Monday, October 31, 2011

Zombies are People Too!

Today's righteous indignation is brought to you by @jwlucasnc who was kind enough to forward me the very best of her spam messages.

At first, I was pleased when I saw the title of the email in my inbox, “Zombies Make Over $5 Billion in the US.” I thought it was nice that zombies can be financially successful. I am not sure how many zombies there are in the United States, but even if there were a billion, that would pencil out nicely. I was a little surprised the luxury car market wasn’t targeting them more.

Then, my pride in Zombie accomplishment fell quickly into distain. This was not a message about helping zombies, or rejoicing in their success. This was a marketing ploy implemented by GoGo Training, taking advantage of zombies to sell Android Programming Classes. Calling zombies stupid and brainless, the GoGo Training specialists encourage you to become a Master Android Programmer solely for the purpose of deteriorating fragile zombie-human relations. The ad links to games showing zombies slouching across the screens of various phone platforms with vacant eyes. Do you know how hard it must be to walk around craving brains all the time with your limbs falling off? Zombism is a real issue, NOT a marketing tool.

A shirt to help Zombies keep up with their limbs... because I'm altruistic.

We should be promoting zombie tolerance rather than hatred. I encourage you, this Halloween, to rejoice in our diversity. Do NOT take advantage of the "Zombie Eating Halloween Special" at GoGo Training. Why would you want to save $100 off Android Programming classes when you will end up stuck in a room with a bunch of dickheads waiting to kill you if your arm happens to fall off? You wouldn’t.

I am sure you now all recognize there absolutely no need to make lives of the local zombies more difficult by pummeling them with bullets, grenades, and buckshot. However, I must admit that I did stop being indignant enough to consider calling the GoGo Training “Zombie Hot Line.” Not to sign up for a course catalog, as recommended, but to report zombie sightings. My guess is the people running that phone line have had a hell of a day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Costume Series: Robot Zombie Killer

This costume is based on my new Pulitzer prize-winning novel about the future and robot zombies.  I’ve been the future you see, and the phones that we created to drive our cars have turned against us.  They are now zombies that must be taken out by any means necessary.  This book will probably win for the best non-fiction since it is about facts in the future and I don’t think anyone has written a book yet about facts in the future.  Therefore, being the one and only book in the category, it HAS to win.

Actually, I am writing the book in the future as we speak.  The best thing about this method is that I am not procrastinating. I am waiting for future self to deliver the book via time machine, or by UPS.  I am not exactly sure how these things work.

Everyone who wears this shirt will be promoting my future book and you will be well compensated when I hit the bestseller list any day now.  I will also be famous, so bonus points to you for knowing someone famous.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Special Orders

Fine. Here are your special orders. Just remember, I'm not made of imaginary t-shirts, people!

This one is for Joshua of Vive Le Nerd. I would have actually put the fake vest and bow-tie on here, but I didn't feel like drawing stuff. Apparently, I am too lazy to draw on these shirts... or even change fonts, apparently. No one is ever going to buy these.

This one is for Debihen of So... I've Been Thinking. Congratulations! You are now King of the World.

This is for those of you who might be a little more goal oriented than Debbie. I had to cover my bases because I can't stay up all night making these things.

This is for those of you who are LESS goal oriented than Debbie.

Just kidding, this shirt is dedicated to @zippy219. May we ALL be lucky enough to get fake books on Oprah's Show. Wait... is Oprah even doing a show anymore??? Why am I writing a fake book? Damn.

Halloween Costume Series: Pulitzer Prize Winner

I heard someone say once, and this has always stuck with me, “Most people don’t want to write. Most people want to have written.” The truth about writing is that unless you are writing some ridiculous blog about non-existent t-shirts, it is a lot of hard work. You pretty much have to do all of this hard work whether or not the crap you generate wins a Pulitzer prize. A lot of people just aren’t cut out for that. I’m not cut out for it. Why would I do all that work and NOT get a prize?

This costume is your chance to enjoy the fame and admiration of winning a Pulitzer for your best-selling novel, without the time and energy it would take to actually write a Pulitzer prize-winning, best-selling novel. The beauty of this plan is that you won’t even have to sacrifice the time and energy it would take to create a non-Pulitzer prize-winning crappy novel.

You will still need to think of a fake name and part of a plot for the book that won you this celebrated prize, but that is small price to pay. I would help you think of a name and plot, but it sounds like a lot of work. If I were going to do all that, I would just go ahead and write the damn thing and win my own Pulitzer.

I will, however, be willing to give you some tips based on my own extensive experience of not writing books. One tip is that your plot should be about zombies. They are hot right now. Oh wait, better yet, robot zombies… from the future. Get to work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to be Normal

When @eldergeek sent me a link to the AQ-Test, I thought, “What now, a test?” So you can imagine my relief to find it is only a 50 question online quiz to see if you have Aspergers. I know, right? Again with the syndromes.

I realize this is the second time I’ve posted this t-shirt, but you probably need an extra in case the first one is dirty.

If I have to take this Asperger test, you are coming with me. Ready? Here’s the link: I am including all the answers below in case you need to take it for work or something to prove you are normal. You can thank me later.

Notice that the disclaimer before you even take the test reads, “If you’re concerned about your score, you should consult a doctor.”

So, based on my concern for my social disorder, I should call someone up on the phone, arrange for an appointment, then go over there and TALK about it? There is no way in hell I am ever doing all of that. See… there is nothing wrong with me already.

Let’s get started…

“1. I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.” I always do things with others. That is what Twitter is all about. And people read my blog sometimes. At least three people have told me they read my blog, so that is doing things with others.
–Definitely Agree

I’m winning at this test already.

“2. I prefer to do things the same way over and over again.” Yes. Because that is how you should do things. Otherwise, you spend a lot of time trying to figure stuff out that you have already done. I could do things totally differently each time if I wanted to, but that would be stupid.
–Definitely Agree

Winning! I am going to be so normal.

“3. If I try to imagine something, I find it very easy to create a picture in my mind.” Imagining things, yep. Good that that. Winning.
–Definitely Agree

“4. I frequently get so strongly absorbed in one thing that I lose sight of other things.” Yeah, all the time. There is too much crap to keep up with. Like remembering to eat, for instance. Did I eat? I can’t be bothered with that right now. I’m in the middle of something.
–Definitely Agree

“5. I often notice small things when others do not.” Yep. I found a penny on the ground just the other day. Win.
–Definitely Agree

“6. I usually notice car number plates or similar strings of information.” Man. This is a tough one. I don’t even know what this means. I am going to pick what seems the most normal.
–Definitely Disagree

Is it me, or does this test seem long? Forty-four more questions to go.

“7. Other people frequently tell me that what I’ve said is impolite, even though I think it is polite.” People shouldn’t be so freaking sensitive. That is what I think.
–Definitely Agree

God, this test will NEVER END.

