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5.17.02 - Chain Links

My friend Jacqui sent me this article the other day, which proves what I've been saying all along.  Temping is disgusting.

The article, titled: "Study: Desks harbor more germs than toilet seats" goes on to state that, well, desks harbor more germs than toilet seats.

This is kind of amazing.  This means if I go to work, and find an employee rubbing his bare ass all over my keyboard, I should actually thank him.  He's probably cleaning off something far more gross than he's putting on.

Speaking of crap, I've been getting a ridiculous amount of spam delivered to all of my e-mail accounts these days.  It doesn't really bother me too much most of the time, since I just delete it, but I started wondering the other day:  are people actually making money off it?  I mean, does anyone out there even take the time to read the spam, let alone subscribe to any of the horribly worded promises offered?  It doesn't really seem possible.

Then I read about something that happened back in 1938.  It seems the vice president of a wallet manufacturer decided to demonstrate how a social security card could fit into the wallets they produced, and highlight it as a selling point.  The sample cards he had printed were red, smaller than the real social security cards, and had the word SPECIMEN printed on them.  He also had the actual social security number of his secretary, Hilda Whitcher, printed on them.

The wallets containing the sample cards were sold in stores across the country.  Some buyers, however, seemed to think that the cards that came with the wallets were ACTUAL social security cards, and that they were actually THEIR social security cards, and that the number printed was actually assigned to THEM.  How many people?  Oh, roughly 40,000.  It took about twenty years for the Social Security Administration to sort out the mess, and even as late as 1977, 12 people were still using that very number, 078-05-1120, as their own.  You can read the whole story on the SSA's website here.  Dumbasses!

Anyway, it reminded me there aren't a whole lot of geniuses out there, and so I figure some spammers might be making a good living.

Speaking of geniuses!  When my good pal and punching bag Charles Darwin visited Madagascar as part of his Beagle voyages, he discovered an orchid with a nectar spur nearly twelve inches in length.  While speculating how such a flower could possibly be fertilized, he guessed there simply must exist a moth with a proboscis about a foot long.  Everyone laughed and called him an asshat, but sure enough, a moth with a ten-inch tongue was discovered... about forty years later.  In honor of Darwin's prediction, it was named Xanthopan morgani praedicta.  Good call, d00d!  I would have predicted some sort of spitting moth, personally.

Speaking of, um... dwarves (just go with me on this one), an extremely interesting one lived in the 1600's, named Jeffrey Hudson.  He first came on the scene at age nine and at a height of 18 inches, when he was served, in a large pie, to Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria.  Hey, don't look at me.  I guess people did what they could for amusement back then, and stuffing a midget kid in a pie was probably a gas.  Anyway, this little fellow had an interesting life, which included being captured by a pirate, becoming an accomplished duelist, and serving as a captain of cavalry in the British army.  Not to mention getting stuffed into who knows how many pies.  

What's most interesting about Jeffrey, I think, is that he didn't stay one and a half feet tall.  He grew to three feet, six inches, twice his previous height.  The neat part:  this growth spurt didn't begin until he was thirty years old.

Hey, I'm gonna be thirty in July!  There's still hope!


5.16.02 - Chariots of Fired

I wrote a new temping essay, which you can read by clicking these words right here!  Hope you like it!


5.15.02 - Mi Pasa Su Pasa

A few notes:  First, the super-sneaky worksafe page is now compatable with Netscape 4, thanks to random!  Thanks, random.

Also, huge thanks to those who were able to send me some donations yesterday!  That was so incredibly nice.  I'm really, really grateful.  Thanks, pholx!  I appreciate each and every dollar, and I am quite happy today.  In fact, I felt so touched, heartened, and energized at the response, I leapt into action and took a nap.

No!  I didn't, really!  I leapt into action by getting to work on the site, although today's update does, in fact, involve sleep.

I was lying in bed this morning, thinking about how I built my website.  I remember digging in the dirt, placing the little model houses and lampposts and streets, adding a new house or building each time I added a new essay to the site.  Soon, it looked like a little housing community, with each home no larger than a soccer ball, and surrounded by tiny trees and shrubs and picket fences.  Despite the small scale, however, I was still running out of room, since I had decided to build my site next to my friend's swimming pool.

If this doesn't make any sense to you, well, you're probably not half-asleep, like I was.  In that groggy state, somewhere between dreaming and awakening, the most bizarre things seem to make sense.  It's interesting what can seem completely logical between slaps of the snooze button.  So, I wasn't so much thinking about how I built the site but dreaming about it.

