December 07, 2009

Aboo Gabba Deedoo Alloo

I stand up and take my dishes to the kitchen, belly stuffed.

"Ho, cha po," I say.

The sweetheart laughs.

"I mean really," I continue. "It's a good point. Ho cha po!"

"That's true," she says. "Ho cha po."

She rinses off a plate.

"Do you think," she says, "that someday we will just talk with words that nobody understands?"

"I don't see how that could ever arbogooben."

The sweetheart laughs.

"Frankly," I say, "the mere idea is froogoobagooku."

The sweetheart laughs again.

"Aboo gabba deedoo," she says.

"Aboo gabba deedoo ba-doo."

November 09, 2009

Sometimes Motive is Obvious

Worried? Stressed out? Depressed? Don't just read the book. You have to buy it.



Creepy!

October 20, 2009

Let's play with Referendum 71!

Background: Referendum 71 is being voted on in Washington State. If passed, it will allow state-registered domestic partners to receive the same legal rights as those who are married, under Senate Bill 5688.

Statement of Partiality: I'm voting for approval of Referendum 71.

The Fun: Let's look at Referendum 71's statements for and against, straight out of the handy voter's booklet from my mail!

Who Had the Best Headings? Statement For used three straightforward headings, all clear and concise: The Domestic Partnership Law Protects All Washington Families, What is Included in the Domestic Partnership Law?, and Who Supports the Law? Statement Against used four headings that relied on an anxious attack of exclamation-slanted prose (!) such as: Reject Senate Bill 5688 to Protect Children! and Reject Senate Bill 5688 to Preserve Marriage!

The Winner: I have nothing against exclamation points, but I prefer my voter "information" without blatant exciticism, so Statement For wins round one.

Who Used the Fewest Quotes? Statement For used one quoted segment for a summation statement in what appears to be an effort to let the reader know where an opinion has been expressed, as opposed to the otherwise factual information they were sharing. Statement Against quoted one state senator twice, and a representative once, and then put quotes around words like, "family unit," "husband," "wife," and "gender neutral."

The Winner: Statement Against could have shared any factual information it wanted to about the bill, but instead chose to give me three statements of opinion from state legislators. Then, they started talking about "husband" and "wife" and how the bill is going to redefine those words. Fact check: the bill doesn't redefine them. It essentially says, "Hey, let's treat some of these terms as though they are equal to any member in a domestic partnership or marriage instead of rewriting every single law using those words." That quote was mine, and the winner of this round is Statement For.

Which Side Presents the Most / Best Facts? Statement For says this bill will allow domestic partners death benefits for partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty, the right to use to use sick leave to care for a seriously ill partner, pension benefits for partners of teachers and other public employees, victims' rights, and more. Statement Against says "Marriage [...exists...] for the greater good of the social order," and "Marriage is about providing the most stable and healthy environment in which to raise children," and that this bill will "confuse children and likely result in public schools influencing children to accept a new definition of the 'family unit' so that same-sex partners will be a recognized norm." Of course, I don't understand how children would be confused if the definition of "family unit" was a recognized norm. It sounds like Statement Against is the one that's a little confused. They're obviously pro-marriage. And they also claim that this bill is "primarily about homosexual marriage." According to Statement Against, this bill gets more people that much closer to marriage, so you'd think they'd be for it, since they're all gung-ho about marriage being vital to the social order and all that.

The Winner: Anyway, come on, now. You know who the winner is. Statement Against wrote a very entertaining statement riddled with unsupported opinion and contradictory lines of thought. Statement For wrote a measured, level statement in support of a bill that should never have been challenged in the first place. Go Referendum 71!

October 06, 2009

How to Write Online


Short sentences are good. Short paragraphs are good, too. End them quickly.

October 01, 2009

Is Anyone Out There Actually Having a Windows 7 Launch Party?

Background: Microsoft's Windows 7 promotion is centered around convincing people to host a Windows 7 launch party. You can find out more about that by watching this video and trying not to throw up.

Scary Observation: Supposedly, people are doing this. In fact, according to a regional Windows 7 launch party map, there are easily over 10,000 people hosting parties in the United States, alone.

Hypothesis #1: The number of parties is a highly fabricated number.

The Scant Evidence: As Windows XP pretty much made Vista obsolete, I'm having trouble believing there are that many people interested in Windows 7.

Hypothesis #2: A large number of the comments left on this page were actually left by Microsoft marketing personnel.

The Scant Evidence: There just aren't enough typos on the comments page. I find it hard to believe that Windows fans have an higher-than-average rate of typing and grammatical accuracy.

The Request: If you are hosting a Windows 7 launch party or if you know someone who is, give me details! I want to know everything--like, why? Was it for the "party pack"? Do you love Windows? Was it an excuse to try out a new operating system so you figured, why not? I will respond with non-judgmental interest. I only want to know more.