“8. When I’m reading a story, I can easily imagine what the characters might look like.” Another tricky one. Sure, I can imagine what they look like, but then when the movie comes out, I am always wrong. I guess all the movies can’t be starring Johnny Depp. He would be way too busy.
–Slightly Agree

“9. I’m fascinated by dates.” Definite ‘no’ on that one. Dates are the stupidest fruit ever. Are they really out there growing like little dried up squares in the wild? I can go my whole life and never see another damn date.
–Definitely Disagree

“10. In a social group, I can easily keep track of different people’s conversations.” If they were talking about stuff that was interesting, then sure, I would be right on top of it. But are they talking about what sports their kids are playing? I don’t really care so much about that. Maybe if they are talking about how much they like bacon. I really like bacon.
–Slightly Agree

“11. I find social situations easy. “ I was pretty good at having lunch at that conference. Yeah, never mind. That was hard as hell.
–Definitely Disagree

“12. I tend to notice details while others do not.” What kind of details are we talking about here? Like stuff people are wearing? Did you just get a haircut or is your face a little off center today? I would notice that. I guess. Wait… I noticed that my cubicle mate had on shiny shoes today. Win for me.
–Definitely Agree

“13. I would rather go to a library than a party.”
–Definitely Agree

Did you see how I didn’t even need to think about that last one? I must be getting EXCELLENT at this!

“14. I find making up stories easy.” I make up stories all the time. Remember that whole bit in my blog about time traveling and the cars driven by phones? That NEVER happened! Yep. I made the whole thing up. I guess that wasn’t really making up a story though. It was more like rambling on about crap.
–Slightly agree

“15. I find myself drawn more to people than things.” I talked to people in the elevator today about their commute. That was sort of fun. Things, on the other hand, can be fun too. Like a stapler. Staplers would actually be more fun than people talking about a commute. But sometimes people have food. If someone is sharing Chinese food, I would definitely rather be with that person than a stapler.
–Definitely Agree

“16. I tend to have very strong interests which I get upset about if I can’t pursue.” I will have you know that me typing into my blog is JUST as important as you and your stupid football game you are watching. So yeah, don’t interrupt me.
–Definitely Agree

“17. I enjoy social chit-chat.” Social chit-chat? That is the most ridiculous phrase I have ever heard. If you hear anyone speak the words, ‘social chit-chat,’ you are completely absolved for hitting them.
–Definitely Disagree

“18. When I talk, it isn’t always easy for others to get a word in edgewise.” Why would anyone want to interrupt me while I am talking? I am freaking brilliant.
–Definitely Agree

“19. I am fascinated by numbers.” Are these numbers on a lottery ticket that I am winning? I would be enthralled by those numbers. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. Would it be cool having tons of money? Or would it be a pain in the ass? Maybe I should get some secret money, like a pirate. I don’t need numbers for that.
–Definitely Disagree

“20. When I am reading a story, it is hard for me to work out the characters intentions.” The characters in that Zombie Field Guide I was reading were all running from zombies because they did not want their brains to be eaten. I was able to work out their intentions fairly well.
–Definitely Disagree

“21. I don’t particularly enjoy reading fiction.” I really don’t. But it isn’t my fault. If people would write some interesting fiction books, I would totally read them. Quit writing about whiny vampires and maybe I’ll read your damn book.
–Definitely Agree

“22. I find it hard to make new friends.” I have 792 Twitter friends. I find it easy to make new friends. Of course, I used to have 804 Twitter friends. I wonder what happened to the other twelve. Maybe I said something impolite that I thought was polite. Damn, this test is getting to me.
–Slightly agree

“23. I notice patterns in things all the time.” Patterns, like what? Plaid? I guess so.
–Slightly agree

“24. I would rather go to a theatre than a museum.” What kind of theatre? Like a live performance? Will there be singing in the theatre? I hate it when people sing. I’ll choose museum just to be safe.
–Definitely Disagree

“25. It does not upset me if my daily routine is disturbed.” That routine is in place for a reason. I have important shit that needs to get done. I don’t have these routines in place just for a whim, people! Jeez.
–Definitely Disagree

“26. I frequently find that I don’t know how to keep a conversation going.” Wow… I am usually trying to end the conversation as quickly as possible. I guess that would have to agree.
–Definitely Agree

I can’t tell anymore if I am winning.

“27. I find it easy to ‘read between the lines’ when someone is talking to me.” People should just say what they mean. I can’t be held responsible for whatever interpretive dance you have going on here.
–Definitely Disagree

“28. I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than the small details.” This is a tricky one. I can usually see both the picture and the details. There is no way to select both though. I have to agree to this or not. What if the picture is really far away? If the picture was far away, then I wouldn’t be able to make out all the details without squinting.
–Slightly Agree

“29. I am not very good at remembering phone numbers.” I don’t have to. They are in my phone. Win.
–Definitely Agree

“30. I don’t usually notice small changes in a situation or a person’s appearance.” I noticed a co-worker wearing shiny shoes today. They were really shiny though. But it still counts. Also, if someone is on crutches, I know that you are supposed to ask them what happened. Even though I never do because I figure they are probably getting tired of explaining it. But I do notice and that is what counts here. I still get points.
– Definitely Disagree

“31. I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored.” Why would anyone listening to me get bored? I’m freaking brilliant.
–Definitely Disagree

“32. I find it easy to do more than one thing at once. “ What does this mean? Like juggling? I’m terrible at juggling. I can’t think of any example now other than juggling.
–Definitely Disagree

“33. When I talk on the phone, I’m not sure when it’s my turn to speak.” I shouldn’t even have to answer this one. Everyone who has my number knows NOT to call and try to chat with me on the phone. Call me, state your concern or situation, then hang up. Also, you could probably just send a text. That would be preferable. As you can tell, I have the phone thing completely covered. Win.
–Definitely Disagree

“34. I enjoy doing things spontaneously.” Yes, I do enjoy spontaneous things. But only if you tell me about them first and give me a lot of time to pack. And also, I may need to bring some things in case I get bored. Are we going to be near water? I don’t want to bring a lot of electronic equipment if it might get wet. Should I bring a book? I don’t want it to get lost. If I bring a book, what percentage chance will there be of the book getting lost? Are we going camping? If so, is it possible that I might need to run from a bear? Also, I like to bring toilet paper when I go camping. I should probably take toilet paper anyway, even if we are not camping, just in case. You know what… just forget the whole thing. I’m not going.
–Definitely Disagree

“35. I am often the last to understand the point of a joke.” It must have been a pretty dumb joke then. I really don’t see how I can answer some of these without a proper example.
–Slightly Disagree

“36. I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face.” If you want to tell me what you are feeling, then just tell me. Or maybe don’t tell me. Unless your face is telling me you feel like bringing me Chinese food. Of course, I would be able to gather that much from the Chinese food without even looking at your face. This is a stupid question.
–Definitely Disagree

“37. If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly.” I suppose so. However, it really depends on what was I doing. Was I making a vase on one of those potter’s wheels? I have done that before and that shit will collapse at a moment’s notice. You have to really focus on what you are doing with a potter’s wheel. Also, the guy I share a cubicle with has a squeaky chair. Sometimes I am trying to concentrate and when the chair squeaks, I can never tell if he is about lean over and start looking at me or talking to me. It is a little distracting, but not really an interruption. Just don’t interrupt me, okay? I definitely agree that I do NOT like being interrupted. That seems normal.
–Definitely Agree

“38. I am good at social chit-chat.” Didn’t you already ask me that? At least change these up a bit. Also, I should hit you now.
–Definitely Disagree

