Perspective

“Peter,” Someone asks, “Why do you talk to yourself. You know that’s real bad sign!”

I replied to them with the same phrase I always do. “I always talk to myself. I prefer dealing with a higher class of person.”

Some people say that folks who talk to themselves are insane. I’m not sure if I disagree with that, but I can tell you we tend to be pretty harmless too. I’ve been holding conversations with myself for years now. It’s not that I don’t like people it’s that I need to have something to fall back on. For those of you who don’t understand let me enlighten you.

I love to talk. You must be very clear on this point because all the rest hinge on it. The worst punishment for me would be losing the sheer joy that is verbalizing. I talk to strangers in the supermarket, in the elevator or at the crosswalk. Some people stare, some walk away but most will engage me in conversation. I don’t think about it, it just happens. I just had a conversation with a older couple in the movie store this week. They never asked me to pry into their discussion but we had a nice chat and they thanked me for my opinion. It’s true that I can get shy or uncomfortable just like anyone but sometimes talking will actually make me less uncomfortable.

That being said I will talk to myself when no one else it around, or even when they are somethimes. I have full on conversations or discussions. Sometimes I’ll just start a conversation and see where it leads me. This process might help clue you into the odd posts that I’m now producing on Fridays. Other times I’ll take different sides of debates. I’ll even use hand motions to get my point across. I start arguing on one side of the issue, then I’ll cut me off and give me what for! The nerve of me thinking like that. I helps me hone my ideas and sometimes it will make me laugh. People will drive by me in traffic while I’m doing this in my car. These are some of the best reactions I get. Make no mistake, I love knowing that people think I’m nuts.

Just to press this point, I’ll talk to vegetables in the supermarket. There is a certain sick enjoyment that comes with being the crazy person. If you see me in the supermarket I’ll hold conversations with the hot dog packages asking them which ones think they are the juiciest. Recently Patricia and I took the girls to the store and each got a basket and a child. My wife gave me a few items to find and we split up. In the supermarket with your child who doesn't talk yet. This is an excellent excuse for talking to ones self. Alexis listened while I explained the about the evils of light cheese, why Anusol changed it’s name to Tucks, which products shouldn’t have logos and how leaving the sausage isle empty handed would make me cry. Some people stare, some people laugh and some will even join in. Most though, will try not to make eye contact and just shuffle away.

I’ll talk to myself as I walk down the street, sit alone in my car or in a crowded room. It feels perfectly normal to me. I don’t feel mad, it’s just something I do. If you think I’m crazy then that is your point of view and as I said before, I’m fine with that. Just know that it's a matter of your perspective and understand that I'm mostly harmless.

Turf Wars

“Look what you’re saying; it just doesn’t make any sense.”

“Doesn’t make any sense Bermuda? How can I make you understand? I tell you we are under attack! Something is trying to kill us! All of us! How can you not see that? ”

“You’re a re-seed, a new blade, you haven’t been around long enough. I’m old growth and have been in the lawn a while now, at least two seasons, and I can assure you this lawn is perfectly safe. You’re just over-reacting. ”

“Who wouldn’t over-react with that smoke-belching, blade murdering monster on the loose?”

“I told you that it is called a lawnmower. ”

“You mean death mower! You said it was perfectly normal. You said not to worry and that all re-seeds are scared the first time they see one. You said that it sounded loud, but it wasn’t a big deal. ”

“Yes. That’s what I said. ”

“What you neglected to mention, is that it was going to rip the tops off of everyone by three inches! You just left that little gruesome tidbit out. ‘Perfectly normal whirling machine, that will pulverize your top and grind it to bits. No big deal. Nothing to worry about re-seed.’”

“Are we all okay? Did it hurt you or are you just a little shaken up? ”

“I’m fine, but what about Fescue? What about Bowles? They got ripped up by the root and sucked into the whirling blades of death! I’m sure it didn’t mean it; probably just it’s way of saying how’d you do. ‘Just trying to be friendly. Sorry I wrenched you from your home and chewed you up in my array of spiraling metal devastation. Guess I just got excited.’ There’s a reason I’m a re-seed Bermuda. Someone had to die! ”

“Well, yes that’s true, we do lose some blades but I don’t think that means that anyone is trying to kill us. ”

“What about the suffocaters? ”

“Will you stop being so dramatic? They’re called leaves. ”

“Call them what you will they are not just random occurrences like you claim. I’m telling you good blades are dying under those sky weapons! Blocking out the warmth, trapping in the moisture. It’s not like we can just move! I mean we can’t just get out from under it!”

“Believe me, I would love to move right now. ”

“Oh right! Here we go again! I tell you, I’m not crazy! We are slowly being picked off and rubbed out one patch at a time. Even Crab agrees with me! ”

“Crab is always looking for something to complain about. Last week it was the sun, this week the rain…”

“Fine. He’s not the only one. Oh I know… try and explain away that stuff that gets sprayed once a month. ”

“Fertilizer. I told you it’s called Fertilizer. ”

“Right! It tastes great, and it makes us green right? ”

“Exactly. ”

“Well St Augustine said that huge numbers of blades just turned brown and blew away with the breeze the last time we got ‘treated’ to this…this fatalizer! So much for you and your naive benevolence! I’m telling you –”

“- I know… ‘We’re under attack!’ Please stop saying that. Let’s just think about it. It’s true; if there is too much fertilizer sprayed on us it can burn. It does happen, but it’s a very small portion of the lawn. ”

“A VERY SMALL PORTION OF THE LAWN!! I heard tell there’s a hole in the lawn that stretches from the birch tree to the concrete border! That’s like an entire sea of death!”