September 16, 2009

Art Exhibits that don't Exist that I'd Like to Go to

Perspective Drawings of Environments near Black Holes

Photographs of Missing LEGO Bricks

Stalwart Displays of Loyalty Expressed only in Song and Locally-Grown Produce

Brand New Works by Aaron's Favorite Artists, Living or Dead

Spontaneous Art Created Right Now While You're Watching, Using Your Limbs without Detaching or Hurting Them




(And if you've always wanted to subscribe to SPAM Publishing, the free literary e-mail publication, send a message to spam.publishing@gmail.com. Right now, in addition to 12 free issues every year, you'll also get the latest back issue!)


September 01, 2009

DA SOCIALISTS HAEV SPR3AD THEYRE EVIL TRAFIC LITES 3V3RYWHARE

SO WOW LOK WUT I JUST FIND OUT SOCIALISM HAS FOUND ITS HOMA ON MILIONS OF STRET CORN3RS ACROS DA USA!11!!111 IN TEH FORM OF TRAFIC LIGHTS

Y3S!11!!! OMG LOL 3V3N THOUGH MANY US!!!!11! WTF CITIEZNS MAY NEV3R NED OR UES TRAFIC LIGHTS TH3Y PAY TAEXS TAHT SUPORT TH3M!!11!!!!

OMG THES KIND OF SOCIALIEZD WAY OF MAKNG SURE PEOPL3 R SAEF SI RIDICULOS

IMM!11!11 A P3D3STRANE Y SHUD I PAY FOR TRAFIC LIGHTS YO???!!?! OMG LOL

August 25, 2009

I'm strange, you're strange

So the other day I was outside the building where I work and I saw the guy that's always out there, sitting on the metal railing.

And I said to myself, "That guy is always out here. That's so weird. What does he do?"

And then he started talking to himself, and I said, "And he's always talking to himself. That's so strange. What a weirdo."

August 18, 2009

Okay, so the USA is not a nation of idiots

When the Obama administration dumped their support of the public health care option in an effort to move the current health care plan forward, I proposed that one of the following three things must be true:

1. The USA is a nation of idiots.
2. The USA's Senators are pets of the health care industry lobby.
3. Both of the above.

But a poll run by a conservative research organization turned up the following results: 83% of U.S. citizens favor a public health care option.

Now I think it's down to possibility number 2.

August 16, 2009

On Passing a Health Care Plan

The Obama administration feels it's necessary to dump the public health care option in an effort to pass the current health care plan.

Perhaps instead they should just tell everyone they've removed the Death Panel section, the part about forcing everyone to use the government option, the bit about Soviet-style rationing, the section on cutting Medicare, and the part of the plan that allows tiny ants to control your brain like a video game.

That would make more sense to me.

July 30, 2009

Idiopathology

I stumbled across a word the other day, which was rather coincidental, since the doctor had just uttered it and so it was weird that I should have happened to hear it at precisely the same moment, especially since I had been seeing the doctor because of a loss of hearing.

The word: Idiopathic

The definition: Of unknown cause

The reason it was uttered: The doctor couldn't figure out why my left ear hears less than it used to.

The diagnosis was given to me almost as if it were a solution. Huzzah! We have solved the problem! Your loss of hearing is idiopathic!

My future career change: Idiopathologist

Sounds like a sweet job!

July 28, 2009

Donkey

That's all, really. I just liked the title for some reason.

July 22, 2009

The Internet Inspires Mass Noncommunication: A Solution

The Internet's implicit encouragement of bad spelling and vapid sloganizing has run rampant to the point of mass noncommunication.

Solution: No one cares.

Prblem sovled KOL!

July 20, 2009

A Gentleman Talked to Me About Something

So, I'm headed out to lunch with a friend, but the friend needs to use the restroom first, and he asks if I'll hold his book.

"Sure," I say. The book is called Cyber America.

I stand outside the restroom and people walk by and this guy in a torpedo jacket comes walking up.

He says, "Is that, like, about a horse named America?"

I look at the book.

"Um. No," I say.

"Because I had a horse named America once."

I don't say anything.

"When I was a kid," he explains, "we didn't have all this techno-babble. It was just horses and guns. And corn."

"Oh. Yeah. Well, that makes sense."

"You must be a writer," he says.

"Yeah, actually, I am."

"What do you write?"

"E-mail, mostly. Sometimes a real letter. Occasionally, I sign stuff, like credit card receipts. That kind of thing."

He points at a random, moving spot on my chest. "A real funny guy, huh? Your kind will last longer than the filthy cockroaches."

And then he decides to catch the elevator.



(Side note: if you're interested, you can now become a fan of SPAM Publishing on FaceBook.)


July 14, 2009

I started a publishing company - subscribe now! (free literature)

The name of my new publishing entity is:

SPAM Publishing


The first issue is due out in early August.

What do you publish?

Literature and art meant to be absorbed online, in our particular format.

What format do you publish in?

E-mail. We publish work by sending an e-mail to all of our subscribers.

Why e-mail?

It's the most stable and consistently-used technology of the last 15 years. It's also free and viral. We publish work that people will want to send on to others, so that it will proliferate like spam. We don't make money. We only want to expose people to new and exciting literature in the most practical way possible.

How often will you publish work?

No more than 12 e-mails per year, and probably less often than that. Each e-mail will have no more than one piece in it.

How do I subscribe?

Let me know, or send a message to: spam.publishing@gmail.com

How do I submit work?

