Sunday, June 27, 2010

wedding invitations

One of my favorite things about Spring and Summer is the unholy number of wedding invitations that are beating down my door every day upon my return from work. I love seeing the pictures of the happy couples, and I take a special joy in seeing my close friends getting married to women who refused to return my phone calls.

This is, of course, a lie. I don't actually receive wedding invitations anymore, not since Facebook came along to stem the flow. Now I receive invitations to join groups with creative names like, "Jack and Jill are getting married and need your addresses".

For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook1, groups are units you can be shamed into joining in order to publicly showcase your allegiance to a particular cause. They persist forever on your record, and you will feel perma-guilty should you decide to unjoin a group dedicated to so sacred of an event.

Groups also allow aspiring couples who happen to be in league with identity thieves to solicit addresses in the most non-private of spheres, in order to invite you to a wedding, and also broadcast as much personal information about you as possible, so that Mark Q. Zuckerberg can sell it to whoever he sees fit, up to, and including, Kim Jong Il.

I kid, I kid! Though Mr. Zuckerberg wouldn't think twice about selling you out, most of your friends don't actually expect you to post your address anymore. They usually are conscious enough to ask you to send it along privately, in the manner most conducive to you. This is, of course, old news to the majority of the readers who began this post, and immediately broke off, bored comatose.

The best part of these solicitations, however, is how the request is worded. For some reason whose rationale currently escapes me, every single one of these invites contains the qualifying phrase, "if you would like to receive an invitation".

My friends are all obviously kind and gracious people, evidenced primarily by their tolerance of me. In their kind and humble worlds, however, they must not realize that a phrase like that is like oil on water to a hypothetical individual whose level of pride is greater than the GDP of most third world nations.

If I want an invitation? You mean, I have to request an invitation? You weren't going to send me one anyways? Is this your little scheme to keep the number of people down at your reception? Or perhaps save on paper? Am I not worth the extra dollar to send me an invite? It isn't clear to me why I am requested to show my interest in receiving an invitation in order to receive one.2

My cynicism aside, these friends are either a) above and beyond desires for wedding presents, or b) blissfully unaware that sending me a wedding invitation socially obligates me to purchase them a gift.

Just to highlight an extremely hypothetical possibility, which is in no way anywhere near how I act, if one avoids requesting an invitation, one doesn't have to buy a present...

Assuming, however, that one does not follow that path, let us summarize how exactly the steps can play out:

  1. Chris receives group invitation.
  2. Group invitation says to send address "if you would like to receive an invitation".
  3. Chris swallows every ounce of pride he possesses, which causes no small amount of alignment in the planets, and requests an invitation by sending his address.
  4. Sitting on his bag full of money, Mr. Zuckerberg sells out billions of addresses to the highest bidder, then goes for a swim in his gold vault.
  5. Mr. Kim Jong receives address from Mr. Zuckerberg and immediately begins a spam campaign.
  6. Chris receives said wedding invitation, along with declarations of "Death to Capitalism".
  7. Chris is socially obligated to purchase a gift.
  8. Chris enters a feminine-ish store, and immediately loses all of the testosterone-y masculinity he has been building up for a decade (since that time the girl beat him up and he cried).
  9. Chris pays extortionist prices to the one store to offer "free" wrapping (the one whose name rhymes with Wed, Wrath, and Be Conned) for some stupid household appliance that screams, "I'm a weenie! Good job on marrying him not me!"
  10. Chris's gift is received and promptly forgotten by said recipients, except at those moments during their dinner parties that they're telling the puking story, and show off the item that was given by the guy with the perennially upset stomach.3 The lack of a thank-you card is justified during the torrential laughter.

In summary, I love my friends, and I would love to continue to be invited to your weddings/dinner parties/movie nights, so please forgive me for any sort of blatant insulting you have taken away from today's topic.

But don't wait for me to swallow my pride. There's still some left, even after losing my lunch in such a fashion.

It's not you, it's me.

