On Hold With Karen Carpenter

Phone in my ear I’m too embarrassed to place the call on speaker phone. All I want to do is contact my software vendor and find out why my configuration is failing, but after twenty-five minutes on hold I’m now reciting their spiel in sync with them and fuming over their choice of music.

“Please continue to hold. A representative will be with you shortly. Your approximate wait time is 10 minutes. We now return you to the melodious melodies of voicemail purgatory”

“I'm on top of the world, looking down on creation and the only explanation …”

I’m convinced that the on-hold easy-listening music is a tactic to reduce calls. Or at the very least break the callers will down. If you ever want to interrogate someone put them in a room with one Carpenters song for four hours on continuous loop. You will find when they are freed they will be quite willing to divulge whatever you request of them.

The Carpenters have a way of doing that to you. Tech support is similar to interrogation. You want to make sure when someone calls in with a complaint that they are malleable. You need them that way to convince them of things that they otherwise wouldn't believe.

I recall once when I called in to support because of a hardware issue. After I was done with the call I walked into my boss and said, "The tech told me the router rebooted, because of a stray electron passing through the boxes CPU. I'm sorry, I couldn't argue, they had me on hold with Karen Carpenter for over 40 minutes." My boss loved this answer and used it repeatedly at meetings.

When I worked the phones, it was all about getting the secret information. You could spend hours on a customer’s problem that had a very simple solution. If only they would tell you what they had done. When a person called in and claimed they had “no idea” what was wrong, it usually meant “I did something stupid, and I want you to fix it and not find me out.”

We could have used a little “Yesterday once more” on our call queue.

Either way the music has changed from Karen Carpenter to Barry Manilow. I’m beginning to feel my resolve waning. Maybe I’ll hang up and trying to fix it again on my own.

Slurpee© Tricks

Story Circa 1997

It was hot. I was on my way to work. I was working for a big box electronics retailer, and I started at two o'clock. I bought a Slurpee and got in my car. I discovered that I couldn't drive my manual transmission and suck on the Slurpee at the same time. No Worries! I set the drink on my steering wheel (see poorly edited diagram) and now I can shift, steer and drink. Look ma, no brains!

So all is going well until the first left turn. I turn sharply, and of course, dump Slurpee all over my work clothes. Welcome to the physical world. Here we are required to abide by certain laws. Gravity it seems is one law that is strictly enforced regardless of how we would like to pretend it doesn't exist. In other words, "gravity will not be toyed with!"

The embarrassing part was walking into the store like that. Customers, peers, and all. I was soaked in Slurpee. I had to stand and plead with my manager to let me go home and get changed. He wanted me to work like that. Retail!

  • Managers aren't paid well enough to understand.

  • You cannot hide large amounts of liquid in a pair of tan pants.

  • Some people will always laugh, even if it is not nice.

  • Never post embarrassing moments online. Trust me.

My Place

“Yeah…take a left then a right, then drive about 6 miles and you’ll see it there on your right”

“What’s the number?”

“No number, it’s called My Place

So this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while… When did people stop naming their houses? It seems people were doing in for hundreds of years. A tradition that was passed down from generation to generation, why stop all the sudden? Today it seems if you’re not the President your not allowed to name your place.

I believe we should bring it back. Here are some famous abodes in literature:

  • Bilbo named his place ‘Bag End’

  • Mr. Toad named his ‘Toad Hall’

  • Scarlet’s place was ‘Tara’

  • Mr Darcey lived at ‘Pemberley’

  • Anne at ‘Green Gables’
I understand all these references are fiction, but they were penned by folks who thought it was perfectly normal. Minus ‘Tara’ and ‘Green Gables’ I notice they’re all English. I found that in the UK it is still a normal custom.

I mean we name rivers, mountains, boats, lakes, resorts, pets, gorges, valleys, cities, cars, streams, geysers, inns, shoes, motels, roads, parks, oceans, fault lines, and diseases. Why did we stop at naming our homes?

The other night we were having pie and "RJ" mentioned it. Apparently a fairly popular comic made reference to it. The comic thought the idea to be ridiculous. I had to confesses to him about my obession with the notion. It occured to me that night that the post office might not find the thought amussing. I suppose it would get a little confusing to the postmaster.

