Posts Tagged ‘humorous random observations’

This is beyond overdue

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

And yet, I still kind of have nothing of any real import to share, so here is a generic list o’ stuff in no particular order.

  • I have been writing the new book. It’s gone relatively smoothly minus the ever-present slight concern that where I’m taking things plot-wise is maybe too far or too slow or not quite perfect, but that’s the way it goes, I suppose. Today I will cross the 100-page mark, which is the clearest sign that an actual novel will come out of this in the end.
  • It’s cold as hell, and yet it’s as warm as it’s ever going to be for quite some time.
  • I’m another year older tomorrow, and yet I’m as young as I’m ever going to be…especially today.
  • My Sims2 have been neglected, but not forgotten…especially not on Saturday night. I’ve created a family based on myself and my dog, except they don’t have dogs in The Sims2, so he is represented by a young black child with white hair named Smelly. Smelly is a lot more useful than the real case study upon which he is based because he’s able to wash the dishes, do yard work, and order a pizza. Hmmm… Maybe I should look into adopting a young black child? Madonna and all them make it look so easy…

    Malamute in city

    Give him a kingdom to oversee, and he's happy.

  • I know it’s $2 or $3 or even $4 a cup, but lattes are so much better than any French press or drip coffee I make myself. And they don’t act as a colonic delivered via my mouth. One more reason I need to get rich…and soon.
  • In the same vein, I realize I’ve got to get my hands on a baby monkey, get it it to ride my dog (backwards being fine, if not preferable), have someone write a catchy and stupid tune to go with it, and become a YouTube sensation. He also does a great thing where he smashes his face against glass doors and rubs his tongue all over it. Hilarious stuff, that.
  • I love Top Chef but I don’t give a rat’s ass about Top Chef Just Desserts. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and TV is already overcrowded with people making ridiculous cakes and swords out of hard candy and copulating swans out of chocolate. Yawn.
  • I’m headed back  to the east side of the state in a couple days as a very good friend is getting married and then I’m off to Pennsylvania for a couple weeks to watch my dad’s kitty zoo while he’s on vacation. In theory, I will keep up my  book writing momentum, although I plan to do just a few pages tomorrow in honor of my bday and again on Thursday because (as I just told you if you were paying attention) I have to drive across the state and that takes a long ass time during which I cannot (unfortunately) write. Actually, in the spirit of accuracy, I COULD write during the drive, but I would likely also die in a fiery car crash for the effort.
  • The parade of Housewives never ends. I’m happy to report I disconnected from the DC wives and have no idea what happened or who they are or who’s insane, but I am ashamed to share that I did watch about 20 minutes of those godforsaken Atlanta Housewives. Damn it all to hell! And what did Kandi do to her hair with that red section on top? And does anyone else think Kim is a man in drag? And why didn’t Dwight take a single lesson from the plastic surgery mistakes of Michael Jackson???
  • Looking at the clock, it’s about time to go boil some water for some of that colon-cleansing coffee and get my write on.
  • I kind of want to go see that Jackass 3D movie. This is the same part of me talking that misses Crank Yankers and owns the Rob & Big DVDs. The part of me that’s a 12-year-old boy.
  • Having walked the dog and witnessed – and more often that not, picked up – his every bowel movement for three weeks, I can tell you two things definitively:
  1. Think twice before owning a 100-pound dog in a city. Not only will they yank your arm out of its socket over the sight of a Pomeranian in some lady’s arms two blocks away, but they make bigger dumps than those of a horse.
  2. Not all poop can be scooped. Case in point, the mess this morning looked shockingly akin to chocolate cake batter, and I didn’t even get a bag out and fake it for fear of getting too close. Besides, the flies were apparently given advance warning and started swarming in almost immediately. My new attitude toward certain poop scooping scenarios: I really don’t need tourists handing me Wet Ones baby wipes after I take a hit for the team; so watch your step, and wear rubber soled shoes. It’s a jungle out there, and my canine provides the quicksand.

Good luck,  happy sightseeing, and enjoy your smooth expensive coffee, you rich bastards.

