Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is All Steve Jobs' Fault

I'm working on a project for my dad. He has Thursdays off, so I brought my laptop next door to go over it with him. There's a list of names he wants in two columns, but the laptop keyboard doesn't have an "ENTER" key, which differs from the "RETURN" key in that it starts a new page or column rather than just a new paragraph. So I ran back to home get my external keyboard and realized that I have once again locked myself out of my house.

I specifically made sure the door was unlocked before I left by turning the knob both ways, and figured since it's able to turn, it must be unlocked. As you may have guessed, I apparently have no idea how doors and/or locks work. Ah, doors. My mortal enemy.

In high school, I found a locker with a broken door to use because I could never get my lock open. Jose loves to tell the story of how he dropped me off one day, and claims he watched me try to pull the front door of my house, and after several attempts, pushed it open.

That's not what happened, though. One day, my mom decided that she wanted the blue doors on our blue house to be blinding pink, so that they may be seen from space. But I think the new coat of paint made the door stick, or maybe the knob wasn't put back on quite right, but whatever the case, after that you'd have to jimmy the handle back and forth to get it into the groove or it wouldn't open. I wasn't trying to pull the door open, it was jammed, I tell you! Anyway, Einstein couldn't tie his shoes, and he seemed like a smart guy.

But nevermind all that. This particular case is about not being able to open a door because it's locked, and my keys are inside. Fortunately, my parents live next door and have three sets of keys for my place. Unfortunately, they're all inside my house, on top of the refrigerator, from the previous times I've locked myself out. I um...I meant to bring them over when I came here this morning.

This is not my finest hour.

If this stupid laptop had an ENTER key, yes I'd still be locked out of my house, but I wouldn't have realized it until much later. In fact, I might have been working over here until Michele came home anyway, in which case I would have never even known. But that jerk Steve Jobs had to get rid of the ENTER key, forcing me to notice my stupidity almost immediately. Well, that and that I'd be forced to buy an external keyboard in the first place. Or I could just hit the function key in conjunction with RETURN, which is the same as hitting ENTER, but who the hell wants to do that? That's not simpler, it's an extra step. Just like he refuses to put on/off switches on iPods. And made sure those jerks at the Apple store didn't hire me. God, screw that guy. I want to punch him in the neck.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Day That Wasn't

Yesterday morning I helped a guy named Randy get to class. He goes to a special needs school up the street, so I walked him there. When I got home, it was dark. Michele asked where I'd been all day. I told her I was helping Randy get to school; I couldn't have been gone longer than half an hour.

But it was night. How could that be? It didn't make any sense. Did I go somewhere else and completely forget about it? Had the passage of time gone wonky? I thought about the walk to the school. On the way, I ran into the woman who used to live next door to me. I used to go to school with her daughter. These days she lives in Rockland and I live underneath where she used to live (her mother lived here when I was growing up.) Anyway, she was also walking someone to the school. He was her nephew. He was probably in his mid-twenties, had long hair and was in a wheelchair. His wheelchair had fallen over and we helped him get back into it. We might have talked for a while, but it certainly didn't take all day. Something didn't add up.

Then I started to wonder what my old neighbor was even doing there. If she moved, why would she be taking her nephew to the school right up the street from my house, and why didn't she drive there? And why had I never heard of this nephew until just now? Come to think of it, there's no special school up the street from me. And who the hell is Randy? That's when I knew it. I was dreaming.

Yes, anyone reading this knew it was a dream as soon as Randy showed up, but it all seems perfectly natural when you're actually dreaming them. My parent's dining room is in my old junior high school? Of course it is! People displaying human remains on their lawns? Why not?

It seems like it should happen more often, but realizing you are in a dream is a rare and beautiful thing. Lucid dreaming. My in-dream self thought I had uncovered a massive conspiracy, which may have had something to do with my watching an X-Files marathon on Netflix, but nonetheless I was convinced that the world was trapped in a dream state, and I was the only one conscious of it. I promised myself to write down as much of the dream as I could when I woke up, and in the meantime, just repeat the events that had happened so far over and over in my head.

Later, I was at Nick's house. He had a medieval passageway with a large fireplace as the centerpiece. On the fireplace was a bust of half a face. When you pulled it, another room came out of the wall. Wah Kee was there with us, and he told me something...I can't quite remember. But it was about the room and how something highly unprobable was about to happen. I remember Nick replying "He knows."

When I finally did awake from the dream, I asked Michele what time it was. Two O'clock. Damn. There's no way I was about to scribble all this down at two in the morning, so I just continued to keep as much of it as fresh in my mind as I could until a more reasonable hour. I slept for several hours after the dream, and was awake for several more before I wrote anything down. What was once a rich, vivid world was whittled down to a few vague memories and a game of fill-in-the-blanks.