“39. People often tell me that I keep going on and on about the same thing.” No one has EVER told me that. Except for my husband, but what does he know? That shouldn’t even count. Okay… fine.
–Definitely Agree

“40. When I was young, I used to enjoy playing games involving pretending with other children.” What the hell does THIS have to do with anything? I “slightly agree” that your question is stupid.
–Slightly Agree

“41. I like to collect information about categories of things (types of car, types of bird, types of plant, etc.)” Like you thought I was just going to fall right into that one.
–Definitely Disagree

“42. I find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to be someone else.” I just imagined being a pirate earlier in this test.
–Definitely Disagree

“43. I like to plan any activities I participate in carefully.” Well, of course! You have to know what kind of shoes to wear. This one’s a no brainer.
–Definitely Agree

“44. I enjoy social occasions.” Just because I already have a feeling of dread thinking about having to sit through dinner at Thanksgiving does NOT mean there is something wrong with me. That happens to everyone. I also really hate those parties where girls invite you over and want you to look at jewelry with them. Those suck. And I hate party food. If I wanted to stand around eating carrot sticks and stuffed olives, I would do it in my kitchen.
–Definitely Disagree

“45. I find it difficult to work out people’s intentions.” I think we have established that people should just say what they want. I don’t have time to sit around guessing if you went to the kitchen because you love waffles.
–Definitely Agree

“46. New situations make me anxious.” Yeah, that conference I went to really sucked. I am better at being in a cubicle where everything is controlled.
–Definitely Agree

“47. I enjoy meeting new people.” Where are these new people coming from, and what do they want from me? Do we have to do that whole bit where we shake hands and tell each other where we are from? I hate that.
–Definitely Disagree

“48. I am a good diplomat.” I am not a diplomat. I don’t even really know what it is they do, but I get the feeling I would be terrible at it. Don’t they have cars with flags on them? I might want to be one so I can get a car with flags on it.
–Slightly Agree

“49. I am not very good at remembering people’s dates of birth.” I am not good at that at all. Sorry everyone, for forgetting your birthday. I suck.
–Definitely Agree

“50. I find it very easy to play games with children that involve pretending.” That sounds hard as hell. Have you ever played with children? It is exhausting.
–Definitely Disagree

Score: 34 - One point away from high functioning autism. That’s good, right? I’m winning! Just in under the wire people… I am officially normal. Someone send me a plaque. Yea me!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Costume Series: Time Traveler

I’ve seen the future. It’s pretty much like the past only later in the day.

The beauty of this costume is that no one can prove you are NOT a time traveler.  To prove that you are not a time traveler, the person would first have to become a time traveler, then travel to the future to find that you are not actually in the future.  Then the person would have to travel back to the past, which is now the present, in order to actually prove you wrong.  Even if they do all of these steps, you can always nullify their efforts by saying you had that day off.  If you can tell that someone is about to go through all of this effort just to publicly invalidate your costume, you should tell them not to bother.

However foolproof this costume may be, it does require a bit of preparation.  People will be asking you what the future is like, so you will need to know how to describe it.  Don’t tell go around telling everyone there are floating cars, it is an amateur mistake and @heinakroon has already rejected that idea. Besides, people are terrible drivers now that they are one the ground, you wouldn’t want them up flying in the air.

In the future, our phones will be driving. They already have navigational systems, it is only one extra step to just plug them into the car and take off.  However, the driving phone really doesn’t solve my problem that I want to be able to text and drive. I would hate to distract my phone while it is driving by using it to text. Maybe in the future, we will all have multiple phones.

But having multiple phones isn’t really ideal either, because the whole point of having the phone combined with your music playing device and your Twitter machine is so you don’t have to keep up with so many things. No one is going to want to carry around two phones so they can text and drive. That would be ridiculous. Don’t worry. I’m positive I’ll have this worked out by Halloween. Be sure to check back later.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

How NOT to go to a Tea Shop

So, I finally went to a tea shop.  More specifically, I went to a tea shop at the Galleria.  Even more specifically, I went to a tea shop at the Galleria after helping a friend put up outdoor Halloween decorations.  Also, I spent a lot of time petting my friend’s giant enormous horse of a Great Dane while I was over there. But Scooter is so lovable, what can you do? Plus, he folds one leg up in your lap and kind of sits on you like a chair. I almost got a picture of it but… oh wait… yeah... we were on our way to the Galleria, sorry.

For those of you unaware, a Galleria is like a mall on steroids… or maybe Botox. It is filled with people walking around looking purposefully indifferent in clothes you know must be stylish because they are completely and utterly odd.  Today, there was a girl with cutoff shorts and knee length black boots. I can only assume the boots were Jimmy Couture or Juicy Choo or whatever.

My friend in need of Halloween decorating assistance happens to live near the Galleria.  In the Galleria happens to be a tea shop.  Brilliant plan, right?  So this is how I find myself at the Galleria in the same t-shirt I was wearing to hang some kind of black outdoor Christmas lights from Satan.  Also, my hair is completely windblown and I smell like dog.  While I am in the bathroom trying to fix my hair, I happen to notice there is black glitter all over my face.  However, we had just passed a store selling “hand-made” make-up.  One could only hope the black crap all over my face would pass as stylish.

I’ve been reading tea blogs lately, so I was bound and determined to get to a damn tea shop, even if I had to get through the Galleria smelling like dog to accomplish it.  After going past the Banana Republic, Brookstone, Abercrombie & Fitch, Brighton Collectibles (people collect purses now???), the ice skaters,  and a store completely devoted to selling sweaters for poodles, we finally arrive at Teavana.

As if getting through the Galleria itself wasn’t bad enough, the entryway to Teavana is a total bombardment of the senses. Hippies with long hair and goatees impose tiny cups of sample tea at us left and right, all the while yelling about antioxidants. Undaunted, we push our way into the store.

Inside, sits a very calm looking gentleman who encourages us try the store’s most rare tea, Monkey Picked Oolong. He asks us, in a dramatic voice, “Do you know about the Oolong?” I am so excited, because yes! I have read about Oolong!  I was about to say: “Simply put, green tea is not oxidized and black tea is fully-oxidized. Oolong falls somewhere in the middle between the two. Some Oolong is lightly oxidized, some is allowed to oxidize much more but not fully.”

Okay, fine… I DID just cut and paste that entire speech from Lahikmajoe Drinks Tea

No matter, it turns out the question was rhetorical anyway. Immediately after asking, Oolong man launches right into the spiel about antioxidants. Apparently, we are all dying from lack of tea. Then he shows us a cast iron teapot, the best way to brew the tea. He does mention in the course of demonstrating the cast iron teapot, how the tea got its name because Buddhists trained monkeys to pick the tea leaves.

I tell him that I will not be purchasing a cast iron teapot, but if they have one of those trained monkeys in the back, I would totally buy one of those immediately.  He doesn't laugh, or offer to bring out a monkey. Now I am uncertain where I stand with the Oolong man. Plus, I don’t even really need a monkey.

Finally, I decide what tea I want to buy. I want to buy caffeinated tea, really caffeinated - with or without antioxidants. I am more worried about how to stay awake right now than how to stay alive. 

