tax payer saves money.

However some people are c___ about it. They don't just so no thanks ... they say it rudely. 

We had a calendar of expected events in a previous report. Unfortunately we missed a big one. 

So as part of a no thanks email .. the no thanks person mentioned we'd forgotten said 'big one' and that we were idiots for doing so.

Oversights happen. The report in question had 26 000 words of content in it. We missed one date. Admittedly an important one but still. In the broad scheme of things it's not that big a failure.

Old Mikey would have fired off a passive aggressive 'we thank you for your feedback and are gratified you took the time to inform of us of our error. It's a shame you no longer want the report because we could have used your excellent product vetting skills to help us improve for next time.'

But I didn't. I simply deleted the person from the distribution list because I can't be fucked being aggressive and rude to people, passively or not, because life is too short. 

If it's one thing I've learned in life from theWife, if you have to tell people off ... then be constructive in your criticism (1). Or if you have to give negative feedback don't load it with abuse or rudeness. All it does is make the recipient annoyed and they're more likely not to correct things out of spite or find fault in you back. 

Anyway, as for Mr No Thanks (slash) You're Idiots ... I declare him to be a total Stampy.

Marge: (Talking about Stampy) Gosh, I thought he'd be happier in his true habitat.
Warden: Oh, I think he is.
Marge: Then why is he attacking all those other elephants?
Warden: Well, animals are not like people, Mrs. Simpson. Some of them act badly because they've had a hard life, or have been mistreated. But, like people, some of them are just jerks--Stop that, Mr. Simpson.

(1) theWife once hit a bad patch in her workplace when a stats snapshot showed her meeting outcomes on standard tasks was lacking. She got counselled for it and told she would be performance managed. The reason why the stats showed her outcomes were lacking is because she'd been taken off normal duties to assist with an IT roll-out. Despite this obvious pointing out of why this was the case ... her fuckwit supervisor continued the process. Instead of kicking up a screaming fit about it she went through the full process... then gave them feedback; a detailed account of where they'd gone wrong, how the process affected her, and more importantly the way forward to fix it so others wouldn't needlessly suffer.  It was a splendid piece of counter-bureaucracy and she later heard that senior people had remarked how she should never have been put through it in the first place given the reason, the stats snapshot, failed to take into account her multiple tasking. It was a work of beauty. Performance management is an incredibly upsetting thing to be told you need to do. But she held her head up high, grinned and bore it, then turned the tables on everyone with her devastating critique. Wins like that are rare in the public service. And I couldn't be more proud of her for doing that. Her supervisor later left under a cloud, just ahead of being formerly investigated for misconduct towards female staff. If I ever see that skeevy fuck-hole I may consider doing something unpleasant to him out of spite. But then ... I don't really have to. If you're an arsehole in life then it will likely come back to bite you at some point.The universe has a way of self-correcting.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanks, S--- (and others)

S--- is one of those awesome friends that drops into and out and back into your life and you just enjoy each other's company from where you left off. He also happens to be an IT Geek extroidinaire.

So he came to check my sick desktop PC. First he berated me for having 11 gig on my desktop. Then he berated me for having 39 gig on my work desktop. Apparently that's bad, n'kay.

Also ... I hadn't cleaned the inside of my desktop PC since he built me the machine some four years past. There were dust bunnies in there the size of my hand. We used a combo of vacuum cleaner and pastry brush to get the components clean (1). 

Fortunately for me S--- had a spare hard drive. I had also purchased a legit copy of Windows 7. So a S--- got to work. Some hours later, during which we were joined by his beloved and we had Crust pizza (2), a new machine (well, half new innards; hard drive and replacement graphics card) was eventually up and running. Even though the circumstances of seeing them was crappy, a dying PC, it was great to see them again. A warm, funny, happy couple that are fun to be with. Plus I got to hear about all the kewl stuff they've done of late. It was like a condensed facebook session.

Alas the hard drive of the desktop was well-fucked. But not enough he can't recover files. So he's taken it out of my machine and slotted it into an external hard drive case. He's going to attempt to rip off docs, pics, videos, pdfs etc. 

I lost Warlords II. And all the scenarios I'd lovingly built and played. And a thousand other things I'm sure I will mourn for when I remember them. 

But the new(ish) PC, which in a way stands as a metaphor for my soon to be repaired crappy hip (new body parts etc.), is faster, leaner, hungrier. It's pretty snazzy. All I need now is a new keyboard as the characters have almost vanished from the keys. 

A lot of friends have helped us out of late, with babysitting so we can see a movie, providing entertainment or gear needed for when I get my op or to assist with exercise, or just touching base to see how I am. And of course pitching in when things go wrong and I need help to fix it. Their generosity of spirit (and their stuff) has been a real comfort.

Bring on the TFCWM! (smashes plate against wall in a Mediterranean-style celebration)

UPDATE: Warlords II is not compatible with Windows 7. Ouch. That actually physically hurt.

UPDATE2: Just got a new keyboard. The now almost blank keyboard, the characters largely wiped away from years of pounding from my manly finger tips (3), will be thrown with great gusto into the bin where it belongs. I cast you out!

(1) Is it me or does that sound vaguely porny? 
(2) Delivered by Valkyrie girl again. Though there's heavy rain here in Canberra so she wasn't wearing her near-crotch cut-off jeans shorts like last time. 
(3) For years I have copped abuse from people for my loud typing. When I was at the University of Canberra I actually had a colleague on a course ask me to 'type more quietly'. And at work I have had people gopher up and peer over their workstation wall to find out 'what all that racket is'. Harsh, man. Very harsh. 

It may sound hokey...

If I do slabs of data manipulation, where I am doing very simple things where acute concentration isn't needed, I will often turn to NPR by way of aural stimulation (1).

This piece came on Morning Edition about unemployment in Britain. I loved this bit.

REEVES: Smith's delighted that he's secured an interview, and so is Taufique.

TAUFIQUE: I get kicks from helping people like Dean. I used to work for a bank. I was given bonuses here and there, but it never fed my soul. You know, and this work feeds my soul.

Man, that's so true. A person who has a job where it feeds their soul is lucky indeed. Or, failing that, a passion or an interest that feeds their soul for those times when they work to live.

I really do have it lucky on the work front.

Because of the re-org I have a new boss+. My boss figured we should give her a brief about me and my recurring health issues. So I had to write up a potted history of the woe-is-me crap that has built up lo these near 40 years.

It was a tad lengthy. In the end my boss said she'd cherry pick for need-to-know information and give a verbal brief. But it was in the process of writing it up that I was reminded of my medical assessment as part of becoming a public servant.

I was shirtless, standing in a tiny office. The examining doctor was an Indian woman, her accent rich and beautiful. 

'Well,' she said, in summing up. 'You're morbidly obese and will likely die before you are 40. But welcome to the public service.'

Lucky this isn't Logan's Run ... or my belly button mounted life clock crystal would be flashing about now....

