Thursday, January 31, 2008

more about family

My brother Flip is one of the smartest people I know. Along with my father, he’s also the most solid, moral, and kind.

When Flip and I were 6 and 8 yrs old respectively, my mom came to us and said “I’m going out for a while; when I come back I should have a surprise for you.”

We waited excitedly for what we assumed would be a candy bar or a small toy.

Turned out her errand was to visit the OB/GYN; when she returned she said “The surprise is that you’re going to have a new baby sister or brother!”

I was fairly excited about this news; Flip, on the other hand, had been hoping for a Snickers bar, not a fetus. He was so disappointed and upset that he began to cry and ran to his bedroom. We have never let him forget this.

And the best part about this story is that it shows me in the position of more mature and less selfish brother; heaven knows I need a few stories like that…

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

yeah, like your life is so interesting...

In Reno this week. Snow flurries, colder than a witch's [nose]. I'm tired of being cold. I wish to live in Aruba.

I have a lot of gas the last two days. I am the farting king. Not sure if you needed to know that.

Last night I had Kangaroo filet. It took my entire per diem, but it was good.

The bathroom at this client site has Gentle Hand Cleanser that's labeled "non-comedogenic". I assume this means it's so gentle it's not even funny... (ba-bump)

That will be all at this time.

Oh yeah, PS: I put the links back and the color back to blue. Happy now?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Picture this:

The NHL all-star game was this last weekend. It is a 90% friendly game among the best of the best in hockey. Since nobody’s trying to hurt each other, you can often see a lot of entertaining hockey played by some of the biggest names in the sport.

My cousin has his own business. On Friday he got a voicemail offering him four tickets to watch the game from a vendor’s suite, plus four passes to the after party/hospitality thing with a bunch of the players.

If you like hockey, this is a dream telephone call, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, something for which you'd reschedule an audience with the pope. So what did my cousin do? He didn’t bother checking his voicemail until today.

I feel so bad for him that I am vicariously in pain. I have changed my blog background to black in order to properly mourn. If you hear someone crying, that’s me. And probably him.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Reading level of my blog

Got this thing from psychomamma...

blog readability test

Okay, I have to say that this really stings. Elementary School, for pete’s sake. I checked half a dozen blogs that I visit regularly, and every single one of them came back as requiring a higher level of education to read. My 17-yr-old daughter’s blog comes back as College (post-graduate). Blogball’s came back as Genius (props to Blogball), in spite of having more poop jokes than mine.

You know how it is when you have to re-evaluate your idea of yourself? Okay, then.

But dangit, elementary school? Because that smarts so much, I’ll make what sounds like (or is) an insufferably arrogant confession: I’ve spent most of my life limiting what words I use in conversation to match the vocabulary of the people around me so they don’t think I’m trying to sound all smartypants.

I’m not freaking Stephen Hawking, but while the rest of my peers were having a social life, I read books. I know lots of words – words of all types and sizes, a surfeit of words, a damn plethora of words. I know the difference between affect and effect, between imply and infer. I even think grammar jokes are funny: The woman was shot, and the bullet’s in her yet... And I can even spell most of the words I use, except for sherriff sherrif sheriff.

But is that good enough for the b******s at the Blog Readability Test? No-o-o, it’s not. Well, I’ll tell you what, cabrones at the BRT: from now on I’m going to use words and sentence constructions that’ll confuse the snot out of you. Your stupid test will explode because I’m-a start usin sum a them seven-dollar words what I learnt back when I went to Yoo-niversity, then see how you like it. Hmph.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

my siblings

I have two brothers and a sister; the order goes Bryan, Flurge, Succubus, and Cherubim.

Okay, I’m just kidding about those names. My sibs occasionally read this blog and they deserve better blog names than that. Maybe it should be Bryan, Zues, Aphrodite, and Mars. No, that also sucks. Let’s just call the other three Flip, Susie, and Rick. Flip and I are less than two yrs apart; there’s a gap of 6 years before Susie & Rick (also about 2 yrs apart).

For a over a decade I lived at home with a much younger girl-boy pair I helped take care of; Flip and I changed a fair number of diapers.

Now that I have my own children, I consistently call them the wrong names. In a way, it’s like Sam and David have slipped into the pre-formed slots (ie, younger girl-boy pair whom I love and care for) formerly occupied by Susie & Rick.

