Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions

Once upon a time (or perhaps more than once. I think they had sequels!) Mad magazine put out a book of snappy answers to stupid questions, and I got my fat little fingers on a copy of it when I was a youth of maybe nine or ten.

The book, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, would have a strip with someone doing something very obvious, like fishing. There'd be a bucket next to him, with a large fish, and some passerby would stop and say "Wow, d'you catch that fish?!" and the fisherman would answer, three different times... 1. No, I talked him into giving up. 2. No, I was walking by and the darn thing just jumped into my bucket. 3. No, it's a plastic decoy for attracting other fish.

This kinda thing was (and is!) RIGHT up my alley. Never before had I seen a book so funny, and so useful!

I learned a lot that year about the kinds of things some people thought were funny, and how other people didn't always agree.

I was reminded of this book recently while at my nephew's High School graduation party. The wife and kids and I had attended, and had a great time. We ended up leaving a bit early cause my kids turn into imps when their sleep schedule is disrupted. Pretty much requires me to be home every night by 7pm for the foreseeable future.

As we were pulling into the driveway, my wife realized we'd left a couple of necessary items, and we'd have to go back. My mother in law was home, so we put the kids to bed, and headed on back. The gig was still going on, so we let ourselves back in, got our stuff and prepared to leave again.

My nephew, who'd just graduated saw me and said "Didn't you guys leave already?" "Yeah," I said. We'd left X, Y and Z." Someone who'd been there standing off to the side for the whole brief conversation said "Awe man, did you come back?"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stick I.T. - Remote Support

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blog your name out - maTthew

The truth is important to me. When someone lies about something, they're warping your perception of reality, you see. You think that events occurred, that did not, or occurred in a different way than they really did... This could lead to you speaking as an authority on something based on incorrect facts. You could look like a fool! That sort of disregard for another's image is really kind of deplorable when you think about it in this way, isn't it?

When something other than the truth is presented to me as fact, that person is saying a few things to me.

  1. They do not believe I am capable of knowing the truth. They don't trust me to have the facts. 
  2. They think that I'm too dumb to figure out the truth for myself. 
  3. They're not afraid enough of me to worry about what's going to happen when I discover that I've been mislead. 
  4. They do not respect me enough to save me from walking around this life with an invalid version of reality in my head. 
My five year old is at the stage of her life where she's learning these things about me.

  1. She seems to wonder: "How pissed would dad be if he knew the truth?" 
  2. She doesn't think too much about me finding out the truth. Not that she thinks I'm too dumb to figure it out, mind you... That's what I keep telling myself anyway. 
  3. She's progressively getting less afraid of what happens when I discover the truth. 
  4. Again, she's not thinking about my image, cause she's five. Life would be better for her, if in my mental reality, for the first time ever since the creation of physics, the inanimate objects flew across the room of their own volition and broke. She's clearly a firm believer in "a first time for everything". She believes in it so much that she'll give me the far less likely, unbelievable version of reality expecting that I will buy it, and when I speak of it as an authority, others will gasp in astounded awe. 
So what do these facts say to me? 
  1. She knows there's a good chance that I'll be pissed. Well good. That's a start. I've taught her well. 
  2. Although I know she's only 5, and the mind doesn't really think ahead until much later in life, I'm continually blown away at just how much smarter than me she thinks she is.
  3. I need to step it up a little when I blow the lid off of scandal. Clearly my reaction is far too pedestrian. Time for some shock and awe. It sucks that you can't spank kids anymore, cause I got mine. I did my time. And it worked. SO much easier than dreaming up punishments, or timing thing while they sit in a corner. When I screwed up it was "I'm going to smack the shit outta you!". Now that I'm in the driver's seat, I gotta dream up some new creative unexpected thing. "I'm going to... Throw out... something!" like I know what any of her toys are, much less where the ones she really likes happen to be. I can't remember events either, so I can't even threaten to not let her do something she's looking forward to. When we plan things for her, we don't tell her, so that she doesn't drive us nuts being all excited about it... Kinda leaves me with "Just don't do it again!" twenty years ago, I'd have been able to tell her that I'd smack her into the middle of next week, and be done with it. Sorry about the huge paragraph here, but when I hit enter, it starts item number 4.
  4. If I can't get her to knock it off, at the rate she's growing / learning, she'll be able to tell me anything she wants and make it convincing, and I'll be screwed. She's going to be smarter than me before I know it. I'm hoping that respect thing kicks in. 
I went on a tirade today. She and I did the normal "do you want X for dinner," "No" "well that's what we're having." "I thought we could have Y" "No, we don't have Y, we're having X"... Today it was about what to drink with dinner. Water was the X, and Juice was the Y. 