Send the work to spam.publishing@gmail.com. All work will be considered, but in general we're most interested in publishing short pieces that take advantage of the format for literary gain (and possibly comedic effect).



July 09, 2009

One Thing I Learned from Star Wars

If you go into a cave, and Darth Vader comes out of the darkness, it's okay to slice Darth's head off, because it's probably just a clone of you dressed up as Darth, and your clone sucks at sword fighting, so--easily done.


June 29, 2009

And the Dry Cleaner of the Year Award goes to...

Someone at the dry cleaner was bored and had a sense of humor.



Does this make it dry humor?


June 21, 2009

An Example of How I Can Tighten Up your Script, Just Like That

Example: One line from Three Amigos

There's a scene where they're discussing how to handle El Guapo, the bad guy who is coming to town to kill them all or whatever. Lucky asks Ned if he remembers what they did in Amigos Amigos Amigos, and Ned asks, "Do you think it will work?"

And Lucky says, "It's got to work. It's our only hope."

I'd have changed the line to: "It's got to work. It's our only idea."



June 18, 2009

Roadnotes: The Spider, the 9-21 Earthquake Museum, and the Flight Home

The following is based on events that occurred on June 1 through June 5.

The Spider
We're leaving and I'm out of the house when the sweetheart goes back for something and then shouts at me to come back in. I come back in and this is on the wall:



It's easily bigger than my hand. Covered in dust.

The sweetheart says, "It's not that big, really."

The Earthquake Museum
We go to the 9-21 Earthquake Museum, a place where they don't just show you a bunch of pictures. You walk around on the site of a school that collapsed. You look through the classrooms that don't have any walls left. You see the running track and its smooth curve interrupted by the earthquake's fault line.

You also get to experience very participatory exhibits, like the one where you stand in a sound-proof bubble and yell as hard as you can (to see if you can yell loud enough to get help if you are ever trapped in an earthquake). I didn't try my hardest, but I measured at 106 decibels. Is that loud enough? I hope so.

The Flight Home
The sweetheart takes me to the airport and I mention that I didn't get to see the ocean from the plane, since during my previous flight, it was completely dark. And I have a precious aisle seat going back, so I probably won't see much of it, still.

When I get to my seat on the plane, my neighbor says, "Would you be interested in taking a window seat so that my mother can sit with us?"

I say, "For your mother, I will do that."

I'm sad to give up the aisle, but, I think, at least I'll get to see the ocean, right?

When I get to the seat, I find out it's an emergency escape aisle - spacious and wonderful, and so spacious that anyone can get out of their seat at any time without bugging the other two passengers.

Perfect.


June 13, 2009

Roadnotes: Dragonboats, Asking Directions, Scenic Urinals, CostCo

The following is based on events that occurred on May 30 and 31.

A Hard-Worker and an Honest Face
While hiking in Hehuanshan, in central Taiwan, a man approaches us and says he can read faces. He says the sweetheart is tough and hard-working. He says I have an honest face.

The Bench on Top of the World
Still at Hehuanshan, the fog starts to roll in below us, turning an already scenic bench into the most spectacular bench in the clouds.



The Tree Tomato and Magic Tricks
That night, we stay at a bed & breakfast in the mountains, where our room has a tea nook with a view that rivals the one above. The owner entertains us with magic tricks and tells that the juice we're drinking is made fresh from the tree tomatoes that grow on a tree that we can see from the balcony. They also grow kiwi, mint, and about a thousand other things right there on the mountainside.

Sheep Show and a Yummy Leaf
Before we come down from the mountain, we take in a sheep show, where a sheep dog corrals a bunch of sheep so quickly that the people running the show have to make jokes for a half hour to make the show a half hour long. Then, we have lunch at a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant, where we eat a dish with a rare leaf in it that we will probably never get to eat again, since it only grows right there, as far as anyone knows. It was a yummy leaf.



June 07, 2009

Roadnotes: Dragonboats, Asking Directions, CostCo

The following is based on events that occurred on May 28 and 29.

Dragon Boat Races
In Lukang, we watch several rounds of dragon boat races, then wander through the streets to check out the rest of the festival. I had participated in dragon boat racing when I lived in Denver, so it was nice to see the real thing.

Asking Directions vs. Maps
Throughout our travels, the sweetheart relied heavily on asking directions from strangers. This worked pretty well. In Lukang, however, we ask directions from a man, and he goes straight to a map on a wall nearby, reads the map, and gives us the wrong directions. If this is what happens when people read maps in Taiwan, I can see why the sweetheart relies on verbal directions.

Scenic Urinals
The next day, we eat lunch at a classy Japanese restaurant. It's an excellent 7-course meal, and even the urinals have a scenic view.

CostCo
After dinner, we have to pick up a few things at CostCo. Having never been to a CostCo myself, it's truly the most frightening thing I've experienced thus far in Taiwan.

June 03, 2009

Roadnotes: Hospital Care

The following is based on events that occurred on May 27.

Before I left for Taiwan, I had an ear infection and antibiotics to take. I was also deaf in one ear, apparently because of congestion and water in the ear and whatnot, although the doctor used a more technical term.

