Friday, October 27, 2006

In Memorium

Flinky, my Himalayan cat has given up the ghost in
a food chain skirmish with a local coyote...gone
48 hours now and no forensic evidence. Since I feel
nothing...I will compensate by relating a true Flinky
story in 1st person narrative form......

Months ago:

"Honey, can you go into the garage and get me a
bottle of Soft Scrub?" asks my loving wife.....
shouting over a Tori Amos CD booming out of the
bedroom stereo.

"Sure Hon"....I reply. I slip on my tennis shoes
and head into the garage. The cabinet in which the
Soft Scrub and other household cleaning items are
stored is blocked by my beloved VTX.

I mount the X and flip up the kickstand and begin
to push backwards. My current pair of tennis shoes
feature a uniquely textured sole which is
ideal for doing the moonwalk. My right foot slipped
forward after losing its purchase on the smooth
concrete.....this event, and the fact that my X was
leaning precariously sent the bike and I
tipping to the right and slamming into the face of
the cabinet. As I was going over I just remember
saying "Nope nope...NOPE!...NOPE!!!!!! through
gritted teeth.

This was my position: My right leg was hyper-extended
along the floor and the face of the cabinet. My left
leg was angled 120 degrees from my right and hung up
and over the seat. This angle stretched my jeans so
tightly I could feel my testicles return to their
original position they enjoyed when I was just an embryo.

My left arm was free. My right arm was wedged against
my side and the cabinet. I was stuck. For some strange
reason, I was unable to lift the bike off of me with
only my left arm. After all, just the day before I was
able to lift an entire half-gallon of milk from the
fridge with my left arm alone.

I don't know if you guys fully appreciate how heavy
a VTX is when your testicles are unavailable.

About the same time I decided to yell for help from
Desiree....I heard the shower start upstairs. I also
heard the stereo change to OZOMATLI, a Latin/Salsa/Reggaeton/
and Hip Hop group.....very loud....good....but loud.
So much for yelling for help.....and Desiree's shower
ritual takes at least 20 minutes.

I fight off an anxiety attack by breathing deeply
and thinking of food. And then our Himalayan cat
pops through the cat door and into the garage.

Having seen numerous episodes of Lassie in my
youth....I take a chance with the cat. "Go get
Mom, Flinky!!!.......get help HELP!" The cat stares
at me with an inscrutable blankness. It saunters
over and examines the perimeter of the accident
scene with complete indifference. I try again
and nothing. Flinky then steps lightly into
her cat box and commences to take the foulest dump
I've ever smelled.

Now I'm mad.....and I'm on my own. This is the time
to tap into the final reserves of strength and brains.
I wedge my left arm against the base of the tank and
push against the cabinet....the bike moves!......I
manage to straight-arm my right arm and this allows me
to pull my right leg back so I can get some leverage off
the floor.....the X now edges past the angle of repose and
begins to fall the other direction....and I assure you
all at this point, I didn't care.

The leading edge of my weight machine caught the X
right at the front frame/radiator before it fell at
all.....it was almost upright when it stopped. Kickstand
down, I sit on the bike and breathe deeply. I dust off,
check the bike and myself.....no harm done. I head back
into the house and past the cat who is now pawing
odor-eating granules over her little shit pile. I kick
the box sending the cat into a vertical jump of several
feet and I am pleased to see the hang time at her apogee.
I stare at her with an inscrutable blankness......and then
my testicles descended with an audible "pop".

I go upstairs and open the bathroom door to relate the
whole exciting event to Desiree and before I can say
anything she asks...."Where's the Soft Scrub?...Did you
forget it?"

I head back downstairs......and both cats scramble
to get out of my way.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Somebody sent this to me....

Dance, Monkeys, Dance
by Ernest Cline

Orbiting the sun at about 98 million miles
is a little blue planet
and this planet is run
by a bunch of monkeys.

Now, the monkeys don't think of
themselves as monkeys.
They don't even think of themselves as animals
And they love to list all the things
that they think
separate them from the animals:
Opposable thumbs, self awareness . . .
They'll use words like
Homo Erectus and Australopithecus.

You say Toe-mate-o,
I say Toe-motto.
They're animals all right.
They're monkeys.
Monkeys with high-speed digital fiber optic technology,
but monkeys nevertheless.

I mean, they're clever.
You've got to give them that.
The Pyramids, skyscrapers, phantom jets,
the Great Wall of China.
That's some pretty impressive shit . . .
for a bunch of monkeys.

Monkeys whose brains have evolved
to such an unmanageable size
that it.s now pretty much impossible
for them stay happy for any length of time

In fact, they're the only animals
that think they're supposed to be happy.
All of the other animals can just be.

But it's not that simple for the monkeys.

You see, the monkeys are cursed with consciousness
and so the monkeys are afraid.
So the monkeys worry.
The monkeys worry about everything,
but mostly about what all the other monkeys think.
Because the monkeys desperately want to fit in
with the other monkeys.

Which is hard to do,
because a lot of the monkeys seem to hate each other.
This is what really separates them from the other animals.
These monkeys hate.
They hate monkeys that are different.
Monkeys from different places,
monkeys who are a different color-

You see, the monkeys feel alone.
All six billion of them.

