Friday Fives – childhood memories and dubious inventions

What image or scene from a children’s movie/show did you find disturbing?

Pretty much everything in Alice in Wonderland.  It’s a story about taking mushrooms and potions to get and small.  Hookah smoking caterpillars, and a queen whose only words are ‘off with her head’.  Everyone she meets it beheaded.

What kind of fucked up shit is that?  Btw, it’s my favorite book in the world.  I can, and will, go on endlessly about it.  With all the drug references, and that great Jefferson Airplane song, you may think it was written in the 60s.  It was, the 1860s.  It was written by a Reverend who had a doctorate in theoretical mathematics, and wrote books on the subject.

He was rather embarrassed about writing such trivial silliness, so he used a pseudonym.  Lewis Carrol is actually Rev Charles Dodgson.   Other coolness, there is an actual Alice in real life.  Here is a photo of her.  Her name is, or… was… Alice Liddell

My first tattoo will be a reference to that book.  This is what I am getting.  It isn’t just the white rabbit from the story.  It is drawn by Ralph Steadman, who did all of Hunter Thompson’s iconic illustrations.  It’s a great story, maybe the greatest.  But maybe not for little kids.

 What is a favorite scene/image from childhood that stays with you?

Nothing I can think off of the top of my head.  That ok?  But… thanks for trying to traumatize me.  Bully!

What’s on TV that no one is watching but should be?

No idea, we don’t have cable.  It means we watch a LOT of PBS.  Know what is fucking dope on PBS?  Frontline.  It’s as if 60 minutes and Ken Burns had a baby… I don’t think I have ever seen one that wasn’t compelling.  They could do a Frontline on eggplant color separation technology and it would be earth-shaking.

What’s playing on the music player that everyone should be listening to but isn’t?

Well, I don’t listen to radio, so I can’t speak to that.  When I say I don’t listen to radio, I don’t mean I am a thoughtster® that only listens to Terry Gross.  It means the antenna in my truck is busted, so the radio doesn’t work. With that being said, what I listen to is books on tape.  So should you.

Remove one letter from the name of a TV show or movie. What is the premise of the new show?

The Greatest American Her.  It follows a narcissist, a la a Kardashian, who has super powers of vanity.

 

 

*** Thoughtster – that is a word I invented about a week ago.  I am imagining a pretentious Sting stroking his beard and pontificating on some boring ass bullshit.  Same would work for Ian Anderson.  While I love Jethro Tull (even seem them live), their singer Ian Anderson is a pretentious windbag and elitist a-hole.  Nay… a thoughtster!  You are likely picturing this guy.   Yeah, he was that guy.  Now… he’s this guy.  I am picking on him because one of the things he LOVES to drone on about he pretension.  Imagine a John Cleese character who takes himself too seriously.  Actually… that would be John Cleese, wouldn’t it?

Now, go ahead and add that to your Microsoft dictionary, because you’ll be using it all the time!

thoughtster

I invented this.  and that.  and that.  Know what else I invented?  A laptop that has a 10 key build in.  Know what else  The fact that your cell phone a clock on it.  I was in the cell phone business when there was about 3 out there, in 1997.  Phones didn’t have internet back then, or caller id, or texting, or color, or cameras, or vibration.  They didn’t even have the time on them.  At Nextel, I suggested it to the engineers, and can even explain how it would work.  The phone pings the cell site, which has a very sensitive clock attached, for billing purposes. The phone has a battery.  I explained, in more sciencey terms (the MDap, to the HLR, to the VLR.  TDMA based).

they said thank you, nothing else.  Less than 6 months later, clocks appeared on our phones.  So, I can’t prove I did this, but I am confident I had a significant hand in it.  True story!

this reminds me of a character in Alice in Wonderland, since we are talking about it.  This guy was a total doofus, called the ‘White Knight’.  He ran around bumbling into shit, and claiming about everything ‘I invented that!’  Like… flowers and gravity and horses… he invented that!  Maybe the White Knight is my spirit animal.

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Friday Fives – job satisfaction

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Do you enjoy your work?