(1) For those people who read that and had an immediate picture of someone running the rip of a vibrator along the fleshy folds of your outer ear then ... you're in good company.

Monday, November 28, 2011

... and we're all out of Shake'n'Vac

It's down to the wire. It's pretty much the last working week until the TFCWM kicks off. Since I have been working from home I've had to grapple with some severe IT difficulties; a dying desk-top PC, lag, drop-outs, and reduced functionality when using remote log-in. 

It's been a trying time. 

I tried to send a last email to work of a draft report. It was so big (17 meg) it shat my Outlook. That in turn shat the desk top. I keep getting a can't boot error as it won't automatically find the right drive. I have to F11 on the boot-up, select the active hard disk, then get into Outlook to cancel the send in the vain hope that's what caused it all and the damage isn't permanent.

Then there's the finance crap. I am not a finance officer. I have never pretended to be. But thanks in part to a series of owning areas never giving me support to do the finance side I ended up doing it. So now I am getting assistance but the assisting person doesn't seem to like me and has their own idea of what is required and when that assistance will be provided. All this in the last week where it absolutely has to get done and finished with. Further more they asked me to do some complicated piece of financial administration that involved pleading with contractors for assistance and then after I spent two days setting it up ... they decided it was too complicated and they'll just go with their original plan. With absolutely no thanks for the effort I went to and all the work I lost as a result.

Then there was the confusion over my leave applications. They got stuck in the system. As such I am going into this operation and recovery without knowing if I end up having to owe my time off as I am using additional leave provisions that my org may or may not grant me (since I don't have normal sick leave being that I am constantly sick). 

So I lost my rag a few times today. Tears, shouting, the works. All while my guts were riven with acute abdominal pain and the pain of my dead hip burst up through my body and radiated out from my fucking head. At one point I screamed C___ so loudly and for so long that my throat gave out.

The desk top computer just shat itself again. I was literally two seconds from getting into Outlook to kill that file that fucked up everything beyond recognition when the computer blue-screened. The anger and frustration and sheer screaming despair is washing all over me like you would not believe. 

I booked the operation for the end of the calendar year so as to minimise disruption to my work and to various reports that needed to go out at key times. As such I wore my hip out to the last bare strands of connecting musculature and have experienced fairly constant pain. But I kept going. Every obstacle I hit, fucked-up IT crap, fucked-up finance crap, fucked-up personal administration crap, fucked-up no-assistance crap (1); I kept the fuck going.

Now it's the last week and I am tired. So tired. I just want it all to end. To all go away. To tap out and let someone else do it. But there is no one else to do it. I am it. I am the only one that can see this through because I can't trust people to do it for me. 

Just five working days to go. 

... stay on target ...

UPDATE: Just been told the pain killer I rely on because it doesn't exacerbate my slow motility is being pulled from the market. 

UPDATE2: It shat itself for the fourth time. Each time I open Outlook and get to deleting it the same blue screen of death appears and the same fucking 'can't boot' message appears. I am so fucking angry and upset and fucked off at the world that I really want to boot some divine figure in the nads. Any volunteers?

(1) In my workplace's defence we had had a perfect storm of new building, internal staff re-org (both macro and micro), new building undergoing a refit, and a substantial dumping of work upon us. So it wasn't disinterest or callousness that meant a lack of help. Just the sheer volume of crap that meant they couldn't help me. Luckily, however, new boss (now 18 months) massively improved my skill set in report crunching and as such at least, at the now end of all this, it meant I could be trusted to get on with it and present a report that needed only minor corrections. So really ... in many ways ... my sheer level of competence has left me undone (1a). I know we have great conditions of service, and we earn decent pay. And I know the public service is festooned with much dead wood because once you get a berth and if you do the minimum required then you will be gainfully employed for life. But fuck me some of us do earn our money and we do more and more each year with less and less people. The government has embraced the e-revolution. We work better and we work smarter. And we do a lot more with less because IT systems allow us to do so. Even if sometimes they fuck up and cause me a pall of utter misery and red-faced anger.
(1a) I know it seems unusual for a man of such shitty self-esteem to actually blow a trumpet about performance but objectively I am an excellent worker. I not only get almost all my tasks completed I do so under trying circumstances of poor health. Furthermore I am able to help out others, especially when they get short notice uber work dumped on them. I am more skilled at using computers than most public servants and, as such, I get called on to provide assistance with graphics or with higher-level Word functionality. In truth I enjoy helping people. It makes me feel better about myself. Besides ... it also in turn allows me to call in favours when needed. And holy Christ have I had to do that in the past few weeks.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A personal appeal from Wikipedia programmer Brandon Harris

My ancestors once prowled the frigid seas between Norway and the British Isles, raiding the land from their long ships. Frequent targets were isolated monasteries, built on rocky islands where monks could scribe and copy many fine works in peace. Unfortunately the monks were weak ... like girlie-men. Their scrawny monk muscles were no match for my ancestors' mighty brawn. My ancestors came. They saw. They took all their lore ... and often them as well.

Now a thousand years later, thanks to Wikipedia, there is no need for my people to take to long ships, row thousands of miles, and raid monasteries for their writings and for their girlie men; the latter put to work as thralls on our landholdings, forced to muck out after pigs and sheep and the occasional cow. Animals bred for the rugged north unlike their girlie weak tenderers with their weak monk muscles. Muscles that were then forced to harden under the frequent tugging of our rugged animals' teats. 

Do you wish for this state of affairs to continue? This absence of Viking raids to seek lore? Then if so donate to Wikipedia ... or your final sight might be me, my viking helmet donned, and an axe in my bloody hands ... along with several green canvas bags in which to store your lore.

UPDATE: Please also see A personal appeal from Jimmy Wales...

Tabletus Interruptus

As semi-regular readers of HM's them thar here missives you will be aware of the tendency for my only child to run over and dance on my paper whenever I have it spread upon the floor. 

I do like to lie on my stomach on the floor to read. I always have. And broadsheet papers are best read on the floor anyway as there's no having to have awkward paper snapping to try and get the pages into optional position for reading of the one article. 

I recently got a tablet. I still got my weekend papers—the Sydney Morning Herald and (lately) The Canberra Times (1)—but instead of religiously reading the Mikey sections cover-to-cover (2), I merely scanned them and put them aside. 

I used the tablet instead. I mainly flitted between the SMH, The Washington Post, Salon, Slate, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Media Matters, and a couple of others. Just dipping in and out on a whim and selecting those stories that tickled my fancy (3). 

Since Sunday morning is theWife's sleep-in day, I was up from just after 7 am through to when theWife tagged me out at around 10.20 am. I spent much of that time, lying on my stomach on the carpet, reading papers and periodicals through my tablet.

This change in medium, electronic instead of spread-out hard copy, meant theBoy (or indeed the cats, who do it as well), couldn't inflict me with their regular bit of dancing on top of my paper. 

