Heck, she deserves it with this very inventive website.
Monthly Archives: May 2007
In the age of Calvin & Hobbes and the Dodge Stealth, there also existed another classic, The Animaniacs. here’s my favorite song from that wonderful show.
To this day, I find myself depressed when this fast-food giant replaces the actor who plays Ronald. This was always my favorite Ronald…what’s his name. He had a deeper voice than the rest that I’ve known, and he always seemed more “into” his character. If that’s even possible with Ronald McDonald.
Anyhow, here’s their annoying jingle from 1988.
I’ve come to realize that I liked it the way it was before.
I recently changed the template of this blog to something sharper, something cleaner, something very cool looking…but I had no idea how to *tweak* it from that point. How boring. Just when I get a little handle on this standard, tired, blogger-generated blog template, I go and change to a different template. So, I changed it back. It looks…very 1990’s. It’s a bit tired. But Kraznoy now has my cool logo that I created. And what the hell, it works for the time being. Until I learn XML I suppose.
Admit it, you’re hungry now. Sorry Mr. Darin….great, now I feel guilty. Here’s his version too.
And here’s the best actor on Earth, Kevin Spacey, doing a great impression of Bobby Darin in his movie, “Beyond The Sea”. Rent it if you want a great musical with some of the best music every written. Over the top? Sure, but weren’t the 1950’s a little over the top? Great movie.
Check out this site for some great tips on adding Notepad, random applications, and so on to your IE Menu Bar:
You never feed me.
Perhaps I’ll sleep on your face.
That will sure show you.
Alright. So. I finally got a comment from someone who peruses this website. Now, it wasn’t a comment left on the site itself, no. It was an IM that I got about 2 hours before I was available to field the message. It basically said, amongst other things, that I’m “liberal to a fault”.
At first I actually took offense to that. Somehow, in my psyche, I still abhor the fact that I might be, under my skin, a liberal at heart. And why should I be afraid of being one? What’s so wrong about it?
Because Liberals annoy me. Or at least the ones who wear it, not on their sleeves, but all over themselves like some Technicolor Dreamcoat. I’m talking about the people who talk, but don’t walk. The people who, when I was in college, that organized their little rallies, trying to “fight the power” with some organized event, like a concert. Who, after all is said and done, hadn’t really done much of anything, and are probably getting baked right now after a really hard day at Blockbuster Video.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of powerful and influential Liberals out there. But they’re so few and far between. Also…are they truly Left-leaning? If you’ve been paying attention, I plugged (once again) a very powerful website to my own beliefs, politicalcompass.org. It was after my first visit to the site that, according to a fantastic albeit exaggerated political scale, I found out that, despite my voting habits, I was not too conservative. In fact, I was left. Way left.
And on this same page, I found out something interesting: many of those “Left-wingers” in office today actually have some very Right-ist views. If you really look and compare the views of today’s politicians, and compare them to those of yesteryear…we haven’t truly had a lot of Left-wing leadership in the Left-wing. In fact, Dwight Eisenhower would almost be considered a Democrat for the views he held, and the actions he took while in office.
Even after this revelation…I found that I still tend to lean toward the right in the way that I vote. I often have a harder time taking a Democrat seriously than a Republican. See, when I was growing up, I seemed to have this impression, where the Democrats stir up a big whirlwind, making a lot of big speech, talking a lot of talk, but maybe getting 1/10th of it actually accomplished. Republicans seemed to get things done, and if a few small countries populated mostly by people of varying shades of brown, well, there have to be some sacrifices. We have a missile defense program to worry about, not some human rights issues in some backward country whose name I can’t pronounce correctly.
That’s a very vast oversimplification of Conservatism in the 1980’s, true. I still believe that more good was accomplished than bad. I believe we’d still have a USSR if Ronald Reagan hadn’t been our president. Right man for the right time.
But not everything that he did, or that was done under his watch, was the right thing either. I’m hardly a political scholar, but I seem to remember something about Air Traffic Controllers, the homeless, AIDS, and a lot of arts programs being cut. And something about Ketchup as a vegetable. Good times.
What’s harder for me to reconcile is my feelings about those who came afterwards. I don’t think much about Daddy Bush, because to me, he was one of those transitional presidents, kind of like Carter. We needed Carter to kind of clear our heads from the Jerk and the Doofus who preceded him. With Reagan we could get down to business and move forward, put Vietnam behind us. Before Reagan was out, we have Iran Contra and a couple fun little conflicts down south. And then there’s Bush.