I began to wake up a bit more, however, and started trying to figure out how I had built my website next to my friend's pool, since I hadn't even been to his house since 7th grade.  It must have been my parents' pool I was thinking of.  Yeah, that made more sense.  Although I also seemed to remember building my website into the side of a canyon, hundreds of feet from the bottom.  None of this was syncing up.

Finally, I woke up completely, and realized that my website did not consist of tiny houses and trees built into the side of a cliff or next to a swimming pool.  Still, I started wondering:  where the hell is my website, anyway?  Physically.  I mean, I write it on my computer and upload it to... where, exactly?  Earthlink provides my hosting, but I have no idea where their servers are or where people actually look at my site.

I thought it seemed kind of sad that I didn't know where my site actually existed.  It's on some machine, somewhere, some computer in some room in some building, just chugging away.  I decided I'd find out where.  I'd find out what kind of machine it was on, if the machine had a name or number or something.  Maybe I was brushing elbows with some great sites or sharing cable with the stars!  Who knows?  Maybe it's even located somewhere not too far away, and they'd let me come see the machine, and maybe take a picture of it.  Perhaps I could even talk to some of the engineers who maintain it and swap out its cards and drives and ports and sparkplugs and fan belts, or whatever parts computers need to run.

I decided to get retro, and so I called Earthlink on the phone.  I dialed tech support, figuring they'd have some information for me and possibly be eager to talk with someone who wasn't calling to whine incomprehensively about service problems.

A guy named Darren answered, and I gave him my name and domain and asked if he might know where I could find the machine my site was on.  He seemed, how shall we say... suspicious of my motives.  I told him I was just curious, and was just interested in writing an "article" on my site about it.  He said he really couldn't give me any information, as such details might allow someone to "hack" their systems.  I did my best to convince him that I'm barely competent enough to print envelopes off my computer, let along hack a major service provider, but he wouldn't be budged.  

Still, he did actually cough up the location of the server:  Pasadena!  Which is about 375 miles from me.  So, I figured I wouldn't be making a trip there in person.  At least I'm in the same state, so I did feel a little closer to my website.  (Darren, meanwhile, was in Harrisburg, PA.)  He also informed me that my site was on a "Sun Solaris", also known as a "Spark Box."  Wow!  A Spark Box!  I picture bright, colorful sparks shooting out of the vents each time a reader visited my page.  Cool.  Hope the engineers have safety goggles!

Darren, however, wouldn't give me the number for Earthlink in Pasadena.  Nor would he connect me with them.  Nor did he seem to think any of the Pasadena engineers would talk to me anyway, because, in his words, "they don't answer the phone."  Also, "they don't like talking to people."  And, "they don't like being bothered."  Plus, "they can be pretty surly."  I actually know an engineer, and this all sounds about right, although I am certain an engineer somewhere at Earthlink would humor me.  After all, I wasn't looking to complain about anything or make them attend meetings with management or meet clients.  Anyway, Darren was being pleasant yet fairly uncooperative, so I thanked him and hung up.

I located Earthlink's Pasadena number, and gave them a call.  The receptionist sounded like she was having a bad day, and cut me off in the middle of my question about the servers.  I found myself routed back to tech support, this time to a guy named Alan, although at least he was in Pasadena as well.

Alan was even friendlier (and even less cooperative) than Darren was.  These people were very nice, but weren't helping me much, although at least they were protecting their engineers from morons with stupid questions like "Can you take a picture of the machine my site is on?" and "Is it a well-behaved machine?" and "Could you give it a hug for me?" and "Will you put a colorful sticker on it if I mail one to you?" and so on.  He gave me a couple general-sounding e-mail addresses to write to, and I will send out some mail tonight and see what happens.  I'm guessing: nothing.  Still, somehow, I will get a picture of my machine and perhaps even get to talk to an engineer who works on it.

I'll keep you up to date on my progress!  I can tell you're thrilled.  And hey, if anyone knows some Earthlink personnel, especially in the Pasadena facility, please let me know!


5.14.02 - A Temp In Need... a temp, indeed!  Welcome, won't you?  As much as temps help those who hire them (not much, really), sometimes the temp themselves need a little assistance.  Today, I'd like to tell you about a temp who needs your help.

See, he works hard, when he is able.  Sort of.  Okay, he doesn't work that hard.  He mostly naps.  But he works enough to get the job done, yet these days, sadly, he's having trouble finding jobs to slack off at!  Due to CIA plots and the power crisis and the vast right-wing conspiracy and the predictions of Nostradamus, temp jobs are few and far between these days.  Good ones, that is.  There is always some horrible office with coffee-stained carpeting and acres of file cabinets and no internet access and supervisors who smell like feet, but these aren't "jobs" so much as "really bad jobs."