“How do you know? ”

“How do we know anything? Pampas told Bluegrass, told Zoysia-”

“-Never mind. Okay it’s true there are some hazards but all in all we are very well provided for. I mean I’ve been here for two season and some blades have been around twice as long! How do you explain that? ”

“I heard tell that the lawn used to stretch all the way to the garage. Is that true? ”

“Yes, I heard that too…”

“Now it’s all rocked in. You think that’s just coincidence? I’m telling you in a few more seasons we won’t exist at all. The fellas on the border say that to the west there is only bark. They say it used to be nothing but blades as far as you could see! Rumor has it some mechanical beast just tilled them all into the ground! Can you imagine! Buried alive! If that isn’t disturbing I don’t know what is. ”

“When you put it like that…but trying to kill us off… I don’t know. I mean what about the water? It’s comes down everyday and it keeps us strong.”

“I have one word for you, Dandelions. Weeds thrive in the water. It seems that more and more are popping up all over the lawn. I don’t have to tell you how many good blades those giants have strangled out! ”

“Okay, maybe you’re right. Maybe something is trying to kill us off. If it’s true then, what do we do? ”

“What do we do? We fight back! We survive! ”

“But how? ”

“Listen, I’ve got a few ideas…”

Lazy Thursday Blues: Caption 5


I've really been enjoying everyones creativity with the captions. So this week it is once again Caption Thursday! I'll provide a picture and you provide the caption.

As always we need to adhere to good taste. Please keep it clean.


Here's the one to get it started:

Jefferson? Bob Jefferson? Nope, never heard of him.


Stuff I've found this week.


Wooly Willy Online. That's right, you can now adorn Wooly Willy with hair without the stigma of carting around a childs toy. I made a photobucket account for anyone who would like to share their creations. Just capture a the snapshot, save it as an image then you can upload it to photobucket username: kludgespot password: password.

Someone sent this to me... It's a new classic.



Here's a funny little take on Numbers 21 over at Puddleglum's Wigwam. Snakes on a Plain

Thanks to a link from www.dinane.net I saw this amazing video! It's a little long, but very cool/funny/odd. Apartment Drummers

Furniture City

Going out of business! Everything must go!

We are not going to make it anymore. We will have to close our doors. We have a dozen lurking salespeople but no people to make sales for. We spend more time dusting our furniture than selling it. The creditors are calling and it’s not for friendly chatting. Furniture City is calling it quits.

I can’t understand it. It’s not like we are selling our household furnishings for way more than they are worth. No, I will not accept that! It’s not that we are overpriced, it’s that our stuff is worth more than our competitors. Sure it looks cheap but it's not. That cardboard back is there to ease the toil involved in moving, and particleboard is becoming very popular. At least that is what our suppliers say. Who would want solid wood panels when veneers looks just as good, and they come in heavy black lacquer!

We have tried every tactic we can think of. Free puppy day seemed to dissuade customers more than bring them in. We had beanbag day. Spend a thousand or more on a bedroom set and receive a free plastic beanbag chair in one of seven vibrant colors. This did not go as well as we had hoped. We even had a huge 5% off blowout sale and still couldn’t even approach the deals of our highest priced competitor.

We try and do our best. When a customer comes in we smother them with service. It’s even in the employee manual. Page five subsection three paragraph six, “The customer cannot be trusted to make decisions on their own. Once they pass under the ‘This door to remain unlocked during business hours’ sign, they are to be ‘Smothered with Service.’ All employees will do their best to piggy back the customer, make suggestions, ask inane questions and generally pester the walking credit card until they get fed up and leave.” Even with all of this extra special attention sales are suffering.

We have no choice but to close up shop. Don’t worry about it though we’ll survive. We’ve gone bankrupt eight times before. Of course we weren’t Furniture City then. First it was Furniture Village, then Furniture Furniture Furniture, always with the same sales people and same merchandise. We have a liquidation sale, but even then sales are not stellar. People must not have seen the twelve dozen 15% off all stock signs on the front lawn.

Our investors will never get wise. We’ll re-open and be right where we’ve always been, peddling our sub quality merchandise the only way we know how. At slighty higher prices then other stores but with service you can depend on. Come in and see us, you might not recognized the new name on the door, but it will always be us. Different dust cover but still the same boring content at the newly remodeled Furniture Bazaar. The name says it all.

Boating Bound

Everyone has to buy their boat someday. I’m not sure when this statement becomes a reality but I can assure you it’s the truth. If it were not the truth, they wouldn’t make houses with a doublewide driveway. Even contractors understand, you need to have a place to put your boat.

It amazes me how many boats there are in suburbia. It seems to me that this obsession with water floating is just a natural progression of life. Your born from water and you realize after a lifetime of dry dock that you just can’t take it any longer. At some point you just need to get fed up enough to want to sail away.

Grow up, get a job, get married, get a pet, buy a car, have kids, buy a house, buy a boat, then die fulfilled. There are people who die before getting their boat. Their souls are never truly at peace and they haunt the rest of us and say things to our brains like, “get the pretty blue boat with a big motor and a shinny knob to pull water skiers with.”

What is really amusing is the fact that you aren’t required to ever use your boat. You are only required to purchase one. The life requirement is in not the boating itself, but in the ability to boat. You now can rest in the knowledge that if you ever needed to you could go for a float. Mostly though it’s there for you to wash it, cover it with a tarp and to make your neighbors jealous. In fact allowing your boat to rust to pieces on your front driveway is one of the joys of many boat owners.

Additionally it serves to remind you, as you come home each day, that it’s because of the boat payment that you have to work so much overtime and you have no weekends free to take it out for a bob. That is an extra piece of irony that the salesman left out of his pitch when you decided on the sleek red one with the attachable bass fishing seat.

In the end though you will buy your boat. Sure you might get the motor home first and travel all over the county side but what will you find at the end of that journey? Water. When it all comes down to it, a continent is just a fancy way of saying big island. Sooner or later you will bore of driving on the same roads and your body will ache for new ones. There will be no driving off the island.