1. It's likely a good portion of you are reading this on Facebook, so this line probably has you confused. I just want to point out everyguide.org is the original site, and is infinitely better in every way than the rubbish you are reading now.
2. On second thought, this pretty much describes my dating strategy. Maybe it's a good idea after all.
3. I was meaning to expound upon that story (ies), but it's still much too embarrassing to recount. Let us take a moment to mourn for the excessive amounts of pride that was lost on that/those occasion(s), and apologize to any offended street sweepers for the mess.

gelato

Gelato is one of the finest things in life, capable of saving you from all sorts of misery.

Please witness this here:



(thanks to Scott Robertson for the excellent work done)

(a real post is coming soon)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

the bachelorette

Granted, I've never watched this show in my life,1 but I've seen so many news articles and status updates on it that I consider myself the world's foremost bachelorette expert. Of course, I'm pretty sure I consider myself an expert on every subject ever, including things I know nothing about, nor have any experience with, like second dates, but let us forge ahead and try and ignore that for now.

While most TV shows these days seek to get you to believe one or two unlikelihoods (the fact that Hugh Laurie, with that accent, isn't actually American, or that forensic analysis takes nanoseconds), the bachelorette contains two fundamentally impossible leaps of faith. The plot is this: an inconceivably attractive woman finds herself in an equally inconceivable situation: that of being in want of a man.2

Putting aside the fact that she probably hasn't gone for three full seconds in her life without getting a phone call from a sweating suitor, she seems to need a gaggle of six pack packing swimsuit models in order to find her true love.

These suspiciously attractive individuals then each take turns smooching in order to showcase the depth of their superficial sincerity and profundity of their attraction.3

This is, of course, a recipe for pure unfettered success on a TV show. Who doesn't want to woo a beautiful woman? And one that is forced to choose one man of twenty five? That significantly ups my odds from one in six billion! I'd finally be more likely to get a date than be hit by a rogue asteroid! Sign me up! Would that women would take my wooing seriously!

Of course, I shouldn't really make those sorts of statements, nor even write this post, because this will instigate another round of emails from my family members and close friends, reminding me that I myself am way too shallow. Apparently, hitting your late twenties without any recent girlfriends to speak of renders you "superficial".

This is, of course, preposterous. Me, superficial? I can assure you that nobody on this planet has a deeper desire to appear to desire depth of character than myself.4 And am I too picky when it comes to selecting a mate? Pffff. Hardly. The idea is laughable.

Is it my fault that she's a bad speller?

Can I be held accountable for her dislike of The Emperor's New Groove?

Am I the one who refused to eat a perfectly good burger?

And don't blame me if her parents decided to name her something derived from Chris.5

Of course, any of these reasons sound bad when taken out of context, which is why I've spent the past week with various and sundry family members trying to fill them in on context so they can stop blaming me for not calling women back.

And let me tell you, I wasn't that successful. Apparently "being a father" is "great", and "having a family" is the "best thing ever". Therefore, I should stop "wasting [my] life and do something with [myself]" and get married.

Which is why I'd like to formally propose to the current vivaciously vixonian bachelorette, Ali Fetoohardtospell. As long as she doesn't clip her toenails on the carpet. Because that is unacceptable, no matter how unbelievably gorgeous you are.

1. Ahem, well, I at least claim to never have seen it...
2. For any of you inconceivably attractive women reading this, I want to point out that I just used two colons in a sentence, and correctly, I think? I bet the rustic-looking jeans model you're dating couldn't do that! This warrants another celebratory six pack-deterring round of ice cream tonight.
3. I actually have no idea what they do, and am extrapolating entirely from the one or two trailers I've seen. However, if said bachelorette ever does get forced into reading this, I just want to point out how only a supremely amazing man can work the word extrapolate seamlessly into a post.
4. Lies. I was beaten today by one man who announced to a crowd of singles during a church talk, "I don't think this is T.S. Eliot's best poetry in terms of language and imagery". Well played, poetry dude, well played. I'm going to be using that line for many first dates to come.
5. These are all actual previously-cited reasons for non-pursuit. I need a therapist. I mean, for psychological care, not to date, because I have very strong opinions on occupational choices as well. And politics. And sports teams. And music tastes. And...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

the imminent takeover of the world by machines

As I've read and watched various media over the course of the past few years, I've noticed a worrying trend whereby perfectly sane individuals seem to entertain ridiculous thoughts where they believe the world could be taken over by machines at some future point. Most of these references are contained within works of fiction, but I still believe there is some underlying assumption that said takeover is possible.