Ironically, it's the later portion, after I figure out that it's a dream, that is the haziest, perhaps due to my persistence in remembering the earlier details so specifically. The whole part with Nick and Wah Kee is fractured at best, and I can't help but wonder if the parts that I do remember weren't tainted by the several hours of consciousness after the dream ended. I'm certain that Wah Kee was trying to amaze me by showing something that could only happen in a dream. I think it may have been the weird medieval room itself. And Nick's response meant that he knew I was aware of the dream. But that contradicts my earlier assertion that I was alone in the knowledge of the dream; of The Lie. So did my brain create false memories of Nick and Wah Kee being aware of the dream after it had ended, or were they agents of the dream, disguised as people I know for the purpose of containing me and separating me from the rest of the populace, lest I tell them the Truth? I guess it doesn't really matter, but I kind of feel like I let my dream-self down.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Art Attack

When I was younger, I had this book, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The stories weren't remotely scary, but the pictures, sweet Jesus, the pictures haunt my dreams to this day. If you've ever seen this book, the bride chick with the hollowed-out eye sockets probably came screaming back into your memory just now, so it's perfectly fine if you may have wet your pants a little. If you've never seen it, basically the illustrations made otherwise idiotic stories kind of terrifying. If I remember correctly, one of the first stories was about a kid who found a severed toe sticking out of the ground, and then some giant tracks him down and says "You have my toe, now I'm going to eat you!" or something equally asinine. But then there's this picture of a gross little homunculus thing that looks like Quato from Total Recall in overalls and suddenly you sleep with the lights on for a month. Screw the giant, I was afraid the creepy farmer kid was going to dig up my toe. That's one of the strangest sentences I've ever written.

Anyway, there was a painter, Francis Bacon, who specialized in Scary Stories-style grotesquery. Here is one of his works from 1954, Figure with Meat (Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef), part of his 45-painting series "the Screaming Popes," based on a portrait of Pope Innocent X by Diego Velázquez in 1650.

Good old-fashioned nightmare fuel.

Okay, so that may not be your thing, but he's one of the most sought-after names on the market. In fact, in 2008, one of his paintings sold for $86.3 million, making it one of the most expensive painting ever sold. Even Sotheby's was surprised by the winning bid, as they had feared the recession would hurt the art market.

And actually, they were right. The collector who bought the painting initially had his eyes on several other pieces as well, including two by Rubens and three of a series by Edouard Manet. But even a filthy rich art collector couldn't afford all of that, so he finally decided on the Rubens, with Bacon, hold the Manet's.

Well, I hope you rubes learned something today. Not just about art, but about how far I'll go for a lame joke. Because as scary as the eye-socket bride chick is, she's nothing compared to the depths I went to just so I could work "hold the Manet's" into a post.

Speaking of art, check out my buddy Neil's blog. He does comic book art.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lady and the Stamp

Here's a quick story from my mom:

Mom: Do you sell stamps?

Cashier: You mean stamps?

Mom: No...postage stamps.

Cashier: I don't know what those are.

Bagger: (laughing)You mail a letter?

Cashier: Oh. I've never done that.

I know people don't mail a whole lot of letters anymore, but she's never heard of postage stamps? Really? Maybe she should have asked ChaCha. Or maybe she did.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Cha Cha Cha Changes

Remember when I was looking for the name of that damn rocket cartoon? Or who's kids Huey, Dewey and Louie are? Whenever I have a question, I can always Google it and find the answer. That's why Google gets to be a verb now.

But some people aren't content with the already convenient method of looking something up online. They want people to look it up for them. That's why there are sites like ChaCha, where you can learn that Jorge Garcia played the affable slacker "Hurley" in the move Armageddon.

And then, there's this:

"Bailiff, whack his pee-pee!" is NOT from Laugh-In! It's Cheech and Chong, specifically "Trippin' in Court," from their self-titled 1971 debut album (Thanks, Google! I still love you.) Rowan and Martins...where are these people getting this blatantly false information?


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

From Russia With Love

And now, a Cold War-era Russian guy that looks like an Animatronic Steve Buscemi hypnotically yodel-singing. This was most likely meant to be used as some kind of doomsday device.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Father of the Year

You might be wondering what Joe's been up to these days. Well fear not, I still get the occasional e-mail from John T, keeping me updated on the latest Joenaningans.

I got this one back in December, when I was in a blog coma:

Joe just asked where Clarendon Street is.

If some of you folks reading at home have never been to our fair city, I wouldn't expect you to know where Clarendon St. is, but to give you an idea, here's a map:

USELESS TRIVIA: Starting at the Public Garden, the north-south cross streets are named alphabetically from A-H (Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, and Hereford.) This same set of street names is used on the east-west running streets in Gladstone, Oregon.

But wait. There's more. This one is from January:

Joe had to take a vacation day today with little notice. He cited personal reasons to the boss (and she asked no questions), but when I asked him why, it was because his daughter had been caught driving an unregistered car without a license, and the friendly cop who pulled her over called him and asked that he come down to straighten things out to avoid her getting in deeper trouble. Apparently she was in a real jam and this needed prompt attention.

His daughter just called the office asking for him. I told her that he was supposed to be with her. That was news to her.

What conclusion would you draw?

To the best of my knowledge, personal days can be taken for any reason, so there's zero incentive to lie about it, although I suppose with only two employees, vacation rules might be a bit more strict. Still, it takes a special kind of person to not only lie, but slander their own daughter in the process. So cheers, Joe. I'm kind of torn between relief that I no longer work there, and awestruck bewilderment that you still do.