The human soul screams to explore. You must know what lies beyond. You see it is just as I told you, everyone comes to a point in their life where the deck is rigged and the hand is forced. So you will do what millions have done before you. You’ll buy your boat. The pretty blue boat with a big motor and a shinny knob to pull water skiers with. Nothing will stop you, not even your good sense.

Black and White Fever

For years I told myself I didn’t have it. I not a victim of the disease. Why should I worry? I wasn’t doing anything that warranted concern. I knew how to avoid the pitfalls and the mistakes. For years I was right, narrowly escaping punishment for things I knew I had done wrong. It seems that the tables of fortune have turned. I now cannot escape the fact that I have a rabid case of black and white fever.

A couple of weeks ago I was driving to work the same way I always do. He spotted me. I spotted him. I pretended everything was fine. He slammed on his brakes and flipped a u-turn across heavy traffic, cranked on the sirens and the flashing lights. Out of my lungs I expelled all my air, will and hope. I was going to get a ticket for the first time in a decade.

The way he whipped through traffic I could swear I was a wanted man. I felt like Edward G. Robinson cornered by the fuzz. “YOU’LL NEVER GET ME COPPER!” The main difference being I didn't have a machine gun. So instead I rolled down my window smiled and asked “What seems to be the trouble officer?”

“You were going ten miles over the speed limit. When you saw me you started to slow down. Are you aware that it is 55 on this road?”

“I’m not sure. I was just driving to the road conditions. This was my exit that you pulled me off in front of. That's why I was slowing down” I have to confess to being a little put out by this. “Was I driving reckless? Was I endangering other drivers?”

“Getting in a head on collision at 65 miles per hour could be deadly.” The way he said this made me feel like a six year old. I almost expected him to pat me on the head, and ask if my mommy knew I was driving like this.

“But getting in a head on collision at 55 miles per hour is perfectly safe, right?” I regret saying this because it ended our conversation. I thought it was a good point, but the officer didn’t want to discuss it with me. I signed my violation and he thanked me. He thanked me the way a mother thanks a stubborn child for doing something they were told, only after they have been punished.

Now it seems that I’m no longer the confident driver I was a few weeks ago. I have a case of black and white fever that is out of control. I have all the symptoms clammy hands, cold sweats. I pull off the road or onto side streets to just avoid being on the same road with the cops. I’m neurotic and making more simple driving mistakes than I have since I was first learning to drive. I know it will pass in time but until then I wouldn’t suggest driving with me. If for some reason you have to, please refrain from wearing anything black or white.

Wild West Symphony

In 1824 while America was just beginning an era we now know as the Old West, Ludwig van Beethoven was composing symphonies and was the toast of Europe. I’ve often wondered what would happen if these two worlds met.

“Welcome to Toms’ mercantile. Can I help you?”

“I have decided to try my hand at the rough western life. I need to be outfitted.”

“Well this is the finest mercantile store in all of Texas. If I can’t help you, no one can. Now let me see, you must be an easterner. Am I right?”

“DA DA DA DUM!”

“WHAT IN TARNATIONS! Are you looking for an extra hole in your head mister!

“No no no… you don’t understand… DA DA DA DUM! Don’t you recognize that tune? See my hair? I’m a rather famous composer, surely you’re aware of my music. I’m all the rage in Europe.”

“Oh!! Yeah, yeah, did you do that one… how’s that go…uhm… 'Oh, Shenandoah-'”

“STOP! Of course I did not. That might be the most insulting thing another man has ever asked me. If we were in Vienna I would petition the king to have you executed. In fact, were I a younger man I would dispatch you right here.”

“Look friend, I didn’t mean to offend. It’s just that it’s one of my favorites. It’s not my fault someone else beat you to it.”

“Can we just get on with this? What do I need for the real frontier life?”

“Well, the first thing you need is a gun.”

“That’s the first thing? What about pants, a horse, a bandana or something?”

“Can you kill a some wild animal that sneaks into your camp at night with a bandana? Can pants stop a bullet from a bandit’s gun? Will your horse give you the security to call a man for cheating at cards? No sir. Why, I rather be stark naked with my gun, than fully dressed without one.”

“Please. Spare me your disgusting analogies in the future and just be good enough to just stick to the facts. I need a gun. Fine. Now, I admit I have never used one before.”

“The trick is in the trigger. You just lightly squeeze off a shot, and then let up. You don’t want to choke it.”

“Oh Yes! I understand! Staccato! Staccato! Staccato!”

“Look, it’s really not that easy, you need fast reflexes and good dexterity. Maybe you should just buy a shotgun.”

“Nonsense, you should see me on the piano-forte! Now what about wardrobe? I have to admit I’m rather stuck on silk. I was thinking of something with a high collar and a sort of scarf thing – “

“We got cotton pants and plaid shirts.”

“I see… well okay. No paisley? Never mind that’s fine. Yes of course. What about food?”

“Beans.”

“Bedding?”

“Bed rolls are two blankets with a string. Strings are extra.”

“I see. And you use your horses behind as a pillow I suppose! This is getting absurd. Anything else?”

“Boots. And you never take them off.”

“Never?”

“I haven’t seen my feet in six years.”

“Fine. What about restrooms?”

“Wherever.”

“I was asking. Where are the restrooms?”

“I was telling. Wherever.”

“Surely you jest.”

“Sorry. That’s just the way it is out here…”

“Forget it. I don’t know what I was thinking. Father was right…”

“Hey where are you going? Don’t you want all this stuff? Hey Mister! ...There he goes, right up to the train station. I suppose it’s just as well, didn’t really seem to fit in out here anyway. Crazy easterner...

...‘Oh, Shenandoah, Away, I'm bound away, 'cross the wide Missouri.’ ”

Lazy Thursday Blues: You Decide

I really enjoyed this the last time we played it and I hope you did too. I'm going to try it again.

You Decide!


The premise is simple enough. A series narration similar to a “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. I'll start off with a brief narration, and a list of choices. Someone responds with a couple of sentences about the path they want, and a couple of choices of their own. We will play till we stop.