Yes.  Been doing it a while.  I am good at it, which I am confident I could prove empirically.  I do enjoy it, which is a big part of why I have been doing it so long.  Also, though… I have been doing it so long that it is my primary skillset.  In that sense, I am trapped… but joyfully so

Are you overpaid or underpaid for the work you do (or last did)?

Fairly paid.  Wait… who is reading this?  I want a raise, you greedy soulless corporate bastards!  I am fine, though.  I don’t do anything dangerous, and I work in a safe and comfortable environment with people I appreciate it.  I could do it for less, but I’d certainly take more.  Where is the line?  deleted Colfax hooker joke went here.

What one thing do you dislike most about your work?

The alarm clock.  Being a night person, even a 10 am start is tough.  I have written about this before, but being a night person is a curse!  In high school, and college, it was GREAT.  In the adult world, it is wildly inconvenient.  Cry me a river, huh?  Just sayin’, I used to have a schedule that started at 2 pm.  Best thing about that?  NO ALARM.  Maybe I wake up at 9 am… maybe I wake up at noon.  Thing was, with that shift, I never saw my friends or wife or the world. I missed those things, and those things missed me.  So, I am back to days like a grown up person.

What one thing would make your work life happier or more satisfying?

Work from home.  Been lobbying for it for years.   When we first tried it at Sprint… we had the funniest problem – attendance.  True story!  Then, there were problems with productivity.  With so many distractions (tv, kids, dishes, cleaning, sleep)… how do you get people to work?

So, when I built our WFH program*** at Business Care, the very first thing you had to be was meeting or exceeding all your metrics.  It was VERY successful, very popular, and super paid for itself.  Once people got a taste of work from home, they would do everything to keep it.  It is important to note, again… it paid for itself.  Not just in productivity, but we were able to sell a whole building.  This was as Sprint was going under (which they have been doing for about 15 years now, since they bought Nextel).  That saved us a ton of money, and the technology is absolutely available. We were doing it ten years ago.  During one of the big blizzards, my department was the only one open… because the city was closed… but all our people were safe and warm at home.

think you can get people to come in for over time during a blizzard?  it isn’t even safe or sane to ask.  If people are just chillin’ at home, though, they would take a couple hours of over time easy.  I know, they tell me all the time.  20 years ago, we thought all tech jobs would be work from home.  I am not sure why that isn’t the case.

Plus, and this is my own fault… we live far out.  Like… down a dirt road, no street lights, cable company doesn’t go that far, and we are on well water.  So, any and every commute is a long one.  It’s still worth it, though.  Can’t imagine ever living in the city again, god willing and the creek don’t rise!

Do you try to fit into your workplace’s culture?

You’d have to ask my peers.  I am an odd duck, for sure.  But also helpful and with a good attitude.  I am certainly no weirder than Rick, if that is what you are trying to get at.

 

 

 

*** “when I build the work from home…

I should say I mean that in the Al Gore sense of ‘inventing the internet’.  I obviously can’t take all the credit, but I did a lot of the heavy lifting, and I was a big part of why it was successful.

Why the Departed is garbage

Image result for the departed best still

So, it took me ten twelve years to write this.  I didn’t like it when I saw it the first time.  I figured with a cast like that, I should re-watch it.  I couldn’t even finish it.  Here is why >

Too many good actors who are acting their dicks off because they are in a Scorsese movie.  It’s like watching the second set of String Cheese Incident.  You got 6 or 7 guys playing as hard as they can, at the same time, for 90 minutes.  Remember the old jazz dictum… ‘it’s also about the notes you don’t play’?  Apparently, acting in this movie becomes some kind of unnecessary contest to see who can chew the most scenery, and make the cut to be in the trailer.

