Posts from September 2002.

T.G.I.P.J.F.!

I like my job okay, but the lack of team spirit around the office is a total drag! We have a Community Group that’s always organizing fun events for everyone, like Bowling Nites and Margarita Mondays and Yard Work Wednesdays, but no one ever goes because I guess they are too cool or something. And the worst part is that the people who don’t go are the SAME PEOPLE who always complain about low morale(!!). IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY THERE’S LOW MORALE LOOK IN THE MIRROR PEOPLE!!

For example, today was Pajama Day. And did ANYONE else wear their PJs to work?? Noooooooo! And it’s not like people didn’t have enough notice: the memo announcing Pajama Day went out WEEKS ago! At first I kinda wished that I had brought a change of clothes, but the more I think about it, the prouder I am that I’m the only one who wore pajamas. (Although I don’t actually own any pajamas, so I just came in the boxer shorts and “Chicks Dig Unix” t-shirt I slept in last night.)

Even though it’s just me, I think Pajama Day has really raised morale around here, because I’ve been hearing a lot more laughter in the halls today. And I think that more people will participate the next time we have something like this, because they see that I’M not afraid to play along in the interest in a funner workplace. Hey, SOMEONE’S gotta be a morale-boosting-leader around here, and it might as well be ME!!

Update: At my supervisor’s urging I reread that memo, and it turns out that today is actually “Performance Review Day”. Isn’t that awesome?! I’m going before the evaluation panel in 20 minutes, and I think they are going to be BLOWN AWAY by my team spirit! Wish me luck!!!

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The Follicles Follies

Today I saw a kid who had made what can only be regarded as a Poor Hairstyle Decision. (I am qualified to judge, as, alas, I am something of an authority on the subject of Poor Hairstyle Decisions. You could legitimately refer to me as “Matthew Baldwin, P.H.D.”) The youth possessed exceptionally curly hair, and had some sort of reverse-mohawk thing going. It looked as if he had let the thing grow into a ‘fro of considerable circumference and then shaved it short down the middle, leaving two spheres o’ hair attached to either side of his head. I dunno what the intended effect was supposed to be, but my first impulse was to infiltrate the Death Star and rescue him.

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Fear the Brown

Remember those halcyon days of childhood, when you would while away your sixth-grade recess quietly reading on the corner of the playground, and then three 12 year-olds so overdeveloped that they were eligible to vote would materialize and say “Hey Matt bald one. What’s it like to be bald, Matt bald one?” and grab your copy of Encyclopedia Brown Cracks The Case and start tossing it from person to person while you leapt to your feet and ineffectually flailed your yarn-like arms around for a bit before breaking down into tears and running away? Boy, I’m sure remembering those days, as several agencies have conspired to play this childhood classic on me right now.

I will come as no surprise that Malfeasant #1 in this modern-day game of Keep Away is UPS. I mean, come on: just look at those guys. Yes yes, I too have seen the commercials where the huge, strapping UPS men go from house to house, playing with children and giving insulin shots to hypoglycemic puppies. But let’s face facts: six years ago most of these “Men in Brown” spent their days delivering shipment after shipment of wedgies to playgrounds around the nation. So when I tracked my package on the UPS website and found it listed as “delivered,” I should have realized that “delivered” was a Secret Bully Code Word meaning “Oh man, are we ever gonna make you unhappy, Matt bald one”.

That evening I searched in all the places where UPS typically leaves packages — on the front doorstep, on the back doorstep, at the neighbors, in the culvert — with a dawning awareness of my chumphood. Needless to say, it was nowhere to be found. The following morning I called the UPS office, and the guy on the other end of the line explained that they shipped my package to my old address, an apartment that I haven’t lived in for four months. “Was it addressed to that address?” I asked. No, Guy On the Phone replied, it was addressed to my current address. Most people, having stated “we were clearly told to do X but we then did Y” would then go on to
explain why this happened. But Guy On The Phone, apparently worried that he had already revealed too many details of the Secret Society of Incorporated Bullies, left it at that. When pressed on the point — “Why, when the package was addressed to my new address, would you send it to my old?” — Guy On The Phone said, and I’m quoting verbatim here, “Mummr mrrm computer wrhhmw mmumblrh printer, invoice hrrm.” He then went on to helpfully point out that since somebody at my old building had signed for the package, there was nothing they could do. “Could you at least tell me who signed for it?” I asked. Sure, he replied: it was received by “Other”. When I asked him to please burst into flames he was, alas, less accommodating.

And so the game was afoot. I drove to my old building, a 45 minute commute from my current residence, and asked my ex-neighbors if anyone had accepted a delivery. I finally got the lady in #103 to admit that she had signed for it. So you have it? No, she said, I gave it to the guy in your old apartment, #102. Okay, that doesn’t make a whit of sense, but at least I know that the guy in #102 has it now! No, she said, he was planning to give it to the landlady. Okay, that doesn’t make a whit of sense either, but at least I’m terribly frustrated now!