Let me clarify that a little... 

"Daddy, can I have some juice?" "No, hunny, we don't have any juice. Matter of fact, we're short on Milk too, how about some water". "No thanks." "Well then, you'll be having nothing then?" 

Now, we DO have a juice container in the fridge, but it isn't holding juice, it's left over coffee, that I make Iced Coffee with. I knew she'd seen it and figured she thought that it was perhaps grape juice.

For some reason, I have a peculiar pet peeve... When I know why someone is doing something that I don't want them to do, it makes me even madder when they don't stop doing that thing. I'm really sorry for that horrible explanation, but that's about as good as I can do... I think of it like when someone is telling a joke, and you already know the punch-line and it's not funny, even though the joke itself is very funny in it's own merit... 

So I told her we had no juice, and instead of trusting that I know what I'm talking about, she pushed back her chair to get up, and my tirade began. 

"So this is the part where after having just been told that we don't have juice, you're going to get up thinking that I don't know what the F I'm talking about, and you're going to go over to the fridge and point to this jug that looks like juice and tell me we do have juice, and then I have to say No dear, that's not juice, that's coffee, and then you say Oh. and you go sit back down, and I end up getting you water and you freakin drink it, shocked that I am actually right. right?"

Perhaps it was a little over the top, but. yeah. 

She'd gotten so far as sliding down off her chair, by the time I finished my tantrum. She looked at me like "duh" and said "No... I have to go to the bathroom." And she went off to the bathroom. I stood there, still angry, but a different kind of angry... more a smoldering pile of coals rather than a raging fire. She came back out a second later, and climbed back up onto her chair, and suddenly I realized that I was NOT wrong! And NOW she'd lied to me too! 

"You weren't in there for four seconds!" I shouted as if I'd cracked a major case. 

"I was quick" she shrugged. (See item 2 in the first list up top.)

"Don't lie to me!" I said, totally calling her bluff like a badass. No response. Nothing. (See item 3 in the second list up above) She settled into her chair, ate, and said "Mmm, this is the best water in the whole world." 

...OK, no, she didn't make that comment about the water, but It was funny. Note, that I cared enough about you, gentle reader, to allow you to believe a non-truth. I'm clearly afraid enough of what you'd do if you found out... 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monstrously aggravated.

I have joined another blog challenge, like the A to Z, but instead of A to Z, it's M to W.... sort of.... The basis of this challenge, put on by this gracious lass, is to make blog entries in accordance with the letters of your first, middle or last name. I elected to go with Matthew, since that is my name..

I'm frustrated. I've had a really shitty day today.

I work for an outsourced I.T. department, and today was our staff meeting in another state. I didn't attened because I'm one of two people in this state of lovely MA. Our headquarters has 9 folks in PA. Sometimes we fly down, but it makes more sense for us to stay where we are and cover the remote calls.

Typically, I cover the phones, and schedule remote tickets. Today, was like any other where I would do that, except that my computer was experiencing problems. How embarrassing is that? People call our company because they need help with their computers, and they get me... who is having trouble with his computer...

I'm extremely bothered that the workload that I would have (gladly) shouldered today was dumped on someone else, due to technical problems which took me until now to remedy. ...and in fact, I'm just waiting for necessary software to download.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: I've had enough beer that this is all just something to be amused about, and typos are very difficult to avoid. ...and I'm tired. Yes, I'm that guy who proclaims to love a good beer, but falls asleep after only a few. I'm not very good company right now, I wager. Either I'm exhausted, or if given the chance to work up some energy, I'm probably just angry.

SO! Sorry if this is your first introduction to my blog, it's probably not the best day to meet me, but I promise it will get.. I dunno, different? :) Amusing is a relative turn, and I HAVE lost a couple of followers this week, so who is to say, right? :D

Stick around at least, there'll be different things to read. :)

What do to blow off steam or relax? Does drinking help or hurt your aggravation? Have you ever been stopped from doing your job, but the very thing that your job requires you do?

Stick I.T. - No Signal on My Iphone

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mr. Goodwin's Purple Wicker Pickle Bucket

This post is likely to be lengthy (insert mock gasp of feigned shock) and requires a little foreshadowing. There are two aspects of my wacky personality that converge to produce the meat and potatoes of this post, so if you find yourself wondering how I shift gears from one thing to the other... just read on.