Bush was there to kind of extend the Reagan era into extra innings. I never seemed to think of him as very “Presidential” at the time. He seemed like the nerd who always ran for class president, but lost to the stupid jock who only ran because he got some knee injury and couldn’t play. He was that “No New Taxes” guy that even people like me could make fun of, when I had NO CLUE about the political system in America. But I could still make fun of him, or really, I could imitate Dana Carvey making fun of him. He was a punchline, a guy who sort of slid into office. But when you look back, the other guy was a bigger punchline. I mean, really, who was the competition? That Greek guy whats-his-name. Did they really expect him to win? Were they even trying?
Bush wasn’t much of a “Presidential” president until Gulf War. And really, why did we get involved with that one? To me, just like the current Gulf War, it was bad intelligence.
See, what we didn’t know at the time (or claimed ignorance to) was the fact that nice, peaceful Kuwait, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, was actually stealing oil from Iraq, right under their noses. How long this was going on is up for debate, but when Iraq found out…they were noticeably upset. And rightfully so.
When Kuwait was invaded, it must have looked like a great bone for Bush. Finally, something to get out of that old 2nd-rate actor’s shadow. And it was great, for a while. His approvement ratings went through the fricking ROOF. Hoo-rah! We can finally kick us some Iraqi ass! Forget Vietnam! Forget that we’d won a couple conflicts since then! We got us some International bragging rights! Woo!
Funny thing though…we kind of went over there, we kind of got Kuwait freed…but we didn’t get “that guy”. The Saddam guy. We didn’t get him. We kicked his ass…but we kind of let him do his thing. And a lot of people got killed…namely everyone who rose up and backed us up in Iraq when we were over there. Slit, boom, ugh, gone.
Was there much press about this at the time? I don’t think so. In fact, I rather doubt it. But the whole hollow-victory thing wasn’t that great. It’s like the Batman comics, where the Joker lives, when what you really wanted was the Batman movie, where the Joker DIES.
So, after that was “wrapped up”, what else was there? Apparently not enough to get him re-elected. That crazy parrot-voice guy from east-Texas came in, started showing off a bunch of charts, trying to get himself elected, when all he really did was get that other guy into office.
I find it funny that for President that year, you got the president, who’s from Texas, you got Perot from Texarkana (which borders Arkansas and Texas), and you got Bubba from Arkansas. To me, that’s about as boring as a Yankees-Mets game.
Oh, and that part about “getting the other guy elected”, yeah, I meant it. Bush had a fighting chance, but I know a LOT of people who voted for Perot simply because they were tired of all the hype, forgetting the substance, of the previous 12 years.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel we were better off. We needed a change. America does, and often. We don’t do well when we drive that giant pendulum in only one direction for too long. When that pendulum swings back, it often swings back, and really hard.
The hardest thing I have to deal with, politically, is that Clinton was ultimately a very successful president. I’m always clouded by the whole BJ in the Oval Office thing. It’s hard to get past, especially with my upbringing. You don’t shit on the post of President. You gotta act it, feel it, believe it.
I guess with Clinton, it was more about doing the job than it was to look “Presidential” doing it. His posture…sucked. A lot of the time. He would lean on his hands, and he looked like he couldn’t care less.
But when he wanted to be, man, he was slick. He was a charmer.
I still think his presidency was more about listening to the thoughts of others than actually making decisions himself. The same could be said about our current president (and then some). But the whole “economic expansion” thing…I think that was as much simply listening to Alan Greenspan than it was actually making a decision. But Dale Carnegie once said something to the effect of “I’m not a smart man, I just hire smart people.”