I call both pairs by the other pairs’ names, actually: I say Rick instead of David; sometimes I say “my sister” when I mean “my daughter”. I thought I’d get better at it as my kids developed more complete and distinct personalities of their own, but it hasn’t.

All I can conclude is that my self-absorption is so complete that I can’t even be bothered to distinguish among the various people who come in and out of my life. If I start just calling all the men I know “Bob” and the women “Jennifer”, you’ll understand, won’t you?

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Got this from a friend's myspace page...


"A house becomes a home when you can write 'I love you' on the furniture." And my house is sure a home!!

I can't tell you how many countless hours that I have spent CLEANING!

I used to spend at least 8 hours every weekend making sure things were just perfect -- "in case someone came over." Then I realized one day that no-one came over; they were all out living life and having fun!

Now, when people visit, I find no need to explain the "condition" of my home. They are more interested in hearing about the things I've been doing while I was away living life and having fun. If you haven't figured this out yet, please heed this advice.

Life is short. Enjoy it! Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better topaint a picture or write a letter, or do some Bible study, spend time with a friend bake a cake or plant a seed, go play golf, ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time, with rivers to swim and mountains to climb, music to hear, songs to sing and books to read, friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair, a flutter of snow, a shower of rain. This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind, old age will come and it's not kind. And when you go -- and go you must -- you, yourself will make more dust!

It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Continuing with the theme...

...that cops are a bad lot, this kind of thing scares me.

I'd like to think it's the exception, but I doubt it.

I'm not sure what the solution is, tho. Basically you've got people doing a tough, often thankless job. They're trained (officially, and by experience) to take control, to maintain order, to boss people around. Controlling the situation is often enough an issue of officer safety that they eventually come to feel threatened by *any* situation where they're not in total control.

So when people (who most likely never done the job and don't know what all the issues are) butt in or don't cooperate -- even in a fairly innocuous way -- cops tend to get their knickers in a serious twist*. And it has nothing to do with whether the buttinskis are right or not.

Bottom line, tho -- if you're going to do that job, you need to exercise discretion. And if you've lost your ability to make good judgements about the law and use of force, it's time to look for another career...

*(see previous post)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

suave and debonair

Sometimes (ie, always) when I go to bed I just drop my jeans at the side of the bed.
If they're not dirty, later I put them away to wear again.

Usually later means the next morning; sometimes it means the next week. This fact is irrelevant to this already extremely pointless story.

Anyway, today I wore one such already-worn pair of jeans. At the end of the day I went to the bathroom; when I pulled up my jeans my boxers felt like they were bunched up somehow. I shook them out and tried again -- same feeling. Finally I reached back and pulled out an extra set of pre-worn underwear that had been somehow riding around in the back of my jeans for the entire day.

That pair of jeans is pretty loose, but I still can't imagine why I didn't feel an extra pair of boxers wadded up back there. I can only wonder how they looked. My guess is not awesome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

nothing much to say

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr day yesterday. Not sure who MLK, Jr was, actually -- wasn't he a famous doctor or something?

Home sick from work today. Maybe punishment for the joke above. Probably a good thing since I have months' of stuff (taxes, invoices, tickets to book, etc.) to do. Naturally, I'll start off by writing a blog post (and a pointless one at that), since that's the kind of efficient time-manager I am.

Last week was 2 days in Sacramento, 3 days in Dallas, weekend in Austin. Flights were delayed Sunday in Denver (we sat on the tarmac for an hr and a half, breathing jet exhaust from the planes in front of us waiting to get de-iced). Finally got home about 2am...

Won our hockey game last night against a team in the next division above ours. They had skill and experience, and we had a lot of effort. We had a "scoring line" (skilled players) and a "checking line" (more about establishing physical presence than, say, scoring goals). Since this is an upper division team, I'm firmly in the "checking line" category. Anyway, we managed to put points up anyway -- I got an assist on a really nice tic-tac-toe goal* toward the end of the game that sealed it for us.

This is a guy unclear on how to act with the police getting tased by a cop unclear on the concept of what constitutes legitimate use of force...

Here's a guy who got tased for not taking off his baseball cap. I think he has a point.

And this is a bathroom in an all-woman office. It has Cucumber-Melon Body Splash (with moisturizing Aloe Vera), as well as many other mysterious things not part of my personal care regimen...