I knocked on #102 but there was no answer. I then decided to leave him a note. Did the lady in #103 know his name? No, of course she did not. Why on Earth would she know the name of the man she handed my $200 package to?

I called the landlady. “Please landlady,” I said, “do you have my package?” She knew not of what I spoke. “A package?” I explained, “From UPS? It’s probably cubic or rectilinear in shape? And cardboardy in color?” Oh that package. She shipped that package back to UPS. Yes. Yes, of course she did.

I called UPS again. “You know that package you just told me you don’t have?” I asked. “You wouldn’t happen to have it, would you?” Why, of course they have it, it’s right there. “Great! Where are you, I’d like to come pick it up.” Oh. Well, it turns out that when UPS says they have your package “right here” they mean it is “not here”. Specifically, they mean it is “way the hell out at a UPS ‘convenience center’ located in small town exclusively populated by UPS employees and errant packages, 40 minutes from the nearest freeway and only open during Lent.”

This is where I gave up and resorted to Plan B: breaking out into tears and running away.

Not that I care! I didn’t want that stupid package anyway! You bullies can keep it, you big dumbheaded dumbheads! That said, I would like to finish that Encyclopedia Brown book at some point. So, Danny Hamilton, if you’re reading this, could you maybe send that back to me someday? Please use the Post Office, thanks.

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Putting the ‘Arrrh!’ into ‘Repartee’

Here’s a joke I just made up:

What does Hillary Clinton say on Talk Like A Pirate Day?

“Avast, right-wing conspiracy!”

“Talk Like a Pirate Day” is tomorrow.

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Okay, You Talked Me Into It

Overheard.

Guy 1: What’s up with you and Lannie?

Guy 2: Ah, we ain’t together no more. She was too wild. The last thing I want is a wild woman.

Guy 1: Really? That’s the first thing I want!

[Both laugh unroarously.]

Guy 2: Me too, brother. Me too.

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Lovely and The Punk

I’ve just boarded my bus, which is rapidly filling up. The Punk across the aisle, however, is stubbornly refusing to move his bag from the seat next to him. He is staring sullenly out the window, so at first I assume he’s just self-absorbed and has forgotten that his backpack is preventing others from sitting. But then I notice that, by some sixth sense, The Punk knows when someone is about to ask him to move his stuff; at these moments he abruptly turns to the interlopers and scowls, until they opt not to speak and continue down the aisle.

Suddenly, a lovely young lady boards, one of those girls that are so obviously unaware of their own allure that they are doubly attractive in the eyes of others. Everyone watches as she saunters down the aisle like a bride in an impromptu wedding, except for The Punk who is busy glaring at pigeons and wondering what he should get tattooed onto his tongue.

Lovely sees the spot next to The Punk, does a charming little skip, grabs one of the support poles and starts to swing herself into the seat. But then she sees the bag, somehow arrests her motion, chirps a “whoops!” and resumes walking towards the back of the bus. The Punk, meanwhile, who has turned towards her with his Angry Youth face in place, manages to look surprised and then delighted and then crestfallen all in the space of a second. He scoops his bag into his lap, but it’s too late. A moment later an middle-aged man occupies the vacant seat, but The Punk offers no protest, as he’s now craning his neck, scanning the back of the coach and trying to locate his lost opportunity. It’s a Sophoclean tragedy in one act.

That was last week. This morning The Punk was again on my bus. He was sitting with his bag on his lap, leaving the adjacent seat free, a testament to the civilizing influence of women.

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Free Willy 4: Seriously, Willy, Get The Hell Out Of Here

MEAN AQUARIUM SCIENTIST: What are you doing? Get away from that big red button! That opens the underwater gates to the killer whale holding tank!

JESSE: You can’t hold Willy, Mean Aquarium Scientist! Willy needs to be free!

[JESSE presses button. CUT TO: underwater shot of gates opening. WILLY passes through gates to ocean.]

Jesse: Go Willy!

[WILLY leaps into air while JESSE pumps his fist. WILLY continues out to sea. WILLY stops and reconsiders. WILLY returns to holding tank.

JESSE: Go Willy! Go!

[WILLY leaves holding tank, circles around twice, returns.]

JESSE: C’mon Willy! Go! You stupid whale. Go!

[WILLY looks at JESSE, doesn’t move.]

MEAN AQUARIUM SCIENTIST: Willy’s not going anywhere, you fool.

JESSE: But animals need to live their lives in the wild, they way nature intended!

MEAN AQUARIUM SCIENTIST: Uh-huh. Yeah, I’m sure your parents spend their days hunting elk and digging for roots the way nature intended. Tell you what, we’ll let Willy decide. Hey Willy, do you want to live your life “the way nature intended” or do you want free fish and unlimited medical care?