On May 27th, I was still deaf in one ear and I was out of antibiotic, so we went to a Taiwanese hospital to see what's going on. The doctor there said I still had a little infection, so he prescribed me an antibiotic and a decongestant.

Total cost: Even without Taiwanese insurance, it cost the equivelant of about $14 U.S. That's less than my copay in the United States.

The whole process was very efficient, too. They put you on a list, call a number, and wallah! You are whisked through the system when your number comes up.


June 01, 2009

Roadnotes: Hualien (communications from spirits and hitchhikers)

The following is based on events that occurred on May 25 and May 26.

A Plan for Avoiding Falling Rocks
At Taroko Gorge National Park, they take safety very seriously. That's why they have signs everywhere that tell you to keep moving--that way it's harder for the rocks to hit you!

A Spirit Talks to Me
While enjoying a peaceful moment of respect at a shrine in Taroko Gorge National Park, a thought popped into my head that we should hurry. I tell the sweetheart and we head back down the series of steps we had just climbed. We're thinking that it's because of the weather, because it can be nasty when it rains there and it looked like it could rain any minute. We get to the bottom just as a monk's bag of bottles to recycle breaks open, so we help her collect the bottles. Whatever spirit watches over that shrine definitely cares about recycling!

Hitchhikers
The weather stays nice, despite everyone around us telling us it's about to pour, so we keep hiking. While driving to the next trailhead, we pick up hitchhikers who are trying to get to a trail that's on our way. Oddly enough, one of them is from Seattle, though they live in California at the moment.

Hitchhikers Part II
Coming back from yet another short hike, we run into the California people again and they're looking for a ride back to Hualien, which is where we're staying, so we give them a ride again.

Crocs
In Hualien, we take in the night market, and then walk around downtown. There, I trade in my flip-flops for Crocs. Yes, they look ridiculous, but they are SO much more comfortable than my $2 flip-flops. I didn't realize how difficult it was to walk in flip-flops until I switched.

Some More Stuff
The next day, we visit a Japanese temple and write a prayer on a delicate-looking piece of wood. Then we paddle boat across Liyu Lake. Then, we catch the train all the way back to Wu-Fong.

Coming up next: Hospital Care

May 31, 2009

Roadnotes: Taipei

The following is based on events that occurred on May 23 and May 24.

Jade Cabbage
We take the high speed rail from Taichung to Taipei. The first stop is the National Palace Museum, a place where things are actually old. They've got stuff from just about every dynasty, seems like, and an especially interesting jade cabbage.

Super Boots
Next, we take in Taipei's night market, where I buy some boots that will be perfect for a project I haven't officially announced yet (pictures will be posted eventually).

Pig Intestines
After the night market, we meet friends of the sweetheart's for dinner. I try pig's blood and pig intestine. The blood was fairly tasteless. The intestine was actually super good, but had a disgusting texture. It was like chewing...well, intestines.

Stinky Tofu
Later that night, I try stinky tofu, which wasn't bad, but apparently also not as stinky as some vendors' stinky tofu.

Taipei 101 Looks Like Bamboo
The first stop after breakfast the next morning was the tallest building in the world. What can I say? It's tall. Oh yeah - and apparently it was designed to look like a bamboo stalk. We didn't go up to the top because I didn't want to spend one hour of my life that day waiting to ride an elevator. But still, we could pretty much see that it was tall, so we felt satisfied moving on.

The Perfect Bed
We stepped into a great store called Muji, where things don't have a brand label, they're designed very simply, and they actually have products I want to buy. Unfortunately, it would be ridiculous to ship the perfect simple bed overseas, otherwise, I'd have paid the price. However, Google tells me they have Muji in NYC, so maybe I can ship from there. I'll look into it as soon as I'm not having fun.

Eslite Bookstore
Next, we checked out a very large 24-hour bookstore called Eslite. They had a lot of well-designed books, and great sub-categories, like Hypertext Literature.

Last Meal
My last meal in Taipei was an extremely excellent tofu burger at California Grill (not the chain). So yummy....

May 28, 2009

Roadnotes: Foot Massage, Paper Dome, Sun Moon Lake

The following is based on events that occurred on May 21 and May 22.

I'm still fresh off the plane, for the most part, and we decide to go for a foot massage. Or more like, those who can speak Chinese decide to go for a foot massage and I follow along.

I've never had a foot massage before in any language, but it's clear that I'm a tense person. Just about everything the massuese does causes at least a tiny little bit of pain, which I'm supposed to alert the masseuse to, but the real options are these:

Try to figure out how to tell someone I'm in pain in a language I don't know, or wait three seconds for him to do something else. And I can easily sit through three seconds of pain.

My foot massage diagnosis? I need sleep and I spend too much time sitting wrong and staring at computer screens. That's deadly accuracy.

The next day we head to the Paper Dome. It's a domed building made largely out of paper. The benches you sit on are an interesting kind of cardboard (or something) and the dome is treated so it won't be destroyed by the rain.

After the Paper Dome, we drive to Sun Moon Lake. Since it's right on the lake, we check out Wenwu Temple. There are people selling food all around the lake, so I have my first tea egg. It's a hard-boiled egg that's boiled again in tea. Absolutely yummy.

