Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Snow Bears Attack!

So it's all snowy and I'm driving into work and I'm listening to the classic rock station because the awesome station I normally listen to is in the throes of "New Wave Wednesday" which is fine, but the DJ of THAT show has a propensity for over-sharing which makes me lightly homicidal* and that isn't the sort of thing you want, karmically-speaking, in the car on a slushy Wednesday morning. So I listened to the stupid classic rock station instead and hoped they would play Led Zepplin and not Mott the Hoople or the Doobie Brothers or whatever. (I totally just spelled "slushie" and had to go back and correct it because I have the delicious frozen beverage on my mind nearly constantly lately.<--- Too much adverb. (*choke*))<---Too many parantheses! (*double choke*)

The DJs at the classic rock station in question are barking about the snow and the weather and generally being grumpy old people, which is what the market-segment for classic rock now demands I guess, and it occurs to me that if you live in goddamn New York state in November, it ought to be apparent to you that it's going to snow. It isn't like it's something new. Apple didn't just announce the release of it with some huge ad campaign that feels like it should be insulting to me in it's ham-fisted cleverness, but really I find incredibly appealing because the songs they use are just SO DAMNED CATCHY. shouldn't be a surprise or even a topic of conversation is my point. Unless you don't really know the person you are talking to and need to talk about the weather to fill the time. But then again, why are you even talking to people you don't know. Haven't you heard of "Stranger Danger"?

I just learned a hard lesson in that very thing today:

And then when I stopped laughing I wondered what kind of bear that was on the poster and tried to remember the proper etiquette for what to do when what I assume to be a Grizzly attacks you, because I randomly worry about the abundance of advice I've been given about that. It seems certain to me that if ever threatened by anything other than a panda, I am going to do the exact wrong thing and find myself disemboweled. Do I run? Do I climb a tree? Do I hit it on the nose? (or is that a shark?)

Basically, if a bear attacks me my defense is going to be:

a) Cry.
b) Try to give it a stomach ache as I'm being digested.

The End.

* "lightly homicidal" is when you concentrate REALLY hard on killing someone with your mind, even though you have never shown a inclination towards having such a power, on the off-chance that you have suddenly gained it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

To the Parents of...

Alright...look,I think I'm a pretty reasonable guy. I try not to let things get to me. I come at life safely even-keeled in an attempt to mask the rampant hysteria that threatens to sweep me out in to the deep waters of insanity at any given moment better follow the path I am meant to take.

However, my life lately has been rife with overly-cute children that are trying to explode my head and I need someone with a little effing culpability to stand up. Seriously parents... pay attention here. Watching your doe-eyed 3 year old mispronounce "hippopotamus" in French is like you purposefully crossing the streams and trying to blast me and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man back to the realm of Zuel. It's ridiculous. It's like watching mythical ponies and bunnies frolic under a sun who is wearing sunglasses and has big smile and is waving jovially at all the woodland creatures. It's like a fairy offering to take me on a unicorn ride over the rainbow to the land of gumdrops.

Seriously. Knock it off.

Your adorable child is emasculating me using a subtle form of physical context. Just by being in proximity to such a massive upsurge of cute makes even a roguishly handsome outlaw, like me, look like a demure Dorothy Hamill after a particularly successful quadruple axle. I mean it's hard enough trying to radiate a perpetual glow of Sinatra-esque cool as it is. I need to be caught saying "Awwwww!!!" while watching a kid do something infinitely precocious like I need a fucking bag over my head.

I should be punching a friend on the shoulder, or making a sexist remark and elbowing someone, or something.

For example, Saturday night I'm out on the town (that's what you call binge drinking after you turn thirty...just for the record), and we're at dinner. I'm up to my usual hijinks...telling lude stories and making obscene hand motions at complete strangers, when some friends show up with their infant daughter. The little girl in question finds a cell phone on the table and starts pretending to talk into it. Every few minutes she cocks her head slightly to one side, cradles the phone between her cheek and shoulder, and laughs heartily at whatever the pretend person on the other end is saying as if to say "Oh YOU!!"

That's all I saw because then my head exploded.

