Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fictitious Argument with Lewis Black

I'm going to see Lewis Black on stage tonight.

If I ever get into an argument with Lewis Black it would probably go something like:

Lewis: "Have you ever been to the jungle?"

Me: "I was walking through the jungle one day with my mom and we bumped into a boa constrictor."

Lewis: "Your MOM?  My mom took me to the zoo!"

Me: "Zoos are like a jungle, but with bathrooms."

Then things would get a bit confused.

Me: "'Hey, mom, look out, there's a boa constrictor', I would say." Then he would say: "That's nice dear."

Lewis: "I don't know what kind of shit you're on, kid, but I like the cut of your jib.  Why don't you slide off that boa you're riding on and get on the reality train?"

Then there's ice cream.  Did you know there's ice cream in the jungle?


Monday, October 08, 2012

What would it take to get you to tell me where I'm going?

Today's mini-rant:

I need an easily-replaceable part for my car.  It's a data update disc for a dashboard GPS.  It would take me ten minutes to swap, and it would take them three hours at the dealer's garage and there's nothing to do in that part of town so I would be bored.

I can't buy it from my dealer and have it shipped to my house; not allowed.  I would have to pick it up (the dealer is not THAT inconvenient to get to, but let's pretend it is).

I also can't call the manufacturer corporation and have it sent direct from them; not allowed.  And neither party has a web site I can order it from.  Oh, and they won't tell me what the part # is; not allowed.  So I can't source it otherwise.

So, they make this part / data disc, want to charge me money for it, I WANT to give them money for it (so I know it's the latest version and genuine), but they won't take my money at my convenience.  I have to GO somewhere and pick it up.

I understand that car manufacturers have a "special relationship" with their dealers in terms of parts and service (and some of it is legitimate; new break pads should be installed properly etc), but, a data disc for a GPS ?  That's trivial.  The worst that would happen is you don't get to Chuck E. Cheese's on time for your nephew's 4th-birthday bar brawl.

Again, I'm willing to PAY for it; just f*&@!@! SELL it to me and you can split the money any way you want; I promise I won't sue!

I just don't feel customer-serviced right now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sydney Harbour Scrape



Oh, why not.  Everybody knows everything I've done (including some police stations in North Sydney, and Prague, of all places).

The time is January of 1999.  Some things have changed, and some have stayed the same.

Here goes: It was the last day of a month-long work stint in a boring office building in North Sydney (just across the Harbour Bridge from Sydney proper) that I decided that as a farewell party to my short-term co-workers I should get them good and soused.

So I announced over email that that evening we would gather at my corporate-rented apartment, adjoining the water's edge of the North end of Sydney Harbor, and have a drunken party.  A sort of "all are welcome; none gets out alive"-kind of affair.  I am happy to report that all showed up, and all got out alive.

But there was ... underwear swimming into Sydney Harbour to the extent of reaching the chains of anchored yachts (about a quarter mile, in the middle of the night).

Now, for the second half of the story:

It was around 4 am, after the irresponsibility had been taken care of, and all had gone but me and a certain other, that the police showed up.  A noise complaint from the neighbours, of course.  I might have gotten away with it if only I hadn’t left the stereo on too loud.

When my "certain other" was asked to show up at the door and present identification, and I went back inside to do the same, the next thing I hear is "Stop! You can't do this! Don't you know who I am! Do you know who my father is?!"  Oh boy.

Turns out that the UNcertain other flipped out his ID card from his wallet a bit too quickly and nicked the policeman's cheek, and thus they dragged him away from the doorway, filing it as assault.  In this instance, the police had no time for lineage.

I had to stay up the whole night, dig out a phone book just to find out what police station he had been taken to, call a cab .. the whole boy-scout bit.  I got him out of jail (barefoot; he hadn't been wearing shoes at the time of the drag-off), and literally kicked him on the ass as we walked off from the station.

So, the point of the story is:  Don't look for trouble, it's got your number and it will find you.  (Also, when you play with foolish boys, turn the music down).

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Time My Sister and I Were Held up at Gunpoint

It was the night of December 25 (going into the 26th), 1992.  We had just left a family party, probably right after midnight.

My sister and I were in my mother's car and we got a flat.  Fairly run-of-the-mill trouble, really, just at the wrong place and the wrong time.  So we pull into a closed-down gas station so we could use their air pump and re-inflate and get our asses home for the evening.

As we're trying to address the situation this compact sedan with four guys screeches in from nowhere and the guy in the front-passenger seat bolts out and the first thing I think of is "why is that guy holding a toy gun?"

Uh oh... that's not a toy gun.

So he tells me to lay on the floor face down (on the oily greasy gas-station tarmac), tells my sister to back away and put her purse on the floor, tells me to take my wallet out of my back pocket and throw it at him (all complied with; don't argue with a guy with a gun, you will lose) and then .... they take a look-see ... and go away.

I can't honestly recall what was in my wallet; I can tell you that my sister's purse didn't have much more than a stick of lipstick in it.  I'm happy to report that both our brains were safely in our skulls as of later that night.

The one bit of luck out of the situation is that my father at the time lived just a few blocks away so my panicked call to him resulted in quick help.  He came; he re-inflated.  He dragged us off and gave us shelter.

He also gave me a bed in which to cry myself to sleep that night.  There is no shame in feeling sorry about things.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm warming up to the standard punctuation form of the period being enclosed within a direct quote, as in:

"This is what he said."

 ... as opposed to

"This is what he said".

For many years I opted for the latter simply because it made more syntactical sense, coming from a computer programming background. I now understand that, if one is to quote someone directly, the statement, as a whole, should be completely enclosed within the quotes.

Somewhere, E.B. White is giggling to himself and high-fiving some supernatural form of Strunk. But then "that's what they said.".

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The time Marvin Minksy and I had to wait for a car together

Having spectacularly failed in one school in seventh grade, I found myself in eighth grade ('87), and suddenly got swept into a corporate-sponsored whatthehelljusthappened of people in a large room, including

A bank president, telling us about how magnetic ink technology, printed on checks, is all the hot shit

and (get this)

Marvin Minsky, telling us how the problem with artificial intelligence can be reduced to video camera-acquired optics of cubes with their vertices highlighted with black magic markers.

(I probably made most up of the last part myself, but I was taking notes throughout the presentation, so somebody, SOMEWHERE, knows the truth)

But, here's the thing...

I can tell you what color shirt Marvin Minsky was wearing.

He was wearing a yellow madras, threadbare, cotton, almost worn-through short-sleeve shirt. The kind of shirt your granpa wears when he doesn't care at all about what people say about what he was wearing; just that, at the end of the day, the one thing people will say about him is that he was wearing a shirt.

I can also tell you there was a light drizzle for about twenty minutes as he and I both waited, afterward, for our rides to show up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Emily Yoffe is a woman of many talents

The best thing I read today, and I spent most of today reading, is the following:

"You are not The Speaker"

Something I may or may not recommend depending on which ad is shown: