Thursday, April 26, 2012

What are They Doing?

I often wonder what folks are doing when I don’t know what they are doing. If they are posting on Facebook, or at my house, then I know what they are doing. But what about when they aren’t posting and when they aren’t visiting?

Does it even matter?

No. Not even a little bit. But it intrigues me, nonetheless. The list of things they *could* be doing is almost infinite. The list of regular, everyday things is quite smaller. Those are the things that intrigue me.

Say someone posts a story on Facebook about some wild thing happening to them. I immediately wonder what I was doing when they were experiencing the wild thing. Was I at the computer, typing? Was in outside with the garbage cans? Were my pants up or down? Was I awake?

The same goes the other way, too, of course. We’ll pick a fictitious name to protect the innocent and call the person in question Cheryl. Because I don’t know a Cheryl. Anyhow, let’s say I randomly think about Cheryl one day while considering a chess move, or having a beer. What the hell is Cheryl doing, right that moment?

Chances are, nothing special. She could be eating, or talking on the phone, or watching the tube, or doing her hair. She could be in the shower or sitting on the throne, and she could be indisposed in other ways. She could be at the Target store or McHeartAttack or NotSoBestBuy.

Or she could be dead.

The possibilities! They wrap themselves around my mind like a hungry spider and they don’t let me go. And it’s all a waste of time because as we’ve already concluded, it doesn’t matter a tick. Not a single iota. Yet, I wonder; I always wonder.

What about you? Do you have any weird mentalities that you haven’t noticed other people admitting to you?

I wonder...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Allergies SUCK!

Ever have one of those days where you’d rather lie down and sleep all day, and for no apparent reason? I’ve just had two of them. I’m finding that my allergies are getting worse as I age, and it’s not fun. I know there are more terrible things in the world than bad allergies, but days when they attack really jack me up.

I can handle a stuffy nose and sneezing and all that, but what I get is different. It makes me feel *extremely* tired, it makes my eyes really sensitive to light, my hands hurt and are cold, and I have the general symptoms of a slight fever. As my fellow men out there know, that’s code for feeling like death.

I’ve been scouring websites and testimonials from people with allergies, because I’m certain that’s what these attacks are. Lately I’ve found that simply cracking the window in my office is good enough to keep the allergy attacks at bay for a while, which was ground-breaking.

Friday we turned on the swamp cooler for the first time this yea, and the damned the damned thing spit dust and debris everywhere into the house. I haven’t felt right since then. How can one person be so fawking sensitive to things? I never was before; when I was younger, I could motor on past shit like this. Now it puts me down for a while.

Of course, even though I feel so tired I can’t function, I’m a die-hard who doesn’t take naps unless I’ve actually got the flu. Which I don’t. So I take all-day-allergy pills, Mucinex (even though my nose isn’t stuffy, per-se, it helps with the symptoms a tad), and Mountain Dew. Anything but lay down for a couple hours. Lawzy, I hate naps.

The trouble with allergies, as I’m reading, is that although symptoms are all generally similar, the causes aren’t. It could be pet dander, hay fever, god-damn gluten, wheat, or any of ten-thousand other things. In my case? It’s probably a mixture of four or five that make me feel awful for a couple days every once in a while.

I’ve requested Claritin, as I’ve heard good things about it. Those of you with invisible pain know what I mean when I say it’s beyond frustrating not knowing what is stopping me in my tracks or what to do about it. I’m not a fan of runny noses and tickly throats, but I’d take those any day over the crap that I get. It’s ridiculous, really. I’m looking for reasons and effective treatment, though, so I’m hopeful. Always hopeful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Forum Wait Periods

C’mon now, who else is with me? Next to my ISP going down and Internet Trolls, forum time limits bug me the most. I know, I know, most of you haven’t even encountered them; that’s probably because you aren’t a real bad case of ADHD with a few cups of coffee in ya. When I get on a roll, I’m flying, boys and girls.

Here’s the message:

This forum requires that you wait 30 seconds between posts. Please try again in 12 seconds.