Eventually nature called. With a groan and painful rising to my feet—due to my fucked-up hip, due to be replaced in less than two weeks—I hobble-waddled to the toilet. I left my tablet where it was, on the carpet. 

On return, there was theBoy standing, feet together, grinning at me.

He was standing on the tablet. On the screen in fact. He looked like he'd just won the weigh-in at Mini-The Biggest Loser (4).

To my credit I didn't lose my shit (5). I carefully explained that he couldn't play Paperus Interruptus on the tablet and he must never, ever stand on it again. I also had to suppress my sheer admiration for the comedic gall to do what he did. It was actually pretty fucking funny. Even if later I had to cold re-boot my stood-upon tablet when the screen stopped working and I was terrified it was his gleeful assault wot caused it. 

(1) I actually used to get The Weekend Australian. But its naked self-promotion and overt conservative free--market-is-best-Climate-Change-Is-Suspect gibbering infected even its normal day-to-day reporting and analysis. Indeed, so much so that I found, like when listening to Coalition members hark on in Question Time, that I was yelling at said medium more often than I was consuming it with genuine interest. I might, however, get it if we're on the road because I find reading newspapers in the car a relaxing distraction. Despite the fact that reading broadsheets is even harder in a car than reading it in a lounge chair.
(2) I fuck off everything from the SMH except the main paper, News Review, The Good Weekend, and Spectrum. I fuck off everything from The Canberra Times except the main paper, the World section, Panorama and maybe one of the other supplements, only if it catches an immediate interest. If I am out-and-about I will leave those sections on public seating or in cafes, spreading my not-wanteds for the benefit of bored sitters seeking alleviation.  
(3) One advantage of reading a hard copy broad sheet cover-to-cover is at least I get a broad snapshot of national and world news that I might not get if reading online, since I tend to click into stories that will interest me as opposed to simply being in eye shot due to the layout of the hard copy paper. So in many ways the tablet is self-reinforcing of current interests or indeed beliefs. Will need to watch for that.
(4) You just know the _____ producers of that sordid mockery and distorted body shape inflictors have considered exactly that concept and more than one proposal along those lines is in the system. Fat kids yelled at by uber-fit tattooed presenters. What's not to love?
(5) I've been working from home a bit lately, using remote systems. The remote access loses functionality. I can't save files from the web; I can't access drives; and for some reason in Microsoft word I can't use the hot key command string to insert an em-dash. So I've been using a work computer, both the machine itself and using the remote access system, along with my home PC, to get things done. It's been a somewhat frustrating exercise. Files not working on some systems but working on others. Files failing to copy between systems. At one stage I had three separate systems going, with the laptop in the lounge room as another back up, just to do my day-to-day stuff. I've had a quick-to-anger problem most of my life. Fortunately I've learned to mostly dial it back. For example, I rarely lose my shit at my son, even if he's cheekily standing on daddy's $600 week-old tablet computer (slash) life changing event moment. But when dealing with the frustrations of clapped out computer systems and lag and trying to wrangle dozens of people to give me what I need to do my job, I was losing my shit. I was frequently screaming abuse at the world, calling it a c___ on more than one occasion, as well as the various electronica that was not supporting me in the manner to which I am accustomed. Part of the frustration I think stems from the fact that in my day-to-day job I do many varied things, using a multitude of non-standard software, and am doing so with memory intensive files. I am working at the absolute limits of a system where 99 per cent of users simply use Outlook, Microsoft Word, and Excel. It's to be expected. But when you combine the difficulties of that with fairly crappy health and often extreme bouts of pain, I suppose I should cut myself some slack when I do have these feral teary-laced rages and the sheer crap-shittiness of it all. All I can say is bring on TFCWM... UPDATE: Because I work at the limits of the system I send large-sized emails. So I am forever at the max limit of 70 odd meg in my outlook. Then I hit the limit wall and I see red and start screaming abuse at the world again. Fuck me sometimes this job gets to me. As indeed did the snafu regarding my leave forms get to me ... It got so bad I demanded comfort food, had Goodberrys and ate far too much on top of that then suffered crippling gut pain. I can't even have a yummy blow out without copping blow back. Sigh.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

So close

theBoy nearly had a week of dryness and was thus in the running for the big prize; three LEGO versions of Cars 2 movie characters.

Me: 'Chooky, did you stay dry? Today is the big prize!'

theBoy: 'Yes!'

theWife: 'Really? Can I check your pants?'

theBoy: 'No.'

theWife: 'Why not, sweetheart?'

theBoy:'I am not dry.'

Well you have to hand it to him. He went for it. It was only when the evidence was being checked that he stepped away. Maybe he'll be a conservative politician? Wait, no he won't. They don't back away when confronted by evidence....

Daddy makes an announcement

Me (excited): I'm going to get a drink!

theBoy (sighing heavily): It's a Diet Coke...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mikey has an upgrade

With the impending TFCWM less than two weeks away we're starting to tool up with all the tat we will need to manage my condition. We're getting moulded hand-grip Canadian crutches (1), an over seat with arm-grips for the toilet so I perch instead of sit (2), and we just got the disability park sticker for the good car ... since theWife is going to become my transporter. She's like Jason Statham but with more hair, tits, and a vagina (3). 

Most importantly, as far as I was concerned at least, and dreading the enforced inactivity of the five days abed post-op, I needed supporting electronica. 

We thought about the iPad for a moment then rejected it as being over-priced for what I wanted. Basically I wanted to be able to read e-books, surf the web (if able to given the hospital surrounds), and watch .AVI files. Oh, and it had to have a USB port. So on the weekend we went to Officeworks and got a Toshiba AT100

After some initial frustration in finding an app that allowed me to play .AVI files, eventually it was all set up and I road-tested the desired functionality. 

Wow. Just wow.

I have in my hand a device that connects me to the net. I can download thousands upon thousands of free e-books (out of copyright etc.) and read them through the Kindle app that came with the pad. I can watch .AVI files through a thumbdrive and the sound is decent. And the tablet barely weighs a thing.

I tend to wiki-jaunt when reading a book. I'll come across something in a book and want to know more. But that means getting off my large keister and hobble-waddling to the nearest PC. With the tablet I can call up wiki (4), deftly type in the search term, and within a few seconds the world is opened to me about that subject.

The first e-book I read was The Rough Riders, the autobiographical account of the raising of the volunteer cavalry division by Theodore Roosevelt, later President of the United States, for action in the Spanish-American war at the turn of the 20th century. Each time I hit a mention of a weird word, like tatterdemalion, I clicked into wiki (or Google), to find out what it meant. When Roosevelt discussed the port of Santiago, then I was into wiki to find out all about it, and how pirates, led by a British privateer, once conquered the entire town and held it for two weeks in an orgy of plunder and rape. Indeed that privateer was so successful at piratical organisation that at one point he got 14 ships to cooperate for an uber plundering of an entire stretch of South American coastline. Not to mention the rest of the subjects I delved into as a result of reading The Rough Riders; hardtack, Krag carbines, smokeless powder etc.