Cuteness of that magnitude should be harnessed. It's like lightning. If Marty McFly drove past that at 88 MPH you'd see some serious shit.

There has to be a way to use this power for good. Maybe instead of developing weapons with higher kill ratios for use in unjust foreign wars, we could work on some sort of ray that would broadcast kids doing riculously cute things right into the cerebral cortex of an enemy. Then they'd be all "Aww!!!" and they would lay down their guns and everything would be peaceful.

And then their heads would explode.

This is what I'm talking about. Nice knowing you.

(*puts on biohazard suit for inevitable cranial explosion*)

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thinking of Grandpa

He is as old as time itself. His face runs with wrinkles like tree bark. His hands, while liver spotted, are still strong and cabled with ropey muscle. He crosses the silk beneath my chin.

"You see, Red. It goes over then around each side then around the front". His voice is cracked and watery with age and exudes delicate kindness. He is looking me right in the eyes. His are like soft hammered steel. I shiver.

His conductor's watch, which will become mine in a few short years on a rain-soaked cemetery lawn, now teases me with its chain, as it runs from belt loop to the deep corduroy well of his front pocket.

The tie tightens with a gentle tug at my neck.

"A real gentleman always wears a tie, Red. Don't ever forget that." He is almost whispering. The only other noise in the room is the antique ticking of the clocks. I can hear the pocket watch's heartbeat.

"You take care of your brother. You mind your Mom and Dad. Family is all that you'll ever really have".

He crosses the worn oriental to the dark oak bookcase stuffed with a million books on trains. There's one here that he goes to every visit. It never needs dusting. He slides it delicately out from its locomotive brethren, and crosses slowly to the rocker.

I am on his lap almost before he sits.

We look at the pictures and names of our family going back 500 years.

The thick oak door to the parlor opens, and my mother...still thin, young and vibrant comes into the room in her bright red dress and heels. Garish next to the muted auburns and paisleys of the parlor.

"Well there you two are...come on we'll be late" she says and then is a rouge ghost fluttering back out the door. Another red memory.

He lifts me off his lap with his strong hands and turns me to face him again.He makes an adjustment to my tie, and then reviews his work.

"I love you, Red. You ever love have to tell them and tell them a lot, so that they remember it when it's cold."

"I love you."I say it because I feel obligated. The words feel strange and alien in my mouth.

He kisses my forehead and tousles my hair.

"Come on, Red. The ladies are getting anxious. A gentleman never makes a lady wait."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Open Letter to My Helper

Dear Thoughtful Coworker,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for holding the door for me. I'm sure any thoughts I might have about you being a passive-aggressive asshat lie rooted firmly in my own psychological shortcomings and are in no way a reflection on your actual intentions. I bet those were pure as the driven snow.

I really did need that 100 meter jog across the vast atrium. I appreciate you recognizing my particularly high carb intake this morning and my latent (and probably destined to stay that way) desire for a little exercise. Especially carrying my laptop case and a box of paper. That made it extra challenging! I really can't thank you enough.

I know I was spouting "thank yous" at you like a Right Whale with a nasty chest cold, but that sneer and bob of the head was really a nice touch. You have more than effectively relayed to me how indebted I should feel, knowing full well that the 15 seconds you spent holding the door for me was a major, epic waste of your time. How on earth is all your internet gambling going to get done if you have to spend your days lazing about holding doors for people? Believe me...I know.

In conclusion, I just wanted to reiterate my thanks. Your breathy sigh down my neck as I passed really got across the audacity you were feeling and I'm sure when your Citizen of the Year award comes up, the committee will hardly fault you with a little understandable annoyance at those of us who seem bent on making you support the weight of a three pound door for a quarter minute. I also appreciate your understanding that opening a door involves the complicated process of pushing a button AND THEN pulling. This would have been way beyond my abilities.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Treatise on Giant Robotic Insect Overlords

"Imagine a world unlike any you've ever seen! A world ruled by...giant robotic insects!!!"

The Boy and I both look up from our breakfast of Death Star Pie at the same time. He's sitting on the floor about 3 nanometers from the TV screen, while I sit hunkered over the coffee table on the couch trying desperately not to get pie filling on a) the couch, b) my clothes, or c) the rug. I stop with the fork halfway between my mouth and the plate. Did that commercial just say "giant robotic insects"?