Oh, boy. That one gets me every time. Inmates walking from their Death Row cells to the electric chair don’t experience a longer twelve seconds. Twelve seconds seems shorter when an intruder’s in your house and time has stopped. For a street car, twelve-seconds is pretty quick; for a rabid, hyper-active forum poster, it’s a dead eternity filled with uncomfortable hatred.

So, what do I do during these wait periods?

I switch screens, I add something to my ‘To Do’ list, I message someone – anything but wait. Sitting idle until I’m allowed to do something doesn’t fly well with me. Oh, it’s a killer.

Anyhow, I just thought I’d share my extreme dislike for time-limits on forum posts. I type fast. Too fast for these V-Bulletin places. I’m beginning to learn, though; in between posts I’ll fly to Facebook or someplace for a few seconds so that I don’t have to see that awful screen.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Way of Monday

Imaged ganked from:

Mondays? Don’t mind 'em. I used to, yes, back when I was getting up two hours before work started, traveling in my car to their location (on my dime, mind you), walking into a building, punching a clock and waiting for idiots to tell me what my tasks were for that day.

Oh, my God, I get sick thinking of it.

But now, things are so much cooler on Mondays! I work from home and love every second of it. The weekends actually seem extremely long to me anymore. I get to pick and choose, largely, the days I work and the days I do not, and I still make a really decent living. No, I couldn’t support a family of seven on my income but for me, the girlfriend, and the cats, I’m doing more than okay.

Mondays mean I have an excuse to get up early and enjoy the morning. I get to catch up on a few forums and the ever-present Facebook while I’m working. In fact, I’m working now, while I’m writing this blog entry. In my pajamas. With a coffee. This isn’t the most difficult life, I can tell you that.

I used to run online chess tournaments Monday nights, but the site I work for is closing down so there’s no more of that, at least for now. But that leaves me free to work early, “clock-out” early, and then get outside to enjoy me some sunshine. This week my aim is to clean the rest of the garage. One half looks pretty good but the other half... ew.

Anyhow, I guess the point of this particular entry is that if you are reading this and you are absolutely miserable on Mondays, or any other day, for that matter, I highly suggest changing your situation. It really is worth it. I can’t imagine working for the man, climbing some bullshit company ladder, kissing ass, then turning around one day and wondering just what in the hell I’ve been doing. These past three years working at home have been absolutely golden, and it just keeps getting better.

Life is too damned short to waste it making money for other people. Do what you want to do. If you are happy at work and legitimately like what you do, more power to you; that’s awesome! If you don’t, though, get out. Even if you have to take a pay cut at first. Get out. There are something like seven-billion people on the planet; surely one of them has a better opportunity waiting for you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Frankly Friday: Gas Prices

So, gas prices are soaring. Aren’t they always? Every price of every thing is soaring, and it’s more than a sign of the times; it’s always been like that.

Frankly, I couldn’t care less.

I mean, I DO care, somewhat, but there’s nothing for me to do about it so it’s totally wasted energy. I don’t like it any more than anyone else when it takes a small fortune to fill my tank up at the pumps, but there’s really no choice in the matter.

When it comes to things in which there are zero choices, I tend to roll with the flow. If I get upset about those things, I’m doing myself (and likely everyone around me) a great disservice. Heck, I’ll even go as far as to say it’s a little-bit foolish.

I find people who complain about things like gas prices a tad tiresome. Nobody can change the price of gas any more than they can choose when sunny or rainy days occur; get over it.

Do I get upset about things I cannot change? Absolutely I do. I don’t let them worry me *too* much, though, because the matter is completely out of my hands. Bad drivers, for instance, really upset me. So does yard work but unless I’m prepared to sprinkle a ton of killing agents everywhere and live with a dirt lot, it’s something I have to do.

The next time you get all upset and begin complaining about the prices of things today, take a step back and realize what you are actually doing. It’s very possible you could avoid looking like a maniacal tyrant by keeping your mouth closed about such things.

Unless, of course, you can change the prices. If you can, I’d be grateful. Thanks!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thank-You-Thursday: Internet Trolls

Thank-You-Thursday is pretty self-explanatory: I’m going to pick individuals or groups of people and thank them for something. Of course, my thank-yous will be dripping with sarcasm and neon with passive-aggressive hatred. Such is the way.