To have that many stars, you can only assume they all worked for scale (minimum wage for movie stars) just for the chance to work with the great Scorsese (who is great.  And at the making of this movie, he had less Oscars than Eminem.  Not academy awards… but Oscars)

One can only assume their compensation, since it wasn’t money, was every actor got to do an over the top soliloquy every time they were on screen – Oscar bait

I love mark Wahlberg, but his acting in this movie is SO forced, it hurts.  And here is what is silly.  The movie is about ‘Southies’.  Those are the real bad asses from the poor, Irish, South end of Boston.  The guys from ‘Good Will Hunting’… they were supposed to be Southies.  Mark Wahlberg really is a Southie.  He is playing himself at 20 years old, basically.  You might think he would just try some natural low key acting.  Oh no, he acts like every scene will replayed for ‘Best Actor’ roll in packages for years to come.  Plus, it appears he let everyone swear as much as they want.  There is no subtlety in ANY of the performances.

How is the story?  Well, spoiler alert… turns out EVERYONE is a cop.  Even Jack Nicholson’s character is an informant.  This whole story line is clearly an homage to Whitey Bulger… who was still on the lam when this was filmed.  They just caught Whitey a few years ago, when he came out of hiding to kick Johnny Depp’s ass for that weak-ass portrayal in the biopic.  Whitey still, quite amusingly, denies he was an informant.

Everyone dies at the end.  With all the big names, people are STILL crying for a sequel.  A sequel to what?  The story where everyone was a cop or an informant, and they all died by the end.

Marty got his ‘make up’ Oscar for this… if nothing else… to even the score with Eminem.

The movie had the perfect cast, perfect director, and perfect backdrop of poor working class Boston.  That is Wahlberg’s real life.  And don’t think he even has to act to be a ‘thug’.  Remember he was once convicted for trying to beat a guy to death for being Asian.  Yeah, Southie’s roll that hard.  Remember, in the movies, when they say ‘working class’, the subtext is ‘poor white people who are violent and misogynist wife beaters… but are really golden at heart and just what a shot at that American dream’.  ‘Working Class’ is such a violent and over-used pejorative.  It’s the guy with a few prison stints, a couple ex wives, and isn’t afraid to fight.  In the movies, anyway.  How about my folks?  They both worked full time and over time to give us a perfect life.  There were no factories in our story.  Mercifully, I never had to hear shit like ‘we work hard, and we play harder’.

I mean… to make this movie great… you have everything, and everyone, you need.  Instead, we get a film that just feels so forced.  Can we go back and give everyone a shit ton of valium before they shoot this thing.  Even in the stills these guys are over-acting.

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Image result for the departed

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The movie I am probably more excited about than any movie I have ever been is this same group.  Marty Scorsese doing a mob movie with Deniro and Pacino and Pesci and (all too obvious choice of) Ray Romano.  This just finished filming, and comes out next year.  It’s called the Irishman, and is based on a book you need to read before you finish this rant.  It’s called ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’.

I talk shit because I LOVE these fucking actors.  I LOVE these stories.  Look at the books I read, they are all mafia these days.  Currently, I am reading (err… listening to.  That is how I get all my books these days) is called ‘Mafia Prince’. It’s the story of Crazy Phil Leonetti, Little Nicky Scarfo’, The Chin… et al. All the books I read are by and about the real guys.  There is NO need for fiction when it comes to the mafia, because the real shit is so goddamn crazy there is no need to embellish.

But this cast for the Departed is its own problem.  Too much talent.  Too many great minds trying to make their mark.

There is a reason they are all rich and successful.  The problem is, you can’t put that much talent on screen.  In football, you have the QB.  ONE quarterback.  He gets the girls and the glory and the blame and the shoe deal.  However, it is the other 10 guys killing themselves to make him look good.  What about the offensive lineman?  Can you name one?  These guys get hit EVERY play, they NEVER get to touch the ball, and they are only noticed if they screw up.  That is how you need to build a cast and a story.  Don’t know why I am instructing Marty on how to make a mafia movie, he invented it.  Plus, he invented the music documentary… the ‘rockumentary’.  I expected better, mister!  Now, please don’t have me wacked.

Friday Fives – potpourri edition

barry

How can you spot someone isn’t a local ?