The sweetheart's mom goes by a strict rule of one egg per day, no more. Otherwise, I'd have had another tea egg immediately.

May 27, 2009

Roadnotes: The Heat

I'm in Wu-Fong, Taiwan. The humidity wraps itself around me.

To survive this kind of heat, you have to adjust your thinking.

If you think of the heat as your enemy, you're finished.

The trick is to think of the heat as Earth's loving embrace, as a gentle promise that no matter what, you will not be cold. If you can think of it that way, then it's like walking around with a god hugging you non-stop.

It also helps to suddenly become a sandals person.

May 26, 2009

Roadnotes: Taipei to Wu-Fong

The following is based on events that occurred on May 21.

I'm in the car with the sweetheart. We haven't seen each other in over two months and there's absolutely no weirdness.

"So," I say, "is it really foggy or is all that pollution?"

"Pollution," she says.

Even so, it's quite pretty.

May 22, 2009

Roadnotes: Seattle to Taipei

The following is based on events that occurred on and May 20 and May 21.

It's only the beginning of the trip and I'm pretty sure I don't know how to do anything:

1. How to unfold the table out of the armrest.
2. How to pull the movie screen watcher thing up.
3. How to tell what time it is.
4. How to figure out how far we've traveled.
5. How to eat my vegetarian meal without any utensils.
6. How to time the bathroom run.
7. How to call an attendant to get some water.

But eventually I figured it all out. So don't worry.

And, after all that, going through customs was a breeze.

May 21, 2009

Roadnotes: Sea-Tac International Airport

The following is based on events that occurred on May 19 and May 20.

I use my credit card to buy water from a vending machine. The directions on the machine tell you to press END to complete the transaction, but I can't find an END key.

I kind of feel like falling to my knees and pounding the machine repeatedly, shouting, "There is no end. There is no end."

But of course, there's always an end. It's what gives things value.

I press CLEAR. That seems to do the trick. Otherwise, I'm buying water for everyone until someone installs an END button.

Some youngsters traveling together are discussing their lives, which means they're discussing their virtual lives.

Someone from Canada that somebody didn't know friended somebody on FaceBook and then they chatted and it turns out that someone is so-and-so's best friend from before they moved to somewhere.

You can relax now, since you finally know who that is.

May 19, 2009

Roadnotes: Check

Hepatitus A vaccination
Hepatitus B vaccination
Typhoid vaccination
Prescription traveler's diarrhea medicine
Ear infection
Antibiotic for ear infection
Affrin
Prescription cough medicine
One-quart clear zip-top plastic bag
Asprin
Tums
Flip-flops
Business cards
Gum
Camera
Camera battery charger
Cord for moving images off of camera
Laptop
Laptop adapter
Mouse
Persian rug mouse pad
Plug adapter (3-prong to 2-prong)
Web cam
Ear buds
Printed itinerary
Pajama bottoms
9 outfits treated with permethrin
Extra permethrin for the sweetheart
Insect repellent
Hand sanitizer
Puffs travel pack
Gift for the sweetheart
Northwestern Wine for the sweetheart's family
Seattle-made organic Fair Trade chocolate for the sweetheart's family
Shaving gel
Razor with some stupid name thought up by Gillette
Electric razor
Electric razor charger
Burt's Bees deoderant
Hair brush
Sonicare toothbrush
Floss
N95 respirators
Passport
My Name is Earl (Season 3)
Journal
Pens
Notepads
The Complete Stories of Saki
Exile and the Kingdom
KNOCK #11
McSweeney's #24
Lonely Planet Taiwan
Chinese PhraseFinder and Dictionary
Parka
Hat
Sunblock

April 29, 2009

Pharmacist Tells Me: "Oh wow, that porn looks good!"

I was picking up the latest vaccinations for an impending trip to Taiwan and the pharmacist shouts, "Oh wow, that porn looks good!"

I thought: ?

I looked at my grocery basket, and saw the corn sitting on top. So apparently I just have bad ears.

April 27, 2009

Once Again, the Internet Solves a Problem that Doesn't Exist

Once again, the Internet solves a problem that doesn't exist by giving us the @ symbol in a new context: when you're speaking to someone specific.

Problem that doesn't exist: People have no problem identifying whom they are speaking to by typing things like the following.

Allie:

or

Marmaduke:

The Internet decided this convention was too easy to understand, and thus, the @ symbol was reinvented. Now, newbies have to wonder for a second about the following syntax:

@Joe

Way to go, Internet! We're all excited by the way you abstractualize simplicity.

@Internet u r so smartz.

April 21, 2009

I'm going to work now...

Bye! I'll write! And I'll take lots of pictures!

You'll be fine, without me. Honest!

You're so enterprising; you'll be as busy as if I'd never left!

Come on, now. Wipe those tears away.

April 15, 2009

There is a book in every one of you...

There is at least one book in every one of you.

Take Giovanni Diviacchi, for instance, a standup comic out of D.C....

Like all standup comics, Giovanni had some jokes about lawyers. However, one night "some attorney friends...were complaining about the lawyer jokes in my act," Diviacchi says, "so we decided to turn the tables and write a joke book for lawyers."