If my life was a movie (5), there would have been a montage of my screen-lit face, mouth open in a half-o of wondrous bliss, as I had the most enhanced book reading experience of my entire life (6).

Hard copy library, I do love you. You've been an important part of my life for a long time. And I will keep what I have. But I'm afraid Mikey's gone electronic now and if there's an e-version of a book then I'll be going that first...

(1) That's the term the physio used to described them. Because they're used in Canada, eh?
(2) For six weeks after the operation I can't bend my legs at ninety degrees. Basically I have to be seated in such a fashion that a droplet of water will roll down my thigh and off my knee.
(3) At one point Slate declared Jason Statham to be the world's biggest B-movie star. I have to admit ... he's easy on the eye and he can act. And in a way his receding hairline makes him more manly because he obviously doesn't give a fuck about it. His sculpted build is helped along by the fact at one stage he was on the British diving team. The man is clearly laminated man-hug card worthy.
(4) The Kindle App actually lets you highlight a word and will bring up the wiki page within the application, but the page brought up doesn't let you scan through it properly. So it's easier to go straight to Wikipedia to do it. 
(5) Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
(6) And last night I lay on the couch in the end room and watched an ep of The Daily Show, the tablet perched on my slightly diminished gut. Total bliss.

An incident at the shops

There's this game in Survivor where a a pair of contestants works together to accomplish a seemingly ordinary task—like put five red painted coconuts out of a pile of 20 different coloured ones in a barrel (1). But wait, what's that? Someone is blindfolded and the other one has to sit in a chair and shout the instructions over the top of the other competing pairs. 

For the shouting component of the competing pair ... well, that's a bit like parenting. Only instead of competing against other pairs ... you're competing against your child's SQUIRREL! mindset of not paying attention.

'Okay, put your shoes on, are you listening? Your shoes, on. Put them on. Not those. Those ones. No not those ones. What are you doing? No, put that down. You're not playing, you're putting on your shoes.'

You get the idea.

So we're at the shops waiting for mum in the supermarket. We're sitting on one of the hard wooden benches that's parallel to the checkouts and he announces he needs to do a wee.

'Okay, come on, no slow down, don't run up there, come on, over here, yes, over here, come on.'

We get to the parents' room. I lift him for his obligatory 'I DO IT' palm-mash of the door open button. I put him on the ground and he runs over to the door to the child-sized toilets and pushes it open.

As luck would have it ... ocupado. 

A confused looking middle-aged seemingly-a-woman stared back. She was standing before the toilet (2), underpants down to her knees, her arse bare to the world. As I took in the scene of her horror I saw that the lock was still mostly green and clearly she'd failed to adequately see to her privacy security. 

'OH SHIT!' I yelled as I pulled the door closed. 'Let's hide in here!' said theBoy, excited by the sudden turn of events. He pointed to the privacy curtain that screened the minuscule breastfeeding cubicle in the parent's room. The entire ensemble looked like a cross between a confessional and a chemo-chair.

 'Good idea!' I said, pushing him through. I pulled the curtain after me and we hid. Me quiet. He with a big grin, clambering up onto the chair, over the top, and back over the other side.

'We'll wait here until she leaves,' I instructed theBoy. Not that he cared. He was having too much fun climbing all over the chair. 

We waited for a short while. Then a medium while. Then a long while. All the while me being concerned about the state of theBoy's bladder.

Finally it dawned.

'Okay, Noodles,' I said at a stage whisper. 'It's obvious she's waiting for us to leave. Come on.'

So then we left the parents' room and headed to an upstairs toilet. Everything went okay except for on the way out from washing his hands when theBoy ran over to the shell urinal, yelled 'what's this?', and promptly closed his hand around the hole-speckled hub in the urinal's bottom.

'What? No, don't touch that! Get away from it. Over here, over here, this way, back to the sink, hands up, I said hands up! Yes, wash them, soap, okay, let's go.'
Whereupon but three strides from the door ... he promptly stuck his hand through the bin flap for some light ferreting around of the uppermost contents.

Back to the sink.

On our return to the seats to await mummy, an old lady tooling around with her wheeled-zimmer frame, her face riven with age lines, declared theBoy to be a bundle of energy. 'He's like a jack-in-the-box!' she declared.

TheBoy, ever loving an audience, then promptly started bouncing up and down, a big grin on his face as he reveled in the attention.

I wonder where he gets that from ... ?

(1) Okay that's not ordinary. All right then ... easy-to-complete.
(2) It did actually look in the moment like she'd been doing a stand-up wee in the manner of a dude. Hence the use of seemingly-a-woman. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another post about Mikey's Marc Maron awakening ... and a Seinfeld reference in 4a

There are moments in your life where your awareness gets dramatically expanded. For some it's a book, hello 9/10ths of the current GOP in the house and senate who chant John Galt axioms like 'the job creators are on strike' learned at the feet of Ayn Rand, and as such are dragging America down the shitter; all courtesy of discovering Atlas Shrugged. For others it's a song, a song whose music and lyrics combine to produce a profound shift in consciousness. For a few it's a chemically induced profound shift in consciousness where the shift remains even post come down ... like with the recently departed Steve Jobs (1).

For me ... it's Marc Maron podcasts. They've opened an entire beautiful world to me. I get to listen to comedians talk about their lives, their darkness, their highs ... and riff and banter all the while. I get to hear them talking shit and talking shop. I love each and every one of the podcasts I've heard and have learned much from them (2).

And I love discovering new people; new comedians. Well, they're not new. I mean they're new to me.

Like Eddie Pepitone.

I heard him on one of the live Maron shows; where Maron has on a rolling series of comedians as guests, who then remain at the table post interview as a new guest comes, in order to riff with each other.

I needed to experience more.

My sampling thus far.

Eddie Pepitone, first half of a half hour show
The second half
Where he heckles himself

I laughed so hard I cried and went into a coughing spasm. The tears are dried on my face like the rolled-on-glitter glue I wore under my eyes to a gay nightclub one New Years (4).

My consciousness has been permanently altered. And at the same time my own perverse self-loathing has been confirmed as normative, if destructive, behaviour. And in doing so recognised as something that needs to be addressed. I know it feels weird to say hearing comedians talk about the dark side of their lives makes me feel better and understand my own issues when it comes to that. But, as they say, pain shared is pain divided.

To comedy!