"Please direct all my mail to 'Circles End'."
"Is that a joke?"
"Circles don't end..."
"It's a working title."

Anyway... I'll come up with something, but for now I suppose you can still reach me at the boring number on the street with the same name as everyone else.

But in the future you might have to find your way to 'Circles End'.

Lazy Thursday Blues: Take 9

The World This is REAL they are BUILDING 300 islands in Dubai. check this out too..

Yeti Sports 1 Liked Penguin Darts? Try this one.

Still Here?
I've decided to post some more Stereograms. Click each picture for a larger size. Let you eyes relax and the picture will go out of focus, and another will emerge. Again, bragging rights to the first correct decoder.

Out! Out! Billy Joel!

Billy Joel is stuck in my head. I’m not a huge fan; I’ve never owned an album or single. I don’t know all the words to any of his songs, but never the less I can’t get him out of my head! I need to hear Piano Man, or I will die a horrible death. My brain is churning all spare cycles on decoding this song. I never asked it to do this, and I haven't got a clue how to stop it.

Ever had a song stuck in you head and not know all the words? I find there are a number of resolutions to the issue.

  • Sing what you know.
    Wash, rinse, repeat. This will inevitably lead to the loop. You are looping 15% of the song over and over again. Either the song will be purged from your mind by the monotony of it, or you will become psychotic and your friends will loathe your company. I recall once I had a television jingle stuck in my head. Dum da da dum. That’s all I knew. I would sit and listen to conversations and whenever someone tried to engage me I would say “dum da da dum” It was pitiful. People were scared to talk to me, I was in agony and how no idea how to make it stop. Anyway after a number of weeks of this antisocial behavior I saw the V8 commercial from where this came, and all was good again. I just got lucky, I'm not sure what would have happened if the cycle hadn't been broken.

  • Bottle it up inside.
    I can’t give much advice on this one. I’m not one for hiding my feelings. I imagine this would be like shaking pop for an extended period. Sooner or later, something’s going to blow.

  • Make up your own words.
    This is very popular with some folks. They don’t care what words they sing as long as the tune is carried. I do this every once in a while, but would prefer the authentic lyrics. Imagine this in my case… “Sing us a song you’re the singing man, I’m not sure what your name is, but were all sitting here on the barstools, and you’ve got us feeling right yea.” Today this is not working for me.
I'm sure I'll survive this problem and soon be on to my next obsession.

On a side note, if your ever bored here's a fun game. Hum or whistle a part of song, over and over and see what people around you do. My favorite is stopping before the last two beats on “shave and a haircut” (shave-and-a-hair-) This one is great at parties.

Your results my vary.

Fair Reflection

Udder Balm, Udder Balm! Come get your udder balm!
Come see the the 1000lb pig!
Don't leave without the wonder knife!

We went to the fair. It was okay. I wasn't that excited, maybe the heat, maybe the day leading up to it, or maybe it wasn't as WOW as I was hoping for. If you were looking for cool gizmos in the vendors pavilion you might not get lucky. If you were looking to see gangsters or women in skimpy outfits though, the fair might just be your best bet.

We paid $19 for two gigantic corn dogs and two lemonades. That’s fine; the fair isn't a place for bargains. While we ate, there was a pretty decent band doing covers of 70's and 80's tunes. The band played, We munched, and the Budweiser stage came through. It was cool and the Clydesdales were very regal. Too bad they were towing the best known symbol for cheap booze. About five minutes later a fellow came down the road with a bucket and a shovel, cleaning up after the horses. I will have a hard time being upset about my job for a while.

So the family decided to see the 1000lb pig. I declined. I like pigs one way, on my plate. Apparently it wasn’t a pretty sight, and I got a full description. Luckily I think I could still go for sausage, so I guess I’m impervious to the effects.

Anyway from there Patricia and I went on our own to the vendors pavilion. It didn’t seem that spectacular. Cetainly not full of people or vendors. I came very close to buying a cord wrapper, but managed to walk away. At the ring cleaners Patricia had to confess she wasn't wearing her wedding ring. We played it up and got a laugh or two. So much for the fair.

Of course there was the Udder Balm…

Noir More. Please

A man loans me a movie, an old movie, a movie he wants me to watch. A movie about a man and woman, a woman with an attitude, and a man who loves her. I sat in my house and watched the movie, watched the movie like I had to, because I did. My friend would ask me about it, see? Questions I couldn’t answer, see? So I did what I had to, see? I watched it. You dirty rat.