And that's just what he did. Now, his book is probably the best possible kitschy gift you can give to a lawyer friend or attorney relative.

Also, the book (How Many Clients Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?) was a Stephen T. Colbert Award for the Literary Excellence...nominee. I know, because it's got a little sticker-stamp on my copy of the book that says so.

And just because it's better to let the work speak for itself, here's some text from between the pages:

A client asked his long-time family lawyer to come to his deathbed with a Bible.

"Would you like me to read to you?" asked the lawyer of his client.

The client shook his head weakly and said, "No, I want you to find the loopholes."


There you have it. If you would just get off of the couch, you, too, could write a book that gets a stamp about a nomination for an award that's pretty much made up, from a certain point of view. Now get moving! The book isn't going to write itself unless you're rich!

April 08, 2009

And the Recycler of the Year Award Goes to...

And the Recycler of the Year Award Goes to...

I.M. Pei, for soaking a cardboard container from a frozen meal. After soaking it, the remnants of cheese were easily removed so the container could be placed in the recycle bin.



April 05, 2009

Dangerous: Many City Newspapers Owned by Same Company

It's a dangerous situation: many U.S. cities have "competing" newspapers that are essentially owned by the same company.

This could be considered a dangerous trend for free speech, except for the following:

Nobody reads the newspapers anymore.

Problem solved LOL!



March 30, 2009

Roadnotes: Portland

I take the train to Portland and quickly realize that everyone here is serving Stumptown coffee. You go to the coffee shop, they're serving Stumptown coffee. You go to the breakfast place, they serve Stumptown coffee. You go to the bar, they serve Stumptown coffee. You go to the post office, they serve Stumptown coffee. You go to the bathroom, they serve Stumptown coffee. I swear.

Fortunately for me, I love Stumptown coffee.

We meet up with Spilt, F.R.A.N.I., Armatronix, and A at the Sapphire Hotel. We talk about blogging and how it isn't what it used to be.

Spilt mentions that it's weird to see everyone's real name on FaceBook. Everyone agrees.

The next day I'm at a restaurant and I am told I can help myself to a "bev", so yes, there are people who talk like that.

Saturday, I take in the Velveteria with family. Some of us are more interested in the black light room than the art of the paintings.

Sunday is BrickFest. A lot of hype, but all in all, about the same thing or less than the NW BrickCon. But don't take that to mean it didn't please me.

And then, I get "treated" to Madagascar II on the train back to Seattle. Woo.

March 23, 2009

Portland, this Friday, extreme hanging out, woo

I'm going to be in Portland this weekend.

Invited: You.

The time: 9:30pm, Friday, March 27.

The place: The Sapphire Hotel (not to stay the night there - instead: to eat, drink, and hang out)

Extreme-ness: While relaxing, eating, drinking, and talking, we're all going to hold one hand up, with both end fingers raised. EXTREME!!!!!! Woo.

Text from the hotel's Web site: "Sapphire Hotel is a sexy, candlelit bar in the lobby of what was once a traveler's hotel and local brothel in Portland Oregon."

March 11, 2009

Guess What I was Googling: A Game!

The Challenge: Guess what I typed into a Google Image Search to find the following image.

Hint: Four words.

Clue: I did not find what I wanted.




March 08, 2009

Let's be ridiculous in person: Converge upon Seattle in May

Vincent Truman* and I want to hang out with every single one of you. In Seattle. Soon.

We've tentatively selected Memorial Day weekend, but that can change depending on availability and demand. Can't make it but want to? Suggest another time. Mention your level of interest here, or on Vincent's blog.

Probable major events: a dinner at some scrumptious restaurant, and a small theater performance by everyone who wants to perform, and for all those who want to watch.

Probable mini-events: runs to all the great city parks, all the great Seattle neighborhoods, a run to Portland, runs to the mountains, and more** (basically whatever you want to do).

Incidentally, I'll be in Portland for Brickfest the weekend of March 29. I'm reserving one night for family, but another one could wind up being some kind of blog get-together thing, perhaps. Anyone up for that?



* If you don't know Vincent, that's too bad, since everything I do is copied directly from him.

** By "runs", I don't mean to imply that you actually have to run. Walking, standing still, riding a bus, and/or riding a car is also okay. Or other stuff is okay, too, especially if you can fly. Good for you, if that's the case. We're all very aware of how much better you are than the rest of us. Oh yeah, wow.

March 03, 2009

TV sets should be kept underwater

TVs.

I think they should be underwater.

And that way if you want to watch, you have to hold your breath, and you'll never watch too much, or else you'll die, which will appropriately enact a positive evolution on humanity.

Or, people will grow gills, which is also cool.




(Inspired by Dabi.)

3 Reasons Why I Haven't Blogged Much Lately

1. I've been too worried about my vast investment portfolio.

2. I'm really you, and let's face it, you've been lazy, lately.

3. One cannot blog, for the blog has already been blogged, and always will have been. Also, I've been writing a book.

February 17, 2009

Before You Scoff...