Also, I'm posting this story for two reasons... One, because it's perhaps mildly amusing... Two, I'm trying to see what kinds of crazy things I can get to show up in my keyword results. For more on that, click on the WTFHUH??? tab up at the top of the page.

Be forewarned, there's a good chance you're going to get to the end of this post and wish you could get the last five minutes of your life back. It's a long story, and it's not overly funny. If you get no amusement out of this post whatsoever, my apologies... I make no promises.

Firstly: I love the English language. I like learning new words, and even making up my own. Back in High School I used to (mostly while in class) think about words I thought were just funny sounding. "Much". When said by it self sounds funny. I also think it ought to have a T in it, like "Hutch". Hippo is sorta fun to say too. Puddle. Wicker. Dumpster. These were all on my list of funny words.

Secondly: I have passed every hearing test I've ever had with flying colors. I'm not deaf. However, I have a very difficult time hearing words clearly when there's background noise. Air conditioners are the most inconvenient thing for my listening comprehension lately. TVs are another. ...and kids. Perhaps it's ironic because of my pet peeve about having to repeat myself, that I have to keep asking others to repeat themselves...

The last time I went out for a drink with the wife and her friends, there was a live band. After about ten minutes, I resorted to texting the people we were with instead of yelling over the band. It's very frustrating.

Because of this difficulty, I sometimes find myself guessing at what the person said. Frequently, I'm correct. I can usually figure out what they said based on what's going on, and what I know about the person speaking. For instance, I would have sworn under oath that my five year old just told me "You have to clean the urinal. Thanks". Now... Much to my chagrin, we do not have a urinal, so I knew that was no what she said. I looked over and saw that she was looking in on her new pet turtle, and I knew she must have said "Turtle tank" and not "urinal. Thanks."

Another such example is a TV commercial where some executive big wig gets on the phone and says "Nope, there's no law against having just appetizers for dinner." The first time it was on, I wasn't paying attention, and thought he said "there's no law against having hepatitis for dinner".

There are times where someone will say something, and I'll be completely at a loss, and have to ask what they said. They'll say it again, and then ask "Why, what did you think I said?". I almost never tell them what it sounded like, because invariably, I get "Why the hell would you think I said that??" which I then have to say "I didn't think you said that, that's why I asked you to tell me what it was you actually did say."'s much easier to just say I didn't hear.

Moving on...

My enjoyment of saying words that sound funny, regardless of whether or not they had anything to do with the conversation at hand, or even if there was no conversation at all, continued even unto this day. It has never yielded more interesting results than it did back a decade or so at my first "real" job.

I worked in a room drawing duct work with a half dozen other folks. I had speakers, and a fairly large number of mp3s, so I usually chose the soundtrack. It was actually fairly obnoxious of me. In my defense however, if someone asked me to turn it down or off, I would comply.

There are those though, would won't ask such a thing. One of the other folks who shared the room was one of those big-talking, "I'm funny cause I swear", clearly over compensating for some kind of insecurity, stand-offish sorts, who loved Howard Stern. One day, he got himself some speakers, and began broadcasting Howard Stern. I am not now, and was not then, a Stern fan, nor were any of the others in the room we shared.

Fortunately, I could just drown it out with my music, which I'd have gladly turned off and sported my headphones, if he'd asked.

Around this time, my "funny of choice" was "wicker" and I'd try to make tongue twisters with it. It paired nicely with purple and pickle. It just so happened that I came across a website with the phrase "Pickle Bucket". What made it worse was that I'd gotten one of the other fellows in the room to enjoy the tongue twisting with me. (Boy, that sounds wrong.) He was much better at weaving the wicker words than I was.

One day I entered the room, my hearing totally confused by the music I'd left on and Howard Stern's latest fart joke, and the Stern fan was grinning about something he found funny, and said "Matt. Mr. Goodwin."

This was not one of those times when I knew that the words I heard were not what were said.

"Who?" I said.
"You," he replied, confusing me worse. Why was he calling me Mr. Goodwin?? Was this an inside joke? I freakin hate inside jokes.
"What the f*ck are you talking about??" I asked irritably.
Nothin fuhget it."

I rolled my eyes and went back to my desk. I knew he wanted me to ask him to please continue, but I wouldn't. (That's another pet peeve of mine, when someone acts like they don't want to tell you something when they clearly do, just to get you to beg them... I'm no one's puppet, I say! Keep your damn secrets!) Eventually, he cooled off and said "Ok, you ready to hear the joke you missed?" he asked snidely, and I realized I'd heard him wrong.

