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.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Reunion; A Rebuttal

"Hey, mister, is that your phone ringing?" said the orphan, gesturing with his good arm.

"Indeed it is, orphan," I replied. "That sound means I got a text message. Probably another one from the Nobel committee. They're persistent! Now hold still. Almost done."

I taped the last bit of gauze down and stepped back to make sure I didn't miss anything. The child's body, only hours before mangled seemingly beyond repair, was now a shining testament to what modern science, ancient science, mad science and lots of duct tape could do. He stood there, shifting from foot to foot like a nervous deity, his cyborg limbs reflecting the polished gold finish of nearby trophies.

"How do you feel?" I asked the child.

"Like I could kill a horse!" he said.

"Good. Now go forth," I said, booting him out the front door. "Seek revenge! Be merciless!" I called after him.

It was one in the morning, and it was time to get drunk. The Nobel committee would have to wait. I picked up my phone to see what they were offering this time, and when I saw the message header, my stomach filled with dead butterflies.

It was from Craig.

helo swine!!11! i was in in the nayberhud and i thought i d stop and sea you! HAWHAHHAHWHWHHAHHAHHWWWHAH! i"m itchy again can i have some bear or hto coko?

"Some 'bear'?" 

Ugh. Craig had been threatening to visit the chateau for months after he had moved across the country. I would remind him that he lived 2,000 miles away now, that no, his globe wasn't actual size and that it would take months for him to make the trip on his lone roller skate.

If he was lost at the gas station down the street from his apartment again, he'd just have to spend the night there. I had more important drunk to be.

To start things off, I chose a dark vermouth; a 1993 Oily Prat. A classy fortified wine, fortified with class and of course much much alcohol. I poured myself a Thermosful.

"Cheers!" I said to my wall of trophies, and took a deep pull from the twisty straw. The vermouth burned my eyes and began to eat away at the straw. Then I switched to turpentine.

No sooner had I become good and drunk, when a raging cacophony of irritation hurled itself against my front door. Bangs, frantic scratching, thumps, buckling sheet metal and inhuman screeching. It sounded like Armageddon was trying to crawl into my house through the mail slot.

I staggered over to the door and pressed my handsome, handsome face against the glass.

Shit. Even worse. It was Craig! And here I was, too hammered to work the light switch or a rifle.

"You're nohhtt getting nuhn of MY bear!" I scream-slurred at his blurry silhouette.

"Stop that jabbering and open up!" he said, removing one of his socks and stuffing it through the mail slot. It hit the floor with a splat and began to laboriously lurch its way into the shadows. I swear I could hear it wheezing, but I was pretty drunk. I opened the door.

"I have rickets!" he squealed, skittering over to my refrigerator to paw at my bacon.

"Oof. Um. Jesus. Hey, could you paw a little quieter? I'm nursing the mother of all pre-hangovers here."

Craig screeched something about vinegar and tucked a package of hot dogs under his arm.

"Hey. HEY! We should play some games! I'll call Kevin so we have someone to be better than! Can I borrow your phone?"

I nodded to the counter. Craig dropped my phone into his pocket and made the call on his own. He crammed the phone against the side of his terrible head and allowed all sapience to drain from his face, a vacuous smile bouncing around his face like a DVD player's screen saver.

"Kevin!" he hooted. "You musty horse! Did you want--what? What do you mean this isn't Kevin? Of course it is. I can hear your fat. What? This is his number! Yes it is! YES IT IS!"

He ended the call, slipped his phone into his pocket, pulled mine out and threw it on the floor.

"Kevin says he'll be right over!" he said.

I poured another vermouth.

The Reunion

Not having been back in town for quite some time, knocking on FooDaddy’s door brought a flood of memories to my mind. It also gave me a headache, but I pushed through the pain and knocked again. From somewhere in the rear of the house I heard a loud crashing noise and several muffled expletives.

“Sunnuva…goddam…piece of shit…ow…cat…”

Worried he might not have heard my knocking over the racket, I stepped up the knocking and even kicked the bottom of the door a couple of times. I felt it was rather rude of FooDaddy to be so unprepared to greet me. After all, I had sent him a text message warning him of my arrival. I hoped the apparent confusion didn’t mean he wouldn’t have a cup of hot chocolate waiting for me as I had quite reasonably requested in my message.

After about fifteen minutes of banging and cursing, I heard him fumbling with the lock on the door. His face was pressed against the glass inset, a confused look on his face and his eyes red-rimmed and squinty.


“Stop that jabbering and open up!” I demanded, perhaps a bit harshly. “It’s freezing out here. My feet are cold and I have a stomach ache. My back hurts and I think I have rickets.”

At last the door swung open and FooDaddy stood in the opening, swaying back and forth, looking as if he might topple over at any moment.

“Are you drunk?”

“Er…no. I was sleeping. What time is it?

I checked my phone. “1:30 in the a.m. Didn’t you get my text?”


“Why, yes! About my impending arrival. Surely you received it. I sent it at least fifteen minutes ago.”

“Uh…I was sleeping then, too.”

“Whatever.” I edged past FooDaddy and into the house. I wasn’t buying his story. He was obviously drunk. I was disappointed in him, to say the least, but decided to be a good friend and take over the role of host, since he was obviously not up to the task. “Why don’t you have a seat and I will make you some vinegar tea.”

“Vinegar…what the hell?”

“It’s best thing for drunk folk.”

“I’m not drunk. I was—“

“Sleeping, right. Say, you got any bacon?”

“Yeah, maybe…I dunno.”

I walked to the refrigerator and found an unopened pack of bacon sitting on the middle shelf. I grabbed it out and tucked it under my arm for future frying.

“Let’s play some video games!”


“Oh, and I’m calling Kevin.”

FooDaddy gagged and any doubts I had about his sobriety went straight out the window. “Look at you,” I said, trying to sound as disdainful as possible. “So drunk you’re about to ralph on yourself.”

“It’s just that you mentioned Kevin…and it’s so early.”

“Kevin got drunk with you?” I grabbed my cellphone. “I should definitely call him up and give him a piece of my mind.”

“Don’t be too generous,” FooDaddy mumbled.

The phone rang twice and then, “Hello?”

“Am I talking to a fat man?”

“Hey, musty horse! What’s up?”

“Paul, whenever he sees a handsome man.”

Kevin let out a bleet of appreciate laughter. “Not bad, Swineforth, not bad. That joke made me not hate you quite as much.”

“Good, because I’m fairly cross with you at the moment.”

“Awesome! How come?”

“The drunken party you had with Foo. He’s hammered out of his mind over here.”

FooDaddy waved an ineffectual fist at me. “I’m not drunk, I’m—“

I shoved the entire pack of bacon in his mouth to shut him up. “So, you want to come on over and play Call of Duty or some other equally rad game of video?”

“Nobody says ‘rad’ anymore,” FooDaddy said, spitting out the bacon.

Kevin overheard and yelled into the phone. “Tell him nobody likes him anymore! I’ll be. Right! OVER!”

FooDaddy, who had curled up into the fetal position, was whimpering. “I thought I was done with this.”

I reclaimed the now soggy package of swine strips. “I know!” I said. “Ain’t it great? Just like old times!”

“Right,” FooDaddy said. “Old times…dammit.”