When you scoff at all the ridiculous people who don't know any better, it appears to them as though you're one of those ridiculous people who don't know any better, and to top things off, you're scoffing.




February 12, 2009

A Conversation I Almost Had

Aaron Dietz: Hi, this is Aaron Dietz, returning your call about [such-and-such].

Nigh-Conversator: Hi. Thanks for calling me back.

AD: No problem. I wanted to [such-and-such], so, is this a good time to talk?

NC: I'm actually on the other line, sorry. Can I call you back?

AD: Sure. I'm actually relieved, because I didn't really have the time to talk, either. You see, I'm on another line, too.

NC: Why would you call someone else if you were already on another line and couldn't talk?

AD: Probably for the same reason you picked up my call while you were on another line and couldn't talk.

NC: Pavlovian instinct?

AD: [Drools]

NC: Well, I'm glad we had this talk.

AD: Yes. We've cleared up a few things. 'Gotten some things figured out.

NC: [Drools]

AD: [Drools]

[Click]

February 08, 2009

I'm Being Taught in New York

My first book, Reserved for Emperors is being taught in New York, which fulfills a miraculous prophecy emitted by Fantastic H, herself.

She once said to me, "You will be studied," and then--BAM!

This puts Fantastic H right up there with Pop Conspiracy in the rankings of People Who Have Pretty Much Basically Sold My Book to a Lot of People.

And, in other news, I'm writing for TheNervousBreakdown.com, now. My first piece is here: Hooray, I Don't Make Toothpaste.

February 06, 2009

OMG, 25 OMG Things About, Zomg, Me.

No, there aren't 25 things about me here. And I tag all of you in spirit because you're all in this, whether you want to be or not.

Equal rights.

Economic crisis.





* Title of this blog stolen with permission from Wise Majestic Sharna of the Winds.

January 30, 2009

Religious School's Discrimination Against Lesbians Could Spark Witch Hunt

An appeals court in California recently upheld a decision that supported a religious school's right to expel two students based on sexual orientation.

If you're a religious person who actually believes that being gay is a spiritual offense, this might seem like a victory.

In reality, it's not. In fact, if the decision is upheld (they're trying for an appeal to the State Supreme Court), it could be the end of religious institutions that attempt the same form of discrimination.

Any religious institution that follows suit risks losing more than the many fantastic, religious, beautiful people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transexual church-goers. They risk losing all people who understand what's coming: a witch hunt.

The ruling doesn't just support a religious institution's right to discriminate based on sexual orientation. It gives religious institutions the right to discriminate against anyone, as long as they use religious beliefs to justify it.

Scenario: Orianne doesn't like Andrew because Andrew sometimes hums to himself. Whoops--Andrew ate meat on the wrong day and now Orianne can get him fired! Hooray for Orianne!

But boo for humanity.

January 22, 2009

Yes, Prop 8 is Discrimination

Some people are convinced that Proposition 8 (the California measure that limits marriage to one man and one woman) doesn't take away any rights from the LGBT community.

They claim that through things like a strong will, power of attorney, and more, an LGBT couple can have the same rights as a straight, married couple.

Let's take a look at how equal these scenarios are.



Situation One: A Man and Woman Want to Marry

Man: "Hi, woman. Let's marry."

Woman: "Okay. Let's go to the court house and get that done right now."

Man: "One simple document. How nice!"

Woman: "Easy peasy! We'll have time for coffee and a doughnut afterward!"



Situation Two: An LGBT Couple Wants to Marry

Partner 1: "Hi partner. Let's marry."

Partner 2: "Actually, that's illegal, but we can have all the same rights as a married couple."

Partner 1: "Oh, goodie. I'll call the accountant and find out how we can avoid the estate tax should one of us, heaven forbid, pass away before the other."

Partner 2: "Good thinking. I'd better call the attorney and find out how I can be allowed to visit you if you're ever in the hospital."

Partner 1: "Well, hey! That's not going to take much time at all! And after that, there are only one thousand one hundred thirty six more federal rights we need to get back in order for us to have the same rights as a married couple!"

Partner 2: "That's the spirit! At this pace, we'll be done setting this all up in about a decade--that is, if I don't have to take a second job to pay all the attorney costs and filing fees!"

Partner 1: "I suppose that will slow us down if you're working two jobs, but it's worth it, just to get the rights that we're not being denied!"



It's true. There are 1138 federal rights that LGBT couples do not have when they are denied marriage. Saying that LGBT couples can simply regain those rights by filling out paperwork, consulting expensive professionals, and paying processing fees for acquiring those rights is equivalent to giving all people the right to vote, but forcing some of those people to fill out special forms.

Thus, Prop 8 is discrimination.

And don't get me started on the psychological effects of facing people that don't recognize your marriage just because they have a specific interpretation of a book.

January 19, 2009

How Starbucks and Microsoft can Save the Economy of the Northwest

While I don't have an allegiance to Starbucks or Microsoft, I do want the Northwest's economy to do okay, both for my own eventual well-being and peace of mind, as well as those of my friends.