Film noir is definitely its own art form. I didn’t really understand it till I’d watched few of Roberts' movies. He started me off slow, and I was enjoying them for the most part. I got into movies like The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and Narrow Margin.

I guess I sort of graduated to something meatier. So he lands this one on me. Criss Cross. Apparently the thing about a "really good" film noir is you can't have clear heros or villains. Just lots of flashbacks, smoke and narrations. In order to make a film noir film you need a number of things. While watching Burt Lancaster drinking himself into a drunken stupor I made a list. Here's what I think you need for a good film noir picture.

  • 7 white ties

  • 24 flashback scenes

  • 18 wife beaters

  • 6 close-ups

  • 15 double crosses

  • 245 bottles of booze

  • 1 mastermind

  • 3400 cigarettes

  • 7 bullets from a 6 shooter

  • 4 fistfights
And plenty of poorly written lines. Like this ditty.
“A man eats an apple, and gets a chunk of it stuck between his teeth. He uses a piece of cellophane from his cigarette wrapper to get it out. The cellophane gets stuck too. What’s the use?”
I’m not even sure what it means. I do know that it is required to be delivered wearing a fedora and smoking a cigarette. I think he’s upset about something but I’m not sure.

I should have listened more, I should have cared more, I should have paused the movie when I left the room. I don’t think this style is for me. Either way I’m not sure I can avoid getting another one lent to me after I return this one tomorrow.

Not that I have to tell you, but this movie ended like it started, badly.

Come the Fairgrounds

The local county fair is opening tomorrow. I have to say I'm excited and we always have a blast at the fair. Either way this popped into my head and I thought I would share it...

Come to the Fairgrounds
Spend your money, spend your money
Come to the fairgrounds tonight

Come to the fairgrounds
Eat pastas, cheesecake, and churros
Eat hot dogs corndogs, and cinnamon rolls
Walk into the fairgrounds but waddle on home

Come to the fairgrounds
Ten dollars for parking and five for a ride
Twenty-Five for a Ginsu knife, Thirty-Six for two
Come flush to the fairgrounds but leave the place flushed

Come to the fairgrounds
See the cows, and the chickens
See the sheep, horses, rabbits and pigs
Come clean to the fairgrounds, leave smelling like dung

Come to the fairgrounds
We’ve all the nice people
Meet carnies, hommies, pickpockets and bums
Come alone to the fairgrounds and find some new friends

Come to the Fairgrounds
Spend your money, spend your money
Come to the fairgrounds tonight

-Peter Brown 2006

Stem To Stern

Okay today is a BIG one. Story Circa 2004

I’m working for a computer consulting company. Going around from business to business taking care of customers networking needs. For the most part is was a pretty easy job. There were always exceptions, but not many. I enjoyed working for lots of different people and going to a variety of places. I was required to wear slacks and dress shirts for this job. I owned a few fairly expensive pair of dress pants, and they all fit me comfortably.

So I’m at our best customers office. I spend around eight to ten hours with them every week. I’m up in the accounting office. This is an office of only women. The room is a square and the square is comprised of solid cubes, with all the openings facing in. Picture twenty women in a square crunching numbers, cracking jokes, gossiping and rocking out to easy listening. Think of it like a hen house and you would be pretty close

In the center of the hen house was a printer. I was swapping it out with a new one. I bent down to pick up the printer and we had a nanosecond conversation.

“Printer” I started, “You need to come with me”
“I’m staying here”
“There is no way of stopping this”

I hear this deafening tear. It rang in my ears like a shot. All I could think was “This couldn’t be happening.” Then came the corroboration. A giggle began traveling around the circle of hens. What started off small was shortly out of control. I had ripped my pants from my neatly press cuff all the way to my double stitched designer waist. It was like a sail billowing in the soft wave of raucous merriment at my expense. I stood dumbfounded, smiling sheepishly and trying to comprehend what had just happened. I put the printer down and grabbed my coat. It covered the important portions, though the damage was already done.

As I was fleeing the office I ran into the manager, and she asked why I was leaving. I relayed the story to her. She looked at my pants, and started to laugh uncontrollably. As I descended the stairs, leading away from the office, I heard her in fits of laughter and few “I’m sorry Peter” like phrases thrown in for good measure.