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The Signs They Are a-Changin’

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

As you have likely observed, I have a long history of getting discouraged and then suddenly becoming optimistic again. I’m not sure why this is. It’s my own opinion that I have a quick bounce. Bounce – or at least my definition, for what it’s worth – is the time between emotionally hitting the ground and springing back up. Even with extremely tragic or outrageously unfair circumstances, I tend to bounce within a few hours. This is why, despite my arguable host of mental problems and questionable sanity from time to time, anti-depressants don’t really seem to be a prescription I need. Anti-psychotics on the other hand? Perhaps.

Beach Status Signs

Not this kind of sign.

Nonetheless and as I’ve mentioned, the last few weeks I have felt kind of panicked. In the simplest of terms, it’s a feeling of “WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? THIS IS YOUR LIFE!!!” and it’s a really lame and anxiety-causing sensation, especially because there’s no clear answer. On certain terms, I could argue with the Voice of Urgency that I’m doing the best I can – I’m working on a new book (thinking and planning more than writing at the moment, but that will come), I’m living my life, I’m thinking deep thoughts, I have clever ideas at least once a week, I’m mostly in a good mood, I use very few aerosol products anymore, and, by and large, I’m not hurting anybody (as far as I know). On the other hand – and recognizing that the Voice of Urgency comes from my head and, thus, is me in some fashion – I completely agree with it. Somehow, in ways I can’t quite pinpoint, I am wasting time and, by extension, my life.

Ouch.

That hurts.

That more than hurts. That f*cking sucks.

And then enter – stage right – the bounce.

Not this kind either. If this kind is even real. I'm not sure. Somehow I doubt it.

I have long had (and recently had reinforced) the feeling that if I just keep pushing and writing and working that I will eventually hit upon the idea and the plot and the “it”, and then the magical, mystical force that makes stuff turn out happily ever after will kick in and things will go my way forevermore. Just as suddenly, all the work I’ve done up to that point will become useful and relevant, if not sought after. I like this idea. I am buoyed by the hope that I have the talent and the tenacity, all I need is the bright idea and a little bit of star alignment.

This is probably why I was overly excited when my two – count ‘em, not just one but two – fortune cookie fortunes the other day were so optimistic. The first read “Don’t give up. The best is yet to come!” Not too shabby. If fortune cookies were guarantees, this beats the hell out of “You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability” or “Don’t forget, you are always on our minds.” That second one freaked me out. What? Who? Who’s “our”? A collective hive mind or all of your minds individually? And who are you again? And when you’re thinking about me, do you think good things or wish me well or are you have subtle urges to do me bodily harm? In other words, is this a benign threat of some kind? Seriously, who’s “our”?

I'm trying, I'm trying. The signs are harder to recognize - let alone know - than one might presume.

But not the other night. Those predictions were all good. That night I got two fortuitous predictions: “Don’t give up. The best is yet to come!” and “Your dearest wish will come true within the month!” Sweet.

True, there were only a few days eft in the month, and my dearest wish didn’t quite come to obvious fruition during that time, but maybe the seeds were sown? Or maybe they meant 30 days more than the literal month-end? I’m willing to keep an open mind and a hopeful heart. You never know, I suppose.

Meanwhile, if the fortunes weren’t enough, get this: I found a pearl in an oyster I was eating! I did. A Washington state Sunset Beach oyster grown in the Hood Canal. That has to be some kind of  omen of impending amazing luck, right?

Right???

Well, I say so anyway, and in trying to prove it, I came across the following statistics:

  • The odds of finding a pearl in an oyster are 10,000 to 1
  • Odds of getting a hole in one: 5,000 to 1
  • Odds of an American speaking Cherokee: 15,000 to 1
  • Odds of being struck by lightning: 576,000 to 1
  • Odds of being murdered: 18,000 to 1
  • Odds of getting away with murder: 2 to 1
  • Odds of being considered possessed by Satan: 7,000 to 1
  • Odds of being on plane with a drunken pilot: 117 to 1
  • Odds of writing a New York Times best seller: 220 to 1
  • Odds of becoming a pro athlete: 22,000 to 1
  • Odds of finding a four-leaf clover on first try: 10,000 to 1
  • Odds of winning an Academy Award: 11,500 to 1
  • Chance that Earth will experience a catastrophic collision with an asteroid in the next 100 years: 1 in 5,000
  • Chance of dying in such a collision: 1 in 20,000
Change for Homeless sign

I don't think this is real either. If it were, wouldn't they just ask for dollar bills and small bottles of liquor?