Tough times have recently led this particular temp to give himself a haircut, which in turn resulted in him shaving his head completely, which resulted in unprecedented levels of insecurity and self-consciousness, not to mention the rerouting of commercial airline flights to avoid the blinding glare off his head.  Articles of clothing, worn beyond their practical limits, have been repaired with staples, and in the worst cases, needle and thread, which, in the hands of this temp, are even worse than staples.

His DVD player recently broke, so he is denied the chance to watch the Director's Cuts of "Brazil" and "Das Boot" and "Sizzle Beach, U.S.A." on DVD as he has done so many times.  He has run low on batteries, and finds himself switching the only two still functional ones between the TV remote, the VCR remote, his electric razor, his digital camera, and his walkman, as needs arise.  This gets confusing, and he often finds himself walking to the bus stop trying to listen to a walkman with no batteries, or in some cases, trying to shave with his digital camera.  With no batteries.

Food is not of great importance to this temp, and although he does enjoy the occasional yummy sammich from time to time, he is quite content dining on peanut butter and mac & cheese.  (Though generally not from the same bowl.  Generally.)  However, his daily intake of nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and honey barbeque wings have dipped dangerously due to his current financial state.  This has left him moody (well, moodier), grouchy (well, grouchier), and sometimes, incomprehensible (well, FRoot insdfu 787 vagstt!! BOOOLG?).

And yet, night after night, this dedicated temp drags himself to his very own small and cluttered desk after a long day of napping, and sits there from 7:00pm until 1:00am, playing games and looking at porn.  Then he remembers he has a website and dashes off some incredibly rushed repetitive bitchfest thinly disguised as a thoughtful humor column.  Five days a week, with the exception of maybe one or two or possibly three days, or sometimes four, or five, he slaves over his keyboard while drinking watered down coffee and chain-smoking breadsticks (his confusion sometimes extends beyond the battery situation).

Now, you may be asking yourself:  "I don't care."  First of all, that isn't even a question, and secondly, the answer is: "Sure!  There is something you can do to help!"

A simple donation of your hard-earned/inherited/stolen/found/self-printed money could make a huge difference in this temp's life.  Simply click below to visit NMD's donation page!  It's easy and fun!  Hell, it's practically a Diversion!

Click Here to Pay Learn MoreAmazon Honor System

And in case you're wondering where your hard earned dollars are going (and you can't be too careful with donations these days), here is a list of probable items and services your donations will make possible!

$1 - a bus ticket
$2 - a large coffee
$3 - a tasty sammich
$4 - a pack of smokes
$5 - a book (used)
$6 - honey barbeque wings meal WITH a soft drink
$7 - 2 movie rentals (VHS - probably porn or foreign art film (which is porn))
$8 - an actual current release movie!  At a theater, even!
$9 - a cheap haircut that will look slightly better than a pasty bald head
$10 - a year's subscription to audio feed, which only drops out 14 times per game due to net-congestion
$20 - one month of free webhosting
$25 - a new staple-free tie
$35 - monthly phone bill (Dial-A-Ricci calls not included)
$50 - 5 decent lapdances or one really good lapdance
$75 - a bunch of stuff I'd really like
$100 - most of a bottom-of-the-line DVD player
$50 thousand - a year of no work
$20 million - a trip to International Space Station (and just think of the essay THAT would produce, huh?)

Anyway.  Seriously, if you've got a buck or two to slip me, that'd be cool, if not, no worries!  The site will continue either way!  Thanks, yo!


5.13.02 - Faire Game

(Do you read this site at work?  Afraid of getting busted?  Now you can read daily updates on a work-safe page created to throw pesky supervisors off your trail!  Check it out here!)

I live above some retail shops on the main drag in my town.  Once a year, the town has a weekend Art & Wine Faire.  Basically, they close off three blocks, and set up tents where merchants can sell all sorts of things.  Artwork, music, clothing, food, jewelry, you name it.  Lots of people come and the whole weekend is a lot of fun!  If you'd like to have one in your town, or on your block, or even right outside your own window, I've listed some tips on how to set one up.

1)  Start early!  There's a lot of work to do.  Get your crew out on the street at 5:00am Saturday morning, when most normal, happy people are still asleep.  And stay organized!  Throw the metal tent poles in a huge pile in the middle of the street.  One at a time!  Each pole will make a resounding CLANG when it hits the pavement!  Don't worry about waking people up;  each CLANG signals the upcoming Faire!  Hell, they're probably already awake in anticipation.  CLANG!  CLANG!  FAIRE!  FAIRE!

