“It’s Like ‘AAAOOOooooooooooo………’ But Forever!”*

I was with a bar with a friend and, after a few beers, attempted to describe the Shepard Scale to her.

It was difficult. Eventually I pretty much gave up and resorted to Lovecraft-like allusions. “It’s like a color that shouldn’t exist,” I said. “Or an angle that doesn’t add up.”

Here is is: The Shepard Scale. Note: ogg file; profoundly unsettling; may induce insanity.

* This was Alan Taylor’s attempt at describing it.

Forecast: Divorce

We in Seattle enjoyed torrential rains Saturday and Sunday.

This morning, in the elevator, I overheard this conversation:

Man: So, what did you do this weekend?

Woman: Went to a wedding. An outdoor wedding.

Man: Oh, god. That must have been fun.

Woman: Yeah, it was pretty bad. The bride was totally pissed at the groom because of the rain.

Man: Why? Wasn’t his fault.

Woman: I guess they had some indoor place all lined up to use, just in case, but he was sure that having it outside would be okay.

Man: Still, though. How was he supposed to know?

Woman: He’s a weatherman.

Where’s Keith When You Need ‘Em?

A woman is giving me her personal information over the phone:

“First name: Janet; Last name: Oakley. Email address: jaoakley@yahoo.com; that’s J as in James, A as in Andrew, O as in Oscar, A as in Andrew, K as in, uhhhhhhhhh, Welcomebackkotter …”


The Queen: Do you want to watch America’s Next Top Model with me.

Me: Ah, no. I did that once in my lifetime, so I’m good, thanks.

The Queen: Oh, come on.

Me: Sorry, but I just don’t understand the appeal of a bunch of stupid people prancing around like idiots and blurting out whatever damned-fool thing flitters through their heads.

The Queen: … says the guy who reads political blogs.

Encounter at the Intersection of Maudlin and Geek

Squiggle and I are strolling through a park, and I am singing Daisy Bell to him. As I near the end of the song, we approach a middle-aged woman, who is walking briskly in the opposite direction. She suddenly stops dead in her tracks and stares, dumbfounded, as I belt out the last few words.

Woman: Were … were you just singing “Bicycle Built For Two?”

Me: Yes.

Woman: Oh my God. My name is Daisy. My great-grandmother used to sing that song to me when I was a little girl, and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone else sing it in, like, forty years! How do you know the words? Did someone sing it to you when you were a child?

Me: Ahhhh, no. It’s the song HAL 9000 sings as he dies.

Fool And His Money II

The Queen and I chat:

The Queen: Your post about the Susan B. Anthony coins was pretty funny.

Me: Thanks. You know, I heard they are coming out with a new dollar coin.

Q: Why do they bother? No one wants to carry those around.

M: I do. I’d much rather carry around coins than dollar bills.

Q: Oh yeah, that would be fantastic. Then, every time you sit on a couch, you’ll lose thirteen dollars of our money instead of just sixty-four cents.

Fool And His Money

Coworker One: The vending machine is giving out Susan B. Anthony coins.

Coworker two: Mm?

Coworker One: Yeah. I put in a five, and got four of these back as change. It usually gives you those Sacagawea coins–I’ve never seen it give Susan B’s before.

Coworker two: I’ve never seen a Susan B. Anthony coin in my life.

Coworker One: Really? Here, take a look.

Coworker two: Thanks.

Coworker One: You can go ahead and keep it, if you want.

Coworker two: Okay, cool.

{Long pause}

Coworker One: Hey, wait a minute: I just gave you a dollar.

On Call

L: Help, I’m stuck on a boring conference call! Chat with me!

Me: Um, okay.

M: What should we chat about?

{A minute goes by}

M: Hello?

{A minute goes by}

M: What’s the deal? Am I supposed to be chatting at you?

{A minute goes by}


M: I met a traveller from an antique land

M: Who said:–Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

M: Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

M: Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown

M: And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

M: Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

M: Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,

M: The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.

M: And on the pedestal these words appear:

M: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

M: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”

M: Nothing beside remains: round the decay

M: Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

M: The lone and level sands stretch far away.

{Ten minutes go by}

L: Sorry!

L: I meant we should chat with each other, but I wound up speaking for the entire call.

M: I hope you at least managed to slip an Ozymandias reference in there.

L: I didn’t think of that. And now everyone is disconnecting.

M: Quick! Just blurt something out!

M: “Hey Janet? Of frown and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command? Could you come to my desk and help me with this Excel spreadsheet? Right now it’s a colossal wreck, boundless and bare.”

L: Too late, they all hung up.

L: Oh, well. Thanks for being game, anyway.

M: No problem. My officemate is currently on the phone, guiding his eight-year old son through the process of unclogging a toilet with a plunger. So it was either chat at you or listen to that.

L: It’s like primitive tech support.


You Say Tomato

My Pa-In-Law came to visit last weekend. At one point he was reading a small book.

Me: What’cha readin’?

Pa-In-La: The manual for the router I just bought. I’m trying to figure out how to set it up.

M: [Sighs inwardly at the cluelessness of this generation regarding the fundamentals of networking] Maybe I can help. How many PCs are you trying to connect? And is it wireless? You know, most of these routers just have a configuration page you can access through your browser, and you can set it all up through that.

P: It’s a router for the hardwood floors I’m installing.

M: You shouldn’t need to install … wait, “floors?”

P: Right. Do you know what a wood router is?

M: I, well… Um, not really.

P: [Sighs inwardly at the cluelessness of this generation regarding the fundamentals of home improvement] Okay. So, say you have a piece of wood, and you need to mold the edges …