So there you have it: I am almost as likely to win an Academy Award or could be considered possessed by Satan one and a half times before I’d find a matching, misshapen pearl in another oyster, and I’d have better luck hitting TWO holes in one as the same occurring. Thus, I rest my case. I think the math makes it plain: this is a harbinger of imminent good fortune if ever there was.

So bring it on, lucky stars: unload a giant truck of the best and make my dearest dreams come true.

I’m ready already.

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Ash is a goddamned robot

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

So the following headline caught my eye this morning: The Challenge of Making Real Robot Skin, which in turn led pretty much immediately to a “come again?” moment.

So I went to the article, and it started to come clear…and then more or less tanked straight into WTF land. Why’s that? Well, just so you don’t feel left out, here are a few excerpts to catch you up:

I don't know what this is, but the 1.5mm skin kind of reminds me of cake. Mmmmmm...  Cake.

I don't know what this is, but the 1.5mm skin kind of reminds me of cake. Mmmmmm... Cake.

In a recent paper “Towards Humanlike Social Touch for Sociable Robotics,” John Cabibihan and his fellow scientists detailed the reasons for testing and developing realistic skin for social robots.

“Touch is important in social interactions. Social touch are all those instances in which people touch each other, when shaking hands, when giving a pat in the back as a sign of congratulations and even in high-fives. Yet, one should not easily assume that humans will be comfortable with the idea of shaking an artificial hand made from a stiff material. In addition to the appropriate controls for a safe handshake grip and other forms of social touch, humanlike skin softness would be a reasonable requirement for the sociable robots envisioned to directly interact with humans in a social setting. “

Human skin has properties that are not easy to replicate in synthetics. The authors created a skin testing machine to check out some of the current substitutes for human skin in robots – like silicone and polyurethane. Unfortunately, these simplistic skin substitutes were tested and found wanting; at present, there is no accepted substitute for the feeling of real human skin.

There have been a number of different attempts to produce more lifelike skin for robots, as well as skin that would properly feed sensation to the operator of the robot. There is, of course, one ideal solution to creating robot skin that is as human as possible. Recent work done at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft science institute in Germany has demonstrated that small swatches of actual human skin can be grown in petri dishes in a mass production facility.

It takes a lot of damage before you realize Arnold isn't actually a person, but a killing machine.

It takes a lot of damage before you realize Arnold isn't actually a person, but a killing machine.

Ummm…what?

Who is doing human skin-covered robot development?
And WHY????

Clearly I missed some kind of memo. What the hell kind of robot is this?

I’m okay with Roomba and his stinky cousin, Scooba and anything that comes over to clean my floors or dishes (but no touching the laundry. I love doing laundry. It’s the only chore where I would even consider use of the word ‘love’ in association.), but I’m not so sure how I feel about robots that I can’t tell are robots.

At least even the iRobot robots looked like robots, so once they turned bad you could tell them apart. And WALL-E. Clearly a robot, and fine by me…especially because he never decided to destroy the humans who created him, which is a plus.

As for the explanation on this bad idea, I’m not buying the whole ‘people don’t want to shake hands with a robot’ excuse, either.

I would shake hands with a robot.

I shake hands with my dog (which has, in turn, taught him to flog me when he wants something, and I’m ignoring him, but that’s another story for another day). And if a robot wanted to pat me on the back with a metallic pitchfork hand, I’d be okay with that (so long as it was gentle and not a robot beat down that punctured a lung or whatnot. Punctured lungs are no good.)

My point here is I think there are only two reasons that they would want to put real skin on a robot:

1. To trick us.

2. To make robot prostitutes (or sex slaves or whatever).

See? Nothing but a goddamned robot.

See? Nothing but a goddamned robot.

And I don’t like it one little bit. And I suspect the robots wouldn’t like it one little bit. And this is where things go wrong. You create something in order to dominate it and use it as a slave, but you made it too smart so it collaborates with the others of its kind and overthrows you and the next thing you know we’re all hanging out in liquid cocoons and powering The Matrix.