Like I need a reason to think about giant robotic insects. My whole life has been a slow yet steady build to the point where either robots try to take over the world or zombies come to devour my flesh. It's just a matter of when. For whatever reason the television and film industrial complex throughout the late 70s, 80s, and 90s felt it necessary to constantly inundate me with images of people being enslaved by all manner of master races. From the Transformers to the Evil Dead to the Matrix... it's all been about how we humans need to be ever vigilant against the coming onslaught of something.

Aliens got a pretty bad rap too now that I think about it.

"See the giant mosquito as it sucks the blood of the living!"

On the screen there's a mildly erotic image of a mosquito proboscis penetrating a giant swatch of artificial flesh while a crowd of pie-eyed kindergartners look on in disgust. I realize my mouth is hanging open like I've just been pithed. The Boy is putting his hand up to the screen like Carol Ann in Poltergeist. Oh yeah...bring on the giant robotic insects.

"See two giant rhinoceres beetles in a fight to the death!!"

The Boy turns around "Dad! Can We?! Plleeeeese?!?!"
"Heck yeah!"
"If there were giant robotic insects trying to take over the world we would fight them, right?"
"Heck Yeah! What would we use to defeat them?"
"A freeze ray!"

He's all about the freeze rays lately. I don't know why this is. I mean they do offer the convenience of immobilizing a would-be attacker in a rather humiliating fashion...but eventually you have to deal with the mess of cleaning up a giant block of ice as it melts. I think it's the idea of getting to smash your enemies into a million frozen pieces that excites him. Anything that involves smashing usually does.

"A freeze ray would work excellently! We could totally take on an army of Giant Robot Insects if we had a freeze-ray!"

We go back to watching the commercial. A giant mechanical moth mouth is chewing something that looks, to me, like intestines. The voiceover swears it's a leaf. But I know better. My years of entertainment-based training have got my awareness set to DEFCON 1 when it comes to robots after all. Plus ninjas...I'm always on the lookout for those wily bastards.

The Girl comes downstairs. She sees us transfixed in our various stages of pie demolition, frozen by the images of the giant mecha-bugs.

"What are you guys doing?"
"Giant bug robots!!" The boy stammers. He waggles a finger at the screen, as if this explains everything.

I drop a huge dollop of cherry pie filling onto my pants as I turn to explain.

Curse you Giant Robot Insects! You've won THIS round!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Facial Hair, Caterpillars, Hunchbacks and Snipers.

I'm looking in the mirror trying to remember what it was exactly that article in Cosmo said about men and their facial hair. Was it that goatees are a sign of weakness perhaps? That men with moustaches are trying to hide something? I never understood if that was implying that the things they were hiding were actually IN the moustache or if they were just sinister. 

I personally hope for and believe "sinister". 

The idea of men walking around with all manner of things hidden on their faces makes me wincey.  I don't have anything hidden on my face. So maybe I'm just jealous. I suppose my eyebrows might be able to conceal something briefly. Like a cyanide capsule or something. But you'd have to paint it with eyebrow camoflage. I mean...upon close inspection someone is bound to see it. And what good is a cyanide pill painted to look like an eyebrow if it isn't know...IN the eyebrow itself.

This leads me to wonder about what eyebrow camoflage might look like.

I suspect if you saw anything just lying about beyond the confines of the actual eyebrow, painted to look like an eyebrow,  you would throw a cup over the top of it and slip a sheet of paper beneath it and take it outside and set it free.  Prisoners should do that. I bet the guards would fall for that at least once. 

Stupid guards. 

They'd be all "Holy shit! Look at that giant caterpillar!" and the prisoner would be all "(*snicker*)" and then the guards would wonder why the giant caterpillar just snickered and why was it in the cell block D and where was the prisoner to begin with and how the hell are they supposed to find a cup big enough to put over the top of the massive snickering bug, anyways? And maybe they would try to step on it. 

This may not be as good a plan as I had originally surmised.