This is only limited to your own imagination...don’t worry about length of your path or originality or anything, just comment. The more comments the further the story, however odd, thrilling, funny or ridiculous it becomes. You choose the path to fame, misfortune or the inane.

Here we go:

“You have just come of age. Your father is a shipwright, but not a wealthy man. You've been around boats all your life and despite your fathers pleas you decide to seek your fortune abroad. While you are out at sea you hit a nasty bit of weather and smash your little boat against the rocks of some uninviting island. You haul yourself to shore and are relieved that your body appears to have held together. Standing on the beach you realize that the ship was shattered to pieces on the rocks and you cannot find enough wood to even make a decent picture frame. Riffling in your pockets you find a pocket knife, a picture of your dog, and a beenie cap. To the east you see what looks like smoke rising. To the west is a grove of cocnut trees."

A) Head to the east and see if this land is inhabited.

B) You head west and try your hand at getting a cocnut open.

C) You can make a sand castle and drink some sea water.

Ingredients

Tired of working? Bored? Just plain lazy?

Well step right up I have just the ticket for you. Spend a few seconds and play the ingredients game at Legal Addictive Stimulants. It requires very little brain power and might even be fun.

Chili Cook-Off

Today is the day I get to test my mettle. Today I get to show what I am made of. Today I get throw down and defend my honor. It’s the annual office Chili Cook-off.

I have only worked here for the a little over a year, and in that time period I am still not very well known. There is nothing odd about that, it comes with the job. I’m in charge of maintaining the network, and the servers, and all the interconnections between them. I no longer interface with users and very rarely answer the phone or speak to humans beings outside my group. As such when I show up some place with a screw driver and start removing thousands of dollars with equipment people always freak out.

“Hello?" She eye's me with suspicion. "Can I help you?”

“No thanks,” I show them my badge. “I’m just here to work on the network.”

“Does Bill know you're here?”

I sigh. I can feel a quiz coming on. “We don’t have a Bill in IT.”

“I was just checking... What is the IT directors middle initial?”

“T. His middle initial is T.”

“What year was the company picnic canceled due to ...”

I suppose I can understand, here is this fellow you’ve never heard of, walking into your office, with limited social skills, taking your server out with him.

I decided last year to enter into the chili cook off mainly so that I could have some interaction with my peers. I spent hours looking for the right recipe, hunting for the right combinations and spices. I took three different recipes and merged them into one. It took hours to prepare and I agonized the whole time. I get there and I find that were aren’t allowed to say who’s is who's. I put down my anonymous chili #12 and wait. I sample some really bad chili, talk to almost no one, and wait for the results. I ended up winning second place (a tie) and my certificate came with a twenty-five dollars prize. I had spent forty five on ingredients.

So for the last year I have been staring at this ‘6th annual Chili Cook-Off Winner’ certificate on my wall thinking about what a waste the whole thing was. So what do I do? I entered again this year. The contest is today at 11:15.

We shall see.

The New Highway

In an effort to further turn my brain in to a goo like mass, I spent some time this weekend in pursuit of digital prowess. I wasted the weekend on video games. Yesterday I spent the afternoon a mere three feet away from a five-foot large projected image of an intense car racing game. It was unbelievably real. I was swaying with the turns, pitching with the collisions and generally getting way to wrapped up in the experience. I came very close to taking a couple of Dramamine.

Afterwards I found myself on the highway.

I felt like I wasn’t the only one out there driving like a maniac. I seemed to be in very good company. I can only imagine this has something to do with the recent racing craze. I have devised a number of new rules for the highway that would better mesh with my modern driving habits.

First things first, we need to ‘fix’ the speed limit. Currently the speed limit is nowhere near fast enough for the hazardous conditions needed for speed driving. Additionally I’m frequently late to work. I say we up the speed limit to a hundred and five. If we later find this limit to be too restrictive, we can up it but there is no sense in being ridiculous. For those stubborn people who will persist at driving sixty-five miles per hour or less, they can act as moving markers in the new highway slalom course.

Remove the lines. They’re fine for babies and bicycles, but we really have no need for them. With the lines gone you can now feel free to navigate the road as you please, without all the hassles of gore points, merging and the ever annoying double yellow. Blinkers should also be a thing of the past. Like we want the other drivers to know where it is we're going. Where is the fun of that?

Police. Enforcement of the rules is essential. The police will still play a role on the new highway, but with less ‘busy work’. All cop cruisers will be equipped with a front loader for shoveling derelict vehicles off the road, and freeing up space for other, more qualified drivers.

Add a few checkpoints, a finish line and a purse. Sure some of us might very well zip by our turnoffs everyday to complete our leg of the race but grinding the wheels of commerce to a screeching halt is a small price to pay for return of some joy on the highway.

I not sure if any of these new highway ‘improvements’ will ever appear on a ballot selection but I have to say, if they did, driving would never be the same.

Of Nog and Gaw

“So what do you think Gaw?”

“About what Nog?”

“About me being a banker?”

“I still don’t understand, what’s wrong with what you’ve got? Don’t you like being a caveman?”

“Well...no. It’s just not for me. I’m not good at hitting things with my club and the women laugh when I try to go and forage with them. I was thinking I could be a banker.”

“What’s a banker?”

“Okay, see! Your interested! I knew you would be. ...So you give me all your sheep, and I’ll keep them for you. And I’ll keep Maugs, Ughs, Kugs and well, everyones sheep. Then I’ll give you a portion of any dividends that payoff.”

“What’s a dividend?”

“Little sheep.”

“Oh. Why wouldn’t I just keep my own sheep?”

“Okay, okay I got it! I’ll keep your sheep for six months and you can’t touch them. Then at the end of that time I’ll give you back all your sheep plus two more sheep! So, what do you think?”

“What am I suppose to eat, wear, or drink during this time?”

“...”

“Nog?”