And now, about 2 weeks after I originally wrote that, I’m back. My train of thought went all over the place…I guess what I really need to say is that I don’t know who to believe in anymore. I don’t know who to vote for. I don’t really know who I am. I’m Christian, I’m pro-life, and I believe in a strong military for the support of the nation. Stretching it to the point of weakness in a very unpopular war, more unpopular than Vietnam was for most of its run…I’m just disappointed. In everything besides my spiritual faith and my love for those around me. I’m so disappointed. I’m disappointed that we’re not spending a lot more money on this war to make it worthwhile — about 5% of the GDP goes to the war, vs. 10% for Vietnam, and 40% for World War 2. Does the US Government really believe in this war? Or are they out to make barrels of money from the war instead? I don’t know. I wish we could revolution and start over, but then where will we be? We’ll be floundering for a good 10-40 years, while someone else takes our spot as top-dog. Would this be a horrible thing though? The United Kingdom was the top dog for a time, and they passed into 10th place or so. They still exist, and they still are honored world-wide. Is it time for us to move aside, to let someone else have the top spot, for the good of the world? Would this be a state of equilibrium that the world seems to desperately need right now?
Am I right to even consider this? One of the tenets I was taught while serving in the military is that the point of the military is to break all of the other kids’ toys, and to make sure they don’t break ours. We need to maintain the ability to reduce the worlds’ armies to rubble, in case we’re needed to do so. Is this right?
Then, on the other hand, if we aren’t the top dog, in this post-nuclear world, can we trust anyone else to hold the top spot and not completely blow up the world? Seriously, we’ve had the bomb for over 60 years. We’ve dropped it twice against a foreign power, and a few times besides that to make sure we can use it on a foreign power and really kill them the next time. (Kill, killer, killest.)
On the other-other hand…there’s something like a dozen nukes that we’ve, oh, sort of MISPLACED over the years. We’ve lost at least ELEVEN NUCLEAR WEAPONS since the start of the Cold War. Chances are pretty fricking great that each of these weapons is at least as strong as the two we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And alright, we MIGHT have found one (http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/09/13/lost.bomb/index.html), but that still leaves an even TEN, or more, that have still gone missing.
Before you say I’m biased, well, we don’t hold the authority on how to lose our nukes. The Soviet Union has lost its share over the years as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suitcase_bomb#Controversy_.28suitcase_nukes.29.
In summary, everybody’s negligent, nobody can be trusted…what the hell do we do? I feel dumber, more scared, more unsure, and more like a little child than I did when I actually was a little child. When a lot of the ideals that I believe in are failing me, I have to step back and go to what I believe in from the core of me: Try to get through this life without fucking it up too much, without leading to the harm of too many people…basically, try to leave it better than it was when you got here. If you can. Even a tiny, tiny, TINY bit.
Am I succeeding? Probably not. I’m playing too much Guitar Hero 2 for all of that. I need to be doing some mission work, or feeding the hungry, building a house for H4H or something like that. For right now, I’m just trying to live through being a good example. Right now, I’m on vacation. I’ve been on vacation for about 16 months now, since I got out of the military.
Is there any way I can actually get out of this fun-spiral and do something that matters? Who knows. I’ve been trying off and on since January 2006. At first, my excuse was “I served for 4 years, I’ve done enough.” But that isn’t enough. Sure, for a while, I made a difference. Just not necessarily the kind of difference I wanted to make. I’m very proud of the things that I did, I’m proud of myself for having done it. But it’s done…and now what?
Who knows. I don’t know what I think, I don’t know what I believe in, and I don’t know what to do.
Welcome to 2007.
Jason Heath said…
A good assessment of the political climate from someone with first-hand military experience. I’m checking your posts via RSS, but I haven’t been to the site in a bit, and I like the sidebar config & layout. I am going to do the move off of jasonheath.blogspot.com later this week–I have doublebassblog.org all set up & ready to go–just need a day where I can ‘check in’ to make sure that things don’t get whacked.
I love this game. I hate this game. This game is why the tip of my left middle finger has had no feeling for the last 3 days. It’s such a great game, but it’s such an obsession.
Guitar Hero 2. If you don’t own it, you’re missing out. It’s so much fun.
I’m hopelessly addicted to this game, scouring YouTube for hints and tips about the harder songs, trying to earn enough game-cash to buy such songs as Trogdor from Homestarrunner.
You could say that I like this game. Here’s a few videos, for those fellow game fans out there.
A great play at Woman by Wolfmother, hard level:
One of my best friends, Jason Heath, runs a blog about the trials and tribulations of being a travelling musician. How the heck he finds the time to run a blog and plan his own wedding, I’ll never know. One of his more recent posts dealt with a bout with a bad sub, mixed with playing Loony Tunes on Broadway. I can’t really imagine how much fun this was.
This is the best powerpoint presentation I’ve ever seen.