Insecure rapper
With Marc Maron at a live WTF

(1) Who, like the French and berets, the Russians and furry hats, and Turks with their flower pot sprouting a puppet lizard tongue (1a) has become the icon of an item-when-worn; the black turtle-neck skivvy (1b).
(1a) I wore a fez at my wedding. It was my one whacky thing (1c).
(1b) For a whole he tried rocking out to bow ties (1c) ... in like his 30s. I shit thee not.
(1c) At my wedding I also wore a bow tie ... and a matching red velvet waistcoat. In all I looked like the owner of a high end ice-cream parlour in salubrious down-town Ankara. Did you see the two (1cs) that led here? It was like a Choose Your Own Adventure! (1d)
(1d) I never did successfully complete the AD&D licenced one about the mutinous Dwarven Calvary that threatened the entire kingdom. I did remember at the time thinking being a Dwarf would be a distinct disadvantage when riding a horse. Buy hey, that's not me seeing the capital A in disAbility.
It's even encouraged me to expand my post-TFCWM plans to include bold steps in new directions. Well, that's the plan. I say this small because well that's my terrible self-esteem at play. Speaking of self-esteem. The other day I was idly musing on the Australian-take on the concept of The Tall Poppy Syndrome; where successful people are attacked because, you see, lessers are apparently jealous of their success. I decided, on reflection, this argument, at least as far as Oz is concerned (2a), is a massive crock of shit. Why? Because it conflicts with an older, deeper magic. It is a magic deeper still which Tall Poppys do not know. Their knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if they could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, they would see it's just a simple case of.Australians not liking arrogant fuckwits and self-important arseholes. Especially those who fucked on people on the way up. Maybe it's something to do with our arrow-covered-clothing past?
(2a) I know. To ascribe a behavioural response as being the likely response of an entire national (slash) cultural grouping is pretty sketchy. We're all a rich tapestry etc.
(3) I have learned that comedians work in blocks of time. They work towards their first half hour; which is usually enough time to get a special. Then they work to their next hour. Some remain with that half-hour or hour, almost all their working lives. Others, like Louis C K, rigidly discard their entire hour each year and re-write from scratch as a motivational exercise. Listening to this sort of trade or shop talk makes me wish fervently wish I was part of that world.
(4) Year, 2001. Location: Melbourne. Went to Beve's wedding, held in that glorious no-one expects anything week twixt Christmas and New Years, and stayed until just after New Years. The club was fun, they had a DJ in the mens, and there were no drunken aggro bogan cock-spanks ruining it for everyone. Despite yet being unaware of my care-bear esq qualities and thus could have been a target of approach (I was not), I had a fabulous time (4a). I piked early and went back to the hotel, leaving theWife to dance the night away with a friend who came with. What did I do on return? I played Baldur's Gate II on a laptop borrowed from work. Now that's seeing in the New Year.
(4a) And I say that with a staunch record of heterosexuality.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Great ... so now I'm a character in a pandemic movie

The use of news in movies and TV has a long, rich history. Think spinning newspapers, newsreel announcers,"Extra! Extra! Read all about it" etc. Use of news and newspapers or TV news shows is also a common plot device trope (1), and in addition to helping heighten the mood or "bigness" of what is happening within the framework of the story it's used as a means to impart knowledge. Either overtly to the characters, such as a protagonist seeing himself wanted in a news report, or subtly to the audience; foreshadowing events that are to come that the protagonists themselves are yet unaware of.

I'd just clipped-off my beard in anticipation of a hair cut, so I could be fully buzzed to the skin and thus increase the amount of time needed before future head hair re-maintenance, and was about to hop in the shower. Lately I've been listening to podcasts, with my Mp3 jury-rig combo of USB-power plug, speaker, and player and assorted cables jacked into the leccy on the Lucite shelf above the sink. But it's an annoying thing to set up. So instead I turned on NPR, put on Morning Edition, slotted the speaker into the PC tower and turned it up to 11 so I could hear it over the water.

I shished the curtain across and stepped into the shower recess just as the feed to NPR kicked in ... with this story.

As I angled the shower head to face to the left—for I wait until the water is at optimal temperature before I turn it back and onto my delightful body—and as said water warmed I heard the following; ' ... Scientists and public policy experts are in the midst of a fierce debate over questions raised by recent experiments on a strain of bird flu virus.

Water now warm, I turned the spray onto to me. Over the hiss of water meets flesh the now shower-muffled NPR continued.

The virus has not caused widespread human disease but biologists worry it could change in ways that could lead to a devastating global pandemic... In an attempt to stay ahead of the virus, they've been tweaking its genes in the lab to learn more about how it works.'

Great, just fucking great. It's a plot foreshadow of an outbreak of a genetically-enhanced virus and I'm going to be right in the fucking thick of it. And as far as I know, pandemic movies, where characters get knocked off from a pool of protagonists until it's just down to the handsome male lead and his little lady (or vice versa), follow the same rules as horror movies. And in horror movies the fat nerdy funster always cops as one of the first three killed (2).

As if I didn't have enough to worry about.

This is just like the time I saw that glowing crucifix.

(1) Although part of me is always weirded out when they use real-life people news people in a movie or TV show to impart the news. Part of me thinks they shouldn't do it. If only because if someone wasn't paying attention they might think it's real and go full "RUN! The martians are coming!'

(2) It could have be worse. I could have also been the non-Caucasian and/or super-slut. That would have boosted me to poll position.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sorry, Dominos

I just checked the mail box. There was a glossy ad sheet for the latest Dominos' pizza deals.

It went straight into the recycling.

Sorry, dudes. If you want my custom then improve the food and service delivery.

Mikey's gone Crust now.

Maybe it's because of my bath time experimentation... ?

The '80s was a different time to be a kid. There was limited computing available for entertainment. We were forced to watch re-runs of '60s American TV shows—however Get Smart and Batman (In COLOR!) were awesome—and parents were less concerned about basic child-to-teenager safety. Or perhaps it's more they had not been worried as much as parents worry now?

This kind of laizze faire approach to safety was also present in Doctor's surgeries in that if you got a shot from a needle ... you got to keep the syringe. No, not the pointy part. The case and plunger.

Naturally they made their way into bath time because they were awesome to use in the bath. Eventually, though, you'd get tired of simply aimlessly squirting it with no destination.

Hey ... what's this? A penis? I have a syringe. I wonder what would happen? ... if I? ... ARGHHHH!

Yes, that's right, I shot a syringe load of water up my urethra. The pain was ... exquisite. And that day a lesson was learned that the urethra ideally was one-way traffic.

So yes perhaps it's because of my previous experiences with my pee hole experimentation from childhood bath time that I am worried about the catheter. Yes, in TFCWM I will wake up from surgery with a catheter already lodged in. Apparently I will have it for a couple of days.

Though I understand it's relatively pain free when it's in and when it's removed it's a short, sharp, shock to the peeny system and then it goes away.

But still ... maybe it's a primeval man thing ... but we HATE people who are not us or consensual lovers fucking with our junk. Even if it's for strictly medical purposes.

It's probably because there's a primitive part of our brain that realises that said junk and attachments is effectively our only recourse to immortality.