A guy behind the counter, complete with the requisite goatee and long hair, brings out two rather large bins of tea, wafting the metal lids of each towards us so we can smell the leaves. I desperately want to lean forward slightly, intentionally causing this gentle and soft spoken hippie to hit me in the head with a giant metal tea lid. However, I fight the urge. I am trying to be nice to the tea people. Especially after the monkey comment was such a major fail.

One bucket of tea, White Ayurvedic Chai, has a weird name and 1% the caffeine of coffee. The other bucket of tea, Samurai Chai Mate, is apparently named after Samurais and has 100% the caffeine of coffee. Now THAT is my kind of tea. So I tell long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy that I want the tea with the caffeine. Long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy says, “But you HAVE to get the 50/50 mix of the two teas or it WON’T taste like the sample.” So I tell long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy, “I don’t CARE about the sample. I want the tea with caffeine.” Then he starts describing how the caffeine in tea is metabolized and also something about the antioxidants. I think he is just trying to distract me so he can sell me the odd tea later. So I tell him to just give me six ounces of the Caffeine Samurai Tea, thank you very much.

Then he asks if I want the German rock cane sugar crystals. I tell him I do not, in fact, require German rock cane sugar crystals at this time. Then he says, “But you HAVE to get the German rock cane sugar crystals, or it WON’T taste like the sample.”  So I calmly tell long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy to give me my damn antioxidants and my monkey so I can get out of this freak show.

But I didn't really say that. Actually, I think I said something about how he was way too attached to those samples. The end result was that long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy looked just as offended as if I had yelled at him about the monkey. The lesson here is to always go with your first instinct, even if it involves yelling to people about Oolong monkeys.

So, long story short, that is how I got my tea…. and my antioxidants. I will be living forever now, all the while writing completely ridiculous and useless blog material about non-existent t-shirts. The hippies should have probably saved the antioxidants for someone else.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rapture Preparation

Is it just me, or is this Rapture Apocalypse not as good as the last one? I was shocked when @mylifelyrics sent out a reminder earlier this week that we had a Rapture scheduled for Friday, October 21, 2011. Why did I not hear about this sooner? The last Rapture Apocalypse was hyped up for months. I haven’t even seen any billboards for this one.

A good Rapture is like a movie, we need propaganda and previews, something to build the suspense. You’d think, given the feeble effort in promoting this Rapture that everyone had already spent all their money on billboards for the other Rapture. I found out today that no one has even scheduled a time! This is not how you run a Rapture, people! At the rate you are going, there might not even BE a Rapture.

The Naysayers: You are the problem with a good Rapture Apocalypse.

I find it disappointing that some of you show a certain lack of enthusiasm for Rapture related activities. @debihen states “The Rapture and killing crazed dictators have all been done before people. Do we not have ANY original thinkers out there?” Well, @debihen, the answer is NO. We will keep having Raptures until Zombie Apocalypse happens, so you might as well get used to it. However, we may be out of dictators to kill. I’m not sure.

Some of you aren’t even going to the Rapture! For example, @daralynnieloo says, “I’m not going because I’m sure there’s gonna be a ton of republicans and super Christians there.” You are right, @daralynnieloo, the place will likely be littered with them. Do you think the super-Christians will be getting capes? I wonder if it is too late to transfer over to that group.

@lahikmajoe is not helping matters. He is probably worried there is no loose-leaf tea in the afterlife.  He seems to think that the “last rapture really was the one to be remembered, wasn’t it? This one’s supposed to stay quite. Keep it down will you?” No, @lahikmajoe, I will NOT keep it down. A quiet Rapture is a boring one. Are we all just supposed to sit around while people are naked skydiving and demons are running around? I don’t think so. Oh, you haven’t heard about the naked skydiving option?

In case you are unaware, @larwe will be “skydiving naked during the rapture so the ascending ones will think I’m going with them and have second thoughts.” See people, THIS is how you do a Rapture. Thank you, @larwe for embracing the spirit of the occasion. To show my appreciation, I made you and anyone who would like to join you in naked skydiving, a free t-shirt.

Yes, I realize that making this shirt was a complete waste of time. Thanks.

As if I don’t have enough to deal with, @heinakroon is on the verge of ruining everything, “I didn’t want to say anything, but it’s my army of killer robots helping me to take over the world. Don’t worry and stay calm.” Great, @heinakroon, I am having enough trouble generating excitement for this month’s Apocalypse already. I don’t need you sending out killer robots to distract everyone. You need to get these things on the calendar in advance. How’s February for you?

Of all the naysayers, @IbecameMyDad is the worst of them, suggesting the whole thing is the result of old pipes, “I think you’ve been misled; this time around it’s the “Rupture.” It’s just a plumbing issue. Get some boots and you’ll be fine.” He’s probably right, but I like to stay optimistic and think the end of the world is at hand. Plus, I just had the plumber out last week and I really don’t want to pay for another service call. So, let’s get ready for this thing.

Rapture Apocalypse Dress Code: No, we are not going naked (except for @larwe, obviously)

Since the day of Rapture Apocalypse is at hand, I will at least help everyone with the dress code. Some of you, like @rebecca_ods, are not satisfied with just dashing off into the sky naked. “I need more info! Once again I have no idea how to dress! Should I sleep in my clothes just in case?”  Rapture Apocalypse is, after all, a special occasion, and some of us would like to be able to dress for it. Also, I am on the same page with @BanterBurbia, “if that means I have to spend my last day on earth shaving, I’m out.”

@jbrown3079 definitively stated that the dress code for the upcoming Rapture will be “Disaster Casual.” But just what is Disaster Casual? Let’s consider our options.

@_viouslymaggie suggests, "Dress for Halloween in case we don’t make it. Also, it will be easier to sort the saint and sinners that way." This is a terrible idea by the way. I have only had the chance to blog about two of my Halloween costume suggestions. Three if you count the meth lab t-shirt. Everyone is going to be wearing shirts about being drug addicts, serial killers, and having meth labs. There is no way Jesus is going to let someone past the gates wearing a meth lab shirt. Sorry @_viouslymaggie, nice try but we will NOT be wearing our Halloween costumes.

@daralynnieloo will be wearing “my new slippers, new jeans, favorite t-shirt, my new pea coat and scarf. Don’t wanna miss out on getting to wear the new stuff.” There is nothing worse than buying a new pea coat and never getting a chance to wear it because of Rapture Apocalypse.

@debihen is going with “flowing robes and pipe cleaner halo.” She suggests you “check the Halloween dept for wings. That ought to be appropriate.” Can you bring some extra pipe cleaners, @debihen? I don’t have time to go to the craft store, and I really want to get in. I have some questions I want to ask God.

@me_mumstheword says pajamas, “my favorite attire for all important events,” are the way to go. Pajama attire also solves @rebecca_ods’ dilemma of whether to sleep in your Apocalyptic attire. Two birds, one stone. Well done, @me_mumstheword. Except, you probably shouldn’t be throwing rocks at birds.

So, do you hear that, Rapture Planning committee? “Disaster Casual” is any recently purchased clothing, wings, pipe cleaner halos, and pajamas. Write that down.

