Flurry O' Fury

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

So Rebecca was cleaning out her closet and she came close to throwing out a pair of headphones. A perfectly good pair of headphones! Sure, they’re cheap, and they came with an even cheaper mp3 player that broke long ago, but I’ll be damned if we just throw them away. No, they go into The Box.

The Box: My repository for all miscellaneous items that incorporate wiring and/or circuitry of some kind. My graveyard of gadgets past. My cardboard container o’ crap. Stuff I refuse to throw away.

See, I have this theory. One day, someday, the world will come to an end. It could be a global plague, an asteroid strike, or space martians stealing our women - whatever. The point is that society will collapse and we’ll have to rebuild it – and that’s where The Box comes in.

Within The Box are the raw materials we’ll need to reconstruct our technological base. I know that wiring, circuitry, and other hardware will be in short supply in the aftermath of the apocalypse, so I figure that it’s every man’s duty to keep a stockpile of those items handy so we can recreate our electronic infrastructure. The alternative to taking such precautions is to be ruled by apes, which I cannot abide by. As such, the headphones go into The Box, where they are joined by:

Audio and video cable
Remote controls for long gone devices
More headphones
AC adapters, cigarette adapters, audio adapters, and various other adapters that… well, that didn’t adapt
External hard drives, probably filed with porn
Phone wire
Car CD changer, still holding two Pink Floyd discs, some electronica, and the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack
USB hubs, USB cable, some FireWire crap that came with our iPods
Several copies of Windows ’98 (which was a very good year for Windows)
Some more headphones
Handcuffs from two girlfriends ago
Cable television splitter, phone splitter, audio splitters
Extension cord from three girlfriends ago
Mice (computer mice, I mean)
Harmonica
Video tapes, probably filed with porn
Jack O’ Lantern light
Did I mention headphones?
And a useless #$%*ing DSL modem that I threw at the #$%*ing wall because it wouldn’t #$%*ing work anymore

Anyway, even if the world doesn’t end per se, I could always use this stuff to build a doomsday device of some sort. Rebecca refers to that as a “self-fulfilling prophecy”, but I prefer the term “100% guarantee”.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A friend of mine recently questioned the wisdom of posting my inner thoughts on the World Wide Web for all to read for all of eternity. And I do recognize that the potential hazards probably outweigh the benefits of a blog (which are theoretical at best). There are certainly enough stories out there about people losing their jobs over their blogs. So why bother?

Well for me, the answer is that I don’t really think that my blog can be defined in terms of risk & reward.

First of all, I don’t expect, or even hope, to be rewarded for blogging, so any reward I might receive would be incidental. Sure, I’d like it if I could build up some readership, but I know that my blog will never generate any revenue. Besides, if I were still interested in writing for money, I’d still be assistant editor at Black Tail magazine (not that the pay was great – I was really there for the benefits).

As for the risk, I think it’s negligible as well. I don’t take any personal responsibility for the content of this blog – I don’t even have my name on it. It’s true that the blog is wholly derived from my thoughts, and so is a reflection of me, but it’s not who I am. Yeah, 90% of the material in here is true-to-life, but the rest of it is obviously over-the-top fun. Your average person reading this will understand that I was never an assistant editor at Black Tail (they rejected my application), just like it’s understood that Larry David, Ozzy Osbourne, and David Letterman aren’t exactly as they appear on TV. And if some people are too stupid to discern a difference, then #$%* ‘em. What do I need idiots for anyway?

Besides, this blog is only the tip of the iceberg for me. I wrote over 3 years worth of columns for the University of Houston’s Daily Cougar, many of which are still up on-line. While most of those pieces were thoughtful efforts, others were blatant attempts to generate a flood of mail at the paper’s office, including columns titled “Argument For Abortion Tax Credit” and “Special Olympians Just Playing With Themselves”. But despite defacing the internet with that questionable content, I’ve still been able to get several jobs, a law license, and a beautiful wife, so I don’t see a blog as hurting me that much. If anything’s killing me it’s those 3 DWIs.

Anyway, very little goes into this blog that I haven’t already shared with family and friends, and those are the only people whose opinion I really value. As for anyone else reading this, some will get it and some won’t, just like some people get me and other don’t – that’s just life, folks. Lord knows I don’t get some of the #$%*ed up #$%* that other people blog.

Monday, August 15, 2005

So I’m walking out of my local comic book emporium to my car when a homeless guy approaches me:

“Hey man.”

Now, when you live in a big city, you’re used to seeing a dozen homeless people everyday. But despite their large numbers, it used to be rare that a homeless person would actually approach you for something. However, it seems to me that this proactive kind of homeless has been increasing in number lately, to the point where I’m running into them at least once a month. Through these meet & greets, I’ve found that nearly all of these approaching homeless employ 1 of 3 stock stories:

I need bus fare to get home.
I need gas money to get home.
I need change to call home.

These stories (or lies, as they should be more properly called) all have a common theme: “I’m not homeless - I’ve just run into bad luck.” Apparently, the homeless have found that people aren’t identifying with their homelessness, so many have ditched (or rather stashed) the stereotypical shopping carts and cardboard signage in favor of attempting to appear stranded instead of vagrant. I expect that the success rate of these attempts isn’t much greater than your standard begging, but then success is not exactly these people’s forte anyway.

