- Temp Chat!
Yep, it's that
time again. Time to reach out and touch someone.
Temp Chat 9 by clicking here!
And hey, have a
great weekend! Seeya Monday.
- Lemme Get This Straight
what you'd call a skeptic. A skeptical person. Extremely skeptical.
I'd even go so far as to say I'm the most skeptical person on the planet, but
frankly, I don't buy it.
possibly in future updates, I'd like to explore some beliefs, mysteries,
misconceptions, pseudoscience, paranormal and supernatural phenomenon, and other
types of bullshit I don't believe in. (And, although it's probably obvious
from the fact that I just used the word "bullshit" to describe these
things, I'd like to clarify that when I said "explore" I didn't really
mean it. I'm just gonna scoff and dismiss based on my rudimentary
knowledge of such matters. It's just so much easier than doing research.)
So, we've got
astrology. Basically, the belief that the position of the planets and
stars when you are born have huge effect on your life and personality,
right? The sky is divided into twelve sections, and each section has a
constellation, and depending on what date you were born, the corresponding
constellation totally owns your ass, and the sun and moon and planets pass in
front of these constellations which does things to you somehow.
VERY important to know WHERE the planets where when you were born. Like, you
should know where EVERYTHING WAS on the EXACT MOMENT of your birth. For
example, let's take a planet, say, Neptune. Neptune is rising in Sagittarius
the moment you are born. This is SO DAMN important. Why?
Because Neptune has been waiting for this. Neptune has nothing better to
do than wait for you to be born so it can influence your personality. For
some reason, it doesn't matter where Neptune was WHEN YOU WERE CONCEIVED.
Your NINE MONTHS or so in the womb DOESN'T MATTER. Neptune doesn't GIVE A
CRAP about that. Neptune just needs to ZAP YOU with a HYPNO-RAY at the
moment of your BIRTH so it can CONTROL YOUR LIFE.
who were born whenever that was? They'll all be exactly the same type of
person. Neptune zapped them all. And hey, if your labor was induced
and you were born a few weeks or days or minutes or even seconds before you
naturally would have been, NEPTUNE TOTALLY FALLS FOR THIS. What a DUMBASS.
I mean, take
Pluto, fer cryin' out loud. It's basically a big hunk of ice out in
space. A hunk of ice! It doesn't even really qualify as a planet
anymore. But it controls my life. I have a big hunk of ice in my
freezer, why doesn't that affect my personality? There's an ice-cream
parlor across the street, gotta be tons of ice in it, will that influence my
love-life? Oooh, wait, I'm getting a message from a bucket of Rum Raisin
right now. Here comes the message... hang on... here it comes...
DUMBASS. You might have HEARD that the stars and constellations aren't
even REALLY THERE ANY MORE. When you see the stars, you're actually seeing
A REALLY BIG BROADCAST DELAY. Like, MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of YEARS.
They've MOVED or BURNED OUT. A BLACK HOLE maybe ATE THEM or
something. The constellations DON'T EVEN LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THAT
NOW. In fact, they're not even made of GROUPINGS OF STARS, they just look
that way FROM OUR PARTICULAR PERSPECTIVE. Sheesh.
Here you've got a
huge stretch of ocean, like half a million square miles worth of water.
And planes and boats have disappeared into it. Well, CRIPES. MUST BE
SOMETHING INEXPLICABLE AND MYSTERIOUS WHOA NELLIE.
what! Boats sink! Planes fall into the ocean! You know why
they're never seen again? BECAUSE IT'S THE OCEAN, DUMBASS.
Most of the hoo-hah
started in 1945 after five Naval aircraft on a training mission vanished.
What's THAT? A TRAINING mission? Maybe they vanished because they
were TRAINEES. As in NOT QUITE ALL THE WAY TRAINED. Ya think?
Only the lead plane had navigational equipment, the other planes did not, so
what do you think might have happened? A mysterious force abducted them or
a supernatural event occurred? Yep, this mysterious force called GRAVITY
and a supernatural event called ME RUN OUT OF GAS IN PLANE.
Look, if you've
got a bunch of trainees at McDonalds, and the french fry machine breaks, do you
think you're gonna GET YOUR FRIES? Because YOU WON'T. NO FRIES FOR
get this straight. We've got aliens coming to our planet from outer space,
yeah? We're talking about advanced beings, making a trip of thousands or
even millions of light-years. We're talking interstellar space travel,
which signifies tremendous intellect and a technological advancement we can't
even comprehend. They have located our planet, and deemed it interesting
enough to visit and study. And when they reach us, across the vast empty
blackness of space, what do they do? They DRAW VAGUE PICTURES IN BARLEY.