Packing for the Afterlife

Another little known fact about Rapture Apocalypse is that you can pack a bag. You are allowed one carry-on item of any size. A hand basket is a nice choice, in case you end up going to hell in it later. It is always more convenient to go to hell in your own hand basket. A trip to hell couldn't be that much worse than a shopping experience at your local Wal-mart. Just pack whatever xanax and wine you would ordinarily take for that type of outing.

Have a Nice Apocalypse

So, when you see @larwe skydiving naked with a pipecleaner halo, you will know the big day has arrived. If you see killer robots, then @heinakroon has ruined everything.

Happy Rapture everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Costume Series: Drug Addict

On seeing the title of this post, you are probably thinking:  What kind of costume is this where I either admit to being, or suddenly become, a drug addict? Drug addiction is a serious issue and not a laughing matter!

Well, relax. I am not suggesting that you go out buy rows of cocaine or start a meth lab. I mean, if you feel you need to do these things to make the shirt more convincing so you can win some sort of misguided Halloween contest, there is nothing I can do to stop you.  Just know that it is a bad idea.

What I am suggesting is that you become addicted to drugs you do not have to make for yourself in a lab or buy from guys in the street. I don’t think I could help you buy drugs in the street anyway. I have walked around on streets quite a bit and no one has ever offered to sell me drugs.

I am probably missing the drug vendors because I am too distracted trying to navigate crosswalks and not get hit by cars. You see, I live in Texas, and you are not supposed to walk anywhere in Texas. People know this, so they are in their huge SUVs and four-door trucks, ready and willing to take you out for the slightest misstep. If I wasn’t so worried about dying, I’m sure I would be able to focus better on which of my fellow pedestrians are selling the drugs.

In the meantime, I have decided to become addicted to Claritin D. I have become quite good at skulking around the pharmacy. Then, when the time is right, with shifty eyes and a quiet tone, I ask the pharmacist to get my drugs from behind the counter.  While I admit that my daring adventures may seem exciting, in reality, the life of a drug addict is fraught with hardship. Withdrawal symptoms for my addiction include watery eyes and get ready for it…. the dreaded phlegm.  If you are smart, you won’t come to my intervention. I’ll be going through a lot of Kleenex and it won’t be pretty.

On the plus side, I think @zippy219 would agree that a little drug trafficking is worth ridding the world of phlegm.

This shirt is in case you decided NOT to follow my advice, and you went ahead with the meth lab.  I like to think I am open-minded about these things.

UPDATE: If you have indeed decided to start your own meth lab, I am including a link to an article by Bill Rempel, author and award-winning journalist (NO, I am NOT making this up... this guy actually has credentials. You should be honored to be reading my well-informed blog. Well, not honored, relieved maybe, that you have not completely wasted your time).

The article, "7 Secrets of a Highly Efficient Criminal Organization," contains everything you need to know for all your meth lab related activities. Through his investigation of Columbia's Cali drug cartel, Bill reveals sage advice like the importance of buying a good reputation. He doesn't mention how much a really good one costs, but what do you care? You are making money hand over fist with your meth lab. Also, did you know you can look innocent simply by driving a Mazda??? No one ever tells me these things!

The last bit of advice is to "Always have a Plan B." My Plan B is to have someone set up to pay for my snacks in jail. I hear they are really expensive.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Costume Series: Serial Killer

I forgot that the entire reason I wanted a t-shirt catalog was too make up a bunch of t-shirts for Halloween so people wouldn’t feel the pressure to dress up. Now we are halfway through October, and I suddenly remember my original goal. That is just like something I would do. I also have great plans for a Thanksgiving blog that I will most likely get around to posting after New Year’s.

Anyway, my point about Halloween is that I am not a kid anymore. When I was a kid, I had to go door to door in a cheap plastic mask with tiny little holes for breathing so that I could be oxygen deprived the entire night. And also there was an elastic string attached with the cheapest staple possible so that it inevitably detatched and had to be fixed on the fly MacGyver-style. See example below:

Check out The Ghost of Halloween Past at EncinoMom to learn more about the plastic mask experience.

I am an adult now. I can buy a Snicker’s bar anytime I want one. I don't have to be stuck with the 'fun' size either. I can buy the non-fun size that actually seems more fun because there is a bunch more candy involved. 

Seeing as how I am in full control of my own candy supply, I should not be required to wear a costume. To make matters worse, you can’t get those masks with the holes cut in the eyes anymore. Adult costumes involve wigs and fishnet panty hose and strange shoes. You also have popular culture to look into in case you want to be someone from the cast of Jersey Shore. The whole thing is a mess.

Dozens of you are probably on the verge of wandering around in a Halloween store run by stoned college kids just so you can find something appropriate to wear for a costume contest or office party.  Luckily, this blog has saved you. In the next few days I will present a line of t-shirts focusing on changes you can make on the inside so you don’t have to wear odd clothing on the outside. You won’t even need to buy strange shoes. You will simply become a strange person.

Let’s start off by looking at serial killers. People live next door to serial killers for years before they describe them to the news team as ‘reserved’ while detectives dig for bones in the backyard. So, logically, you won’t have to wear anything distinctive if you suddenly decide to become a serial killer for the day. 

You may be thinking that is almost like my idea for the 'NOT a Serial Killer' shirt, but it is actually the polar opposite of that idea, and therefore totally unique.

I’m planning to sell this shirt with a vial of fake blood so you can casually leave the room and return with strategically placed splatters. Keep in mind you will have to do this more than once. You are, after all, a serial killer. If you can have people disappear mysteriously from the location, this will further improve the efficiency of the costume.  You should probably be caught at the end of the night digging a hole in the backyard to fill with bones.

The next costume will be a surprise. I have to get these out quick before Halloween is here or the rapture comes. Someone told me it has been rescheduled for this Friday, the rapture, not Halloween. Hopefully, none of you have made other plans.

Side Note: EncinoMom, along with the nostalgic mask story, also has a great recipe for Halloween Pancakes. I urge you to try this recipe if you have kids and aren't an epic fail in the kitchen. I would like to try the recipe myself, but you need Halloween pancake forms and I only have Christmas cookie cutters that I never even got around to using for cookies at Christmas. You are probably way more organized that me though, so here is the link:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Office Stealth

Last week’s post focused on winning at small talk. However, it occurred to me that some of you would rather NOT win at small talk. If you prefer to go through your day without chatting about sports, you will need a lesson in office strategies of war.

Stealth Mode: The best way to deal with the enemy is to not engage.

@daralynnieloo suggests the most obvious, yet very important office stealth tactic: “ hiding within your cubicle.” I recommend you also have a complicated spreadsheet handy you can stare at intently. People will be less likely to bother you if you look busy.

Eventually you are going to have to leave your cubicle to get snacks. When leaving the safety of the cubicle, @daralynnieloo suggests you “dress in an abstract pattern based off colors in your surrounding area, the randomer the better. Also, face paint.” I know what you are thinking, you have a meeting later and that face paint is really hard to wash off. There must be an easier way, like a cloaking device.

While one would assume cloaking devices to be fairly common in the workplace, @heinakroon says, “There are cloaking devices nowadays, but they only work in infrared and microwave spectra so far.” However, I’m pretty sure I can get the microwave in our break room to produce come cloaking technology if people would stop using it to make popcorn. What good is it to be cloaked if you smell like burnt popcorn? It probably won’t help that much.