This is why, while I lean to the left, I don’t go that far.
Two things I want to note. I’m not going to comment on the video, it speaks for iself. However, 1) The song Hurdy Gurdy man is one of my all-time favorites. It’s so sad. I first heard it on the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack, by a far worse artist whose name I can’t recall.
2) Here’s a really great site to check out:
This is a nice, easy, dumbed-down method to see where you stand politically. There’s also literature for every quadrant of the compass for you to peruse. I tend to hang out in the Libertarian Left quadrant myself. I used to be much more to the right, in the Libertarian Right. However, my views changed a few years ago. Unfortunately my voting habits have been slow to follow, so you can blame me for Bush if you wish. Although I feel he lied to us, without getting into a long, drawn out conversation about it…it was for the greater good of Iraq that we came in. Saddam was a tyrant. The bad thing is…what the Hell do we do now?
Anyhow, I was friends with a couple of Communists in college. I was also friends with a couple of ultra-ULTRA Right-Wingers in college too. If you’ve ever wondered whether, if you went far enough to the right, you’d just pop up on the left, and vice versa…they were perfect examples. Hippies and Ultra-cons, both the same.
I’m so disappointed in our leadership. I mean, all of them. Who the hell am I going to vote for in ’08? There’s, like, nobody. I mean nobody. As the saying goes, Capitalism is the worst form of government on Earth…except for all of the other forms of government.
Stumble Upon is, to me, the very best resource available for use with the Firefox web browser. After you tell it what things you like, Stumble Upon will find it for you with a single click. It is very easy, and it’s how I find most of the videos for this site.
Jason Heath said…
I too love the StumbleUpon. I go through phases with it: never use it, use it all the time, etc..
Come along and ride on a fantastic voyage…
See, I’m watching Star Trek: Voyager on Spike TV. Voyager was the Star Trek series that ran in the mid-90’s until 2001, and my favorite episode, which aired originally in ought-one (and which I Tivo’d back on the 8th), is actually a two-parter called, “Workforce”.
The premise of the episode is that the entire crew of this space-faring Naval vessel is kidnapped, brainwashed through psychotropic drugs, and made to work in a factory. They are artificially made to believe they LOVE working at this place. They are made to believe that where they came from had high pollution, crime, and was generally a crappy place to be.
Now, when top-10 lists are made of the best episodes of Star Trek, this two-parter never ranks at all, not even in the top 30, I would bet. So why, you ask, would I ever rank this one as my all-time favorite? It’s because of the legalized pseudo-prostitution that we all are a part of, in this fine and dandy Capitalistic system we all live and work within.
See, the premise of the episode is that this entire crew is made to work these menial tasks in a factory, but they’re made to think it’s really cool to live and work in this environment.
This, to me, is utopia. I hate work. I hate the whole feeling that I’m giving up something of myself, selling myself, and in some cases, whoring myself just so that I can drive this car, live in this apartment, and exist in this city of Omaha, a city that, while I know the nuances of it, I know how to enjoy myself here…I don’t really like it here that much. I didn’t come here by choice. I was delivered here by the Air Force, or at least to the fine base called Offutt (which, as I sidetrack here, was named for the first guy from Nebraska who was killed in World War I. Not some flying ace, but the first guy who died. While that is a noble sacrifice…why would you name an entire base after this guy? Maybe a building, perhaps? Why not a library? Or one of the small museums? Why an entire base, after ol’ Jarvis? I mean, for one thing, the guy was a Lieutenant. Sure, he happened to be from Omaha, but the base, which used to be Fort Crook, went from being named after a General, who had some accomplishments to his credit…to a lowly lowly Lieutenant. The most that guy could do, besides getting killed, was order around all of us enlisted folks. Also, these guys had no foresight to realize that there’s only a limited number of bases in the world. Why not name it after a Medal of Honor winner, even if the guy’s not in the Air Corps?)
Okay, that was a trainwreck of a train-of-thought detour, but oh well. To get back on-track, I think I’m finally back in a job that I believe in, for the first time in a very long time. The Vice-President of Tech Support talked with our group, and the feeling I get from him is like in the first days I worked for Gateway 2000. While I am still selling myself to work at this job…it’s something that I can do, it’s something that I can master, and I can enjoy the work I do here. It feels good.