This is what men need in a bathroom (deluxe model):

I hope everyone is well. May your week be taser-free.

*For Si et al: a tic-tac-toe goal means several quick one-time passes back and forth before scoring.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

let them eat doctor's notes...

I overheard 10 seconds of a phone conversation today...

Administrator: ...they need a doctor's note. The bottom line is, the only reason you should be absent is if you're too ill to be here. If you're too ill to be here, you should be at the doctor. They're going to say, "Well, that costs me money" et cetera, but..

Other person: [inaudible]

Administrator: Well, I 'm just telling you what you're likely to run into... Okay. Okay, bye.

I'd like to be sanguine about most things, but this fries my eggs. The idea that "If you're too ill to be here, you should be at the doctor" is ubiquitious, and it's complete and utter bull****.

99% of the time, this policy only applies to hourly people who
a) don't get paid when they don't work, and
b) are least likely to have health insurance.
So they not only lose a day's wages, they have to drag themselves to a doctor, pay *another* day's wages for the doc to give them the magic piece of paper that says "Yes, you're vomiting/have cramps/have a cold/have a migraine/what-the-hell-ever."

I say again, it's bull****. To pretend that a grown person needs a doctor to tell them when they're too ill to work is patronizing and mendacious. The policy is completely for the employer's benefit -- so employee's don't abuse the sick leave policy. (Because they will, but why? Because the crap wages they earn aren't enough to make them feel invested in the organization. And because they're human -- I've seen plenty of $100K/yr employees take a "health & sanity day". In fact, I bet they do it *more*, since they don't lose money when they do it.)

The thing is, I like this administrator. He seems like a nice guy. But does *he* have to bring a doctor's note when he's sick? I'm willing to bet he doesn't. I bet he gets 10 days of sick leave per year to use as he likes. If he did go to the doctor, would it cost him a day's pay? Damn right it wouldn't -- he has health insurance coverage. Does he consider himself intelligent enough to know when he's got flu, headache, etc? I think so.

As I think I already mentioned, that policy is bull****.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Sam: I need a job!

Bryan: Yes, you do. How's the search going?

Sam: The outlet stores only hire 18 and over.

Bryan: All of them?

Sam: I checked around, and they all said 18.

Bryan (ignores the fact that there are 40 stores, and she probably checked two): Well, restaurants regularly hire under 18.

Sam: No, they don't.

Bryan: Yes, they do. Also grocery stores. Have you applied at both QFC and Safeway?

Sam: Yes, they never called me back.

Bryan: Well, we'll need to follow up then.

Sam (scornfully): That's not how it works. If they don't call you, you don't get the job. People don't hire you just because you call them back!

So, do *your* teenagers argue with you about things of which they know absolutely nothing?

Why is it that my daughter would give more weight to something she read on a gum wrapper than to something I tell her?

Why do our kids look at the person who has cared for them their entire lives, knows them intimately, loves them more than anyone else on the planet, and would die to save their life, and assume that this person is trying to thwart their progress and mislead them with false information?

Monday, January 14, 2008

fight fiercely, harvard...

When I was in about seven or eight years old, I saw a fight after school between older kids.

I concluded that fighting was
a) cool, and
b) something big kids did.

The next day after school I was walking home with my friend Hazim. Hazim was tall and skinny and had several siblings and wore black leather hand-me-down shoes, about size 11. It was a neighborhood of immigrants; we all wore second-hand clothes, and like many of my friends Hazim's parents spoke with an accent and their house smelled of strange spices.

Hazim was my friend, but I had seen a fight, and I wanted to be a cool big kid, too. I pushed him over on the grass and yelled "you asked for this!"

I attempted to jump on top of him to pummel him, but he put his gigantic shoes into my stomach and held me up in the air, flailing wildly at the end of his long legs. I couldn't reach him, but he could reach me, and he did -- I ended up with numerous long scratches on my face and neck.

The fight was over quickly, and Hazim didn't seem too perturbed that his friend had suddenly become insane.

The next day the teacher asked me about the scratch marks -- now swollen and red -- and I sheepishly said that Hazim and I had had a fight. I neglected to explain how little provocation (that is, zero) he'd been guilty of.