Some of the monkeys pay another monkey
to listen to their problems.

Because the monkeys want answers
and the monkeys don't want to die.
So the monkeys make up gods
and then they worship them.
Then the monkeys argue
over whose made-up god is better.
Then the monkeys get really pissed off
and this is usually when the monkeys decide
that it's a good time to start killing each other.

So the monkeys wage war.
The monkeys make hydrogen bombs.
The monkeys have got their whole fucking planet
wired up to explode.
The monkeys just can't help it.

Some of the monkeys play to a sold out crowd . . .
of other monkeys.

The monkeys make trophies
and then they give them to each other.
Like it means something.

Some of the monkeys think
that they have it all worked out.
Some of the monkeys read Nietzsche
The monkeys argue about Nietzsche
without giving any consideration to the fact
that Nietzsche
was just another fucking monkey.

The monkeys make plans.
The monkeys fall in love.
The monkeys fuck
and then they make more monkeys.

The monkeys make music
and then the monkeys DANCE
Dance, monkeys, dance.

The monkeys make a hell of a lot of noise.
Exhibit A
Monkey making noise.
And when he's done,
five other randomly selected monkeys
will rate this monkey's noises
on a scale from one to ten.
And at the end of the night,
they add all the numbers up
to see which monkey made the best noises.

As you can see . . .
these are some fucked up monkeys.

These monkeys are at once the ugliest
and most beautiful creatures on the planet.

And the monkeys don't want to be monkeys.
They want to be something else.
But they're not.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

NSA monitoring of phone calls

My company designs theme parks and attractions...and the occasional museum exhibit. Much of our work is international and lately almost all of it in the Gulf. I often wonder if our own personal, crew-cut NSA agent is sitting in a dark office in front of a console and listening to us because of our daily calls to the Middle East. If he is, I feel sorry for him...because most of the calls go something like this:

RING-RING....RING RING

"Good morning, Contour, this is Chris"

"Good morning Chris, this is Abdullah" (Abdullah is our client)

"Good evening Abdullah my friend! How are you?

"Chris.......can you call me back in 20 minutes?"

twenty minutes later....we pay for the call.

"Good evening Abdullah! how are you?"

"Allo Chris...hee-hee how are you?"

"Abdullah, we sent the specs for the utility requirements to the Peter, he should copy you on those."

" yes Chris....tank you...hee hee"

"And Abdullah?"

"Yes Chris...hee hee"

"Did you like the color of the Crawly Balls in the Kiddie Space?"

"Yes Chris, very nice..."

"Abdullah?"

"Yes Chris....hee hee"

"Our payment?...you said it would arrive in two weeks....and this is now the fourth week."

"Yes Chris...I'm sorry....but there was a holiday and the bank was closed, you see."

"Is the bank closed this week too?"

"yes....but I will send the payment in two weeks"

"Two weeks?

"Yes Chris..hee hee.....two weeks.....Chris....I have to go"

"Thank you Abdullah...talk to you soon"

"Good bye Chris...hee hee."

I wonder how much time is going to be wasted trying to find some code in Crawly balls.
We actually like Abdullah very much. Doing business in the Gulf takes some getting used to. When I tell someone I work on projects in Dubai and Qatar, the immediate impression is what most people see on the news with footage of Iraq and elsewhere. Dubai is like Las Vegas, Walt Disney World and New York combined...all brand new...and all expensive...and all about business and the business of business...with resorts and beaches thrown in for good measure.

More later

Apathy is so underated

It takes a lot of effort and restraint to reach a sophisticated level of apathy in the face of public pressure to "get involved". Pick any controversial issue from illegal immigration to George W. Bush (who I still find entertaining) and I will give you my best shrug..arms down, palms forward, with a slight tilt of my head. I don't care. I don't care. I care about many other things...but not things I have no control over.

I care that I now have an "equator" around my formally svelt midsection. Try cinching a belt below the equator and my jeans are always slipping down around my hips. God forbid I should cinch my jeans above my equator...then I would look like Murray, the guy who used to do my dad's books.

I care that my memory seems to get worse everyday. I go upstairs for a reason. Then I forget why I went up stairs. Then I go downstairs to see if I can trigger the lost memory. Then, sometimes I forget why I went back downstairs, which basically leaves me where I started...except that I'm winded and my angina is kicking in, for some reason.

Oh yeah, apathy. Not enough Americans really appreciate true apathy. Wake up People!!! Get going!

So much to say

But for now, suffice to say that I will be posting more in the next few weeks... My work takes me to the Middle East quite often, great fodder for commentary. We have projects in Doha, and Dubai...and Abu Dhabi. All of these projects are themed attractions, location-based entertainment or theme parks. Doing business with the Emerati is fascinating but requires great patience.

I ride a Honda VTX 1800 Retro, also great fodder. I used to own a Harley that never ran. Well, I suppose it ran at some point, but not while I owned it. It was given to me by a bookie in Oregon who was hiding assets from the IRS. I didn't know this of course, I just thought he was a very generous guy.

More later...and a big shout out to the California VTX Riders..north and south.

Before this gets too bovine, I'll get busy figuring out how to manage this profile thing.