[WILLY looks thoughtful. CUT TO: JESSE looks frustrated.]

JESSE: Go Willy!

[WILLY makes bored whale noises.]

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Share the Wealth

Great Grandmother of Cher, there’s a brief article about me at Salon.com and defective yeti has been MetaFiltered. Why? Because of the Internet community’s insatiable yen for more people who blog about their cats? No, ostensibly because this lil’ bit o’ the funny somehow turned into One Of Those Things That People At My Office Are Forever Forwarding To Me With The Subjectline “Monday Funnies LOL!!!!”. The real reason, of course, is simply because I won The Great Weblog Lottery. Like a regular lottery, The Great Weblog Lottery confers upon some undeserving schmoe a veritable windfall for no fathomable reason. (Although unlike a regular lottery, said schmoe cannot then purchase a miniature golf course).

The windfall in The Great Weblog Lottery is publicity, which is to a blogger’s ego what nitroglycerine is to a campfire. But if I learned anything from the Spider-Man movie it’s that with great power comes an inability to hook up with Kirsten Dunst, along with a wheelbarrel full of guilt. So despite the fact that 94% of my new visitors never made it through the first paragraph (see above), I would kindly ask that the remaining 6% please check out some of the equally worthy blogs listed below; blogs that are little-known but just as deserving of an increased readership.

Dog Door of Death
Kafkaesque
Clark Hornbell
Bruce Hartman
Kenneth Hunt
Speedy Snail
Jerry Kindall
Amphiskios
Organic Mechanic
If you know of a relatively unknown but nonetheless enjoyable blog, feel free to mention it in the comments. (In fact, here’s one from the comments that I am hereby adding to the list: Mimi Smartypants.)

P.s. If I win the actual lottery none of you bastard is getting a dime, so don’t even ask.

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Ask the Answer Guy!

Dear Answer Guy,
Why is Friday the 13th considered bad luck? Thanks, Curious in Kansas
Great question, Curious! The belief that Friday the 13th is unlucky dates all the way back to 1923, when a supposedly unsinkable ship called “The Titanic” hit an iceberg while enroute to England and went to the bottom of the sea, killing over 1000 people. The disaster occured on Friday the 13th, and that day has been considered bad luck ever since. — Answer Guy
Update: Marcus Sandison writes:
?? why are u talking about the titanic like noone’s ever herd of it? didnt u see the movie? i guess not because if you had you’d know that it sank in 1912. also it sank on sunday the 14th.
Thanks for writing, Marcus. Yes, some scientists believe in an alternate theory of the Titanic (that it sank in 1912) and I should have mentioned this in my original reply. But my essential point still stands: Friday the 13th is considered unlucky because of the many disasters that have fallen on that day, such as the sinking of the Titanic and the attack on Pearl Harbor. — Answer Guy
Update: Aaron writes:
What the hell, dude? Pearl Harbor got bombed on December 7th, everbody knows that. And it took me, like, 5 seconds on Google to find out December 7th, 1941 was a Sunday. It’s called “research” — you should try it, sometime.
While that may be “true,” Arron, I find it disheartening that readers such as yourself seem determined to find small inconsistancies in my reply, instead of focusing on its overall truth. Friday the 13th is rightly feared because so many bad things have happened on that day. I could name a lot more, but, if I did, you all would probably jump all over me with your “that happened at 12:03 am so it was technically Saturday!” nitpicking. Needless to say, I stand by my original answer. — Answer Guy
Update: Anna Eoin writes:
The Titanic was sailing from England, not to it. Didn’t you see the movie?
Look, people: Answer Guy is a free service, okay? You’re not paying a dime for these answers, so quit your bitching already. Or start your own goddamned column if you’re such a genius. How do you like that answer, Smarty McKnowitall? — Answer Guy
P.s. I’m right about Friday the 13th! If you don’t believe me, try reading a book sometime, moron.
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The Bad Review Revue

swimfan: “It would be great to see this turd squashed under a truck. ” — Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE
Stealing Harvard has one extraordinary virtue for a Tom Green movie: It doesn’t star Tom Green. What a fabulous breakthrough! Not since Stravinsky stunned the world with The Rite of Spring has someone unveiled an aesthetic shocker of such epochal dimensions.” — Stephen Hunter, WASHINGTON POST.
Master of Disguises: “Pants and wheezes and hurls itself exhausted across the finish line after barely 65 minutes of movie, and then follows it with 15 minutes of end credits in an attempt to clock in as a feature film.” — Rogert Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
“As a child, I thought pure hell meant eternal agony in the flames of Satan. Now I know it’s looking down at your watch and realizing Serving Sara isn’t even halfway through.” — Desson Howe, WASHINGTON POST
fear dot com: “I feel guilty and somehow unclean. And all I did was watch it.” — Eric Campos, FILM THREAT
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