Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Humor

Setting: Mom & Young Son are driving home at the end of a long day. Mom is whupped, flying on autopilot.
YS: Mom, can I say ...unintelligible...? Just for a minute?

M: (slowly gaining awareness of her surroundings) Uh... huh?

YS: Can I say... (drops to a stage whisper) 'drunk'?

M: (Is 'drunk' a bad word? Should it be? Where could this possibly go?) Sure...

YS: OK! How do you get a ghost drunk?

M: I dunno, how?

YS: Give him BOO-ze!

Of course there was uproarious laughter all around. I'm pretty sure he made that up himself, which is somehow simultaneously cool and mortifying.

Young Son has been saying that he wants to be a stand-up comedian* when he grows up. No big, you say?

Well, when his big sister, Lovely Daughter, would declare oh those many years ago that she was 'going to be a star', we'd smile condescendingly and pat her on the head.

She's now finishing up a Master's in acting at a major drama school.

I take those bold statements of intent a little more seriously than I used to.

*He also wants to be a Lego builder, and a submariner like his dad. When he was 5 he wanted to be a professional clown. As long as he doesn't go into politics, it's all good by me!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mmmm... Spam!

Here at Tech Support Central we get tons of spam every day. Some are outright obscene (I try not to gawk), but the majority are simply stupid or are displayed in a non-Western character set. Happily, both those categories are easy to ignore.

But the German spam... ah, the German spam. The ones we get all seem to indicate... uh... sources of male enhancement products. (What's going on over there, anyway, Germany? Is there something you need to tell me?)

Here are what I can only assume are the super-effective* ones, based on how frequently they appear in our already-bulging spam folder:

From what I remember, ihren means their; Ihr means your. Fer chrissake, don't rag on me if I'm wrong. I'm recalling high school German from over 30 years ago!
Energy fur ihren Schwanz!
I doubt this is proper Deutsch, but it gets the point across, so to speak.

Doping fur Ihr bestes Stuck!
Probably only slightly more correct, but still, we get it.

Man lebt nur einmal....
Man (or One?) lives only once....
Now that's a nice way to frame it.

Potenzprobleme? Ab jetzt nicht mehr.
Power problems? From now on, no more.
Power of positive thinking, that's the ticket!

Ficken wie ein Weltmeister!
(Do it) like a world champion!
A nice, encouraging sentiment. Direct. Sets a clear goal.

Jetzt bestellen und ein blaues Wunder erleben
Now order and a blue miracle experience
Pure poetry! I think it's my favorite.

Why, oh why the fixation on German spam? I took just enough German in high school so that I must involuntarily attempt to pronounce every German word I encounter. Even though I no longer have any comprehension whatsoever, my brain just latches on to it.

Props to my German teacher, Mr. Schultz, for attempting to drill it into our thick little Hoosier skulls. Thanks. Really.

*The ads, not the products.

Additional rough translations courtesy of http://babelfish.yahoo.com

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Scenes from a life: Young Son

Setting: Young Son's room, 2004. Young Son, age 4, and Mom are having a heated discussion.
M: I need you to start picking up your toys now.

YS: (whining) I don't want to pick them up. I want you to do it.

M: (confident that logic will prevail) If I pick up your toys, I'm going to put them away in my closet for a week and you won't be able to play with them.

YS: (with a slow grin) That's OK. You do it. I only want this one toy.

M: (sotto voce) crap....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fridays Rock!

Just a little something to get your mind right for the weekend.

Click on one of the images below to view a Chris Whitley video.

WARNING: Not all images may be suitable for family viewing. No outright obscenity, but some mature themes nonetheless.

The ones where his hair is longer are from his first album, back in 1991. Music is great; videos sometimes seem a little silly. Especially once you get familiar with his later stuff.

The two later ones (Automatic, O God My Heart...) are my favorites.

Check out his music on Amazon .There's lots of his stuff on YouTube, too.

p.s. Be forewarned: I am currently obsessed with his music. I'll be raving about him again. :)

Ha ha! Joke's on me.

OK, ok, okokok.... ...titter titter... Here's one for you. You're gonna love this one!
What do you get ...heeheeheee... when you have, like, two middle-aged adults working on a new relationship? Yaknow?


They are both subject to, like, ...snort,tee-hee... fluctuating levels of certain neurotransmitters?

this is the best part!

They are both dicking around with their meds ...get this!!


This is priceless! gigglegigglegiggle...
Phew! Gotta catch my breath... sorry!
Wait for it...

Sometimes it, like, yaknow, kinda sucks.

Say what I might (read: have) about my Ex; about how incompatible we were on so many levels*, I gotta give him this: the guy is emotionally goddamned rock solid normal.

And, say, if one has been subject to fairly regular episodes of dysthymia -- perhaps cyclothymia? -- since adolescence, the argument could be made that there might be benefits to having a spouse that simply is what he is, day after day. Same as it ever was. But, unfortunately, in the long run the cost-benefit analysis didn't prove out. But I digress.