Anyway ... not looking forward to that particular part of the op that's going to mess with a part of me that I am very particular about.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New boss+ likes me!

In the re-shuffle I got a new boss+. New boss, my name for my current boss, and I got pushed-and-pulled like taffy and eventually glooped into new boss+'s team.

Anyway I volunteered to set up a new group email box for our unit of champions and I organised its genesis via a series of emails between myself and new boss+. New boss+ declared me awesome to work with!

She said I was funny! (1)

Which is good ... 'cos former boss+ was occasionally dour and often mildly annoyed. He was a good boss+, though his adherence to governance in the face of time-sensitive action was occasionally a stumbling block. As it should be in the public service because the roadblock people make us do things properly ... or use work arounds. I do feel sorry for him. In the re-shuffle he lost all but two people—he had 11 at one point—and I think he feels somewhat miffed by both being semi-sidelined and by the speed and haphazardly-implemented nature of the re-shuffle process.

The best thing that's come out of it is that new boss can now open her wings and truly fly. She was kept earth-bound by the sheer drudgery of administrivia that focused her attention on day-to-day bureaucracy. Now ... now she can take to the air and do all that kewl shit she said she was going to do.

Good times ... ? (2)

(1) And as an interesting co-inky-dink she is chronologically almost exactly the same age as me. However, unlike me she went down the family path just out of high school and as such has a twenty-year-old! That blows my fucking mind. Someone, my age, with an adult child walking the earth.
(2) Yes, it's a ? It's early days yet. I don't want to commit to a full woo-hoo because the report finalisation process for the end-of-year reports has yet to be undertaken. The proof of the pudding is in, how they say, the eating (2a)

(2a) I have half a Tiramisu purchased from the good people at Crust awaiting me in the fridge. In the freezer above is a skerrick of Sara Lee's Vanilla ice cream. I shall consume them tonight! Ah-ha-ha-ha ... and so forth.

If you're going to dance to Rose Tattoo in your PJs...

... make sure to wear the ones with the snug-fit waistband.

River Nudes
! (1)

The Rose Tattoo song was We Can't Be Beaten. The dancing consisted of my doing guitar face and a kind of vague YMCA (slash) signalling a distant plane for help with my hands and arms all the while on-the-spot jiggling with the favouring of the good leg.

Stay classy, me.

UPDATE: William Shatner is a acting gawd. There, I said it. He is. Not only did he help create an iconic character—James T Kirk—but he was in numerous movies, often willing to take the pisstake out of his iconic character in the process, and several more TV series. Most awesomely for me as Denny in Boston Legal (2). He's also put out music, some of it spoken word. Sometimes it works—like Common People. Sometimes it doesn't ... like Rocket Man (3). But, fuck it, he keeps going and going. The man is a machine. My hat is doffed.

I would, however, love to see Patrick Stewart take up this mantle of spoken word music ... and hear him pound out in his rich thespian tones the lyrics to We Can't Be Beaten.

I can totally hear it in my mind's-ear.

If ya wanna be in my gang, stand up with me
We'll start a revolution and make the streets free
We'll never weaken, we'll give it our best
Can't be defeated, we're better than the rest

Shoulder to shoulder, we're gonna stand
We're gonna fight to the very last man
Can't be defeated, don't know the word
Shoulder to shoulder, we'll fight the world

We can't be beaten, what'll we tell 'em boys
We can't be beaten

There comes a time, when every man must fight
When he believes in justice and right
He'll take so much till he'll take no more
They'll hear us coming when they hear the mighty roar

Shoulder to shoulder, we're gonna stand
We're gonna fight to the very last man
Can't be defeated, don't know the word
Shoulder to shoulder, we'll fight the world

We can't be beaten, Let me hear ya
We can't be beaten, Sing it out loud
We can't be beaten, We'll tell the world
We can't be beaten etc.

(1) Harrangue-FAQ; What is River Nudes? Speaking of River Nudes. I was in the same loose waist pj pants whilst loading the washing machine. Naturally my pants drifted south and left me with pants around my ankles, my hands full of basket and clothes. As I did ... I'm pretty sure my bitchy cat L--- was watching me with that smug expression of hers. Damn cat!
(2) Best. Legal Drama. Ever. If you are a friend of mine, and not yet seen it, then contact me in real life to get a reel life injection of season 1 goodness (2a)
(2a) Purchased entirely on a whim from a computer fair at Exhibition Park, Canberra. Go the whim purchase that works ... because so many of them don't.
(3) In my shittiest group house—that I shared with R--- and C--- (3a)—I would play a double-CD of Elton John classics over-and-over. Particularly Rocket Man. It is, after-all, one of those songs that is a throat-lump-inducer.
(3a) It got so poisonous because of C--- I ended up moving to my friend S---'s mums house while she was overseas. S--- used to live in that group house and was still on the lease. C--- made him still pay rent. Hence him letting me stay at his mums with me paying my rent to that house that I left. Which I thought was pretty fucked. And still do! I

I sniggled

I love portmanteaus ... though I can never properly pronounce the word portmanteau. I also like to create them ... in the vain hope that will be some sort of timeless legacy gifted unto the world.

Hence sniggled, a portmanteau of snigger and giggled.

For that is what I did when I read a response to a whiny (edited) email I sent someone.

Damn you, P---. Because of you telling me about Batman on an elephant I get all these hits on my site to that image and I get all excited ... then realise they're not here for me ... they're here for the Batman ... (and his trusty pachyderm chum).

His response?

Holy falsely raised hopes, Batman!

But it is an awesome image. We all stand in its shadow.

Sniggled I did indeed.

But here's the thing. It was only after I searched my blog for the image of Batman riding an elephant that I realised ... that P--- didn't inspire me to blog it—my Boss++ did.

However, be that as it may, P--- is indeed right. It is awesome.

UPDATE: I forgot. Obama is in town. That is too cool for school. I love me some Cool Hand O.

Literal use

I just used a pipe cleaner to clean a pipe.

What's next? Putting gloves in a glove compartment?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The re-shuffle

Like most people under the whiteyoke (1) now and then I experience the giddy delight that is the workplace re-shuffle. Where entire teams are broken up and people re-assigned under new directors or managers.

A couple of weeks ago we were told there would be a re-shuffle starting in the New Year. Then ... then it was brought forward to basically now ... with a series of rolling additional changes that meant people were still being moved around like the pea in a shell game and their current placement is still tentative.

So the new members of the team I now belong came together for a meet-and-greet around the big table. Now while I knew almost everyone from simply interacting with them, as both fellow building residents and organisationally by dint of their position, I didn't know the core specifics of their role and their mission statement. Basically we had to talk about ourselves and what we did.

I discovered I have a bit of a reputation as a loose canon. Not in the on-the-edge lone wolf has-to-be-suspended-to-solve-the-case detective sense ... but in the TMI sense.

The delightful B---, who surprised everyone by wearing a summery dress that made her look like Joan Holloway (2), warned the new team members that I came fully loaded with a tendency to talk about my bottom.