“Or I could be a Carpenter!”

“You mean like Ugh? Yeah we could use another fixer around! Now your talking. Did you see him widen the opening to Huk’s cave the other day?”

“No, no no. Not like that! Ugh just hits things with his club. No, a carpenter builds things. Like stick houses!”

“What’s wrong with our caves?”

“I could build you a house out of sticks and you could put it anywhere you wanted!”

“Somewhere away from the shelter of the rock face? A place where the light from the sky strikes the ground and burns the tree trunks? Near by the saber tooth tigers, mammoths, and wolf packs. Somewhere the wind would blow out my fire? Why would I want that?”

“I could sell you insurance...”

“...(sigh) Nog...”

“No, listen! You just give me some sheep to hold, and if for some reason your stick house burned down, was blown away our you died, I build you another one. I’d keep the sheep if nothing ever happened. And the more treacherous place you put your stick house the more sheep you would need to give me. What do you think?”

“I don’t think you should be a carpenter, or sell insurance. How about you grab your club and we can continue to be cavemen. What do you say? Nog...What’s up with your leopard skin?”

“You noticed! It’s called a lapel! I added it yesterday...”

“Nog! Please! I don’t care what it’s for. I really don’t. Do you have any idea how hard it is to talk to you? I have to defend you constantly to the others. They all think your a crackpot, and that we should beat you over the head with our clubs till you start acting normal. I won’t even tell you what the witch doctor suggested. Why can’t you just be a caveman like everyone else?”

“Do you think anyone would give up sheep to see me ride a mammoth?”

“What?!”

“Yeah..We could build a ring out of rocks and I could ride the mammoths or maybe a saber tooth tiger! We would strap me to it and see how long I could hold on. What do you think?"

“Nog, I think I can say without exaggeration, that I can think of dozens of people who would give up sheep to see you ride a saber tooth tiger!”

And that is how the rodeo was born.

From The Editors Desk: Concerning Fridays

Gentle Reader;

In an effort to make my life more complete I have started to write down conversations and stories that are very silly. They pop into my head and make me laugh. I have decided to publish these rather odd writings on Fridays.

If it is your position that everything here is silly, than you might not be ready for Fridays. On the other hand, if you like to read stories about the pied piper at the shrinks office or conversations between cavemen please come and visit on Fridays. If you would like a bit more serious content I suggest you check out my other blog Legal Addictive Stimulants, which I endeavor to update every couple of days. I have quite a few published post there.

Last week I published a serious fiction short, and while I enjoyed it, I can't foresee putting any more writing of that variety on Kludge Spot. Thank you again for all your kind comments regarding it.

I don't intend to be able to get these out every week, or they will become forced and they will not make me laugh anymore. This would destroy the whole point. If I can't manage a story, I will publish a suburban article as per usual.

Thank you for your continued patronage.

Kludge
Editor and Chief
kludgespot.blogspot.com

Lazy Thursday Blues: Caption 4

I'm thinking about trying the 'You Decide' game again. I haven't dreamed up an interesting intro yet but maybe by next week. Additionally I found this picture and couldn't pass it up. So, this week it is once again Caption Thursday! I'll provide a picture and you provide the caption.

As always we need to adhere to good taste. Please keep it clean.


Here's the one to get it started:

Posing as a cute, and harmless kitten, the ruthless assassin known to his clients only as “The Grey” carries out his wicked deeds.


Found on the Internet:

    1.) Found this rather odd site that uses the 'science of math' to determine the inherent good or evil of any website. As you can see I need to clean up my act here as I'm only 71% Good! This is a gag site and should be regarded as such.

    This site is certified 71% GOOD by the Gematriculator

    2.) The Car. This is flash game that seemed pretty cool. I didn't finish it, but got fairly far. I linked to it in the "You Decide" Thursday comments, but for those who missed it here it is again.

    3.) I wish I'd though of it first! Nintendo Controller Alarm Clock

    4.) Did I already mention that you can tell the temperature by counting cricket chirps? No...well if your looking to fill a gap in the conversation some night this might do the trick!

Diary of an IT Professional

November 1997

Dear Diary,
I just got my first job as an IT professional. It’s at a big box electronics retailer. I quit the music store and started work with an earning potential at nearly twice the minimum wage. True they make me wear a skin tight blue shirt and tan pants, but that is a small price to pay for finally earning my first paycheck from my computing skills. Who knew all those hours of playing video games would finally pay off. I’m so excited!

December 1997

Dear Diary,
I had yet another bad day. An old man brought his computer in. He screamed at me and told me that I was stupid. The other techs said not to worry and that it happens all the time. The old man had the computer because his son didn’t want to write letters anymore. He wanted his dad to get on-line so he could send emails instead. The old man could fly a fighter jet in the war but couldn't find the 'On' button for the computer. We showed him the ‘On’ button. Everyone left happy. He apologized to me for being such a bitter old codger. It was great to see him leave happy.

July 1998

Dear Diary,
I hate retail. I’ve learned to hate all the customers, my boss, and my attire. The other techs said this was a milestone. They called it my new retail skin and assured me this was how everyone in the store felt. I fixed twelve computers today and my manager was so happy he asked me to cover Johns shift on Saturday. I can't imagine doing this for much longer.

December 1998

Dear Diary;
I just got a new job at a medical device manufacturer. I’m one of three techs for all the two thousand employees. Its great. The CEO and gardener both know my first name. I'm just beginning to learn the ropes of corporate life, it is quite different. The goal in corporate IT seems to be control. The objective is to give the users as little access and few rights as possible. It’s a delicate balance and lot of people call and complain. My boss says “As long as they call and complain we all have jobs.”

August 1999

Dear Diary,
I just had my first paid coffee break. I’m never going back. I can’t imagine stopping work for ten minutes in retail and getting away with it. I have also noticed that the secretaries have an unusual amount of power. Whatever they say goes. I find when I do what they want my life is much easier. I don’t have time to fix everyones computer. I need another coffee break.