In fact, @heinakroon most likely already has stealth technology all worked out. He is keeping it under wraps, you see. The problem with stealth technology is that you can never share it because then everyone around you would have stealth. Then you would have to get even stealthier technology to overpower the first stealth technology. Pretty soon you will be so stealthy that you won’t even exist.

In case you somehow aren’t successful at adopting microwave spectra stealth technology, @me_mumstheword suggests, “Look like you need something and no one will see you.” To facilitate this, I have made you a line of office stealth t-shirts.

This last one didn't work for some reason.

While it may not be possible to travel through the office entirely unobserved, protective materials and behaviors can be implemented to prevent enemy approach and ensure your safe return to the cubicle. @daralynnieloo suggests that you “wander around with a stack of papers that you are pretending to make sense of. Constantly flip thru and mumble.” For increased effectiveness, @fearthecute has a list of specific muttering words you may find helpful. They include ‘deadlines’, ‘client’, ‘report’, and ‘presentation’.

Cubicle Invasion: AKA the peer-and-glare

The peer-and-glare is a classic form of cubicle invasion and requires more aggressive measures, including, but not limited to cats.

When @sepilipa told us all that she “got the peer-over and glare from the girl in the cube next to mine.” @SparkerPants quickly came to the rescue with a very practical suggestion. “Bring a cat to the office, hold it over the cube divide. No one does the peer-and-glare like a cat.”

@sepilipa's cat demonstrating the dreaded cubicle peer-and-glare: an expert for sure.

To get this plan to work, you will need to consider how you will transport the cat.  You will most likely need to sneak the cat into the office since cats are notoriously uncooperative and will never go for the business casual dress code. Dogs on the other hand, would put on a pair of khaki pants without complaint, but they aren’t as good at glaring. So, don’t bring a dog. 

You can probably sneak the cat into your office in a briefcase. Everything looks professional in a briefcase. For tips on getting the cat into the briefcase, please see Wikipedia.

Purchasing the Proper Equipment: Everything important in life is free, except for the really cool stuff.

A lot of people say that throwing money at a problem is not the solution. I would like to ask these people if they have ever TRIED throwing money at the problem. And also, are they throwing enough money at it? Throwing enough money at a problem with solve EVERYTHING. Look at Donald Trump and the hair.

Unless you have decided to pay @fearthecute for some extra muttering words, or @heinakroon for his secret stealth technology, all the suggestions so far have been free. Now I will present some options for those of you who are better funded. Money wins wars, you see. Or starts them. Or perhaps has nothing to do with them, I am really just making this up as I go. Sorry.

@me_mumstheword says that “keeping a bloody hatchet on your desk is a deterrent to unnecessary chatter.” She insists that her hatchet is primarily a ruse, but does admit, “I’d not be afraid to use it. Head-off any pestering, so to speak.”

The hatchet below is actually listed as a “bloody axe” but I like that it already comes with a kill count already carved into the side. People will be less likely to mess with you if they know you have taken someone out in cold blood before lunchtime.

@daralynnieloo keeps “rubber bands and marshmallows” handy to prevent the “peer-and-glare. “Nosy neighbor pulls a Kilroy, bean her between the eyes.” While @daralynneiloo means well with the rubber bands, I urge you to forgo mere rubber bands in favor of this baby from

As an added bonus, it is camouflaged. No one will see you until they are unwittingly pegged with marshmallows. Buy one even if you don’t have an office job. It will facilitate the interview process in case you decide to get one.

Well, I gotta go for now. I have a spreadsheet to stare at and I am pretty sure I just saw @heinakroon duck around the corner under the cover of infrared microwaves.  It was the cat he was carrying that gave him away.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to Establish Rapport in the Work Place

My friend sent me an email link to an article about small talk. I was initially thrilled for the small talk advice. However, I was a little put out that the article was titled, "Asperger’s Syndrome at Work: Why Small Talk Matters." To make matters worse, the article is actually an excerpt from the book, Asperger’s Syndrome Workplace Survival Guide: A Neurotypical’s Secrets for Success.

Why would ANYONE, much less a close friend, send me an Asperger's Syndrome article? There is nothing wrong with me, you see.

Of course, if there is nothing wrong with you, you probably don't need the shirt, but that is NOT the point I am trying to make here.

So, of course, instead of reading the article, I call her yelling, "What the hell! You think I have some sort of syndrome?!?"  To which she responds that I most likely have a multitude of syndromes for which there are no cure and/or medical treatment and why can’t I just read the goddamn article for Christ’s sake?

Still a bit annoyed, I find the article and begin reading. My indignation dissolves at the first sentence:  "If you are like many people with Asperger’s Syndrome, you categorize small talk as a nonsensical ritual where people waste time talking about stupid subjects no one really cares about." Crap. I think I have Aspergers.

According to Barbara Bissonnette, author of the Asperger's article, small talk is actually a "critical workplace skill." Sharing friendly comments with your fellow employees "sends the message that you consider yourself to be part of the group." Also, you never know when you are going to need your car jump-started and if you go around being an ass to everyone, probably no one will help you. The article didn’t come right out and say this, but I’m sure it is what Barbara was getting at.

I will now summarize the most important points of the article combined with valuable insights from my own personal experience. I won’t bother to separate these in any way because what I have to say is just as relevant, if not more so, than the published work of a writing professional. In fact, I guarantee that after reading this, we will ALL be winning at small talk. Ready?

There are three very important factors to consider for winning at small talk. These include:

1.     Discussion Length

Small talk is the discussion of a general topic for the typical duration of five minutes.  The actual passage of time may seem much longer than five minutes, so you need to find a way to keep track of the time without being obvious. When the conversation is near the five minute mark, you are done. Actually, after four minutes, you can break from the conversation abruptly at any time.

2.     Topic Choice

You should choose a neutral topic that won’t make people uncomfortable or angry. The article specifically says not to call anyone fat, but you should probably already be aware of that, so I won’t go over it. If you follow sports teams or watch popular programming, these are great conversation topics.  However, if you do not watch televised football or keep up with who got fired from Dancing with the Stars, this is a serious shortcoming on the small talk field and you are never going to win.

3.     Personal Connections

The main point of small talk is to make connections with others. According to Barbara, in order to do this, you have to keep the discussion going for at least two or three turns. In other words, respond to people in a way that encourages conversation rather than prohibits it.

For example, if a guy is standing there in the break room and you really want that Diet Coke or whatever it is you went in there for, you will probably end up talking to him. He might say something like, "Did you see the baseball game last night?" You have two paths available at this point. The first is the more direct path in which you say, "no," grab the Diet Coke and leave. Giant fail! Answering "no" is automatically losing at small talk because you and your opponent have only each had one turn. To win at small talk, you must the take the second path and say something like, "I don’t follow baseball. Do you play?"

I know exactly what you are thinking. This type of statement is leaving the door wide open for this fool to go on and on about baseball and you will never get to drink your Diet Coke. Plus, how do you know that this isn’t going to turn into a situation like when you are nice to a stray dog? This person could follow you home and then refuse to leave your porch until you discuss the entire cast of Glee. Granted, if this type of thing were likely to happen, surely they would outline it in the book. However, I haven’t read the entire book, just the one article.  If someone follows you home and refuses to get off your porch, you should definitely buy the book. They probably tell you how to get people off your porch in the Appendix.

