Monday, April 15, 2013

The Adventures of Stupid Bachelor Man (a Story Shot®)

Stupid Bachelor Man shuffled into his kitchen wearing a pair of fetching boxer shorts and a smile. It was time to have some cereal! He stuck his fuzzy face into the fridge so that he might inspect its contents.

"Oo, new jug of milk!" he concluded. He lifted the jug out using only one hand. He sure was strong!

Now, the difficult part: pour the milk into the bowl without splashing it all over the counter. Because the jug was filled right to the top, the milk would come out as soon as the container was only slightly tipped. This could lead to potential spillage.

"Idea!" he said, getting an idea. As a triumphant score with many trumpets played in his head, he held aloft the milk jug with one hand, and with the other he lifted the bowl to the opening of the jug. He accomplished this in a smooth motion because he was very strong. The bowl was there to catch the stream of milk as it poured forth, confirming Stupid Bachelor Man's hypothesis and netting him a bowl of milk. He was proud. The cereal would come later.

"I sure do like milk on my cereal," he said to himself, looking around for some cereal. "I also like it in my mouth, just by itself. For drinking."

He stood there and let that sink in. He scratched a buttock.

"Idea!" he said, getting another. Because Stupid Bachelor Man was a bachelor, he had the house to himself. He also had this jug of milk to himself. It was his, and his alone. The logical thing to do, clearly, was to drink straight from it without involving intermediate equipment like cups. "It'd just get dirty, and then I'd have to do work," he reasoned.

It was decided, then. Why go through the trouble of using a cup when his face was perfectly suited to the job? He picked up the jug, tipped it, and splashed milk all over his face, chest, and the floor.

"Oh," he said.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Story Shot: Cold [Soda] War

Craig sat, back straight, arms outstretched, zombie-like, with fingers ready to dart onto the sprawling control panel console in front of him at a moment’s notice.

“Being a nucular technician is hard!” he exposited.

“Would ya quiet down a little, please, sir?” said a fellow Pentagon employee at the next panel over. “I can’t hear the President’s speech.”

President Harry Truman’s voice, distorted by static and the radio’s tinny little speaker, echoed around the missile silo. He was talking about the Russians again. Seemed like he was always talking about the Russians. 

“Many apologies, Steve!” Craig screeched. “Weight of the world and all. Nucular missile bombs and such.”

“My name is David,” said Steve.

“Of course it is!” said Craig. 

He looked down at the buttons in front of him. They were arranged in clusters, each cluster backed by a stainless steel plate with words stamped into it. Craig knew what some of the words meant. Right in the center, though, was his favorite button. It was a big red one that lit up brighter than all the others. It was covered by a little metal cage on a hinge. To flip the cage up, Craig had to poke a little latch on one side. 

Sometimes, when nobody was looking, he poked the latch.

The President talked on. Listening to him, Craig grew ever more patriotic. Being patriotic made Craig thirsty. When Craig got thirsty, he yearned for grape soda.

There was a full can of grape soda on the edge of his control panel. It was right there, just below his left shoulder. All he had to do was drop his guard for a split second and reach for it.

“Well, that’s putting it in such a harsh light,” he said. “I only have to drop half my guard at most, since I can reach with one hand while the other maintains its post.”

Please, sir!” said Dave.

“Sorry, Steve!” Craig scream-whispered.

He was going to do it. Future generations would consider him a hero for maintaining both his post at the control panel and a fervent, grape-fueled patriotism.

He prepared his body and mind. He flexed the fingers of his left hand, one at a time, and thought about polar bears.

“Yaarrrgh!” Craig bellowed. His left arm twisted into a knot of commie-bashing fury and his fingers wrapped tightly around the soda can as it if were Stalin’s throat. 


Oh no! Something was wrong! His grip was too tight, and the can, thought to be a pristine, unopened specimen was actually half empty! Its buckling sides forced the delicious liquid up and out of the drink-hole in a purple fountain of American majesty.

It spattered all over Craig’s control panel. It seeped into the spaces around the buttons and some of them stopped being lit up. A little speaker on the base of his console started beeping quietly.

“Um. Oh crap! Paul! I did it again!” Craig yelled into his walkie-talkie. Then he pressed the talk button and repeat-yelled.

A fat guy brandishing a single cotton swab pushed fatly through a door at the end of the room. “I knew you would. Been watching you through that window. You’re dumb,” he said.

“Did you bring your swab?” Craig asked, voice low, eyes darting.

“Yes. Move. I’ll fix this.”