March 2000

Dear Diary,
I just got a job at a startup. It came with something call ‘stock options.’ I don’t know what they are, but everyone wants them so, I do too! I work long hours for less pay, and I haven't shaved in a week. I'm never at home and I've slept a my desk a couple of times. My boss is a jerk and even the coffee here tastes bitter. I met the lead Engineer. He’s very smart. I think. He mumbles a lot and is terribly anti-social. I can see I’m going to need to decline my communication skills if I want to get ahead in this company.

June 2002

Dear Diary,
I just got laid-off. I feel like this is just another leg of the journey in my path of IT professional. I always felt left out at the water cooler when the other guys would talk about all their hard times. I'm not bitter, it's just part of the business. I have a map to the CEO's home, a sackful of Molotov Cocktails and good pair of running shoes.

June 2005

Dear Diary,
I am now the lead Engineer. Yes it’s working fine. No I didn’t change anything. Your wrong, and it isn’t my problem.

Houseguest

I awoke Monday morning with a pop! My eyes flew open and my brain was in go mode. Some mornings I would welcome being this awake and alert within seconds but this was not a stroke of good luck. This was panic. A smell had grabbed my nose and shook my brain and other senses in to an absolute terrifying fear. I smelled a skunk.

I went around the house breathing and sniffing the burning fumes of skunk perfume trying to locate where this one might be. We had a skunk under our house back before my second daughter was born. It was a nightmare, and one which I don’t feel like repeating. I thought I had sealed up all known accesses to the house and I knew the stinky scoundrel just couldn’t had gotten back in. I walked the perimeter and everything looked good. We opened up the house and hoped for the best. I then went to work and my wife left for her Mothers house.

Monday evening found the house just as malodorous as the morning. I walked the house again and this time was able to find a small opening that had been neglected. So there it is. There’s a skunk under my house. My neighbor gave me a number of heavy duty metal grates that he had made to seal up his place. I busied myself with tin snips and screws to attached them to all the questionable places. The issue is not sealing up the house, the issue is not sealing up the skunk.

The last thing you want to do is seal a smelly skunk up under your house! Which means he needs an escape path. Hence the one way door. This one way door is a wooden contraption that sits over a grate, and allows the skunk to leave but not come back. Enter in my carpentry skills. They are marginal at best. I'm no master builder it just isn't my gift. I can sum up my building abilities in one word, hammer. The hammer feels good in my hand, like a natural extension of my arm. I know how to use it and can get almost anything to yield to its persuasive powers. I like my hammer. I have an extensive set of tools and the knowledge to work each one but for some reason none of them feel as right as the hammer.

After a number of hours I modified the one way door that was built for us the last time this had happened. It was work that a ten year old would have been proud of. I secured it to an open grate, and propped it open with a stick. Now we wait. The plan is to verify that the skunk leaves. This should be apparent in two ways:
    1.) The stick propping open the door should fall out.
    2.) The smell should begin to dissipate.

I imagine we will be burning an inordinate amount of candles this week.

My wife and I were offered lodging for the night at J Crews and we were very thankful to get some sleep without the odor from our newest addition. All I can say is I hope the skunk doesn’t become accustomed to my house. It’s not the sort of houseguest we would be able to tolerate.

Yellow Belly Lane

I could never live on Yellow Belly Lane. If it doesn’t matter to you, then perhaps you’ve never thought about it. It’s part of your overall identity. Peter Brown at 123 Yellow Belly Rd. You say your street address probably more than you're even aware. For example the everyday task of ordering take out.

“One medium pizza, hold the anchovies, for delivery.”
“Address”
“…”
“Sir?”
“Tell you what. Do you know where Pine Crest Court is?”
“Yeah…”
”I’ll meet you there.”

Think about it. I don’t suffer from some masculine identity crisis or anything, but really there is something about settling down on Towering Pansy Parkway, that sends shivers down my spine. It’s not like real estate is cheap. I understand California is a lot worse than other places, but anywhere you might spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on your home. To put out all that cash just to be humiliated everyday when you turn onto your street, seems like poor judgment to me.

What happened to all the good names? Are we only allowed a certain amount of normal everyday names? Did the city planners get bored and start collecting name idea from the local kindergarten class? I don’t care how much money Mr. Dolittle gave to the city coffers; I don’t want my magazines labeled with it. It occurs to me that this is why people tear off their name and address when they give their magazines away. They’re not worried about criminals; they don’t want people in the doctors office to know they live at 2525 Sweet Piggy Way.

Some street names are ridiculous, but at least they aren’t humiliating. In my town we have a section where all the streets are named after places and characters from Robin Hood. I suppose I could have my pizza delivered to Little John, Will Scarlet, or even Sherwood Forest as long as the driver wasn’t scared of the evil spirits. Ridiculous names are different from humiliating. The difference is easy enough recognize. With the humiliating names you’ll feel a pit in your stomach that slowly rises up to your throat when your mechanic verifies your name and address in the shop computer system.

“Peter Brown…at…”
“YES! YES! THAT’S ME!!! Please don’t say it out load.”
“Say what? Dirty Bottom Blvd?”
“[sigh]”

I know there are readers out there who don’t understand.

You’ll say, “We accept a lot of your crazy theories and bizarre notions Peter, but give it a rest. Are you saying if your dream house was on Glandular Glen you wouldn’t buy it?”

First off, if it were built on any street that bore even a slight resemblance to an internal body part it wouldn’t be my dream house. Second, yes I would have trouble buying it. I mean you might live there for a long time, and every day you picked up your mail you would get not only correspondence, but also a defining bit of self-awareness.

Here lives Peter Brown of Yellow Belly Lane.