This week, I would like to take the time to officially thank the Forum Troll. Without both trolls and witty, genius, fact-suppliers, the Internet would be a barren wasteland of static information; who the hell wants that?

Without the Forum Troll, there would be no need for moderators. Without moderators, there would be no people on forums who secretly feel like the cops of the place. Without people who feel like that, there would be no forums. Thus, trolls are an integral part of any Internet gathering area. They are as much the glue that binds as the people who supply actual, good information. It’s the push-and-pull of good and evil, right there in text form. Shit, that’s awesome.

The Internet Troll does his thing in many ways. Let’s look at three of them:

1. He posts things specifically to piss people off.
When these magic posts work, the thread can go hundreds of pages long, full of replies from everyday people ‘feeding the troll’, so the saying goes. These threads are malignant in nature and should never, ever be replied to.

2. He posts things that make people want to join in, but are useless as far as the forum goes. “What are you listening to now?” is a good one. “What are your other hobbies?” is another popular choice. The information contained in responses cannot, in any way, help the original poster. Therefore, it’s a troll post. Harmless enough, but slightly annoying to those of us who don’t give a shit what someone’s listening to while on the ‘Net.

3. He posts a topic in which he claims he hates himself, doesn’t believe in himself, is depressed, or has the general blues about life. These are the trickiest to spot because sometimes, legitimate posts are created by good and decent people who are just having a bad day or are encountering a rough patch. More than one depressed post, however, and the members of the forum must band together and decide: Is this guy fishing for compliments and ‘atta boys, or is he actually in need of kind words and friendship. The line there is usually pretty clear after a while but again, the fog never completely lifts from that beach.

So, thank-you, Internet Troll! You have touched the lives of many, your post count has risen to 15,000 in the last month, you have actually managed to create Internet jobs, and you spend oodles of time accomplishing nothing.

My hat is off to you; I couldn’t do it, myself. Well-played, Mr. Troll.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wonder-Why-Wednesday: Lazy Writers

I believe I’ll deviate a tad from my humorous posts and address writers or, as the case may be, non-writers. I wonder why so many either write things and don’t submit them or, more likely, don’t write at all. People who ‘think about and consider’ welding aren’t welders, and people who ‘daydream about acting one day’ aren’t actors. So how can you call yourself a writer if you don’t write?

Here are a few of the reasons that I’ve gathered. Some of them I have heard first-hand and others I have deduced logically.

1. You don’t think your stuff is good enough.

Nobody thinks their stuff is good enough. Even Stephen King isn’t sure each time he sits down to pen a new story. Every single thing we write isn’t going to be a home run, but if you put yourself at bat enough times, it’s bound to happen.

2. You write for yourself.

Cool! That’s awesome! But that makes you a person with a hobby, not a writer. A guy who only sings in his car and in the shower isn’t a singer; he’s a guy who likes to sing when nobody’s listening.

3. You are researching for the big novel that’s inside you.

I can’t say enough about research. It is very important if you want to get things right. However, if you are researching for three years and haven’t written a single paragraph, then you are a researcher, not a novelist. Get to writing.

4. I’ve been rejected and it sucks.

So has every best-selling author alive. Even professional chefs spoil a few dinners. Get over it and improve.

5. Life is so busy right now!

Well, I don’t know what to tell you. If writing is important enough to you, you’ll find the time. If it isn’t, you aren’t a writer. You are a mom, a business person, an office manager, a full-time this-or-that, a grandma, etcetera. You are anything but a writer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ten-Thing-Tuesday: Getting Pulled Over

Photo ganked from:

Below, I have comprised a list of ten things never to tell a police officer if you are pulled over for any reason. I have done hours of research so that I only provide you with the best, most accurate information. This is to be taken very seriously. Not at all.

1. “Like a boss.”

This will definitely send the wrong impression. It’ll be an awesome story to tell your friends later, but isn’t really worth the risk.

2. “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”

While this is a great line in almost any other situation, it’s bound to actually net you another ticket. You don’t want that.

3. “Not a chance, sir, I was with your mother last night.”