I hope that I can maintain this feeling, that I can thrive here. It’s good to actually work in a job that makes you want to do better. The flip of the coin is to work somewhere the you work the bare minimum, just hard enough that you won’t get canned. I feel as if I want the company to do better.
Be it illusion or fact, I want the dream to last a long while. And may your star treks ever be bright and cheery like a laughing vulcan and his dog.
Here I go, trying to knock 3 items off of my list. So, to save some time, here is a trilogy. So, from the past, I bring you…
TALES OF THE OFFICE DEPOT! (diabolic laughter)
First on the list is one of my favorite tales, the odd couple. Both guys, both older, probably gay.
About 8 months back, I worked at the Ink Depot counter at Office Depot. One of the customers was trying to get across what he needed, and was having a great amount of difficulty. The gentleman, mid-60’s, was speaking normally, but he would pause…and the pauses grew more profound as the conversation went on.
See, it started out with an ink cartridge. Which was lucky, since I was manning the Ink Depot, and I was able to almost immediately find what he was looking for. Then…he needed some pencils, a chairmat, a mousepad, and it went on. Well, I was trapped in the little fishbowl that was the Ink Depot, so I directed him to about 4 different aisles.
Eventually, after about 30-45 minutes, he came back up to the counter. He laid out his merchandise, slowly, as a friend of his walked up to his shoulder, and merely watched. I went about ringing up his merchandise, a little faster than normal since the pauses were freaking me out just a little.
I rang up his merchandise, sacked it, and gave him the total. The gentleman opened up his wallet…then closed it, and put it back into his wallet. Then he reached back, got his wallet, opened it, closed it once again, and put the wallet back. And he waited as if nothing was wrong.
So, I gave him the total again. And I went into old-person mode, meaning I find a spot, in this case the “O” in an Office Depot display, and I focused on it, waiting patiently for the man to give me cash, a credit card, a check, whatever.
But this never happened. I had my faked-out genuine-looking smile on my face, while the man brought his wallet out again, and this time he laid it on the counter.
By now the man beside him realized something was amiss. He reached underneath on his side of the counter, and grabbed a Snickers, opened it, tore a chunk off, and gave it to the man. “Low blood sugar.”, he mumbled. I was interested in the event, but not really caring about the person. Which is a little sad, really. I was concerned that he would be alright, but it was kind of a vague concern, like hoping that no one who left the store got into an auto accident…or in some cases, not a life-threatening auto accident.
The man’s buddy laid the Snicker’s wrapper on the counter, with about 1/3 of the candy bar lying inside. There was a thin coating of caramel and nougat along the length of it, which made it a little hard to ring up. I had to grab the wrapper between two fingers, flip it slightly, and run the scangun along the barcode. As I did this, the candy-bar rolled out with a thump, right onto my counter. I quickly scanned the price in, re-totaled the purchase, then let go to use some hand sanitizer.
The gentleman, without missing a beat, picked up the third of a snickers and popped it into his mouth. Apparently he now had the capacity to eat candy, but still did not have the will to pay for the purchases. Also…while I tried to clean the register counter once or twice a day, you have children being set on the counter, purses which have spent time on the floors of bathroom stalls, sneeze-juice, baskets that have been on the asphault of the parking lot, and so on…I tried not to react, and simply waited for the payment.
Finally, a moment later, the payment came. The gentleman paid by credit card, which I ran on the register, careful not to get more caramel on me or the machinery. As he signed his name, however, he smeared a line of the goo all over the signature pad.
Soon, his friend grabbed the merchandise, and the two of them headed out the door, leaving the caramel-smeared snickers wrapper behind. I had to spray down the counter, the pad, and the register once again.
The next two people were semi-regulars to the store. Whenever either one of them would stop by, I’d just cringe. See, despite the cold appearance in this entry, I’m actually a very nice, courteous customer service guy on the surface. I’ve been doing some form of customer service, either on the phones or in-person, off and on for 15 years now. I’ve been told I have a big heart, and despite the fact that I don’t bend over as far backwards as I used to, I generally try to help people the best that I can.
Which sucks. At least with these two losers.
The two people I want to talk about are the clown and the lady stuck in ’88. Now the clown…I don’t know if you’re a fan of the band Sublime. They’re kind of like the Omaha band that made it big called 311. Except that Sublime has talent deserving of nationwide praise. Anyhow, inside the first (and only) major-release album that Sublime had, there’s this really disgusting clown. I mean he’s fat, he’s got a huge beergut, and it looks as if Bozo hasn’t washed in several days.