Means and a Reason

We had decided to fully harvest the energy of in Earths oceans, both in the form of hydroelectric as well as the separation and combustion of the hydrogen atom. Granted at first the energy we acquired was only slightly more than the energy expended. At the end of the day, though more was added to the supply then diminished from it, so good was being accomplished. As the years progressed we sophisticated our refining skills, until energy was an inexpensive and plentiful commodity. Something that had plauged the human race since the dawn of the machine was finally behind us. Clean and abundant energy was a reality.

Although we were better equipped for the future, man was man and would always be. The notion that one event could change the course of history was not realistic. The turbulent motion of the events that had governed the planet for thousands of years had an inertia that could not be stopped suddenly, even by such a discovery as plentiful clean energy. It’s not to say that some change was not already evident, and in a small way we began to work together for goals that mattered to all humanity. As the sharing of viewpoints and ideas increased over the decades that followed it became apparent that the world might be ready to change. Out of this new cooperation came the first major collaboration of all nations, and the focus was on Mars.

The idea has been to setup a colony on Mars, in the name of exploration, understanding, and future human expanse. Mars was perfectly suited for terraforming, though it could not support a life of its own. With proper buildings and advanced temperature controls it might be possible to sustain water in a liquid form. Mars was also the most hospitable place we could land, without being melted like solder or crushed in the atmosphere like a tin can.

Colonization was going to be the salvation of humanity, the further expanse into space, the establishment of new worlds, humanity reaching out past it’s own world and into the solar system. The real trouble was getting there, and making it feasible to supply that new world with all that was needed.

Byron Landover’s work had been consuming him now for years. He believed that if space travel was advanced enough we would be willing to take to the stars. He reasoned that humans had been explorers since the dawn of creation. Reaching for the unknown, searching Earths oceans for land, and journeying places for little reason other than to say we could. When we finished charting the Earth we looked to the heavens, landed on the Moon, sent dozens of probes to Venus and Mars in search of life, and generally wondered in awe of our solar system, the galaxy and the universe.

After subsequent discoveries that Venus, Callisto, Europa, would never be able to support life, we had begun to stop searching, stop exploring and stop reaching. It seemed to Byron that we had failed. It was essential that we colonized Mars if we wanted move off this solitary rock orbiting its middle-sized star.

The trouble with a shuttle to Mars could be summed up in two words, muscular atrophy. We use our legs every day to repel ourselves off the surface. We are always fighting gravity, and in turn, by preventing our legs from being useless, we are able to stand. In space this is not the case, weightlessness is a catalyst for atrophy. Every day in space, even with exercise, muscles deteriorate and limbs become less useful. After the six months required in space to get to Mars, human legs would be like butter back in the pull of gravity. Not the best way to land on an unknown rock.

The theoretical answer to the problem was quite simple; give a ship some gravitational pull. This had been theorized since Einstein, the creation of mass from energy. The process had even been witnessed in gamma rays, and highly accelerated particles. With enough energy it should be possible to create an atom with an atomic mass large enough to simulate gravity. This mass would not have the pull of Earth but should provide enough resistance to slow the muscular atrophy down for the trip to Mars. With Earths abundance of energy this was more than theoretically possible, it was a sure thing.

Five years passed and a shuttle, capable of conforming to Byron’s specification for the Landover gravity source, was completed. The Mars ship was dubbed Indagator or Explorer in Latin. The ship was in orbit around Earth after its completion. It had been launched up in bits and assembled in spaced. So now we had it, the first human spacecraft with an artificial gravity source. A ship capable of reaching out into the heavens for the sake of exploration. Byron had done it and we were now standing at the doorway to human expansion into the solar system.

In the end you have to ask yourself, who can really foresee the advance of any civilization?

The only question left for humanity to answer was not how or where, but why. As humans we have tried to convince ourselves that we long to explore, to reach out. I suggest that we are merely the catalogers of the cosmos, the scripes of the galaxy. We explored the Earth to complete our land maps, weather patterns, and history books. We explored the heavens to chronicle asteroids, stars, comets, meteorites, planets, satellites, systems and galaxies. We needed no water, no metal, or land. Why would we want to persevere into space? Just to be the first to record anomalies of other worlds that have no scribes?

When it all came down to who was boarding the ship, everyone was looking at someone else. So there it sits in space, our passage to another planet, fueled and ready, built because we could, and not because we needed it. At the time of Byron’s death, the Landover museum was a testament to the past. For a mere 65 dollars you could board one of the shuttles leaving hourly to view the last legacy of a dying age obsessed with the stars. An age with not enough vision to see our world for what it turned out to be. For when it all comes down to basics, there are two things you need for any trip, a means and a reason. It seemed we had only one.

by Peter Brown

Lazy Thursday Blues: Caption 3

Due to the recent Thursday upleasntness, I thought we'd try this game again. So it is once again Caption Thursday!
I'll provide a picture and you provide the caption.

As always we need to adhere to good taste. Please keep it clean.




Here's the one to get it started:

"NOOO.... Mister rubber ducky was lost at sea!"

We had our first rain of the season here...

Sideways rain dance...

At least one guy likes the recent floods...

Protective Planting

Do you suffer uninvited guests? Tired of solicitors who loiter at your doorstep? Do you have distant relatives who are looking to become less distant and more relative? Then this handy little guide is for you. Within it’s pages we will show you tips and tricks for the politely private. Planting arrangements that add that extra bit of protection without being overtly rude.

Some people will never get the hint. This is a rule of life. No matter how many times you increase the size of the no solicitor sign, they will continue to knock on your door. What can be done?

We suggest something simple for starters, like the overcrowd technique. Line your front walkway with flax plants. Flax grows to be one of the largest bushes there is. Planting several small bushes along your path is a simple way to produce a sizeable defense. This method will take time but soon no one will be able to find your sidewalk, let alone your front door.