Friday, April 02, 2010

What the Hell Happened: Game Over, Man. Game Over

As you may know, today is Nick's Anniversary Spleen Day, so I guess now is as good a time as any to talk about what happened last year.

Michele and I realized that what we were paying in rent was the same as some people payed on their mortgage, if not more. That, combined with the eight thousand dollar tax credit for new home buyers, sent us looking at houses rather than another apartment. Getting laid off almost killed that little quest as soon as it started, but with Michele's salary and some government programs, we thought we'd at least be able to buy a small place.

We found one, on a busy street across from my eye doctor, that was in our price range. It only had one bathroom, and it was in the kitchen, yes, in the kitchen. And the upstairs was incredibly small, but the living and dining rooms were huge, with lots of built-in shelves, and there was a cool three-season room in the back that looked out on the huge back yard. If we could negotiate a lower price, we could use some of the loan to fix up the second floor and maybe put in another bathroom, or at least move the existing one. It needed a lot of work, but by God, it had potential.

We put in an offer, lower than the asking price, because of all the work that needed to be done. I was pretty excited, and on the way home I called Nick to tell him about it. He said something along the lines of "That's cool," then casually threw in "It looks like me and Heidi are no more."

What? WHAT?!!

He said she asked for a divorce. Just like that. And in an instant, all the excitement about the house was drowned out by shock and confusion. I was traumatized to the point that I couldn't even sleep that night.

How did this happen? I was at their house on Memorial Day. We threw marshmallows at each other and around midnight a lady from across the street came into the yard, and I thought she was going to ask us to keep it down, but apparently she was drunk and meandered over to ask why she never gets invited to these parties. And she wouldn't leave. It was a great night, and the last time I saw Nick or Heidi before he told me what happened. Neither of them could afford to keep the house, so they were going to both move out and sell it.

None of this made any sense to me. I wanted to go into Marty McFly mode and get them back together. I mean, they're not my parents and I wouldn't disappear if they broke up (um...except for online for several months), but I needed them. Nick and Heidi were my definition of what love is supposed to be since high school. They were Nick and Heidi, or as my dad inexplicably always said, "Heidi and them." You can't have one without the other. They were different people with vastly different personalities, but together they became this whole other thing, like Voltron. Or Captain Planet, I guess. With the rings.

Speaking of rings, as a best man, I've got a vested interest in that marriage. It's like I spent all those hours not writing a speech for nothing. I'm progressive in pretty much all other areas, but I just don't like divorce in general. When you get married, you take a vow before man and God that you will be together in sickness and health, through good and bad, till death. So when you get divorced, that means you were lying to God. And even if you're not religious, you're still lying to all your friends and family. I think we should all get handwritten letters of apology for wasting our day at a meaningless wedding.

Sorry I made you do the Macarena and buy me a punch bowl set that I'll never use.

And the thing is, I actually want to get married. It would be a lot less confusing if Michele, Brianna and I didn't all have different last names. But weddings are expensive, and to spend a bunch of money on a wedding and then just give it all up is like taking a big wad of cash and setting it on fire in front of a homeless person.

Jose and Christy came up in July, and we all went to see The Hurt Locker in Kendall Square. It was only a few weeks after Nick and Heidi split. She came, too. Nick was still living in the house, and she came over in her own car. Then we all piled into the van, and Heidi sat in the front next to Nick. She even sat next to him during the movie. If you didn't know, you'd think they were still together. I may have been watching a future Oscar-winning movie, but the real acting was happening right next to me.

If it seems like I'm placing too much blame on Heidi, good. Obviously Nick has all kinds of faults, and to be honest, if I was a girl I wouldn't even go out with Nick, much less marry him. But she did. And she stayed from high school and they lived in four different places together. Why now? If he hit her or something, at least it would make sense. Why is that when Nick told his friends, they were all shocked, but when she told hers, they all knew it was coming? It feels like a betrayal to not just Nick, but me and Jose and Wah-Kee and all of us who thought we were her friends. I actually de-friended her on Facebook because all of her status updates were like "Heidi is going skydiving" or "Heidi is riding in a go kart" or some fun thing that she's not supposed to be doing because she's too stricken with grief. I just got sick of looking at it.

Eventually, Heidi un-friended everyone she knew through Nick, Jose, my brothers, even Michele who was kinda hurt by that.

And I blame myself, too. For years I used to tag along with them to the movies, on road trips, or just hanging around the chicken shack sucking at Clue. It was always a weird feeling, because I was having fun, but at the same time I felt like I was missing out on what they had. Those were some of the most memorable years of my life, and I disparately wanted someone to share them with. And when I met Michele, I thought now we'd all be able to do these things together. It didn't quite work out that way, with Brianna being so young, and I went out with them less and less. status updates were like "is going skydiving" or "is riding in a go kart" or some fun thing that she's not supposed to be doing because she's too stricken with grief. I got sick of looking at it. I don't blame Brianna, I love that kid so much, it's just that I had different priorities now. Maybe I should have invited them over to my house more often, so we could hang out and take care of Brianna. As long as I can remember, we've always gone to Nick's house, regardless of where he was living. I felt awkward suggesting my place. Nick said Heidi told him that they never do anything together, and he didn't really have the motivation to do anything. Maybe if there was a certain fun couple to do things with, they wouldn't have fallen into that slump and would still be together. They had another party in June, I was supposed to go, but it was right after I lost my job and I wasn't really feeling it. I wish I'd gone now.