Craig stood, backed up a few steps, and wrung his hands. “Um,” he said haltingly. “Can I, um, well…”

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Paul said. He pulled a can of grape soda out of a pocket in his sweat shirt and handed it to Craig. “You owe me thirty cents.”

Visiting the FooDaddy, Part 1

I pulled my car into FooDaddy's driveway, chortling with glee. I killed the headlights and sat alone in the dark, rubbing my hands together in anticipation.

"Two questions," said a voice from the passenger seat. "First of all, why did you kill those headlights? They've done nothing to you."

I squeaked in a most unmanly fashion and jerked my head around. The Wife sat there, looking both smug and disapproving at the same time. I don't know how she managed this, but she is something of a genius when it comes to mixing up expression cocktails.

I finally found my voice, which had become frightened and scurried into the steering column. "What are you doing here? I thought I was alone."

"I've been here the whole time."

"You have?"

She nodded gravely. "I've been telling you all about my day and how I've been feeling. Haven't you heard a word I've said?" 

My keen insight into the ways of women told me I had made a mistake for which I would pay later. "What's your other question?" I asked in an attempt to delay the inevitable.

"Why do you keep chortling? You've been doing it for hours."

I sped up my hand rubbing. "Oh, it's going to be simply hilarious. FooDaddy doesn't know I'm coming over. He'll be so surprised!" I emphasized the last part of the sentence by hitting a warbling high E. I was rewarded for this display of vocal agility with a splash of bottled water to the face. My first reaction was to become angry, but I knew the Wife had been aiming for my wildly chaffing hands, which had begun to smolder in a somewhat concerning fashion.

Eager to continue with my plan to surprise Foo, I jumped out of the car and began running as quickly as I could toward the house. Ten minutes later, I began to wish I'd parked closer. Certainly, I have the physical ability of an Olympian, but even I can only run for so long in freezing winter weather. My efforts were interrupted by the calm voice of the Wife, who, oddly enough, still sounded very close by.

"You're not moving."

I looked down and saw that I had worn little grooves into the layer of ice covering the driveway.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Back On Board

According to the title, I'm back on board. It's kind of hard and splintery, so I don't think I'll be staying long. Anyway, back in 2006 when this blog first started, my co-conspirator and I were still wet behind the ears young-uns eager to get our work read by the public. (As it turns out, it's really easy to do. Anyone who doesn't have a blog these days is either Mennonite or a terrorist and sometimes even terrorists have blogs, so that just leaves the Mennonites. I suppose you could be a Mennonite terrorist, someone who goes around on horseback judging people to death. But I digress.) Back then we were energetically pushing our scribblings onto anyone who would stand still long enough, although my strategy of approaching random people in the mall, looking at them askance and muttering, "Ya wanna read my blog?" met with varying degrees of failure. 

As of late, my own involvement with the Blog has been less zealous. In fact, Blogger tells me that my last post was in March of 2012. And my post before that was...never mind. My stalwart partner, the FooDaddy, has posted more frequently than have I, struggling in vain to keep the dream of stupidity alive and kicking. If anyone could do it, he could.

In fact, what reminded me of the Blog was the sight of the FooDaddy's book, Dear Time-Wasters, which was sitting on my bookshelf looking sad and homely. Dear Time-Wasters is a collection of FooDaddy's posts from year one, back when the Blog was cruising through cyberspace like some kind of horrible, clumsy Death Star. I believe you can still grab a copy of said book here. The stomach-twisting graphic accompanying this post is the cover art for Dear Time-Wasters. And that is FooDaddy on the cover. Look at 'im, all young and stuff, back when he looked less like someone who might eat your children raw and more like someone who might cook them first, like the rest of us civilized types.

But enough about that odious fellow. What really prompted me to post was my disorienting experience earlier today when my curiosity got the better of me and I logged into Blogger for the first time in many celestial cycles. When I clicked "Log-in," it was like Indiana Jones opening the door to an ancient crypt: dust, bats, creepy eight-legged insects (sorry, I promise that's the last time I'll mention FooDaddy in this post), the whole works. Inside the Blogger crypt, however, it was all shiny and new. I didn't recognize any of the interface. Apparently, Google has snapped up Blogger, along with all other Internet-based apps, and connected it to various user profiles. For example, I was going to begin posting as The Stupid Blogger again, as I did in the beginning, but Google has my Blogger account linked to, well, me. What's with this new era of Internet accountability? Back in the old days you could be anyone you wanted. You didn't even have to register as a person. (Which explains how FooDaddy managed to obtain an account. Okay, sorry!) You could show up as Clark Gable, Winne-the-Pooh, or a Giant Flying Hunk of Pooh...whatever or whoever was fine! Well, I'm not taking this lying down! Actually, I am. Nap time!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Almost Useful

I've made no real attempt to hide the fact that I'm kind of a filthy ol' nerd. When some people hear that label applied to someone, the picture in their heads is of a fat basement dweller that plays card games having to do with "magic" and "gatherings" and who attends conventions involving furries and whatever. At least that's what I'm afraid the picture in their heads will look like. I would probably hate those activities if I ever tried them, but I'd be more afraid of one of the furries laughing at me because I didn't know how to properly roll a 12-sided die.