If your not interested in the subtle and lengthy methodology of flax, you could go for a more direct approach. Nothing says, “Go away!” like a garden full of cactus plants. There are very few friendly parts of a cactus. Additionally succulents can be placed with a sort of gauntlet pattern. Most folks are not willing to brave a maze of prickly pears, or copper king when they can just go to the next house. Cacti have the added benefit of saying something of the owner. Something like I enjoy dangerous things, such as painful plants, tea without sugar and wrestling salespeople, please come in.

Some people are persistent to a fault and will find a way to believe that all these outer defenses were not intended for them. Clearly this veritable flowering fortress could not be attempts to stop their visit. For these individuals you need something with a bit more gusto. Might I suggest the bee bush?

The bee bush is a tactic used for years by the fast food industry to speed up orders. Placed right by the intercom. Most people will find a quickly ordered number five and a Coke always taste better than a dozen bees in your sport utility vehicle.

A good start would be a nice row of bottlebrush right across the front walkway. You don’t have to worry, this is a foolproof plan. These bushes will be positively awash with all forms of stinger wielding fiends in practically no time. Very few persons would ever feel comfortable crossing this defense into your abode. You can even be so bold as to send out party invitations, just to keep up the polite fa├žade. There is something about a buzzing wall of bees that just screams, “Honey, I’d really rather juggle a set of kitchen knives than see the Fishers tonight.”

These are just a handful of useful ideas for those looking to decorate their residence in a host of fauna resistance. So relax, put on some sweats and kick up your feet, your dwelling is secured and your relatives will soon become distant once more.

Yet Another Power Grab

Have you ever felt the lust for power, the need for control, or the desire to influence? Do you understand the ability to change your world with the single push of a button? Have you ever known the cool confidence of authority weighing in your palm? If so, you can relate to its loss. Tonight the remote control went missing.

There are two types of people in this world, those who are allowed to touch the remote control and those who are not. In my house the remote control is an over complicated piece of equipment. It is that way for a reason. It’s purpose is to discourage the faint of heart, people who are frightened of more than half a dozen buttons in their hand. These people understand on, off, volume and channel. They have no business with the remote control. The remote control is not a simple clicker; it has the ability to alter the media experience to the minutest detail. Subtitles, pause, zoom, angle, mute, sleep, picture in picture, and all with moving hardly a muscle.

My remote control can weild its force over the functions of seven pieces of electronic equipment. It is roughly the size of my forearm, has close to four hundred buttons, is a stlyish silver and has a backlight. This means I can watch TV, play movies, listen to music, operate the blender, close the blinds and orchestrate the comings and goings of small nations, even with the lights off. This is real power. This sort of power should never be lost.

Unlike losing other precious things, such as your offspring, remote controls cannot call for help. They sit and wait under the couch, with the laundry, in the freezer or on top of the toaster oven as you lumber through the house in dismay. Calling to the remote will do you little good. You must remember were you left the power.

You turn the house upside down but to no avail. You know that you can watch your movie without the remote, but the idea sends you into cold sweats. You can walk to the store, but then why do you own a car. You can light a fire to cook, but then what is the oven for? I would rather spend forty-five minutes of utter chaos, tearing the house apart looking for the remote, then a combined total of two minutes over the lenght of the movie to make adjustments to the TV or DVD player by hand. If you don't understand this, you never will. Power corupts, and absolute power is even cooler.

Once the remote is found, life can return to normal. You seem to smile, as your hands are wrapped tightly around your battery-powered security blanket. You can now relax. Once again fate has smiled on you and all is right in the world. It’s nothing abnormal, it’s happening in millions of living rooms across the nation. It’s just yet another power grab.

Driving Time

Has Old McDonald got you down? Bored of bottles on the wall? Tired of counting the yellow strips down the center of the highway? Well then maybe it's time to bring some fun back on the road.

I’m not sure about everyone else, but I’m not a big fan of driving places. Other drivers cutting you off, the traffic, the high price of gas, the thrill of sitting for hours and cramping up your leg muscles. I suppose when put that way even I can see the appeal!

If there is a long trip to go on, I’d much rather fly than drive. I like being able to fall asleep, or get up and walk around, both activities are frowned upon by the highway patrol. If there is not other option I will drive to my destination. If driving is a must, I’d rather be behind the wheel than shouting orders and slamming on my imaginary passenger brake petal.

In order to pass the time Patricia and I play a game. The game is very simple; you get to hit your fellow passengers and they cannot complain. Okay it’s not quite that simple but that is the eventual ends at least. The game is a called 'Slug Bug.' You see a VW bug and you can haul off an punch someone. If you see two you announce “slug bug!” and take two shots. Using this simple formula, you can calculate out how may punches you will get for four or five bugs.

In oder to keep it fair we do have a handful of rules:

All hits must be announced. It is essential that you announce why you are attacking your fellow passengers. This gives them time to locate the VW and realize that it is a fair punch. They can also take this time to tense up their muscles. Additionally the moments are well used if the victim wants to arrange their keys in their pockets, in case you try for a leg punch.

Never play angry. This is essential, and should never be breeched. A slight tiff can turn slug bug into a counseling appointment. Always make sure your both having fun. Additionally Patricia will sometimes announce, “I don’t see a bug, and this punch is just because.” I have learned to accept that sometimes I deserve to be punched, and that realization makes our lives run smoother.

All miss hits result in a two punch payback. So be careful of punching too quickly. The back of the 1940's Volvo looks an awlful lot like the VW bettle. This is a painful mistake, as the second punch is normally landed more accurately than the first.

Car lots are ‘Out of Bounds.’ This is a rule that came about after the third trip past the VW lot. We were both swinging with reckless abandon, and decide to call a cease fire. You can decide on your own, but for us this seemed like a very reasonable addition to the rules.

Due to the fact that we liked slugging each other so much we ended up adding out of state license plates to the mix. I have to say this game beats the life out of the ‘ABC’ road game, or “Street Sign Bingo.”

There is nothing quite as satisfying as punching people and having them laugh about it. So go out and slug the ones you love!