Let me assure you, it is not.

Let's go over a few reasons why machines will never, ever, under any circumstances, rule the world.

  1. Reliability
  2. Machines have problems with reliability. You may counter that so do humans, but machines have a few problems that aren't necessarily present in humans.
    • Kool-Aid damage: I first discovered this with my speak-and-spell. Machines are easily dispatched with minuscule amounts of Kool-Aid. Just like my speak-and-spell that began reciting reformed Egyptian and writing solely in cuneiform, so any towering man-hunting machine will soften up if you subject it to that blessed sugary substance. Plan A for post-apocalyptic humans: build large vats of Kool-Aid. Pour on oppressor machines. Repeat.
    • Dropping damage: I once dropped my cell phone. It wasn't fancy. It didn't really do anything besides make calls. It died within an hour. Plan B for post-apocalyptic humans: drop the machines short distances.
    • Lending to friends damage: There is no machine that is so perfect that it will not break when lent to friends. Plan C for post-apocalyptic humans: let your buddy borrow the towering man-hunter. He will return it broken.
  3. Power Supply
  4. Machines have problems sustaining power. People need to eat, but people can eat any number of things, if McDonalds has taught us anything. Think Mr. Fusion on steroids. Machines? Yeah, not so much.
    • Unplug the machines: Not too difficult. Kick out the plug.
    • Remove the battery: Oh, is that missile-wielding piece of metal mobile? As my Dell laptop taught me, sometimes1 your only course of action is to remove the battery. This shouldn't be too hard, as any 30-story mobile device is bound to have a very large battery. Furthermore, I can't even get my phone to last a day on a battery charge. A day, people. A single day. And it isn't even shooting missiles my direction. I'm pretty sure we can resist the machine invasion for the five hours their batteries last.
    • Scorch the skies: Okay, ummm, matrix people. Putting clouds all over the planet was the worst idea ever. You need acres and acres of solar panels to get any real power. As my good friend once noted on seeing solar panels on the side of a house, "how much do you want to bet that powers a toaster?" I'd bet a lot. Sure, great technology, but you're not going to conquer the earth with solar power. You're just not. Post-apocalyptic humans: don't do whatever it is that forces us into perma-Seattle clouds mode.
  5. Motive
  6. This one may be easiest of all. Like, ummm, if you're a machine, why in the world would you conquer the planet? Notice how every science-fiction story sort of glosses over this one, or if they do bring it up, it's hokier than a central Utah state fair? Yeah, machines don't care. They just don't care. But if you find they need convincing they don't care:
    • Why earth? Think about it. You're apparently a super-advanced device capable of amazing things. Why are you putzing around with earth? Dude, like, go explore the galaxy a-la-Transformers. You're a MACHINE. You don't care about earth or green fields or skiable mountains. You care about alien robot babes, and you're not going to find them here.
    • Play tic-tac-toe: As Matthew Broderick once taught us, the only successful way to get an artificial intelligence to not take over/destroy the world is to get it to play tic-tac-toe with itself.2 That will help it understand that some world domination plans/games are just plain old stupid, no matter what your nephew says.
    • Go Pinocchio on them: No machine is going to try to take over the world if it's obsessed with turning into a real boy. In fact, said machine might even get stuck under frozen oceans chanting for millennia about how it wants to become a real boy.3
And that is why, my friends, you should stop worrying about a machine takeover, and learn to love the bomb.4

1. Actually, in the Dell's case, the remove battery solution was the only solution over half of the time.
2. Funnily, I think that plot twist was even more unlikely than the premise of the film, which is unbelievably unbelievable. You created a situation where an inconceivable thermonuclear conflict is resolved by an even more inconceivable means. Seriously. How did you come up with that one? Was this result of some late-night sci-fi drinking game? A large bet while very high? "Well, I bet I can get tic-tac-toe to play the part of deus ex machina!!"
3. No, do not watch A.I. Ever. Any other activity imaginable is preferable to that film. Anything. Like watching white noise. While being eaten by lobsters. In lava.
4. I feel compelled to add that I found this entry among my notes this afternoon, having never posted it. I think it was shelved because I didn't feel it was quality, but as I'm on vacation, this is what you get.