I'm still looking in the mirror and thinking about facial hair when I hear the knock at the door. I's not a big bathroom... it's not like it would be hard to hear it or anything, and I don't live near an airport or inside a church bell tower, although that WOULD be totally cool because of the whole hunchback thing and the rafters would be awesome in the early morning sunlight and you'd be up all high and could see the whole of Paris while you peed and no one would be popping in on you unexpectedly because GODDAMN! it's a pain in the ass to get to your bathroom up there in the bell tower, unless you have a bunch of friends who are snipers and generally keep an eye out for that sort of thing.  I don't mean to imply only snipers and hunchbacks enjoy peeing in the belltower. Far from it. Bats and pigeons do it all the time...

"DADDD!!! I'm going to pee my payyy-annnttts! What are you doing in there?"

I bet Einstein never had these problems.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Great Pickle Bribe of Ought Eight

My life has been an absolute mess since she left. You get used to the little nuances of a relationship, the tender ballet one weaves with those we have come to love and trust, and then when it's gone...POW! A big hole. She knew me and I trusted her. She always gave me a smile and that one extra pickle to show that she cared.

I miss you, Sandwich Girl.

Yesterday was the last straw. I'm waiting in line, watching the newly appointed miscreant behind the sneeze-guard roll up some other unlucky shlub's Vegetable Medley wrap, and wondering why on earth I keep coming back.

She's gone, Man!
Moved on to greener food service pastures!

I feel the tears starting to well up as I see him forget the frilly toothpicks and watch in horror as the Veggie Wrap vomits grilled peppers everywhere like a drunken Las Vegas showgirl on a Chili-tini bender. 

Why, Sandwich Girl?!? Why?

Now it's my turn. He has to ask me what I want on my garlic wrap. Sigh. SHE never asked. SHE remembered. I go through the list. Light Mayo, Brown mustard, shredded lettuce, Pepper Jack, and Roast Beef. He looks at me dully, like I'm his eighth grade English teacher who just got done reprimanding him for using "ain't". He starts to compile the ingredients and luckily I've been watching him with the focus of a laser beam as he tries to slip tomatoes into the mix. I laugh like it's no big deal. 

Ha.Ha.Ha. Fucker.

She would have known better.
She never tried to use tomatoes.

He slathers the edge of the wrap with enough condiments to lubricate the hull of several Pennsylvania Class battleships. (Why would the Navy choose to grease their battleships with mayo? I don't know. Who am I? Sun Tzu?)  And then he begins the rolling process. It's a nightmare. I have to avert my eyes for fear I will turn to stone at the sight of such horrid sandwich-craft. It's like a train wreck where the train is filled with clowns, and pythons, and fireworks. I can't look away. Thick rivers of mustard and mayonnaise squeeze out of the sides like a toothpaste tube opened by a wolverine and applied by an elephant. It's everywhere. Under the wrap. In his hair. Spattered like a bloodstain on the wall. I half-expect to see a CSI team waiting in the wings with one of those blue lamps they say is for bodily fluids, but we all know they mean semen. 

It's awful.

He has the audacity to ask if I want pickles.

"NO! I want a sandwich that doesn't look like the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse!" I want to scream at him.

Oh darling Sandwich Girl!
Why hath thou forsaken me!!

"Yes, Please. Dill." I say instead.

He looks at the mess he's handing me, and in a gesture of apology throws FOUR pickles on my plate. That's crazy generous. We make eye contact and then I let my gaze drift down to the sandwich and his four sad offerings of dill. Then back to him. He looks away...ashamed.


Make that Mouth Music!

He's wearing his pants up too high and that is never a good sign. He lopes towards me like a scoundrel, as I sit at the computer trying desperately to make the right screens come up that will somehow indicate that I am "busy" and "not to be disturbed". The farting beeper commercial* I was watching comes up instead.

"Hi, Doug."

The awkward silences begin simply. They sort of stretch out a little like a cat in a harsh beam of morning sunlight. I know they are going to get worse. This first one is just the uncomfortableness cracking its knuckles before it really starts going to work on me.

"So I heard you're divorced."
"Yes. Yes, I am."