It's true. I do over-share about my body and about how I feel about my body. Let's face it, it's all good material, and I basically think (3) that I live in a sitcom. Hence the cracking of the wise on a constant, almost irritatingly so, basis.

But B---'s experience of my saucy bottom talk is not of a positive one. It's more about my tummy wobbles and how that gravely impacts on my ability to squeeze out any steamers, let alone ones from Cleveland.

However ... since taking on The Purgatory Cart (4) and making it my cycle-bitch, I have re-shaped my lower area a tad. Just a tad, mind. But enough that I, with all my body failure issues combined, have noticed a little improvement.

Without thinking I responded to the dark 'there be trouble' foreboding talk of bottom discussions to come that had been gravelly foretold by the statue-esq B---.

'And why wouldn't I? It's pert and muscular. It looks like the Statue of David's from behind!' (5)

I can't remember if anyone laughed ... but I'm pretty sure B--- rolled her eyes. Later I got her back when she was talking about her role and I told her after she narked off about me making stupid stats jokes—she has a minor role in statistical analysis for the org—I added 'I didn't MEAN to make you upset' ... with over-emphasis on MEAN.


Later they were talking about a database that had the initialism of PMS. With most of the new team ladies this left them laughing. They joked that it should be renamed 'the curse.'

Anyway ... I didn't say this ... and old Mikey probably would have ... but to my mind came unbidden '... You think that's bad. I worked in an area where the database was called crotch-damp'.

Holy shit, I appeared to have grown as a person ... in that I didn't say that (6). But it was gold.

Go Mikey, being all adult and shit and holding it in.

(1) Mikey's new and improved term for the white collar world.
(2) B--- is also very smart and capable (in addition to being somewhat attractive). Indeed she's in her mid-twenties and is already an executive (living at home still, no less). And here's Mikey pushing 40 and is not an executive. Not that I want to be. Being an executive, as far as I can tell, means meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Fuck that shit.
(3) Well according to theWife

(4) Provided as a long-term loan by mah delightful writing bud, Casso. Congrats again on the 55. Me super proud!
(5) The behind probably was redundant but it was said in the moment.
(6) And I have to admit ... when my mental voice spits out stuff like this ... it's usually in Jon Stewart's 'Badabing' accent he uses when he does lines like that.At any rate I do feel I have to stress that I have never worked in an area of my org whose database was called crotch-damp. Though given what the IT lads got up to some years back when they were found to have secretly hived off server space to share porn through, I wouldn't be surprised if something like that existed. One IT security dude told me that they would do keyword sweeps through file names on people's personal drive allotment to make sure no hanky business was up to. They found one person's account filled with gigs of carefully named porn which stated exactly what was in each file, e.g. man_with_donkey. Frankly, he was asking to be caught. Let's just hope too the IT lads didn't tip off the donkeys and thus he avoided running into a drove (6a) of them waiting for him in the car park after work.
(6a) Yes ... I looked up the collective noun for donkeys...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Did the improbable happen?

You know me. I'm a rich, heady mix of whining and magical thinking balanced against the opposing forces of logic and reasoning. I am, after-all, a human.

I try my hardest to avoid magical thinking. The hardest being of course 'If X happens then this means Y'. Where X has no causation link to Y. For example, if I make this shot (balled up wad of paper thrown into the garbage) ... I will pass the HSC (1).

But magical thinking aside I do try and apply logic and reasoning where I can ... for example this delightful maxim of Holmes: when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

Today something weird happened. I've looked for it and not found it anywhere. And I am almost certain it was here when I got up.

I'm talking about my bin lid. The lid to the kitchen bin in the kitchen. It's gone. It's not in the house at all.

Therefore, in accordance with the maxim above, the truth must be ... someone stole it!

Either that or I picked it up during the whole bag changing thing and then put the lid in an incredibly obscure place that remains hitherto un-rediscovered.

Well ... I guess it's back out to the main rubbish bins to make sure it's not there...

UPDATE: It was there. It was buried fairly down in the recycling. I must have just had a brain fart—Rick Perry style—and just not seen I'd done that. Nor seen it the first or second times I checked the bin. Holmes would be ashamed of me ... you know, were he real. Interestingly Conan Doyle went through a spiritual crisis and ended up in believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden (2). Quite a departure from the Vulcan-esq logic of his most famous character...

(1) Yes, that happened. I did in fact 'pass' the HSC, with a TER of 63 and a bit, but that was also the year (1990) where universities fucked up their entrance systems and the mark to get into a vanilla Bachelor of Arts in my home town went from 49 pre-HSC to 88 post. Or something like that. It's because so many slots were given away in principals' recommendations. Like a fuckwit I only had one other option and I put it there as a joke ... Nursing. This is not to hang shit on nursing—it's a critical profession and one highly regarded—I just knew my love of not seeing bodily fluids or faeces was going to somewhat conflict with that. So ... I had a gap year of partial semi-employment and living at home. As irony would have it I spent most of my time on campus anyway, hanging around the bar and waiting for my friends (who were studying) to come and play billiards with me between lectures. Then they bar gave the table away ... to the agricultural student dominated residential college down the hill. The fuckers!
(2) Richard Dawkins equates his belief in the logic of an all powerful divine being to being the the same level of likelihood as the existence of fairies at the bottom of the garden. His book, God Delusion, is dedicated to Douglas Adams, along with this Adams' quote: "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" But why is it that fairies, if they exist, are they always at the bottom, hmmm? What about fairies at the top?! Or the middle?! Perhaps Mr Fancy Pants biologist can riddle me that?!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Future world!

Look I know as a kid they promised us houses on the moon and flying cars and shit like that. But while we don't have that ... we do have the internet. Recently I ordered pizza online. It arrived in 40 minutes. Then later I had a Skype conversation with theBoy and theWife, who are visiting family in another state. Okay, so it's not a strict video phone as promised would be here by now but it's still pretty sweet. Not to mention the broader goodness of the web and the fact that I can pretty much find any information I want if I look hard enough ... and all from the comfort of my own arse-hugging chair.

There has never been a better time to be a shut in than now.

Of course it will be better time with new improved formula when sexy robots become commercially available and ones that are replete with full tactile capability and being machine-self-washable...

If shut ins had cars, and presumed bumpers, I can see the sticker now.

Robots; can we fuck them yet?

Speaking of the future...

I went to my letterbox and found a booklet titled The Way to HAPPINESS - a common sense guide to better living. Clearly this 76 pp (inc. cover) document will change my life and I will no longer need the goods and chattels provided under sufferance by "the man".

Now ... who gave me this wondrous tome? Let's see, there's a stamp on the back ...

Gifted to you by Parishioners of the National Church of Scientology, Canberra.

Damn it, I was so close to eternal peace as an ascendant being of pure mental energy

Though, let's face it, even ascended I'd still find a way to make references to my previously-owned-and-enjoyed-flesh-bottom.