I explained that I'd misheard him, and that I thought he was calling me Mr. Goodwin, not telling me "You missed a good one." The fellow who twists tongue better than I do got a hell of a good laugh at it, and began twisting words about Mr. Goodwin and his purple wicker pickle bucket in such speed and complexity I nearly lost my breath laughing. ...which of course pissed off the Stern fan again, so I never actually heard this "good one".

I still keep in tough with the twister of tongues, but I haven't talked or even really thought about this in a few years. He keeps a blog over here where he's listing his 1,000 favorite songs of all time. I urge you to take a look, his tastes are eclectic, and you just might find some new music you like.

I'm hoping he'll come by here and comment on this, and twist his tongue a bit for us, cause it really is a work of art.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just Wanted to Say...

Yankees are losing to the Sox, their catcher got hit in the junk by a foul-tip, I got a belly full of Chinese food and beer. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's Just Something In My Eye

I was a pretty emotional kid. I remember being easily reduced to tears in my pre-school and kindergarten days. By an large, I was a happy child, always wanting to laugh, always had the best intentions, never a malicious thought. When things didn't work out that way I was hurt by it.

These days, I am generally still that way. I really love being happy, and even more than being happy, I love when other people are happy and enjoying themselves. Now... I'm six feet tall, 250 lbs, and not all of it beer belly... I have a shaved head, and a full beard. I'm a wallet chain short of a hell's angel.

I've had good friends tell me that they were scared shitless of me back before they knew me, and were afraid that they'd have to fight me someday (Apparently that was a common thing to worry about for the smaller kids...) So you might imagine how out of place the rest of this post should sound... I have a very girlishly difficult time not crying at totally girly times.

I can't watch chick flicks without spending at least twenty minutes steeling myself for the sad parts. Fortunately there's almost always plenty of time where they're just yapping, so I take that time to strap on the mental armor.

I've even gone so far as setting up a fan so that it was blowing straight in my face, TWENTY MINUTES before even starting a movie, JUST IN CASE there was a sad part, I could say the fan was making my eyes run.

Why do women LIKE those movies anyway?? What the hell is wrong with you people?? "Oh, I love this movie, it's so SAD!"

I've been successful in pulling off the tough-guy act for the family so far... for the last 12 or so years, I've been able to look away in time, or make myself laugh before having to dig an imaginary eyelash out of my eye... I did get caught once, in Hope Floats, when the main character's mother dies... She was a taxidermist though, and I changed the subject by saying they were going to have her stuffed and propped up in the swing on the porch. I think I was able to avoid having that hit my permanent record.

Anyway, one of the hardest "guy" (or Geek) movies to watch for me is the third Lord of the Rings movie, (Spoiler coming up, in case you haven't seen it. ...and shame on you for not!) when Frodo gets to take the ship with the Elves, and Sam, Merry and Pippin are just finding out about it... (Which, by the way, Frodo's an ass for blindsiding them like that, he really should have given them the heads up... ). Watching the confusion on their faces give way to a stomach-knotting dread that they'll never see their friend again... Yeah, total guy-tears. I think the worst part is, they all have these innocent child-like faces. I hate when kids are disappointed or sad... freaking kills me.

This came to mind today as I sat in my daughter's school auditorium to see their school show. My daughter's Kindergarten performed "High Hopes". She was a rubber-tree plant, and she did a terrific job. For someone as full of energy and drama as my daughter to stand there, NOT move and NOT sing, showed tremendous effort.

I watched her grinning face beaming out at the audience, green construction paper hanging from her cheeks, and could see so much of myself in her. She tried desperately not to laugh when I stuck my tongue out at her. Then of course, I started thinking about how big she's gotten and how my little girl was growing up so fast, etc... I had to start blinking fast to try to get the tears welling in my eyes to stop. Then naturally my wife looked over at me, and I made the cliche comment about the air quality being poor and my eyes burning... figured that'd cover me for the whole show.

I once told my daughter to stop growing up. She looked at me completely disappointed and said "I'm sorry daddy, I don't know how!" She'll be six in July, and it's kinda freaking me out how fast they went, and knowing that it won't be much longer before she realizes that I'm not perfect, and don't know everything, and that she would rather spend time with someone else. God help her first boyfriend... I got a gun and a shovel, and no one will miss you, kid.

Until then though, all I can do is enjoy the things she does, even if they make me crazy. I know there are a few guys out there reading this, and you all have these same sorts of feelings whether you want to admit it or not. How do you deal with it?