reasonable. I know that eventually humans will master interstellar travel
and visit other solar systems and planets. Perhaps even planets with other
life forms on them. And when we get there, we will have a choice. We
will either observe them without interfering, or we will land somewhere, pop the
hatch, and say howdy. Oh, and I guess we could also SNEAK IN AT NIGHT and
DOODLE IN WHEAT PATCHES and then SCAMPER AWAY, GIGGLING. That's a wise
I also recall
speculation that crop circles might be navigational markers, so the visiting
aliens know where to land. Uh-huh. They can find our planet amongst
billions of stars in the inky reaches of space with their incredibly advanced
spacecraft, but when they get here they need to use GIANT SYMBOLS MASHED INTO
CORNFIELDS to find their way around. "Y'know, Bleeblebloop, I like
going to Earth, but I can never find a parking space. Can we do something
- Come Back Tomorrow
So, I have today
off from work because the entire staff is going to be in Los Angeles for the
day. And my boss is still going to pay me for the day, he says.
I was so astounded
by this event, unprecedented as it is in my temping career, that I just kind of
came home and sat in a stupor and didn't write anything. I'm stunned!
back tomorrow, when there will be something here.
- Special Relativity Don't Upset Us
I was taking a
little trip down memory lane today, and was a little surprised to find that the
lane went about six feet and made a sharp right turn into a brick wall.
I was thinking
about school, or trying to, at least. I was five years old when I
started going to school and 17 when I left school, so you'd think I'd have some
sort of, you know... memory of it.
Not that I don't
remember my friends, and the classes, and the teachers, and the schools
themselves. I remember all that stuff. I just don't remember
much of anything I was taught. Obviously, I can read and write and
speak. I can name the continents and the planets and a couple major kings
and wars. I learned how to make scrambled eggs in Home Ec. But shit. That's about
How can this
be? I took French for five years. FIVE YEARS. I can't speak
French. I can't read it, write it, or understand it. Math! I
was never good at math, but I studied it constantly, from probably first grade to
twelfth. I can remember the first grade stuff, adding and subtracting, but
that's all. I took Social Studies for years. What the hell is
a Social Study? For the love of crap, I took Advanced Placement Physics and
passed it (barely), but I can't conjure up one iota of information about it.
This is terribly
wrong. Somehow, I got cheated. I got cheated out of an
education. So, I'm gonna SIT HERE and WORK until
I REMEMBER something, and DAMMIT, YOU'RE ALL GONNA WATCH.
Okay! I was
thinking I should start with some sort of science. I remember my science
teacher very well, Mr. Benzinger. How do you forget a name like that? I even
remember the weird way he talked. His upper lip never moved, but his lower
lip did. In fact, I can still do an impression of the way he talked,
which means nothing to you, of course, but if you knew Mr. Benzinger and could
see me doing my impression of him, you'd be all "Heh, yeah, that's Mr.
Benzinger, all right."
things grow a little hazy. I remember bunsen burners, which were used to
melt Bic pens, and I vaguely remember cutting open a dead frog and attaching a
battery to its muscles to watch them twitch, though that may have been during
recess. Either way, I... I just can't remember a damn scientific fact I
learned in science class.
Chemistry... Physics... Well, hey! I guess I know this:
Einstein's, uh... dealie. Of course, everyone can just say "E=mc²"
and pretend they know what it means, but I must have been taught what it meant
at some point. I must have. And that information has to be in
my huge brain somewhere.
I know that E
stands for energy, m stands for mass, and c stands for the speed of light.
Energy equals mass times the square of the speed of light. So... that's...
what that's all about. Glad we got it settled.
But again, what
does it really mean? Welp, I'd better take a crack at solving it or
it's gonna be a long night.
is an equation. What do I know about equations? Here we have to go
into math, I guess. The equals sign is important... and... wait, it's
coming... I can do whatever I want to one side of the equation, provided
I do it to the other side of the equation as well! Yeah! I
can times it by five, I can bake it for an hour at 250 degrees, I can divide it
by Sidney Poitier. So long as I do it on both sides of the "=",
it's legal. I'm certain that's right, and I'm also certain they
wouldn't have taught me that if it didn't help me to solve equations.
So, now we have
energy divided by Sidney Poitier equals mass times the square of the speed of
light divided by Sidney Poitier. We're getting somewhere! Somewhere sciencey!
But what is
energy, really? It's like... it's this stuff... can't create or destroy
it... comes from the sun... and maybe other places... like food... and
batteries... well, I don't know what energy is. But! If we solve the
other side of the equation, we'll know what energy equals, which
is kinda like knowing what energy is, so that's something.
is... how much there is of something. It's sorta like weight, only not,
because your weight changes if you're on the moon, but your mass doesn't.
Also, mass increases with velocity, I think. And, it's proportionate to
weight, or vice-versa, or neither. Well, shit, let's just say mass is the
same thing as weight, just to keep it simple. How much can it really
(incoming pun) matter? Weight, mass, same diff.
I don't have a
scale, so let me use something that I know the weight of, like a Quarter-Pounder.