Very manly, but definitely stupid. If you do decide to go this route, please film it so we can watch your demise on YouTube.

4. “I actually drive better when I’m a little hammered.”

Well, I guess you have to say something, but this cannot be recommended. Even if you do drive better when toasted.

5. “Fuck if I know. The speedometer is broken.”

Never give them more information than they need.

6. “I mailed in the registration fees just this week!”

They know you didn’t. Just man-up and tell them you couldn’t care less about the color of your tags. Drive it like a boss.

7. “No, you cannot search my vehicle.”

They will anyway, and they’ll arrest you to do it. Just let them look so they’ll go away.

8. “You damn police are always harassing me!”

This will cause said officer to look into your history. It’s much better to act as if you are being contacted by the law for the first time. Ever.

9. “It looked green to me!”

Not only is this not a defense, it makes you look foolish. Accept the ticket for the very red light you blew through, and accept it with a smile. Accept it like a boss.

10. “I know my rights!”

Don’t say this. Chances are, you don’t know your rights in any given situation, anyhow. Unless you are fully prepared to back up your claim with correct, well-researched information (not the kind you see on Judge Judy or hear in the lunchroom at work), leave this one for someone else.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Middle-Class Monday: Yuppies

A couple years ago, I took a sociology class in college. We discussed the Middle-Class and I was more than surprised to find out that according to whoever decides these things, Middle-Class runs from like $45k/year all the way to $220k/year. Really? Holy shit.

At that point, I lost just about all hope of becoming upper class. I believe my best year ever netted me about $17k. I’ve never made much money; not because I’m an idiot, but because I’m generally lazy and don’t like people who are borderline stupid telling me what to do.

Anyhow, I have a real hard time believing that $200k a year is Middle-Class. If I were suddenly given that kind of cash every year, I’d be filthy, stinking rich. I’m not kidding, either. I think poor decision-making by the folks who make that much is what yanks it down to plebian level. Who are these folks? You got it: the Yuppies.

The Yuppies drive unreasonable vehicles.

The vehicles themselves aren’t unreasonable, if you can afford them. There are a ton of alternatives to driving the gigantic SUV with a gas-pulverizing V8, though, like most the Yuppie parents drive. DVD screens in the back of each headrest, OnStar service, big rims, great stereo, leather. Yea, all the things I grew up with!

Oh wait. Hell no. I rode around in a red Mercury station-wagon with wood-grain sides. After that, it was a sky-blue Pinto; luxury all the way.

The single Yuppie seems to need a BMW or Mercedes. The trouble is, they always get the entry-level cars, so that everyone knows they are a Yuppie. A BMW 318i? Really, honey? That’s a Nissan Sentra with a different logo on the hood. You aren’t fooling anyone. And telling someone that you drive a Benz is all fine and good until they see it for the first time, and realize that its’ a ’91 model with black soot on the rear and faded-ass paint. Oh, and it sounds like a John Deere tractor. Highly impressive, sir.

The Yuppies live in unreasonable houses.

To the Yuppie family of four, nothing less than a half-million-dollar, six-bedroom house will do; after all, where would they put the game room and the borderline-crazy shrine to their favorite ball team if they only had four bedrooms? See? The extra two rooms are must-haves. All six high-priced bedrooms are nestled into an exterior that looks just like every other house in that neighborhood. If a movie were made about them, it might be named “Honey, I Blew-Up the Tract-Home!” Real rich people don’t live in those, folks. They can also afford the house’s price-tag.

Inside these houses is where it really gets amazing. The Yuppie has a Harley motorcycle in the garage that he never rides. He has a pool table and a big-screen TV, whether he needs said items or not. That’s just Yuppie 101. Invariably, he’ll have a full set of MAC or Snap-On tools that remain shiny because he doesn’t know how to use them.

Everyone in the house has their own iPhone, iPod, MacBook, iPad, video game system, and ignored pet. Dad has sports and NASCAR posters up, while Mom collects stainless-steel appliances and imitation designer handbags.

Well-played, Yuppies.