As I got in my car and tried to comprehend what just happened I knew I would have to go back and finish the job. The idea was almost unbearable.

RSS recant

To the RSS subscribers. I'm sorry but I have to put my foot down. I'm done with the syndication. I write this blog for two reasons.

1- I have a head full of nonsense and it must come out.

2- I enjoy interaction, and believe that is the difference between a static website and a dynamic blog.

I'm afraid all you e-agoraphobics are going to have to get over it. I know you want the world in a neat little box called an RSS reader, but my world isn't like that. I refuse to be in your box. Things are always changing, either you'll have to rejoin the web world and actually visit sites or you'll miss out. If you don't want anymore inane babble about nothingness, awkward moments, or fun links on Thursdays I understand. I'm not going to pretend this site is amazing, I'm just not happy with pumping this stuff out to the Ether, without knowing who's reading it. I'll be here if you need me, but I won't be hurt if you decide not to visit. I don't really know you now anyway.

This will be the last Kludge Spot RSS... Sorry.


Doing Its Bidding

I am here to do the A/Cs' bidding. I would do almost anything it wanted. If it asked me to kill a man I would refrain, more than likely. I suppose if it said, it would stop working if I didn’t commit murder, I would be hard pressed to not act against the poor soul it selected. I hope it wouldn't pick someone I knew personally. That could get awkward

I can’t imagine that the A/C will ask me to do anything sinister for a bit. It would rather gain my trust first, then comes the blackmail. Our air conditioning unit has not been functional for more than a year. I suppose that it hasn’t worked properly since we lived in this house. Some of that is just because it is old, and some of that is my fault.

The A/C unit is a Coleman Presidential II. The idea of it makes me laugh. It is an older junky A/C hanging on for dear life. The opinion that a president would be seen within a mile of it is a joke. Or that they would be so smitten with this model they would want a sequel! I suppose if I was a president and did have two air conditioning units I wouldn’t want this one to be my first. On further reflection he could just be president of a failing delicatessen, or more likely the president of a thriving hot dog stand. Regardless...

When we first moved here in January of 04 some critter crawled in under our house. It’s an unusual experience, one I don’t need to repeat it order to know I didn’t enjoy it. After our guest left I found the hole leading in, right were the A/C’s pipes were going into the foundation. I found a bag of dirt and filled up the hole. Two days later I looked at the bag – Quickrete. After our one hundred degree day we finally decided to have someone look at the old Presidential II. The technician took one look at my pile of hardened concrete on his precious copper pipes, and left. We paid him fifty dollars for his poor attitude and lingering smell.

I spent an hour in ninety-degree heat chiseling away concrete from copper tubing very carefully. We called another A/C repairperson and within twenty minutes time and a few pounds of freon everything was working. It has only been two days since we've been back to a regulated tempature and I cannot imagine life without it. So as I say, I’m here do it’s bidding. Just don’t get it mad, because I would hate to have to kill you off.

Flash Thursday

A collection of simple yet addicting flash games.

Paper Toss - Not a bad way to waste 15 minutes

Yeti Sports 2 - I Played WAY too long.

Bullet Dodge - Test your reflexes. The quick and the dead... without the chaps.

Find Five Errors - This is fun. Find five differences in two pictures, in time limit.

Confessions Of A Cable Hoarder

I have a rather large box of cables in my office. Its roughly the size of New Guinea and about as useful. Most geeks I know have a similar cache. You never know when you’re going to need one and whenever I need one you can bet I’ll have the wrong one in my box. So I’ll go out and by some more. I have no problem with this, but it has always been a point of contention with my wife. Additionally we have several old computers and four unused monitors. You can only imagine how pleased she was when I brought home my newest finds.

“Peter…what are those?”
“uhm..what do they look like? They’re cables”
“They were just going to throw them out! Can you believe that?”

These are Cisco console cables. These are for connecting to routers, switches and other networking gear. That’s not what I’m going to use them for! I have this bizarre need to make things. If it benefits me or not, isn't the point. The bumper sticker thing is just the newest side path on the journey of obsession. A journey I’ve been on for a long time.