2)  Schedule your Faire when the weather is starting to get warm.  This will allow people to walk around scantily clad in public!  Remember, they've been bundled up in sweaters all winter, which they really should be, because none of these people should ever show more than an inch of their pasty, doughy flesh within 500 yards of another living thing, including fauna and bacteria!  But this give them an excuse to break out their ill-fitting halter tops and way-too-short shorts and mmmmm!  Sandals!

3)  Invite local musicians to sell their CDs in their very own tents!  Because there is nothing more pathetic than a guy in a ponytail trying to sell his own calypso music while listening to his own calypso music full-blast and, indeed, dancing to his own calypso music, while no one comes within 45 feet of his tent all day.  This sight will allow Fairegoers to feel better about their own lives!

4)  Don't forget to have a win-a-car contest!  This will encourage someone who has entered far too many free car contests to enter yet another one, still thinking he can win, despite the fact that his mailbox is still stuffed with mailers for things he will never buy because all the other contests sold his name and address to marketing companies.

5)  Having your Faire outdoors will allow people to bring their cute, lovable dogs with them!  And people with dogs love having their dogs meet other dogs.  People with dogs always insist that their dog is "friendly" and "harmless", but any time two dogs actually meet they will instantly attempt to rip each other's throats out!  This results in a lot of nerve-jangling high-pitched barking and howling, which is fun for anyone within earshot.

6)  Everybody loves FACEPAINTING!!!!  Everyone, that is, except everyone!  Except, of course, that one 45 year-old woman who gets her face painted like a complete moron and dances like a dipshit in front of the:

7) BAND!!! Hire a band!  An ugly band, whose amount of ugliness is in direct proportion to how much they completely suck ass.  They will sing country and bluegrass favorites and repeatedly do a monotone, wrist-slashingly horrible cover of "Man of Constant Sorrow" that everyone is really incredibly sick to death of because it was in that George Clooney movie!

8)  Remember, there are lots of thoughtless slobs walking around, throwing their crap everywhere, so it's up to you to keep things tidy!  The best way to accomplish this is to hire a clean-up crew to work for the duration of the fair!  Keep them mobile by allowing them to drive motorized golf carts stacked with trashcans of stinking refuse at incredible speeds through the crowd, running over everyone's toes!

9)  Sell sausages!  Big ones!  Disturbingly big ones!  Disturbingly big, long, curved, glistening, meaty, steaming, pink ones!

10)  Oodles of shrieking, unhappy children will be dragged to your Faire and forced to accompany their parents who want to browse the wicker furniture tent or the personalized silver-plated golf ball marker tent or the window treatment and aluminum siding tent (really).  So, have a kiddie area set up, where the kiddies with full bladders can bounce on dangerously under-inflated "moon walks" and slide down dangerously under-inflated "fun slides" and hit their little heads and wet their pants and shriek a lot louder than they already were.

Okay.  So.  I don't enjoy the Faire.  That's probably obvious.  Still, though, it does serve an important service in the community, namely letting that old guy with the handlebar moustache and the sunken chest and the pot-belly and the too-tight jeans walk around all sweaty and shirtless, sporting that manly fist-sized tuft of gray chest hair and drinking in public.


I've spanked the monkey.  I've volleyed with slime.  I've played poker with dogs.  I've sent a monkey on a nationwide crime-spree.  I've blown up tanker trucks with a magnifying glass.  I've stared down Sally, made Paul dance, and swung around a sticky baby.  I've sent hundreds of penguins to certain death in the inky blackness of space.

What I'm trying to say is I've updated the Diversions Archive.  Finally, although I think I'm still missing a few.  Go play games!  Do it now!

This week's Diversions (links on the left-hand sidebar): get your click on with Collapse (shockwave), suggested by the x-treme slacker Bahareh.  What kinda name is that, anyway?  Weird.  Also, we've got The Pump (flash), which is like those dance games, only there's no dancing.  And, some Tilt Puzzles, for when you really want to tilt something to get a little ball where it's supposed to be but simply don't have the time.

In other news, I was looking at the other day, which I started reading recently, and zoink!  There was a link to my site!  It was the first time I've ever just come across a link to my site without tracking it down from my referral logs.  Cool!  And it happens to be on a site I completely dig.  Go check out AWG's site!  She's funny and pissed off and uses swear words interestingly.   What more could you want, really?


Last Week on Not My Desk!

Alas, Alack, Alarm
Bag Reel
A Hyena ate my Dingo Baby!
Missed Connections

My Desk Archives

Smurf Rescue
Donkey Kong
Space Panic

More VotF

Mary Jo Pehl Interview
Kids Page
The Temp Test

Hall of Henchmen


Art Page
NMD Store
Message Board
Publishing Progress
NMD On Paper
Chapter One

All material 2000 - 2002 by Christopher Livingston, except for this statement.