Monday, April 25, 2011

I Am Somewhere Else Today

Today I was invited to submit a guest blog at L.M. Stull's site. Check out my adventures in beer writing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Postcard from Las Vegas

St. Pauli Girl and I just got back from Las Vegas on our first vacation in two years. Since I don’t get out much, I will probably write the next 50 or 60 blogs about this trip.

We love Vegas and have been going off and on for the past ten years. When you are there, it really feels like you’ve stepped out of reality for a few days (for example, you look in your wallet and swear there was $100 in it an hour before). Another appeal is that you get to see the full spectrum of humanity on display, from Bible-thumping street preachers, to Bubbas toting coolers packed with Coors Lite, to old rich people who’ve had so much plastic surgery they look like wax museum wannabes.

One of my conversations with St. Pauli Girl about that:

Me: Why do all these old men look so gay?

Her: They’re not gay. They’re rich and can afford plastic surgery, good hairpieces, and bi-weekly manicures and pedicures.

Me: Oh…. So, all rich people are gay?

So here are just a few notes and observations from our latest trip:

 If you are sitting in row 18 of the airplane and people in row 12 can hear your regular conversation, you are talking too loud. After having to get up at 4:00 a.m. to catch our flight, I could not sleep the entire trip because of the two loud talking ladies behind me. The nine-month-old baby across the aisle behaved better. I learned from Loud Lady #1 that her first love died mysteriously, her second love started out as just a friend knocked her up, she dumped him, kept the baby and now she hopes to retire to someplace like Argentina where the government won’t bother her as much. And she likes to drink screwdrivers. Four at a time. Don’t cry for her, Argentina.

 Friendly travel tip: there is no need to line up in front of the jetway 30 minutes before your flight. You either already have an assigned seat or, if it’s Southwest, you have an assigned place in line. I’ve never actually seen an airline close the door and declare the plane full before everyone with assigned seats boarded anyway. But what do I know? I don’t travel much these days.

 Not only should you not gamble what you cannot afford to lose, you should also act like you can afford to lose it. Case in point: a rich-looking old guy with slicked back shoulder length grey hair and expensive shirt was strutting between blackjack tables with a stack of green chips ($25) in his hand. Whenever he saw an opening at a $5 table, he’d place a single $25 bet. He did it at our table where he promptly lost, screamed at one of the players for making a “wrong” play, and stomped off.

A. He obviously wasn’t as rich as he wanted us to believe.

B. He had no right to berate other players for being stupid; he was the stupid one for making a stupid bet he couldn’t afford to lose, because if he really wanted to win money, he would learn how to play properly.

 Restroom Etiquette.

A. I believe cell phones should have a mechanism that electrocutes anyone using a cell phone in the restroom unless your name is Lyndon Johnson. There is probably .00000001% of the population that is important enough to be using a cell phone in the restroom. And probably none of them are in Las Vegas restrooms. At the very least, if you don’t get electrocuted, whoever you are talking to should either divorce you, defriend you, demand their money back, or fire you. Or set you on fire.

B. Zip up before leaving the urinal. No one wants to see you adjusting yourself or even just tucking in your shirt with your fly hanging open. And it’s ten times worse if you’re doing that while talking on a cell phone.

And finally: why I love Las Vegas. This incident actually occurred on a previous trip. I was sitting a bar playing video poker while watching sports highlights on the tv. Two little old ladies, probably in their 70’s, one with a walker, shuffled up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder.

“Excuse me, young man,” said one lady. “Did you happen to see if the Boston Bruins won?”

“Actually, they lost 5 to 2,” I replied.

“G%$*& it!” they screamed. “F%$&ing idiots!”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Life As An Old Rock Star

While watching American Idol with St. Pauli Girl this season, I have become a big fan of Steven Tyler for all the wrong reasons. Not since Vanna White has someone done so little to earn a fat paycheck. His comments range from “You knocked it out of the park” to “That’s how you do it” to something unintelligible. If he were a real judge, everyone would win: plaintiffs and defendants. In the same cases.