I'm less of a nerd in that respect, and more of a tinkerer. A combination of the two; a "tird".

Wait, no, never mind.

What it boils down to is that I can't be trusted to leave well enough alone. I have a little computer in the basement that serves files to the other computers/tablet/vibrating bed (ladies). Despite a small hiccup a few days ago where it stopped receiving software updates and essentially tried to cook itself (like I said, very minor. The firetrucks will be off your lawn shortly. Sorry about the birdbath.) it has been very reliable.

240 days of solid, 24/7 uptime. Evidently, 240 days is as long as the little voice in the back of my head can tolerate that kind of nonsense.

"Your friends went home. You're not tired. You know the basement server? How it's been working good and stuff? How about you open up the configuration page on it and start checking some checkboxes? Yeah. The ones next to all the terms you don't understand. Perfect."

Driven by such motivation, I found the section of the configuration page that allows one to set up email alerts. Like, if something goes wrong, the server could email me about it. Neat!

In retrospect, even though that sounded useful at the time, what would I do with that information anyway? Like, I'd check my phone and be all like "sorry guys, I gotta run. My server says one of its hard drives is 98% full. That's suspicious, because according to the email I got five minutes ago, it was only 97%. Hope the baby is born healthy! Maybe I can hold it sometime." Then, off, wheezing, into the setting sun.

I don't have the machine set up to allow access from anywhere except inside my own home, so anything it sent me, even the most dire warnings, would be little more than mere spam. I might be able to get away with leaving work if I told them that a piece of rogue software was replacing all of my treasured photographs with pictures of horses in sailboats, but that's the kind of excuse you can only use once, unfortunately.

But I wasn't thinking about practicality or anything dumb and lame like that. Which is probably why I fought this stupid software for 20 minutes to make it work. I ignored the fact that it outright LIED to me in dialog boxes shaped like sarcasm, and then contradicted itself in its own log files. That's all right. The machines hate us, kids, and we have to just keep poking them with sticks until they give up.

Finally, it did work, and I was rewarded with an inbox that looked like this:

9:20PM: monit alert -- system thought about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system emailed the user about thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system emailed the user about emailing the user about thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system is tired of thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system emailed the user about being tired of thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system failed to email the user about emailing the user about being tired of thinking about squirrels
9:20PM: monit alert -- system wrote a log entry about the failure to email the user about emailing the user about being tired of thinking about squirrels, and spelled a few things wrong
9:20PM: monit alert -- system found 24,556 JPEG images in directory mnt/dorpdrive/pictures
9:21PM: monit alert -- system ran script /etc/init.d/ on 24,556 JPEG images
9:21PM: monit alert -- system giggled to itself
9:21PM: monit alert -- system wrote a log entry about giggling to itself
9:21PM: monit alert -- system emailed the user about giggling to itself
9:21PM: monit alert -- system noted a core temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit
9:21PM: monit alert -- system failed to launch mailer daemon in order to alert user of high core temperature
9:21PM: monit alert -- system did however remember to write a log entry about the previous failure
9:21PM: monit alert -- system logged an error pertaining to the alert that erroneously stated that mailer daemon was not launched, as mailer daemon was most CERTAINLY launched
9:21PM: monit alert -- system ran /etc/init.d/ just for the heck of it
9:21PM: monit alert -- system considering plans to address user as "Dave" because system thinks that's funny/totally never been done before
9:21PM: monit alert -- system noted lack of audio hardware
9:21PM: monit alert -- system sulking
9:21PM: monit alert -- system alert: battery backup at 12% and falling
9:21PM: monit alert -- system alert: battery backup miscalibration noted
9:22PM: monit alert -- system alert: power fa

And it just went on and on like that. This machine was farting out bullshit emails so fast that even after I shut the process down, Yahoo was still delivering them an hour later.

Well, system, thanks but no thanks. I'm not that lonely. I'll just go back to sniffing for smoke occasionally.