Friday, June 4, 2010

lunch

Fulfilling all requirements for blessedness,1 lunch is a Blessed Time. This was originally dictated in 1st Thessaiamgoingtoburnforthisoneicans 4:2:

And six hours shalt thou labor and do all thy work: But the seventh hour, which is conveniently located in the midst of the other hours, so you can plainly see I wasn't numbering these sequentially; therefore, at whatever time thou shalt choose so that thou mightest avoid difficult work, is a holy hour: in it thou shalt not do any work, nor thou, nor thy mind, nor thy finger, nor thy hand, nor any who is around thy cubicle. And he who shall declare thou shalt work more or, yea, much more than six hours, and establish it for a policy, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon blessedness, but he buildeth upon a foundation of the man, and the gates of hell shall stand open to receive such.

Thus, you'll see the scriptural precedence for waiting until one is asked to work on something urgent, and then declaring one must "go to lunch".

Of course, "go to lunch" is just an expression. The best innovation of the past thirty years has been the cubicle lunch, wherein one minimizes the number of calories expended and maximizes the number of calories consumed. Not only does this maximize your waistline and exposure to the glorious bliss that is unfettered access to the news, but it also allows you to completely avoid any human contact. Never again will you have any awkward lunchtime exposure. You are safe in your sanctuary of shirking.

This is important because lunch was not always a Blessed Time. Who can forget the Seagull Incident of '95? And who can forget the misery of The Great Rejection of '98? These are memories which we must hold sacred always, lest we attempt to sit underneath seagulls again, or we consider approaching a pack of beautiful women on any future day.

Let us, however, refrain from ever thinking upon The Karaoke Incident of 2000, and forever purge Hotel California from our music collection, as well as any other song that might persuade us to enter a crowded cafeteria and sing significantly above our upper register.

Nay, lunch was a dark time.

A time of sandwiches which consisted of large slabs of bread greased only with the thinnest of microscopic layers of peanut butter and jam, whose existence could only be verified via particle accelerator.

A time of desperately begging for water to try and wash down the bread concoction.

A time of re-using the same plastic lunch baggies every day for eons.

A time of re-using paper lunch sacks for those same epochs.

A time of hopelessly attempting to fold and conceal said lunch sacks and baggies in one's pocket, lest Ben, Sworn Enemy and eventual Exposer of Said Re-usable Sack Scheme to All Women, discover the plot.

A time of mercilessly failing in that effort.

A time of bringing that plastic baggie home to be re-used, whereupon they would be "cleaned" with a white-now-turned-grey-and-older-than-me wash rag2 and readied for its use the following day.

A time of us, as a family of eight children, using a total of thirteen lunch baggies over the course of thirty years, whose constant re-use saved my family a grand total of twelve dollars and thirty six cents, which was roughly the amount of money my father made in thirty seconds as a Cardiologist.3

A time of my sister being punished for wasting one of those plastic baggies in the Great Flushing The Donut Attempt of '89.4

Yea, those were dark times, and times we shall avoid by sitting at our blessed cubicle, eating our blessed food over our blessed keyboard, all while reading the blessed news and avoiding any cursed human contact.

Bless the day.

1. The requirements for blessedness (or blessednicities as my little brother might refer to it) are: food, unrestricted access to Google Reader, and complete avoidance of human contact.
2. I attribute all of my childhood sicknesses, and all of my current immunities to that one thirty-year-old wash rag.
3. Also, a time of my father making loud, accusatory-and-demanding-repayment statements making us acutely aware of that after my oldest brother forced him to wait thirty minutes at an amusement park.
4. It involved a donut, a baggie, a toilet, and my little sister's refusal to finish her dessert. It also involved several moldy rolls, stored away for future flushing.