This explains “The Clown” at Depot to a tee. He had a bozo haircut, with the sides all flared out, as if he just woke up. He was fat, oily, and just a disgusting looking human being. That, and he always was trying to pull something. He’d have some item, something we hadn’t sold in 2-3 years, and he’d try to return it. He’d take items from the shelves and try to return them. He was just horrible, and unfortunately, as you may notice, that store does NOT have cameras. Alarms galore, sure. But alarms only work on the stuff that might set off an alarm. Cameras work on [explitive] like this guy.
The clown was such a fake too. He was always all nicey-nicey to you, even though his eyes saw you as a steaming pile of crap. Suddenly, when you denied his claim for a return of merchandise, the rest of his body would tense up, and suddenly it wasn’t just his eyes that didn’t like you. He never threatened bodily harm, but he would get oh-so-angry. And he did it ever single time. It wasn’t like you’d forget a worthless person like that so easily.
I’m tired of talking about him. Let’s talk about Joannie and get on with it for tonight.
Joannie looks a lot like Rod Stewart, circa 1988. If Rod was a chick. Joannie is one of those customers who, the moment she walked in the front door, when she was out of sight, you’d say over your walkie-talkie, “Hey boss! Your favorite customer is here.”, and there’d be a good chance they would know who you were talking about.
Joannie is a pain in the ass. Pure and simple. She’ll buy stuff, and there’ll be something wrong with it. She’ll bitch and complain about it, and once in a while, a manager would throw her a bone to get her out of the store. Then, with the things she hadn’t complained about, there’d be something wrong with it later, and she’d have to bring it back. It was horrible, and continuous. I only worked there part time, and I’d almost see her on a weekly basis.
Then, to make it worse, she had the WORST fashion sense. I mean, it was really good fashion sense…20 years ago. Think bright gold suits. Shoulder pads. Aquanet bangs. Loads of eye shadow. Ugh, it was horrible, and I don’t even usually care about such things. I just wanted to tell her, “Go find Tear For Fears and get the hell out of my face!”
Well, I’m tired of all the negativity. I gotta get back to class anyhow. Take care, and please, for the love of God, remember that it’s 2007. And be nice to your retail customer service professionals. They don’t get paid nearly enough for the bull**** they have to deal with from you.
Somehow my connection between YouTube and Google got a little frayed. For one thing, my blog was down yesterday. For another, all of the items I tagged as Favorites a few days back somehow got tagged as posts on this blog. Frankly, I don’t really care, except that it happened at 2 in the morning, instead of a couple days ago when I actually tagged the favorites.
Oh well, if this is the worst that happens.
In other news, for some reason, when I’m not logged into the blog, my personal picture and a logo I made for this site don’t come up at all. Again, strange.
I’ll try to have something more interesting to talk about later.
Could be worse. I lost my navbar a while back & when I tried to recode my template, all hell broke lose & I couldn’t edit/post anything.
Keen. Ugh, I used to be so much smarter at HTML when I was still at Gateway. Memories of things keep on popping up, working in a tech support position again.
3. “Major Tom” by Peter Schilling. This one…man. Of any song I’ve ever heard this song has been stuck in my head most consistently. See, when I was being driven to the airport, about to leave for Air Force Basic Training, I heard this song. And it stuck, in my head, for a full…seven…weeks. But only the chorus. It drove me BANANAS! I would be marching, and humming it under my breath in order to keep step. I’d be at the firing range with the Colt AR-15’s (a close cousin of the M-16), and that song would pop in my head to calm me down. It was crazy. Finally, when I got out, I downloaded it from the internet (illegally at the time, but I’ve since bought a compilation album that has it, to be square with the Feds), and listened to it almost non-stop for days. It’s one of my favorite songs, if not my penultimate favorite.
And then, at the top, are two songs that are surely between my wife and I:
2. Steelheart – Angel Eyes
1. “What’s New Pussycat?”, by Tom Jones
From the time when you could be a bad-ass just by untying your bowtie.