Right????

So can’t we at least learn from our popular culture? Life imitates art and whatnot?

For instance,  in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (The Phillip K. Dick classic known more commonly as the Harrison Ford movie Blader Runner)? Replicants – or ‘skin jobs’ as they’re not-so-ironically called – that think they’re human beings but later (and not exactly in the interest of their psychological health) find out they’re not.

Daryl Hannah as a 'basic pleasure model.' This gives me an idea for Halloween....

Daryl Hannah as a 'basic pleasure model.' This gives me an idea for Halloween....

Nobody likes to grow up thinking they’re real and find out they’re not. It’s an identity crisis in the making.

How about Alien? You know, where The Company secretly sends a robot as part of the crew to ensure that a heinous monster will make it back to earth safe and sound? And nobody knew he was a robot until he tried to kill Ripley and then all that white foamy stuff started oozing out of him.

You can’t trust those robots that look like people. You think they’re a regular, reasonable person…but they can be wired as total traitors just like that.

And speaking of treacherous behavior, who can forget The Terminator? Imagine if The Terminator would have at least had the decency to look like a killer robot. Things might have turned out differently for all the other Sarah Conners in the Los Angeles phone book.

In closing, let me go on the record as not liking this petri dish skin human-looking robot stuff. I don’t know what it is, but it ain’t good.

And in the words of Ash, ”I can’t lie to you about your chances, but you have my sympathy”.

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Colossal, mutant, swollen ovaries

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Wha…?

You’re still here?

Even with that title?

And you honestly want to read whatever goes with a title like that?

(Weirdos.)

Man, what it is going to take to get rid of you people? Something extremely wrong and possibly illegal, it seems.

(Sickos.)

Nevertheless, as long as you’re here…

That's a quarter...for context.

That's a quarter...for context.

To be perfectly honest, I was going to call this post “The fine art of growing inedible vegetables,” but then I did a little research and learned that the alternative title was entirely appropriate in an inappropriate way.

So I decided to go with it instead.

There were, of course, the standard word choice dilemmas: Do I call the ovaries behemoth or monstrous or maybe just honking…but colossal spoke to me in a Colonel Sanders meets Coliseum kind of way.

Batter up!

Batter up!

So what the hell are you reading about, anyway?

As it turns out, nothing all that exciting.

Basically – as you probably know (unless you’re Jose) – I was gone for a couple weeks. And in that time, my garden produced not one, not two, but three sperm whales.

Okay, not whales so much as baseball bats.

Okay, not baseball bats so much as ridiculously oversized zucchini.

Which – by the way – I believe they call ‘courgettes’ in Great Britain (or else this oddball British guy in a hostel somewhere in Europe was screwing with me that he didn’t know what a ‘zucchini’ was just to seem interesting or compelling in an annoying way or whatever bad ideas go through the head of odd guys from Britain. Perhaps someone out there can illuminate???)

Twins. Twice the work. Twice the joy.

Twins. Twice the work. Twice the joy.

Anyway, in the interest of stretching this minor and only mildly entertaining incident into an entire blog, I looked up zucchinis on Wikipedia (I would think – and hope – by now you guys realize that my purpose in life was to wait around for the internet to be created, [Thanks, Al Gore!!!] and then look stupid stuff up. It’s not much of a calling, but it’s what I’ve got.)

So during the course of my always-compelling research, I learned some alarming and freaky facts that have caused me to relocate the offending vegetable body parts onto the back deck.

Read and learn:

“In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower.”

Ummm….what!? Gross! (That fact  right there was enough to compel me to take the monsters outside. I don’t need no competition from any other ovaries in my own home…)

“Zucchini, like all summer squash, has its ancestry in the Americas. While most summer squash were introduced to Europe during the time of European colonization of the Americas, zucchini is Italian in origin. It was the result of spontaneously occurring mutations (also called “sports”).”

Nice how the Italians call mutations “sports”. Do they also call freaks “funs” and monsters “entertainments”?

Way to be misleading, Italy.

“Mature zucchini can be as much as three feet long, but are often fibrous and not appetizing to eat.”