What does one do when one meets a person that is so much more compatible on so many levels, but also (coincidentally? hmmmm?) happens to share similar irregularities in brain chemistry? And both parties happen to experience those irregularities simultaneously? Because they're cutting back their meds?** Without supervision?!?***

One fastens one's seat belt and hopes for the best. It's not nearly as much fun as it sounds, trust me.

One also finds oneself praying fervently, even though one is an atheist, that one is strong enough to stand steady until the seas calm.

And, yeah, one kind of wishes one was still drinking.

*Don't get me started. Really.

**I thank the universe for the miracles of modern pharmacology. Better living through chemistry! Yeah, baby!

***You know, seeing that in black & white makes me want to slap myself upside the head and scream "Duh!"



Thursday, October 25, 2007

News from afar: Tampa

I love my sister. We have similar tastes in humor and we are both suckers for a well-turned phrase. Here's an excerpt from a recent email:

We're going to a Halloween party this Saturday, so I finally dragged Hubby to the cheapie costume store. Being the sex-deprived, testosterone-laden guy he is, he immediately gravitated to the "adult" section and the Slutty Female Costumes Wall of Shame (nurse, cheerleader, French maid, blah, blah, blah).

I explained that despite (or maybe because of) a near-20 lb weight loss, I'm flatter-chested than a 10-yr old boy, which tends to kill the whole French Maid vibe.

I finally settled on a fun, non-form-fitting Lucy Ricardo costume (after all, it's one of our favorite shows on TV Land, and he's stated many times that he thinks Lucille Ball was a comedic genius). I showed it to Hubby, and he started whining in protest.

I said, "But I thought you liked Lucy..."

To which he replied - at full volume with a dozen children within earshot -

"I LOVE Lucy! But I don't wanna F*%K Lucy!!!"

Message received. Happy Halloween, indeed.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Internet humor

I absolutely adore Internet humor. OK, let me qualify that. The heartwarming cutesy ones interspersed with those little cartoon animals/hearts/angels/babies about how wonderful it is to be a mom getting older with your bestest gal pals... not so much. And as a MAWF* with a lot of MAWF friends, I get a lot of those. Love ya, sistahs, but puh-leez....

But seriously, consider for just a moment the absolute treasure trove of humor we now have at our fingertips. Things we might never have seen or heard if it weren't for this miraculous WWW-thingy. Thank you, Al Gore.

YouTube? The best ev-er! Where else can you find scenes from Monty Python's Holy Grail done entirely in Legos? Not to mention Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. C'mon people, I don't care who you are, that's some funny shit.

And then there's the ubiquitous email forward. It's a slippery slope. I mean, geez, you get on just one casual acquaintance's fwd list and you could be facing a never-ending stream of crrrrrrap. I know, I know. You're thinking, like, There's got to be a pony in here somewhere, right? And I'm saying, like, No, Virginia, sometimes the pony dies and you're left with piles of shit. Not to mention that whole dead pony thing.**

But everyone once in awhile, if you pick your friends properly, you get rewarded with the occasional beauteous nugget in your Inbox.
Ed. Note: BTW, picking your friends is much, much different and generally more hygienic than picking your friend's. If you don't understand the distinction, look here.

I figured this topic was well worth its own category. So when I absolutely can't think of a single thing to write about, I'll drop one of those rare gleaming treasures on you. I hoard them like a dragon hoards gems. My stash is large enough to keep us entertained for quite awhile.

*That's Middle-Aged White Female, potty brain.

**Sorry, sometimes my inside voices come out. I'm working on it, really.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Those wacky customers...

People who work in customer support (or any service industry, really) have their own brand of gallows humor, usually evoking a combination of affection and disgust for the customer/client/guest/whatever we're calling them these days. This is especially true those of us in the computer industry. Doubly especially so for those of us who have the joy of supporting products that run on the W#nd*ws platform. Uh oh. I feel a whine coming on!
Not only do we get to help users navigate our own products, but we get to attempt, on a daily basis, to explain and apologize for M*soft's stupid decisions. Don't even get me started on Vista! OK, I have a love/hate relationship with M*soft. I used to be a temp there. But I digress....

Keeping with the long-standing tradition of the best gallows humor, the jokes can sound kind of harsh. But in truth, those of us with fairly stable brain chemistry don't hold any real animosity towards our customers; mostly we laugh simply to keep from bursting into tears or just plain hanging up mid-phone call after being utterly overcome by futility and despair.

Here's a little gem of Internet humor that recently hit my Inbox:

Old George

I was having trouble with my computer. So I called George the computer guy to come over. George clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.

He gave me a bill for a minimum service call. As he was walking away, I called after him, "So, what was wrong?"

He replied, "It was an
ID Ten T error."

I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, "An
ID Ten T error? What's that? In case I need to fix it again."

George grinned. "Haven't you ever heard of an
ID Ten T error before?"

"No," I replied.

"Write it down," he said, "and I think you'll figure it out."