(*a pause slightly shorter than a baseball game*)

"That's too bad. Did you see the moon last night?"

This is how it goes with Doug. It's like he studies the best way to make you feel like a stranger is groping you on a city bus...only with words.

"No, Doug."
(*silence crashes in. It looks around and decides to stay a while*)

I try leaning in towards my monitor. Maybe if I look truly enthralled with the flatulent beeper ad... like they even HAVE beepers anymore... he'll get the message. He doesn't. He continues looking at me and smiling. He has this uncanny ability to make me feel like I should be saying something. Except I know that when I do, he'll ignore it completely any way. I give it a shot.

"Um...So how's..."
"The oilless Fuser algorithm is closer to being done. We found that by placing a higher coefficient on the incoming line voltage we could better control the output surface temperature."

I just sit there blinking at him for a moment. This conversation is like opening a jar of pickles and finding a book of riddles you lost on a vacation in Ohio when you were 12. I haven't worked on that project in four years. It's like "cat-spanish" to me at this point, which is what The Boy calls meowing. I half-expect Doug to start rubbing against my leg and purring.** I recover quickly.


He stares at me like it's prom night and I just bent over too far and gave him a long look down my dress but he already knows that there is NO WAY am I going to let him get to second base tonight because I am just not that kind of girl... at least not with him. He didn't even rent a limo.

I have this moment where I envision turning to him and saying "Look man, (or 'Dude' if I'm feeling surly.) I really need to get to work and talking to you is like trying to do the Cha-Cha with a three-legged camel. Please go back to your lab now." In my mind, I use a calm and kind voice ... maybe put a hand on his shoulder. He looks back at me and just nods, whilst pursing his lips. He knows. He understands that his ability to communicate with other humans is flawed and that while we can tolerate it MOST times, early morning isn't the BEST time. Maybe he even thanks me.

The beeper ad farts musically at me, and then I am back in reality. Doug is still staring at my ear. After a pause during which entire universes could be birthed, he picks up the conversation with a new jaunty tone to his voice.

"So, you're getting laid off next month."
"Yes, Doug."

* It's an oldy but a goody. I like the "Alright Janice!" bit. Plus it was totally forwarded to me by my undesirable friends, and by "undesirable" I mean "Awesome."

** This would be unpleasant as Doug is very bony and angular. Plus, he's a grown man prone to wearing plaid shirts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tech update: The Banana Peeler

The Dazzling Banana is an amazing key chain device that will allow the casual user to simulate the highly erotic interesting sensation of peeling a banana (With Action Sounds in Japanese!) anytime they choose. Why, you might ask?

Mind your own business...That's why.

I had something like this once. It grew on a tree with a bunch of similarly shaped things, and when I left the peel on the ground a hobo slipped on it and it was HILARIOUS!

I don't know... I think this would just provoke more monkey attacks on innocents. Lord knows we don't need that.

Idiots and Smart People and a Splash of Penis.

So my daughter is watching America's Next Top Model with the focus normally associated with neurological surgery. I hate this. We go back and forth on the subject all the time, with her insisting that the women on there are NOT "brainless prats who deserve to marry exactly the kind of abusive men they will be drawn to", while I make the argument "I can feel myself getting more stupid just listening to this!!" and then I hold my head in my hands and moan and she shoots me a dirty look and I just don't even care.

Except I do.

I joke with her about how it's teaching her all the wrong things and to place emphasis on the shallow at the expense of the deep is to her detriment, but she's all "Yeah, Dad. I know. But check out her dress. Oh Em Gee." (She says the abbreviation out loud like this because she's trying to make my head explode) And then I threaten to never allow her to watch television until she is smart enough to not pick shows like THIS. And then she makes a face at me or hits me, and then we start horsing around and Tyra Banks says something super-dumb and we BOTH laugh at her and then the whole thing is forgotten.

Except it isn't.

Because next Wednesday she's going to try and watch it again. And I will try to subvert my brilliant daughter from this drivel again. And the whole cycle will repeat.

Plus Miss J. is super-annoying and takes his pants off a lot more than I care to think about. I'm not homophobic, but still don't want to see any penis on my Wednesday night TV. So just shut up.