I figure that somewhere, deep-down, they have to know that the majority of actual rich people don’t live like that. I’m not talking Tom Hanks rich, just a few-hundred-grand a year. While the Yuppie is trying to show the world how successful they are by purchasing the latest Cadillac SUV, the actual rich person is tooling down the road in a Ford Explorer.

The Yuppie complains about prices.

While the Yuppie is unloading his $50,000 SUV after a trip to the department store for name-brand clothing, he’ll complain about the price of gas. Or insurance, or taxes, or food, or bottled water. Then he’ll offer you a $4.00 beer that you have to open with his big, honking Craftsman $20 bottle-opener. You know, because buying a twelve-pack of Bud and putting the cans in coozies that say “I’d rather be fishing” is so trashy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Séance Sunday: Humphry Davy

Séance Sunday, my newest series, is where I pick a dead somebody and thank them for their contribution to the world. For the inaugural post, I’m going to thank English scientist Humphry Davy for inventing the first light bulb way back in 1800.

We sometimes don’t think about how different the world would be without such things. The light bulb has a huge impact in our everyday lives. Here are some of the less-important reasons that I’d like to thank Humphry Davy for:

1. Without his invention, we’d never see a light bulb over someone’s head when a great idea occurred to them. How boring would that be?

2. There’d be nothing to shut off before we had sex. “Blow out the candle” doesn’t have nearly the impact that “Turn out the lights” does. Insert slap-bass line here.

3. Tweakers wouldn’t have that particular cheap and easy avenue to smoke their crank out of. Light bulbs make a great glass pipe in a pinch. The tweakers of the world thank you, Humphry Davy.

4. Kids who break into abandoned houses would have nothing to throw at the walls that will explode. C’mon, don’t make that face; you know you’ve done it.

5. Stupid men wouldn’t get to burn their fingers by being too impatient to wait a minute before unscrewing the bulb after it burns out. My hero.

6. Nobody would be able to drive at night. How sucky would that action be? Worse yet, even if we did drive at night, we couldn’t see the radio to change the station when commercials came on. The horror!

So, as you can see, the light bulb is a huge part of modern society, and not just for the obvious reasons. The next time you turn off a lamp, think about the importance of what you are doing. And, maybe throw a few props to Humphry Davy.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Silly Saturday: Sharing Pictures for Cash

It’s time for Silly Saturday! Today we are going to take a look at people who share pictures on their Facebook feed in order to receive a benefit or help someone in need. Really? Ya think so, eh?

So far I’ve seen two different types of these photos: ones that are shared in hopes of helping someone else, and ones that are shared in hopes of helping the sharer. I don’t believe in either of these. I’ve been wrong before, of course, a couple times, but this entire idea just seems silly to me.

Photo A, one that is shared in hopes of helping others, might be of a disaster area, a young bald girl with cancer, or something equally awful. The picture claims that for each “Share”, someone will get money and be helped. I’m no Rhodes Scholar, but this seems very hard to believe. Why would sharing a photo generate income? Life just doesn’t work like that.

Photo B, an image shared in hopes of us helping ourselves, is the silliest of them, in my opinion. Recently, the bloke who won the gazillion dollars in the lottery is supposedly “sharing” some cash with everyone who displays his picture on their Facebook profile.

C’mon, now.

If you believe this, then you are definitely in a little bit of trouble. It has scam and ‘sucker’ written all over it. Most of the people sharing it know it, too. They preface the ‘share’ with sentiments like, “Hard to believe, but it’s worth a shot!” or, “Hey! You never know!”

Oh, we know. It ain’t happenin’, Dollface.

Before you share an unreasonably silly picture on your FB wall, for everyone to see, give it a little thought. Better yet, do some actual Google research (not Bing, please don’t Bing) and see if there’s any truth to the bit. If there is, more power to you. There isn’t, though. I can’t imagine why in the world there would be.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Frankly Friday: Eco-Friendly Cars

This will be the inaugural post of Frankly Friday. Today’s topic is, as you’ve likely gathered from the title, 'going green' via gutless, stupid cars. How important is it to you that your car gets a zillion miles per gallon and ejects roses out the tail pipe?