So anyhow, most people I know favor ignoring and fleeing these more aggressive street citizens. Rebecca, for example, takes care to avoid eye contact as she hurries away. But I, on the other hand, prefer to acknowledge the presence of our hobo friends. It’s my belief that these people are due at least that courtesy – they are human beings, after all.

“Hey man! Hey! I’m out of gas.”, he says.
“Sorry, no thanks.”, I reply.
“Hey #$%* you, man! You could at least give me a #$%*ing answer, #$%hole.”

Okay, most of these people are human beings. Not this one though.

“Hey, I gave you an answer and that was ‘no thanks’. Maybe you wouldn’t be such a #$%*ing loser if you actually listened to people.”
“You #$%*ing son-of-a-bitch! You #$%* yourself, you #$%*sucker!”
“Oh yeah? Now I know why they set #$%*ing bums like you on fire, you filthy #$%*!”

It basically went downhill from there. It’s shameful really, how I allowed myself to be dragged down to his level…

…yet it was somehow liberating at the same time. I know that most wouldn’t have spoken back to him, but I feel that people shouldn’t have to suffer random, noxious abuse, unless they’re on one of those reality TV shows that subject them to random, noxious abuse for my entertainment. So it felt good to speak up and fight back. I did stop short of backing over him though – I had just washed my car.

But even after all of that, I’m still going to give other homeless people the benefit of the doubt when they approach me because you just never know – one day, someday, one might have something worthwhile to say. I’m still going to stay out of stabbing range, though.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

We went out to eat tonight and had the misfortune of sitting in a booth next to a 3 year old kid and his oblivious #$%hole parents. Junior started off by pounding the back of my seat, then proceeded to stand up on his booth, turn around, and stare over my shoulder while alternating between giggling, squealing, and screeching. And his oblivious #$%hole parents? They were surprising oblivious to his behavior, which makes them #$%holes in my book - #$%*suckers too.

Seeing that I was about to explode, Rebecca promptly asked the waiter if we could switch to another table.

“It’s cold over here”, she said.
“Yeah, and this little animal is behind me”, I added while gesturing at Junior.

Junior’s oblivious #$%hole #$%*sucking mother did speak up at that point, asking him to sit down. Her remarkable parenting skills were able to suppress him for a full four minutes before he starting running laps around the restaurant and screaming, like field day at Neverland Ranch.

I know that I don’t frequent a lot of five-star restaurants, but still, I shouldn’t have to deal with somebody’s kid at dinner unless I’m at Mickey D’s or Chuck E. Cheese. To me, any place that has a full bar, like this place had, should not double as a jungle gym (unless it's the Jungle Club on I-45, which is swinging).

If your kid won’t sit still, then take him someplace that has a playground. Or leave him at home with a sitter. Or order something in. Or shove 10 grams of Flintstones chewable Ritalin down his throat – I don’t #$%*ing care. Just keep him from kicking my seat and screaming in my ear while I’m trying to eat.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

My car got broken into yesterday – it was one of six that got hit overnight at our condominium complex. We actually live in a very nice part of Houston, about a ½ mile from George Bush’s house, but ours is an older complex with cheap carports that leave vehicles exposed. So, nice part of town + vulnerability = thieves. We get smash & grabs on the property every other month.

Rebecca and I always thought that cars with cheap stereos (like mine) only got robbed when fools left valuables sitting out in them in plain sight, like leaving a purse on your front seat. Apparently, leaving the suction cup clip for my radar detector on my windshield qualifies me as such a fool, as I can’t think of any other reason why my car would’ve made yesterday's hit list. Of course, I don’t keep my radar detector in the car overnight, so all the thieves got was my $7 pair of sunglasses. But all of the broken glass did set us back $600…

…$600! And our insurance deductible for glass damage is $1000…

…$1000! You’d have to break every single window in a car, and then break out all the windows in the car parked next to you, to make it past $1000. Or you can just pay the insurance company an extra $12 a month to qualify for a $500 glass deductible.

Wow! I pay the company extra money on top of my already fat insurance check so that, if some punk ever does $600 in damage to my glass again, they’ll pick up $100 of it? And then they’ll just make that $100 back by raising my rates again? What a steal!

Stealing is exactly what it is. You get robbed by small time crooks on one end and by big business on the other. Stupid criminals break into cars for radar detectors that aren’t there. Smart criminals work for auto insurance companies that lobby for laws requiring all drivers to buy what they’re selling, regardless of the actual value of the insurance. At least when you buy protection from the mob they actually protect you. Who are the real gangsters here?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

So I notice that Rebecca is once again leaving home in the morning without having any kind of breakfast. So I say to her:

“You should have breakfast.”
“I know, but I don’t have time.”
“You’re setting a bad example for our hypothetical children.”
“Our what?”
“Our hypothetical children. The children we’re going to have. Once we have them, we’ll need to encourage them to eat a healthy breakfast.”
“Really?”
“Yeah!”
“Jason… when you make fun of old people wherever we go, you’re setting a bad example for our hypothetical kids.”
“Really?”
“When you laugh at poor people too.”
“Oh.”
“And when you smack my ass and yell ‘giddy-up’, do we really want to teach them that?”
“They’ll learn that in school anyway.”
“I don’t think you’re ready to have hypothetical kids.”
“Okay. But I can keep my imaginary friends, right?”
“Do you have any other kind?”