When I was unemployed for seven months I started to lose my mind. It was a very pitiful time in my life. During that time I tried to burn our house down twice. Once by deep-frying chicken in olive oil. Did you know that olive oil has the lowest smoking point of any oil? No? Me either. And once by catching the vacuum on fire. Word to the wise, check the fireplace for embers before vacuuming up the ashes. A number of things came out of this period. One was a home made pizza that tasted so bad even pigs would have turned up their snouts. Second was a collection of hard drive clocks I unsuccessfully peddled downtown. This idea came from an old co-worker who made similar ones. Mine were much less elegant than his. They didn sell for the simple reason that no one in their right mind wanted them. I ended up having to give them away as gifts. Lastly was the Cisco Console Cable Coaster.

C4 is a useful coaster made from a cable and 4 pieces of twine. Actually I use wax tie used in most telecommunications offices, tied in a style called lacing. Something I picked up while working for phone company. They are totally geek and totally useful. They are super absorbent and a fun statement for the techy look. They come in two colors Cisco black, and Cisco blue. So there you go the C4. If your good you might get one in your stocking this year.

Coupon Day

“Hey buddy! I got something for you!”


“It’s a thirty pair shoe rack that hangs over your door…”

“I don’t need a thirty pair shoe rack. I only have four pairs of shoes, and I’m normally wearing one of them.”

“I’ll give you 20% off!”

“How late are you open?”

The first one of these I got I was so jazzed! 20% off ANYTHING in the STORE! We ran to Bed Bath and Beyond and bought matching coffee travel mugs and boat load of candles. We saved two dollars and twenty five cents off one candle. Whoop! I was a little bummed that we blew such a cool opportunity on such a lousy savings.We wouldn’t be fooled again.

If I ever got another one…things would be different. I would make it right. One day the ad arrives and lo and behold, another coupon! Anyway we spent it, and probably on something we didn’t really want or need, like, a silicon oven mitt, or an amazing salad spinner. Or something less useful like an elephant decoration for the restroom. Who can guess?

Recently though this whole coupon thing has changed. Bed Bath and Beyond is relentless in their offers. I cannot believe how many 20% off coupons I receive in a month. This picture I took this morning, is our cache of 20% coupons. They are stuffing my mailbox like a Thanksgiving turkey. Begging me to come in, pleading with me.

Come to the store!
Buy our stuff!
Come to the store!
You can't afford not to!

It seems to me they must have a factory churning these out by the bucket full. Somewhere a printing press is in dire need of a vacation. What am I suppose to do with them? I can’t throw them out, it's like burning cash! Really though, is there anything I need this badly? The power squid power cord? A stand for my ketchup container? I can’t find one thing in their ad that entices me in the least. I just can’t get worked up over another blender, or a collapsing storage container. I suppose I'll just keep collecting them like some eccentric old person

If anyone wants a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon, we might be persuaded to part with one. Or maybe I'll start making clothes out of them for the neighbors cat.

Veni, Vidi, Vici.

From - Central Command
To -Field Operative

Mission Dispatch

This mission will not be easy. The objective is achievable though not for the faint of heart. The trek will be a familiar one. You will journey to the stadium and attempt to consume an unwarranted amount of fatty, starchy, and totally indigestible cuisine.

Recommendations – Bring Antacids

I was at the ballpark with a couple of my mates. I’ve now been to a number of Giants games, and can claim a greater understanding of the sport, thanks in no small part to Ando and J Crew’s patience. Additionally I have what is called a “ball cap” with proves I’m no longer the outsider. It was a great game. Regardless, we must stay focused on the mission.

Some decisions are difficult, the choice for my meal was not. I love pigs, dead for the most part and cooked preferably, but I won’t quibble. We were seated in the last row on the top tier of the park. While we were watching the the game, a fellow spectator began asking me questions about certain players tenure, and how I though the pitchers stats were this year. I turned to him and confessed, “I’m here for the garlic fries.” Even from our perch we were overpowered by the smell of garlic. It permeates the park. It called to us, like a Siren wooing us to our own misfortune. Unlike Odysseus I had no reservations. I wished only to let my nose lead me to the stand that would fulfill my desires. Dinner consisted of one Louisiana hot link and a bucket size container of garlic fries. So far so good. I was forced to substitution a Coke for the sweet refreshment of a Dew, but that was my only compunction. Around the sixth inning I performed further gastronomic research on my gorging threshold by purchasing a churro. I seemed impervious to the effects of my fast food indulgence. To further aggravate the issue I went straight home, and fell asleep.

