Archive for October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2011

Judging by the amount of money that got spent on it this year, Halloween is this household’s favorite holiday, so I’m keeping it brief today to give me the best chance of getting my money’s worth.

Be careful out there tonight, kids.  Not every monster looks like one, not even on Halloween.

Singing A Different Tune

October 28, 2011

Remember when I said that I never understood the question about if I ever get bored from hearing children’s songs over and over?

Well, that still hasn’t changed, but . . .

How can I put this delicately?

I’ve always had a habit of . . . modifying the lyrics of songs that I hear a lot, purely for my own personal (twisted) amusement; I don’t always even notice that I’m doing this.  This wasn’t an issue so long as the songs in this household remained instrumental, but now that we’ve moved on to children’s songs with actual lyrics, even though I’m taking special care to keep my modifications of those songs “clean,” people are starting to notice.

Case in point:

Actual lyric:  “Number one is fun.  Fun, fun, fun!”*  “One surfer in the sea.  One, one, one!”

My followup:  “One shark he didn’t see.  One, one, one!”

My reaction to the stunned laughter in the house that followed:  “What?”


*Keeping it clean, remember?

I Know I Did

October 27, 2011

Today I watched you struggle with an important concept, son.

You were sitting near a closed door that you wanted opened, but every time I tried to open the door for you (the doorknob principle being a mite advanced for you at the moment), you refused to move so I could fully open it because the door opened inward.  Before I could move you, you promptly pushed the door closed again (Yes, I watched out for your fingers.), then got angry because you wanted the door open.

This cycle repeated a couple of times, with you actually rotating around to glare accusingly at me (giving me a little more room to open the door in the process), before rotating back and shutting the door once again.  Then you grabbed the door firmly and started pulling on it to open it up and get it out of your way, but you refused to move out of the door’s way, so you and the door remained at an impasse.  Finally you grabbed the door, scooted it and your body back a bit, got mad that the door was still in your way and not cooperating, grabbed and scooted a little more, got madder, and so on until the door was passed your body enough for you to crawl through the doorway.  By that time though, you were in quite a huff over all the effort that had taken.

I hope you learned something from that, son.

And Almost Nobody Ever Tells You Any Sooner Than That

October 26, 2011

Funny thing about realizing one is guilty of “crossing the line,” when you look back, more often than not you don’t see the line just behind your heel, you see it so far behind you that you need binoculars to see it properly.

Food For Thought

October 25, 2011

Son, your mother and I like good food.  Mind you, our definitions of “good” (and sometimes “food”) occasionally differ, but those are literally matters of taste.

Not everyone is capable of understanding that though.

Some of the people your mother knows, for instance, take a great joy in tormenting her about the food she eats even as they literally steal food off her plate.  (Don’t ask me how they rationalize that.)  One particular time this happened, the person was absolutely horrified at the idea that they were eating something healthy no matter how good they thought it tasted before they knew this.

“I don’t want to eat food that’s good for me!” they protested.  “I want to eat . . .”

“Poison?” your mother oh so sweetly suggested.


They Call It Sadism For A Reason, You Know (PG-13ish)

October 24, 2011

Last night I watched the movie Quills with someone who’d never seen it before.  Now for those who have never seen the movie, Quills is one of the most delighted (not delightfully, delighted) twisted films about the Marquis de Sade ever made.  It takes a palpable joy in its lack of historical accuracy in favor of “tarting up” the story, and alternates between amusing, disturbing and offending at a dizzying pace.  It does this to such a level that there are points of the movie that, frankly, I deplore, and unsurprisingly if you know me, I’m not talking about the sex, not even the sex masquerading as violence, but the violence itself, particularly the violence masquerading as sex.  Even so, even the parts I deplore are done with such skill that I can’t help but admire the level of artistry involved.

In other words, it is not the tale of the Marquis de Sade’s final days as it happened, but as he would have liked for it to have happened.

But if you’ve got the heart to watch it, and are prepared to squirm and cringe at the points it gets painful to watch, it’s definitely an interesting ride.

Saving Time (Part Four)

October 21, 2011

In any event, by the time she expressed her bewilderment about not knowing “what she did wrong” when she failed to make a sale, I was, to put it mildly, disinclined to enlighten her.  (Besides, I was pretty sure she didn’t really want me to answer that.)