It's more than all that. The group dynamic is changed forever, if there's even still a group at all. Jose moved to South Carolina a couple of years ago. With Heidi gone, there's not a whole lot keeping Nick here. Him saying that he has to move back in with his step mother because "he failed as a husband" doesn't sound very promising. His birth mother lives in Virginia, and he had said that when he can afford it, he's going to move down there. Jose said I should move down there too. First of all, no. Secondly, even if I did, Nick will be in Virginia and he's in South Carolina, so even if I plop down somewhere in the middle they'll still be hundreds of miles away so what difference does it make?

The sad truth is I don't have any friends left. Sure, I have you fine internet people, but you guys are scattered all over the country, if not the world, so it's not like you can pop over here for five dollar movie night. And I hang out with a lot of people, but they're all Nick's friends. They're friends by proxy, and I never made the jump to change that. In fact I don't even know how. Are you supposed to do a certain number of things without the middle person before they are officially your friends? Does "Any friend of so-and-so's is a friend of mine" actually work in practice? I never had to worry about this stuff before. When Nick moves, what am I supposed to do? I've got to find him a local girl, fast. I haven't seen him in months, this probably isn't even a problem.

In the midst of all this, I got a text message from Jose on August 18 that said "Im gettin married." Then I got another one on September 4: "Im married. Yay!" That's how you do it. I hope they stay together, but at least if they don't, they didn't force anyone to go to some sham wedding.

Oh yeah, we didn't end up getting the house. But who even cares about that anymore. Instead, we're renting the house next to my parents' house, which happens to be where Nick and Heidi lived a couple of years ago. Weird.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Ironing is Delicious

This may look like Lamb Chop, but it's actually a Webkinz llama. Webkinz are stuffed toys that come with a unique code that allows you to interact with a virtual version of the toy online, because kids today have no imagination. The plush animals are manufactured in China. Do you know what this means?

That's right, China is mass-producing dolly llamas.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brain Nuggets

  • My brother and I used to have a paper route. There was this old woman that always complained if the paper was ten minutes late. She would leave us a nickel for a tip. She was just a mean old lady. She's dead now.

  • Isn't it cool how Tylenol knows exactly where to go when you're in pain? If you have a headache, it soothes your head, if you have back problems, it works on your back. I wish all medications did that. Imagine if you took one of those Plan B pills, but you weren't pregnant, so instead it kills all the egg sacks a spider laid in your ear. That would be really useful.

  • In The Matrix, when Neo downloaded kung-fu into his brain, and he says "I know kung-fu," what if it had instead been "I know Shaq-Fu"? would we have been spared those two terrible sequels? Like his Shaq-fu just finishes off all the bad guys at once?

  • Last summer I toasted marshmallows over a fire pit. I love to burn them beyond recognition. My marshmallow looked like Mel Gibson in The Man Without a Face. It tasted anti-Semitic.

  • If I did drugs, I would tell people I'm on a seaweed diet. Then I'd say "I see weed, and I smoke it!" And my friends would all laugh, because they'd probably be high.

  • Once when I was a kid, I took my brother's pillow because it was fluffier than mine. That night I had a dream that a creepy old woman wanted me to cut her head in half with an axe, but I didn't want to. So she kept showing up everywhere begging me to do it until I finally did. Scared the ever-loving poop out of me. I never used that pillow again.

  • When someone mentions they have black widows in their basement, I always hope they mean that a couple of African-American women who's husbands died are renting their basement. But that's almost never the case.

  • I guess it's not right to shoot someone's cat if they come onto your property. That's why I plan on getting a moat. Filled with sharks and broken glass. And lava. And if a cat happens to wander into it, well...

  • If you say "sex scandal" a bunch of times, it sounds like "sex candle". And you can actually buy penis-shaped candles, but the thought of a burning willy makes me uncomfortable. I think people use them in voodoo rituals to give their enemies Chlamydia.

  • If I was a scientist who didn't wear pants, would people say "He's smart, so he must be onto something!" and they'd all take their pants off too, or would they say "He's not wearing pants, so he must be one of those mad scientists." and storm my lab with pitchforks and torches?

  • I think we should all be grateful to our moms for not suing us for domestic violence because we kicked them as a fetus. She could have had all these witnesses come forward and say "It's true. I felt it."

  • Sometimes, instead of writing a new post, it's easier to just copy and paste a bunch of stuff you wrote elsewhere and call it something trite like "Pieces of Me" or "Brain Nuggets."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Or Else What, Mr. Flapjack Sam?

A few years ago, I lent Mr. Schprock my copy of LOST Season 1. He returned it when he was finished, and I let him borrow Season 2. He was ready for Season 3, but I didn't own it yet. I told him he could borrow it as soon as I get it, but then, well..things took a turn.