Friday night I felt fine. Saturday was spent in utter agony.

I had lost four pounds by Sunday morning, and still haven’t completely purged the garlic odor from my person. At least the vampires will be at bay the next few days.

The worst part is I don’t regret it. I feel no shame; I’ve learned no lesson, save bring your own Mountain Dew to the park. I’ve learned to never regret a good meal the next day. If you chose the meal you choose the consequences. To prove this point I'll tell you that tonight I ate buffalo wings for dinner. We will see how tomorrow goes. Like Caesar I count the engagement as a victory. I came, I saw, I devoured.

Egos and Stoplights

Story circa 1994.

I was sixteen years old and in high school. I was not dating Patricia at the time. During high school Patricia and I spent a lot of time on and off, off and on. I would swoon and pursue after her and eventually she would cave in. We would date for a number of months; she would then see the error of her ways and dump me. This was a very normal routine and we had both grown accustom to it.

So here we go again…

I was driving down the road in my pickup and saw an attractive girl in the car next to me. I smiled. She smiled back. She accelerated and I accelerated. She slowed and I slowed, all this time we stole glances at each other and she continued to smile at me, even a giggle or two. During this time I trying to look casual and still smile and look interesting. Teenage boys are easily some of the stupidest creatures on the planet. Not that this is a revelation to anyone. So we both pull up to a stoplight.

I turn towards her car and give her the big charm smile. When from the passenger seat pops into view a very stern face. She started laughing…and he continued to stare through my eyes into my quickly shrinking ego. I believe we sat at that stoplight for three hours and seventeen minutes, with her laughing, him staring, and me pretending to be preoccupied with my windshield.

Adolescence, such an enchanting phase.

Give it Up

Thursday I had to go to the dentist. As I mentioned in the post The Dentist Wants Your Teeth I thought Mr. mouth had an abnormal need for my munchers. Well it turns out I was right. He’s decided that all my wisdom teeth should come out. Does your dentist smile when he gives bad news? Mine does. What is that all about? Anyway after I finished my twenty three x-rays he sent me to see the oral surgeon.

So I dropped my paper work off at the oral surgeon. Beware if your doctors’ office is nicer than the oval office. You can bet your not going to get any bargains. After an engaging conversation with the receptionist, where they said that I would owe them $120 the next time we met, and I said, then lets not meet till the end of summer, I left.

I decided after all this discomfort I should go the blood bank and finish the day off right.

This started off as a joke in my head and pretty soon I was coming up with lots of reasons why this would be a good idea and few as to why it wasn't. The only compelling reason not to go was I really need a haircut. If you can believe that I would rather give blood than get my hair cut, you’d be right. But that’s for another post.

So I finished off the afternoon by giving a pint of blood for someone I do not know and will probably never meet. It felt good, and I liked knowing it might help someone in need. Last April my daughter needed blood for her heart surgery. An army of people stepped up and drained their veins for her. It was amazing, we were blown away by everyones willingness to give. Its been that long since I donated and I not sure why. I’m not scared of needles and can take the small amount of pain involved. To be honest it isn’t a painful process, and you get free juice and pretzels. What more could you ask for?

The truth is there is always a reason not to go, I’m busy, I don’t like pretzels, I don’t want someone to pump a pint of my blood into a bag. Anyway it worked out today and I hope that in eight weeks I go back. It wasn’t bad and I know someone needs it.

Additionally the blood bank will stop calling my house for the next eight weeks. That fact alone is easily worth a bucket of blood, and an hour of my time!

Lazy Thursday Blues: Take 7

Okay some cool stuff today!


Here is a new game called Flow... The point is to eat other things smaller than you. There is also one called Cloud but I havent checked it out yet.


Real etch-a-sketch drawing. Thanks to Matt Boyd for the link.


For those of you who missed this on the "Persimmons Are Falling" post.

Garden Gnome

Or this one!

Mario on Stage

If anyone has something cool they found. Feel free to share!