Here's how Starbucks and Microsoft can save the Northwest:

Starbucks

Quit competing with McDonald's and do what Starbucks does best: sell pretension. When people see the McDonald's ads aimed at Starbucks ("Four bucks is dumb. Now serving espresso."), they need to be reminded that, to a slave growing coffee, four bucks is not dumb.

Action Plan: 100% Fair Trade espresso drinks within one year. Bonus points for adopting standards better than Fair Trade. Boom. Everyone buying espresso drinks at McDonald's feels like a cad.

Microsoft

Develop software for technology needs that exist and will exist in the near future. This is way better than developing an entire operating system based on sucking resources just to justify replacing hardware that already has enough memory.

Action Plan: Cell phones are computers. Why don't they run on Windows? As much as I fear Microsoft becoming the dominant cell phone software company, it could save the Northwest. And, there's something to be said for knowing how to use a brand new cell phone without experience, just because you're familiar with the software. Hey, it's better than trying to convince people they want Vista.

January 15, 2009

Random Statements

Does the player rule the world?

What can you do to assign yourself a muffin?

A student wants to demonstrate fallopian inheritance.

If a court decides you are violating the copyright of a dog, it is time to run.

A student describes the underpinnings of societal mores.

The lines are triumphant.

Follow these steps if your computer is not behaving well.

When in doubt, it's best to organize the pottery.

Add a tourniquet.

What should the band do to make her feel better about the blues?

There are many more heavens than are dreamt of in your cupboard, Horatio.

Viruses hunt for dogs.

January 14, 2009

Roadnotes: Iowa

The following is based on events that took place a little while ago now; I can't even remember when.

We get off the plane.

The Sweetheart's all, "Look at the roads!"

I'm all, "Yeah. They know how to remove snow, here."

I beam with Iowa pride.

Xmas passes.

We box up stuff to ship because we didn't bring huge empty suitcases.

We go home, spoiled.

January 07, 2009

In a Cheesy Legal Thriller Novel, I am an NSA Goon

It's true. In the novel Case of Lies, by the author team up that calls themselves Perri O'Shaugnessy, I am an NSA goon. See for yourself:



Okay, the linebacker body type was a little off, but they got the silent act down. And I do like a good water.



Okay, sometimes it might look like I'm regarding people as Nabokov might have regarded a specimen butterfly before spoking it, but I'm not into decorative insect corpses, I swear. I try to respect the right of living things to die without being on display. Once again, though, they got the silent act down.



That does sound like something I'd say if I were NSA. But I'd probably follow this up with a discussion of semantics involving the word "nation".



I'll have to try the tie-yanking thing, though I'm not sure exactly what an angry tie yank means, or how it affects a conversation. Is that like saying, "Leave me alone already"? Or is it a "I'm getting angry. Hulk. Hulk. HULK!" kind of thing?



I used to chew on my fingernails when I was young, but I've given up the habit. In this novel, though, I'm not sure if this is a sign of me being frightened or bored. Or perhaps the Dietz character had to be mentioned because he wasn't in the previous five pages and people might wonder what he was doing for that entire five page conversation.

The suspense is killing me, but this is the last we hear of Aaron Dietz, the NSA agent, in this book. Maybe he just evaporates into thin air, as I hope to do when I'm ready to leave this world.

Cheesy Legal Thriller Question: If you were in a cheesy legal thriller novel, what would your character be like?

January 04, 2009

When Does a Problem Become a Crisis?

Having recently been on a bus with someone who claimed that Hurricane Katrina wasn't as messed up as the recent snow inundation of Seattle, I pondered the criteria required for a problem to become a crisis.

The problem: Several repeated snowfalls of 4 to 6 inches in a city with virtually no ability to remove snow.

The side effects: Reduced business viability in the form of reduced hours, reduced patronage, and the sheer impossibility of getting anything done when you can't go anywhere.

So, Seattle had some snow. Usually, the snow melts quickly. This time, it didn't, and more snow happened. Thus: a problem.

That being said and accepted, how much snow would it take for someone in Seattle to call in the National Guard? It would be unthinkable to call on the National Guard to get rid of a six inch snowfall.

But what if that same amount of snow fell ten times over ten days? It's like unpacking a suitcase: you take out one thing at a time and don't see any difference, until suddenly: there's the bottom of the thing, peeking out between the jeans and dirty underwear.

This only partially explains how Hurrican Katrina became a severely mismanaged crisis (especially since there was data that indicated a looming crisis). Nevertheless, in many cases, a crisis happens gradually, then suddenly*. You see the gradual changes, but it's hard to see each small problem as part of a collective crisis until it's suddenly too late.

Usually, there is no algorithm for detecting a crisis because a crisis is either easy to detect (example: a 200 foot wall of water about to hit your city) or the crisis is produced by cumulative effects (like moderate snowfalls that happen repeatedly for many days).

I'm not saying Seattle entered the crisis stage a couple weeks ago. I'm just pointing out that it could have, without anyone noticing, if there had been just a little more snow...and a little more...and a little more after that.



* Thanks to Hemingway, or whoever first used that phrase.

January 01, 2009

Remember to Plan for the New Year

As you make plans for 2009 to be even better than 2008, be sure to think of everything. Here's an example:

Things I need: a good roll in zee hay, a hotmama, hay