But for the enlightenment of others, here’s the top five things she did wrong (not including things not under her control like it taking over thirty minutes to get a cup of coffee at the supposed “wow you” breakfast at the country club, and the B side of their model unit being claustrophobia inducing and designed at angles that would be appropriate only in R’lyeh, and things we’ve already covered, like claiming to be empathic):

5.  Taking what felt like forever to get to a point, any point, including the point of providing numerical data even after being specifically asked several times.

4.  Continuing to repeat dubious claims even in the face of my obvious skepticism.  (Sorry, but I didn’t believe your business model was putting major hotels out of business even before I (eventually) got the details of your business model, and I definitely don’t after.)

3.  Repeating over and over that this wasn’t going to be a hard sell, right before starting in on the hard sell.

2.  Asking for an idealized amount of time off we’d like to take in any given year and how much we’d expect to spend, and trying to use that number as a bludgeon for the amount of money we were “committed” to spend.  (Nope, sorry, it doesn’t work that way, and I can’t even honestly call it a “nice try.”)

And tying for first place:

1.  Getting petulant and pouty when I looked at everything offered, and legitimately decided it wasn’t for me (This reaction only served to foster a certainty that I never wanted to deal with you or your company again.) and not being able to grasp the idea that it really wasn’t about the money.

So in long, it was a nightmare . . . but at least I got a story out of it.

Sharing Time (Part Three)

October 20, 2011

Not that this was the first time somebody had ever claimed in my presence to be empathic, mind you, but it was the first time someone ever tried it as part of a sales technique.

Regardless, my reaction was the same because I just have to test a claim like that; I brought up my best “poker face” and started observing.  Empathy (in the psychic sense) is a tougher claim to judge than, say telepathy, because the “What am I thinking of right now?” challenge is pretty straightforward.  (Though, for the record, given the number of times I thought “Just get on with it already!” to no effect, I feel safe in reporting she demonstrated no telepathic skills in my presence.)  Even so, by the time our time together was complete, I can report she scored consistently in her readings of me:

She read my mood wrong every time, so either her empathic skills were lacking, or I have a really good poker face.

Maybe both.

We Interrupt This Story . . .

October 19, 2011

To bring you this breaking news bulletin:

Yesterday was not only the day for baby’s first band-aid, it was the day for baby’s first lesson in not sticking your finger in the refrigerator door as it closes.  (He’s fine, honest.  For some time now I’ve been taking care to not slam the refrigerator door just in case I ever misjudged the positioning of baby fingers.)

There’s a lesson (not including the obvious one about not sticking your finger in closing refrigerator doors) that I want you to take away from this, son:

I really was doing my best to watch your fingers, and I thought all your fingers were clear.  While I was obviously incorrect, I could point out that by not closing the door on nine out of ten of your fingers, I achieved ninety percent of my goal.

But that would be an incredibly, incredibly stupid thing to say.

Beware of people who seriously say (or even worse, believe it when they say) things like that.

(And tomorrow we shall return you to the story, Sharing Time, already in progress.)

Sharing Time (Part Two)

October 18, 2011

Fortunately, it wasn’t that much money, so I felt I had the freedom to walk away from it at any time.  That, appeals to my sense of curiosity, and appeals to senses less intellectual were the paving stones on the path of my persuasion.  “After all,” I told myself, “I’ve pretty much heard it all before when it comes to sales pitches, so there’s a limit to how bad this could be, and before any serious pitch starts, they’ll be feeding me first.”

Free food, hard to turn down for most people, a breach of protocol to turn down when you’re a freelancer.  (It’s part of the freelancer’s code, you know.)

So we meet our barker, and on first impression she strikes me as a typical example of somebody who’d make a pitch for a timeshare:  nicely dressed (but nothing that suited her too well), overabundance of energy bordering on manic (complete with a tendency to talk too fast), and a talent for jumping to dubious conclusions in the name of making a sale (more on that later).

But before the coffee arrived, I got a refresher course in just how wrong first impressions can be.

“I want you folks to know that I’m empathic,” she tells us.  “And I can sense that you are too.”

Okay . . .

That was a new one on me, I’ll admit it.