Of course that last one reminds me of a great joke. A guy goes to the doctor and he goes, “Doctor! Doctor! I can’t keep these songs out of my head! They’re even keeping me up at night, and I can’t make love to my wife, I can’t work, I can’t eat, I can’t do anything!” The doctor goes, “Well, what songs are they?” The guy says, “Well, it’s ‘What’s New Pussycat’, and ‘She’s a Lady’.” The doctor says, “Well, it sounds like you have a case of chronic Tom Jones syndrome.” The man says, “Is it rare?”, and, get this, the doctor goes, “It’s Not Unusual.”
Mental belly-laugh for me every time. Externally, a slight grin.
What a couple of days. I sit here, taking a too-long break from studying for my Tech Support proficiency exam at the regional cable company, watching an old videotape of Alens Special Edition (replete with ads for Alien Resurrection [the game] for the Playstation and Windows 95. Lovely. Reminds me of just how big a piece of crap the Alien3 game was for Super Nintendo (or the ssssnes).
Anyhow, I decided to blog for the sake of blogging. I have a list of topics to talk about, all with plenty of “ammo” for me, meaning that I can talk at length with little actual effort. Which means a relatively boring, straightforward post. At least to me. Maybe it’s of some interest to you, but I’m not sure.
I’m chilling out, on high-speed internet, in my own home, for the first time in my life. DSL, mind you, so not the uber-fast speed that you might have. But it’s alright by me. Heck, a minute to download something that used to take 30? Pah-leeze, I’m a happy camper.
I had a couple ideas to talk about in the past few days, but I just needed to post…something. Not something in particular, just something fun, mindless…maybe talking up the virtues of that great action/horror/military movie called Aliens. It is such a masterpiece, 40-column on-screen text on their computers non-withstanding.
…I used to think 40 Column would make a great band name. Especially since old-school geeks would be the only ones who would get it, not these new-fangled internet wannabee geeks. Forget the fact that you can do millions more things with a computer now than you could back in the day (circa 1988). I could make a Commodore 64 jolt its floppy drive out of alignment with only a simple command. Or at least my friend could. I could make a TRS-80 draw a near perfect circle with only a simple command…no, same friend conquered that one. Well…I could go between that marshmallow man’s legs like a freak in Ghostbusters. It was…so woefully less than satisfying. At least in the NES version of that game you could battle ghosts on your way up the steps, instead of skipping to the end with Zuul.
Oh, that 300 baud. The slow scroll. Loved it. I spent so many hours of my youth watching that slow bar moving across the screen, ascii-graphic by ascii-graphic, as I downloaded a game or a picture from the bulletin boards.
And what was it with those silly versions of “adult content” back then? I remember a very strange version of Space Invaders that had something to do with fertilizing eggs. Or the compu-sex game, which was, and is, hilarious. It went like this:
“Touch my Y.”
(okay…you type “Y”.)
“Oh yes, yes! Touch it again!”
(trepidatiously, you do it once more.)
“Yeah, yeah! Do it again! Harder!”
(again…you push the “Y”)
…and then there’s cga-graphical fireworks.
I do so love the graphics. My brother used to hound me about loving these old cga/vga games. Games like Nobunaga’s Ambition over much superior games like Romance of the Three Kingdoms number thirty…whatever. Or the original Civilization over the much-much superior versions 2 through 4, with the last one even featuring the voice of Leonard Nimoy. I mean, a trekkie-dweeb like myself should dig on this…but no. It doesn’t hold a candle to the original. In MS-Dos no less.
The past seemed to make sense more than the present, I guess. But I’m in the middle of a time travel at the moment, actually. I’m growing my hair longer, slowly getting into my old physical shape, I have a slowly pointing goatee, and I’m about to get contact lenses for the first time in 7+ years. Oh, and I’m also working in Technical Support, something I did 10 years ago. So yes, you could say I’m having a bit of nostalgia lately.
It’s a strange feeling, going back while really staying in the same place. Eventually, one has to grow up. But what does that mean, really? Does it mean you have to put away all your childish things, as the old quote goes? Or does it mean that, as long as you’re being a functional member of society, if you’re putting money away for retirement, donating to charity, and volunteering to help folks out once in a while, isn’t it alright to pick up a game like Guitar Hero, with a controller straight out of the Super Famicom Nintendo look of 1991, with a strap that is almost too small for you, even on its largest setting? That you can’t play video games while on break from studying for tests? Can’t you move forward and move back at the same time, and have it be alright?