So it occurred to me, what if I lived my life like Steven Tyler? Not the flamboyant, decadent rock star, but rather what if I just talked like him on a regular basis? I suspect my usual day as a computer programmer would go something like this:

(Note: I would need a Randy Jackson to follow me around all day to help me form some of my opinions. Let’s assume he’s there with me.)

8:00 a.m. Break Room. I get a cup of coffee that has just been brewed by the office admin.

Me: (after sipping coffee) Mmmm, sweetheart let me tell you something, when you brew coffee, you really know how to brew coffee. It’s like you magically know just how much of the coffee package to pour in the thing-a-ma-jig.

Admin: Um, thanks. It’s caffeinated.

Me: Let’s hope so. Java nice day.

8:30 a.m. At computer on my desk, responding to a meeting invitation
Me: (typing) “Your request sets my heart on fire. It makes my feet want to dance and hopscotch all the way to the conference room. You really know how to schedule a meeting. I’m not sure about the time though. I mean does anybody really know what time it is? Perhaps we shall chat by happenstance in another dimension, like a hallway. A chance meeting, eh? See you then!”

10:00 a.m. Performing a code review of a co-worker’s program.
Me: Sammy, you knocked that one out of the park. That “Do Loop” has got the “to do” of my “doo wap” doing somersaults. I feel it right here (pointing to my heart). There’s a little misty tear there.

Randy Jackson: Yeah, okay, dawg, so you got the “ifs” and the “elses” but the comments leave me wanting. I feel like there could be a little more lingo there to really let me know what’s shaking in that sub-routine.

Me: I concur.

11:00 a.m. Arguing with co-workers about where to go for lunch
Sammy: What about Olive Garden?

Me: My pasta flour is not blooming.

Sammy: There’s that new deli down the street, The Souper Submarine.

Me: (long sigh) Down periscope.

Randy: Yo, man, all you ever want is soups and salads. Bring me the big greasy burger. I say let’s go to Burger Dawg Haus.

Me: I concur. Hooters it is.

1:00 p.m. Monthly Budget Meeting
(Rosemary has just finished presenting department numbers.)

Me: Rosie, I gotta tell you, what you’re doing with those numbers makes me blush. I mean that’s a 36-24-36, A-1, brickhouse budget. A good manager knows how to manage, and the management you just showed on that budget just blew me away. Beautiful.

Randy Jackson: Alright, so listen up. There were some good spots, some pitchy spots and some spots I just didn’t like. The part where you scheduled me for 60 hours next week just doesn’t work for me. And some of these numbers just look like you’re spoutin’ ‘em off the top of your head. In your performance, it almost looked like you were reaching here then reaching there pulling numbers out of thin air. I don’t know dawg.

Me: I concur.

3:30 p.m. In the Testing Lab
(I’m standing behind Anne as she works through a test scenario on the computer. Suddenly the computer bursts into flames.)

Anne: Oh my God, let’s get out of here!

Me: Annie, always lookin’ to vamoose just as things heat up.

Anne: It’s on fire! The halon gas will be coming on any second! We need to get out of here.

Me: Annie, to be a good tester, you need to know how to test things, and I don’t think you’re putting your best foot forward. Maybe you need to find something that’s more you. Find something that screams and shouts: Annie!

Anne: My name is Anne!

Me: Who?

Anne: This thing was running just fine until I loaded your program. Your stupid program blew up the computer! It’s your fault!

Me: Annie, a wise man, I believe his name was Little Caesar said, “Don’t blame the messenger.”

Anne: Little Caesar said, “Pizza, pizza!”

Me: Excellent advice as well. Now, I'm all hungry.

5:30 p.m. At door of Boss’s office
Me: Boss man, are the paychecks in yet?

Boss: Yeah, they just got here.

Me: Sweet Jesus Hallelujah! Aiiieeeeyooowwww! Koo-koo ka-choo! I do love payday!