Tell me about it.

“Zucchini with the flowers attached are a sign of a truly fresh and immature fruit, and are especially sought by many people.”

What people? People, if you’re out there, can you call me? I can get you what you’re looking for. They ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it. Right???

“In 2005, a poll of 2,000 people revealed the zucchini (courgette???) to be the Britain’s 10th favorite culinary vegetable.”

Woo hoo!

Tenth place!

Let’s see…gold, silver, bronze… So tenth place is what? Aluminum? Tin? Cardboard?

That is a fact so boring and worthless, it is barely worth repeating. In fact, I urge you not to repeat it, lest you drive off an otherwise interested potential mate.

“One good way to control over-abundance is to harvest the flowers, which are an expensive delicacy in markets because of the difficulty in storing and transporting them.”

Again, would someone looking for this expensive zucchini crap please contact me? I can set you up…for a price.


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Disgruntled pilots of the world, unite!

Friday, September 18th, 2009

And let me know what airline you’re all flying for so that I can avoid it.

I am in the process of going home.


While waiting in line today to find out what the odds were that I’d get off the waiting list and into first class (zero), I was standing behind one of the pilots. After lingering a while, I happened to glance down and notice that his luggage was decorated with bitter bumper stickers like:

  • “Is there a future for me here?” and a pair of dice. (I assume this has to do with the NWA/Delta merger.)
  • “I’ve had enough of the uncertainty” (ditto)

and – just so I didn’t think he was only angry with his employer

  • “You trust us in the air, why not in the security line? Special clearance passes for crew.”

Ummmm, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Johnny Depp character in Blow get started by having his flight attendant girlfriend run the cocaine back to Boston in her bags?

That’s why no special line, buddy.

Should I die before I wake, here's a little memento for you.

Should I die before I wake, here's a little memento for you.

Go to more movies on your day off, and maybe cool your heels on announcing to the passengers at your mercy (and paying your wages, thank you very much) how miserable you are with your career. Let’s consider that on a ‘need to know’ basis.

I don’t need to know.

Meanwhile, I came very close to dry drowning on the very same flight. Those of you who did not spend their teens working as a lifeguard may not know that dry drowning is the phenomenon wherein someone can drown in a puddle of water. All it takes is a few tablespoons of water directly in the lungs and – sorry Charlie – you’re a goner.

In fact, I shouldn’t rush to use the phrase ‘came very close.’ I could still extinguish my own flame tonight seeing as dry drownings often occur a few hours after the original incident.

All the more reason to get this blog recorded now – while I’m still wedged into seat 12C – for posterity’s sake.

And here's a less squinty one from the really bad weather day. My brother was trying to capture how much the wind was whipping my hair around, which also caused about three cups of sand to blow into my eyes.

And here's a less squinty one from the really bad weather day. My brother was trying to capture how much the wind was whipping my hair around, which also caused about three cups of sand to blow into my eyes.

Anyway, I bought this rather huge bottle of water at the airport, and when I opened it, the plane jerked every so slightly and a giant geyser came shooting out of the bottle. A notable portion of it landed on me – although most of it went down my cleavage and my shirt only had one little tiny drop of wetness, which I guess is a good thing – whereas a significant portion went up my nose.

Yeah, you read that right (unfortunately): My bottled water went up my nose.

And no small amount. Enough that I started coughing and sputtering and felt the burn in my sinuses.

Now, if I had read the bottle beforehand, I would have learned that it is a special Poland Springs “Eco-Shape Bottle” designed with 30% less plastic which makes it, more or less, a water gun. It has no form. Truly, it borders on being a balloon.

Thus, exerting little to no pressure, one can easily maneuver the squishy decanter in order to fire a powerful torpedo of water right up your very own nose!

It’s cheaper than a Neti pot AND it’s good for the environment.

Hurrah!

(And if you look up Neti pot on Google to find out how to spell it [as I did] or to find out what it is, and end up watching that YouTube video with the hairy wildebeest guy, don’t come crying to me. You’ve been warned.)

p.s.

Speaking of noses, some stupid stowaway fly on the plane keeps landing on mine.

Hope he’s got relatives he can bunk with in Minneapolis…

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