A Successful Small Talk Example

Allow me now to enlighten you with my own personal experience. I am sitting in cubicle world, when one of my fellow cubicle dwellers decides to spark up a conversation. Although my sense of duty in participating in the conversation immediately conflicts with my intense need to end it as quickly as possible, I now recognize the importance of winning at small talk. Luckily, the topic of choice is a neutral one:  trees.  I am winning already.

Cubicle Guy would like to hypothetically have a tree in his yard. Apparently, Fugi applies are in season at the moment, and these are Cubicle Guy’s favorite type of apple. If Cubicle Guy would have had planted a tree of this type in his yard, say, ten years ago, he would now be able to eat all of the apples and have some shade. 

In order to win at small talk, I must choose my response carefully. I consider telling Cubicle Guy it is impossible to plant trees in the past, but I can’t confirm this for a fact. So, instead I tell him, "I like plum trees. I would like to plant a plum tree in my yard."

Things seem to be going well. Cubicle Guy is on his second turn, and I am pretty sure the conversation has taken at least three hours. Winning!

This is when Cubicle Guy states that I should not be planting anything right now, much less a tree, because there is going to be a huge drought next year rivaling the record drought of the 1950’s.
Now I am pissed because I didn’t want to plant a damn tree in the first place. How did I end up with Cubicle Guy telling me what a dumb idea it is to plant a fictional tree in the middle of a future drought?!

However, I MUST MAKE connections and get to that second turn.

Therefore, I tell Cubicle Guy that he is completely right about the tree planting.  To further support his theory, I tell him that we are actually 10,000 years into a major mass extinction event with inevitable ecological crisis. In addition, our ocean currents are slowing and sometime next week everyone will be living either in icy wasteland or barren desert. And also, there was something about sunspots increasing or decreasing, whichever it is, we end up fighting each other for food. Absolutely no one should waste time planting trees right now when we clearly all need to be out hoarding cans of creamed corn.

And then it happens…I WIN! I should get some sort of small talk prize or something.

Evaluating your Success

Now look back on your conversation. Did it last for approximately five minutes? Was your topic neutral? Did the conversation exchange between both participants at least two or three times? If so, you WIN! You are now free to go back to your desk and watch YouTube videos. Here is an exceptionally good one:

Enjoy your day.


For Further Research on inevitable ecological crisis, go to to read "We’re all doomed." In case you have time before we are completely doomed, there is also a great post about whether or not your shampoo is working.

To learn more about the barren wastelands caused by ocean currents and sunspots, you can read Frozen Britain: How the Big Freeze of 2010 is the Beginning of Britain's New Mini Ice Age, by Gavin Cooke. 
However, I would not recommend reading this book unless you enjoy waking up at 3:00am worried about your lack of food fighting and scavenging skills.

"Why Small Talk Matters" was an excerpt from  Asperger’s Syndrome Workplace Survival Guide: A Neurotypical’s Secrets for Success, by Barbara Bissonnette. Think how much you would be winning if you read the whole thing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

About Clocks and Caution Signs

My parents are visiting this weekend, so it is going to be hard to focus in order to write a blog. Any blog I attempt to write under these circumstances will most likely be distracted and incoherent. Therefore, I am going to write a blog about someone else's blog.

Maryann has a blog called Eye of the Beholder. One of her posts, Old Clocks, made a personal connection with me. I too love old clocks and even own a couple myself.

Maryann also likes margaritas. I'm bringing this up as a side note, hoping that Maryann will stop by and bring me one. I may have mentioned my parents are visiting this weekend and it would be nice for someone to bring me a margarita. Glancing out the window now.

-- Several minutes have gone by with no sign of margarita. Hopefully my disappointment will not damper the rest of the blog. On we go.

We were talking about old clocks. I used to work in a really old building. The room I worked in had this cool, completely non-functional, clock wired right into the wall. The building was made back when they didn't have air conditioning and there were transoms on high ceilings to allow for air flow.

-- My dad just came by with a jumpdrive with pictures he wants me to load onto this computer. After an awkward pause, in which I ignored the jumpdrive and kept typing, he said there was "no rush."

Okay... about my clock... when I found out construction crews would be lowering the ceilings to make the building more energy efficient, I knew the clock was doomed.  I pictured it buried behind ceiling tiles, or laying in a pile of construction debris.  My mission was to save it.

-- My husband just came by looking for the lens cover to his camera. He said it was green... or maybe black. I pretended to look around for it, but didn't see it. If anyone knows where it is please post a comment. Thanks.

Anyway, the clock was wired directly into the wall with antique electrical-looking wires which I was pretty sure weren’t live.  Just in case, there was a guy who worked in the building who, after being sworn to secrecy, agreed to cut the wires for me.  You see, I told him that I didn’t know how to cut wires because I was a girl.  Looking back, I should have at least held a big board over him, ready to knock him away from a possible electrical current. I am much more thoughtful about these things now.  I don't know why I can't get more people to do stuff for me.

-- Speaking of getting people to do things... it is getting increasingly hard to write this blog without a margarita, MARYANN.

Anyway, the guy didn't die and now I have this beautiful old clock.

The time on this clock is accurate exactly twice a day, which is enough for me.

I got my second old clock at a garage sale. I found it in a barn next to a space heater.

This clock actually tells time, but it needs a more sordid past.

I regret getting this clock so easily now, because the story behind it isn’t very good. Someone please post a huge lie I can tell about how I got this clock.

-- My dad has come by twice in the past few minutes to see if I have download the pictures from his jumpdrive. Sigh. I wish Maryann would hurry up with that margarita. Hang on...

Okay, pictures are loaded. Let's continue.

We were talking about old clocks. Oh wait, I think I was done with that. Now we are talking about Caution Signs. Maryann has a section of her blog, What Would Your "Caution Sign" Say?? where she introduces the concept of people needing to wear "tiny caution signs to warn friends and family about ourselves." I fully support this.  Along this line of thinking, there are several road signs that would make excellent and very helpful t-shirts.

Here are some examples:

This one is helpful when you arrive at office without first having coffee.

I would wear this all summer for the irony.

There are so many things people should stop doing immediately. Like constantly asking for their jumpdrive back while you are trying to type a blog. Simplify your day by pointing at your shirt.

This one is my new excuse for everything.  No, I can't possibly do the Macarena with you, there are most likely man-eating sharks out on the dance floor.

This one could be dangerous, but I have always found 'Speed Hump' signs hilariously funny.

I would ask you to post further examples, but now my dad is asking if I have seen the picture where we are all looking at a tree, the dog is barking, and NO ONE has updated me on the status of that lens cover. Also, I really need some good stories for that garage-sale clock I have, so you should get busy on that immediately.

Please excuse me now as I spend the rest of the afternoon staring out the window for my margarita. I know for certain Maryann is on her way.

Now my mom wants to make some hot chocolate and doesn't know where it is. She also has some questions about whether to make it from little packages or from the jar of Oval-tine. After an awkward silence, she says there is "no rush."