So I wrote down:
I D 1 0 T

I used to like George.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Remembering Phillip

Remember in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the scene near the end where the mothership lands? There's a guy in a white shirt standing at the keyboard playing the 5 tones.

Well, that guy is Phillip, my dear friend's brother-in-law. He just recently passed away from colon cancer. He was only 56 years old.

He wasn't an actor. He was installing the synthesizer for the movie when Steven Spielberg tapped him to play the part of Jean Claude.

I'd met Phillip a few times when I visited my friend in Annapolis. He was a really cool guy. Next time you get a chance, watch Close Encounters and raise a glass in Phillip's honor. I did this weekend and although it's always been one of my favorite movies, I don't think I'll be able to watch it again without choking up at the end.

Here's the link to the scene on YouTube for those with short attention spans.

And if you're over 50, pleasepleaseplease get your colonoscopy, dammit!

Friday, October 19, 2007

This just in!

I work at a small software company doing front-line tech support, meaning that I answer the easy questions and act as receptionist for the two guys who answer the hard questions.

This is an actual email sent out today by one of my coworkers in response to a customer query:
(The color is mine)
----- Original Message -----
From: Support
To: A...@aol.com
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2007 9:37 AM
Subject: Re: (no subject) [convert to RTF]

The short answer is no.

There is not a one-to-one correspondence between our objects and RTF objects. The conversion is doing the best job that can be done. Typically there will be some manual clean up after the conversion.


[redacted] Software, Inc.


This made me laugh out loud at my desk. "The short answer is no." How cool is that?!?

I called George to tell him how great it was and that I wanted to make it my sig line. I think that puzzled him a little.

This has got to be one of the best tech support responses ever. It ranks right up there with "Well, it works for me."

Pitch Freakin' Black

We had a windstorm yesterday.

That's what we get here in the upper-left corner of the continental US of A. We don't get lightning and thunderstorms, or hurricanes, or tornadoes. We get rain with occasional flooding and landslides, and straight-line windstorms. The latter usually results in power outages of varying size and duration.

Well this time it was my turn. The power had been flickering at work all afternoon and when I got home, sure enough, the apartment was dead calm and dark. But the wind had died down quite a bit by bedtime. Surely the power would be back on by morning....

Nope. It was pitch freakin' black this morning when I awoke. Not a pleasing way to start the day.

I made a few calls and determined that there was power at work so I would be expected to show up. I could bring Young Son with me if the school was closed.

What to do, what to do.... Shower? Nope. Coffee? Nope. Hate the thought of going to work un-showered and undercaffeinated. Grrr.

Finally dragged myself out of the bunk and into the kitchen to at least rinse out my hair in the sink. If I could create the illusion of freshness, I might be able to pass as bathed. I had just finished rinsing out my hair in goddamned *cold* water when the power came on - yippee!

Rushed Young Son through our morning routine, dropped him at school, stopped to get my daily dose, and made it to work just half an hour late.

No one else in the office lost power last night. The office servers didn't even reboot. Somehow it all feels a little anti-climactic. I bought myself chocolate-covered graham crackers in recompense.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Sometimes, like right now, I suddenly sit bolt upright, shake my head, and scream (in my own head)

WTF am I doing?!?

Who in their right mind would fall willingly into a new romantic relationship with an old friend just a few months after the end of a 28-year marriage?

Am I insane?

This relationship thing is going really well, but for some reason, sometimes I have an out-of-body experience and get a glimpse at my situation from the outside. Freaks me out every time. It's kind of like when all of a sudden the word "that" looks like it's not spelled right. You're positive it is, but it just looks weird.

As for the answers:
- I have no idea.
- No one.
- Yes.

But I'm thinking that's not going to slow me down. Much.

p.s. I'm guessing "WTF" is a fairly standard acronym, but since most of my adult life was influenced by the Navy, I can't be sure. Is it just a sailor thing?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I got divorced recently after being married just shy of 28 years. The disruption was fairly sudden and somewhat traumatic. I had long given up hope of obtaining the "Get Out of Marriage Free" card I secretly longed for, so it didn't take me long to bounce back once I got it.

Oh, tt wasn't easy -- I had to slog through the swamp to redeem that goddamned card -- but I made it through in one piece, more or less. And I've managed to salvage a decent relationship with my ex, which is important since we have one young child still at home whom we're trying to not scar for life.

Just a scant couple of months after the ink was dry on the dissolution, I met up with an acquaintance from a job I had over 20 years ago. We hung out and did some stuff together, and it only took a month or so before we realized that we had officially started "dating". It took even less time than that to discover that we were in love.

So now I am pushing 50, newly divorced, mother of a twenty-something and a grade-schooler, and head-over-heels in a new relationship after I swore up and down that I wasn't going to get involved with anyone for a long, long time, if ever.

Lesson learned: Never say never.

Anyway, I was just thinking that it would be fun to put some of my thoughts out to the universe from time to time.

So here I am. Welcome aboard. This could be fun!