Of Cars and War

I'm the god of war. The Greeks called me Aries, the Romans referred to me as Mars but you can take your pick. I'm the symbol of virility, weapons, bloodshed and masculinity. I reap vengeance on the enemy and require reverence and fear from my followers. Why am I driving around with a bumper sticker that reads "Arms are for Hugging”?

For a number of years I have been pointing out to people who care to listen that I find the symbol used on Volvo’s quite ironic. It's difficult concept to grasp. Why would a car manufacture pick it? I've never really been sure.

The majority of Volvo drivers tend to shy away from the whole war thing. I believe that most people who drive the Swedish automobile are rather left leaning. It might have to do with the socialist bent of the Swedish government, the companies green manufacturing ideals, or it might just be a strange coincidence. Either way the stereotype, seems to hold. You don’t see many gun toting hillbillies driving Volvos. Most people that I point this symbol out to are astonished. Surprised by the fact that it has the nerve to sit there, insulting their beliefs and ideology.

So what were they thinking?

“…The symbol for Volvo's cars was the sign for iron – a circle with a diagonal arrow. The idea was to associate with Swedish steel, renowned for its durability...” Taken from volocars.com

So that's the story, but it's still pretty funny. When I'm driving down the road and see a Volvo I have trouble not snickering. As I sit in traffic I find my self putting Aries in the car with a ponytail and tie-dye shirt singing Credence Clearwater Revival.

I wonder what the Greeks would say?

Persimmons Are Falling

Persimmons are falling
They drop fast to the ground
The backyard is laden
With fruit all around

We've a number of fruit trees
They're in our side yard
An apple, plum, and persimmon
The last one I hold in little regard

We've lived in this house
Well over a year
The dropping of fruit
Is frequent 'round here

I mourn for each apple
I pine for each plum
We could have made pies
Or jam out of some

But persimmons are different
They aren't juicy or sweet
They're mealy and sod like
They're not great to eat

Persimmons are falling
Right outside my home
I'll cut the tree down
And add a lawn gnome!

-Peter Brown 2006

David and Marlene

We were living at our last house here in Santa Rosa. This probably occurred in 2003 if I had to guess.

I was out mowing the lawn, and one of my neighbors had come over to chat. Larry and I used to talk a lot as we had both been off work for a number of months. I'd grown very used to him and his company. I was apologizing for being the worst kept lawn on the block when another neighbor came out.

David and Marlene were new to the block, a few months or so. Patricia and I didn't know them that well, but the were both very nice. Additionally Marlene knew my name.

"Hello Peter" She smiled, "how are you?"

"See Larry," I quipped "Everyone comes out to celebrate when I finally mow the lawn!"

We laughed and Larry went back to his garage.

"Peter," Marlene said "I baked a cake and thought you and Patricia would like some of it."

"Thanks Marlene, that's very nice."

"Larcy..." She seemed a little surprised. "My name is Larcy. Like larceny."

Oh boy, here we go again. I have trouble leaving well enough alone. I wanted desperately to fix the problem and prove that I did like them, and didn't just picked a name at random. I suppose Larcy isn't terribly common and I could have just apologized, but that isn't my way.

"Oh... I'm sorry," I stammer, "I knew your husbands name was David, and I thought..."

"Michael." Now she looks hurt "Michael... Like Michael J Fox."

I turned the color of a beet.

"Sorry." I take the cake out of her now limp grip. "Thanks again for the cake."

I don't recall too many more conversations with Larcy or Michael.

As fate would have it my current neighbor hasn't got one clue what my name is. He'll call me Jerry, or Derek, or whatever comes into his head. I really don't care. I always respond, and don't correct him. Maybe someday I'll tell him, but probably not.

Lazy Thursday Blues: Take 6

Where's George Really cool dollar bill tracker... Where's your been?
Subservient Chicken He's here to do your bidding!...I liked die personaly...
License Database Check if your license is online.
20 Questions Online! Just like the new toy.

Still here?

Here's a Etch-A-Sketch FAQ

This is a very useful guide which can save you hours - just in case your unit does not behave correctly or you are having trouble creating a new Etch-A-Sketch document.

Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has a distorted display.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has all of these funny little lines all over the screen.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I turn my Etch-A-Sketch off?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What's the shortcut for Undo?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I create an empty New Document window?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I Exit without Saving?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I set the background and foreground to the same color?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What is the proper procedure for rebooting my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has lines that prevent me from doing my art project.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I delete a document on my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I keep from losing my Etch-A-Sketch documents in the middle of my work?
A: Stop shaking it.