Frankly, I don’t give a shit. Yes, I’d like to preserve Mother Earth as much as the next guy, but not enough to put myself into a roller skate and hop on the freeway. That definitely isn’t my bag, baby.

I like four-wheel drives and old American iron. I have owned several older V8 cars and trucks throughout the years. I had a ¾ ton Chevy truck that got 8 mpg, and I drove that thing everywhere. Would I like 35 mpg? Absolutely. But again, not enough to drive an egg 70 mph on the freeway. You couldn’t pay me to get into one of those things, even for a trip around the block. “Smart Car” my ass.

The Prius may be environmentally friendly and ‘cute’, but it isn’t receiving any thumbs-up signs at the stoplights. If it does, they are likely from other Prius owners who feel the need to connect with other sheep. I’m sorry. People. People with like interests. That’s what I meant to say.

I realize that not everyone is a car enthusiast, and some people just want something that gets them from location to location in a reasonable manner. I like 300 horsepower and a lot of room, myself, but each to his own. When I stomp on the gas, I want the vehicle to accelerate. If I hear the RPMs rise but my speed doesn’t change, I had better be towing something up a grade. Period.

Life is too short, in my opinion, to risk your life for a few miles more per gallon. SUVs, old cars and trucks, and motor homes are expensive to own and might not be environmentally sound, but they’ll save your life in an accident. That’s all this author needs for an easy decision.

I’ll always drive big vehicles with big V8 engines. That’s just the way it goes. I demand power and style from my rides. There is nothing inherently wrong with a Toyota sedan, they just aren’t for me. If my ’68 Plymouth ever tangles with one, I have a good guess at which car will receive more damage. Just sayin’.

The POS Chevy mentioned earlier:

Lots and lots of great memories with that rig.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What Happened to Cars?

I have often felt that maybe I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time. I see TV shows or movies set in the ‘50s or ‘60s and I can’t help but think how cool it would have been to live in such times. Mostly, for the cars. It’s always the cars.

Have you noticed that most of the ‘new’ cars seem to smell the same? Have you also noticed that no matter how many ‘old’ cars you get into, each one has its own, unique scent? I drove a ’73 Beetle for a while, and I have never smelled a car just like it. My ’68 Plymouth is completely different, but also very unique. I would know the smell anywhere.

Those were also the days when making bigger cars was actually a marketing plus. Family automobiles weren’t Honda Civics or Toyota Corollas; they were Chrysler Imperials, Ford station wagons, Chevy Suburbans. Sure, they still have vans and stuff today, and some of the SUVs are pretty big, but where’s the luxury? Where are the cars Grandma and Grandpa drove that we were embarrassed to be seen in as children? You want to talk about embarrassing, watch a big dude tooling down the street in a ‘Smart Car’. I think I’d rather be seen in roller skates, dancing to a Justin Bieber song.

And what about cars we could freaking work on? Have you even bothered to look in the engine bay of your new ride lately? You can’t even see the spark plugs in a lot of them. I like a car I can fix in the driveway with simple hand tools and a small bit of know-how. If I have to pay $300 dollars for a code-reader and then secure specialty tools for my auto, I’m doing something wrong.

Also, where has style gone? Remember when car manufacturers cared about what their cars looked like? I’m not saying that fins and huge, swooping lines should necessarily come back (although, now that I think about it...), but I can rarely tell one car from the next on the freeways these days. Is there no pride in ownership anymore? Why do a huge majority of people seem to want something that simply gets them from A to B? Maybe they’ve never driven a car that netted them the ‘thumbs-up’ sign at every stoplight, but it’s a super cool feeling.

I understand that with gas prices today, everyone wants to get 50 mpg, but what happens when you are t-boned in your tiny car? Nothing good, that’s what. I’d rather get 18 mpg and walk away from an accident, myself; I’ll never drive a small car. Yeah, I had a couple Beetles back in the day, but at least they had style. Also, I was nineteen; nobody knows anything at nineteen.

On one hand, I’m sort of glad they “don’t make 'em like they used to”, because that sets my ’68 Plymouth apart from all the other cars on the road. However, I cant help but shake my head at the sheeple who buy into the ‘must have something new’ mindset. Oh well, their loss, I guess. :)