With only a few episodes left until the series finale, I'm still banking on some of my crazy theories being true. But it wouldn't be fair to spoil my former co-worker by mentioning them here; it's bad enough he still has to work with Joe. So I can't say anything about Frank, or Miles, or Juliet or even Ben. He wouldn't know who they are. Instead, I will regale you with this epic, spoiler-free review by a guy named funk yant.

by funkyant




Funkyant may not know much in the way of spelling and punctuation, but he sure knows how to weave a good story. I think it's safe to say that I would absolutely watch that episode. Even Alan Dale would watch that episode. Of course, I'd also watch Cue, the Gay Ass Trombone

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gasification, Baby!

It seems eda's been chatting up a whole bunch of people. Spreading her provocative artistry here, here, even here, on this Spanish-language rock & roll blog. But eda's a ghost; wiped from existence again and again. In all instances, only references to her sexy trouser poetry remain. I guess the world isn't ready to jump wireless the egg.

With eda nowhere to be found, I feared that I would never learn the meaning of "gasification baby." Thankfully, I found, which appears to be China's answer to Tootoomart doesn't dabble in anything as ribald as sexy T-shaped trousers, but they do sell inflatable Minnie Mouse chairs for children to fart on.

They even have big name sponsors. Check out this banner ad for the movie 2012:

I have to admit, I thought that movie looked pretty stupid, but that tagline really pulled me in. I might have to rent it afterall.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dig Those T-Shaped Trousers, Jack

We are not alone. It may seem that way, with the absence of Trina and NYPinTA (I think she's still mad that I almost broke her face) but make no mistake, there's a new disciple of the House of Squeeg.

I've recently noticed a couple of older posts had comments by someone I didn't recognize, eda, written in what appears to be Chinese characters. What kind of praise could eda be heaping on me? Or was it scathing MSG-laden criticism? I had to find out, so I cut and paste them into babelfish, which I know is not the most accurate translator, but it's a start. Here's what our new friend eda had to say:

"The appeal, G spot, the sexy T-shaped trousers, the appeal, the roll play clothing, the suspenders sock, the T-shaped trousers, the appeal thing, jumps wireless the egg, the men and women, Massages the stick, massages the stick electrically operated, the airplane cup, the video, consoles oneself the wrap, consoles oneself the wrap, the appeal thing, the appeal underwear, The appeal massage stick, consoles oneself the wrap, the roll play, massages the stick, jumps the egg, the appeal jumps the egg. , lubricant, SM, underwear, sexy underwear, self-consolation, gasification baby, AV,"

And then it just stops, with a comma. An obvious spambot, you say? Quasi-erotic jibberish, you say? Maybe if you live in Squaresville, Clyde. But dig this; imagine some cat hitting the skins over this clambake in a smokey, dimly lit room. I'm hep to eda's scene, and I dig it.

The appeal, G spot, the sexy T-shaped trousers,
the appeal, the roll play clothing, the suspenders sock,
the T-shaped trousers, the appeal thing,
jumps wireless the egg,
the men and women, Massages the stick,
massages the stick electrically operated,
the airplane cup,
the video,
consoles oneself the wrap, consoles oneself the wrap,
the appeal thing,
the appeal underwear,
The appeal massage stick,
consoles oneself the wrap,
the roll play, massages the stick, jumps the egg,
the appeal jumps the egg. ,
lubricant, SM, underwear, sexy underwear,
self-consolation, gasification baby,

I can almost hear you snapping your fingers in approval. Alas, in my haste, I deleted eda's comments, because at the time, I thought Chinese characters about T-shaped trousers and airplane cups was a bunch of jive. But now I see what I fool I was! I hope I didn't scare you off, eda. I hope you come back and lay some more groovy riffs on us. In fact, I wrote you a little something.
Slap that bass, daddy-o:

eda, sweet eda
so trust-ing
so know-ing
so love-ed?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Secret of HeteroNYMH

I was just sitting here and the word "predicated" popped into my head. Then I started thinking and realized that I don't remember ever actually saying or writing that word in my entire life. I've obviously heard it before, and probably even thought it a few times, but it's never escaped my head until just now. That's a long time for a word to be trapped in someone's brain. I wonder if his escape was like the Shawshank Redemption.

Stranger still is that while I've never used the word predicate--that's the verb predi-KATE, as in "To carry the connotation of; imply" or "To base or establish"--in school I used predicate--as in predi-KIT, "one of the two main constituents of a sentence or clause, modifying the subject and including the verb, objects, or phrases governed by the verb"--in English class several times.

See, they're heteronyms; words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings. Wikipedia decided to give and example using animal porn:

Do you know what a buck does to does?

The verb predicate is a good, solid word. I should start using it. But...I feel like if I start now, it's going to sound forced. That's no good. I've got to let the words flow naturally. In the meantime, take a look at this word:


If you are of a certain age, you'll probably pronounce it as super-marion-ation, the puppetry technique used in the 1960s by British producer Gerry Anderson, and more recently by the South Park guys in Team America: World Police.