It weighs a quarter of a pound, right?
Okay, things are
looking good! (Although I'd rather use a Whopper, because they're tastier,
I'm sticking with the Quarter-Pounder in the interests of science.
Einstein would be proud.)
Now, the speed of
light. Man. I know light goes really, really fast. Someone
proved it once. Some smug jerk. And then I have to square it?
Man, then it'd be going really super fast! What was Einstein's deal,
anyway, light wasn't fast enough for him, he had to go and square it? What
a psycho! Well, let's just say light goes a kajillion miles per hour, and
if you square it, that probably adds, like, a billion or so more miles.
got our equation ready and put into terms an idiot could understand, so let's
Light goes a
kajillion billion miles per hour if you square it, and then you times it by the
burger there, add fries, divide it by a highly respected Oscar-winning Bahamian,
and that equals energy, which we also divide by the star of such films as
"The Defiant Ones" and "To Sir, With Love."
energy! Sciencey energy!
Okay, I feel
better. I've got my education back. Time for a burger.
- Sanitary Conditions
A few site
notes: I added a little box on the left-hand sidebar for Temp Chat,
since it's more or less a feature at this point. Also, I'm only going to
run one link a day under Outsourcing on the right-hand sidebar, just to
save space. I'll try to remember to change it every day, though.
And, the interviews from last week are now permanently linked on the Staff
I'm planning on
starting a new section called Paper Jam this week. This is going to
be sort of a log of my efforts to get myself published somewhere. I'd like
to start seriously submitting articles and essays to a few places, as well as
putting together some sort of manuscript for a book. I mean, Christ, Carol
Feltman has a book. Carol Feltman! If she can have a book, I can
damn well have one. Anyway, this new section will more of an attempt to
motivate myself than to provide interesting content. I'm just better at
getting things done if I know people can look and see how little I'm getting
I've also had a
hankering to write fiction lately. I'm not really a short-story guy, so
I'm talking about novels, basically. I have a ton of ideas for novels, but
of course I also have the attention span of a housefly with a mild concussion
(see above left) and the follow-through of Stephen Hawking in a tennis match
(see below right). So, I'm thinking about a starting a section called Chapter
One where I will write the first chapter of a book, then abandon it and
write the first chapter of another book. And so on. This will be
largely pointless. But fun!
to the update.
Saturday night, I
went over to the little coffee place across the street and read the newspaper.
And before you
think I'm some big party-animal socialite or something, I only did that because
my DSL went out for a few hours and there didn't seem to be anything to do in my
apartment. Except maybe cleaning HA HA HA yeah so coffee and newspaper it
This one article caught my eye. I mean, with a hook like this:
East Palo Alto Sanitary District member's threat to hire a crack dealer to kill
a fellow director was simply people "joking after a tense meeting,"
one official said yesterday."
...who couldn't be
intrigued? Or jealous? Check this out:
hit-man remark by then-board President Belinda Rosales about board rival Samuel
Rasheed and another official's quip about getting "a pregnant crack head
girl to go beat (Rasheed) up" was captured -- along with belly laughs --
when the official tape recorder was accidentally left running at the end of the
Feb. 7 board meeting."
meetings I've been attending recently often center around pregnant crack-heads,
but rarely, only rarely, are they suggested as potential assassins.
it seems, had in January "flipped off" the mayor during a city council
meeting. And further down in
the article we find my favorite quote, (delivered by the same woman who had
suggested hiring the junkie hit-man) in response to the mayor-flip-offing antics
isn't the kind of behavior that we want (from a) public official, especially
(one) representing the sanitary district," Rosales said during the Feb. 7
meeting. She noted that the board recently stressed the goal of behaving with
"a certain degree of professionalism . . . because to some degree we are
Ah, yes. I
remember when I was a kid, young and impressionable, gazing with starry-eyed
wonder at the sanitary district officials. They were like gods to
me! I had all their Topps
trading cards, even the Edgar F. Rubenstein '76 rookie card! I recall
begging my parents to buy me starched shirts and polyester slacks and clip-on
ties, and I would walk around the house with a clipboard, peering into toilets, shaking my head,
mumbling pretend-sanitation terms I had made up. In my room, I had built a
cramped cubicle loaded with paperwork and and file folders and used Styrofoam
"coffee" cups. (I pretended my chocolate milk was coffee!
What a scamp I was!) I'd stay up long past my bedtime, reading the
Department of Public Works' Annual Report under my covers with a flashlight...
Man, I so
wanted to be a sanitary district member! So bad! The countless city
council meetings... the Sewage Treatment Advisory Board conference calls... the glamour. Oh, the glamour.
Shame on you,
Rosales and Rasheed. Thank God I am an adult now, wise and cynical, and
not the naive child who once worshipped you and others like you. It surely
would have crushed me. Crushed me like so many cubic feet of compacted
Week on Not My Desk!