I gotta go.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

If I were famous, I would be spending way too much time hiding in bathrooms

As some of you are aware, I recently went to a conference. Those of you who are aware of my attendance at this conference are most likely thinking, “Another post about the damn conference???” Which is why I had to trick you into coming over here with an obscure title. Do NOT worry. This is the very, very last post about the conference… unless I think of another one later. But, I probably won’t.

The conference simultaneously terrified me and made me realize how little it takes to strip me out of my comfort zone and make me feel completely out of place. I had more in common with the homeless dude sitting outside of the train station than with any of the conference attendees. Granted, I don’t know why he chose to sit on the steps with all the broken glass on them. I’d like to think I would choose a more desirable location to sit if that was what I had planned for the day, but @lahikmajoe said I have a lot to learn about being homeless.

I spend a lot of time trying to pass myself off as normal; however, the guise is thin and easily dissolved. Walking into the conference ballroom for lunch and finding cards on each table denoting the required conversation topic horrified me.  It is bad enough they expect me to make small talk with a bunch of people I don’t know while trying not to spill food on myself.  They shouldn’t be able to tell me what to say.

Also, I am not going to get all enthusiastic about whatever the keynote speaker is talking about in order to sell his new book.  I’m just not built that way.  Surrounded by all of these serious people with their wholehearted eagerness, I constantly felt a strong urge to go somewhere and hide.

I felt really depressed for being like a fish out of water at this thing until I read through Jenny’s blogs looking for quotes I could use to make fun of it. In her post, “I shouldn’t be allowed to mix with real people,”  she describes spending four hours hiding out in the men’s bathroom during a BlogHer party she was hosting. That is when I realized that real problem in this scenario was NOT my social ineptitude, but the fact that men’s bathroom at this particular location failed to provide an accommodating hiding place.

Due to the lack of men’s bathrooms available as hideout locations, I propose we install Anxiety Rooms for people with social incompetence and/or genuine anxiety disorders.

Don’t feel like having lunch today with a note card demanding you to discuss the Analysis of Community Marketing? Exhausted from cheerful people handing you business cards after PowerPoint presentations? Tired of burying yourself in cocktails so everyone around you will start making sense? Try our new Anxiety Room! It is quite comfortable and much similar to a men’s room without the urinals.

To make an unnecessarily long story less long... I survived. After a grueling three days, I gave the bum on the steps a commiserate nod, and boarded the train toward home. I would like to take a moment to thank my Twitter followers for keeping me company and putting up with the conference play-by-play. I appreciate you more than you know. And also, thanks to Jenny for reminding me that even though lunch table topics terrify me, I can still count myself in good company.


To close with the last part, what you’re drinking at Starbucks is not national security.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to Endure a PowerPoint Presentation

Some of you are excruciatingly aware based on my Twitter and Blog rants that I recently went to a conference.

This conference, which sucked all the humor out of my brain, was divided into two tracks, Business and Technical. After a day of watching people type and then point to lines of code, my head went numb. Therefore, I decided to take a break from the Technical Track, and cross over to the Business side.

The first thing I notice about the Business Track is the change in dress code. The polo shirts and torn jeans from the Technical Track have given over to power suits. Also, no one in this room has an iPad, or a laptop open. No one is even typing into a phone. They all have notepads and tablets. Not ThinkPads or electronic tablets either... they are using pens. I decide that I too will get out a pen and take notes. By ‘take notes’ I mean write down random crap I’m thinking during the presentation. My plan is do this with a very serious look on my face so as to appear productive.

Pablo, our presenter for the afternoon, is Italian. I'm not sure if all Italian men resemble a Ken dolls with longer than average side burns, but Pablo does. Pablo thoughtfully takes a moment to inform us of his hobbies. Apparently, he enjoys running, reading, socializing, and jazz. These seem like odd hobbies to me, but then again people describe my hobby as, “Typing sarcastic shit into the Interweb.” I discreetly enter Pablo's list of hobbies into Twitter. A few seconds later, @Handflapper and I agree that Pablo most likely uses liberal amounts of Axe body spray.

There is a snack basket being handed around the room, but I have already had three bags of Cheetos today. I can’t possibly eat anymore Cheetos. Entering information about the surplus of Cheetos into Twitter results in @lahikmajoe challenging the ‘real’ cheese aspect of Cheetos. Sadly, I fail to defend the cheese content and admit to eating orange powder. My potential marketing position over at Cheetos is now in serious jeopardy.

The next slide of Pablo’s Business Track presentation says, “INFORMATION OVERLOAD.” I write this down in huge letters on the notebook. I am so winning at taking notes right now.

I don’t know if all Italian men frame their sentences oddly while using a thick Italian accent, but Pablo does. He declares with enthusiasm that we are “very much overloaded with information.” Apparently, he fails to see the irony that he is very much contributing to the overload.

I check Twitter again. @jbrown3079 suggests that the Cheetos' lack of appeal means it is time to leave the conference post haste. Pablo seems unaware of both @jbrown3079's timely advice and my strong urge to leave his presentation. He pushes on to the next slide which is a picture of Facebook. “Knowledge is evolving,” he states with confidence. I am unsure how this message is connected with Facebook. He really should have gone with Wikipedia for that one, or maybe YouTube.

Pablo’s next slide is inexplicably a Jackson Pollock painting. I am suddenly missing the screens of code. I had a good setup over there with my laptop and duck. Why did I come over here to listen to Pablo? This has been a huge mistake. I check Twitter again to consol myself. @bottledshiny states, “My brain went far, far away.” She must be at this conference somewhere. If I didn’t have to keep my brain in my skull it would have made a run for it a long time ago.

Proceeds from the sale of this shirt go to @bottledshiny. Wait... I suddenly remembered this shirt doesn’t exist. If you see @bottledshiny, just hand her money. Thanks.

About mid-PowerPoint, I notice that Pablo likes to end the most important points of his presentation with the word, ‘whatever.’ Example: “These types of activities are directly linked to content growth and whatever.” “The link between a data driven community is evaluated by business integration, analysis, and whatever.”

Are we supposed to be furnishing the last parts of these statements for him? This could be a call for help. To salvage the rest of the presentation, I will combine Pablo’s statements with those of the most eloquent person I know: The Bloggess.

To decrease legibility, Pablo’s statements are in teal, while contributions stolen from Jenny’s blog are in pink italics. This is all I can do for you today, despite its skull casing, my brain has gone far, far away.

The link between a data driven community is evaluated by business integration, analysis, and I just got molested by a giraffe and I smell like urine.

There are endless opportunities in this type of methodology, but it is very hard to pretend you’re important when all you do is write about clown porn and dead kittens.

A social community is drafting new challenges and homicidal monkey cards for hopeless romantics.

Taking a step forward, we are making this process more useful. You will see the metric here, distracting you with animal tails and mouse skull necklaces.

Who are the influencers of the most important sources of information? Are they prepared for a long vaginal court battle with Eve Ensler?

Hard-linking communities and business improve the internal process, and there are some things that you shouldn’t have to worry about spontaneously combusting and one of those is jam.

To close with the last part, you can dive deep with this in-depth approach, and what I would imagine syphilis smells like.

Don’t get all crazy just ’cause I threw a vampire monkey-wrench in your faulty zombie logic. (Okay, that one was free)