Damn you, Crust!

I'm not one for corporate shout outs. Besides, I don't make money out of them. This blog is ad free—apart from the minimal Google ones that appear when I post a blog post with links to things that might be of interest to me considering I just blogged about them (1).

But I will give a corporate shout out to Crust pizza. Not only is their pizza delicious—you pay about 60 per cent more than rival delivery places but the quality of the pizza, if you had to quantify it, is about three times as great—but if they're running late you get phone calls to tell you. I had two voice-mails the other night from Crust to tell me it was in the oven and that it was running perhaps 15 minutes late.

Recently I filed an order on a late weekend afternoon. I admit I had second thoughts—I was alone and with a touch of the tummy bother so both greed and physiology were conspiring against me. But, fuck it, I did it. I ordered some just for me, planning to freeze the leftovers or munch-on-down over the coming days.

The Crust goodness not only arrived within around 40 minutes, so 20 minutes early on their minimum delivery timing, but the girl who delivered it looked like she'd stepped off the prizes' display stage on the Wheel. Tall and long-limbed, she had long blonde hair and perfect teeth. Finally, she was dressed in a form-fitting Crust T Shirt ... and jean-shorts.

It's almost as if the guys behind Crust took a look at the Australian pizza-scape and decided overall quality would make them stand apart (2)—such as through excellence in recipes and ingredients as well in customer service. Indeed not only do you get a phone call if it's running late ... you may experience heightened delivery pleasure in the form of a Valkyrie-esq delivery girl, clad in only the finest denim, sashaying along your garden path to bring you your internet-p(r)ayed-for bounty.

Mind you, in perhaps an interesting counterpoint to her beauty, I answered the door in my own form-fitting t-shirt (3), purple plaid pyjama bottoms, and with on display my bare feet ... which are missing all their toe nails. I had actually purposely put on slippers to prevent the reveal of the latter but in my excitement must have cast them off in order to more quickly reach the pizza-bearing-portal. The worst sight is the empty nail beds of my big toes. The beds are deeply sunken. They look a bit like one of those deeply engraved pharaoh face statues whose eyes seemingly follow you around the room...
(1) Though the mix of entities summoned is odd; meet single black gays and pet funerals. Of course the mere fact I just wrote this will trigger conniptions in the Google-ad assignation engine so it will be interesting to see what they come up with. UPDATE: They went with weight loss as their ad of choice. Damn you, Google! I also checked the stats for the blog. For some reason 17 links came from a Californian-based Bail Bondsman's website. No, I have no idea why. UPDATE2: Okay about 75 links from the bail bondsman site. That's totally weird.
(2) And be intensely profitable considering the price jump. Which is totally worth it. If when you've eaten a mess of pizza your reaction is a kind of sickened 'errrgghh' chances are the pizza was great. If you get Crust then you get a 'ahhhh, totally worth it.' Damn you, Crust! Damn your delicious heaven-on-earth-fare!
(3) Cue Dennis Miller voice; 'It look liked someone had jammed an apple mounted by two raisinets up against the inside of a neoprene-wetsuit-sleeve.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's like the plastic bag in American Beauty

American Beauty is a fuck-off awesome movie. Redolent with great acting, exceptional writing, a quirky-oddness, and, of course, with being immensely quotable ('I have fast food experience'). It may be apocryphal but Alan Ball said the floating plastic bag, which in the movie the character Ricky Fitts claims is the most beautiful thing he's seen, was the nugget (slash) inspiration for the entire movie.

There are moments in life of pure joy in experiencing something of beauty. I'd say indescribable but you know what I mean. You get flooded with an intense moment of bliss and appreciation. I get them now-and-then when cradling my son as we lie in the middle of his mesh-walled trampoline and stare at the sliver of moon visible in the deep blue sky of late-afternoon.

In an interview with Marc Maron, Norm Macdonald talked about stand-up, writing, and, of course, life. In the interview Norm talks about the idea of the perfect joke—noting that Macdonald's comedy persona is as a joke teller (as opposed to prop comic, long-form storyteller comic, rant comic, insult comic etc.) (1)where the punch line is almost identical to the the first words of the set up. He gave this example (2) from when he hosted Weekend Update on SNL.

'Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts announced they're getting divorced. Friends close to the couple say the reason for the divorce was because he's Lyle Lovett and she's Julia Roberts.'


Now and then I will come across such a moment in something I read; an actual pleasure response that floods through my body. I call them joy bursts

Since I often find these in Wikipedia this has led to the creation of the tag of WikFin—or Wikipedia find—where I will blog a link that has given just such me a joy burst. For example the wiki entry for snuff. Snuff is a funny word because it sounds innocuously childish—like fluffy or poo-poo. But in addition to its common meaning of snortable tobacco it's also a term for a movie that allegedly records a real murder. So it's a word that is a rich blend of funny sound and differing meanings. When I read the wiki I kept giggling; tee-hee.

Then ... then you come across something that is even better. Something that is inherently comically perfect—such as the above joke for Norm—that has come from real life.

I just found one from reading about Gary Hart's 1988 presidential run. I had actually blog linked to this a couple of years ago but by chance felt like a revisit to the wiki to remind myself what had happened. Hart, a Democrat, was a leading contender to head the '88 Democratic Presidential ticket. As the political season began rumours of Hart's alleged extra-marital affairs surfaced. Hart dismissed them out of hand. Then, almost as an after-thought, he effectively challenged the media to follow him around and 'catch him out.'

Challenge accepted. So they did. Eventually evidence was gathered and it all came out. It wasn't until today upon reading the wiki again that I saw the something that was truly comically perfect—a photo of him, with his sexy mistress on his lap, sitting on a dock next to a yacht called "...Monkey Business...". All whilst wearing a shirt emblazoned with the name of the yacht.

Universe, take a bow.

(1) The irony is that Norm Macdonald says he's only really comfortable as a joke-telling stand-up. When he started he memorised his jokes and recited them word-for-word . In the interview he tells about when he got his first Montreal festival gig and that it was at that he met Sinbad—who is a naturally funny comic. Like his very persona and the way he spoke and talked was funny. They went to a sock store and the clerk was out the back. She was gone for a long time. Later that night Norm watched Sinbad go on. He starts with 'what's the deal with sock shops? There's no one there when you walk in!' And Norm remembered how incredulous it was that the audience started agreeing with him and cheering. It was a revelation to him that someone could be naturally funny and not solely dependent on material. The thing is ... Norm is naturally funny. He does have a naturally funny voice—so much so that he complained of people coming up to him and doing Norm impressions—and he may decry his acting skill but it isn't bad. And when he's amused he gets these little dimples that by their powers combined serve to make him a ridiculous man child. I loved The Norm Show and I wished it had lasted longer.
(2) Writing from memory so I may not have it exactly right.