Frisbees are Evil

Over the 4th of July a number of us went to Spring Lake and had a picnic. It was nice, I got some sun, Dew and fried chicken. I also gained a valuable bit of information. Frisbees do not follow directions well, and they seem to have a nasty bent on making people suffer. I can only conclude that Frisbees are evil.

My Father-in-law is a very nice man, but even he is unable to correct the evil nature of these discs! While we were playing a seemingly happy game the disc attacked the group of female spectators for no apparent reason. It was particularly interested in the younglings. It identified the smallest baby and flew at it. Luckily the women deflected it. Back in the hands of my father-in-law the Frisbee again wielded its power and went back to the babies for revenge. My father-in-law was rebuked, which is what the evil saucer was really after.

My Frisbee is manic depressive. I can only attribute this to the design on the top. It’s a yellow disc with a large smiling face. It’s hard to be evil with a large smiling face on your top. We would get an hour or so of very nice behavior followed by thirty minutes of sheer terror. Flying at small dogs, children playing, or people sitting on park benches minding their own business. It also tried to make me go into the womens restroom half a dozen times or so to retrieve it. Luckily Frisbees aren’t good at corners. It’s hard to guess what a Frisbee is thinking, but it can’t be happy thoughts.

One of the players stopped the Frisbee, that I had thrown, from knocking all the teeth out of his little girls head. This was done quite expertly, and in just the nick of time. I had no evil in my heart when I tossed the toy, but it knew exactly what it wanted. Costly dental X-rays. Evil Frisbees are so like that.

Email Fascist

I'm an email fascist. In fact its one of my primary duties. I process SPAM. My office receives about 4000 emails a day. Of those messages 70% are blocked as SPAM by our servers. My job is to go through and find all the ones that slip through the cracks. I process about 1000 messages a week.

I just got paid to spend the last TWO HOURS sifting through other peoples SPAM. I find that *Your Rolex at Rolodex Prices!*Sorry.. it sort of permeates into my being. Anyway I was saying... I find that *Get the recognition you deserve! Fire your BOSS!* So for the next hour or so I'll have these SPAM messages floating around in my head. I'm already a very easily influenced person. I mean, I own a Ginsu Knife. I have the amazing Ice Shaver! I was very close to calling Carton Sheets and making Millions. I don't need 100+ emails a day trying to convince me I can make money on E-Bay.

"I believe you," I say "but my boss told me to get rid of you... I'm sorry, you'll have to go."

It's a good thing we don't have cable anymore, or I would be calling into every late night infomercial and purchasing Tony Little products. Or an amazing knife set I'll never use. I want to have cookware that I can burn an egg on, just so I can peel it out and throw it away. SPAM is like the stupid cousin of infomercials. At least with infomercials you get a full 30 minutes of programming *Hoodia will change your life!* *Get your fr33 HoT PINK RAZOR PHONE!!* I've never met anyone who has ever admitted to purchasing anything from a SPAM email. I suppose If you ever did solicite a spammer you wouldn't want tell the rest of the world.

"I'm the reason someone in Nigeria wants to be your friend!"

Bee Calm

So I'm driving down the freeway on the way home from somewhere. I have no idea where.


I should let you all know that I'm not afraid of pain, needles, meetings or speaking in public. Bugs scare me, especialy bugs that can fly. There is something about a repulsive creation that can fly at your face at full speed. Add extra fear for the ones that are armed. Bee's are amoung the most scary insects.


I look over and what do I see sitting on my shoulder but a yellow jacket. What do I do? I break into a nice chorus of "Mr Blue bird on my shoulder!"

I Scream! I scream like death is knocking on the door. I flail my arms and manage to pull the car over. I jump from the car slam the door and run around the car checking my body for stinger weilding menaces, with no regard for freeway trafffic. What would you think if you saw some maniac on the side of the road? Right... no one stopped.

After I calmed down I looked in the window and to my shock there was a very unhappy black and yellow fuzzy caterpillar smeared over my drivers seat. I apologized to him for the mistake and then wiped him off my headrest.

The only thing worse than this would be publishing this story on the web