The teacher called us out into the hall and made Hazim apologize for scratching me; I magnanimously accepted his apology.

Hazim would be in his early 40's now. I'm sure he's long forgotten both me and the fight, but I'd still like to say, Sorry bro -- my bad.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

some quotes, and a poem

"Old age equalizes--we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world."
-Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition

Kindness is not without its rocks ahead. People are apt to put it down to an easy temper and seldom recognize it as the secret striving of a generous nature; whilst, on the other hand, the ill-natured get credit for all the evil they refrain from.
-Honore De Balzac

A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.

-Alexander Pope

We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.
-Carlos Castenada


The stars are
Although I do not sing
About them--
The sky and the trees
Are indifferent
To whom they please
The rose is unmoved
By my nose
And the garland in your hair
Although your eyes be lakes, dies

Why sigh for a star
Better bay at the moon
Better bay at the moon
Oh moon, moon, moon

Samuel Menashe, "The Stars Are"

Unsolicited criticism of the foregoing poem: AFAIC, the poem was going great, and then ground to a halt with a great crashing of gears. Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

mutant message from down under

I was late to work today because a dog jumped in my truck.

One of my speakers wasn't putting out, so I stopped at the side of the road to fiddle with the amp under the driver's seat. A huge, pure-white german shepherd appeared out of nowhere and jumped into the open door. He sat there wagging his tail, and seemed to be smiling and saying "Well, I'm ready, let's go..."

I pulled him out and he tried three more times to get in. There were no houses around, and it was near a busy road, and I started worrying he was lost, so I opened the tailgate for him and he jumped in.

Long story short, the nearby sheriff's office wouldn't take him, but the local vet scanned his chip and got a number and agreed to hold him for Animal Control, so I'm pretty sure he'll get home okay.

In traditional stories, when a white animal appears in your life it's usually to bring a message from a dead relative, or the Great Spirit, or something. I'm trying to figure out what the message is, but all I can come up with is "have professionals work on your car stereo." Any other ideas welcome...

Friday, January 04, 2008

client whining

I can’t seem to get what I need from a particular client. I can’t explain the details without boring you, so I’ll write a parable-slash-metaphor thing that might explain it, and bore you that way.

Let’s say the client has agreed to provide Bryan with directions to the theater. They hand Bryan a list of streets. As Bryan reads over the list, the client begins to say things like:
  • We just put the first letter of each street name – do want them actually spelled out?
  • Do you need to know every single street, or just the main ones?
  • Does it matter what order we listed the streets in?
  • Did you need to know which way to turn on each street?
  • Should we specify how far to go on each segment?
  • Are you going all the way to the theatre, or just part of the way?
  • How about this street? Do you need to know the name of this street? Do you need it spelled out as well?
  • Which streets did you need again? The ones between here and the theater?

I kid you not, that’s exactly what it’s been like. And they don’t just ask once, they ask the same questions again the next day, when I ask for directions to the supermarket.

I want to shout: Yes, I need ALL the information you have. No, I didn’t stop needing it overnight. What is wrong with you people?

I shouldn’t whine. They’re all really nice people and I like them. But although we've been over it at least four times, I’ve clearly done a terrible job communicating what I need and why…

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

a day of thwarting

i had grand plans for monday. had a list of things to accomplish, and was planning to get them all done before noon.

this is what actually happened...

1) wanted to put a work project to bed: had to wait for client, who didn't call me back

2) went to pay a bill: line was 12 people long and not moving; i gave up and decided to mail a check.

3) stopped to get a sandwich at wendy's: line was too long again, gave up

4) went to Best Buy to pick up my laptop that they had worked on: including wait time, a 4-minute transaction took 30 minutes. one of the employees was extremely pleasant to look at, but even so i didn't feel she was worth spending 30 minutes on.

5) went to get an estimate on replacing car windshield: the body shop's "glass guy" wasn't answering his phone, so no estimate.

6) called about a price on a car detail: guy said no one was working till after new year's

7) went to other place for help with the car radio: guy wasn't there

8) called client about scheduling: everyone already gone for holidays

by this time it was 4pm and i had accomplished only one thing.

i took this as a sign i should give up and go drink, but instead i decided to just be happy about all my blessings and for making it 99% of the way through 2007 with a minimum of unpleasantness and death.

happy new year to all, and to all a good 2008...