They used to air reruns of Supermarionation shows like Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet on the...ugh...SyFy Channel. They also ran another Anderson show from the 80s using Supermacronation called Terrahawks which featured a terrifying witch lady and a puppet that looked like Roy Scheider in SeaQuest.

But there's another, ever-growing segment of the population unaware of creepy old puppets which will read the word as Super Mario Nation, possibly thinking it's the url for a Nintendo fansite. (It's not. I checked. Talk about missed opportunities.)

It's a generational thing. I guess your age predicates how you pronounce supermarionation. Hey, look at that! Did I use it correctly, or should it be the other way around?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Mystery of the Shamed Businessman

You know those Google Doodles, where they alter the Google logo to commemorate some thing or another? Once in a while I know immediately what they are, but most of the time I have to click on it to figure out what it's suppose to represent.

Last summer I saw one that completely baffled me. It looked like a guy with a box on his head, wearing a dress shirt and tie, bending over with his hands on his knees, the way kids stand when they're in left field waiting for the ball to come their way. Here's an altered version of the picture, to show you how it looked to me:

I thought maybe it was some disgraced CEO or something; maybe it was the anniversary of the Enron scandal. Even when I clicked on the image to find out what it actually was, I still didn't see what I was supposed to see at first. I see it now though, to the point where I don't know how I could mistake it as anything else, but sometimes I still see the guy with box on his head. Maybe not it box; it might be his briefcase.

Now here is the actual image:

Does anyone see the box head guy? Or could you tell what it is right away? It was August 29, which would have been Michael Jackson's 51st birthday. Jackson's socks are the business man's shirt, and the space between them is his tie. Actually, if you look closely, it looks like the box head guy is wearing one of those frilly flamenco dancer shirts. But who wears those with neckties?

So do you see the businessman, Michael Jackson's feet, or both?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Moral Conflict

So, everybody...oh who am I kidding? So, LL, here's your question for the the day.

What if you could go back in time and prevent World War II from ever happening, but here's the catch: the only way to do it is to have sex with Hitler. You can't trick him and say that you'll have sex with him and then kill him or something, you've got to go through with it. But if you do, he won't invade any other countries or kill Jews or anything. Millions of lives will be saved.

Instead of genocide and world domination, Hitler will focus on music. He'll form a folk group called Der Flying Deutschmen. A protegê of Woody Guthrie, Hitler will write songs about peace, magic unicorns and a night of passion with a mysterious stranger whose name he refuses to reveal.

In 1959, he'll be mourned by the entire world when his plane crashes, killing him, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly. In this WWII-free universe, the Big Bopper took a different flight and later opened a chain of successful fried chicken restaurants across America's Southeast.

I actually have a theory that this was Hilter's ultimate goal all along: To do something so despicable that he'll be seen as the most hated man in history, in the hopes that one day hot women from the future would travel through time to have sex with him to prevent it from ever happening. In fact I'm pretty sure Bin Laden heard about Hitler's idea and co-opted it.

Oh, and don't worry, you can't inadvertently erase yourself from existence in my hypothetical time machine. Technically, you aren't re-writing history, you're branching out from the moment you changed to create a new history. The original still exists, because it can never be changed, like a write-only CD. But you've created this new history in a different location, as if you made changes to the CD file and saved it as a new file on the desktop. So even if preventing the war caused you to not be born in the new timeline, you still exist in the original timeline.

Of course that means when you show up in the present of the new timeline, no one will know who you are, because they have no record of you ever being born. In fact, you might be thrown in jail for not having any ID or proof of citizenship and for fabricating stories about beloved folk singer Adolf Hitler. No one would be able to appreciate what you did, because for them, it never happened, and for the original timeline, it will sill always happen no matter what you do. Or you run into the other you, and that presents a whole other set of problems. Man, time travel is hard. Okay, for the sake of this exercise, we'll say you change the original timeline and definitely cannot negate your own birth.

So...would you have sex with Hitler to prevent World War II? I couldn't do it myself. It's not because of the gay sex that would be involved, it's just that we got a lot of good movies out of that war.

Monday, March 22, 2010

On This Day in Squeegee History

DATE: MARCH 22, 1998 (more or less...)

I was sitting in a booth with Nick and Jose. Jose noticed a clown sitting a few booths behind me. I don't mean the "oh boy that guy's such a clown! kind of clown, I mean the rainbow wigged, floppy shoed, balloon-animal-making kind of clown. Jose told me to look over my shoulder because he continues to think that I'm afraid of clowns, when in reality, I merely would just prefer to avoid them whenever possible.

Anyway, forget about the clown. When the waitress brought us our pizza, she asked me "How's your headache?" And I thought "Well that was cryptic. I don't even have a heada----ahhhhh!" To this day I don't understand what happened. I felt fine until she said anything, then all of a sudden I got a sharp pain in my temple. She was some kind of...voodoo waitress.

This has been On this day in Squeegee History. Brought to you by Pringles.