I’ve been asking myself this question for a very long time. I tried to put away my past by joining the Air Force, and I was really in a state of limbo for 4 years. I learned a lot, most of which I resent right now, but as I cool down and allow the teachings to sink in over time, I will find it to be a great thing. But with those 4 years of limbo, where I just kind of floated, letting the current move me forward instead of either swimming with it or against it…I feel as if I didn’t really do much.
Oh, occasionally, I found things to do, that were sometimes great. I was a member of the Air Force Honor Guard. I got to help the men and women who served with me or before me to their final resting place. I helped those families to cope. I truly was important, even if only on a part-time basis. I also helped with various fund-raising efforts, posting of colors, and a bunch of other efforts to make the lives of those who were serving with me better.
Others tell me how important all of it was. And eventually I will realize this. But for right now I just want to play a game. And maybe get back to studying.
Along the same lines as the last post, the experiences here are reminding me of calls from years past, back at Gateway 2000. Another call that I had, in fact one of the first calls, was the lady who was a long-term sewing machine fanatic, and she was using the mouse as a footpedal. I can imagine a double amputee or someone who’s arms are broke doing the same.
…I guess that’s all there is for that posting. I thought there’d be more to it than that, but oh well. Moving on…
This one falls under the “I may have mentioned this before on this blog…” column, but it’s still an amusing anecdote.
Many moons ago, I worked at Gateway 2000 computers (which became Gateway…this should tell you how long ago I worked for them). I was in Technical Support when they still had bragging rights in the industry as ‘having’ the #1 Tech Support in the country. Back when all the Tech Support was actually “in” this country, mind you.
I digress. My favorite call I ever had was this one:
“Hi, thanks for calling Gateway technical support. My name is Aaron, and my badge number is 9066. How may I help you?”
“Hello there. Well, it seems that I’m losing all of the stuff on my floppy disks. Oh, and I also have this strange green tinge on the side of my monitor.”
Well, me-thinks, I can handle the green tinge thing. But somehow this old fella, who sounds like some backwoods pal from the deep south, is blanking out his floppies. I have no idea where to go with that one. So I focus on what I can understand.
First, I checked to see if there was anything next to the monitor. No speakers, no subwoofer, nothing right next to the monitor. Well, maybe I’m just misunderstanding him. Maybe the whole screen is green. So, I truck along and check his monitor cabling. No bent pins. I check how his video is showing up – it’s find, but I remove and reinstall his video anyhow. No change. Dang.
Well, here comes the fun part. I have to crack this guy’s computer tower. Dang it dang it dang it. Well, he’s actually got a screwdriver on him (overalls?) and we go to town. He unscrews the back, pops the casing off, takes off the individual screw holding the video card in (after we disconnected the monitor cable), pop out the card, pop it back in, reconnect the goodies, and power up.
So, we pulled the card out, tried another spot. No change.
Well, that’s all I got. We put him back together, and I figured I’d just put that one aside and try something else for now: those floppy disks.
I started having him creating a notepad document saying, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.”, saving, popping the disk out, putting it back in, and opening the file. Works fine. Tried it again, works fine again.
It’s frustrating when I can’t reproduce a problem like this, because if I just let him go, he’ll just call in again, pester another technician, and blatherskite.
Finally, light dawns. We’ll lead this guy through everything he normally does to save data. He starts with copying a file, saving it, and then…
“Sir, what do you do after you save your information?”
“Well, I put away the floppy disk.”
“Sir, where exactly do you put the disks?”
“Well, I hook ’em up to the monitor.”
“Uh, how exactly do you do that, sir?”
“I got one of those cow magnets to hold them up.”
Hold the phone. A cow magnet, if you’re not from a rural setting, a cow magnet is a metal pill, about the size of a very large suppository (or about 4 inches long). What it’s used for is to collect iron filaments from a cow’s stomach, in order to send the filaments out the other end. At least that’s what I “think” it does. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
At any rate, it’s a very powerful magnet. Which is the bane of monitors and floppies everywhere.
So…there you have it. I got to tell this nice old farmer that he was too dumb to own a computer. No, really, I got to inform him that he was killing his floppy disks, and also he killed his monitor. Sorry, not covered under warranty. Thanks for playing.
What I loved most about this call is that it was a fairly pure example of starting from the basics. “What exactly are you doing to these floppies that’s making them wipe out?”