Pringles. Taste the hyperbolic paraboloid.™

Friday, March 05, 2010

Missed Opportunities

Yesterday would have been a good day for a rousing speech. Because it was March 4th, and you could have been like "March fourth...TO VICTORY!" or something. March fourth...TO ZERO DOWN PAYMENT ON A 2010 KIA SORENTO! And it would resonate with people, because it was the date, and it means to move forward. Now we've got to wait a whole year for the opportunity to come around again. It's a shame, really.

Kind of like how I never got around to writing the second part of my friend's wedding story, and now it doesn't matter, because they're friggin' divorced. Oh, did I just casually throw that out there? Yes I did.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Brief Conversation

For Lent, Michele is eating nothing but some kind of seaweed soup thing, so I went to my mom's house for dinner on Friday.

MOM: I think I'm going to go to the gym Saturday morning.

ME: What gym do you go to?

MOM: Planet Fitness.

ME: Oh, you know who lives right next door?

Mom: No, who?

ME: Jim Nabors.

See, it's funny, because...well, I'll let my brother explain.

GLENN: It works on two levels.

BRIANNA: I don't get it.

MOM: They are gym neighbors, like Jim Nabors? You know "Well Gaw-aw-aw-lly!"

GLENN: Wait, what?

MOM: You don't know who Jim Nabors is? Gomer Pyle?


ME: Hold on, then why were you laughing?

GLENN: I thought you just made up a name for the joke.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The First Rule of Jury Duty is You Do Not Talk About Jury Duty

I'm a jury duty magnet. I've had to report in just about every three years since I turned 18, which is the minimum amount of time they have before they can legally send me another notice. The first few times I didn't have to go to the courthouse; I called the number on the juror card the day before I was to appear and an automated message told me that my group was on standby.

A few years later, I had to go to the Quincy courthouse, which I walked by several times before I realized where to go. I guess I was expecting a big marble building with massive pillars and that lady with the scales and blindfold out front. It was just a plain brick building that looked like an elementary school. Anyway, when I did find it, I proceeded to sit in a room all morning waiting for something to happen. A bailiff came in a few times and told us that our presence in the jury pool was causing cases to plea rather than go to trial, so we were serving an important purpose. Which was fine with me, because I really didn't want to get picked.

I had jury duty again on Monday, this time in Dedham. The court is just a fifteen minute walk from my grandmother's house, so I stayed there Sunday night so I could be there at 8:00 AM Monday morning. The jury pool had previously been held in the basement of the Supreme Court, but was moved across the street to the Registry of Deeds. Still, the room we were in looked like a typical courtroom like the ones on daytime tv. There was over a hundred potential jurors packed into the room and we all watched a VHS tape from the mid to late 1980s about the differences between civil and criminal cases, and stressed that if we are selected to be on a jury, we cannot read or watch anything about the case, we can't tell anyone anything about the case, and we can't talk amongst ourselves about the case. The video was hosted by a judge who, while undoubtedly prominent and well-respected in 1987, had a habit of pronouncing "r"s as "w"s and "jury" as "Julie." Could they not have found someone else? It just seems cruel to make her say Julie 300 times. I wonder if she was deaf maybe? Is it against the law to make fun of a judge? Actually, now that I think about it, she did a great job and was very informative and there was nothing wrong with that video whatsoever, let's move on.

After the video, the called out numbers 1-90 to go across the street to the Supreme Court. I was number 7. Despite my several previous times being called to jury duty, this was the first time I'd ever actually made it this far into the process. We all walked over to the other building and found seats in courtroom 3. A judge introduced a civil case that we could potentially be serving on. She introduced the plaintiffs and the defendant, then the lawyers introduced themselves. The first guy said his name and the name of his law firm, and that he was representing the plaintiffs. The second guy said his name and law firm, which was the same firm as the first guy. And I thought "Gee, that's weird, the same firm is being used for both sides. Can they even do that?" But then he said "...and I will also be representing the plaintiffs." Ah. Right. Idiot. Lastly, an older guy stood up and said he was the lawyer for the defense. From a different firm. With his name in the title, even.

After everyone was introduced and the particulars were laid out, the long and arduous process of jury selection began. There were 14 seats in the juror's box to fill, with 90 people to fill them. Actually, I was already sitting in the juror's box, but only because that was the only place left to sit. The judge asked us a series of a questions, starting with whether anyone knew either the plaintiffs or defendant. (Off to the side, a lady cupped what looked like one of those horse feedbags over her face whenever anyone said anything. I'm guessing it was a recording device.) If the answer to any of the questions was affirmative, we were instructed to hold our jury card in the air until a court officer counts them all and its put on record. I held mine up three or four times, confident that I'd be out of here in no time.

When all of the questions were finished, the judge, flanked by lawyers for both sides, called each potential juror up to the bench one at a time for follow up questions. Since I was number 7, I didn't have to wait very long for my turn. The first five people--for some reason there was no juror 1--went up to the bench individually, quietly spoke with the judge, and were then either told to take a seat in the jury box or were escorted out of the courtroom. Four of the 14 seats had been filled by the time my number was called. I approached the bench, and the judge asked if I knew anyone who was born at South Shore Hospital. I said "Yeah. Me." And my brothers, my mom, cousins' kids...need I go on? The next follow up question was if anyone in my family is a physician or works in the medical field. "My girlfriend works at Harvard Medical School, my cousin and aunt are both nurses, my brother works with Medicare...something." I was sure that was enough, but she asked if any of them worked in pediatrics.

No, I said. Well, I don't know. I couldn't remember what field my cousin is in. I know she works at Brigham and Women's in Boston. Then she asked if any of this will sway my judgment in any way. Say yes say yes say yes....

"I don't think so."

Damn it!

I bounced back, telling her that I live in Weymouth, down the street from South Shore Hospital (ooh, good one!) and I didn't have any means of transportation to get to Dedham every day. The judge looked at the lawyers and asked if there was a train or bus that went from Weymouth to Dedham. No one came up with anything. Looks like I had just punched my ticket out of there.

"Well, my grandmother lives five minutes away. That's how I got here this morning. I guess I could stay there."


Ironically, the only unsolicited information I didn't give her was that I can't keep a secret. Why didn't I mention that? There's no way I'd be able to not talk about this case for 8 days. I read all the Harry Potter spoilers when each book came out, and I've never even read a damn Harry Potter book! It's compulsive. I can't help it. And I can't lie. It's not that I don't lie, I'm just terrible at it.

Before I realized what had happened, my name was called to sit in seat number five in the jury box. Well that's just ducky. I took my seat and watched the proceedings from my new home for the next eight days, which was almost exactly where I was sitting before I had been called up. When juror 18's number was called, the officer accidentally said juror 20's name. "I've been called a lot of things, but never (John Smith, or whatever #20's name was)" the guy bellowed. When he was selected to sit in the jury, I was pretty sure he was going to maneuver himself into being the foreman. He seemed like the abrasive type that wants to be in charge of everything.

The first 12 seats were filled pretty quickly. It wasn't until the final two that the lawyers decided to start scrutinizing, at which point a steady stream of people approached the bench, said their piece, and were on their way. What were they saying? What was their secret? I should have said I hated doctors. Or I loved doctors. Either one would work, really. I guess by this time you've figured out that this case involved doctors. A young couple were suing their doctor because their son has cerebral palsy, a condition that can be caused by complications at birth. Don't tell anybody, okay?

Even after all 14 had been selected, the lawyers were given the opportunity to contest anyone they wanted. I might have made it through the first round, but with all the people left in the pool with no connections to the hospital or physician relatives, surly one of them would be a better fit for this case. The take-charge guy was the first to go. I didn't see that coming. Every time someone was removed from the jury box, they had to get someone else to fill their place. Sometimes, someone would be picked and then immediately excused. Eventually, after going through around 63, 64 jurors the 14 were finalized, myself included. We were dismissed for the day, but had to be in at ten minutes to night the next morning when the trial began. The judge anticipated it to be 8 days, which would run from 9 AM to 1PM, we'd have the weekend off, as well as the following Wednesday, and the deliberations were expected to start next Thursday.

As I walked back to Nana's house I called Michele, then my mom, and told them they wouldn't be seeing me for a while. I went home and grabbed my toothbrush and a bunch of clothes, said goodbye, and got ready for my first time on an actual Julie.

Tuesday morning I left the house at 8 and started a leisurely walk to the courthouse. It was cold out, but I had a scarf wrapped around my face. I stopped at a bagel place on the corner and got a bagel and some coffee, and continued on into the building. There were already a couple of people in the jury room getting acquainted with each other. Actually, two of them knew each other previously because they coached a team together. Another younger woman was on one of those teams. I guess knowing other jurors doesn't get you out of jury duty either. As it got closer to 9, more people trickled in, and I started to get into the whole being on a jury thing. My grandmother loved having my around, and the other jurors seemed pretty cool, and since we weren't allowed to talk about the trial with each other, maybe I could subtly mention that I do freelance graphic design. And I passed a panini place on the over that I could try for lunch. Plus I told the judge I was unemployed, and she said I could fill out some paperwork and get $50 a day for this. Yeah, come to think of it, this is a blessing in disguise.

The bailiff did a head count to see if we were all in yet, and joked that this was the hardest part of his morning. Still missing one more. After a few minutes, the last guy showed up and we got ready to head into the courtroom. The judge came in right behind him, and told us that she had some sad news.

We all know that last minute deals were made all the time before cases go to trial, so I think we were all expecting her to say that there was a settlement and we can all go home. Instead, she solemnly told us that the boy's father went into a diabetic coma the night before, and that he had passed away early that morning. He was 34. I noticed that he left about midway through the jury selection, but I thought maybe he was bored out of him mind like we were. The judge said the case will continue, but obviously it will be on hold indefinitely to deal with funeral arrangements and to take care of her son, since she had previously worked while her husband was the child's primary caregiver. And because trials can take months to schedule, when it does start up again, they will need to select a whole new jury and start over.

Yes, we all wanted to get out of jury duty, but not this way. And I was actually starting to look forward to the rest of the trial. Everyone just sat there in complete and utter shock, unable to believe what just happened. Everyone except the guy who came in late, who said "Are you guys just going to sit around here?" and immediately went home.