People who browse too long at the pot store. Not that I would know, or have even been there. But… out of state folks at a pot store are like taking a Russian from the 1980s to Wal Mart. “why are there so many choices? Can I really have whatever I want” what is the difference between this one and that one?” There is a great piece of advice Barry Sanders used to give to rookies. He was one of the greatest running backs of all time. Every time he scored, he just walked up to the ref and handed him the ball. No drama, no spike, no endzone dance. Why? “act like you have been there before.”

When did you have the most difficult time staying professional?

In professional environments. I have a communication style that is very frank, and effective, and appreciated. However, it is rarely appropriate in the ‘lets act like grown ups’ sort of thing.

What song do you most want to hear on your deathbed?

Jimi Hendrix Angel, but ONLY the solo acoustic demo version. That, and maybe the ‘Day Brings’ from Brad. And how about ‘the Rising’ from Springsteen. Lastly… ‘Light Years’, from Pearl Jam. It’s about the death of a friend, and it’s so friggin’ beautiful it hurts:

“we were but stones… your light made us stars”

What is the scariest thing that has woken you up in the middle of the night?

Silence. We were camping years ago in Westcliff with the horses. The horses were loud, and not fans of their temporary pens. For a while, the racket drove me crazy… until I heard something worse – nothing.

I stuck my head out, and sure enough our horse was gone. So, cut to me walking around in the dark, in my boxers and boots. No shirt, no pants. I am wandering through campsites and trailers looking for my horse with a flashlight. I have a halter in my hands, but I don’t know much about horses at ALL. I never grew up with horses, and the wifey had just gotten this one. Now, I have no fear or looking for or catching a wild horse. Back then, though, I think I was just as afraid of finding him as I was of not finding him.

Good thing about horses, they almost never go far. Never had that happen. They go about 20 feet away, just to eat that grass right over there. I got him back. Still quite proud of that moment. And proud that darkness gave me the cover of 1) losing my horse like a noob, and 2) running around in the dark in my underwear in a panic. Heroically, all was handled well and rather quickly. Its rather cold at altitude at 3 am when you are in nothing but your undies. You are more than welcome for the visual. It’s the life of a semi pro horse wrangler. Where is my Discovery show? Mike Rowe wasn’t even there to narrate. Just sayin’, it woulda been nice.

See… NOW I know that horses don’t go far at all. They just say hi to a neighbor mostly. Back them, I figured he was probably 30 miles away searching for freedom. See, for some reason… horses carry NO identification. They don’t chip them, or halter them, or brand them, or mark them. If you are at an endurance race, 85% of the horses are arabs. In the dark 80 brown horses of the esacty same height (about 14, to 14.5 hands) all look identical. 15 years later…they still do. A bay horse is a bay horse.

What old person things do you do?

Nothing I am going to cop to here. It is true, though, we become our parents. If only because they were right. They tried to tell us, and show us, and we just thought they were ruining the fun and worrying too much. Nope, they were right. Turns out you do NOT walk into a judges home at 3 am with roses for his daughter, as a gesture of affection, when you are stark nekkid. I thought that was just an old timey aphorism. Nope, that one carries some teeth, lemme tell ya!

Romance is not dead, but neither is that restraining order.

 

Friday Fives – telling everyone I was in Europe edition

waiter

What weird food combinations did your family eat that you only realized later wasn’t normal?

Nothing nearly as odd as this.  Apparently, when the show ‘Honey Boo Boo’ was a big thing, we learned what Mama June fed her young kids.  They called it ‘spaghetti’… or more likely something like ‘spetti’… but it was noodles with ketchup and butter.  That was their marinara/tomato sauce.  Paging diabetes, line 1 please.

What is that weird thing that grandma used to make that is difficult to explain to others?

Her relish.  It was transcendent.  She would can it (well, major jars… same thing) and give us each a bottle around the holidays.  I don’t remember what is in it, though.  I think my mom still has her old recipe box.  Must get a hold of that!

Not as good as Eddie Vedder’s classic fabricated story of the name Pearl Jam, his grandmother’s psychedelic relish dish.

As a kid, did you ever go to someone’s home and eat a meal and their food is something so different than what your family served?

No, we had great dinners.  The rule was, no matter where you were or what you were doing, EVERYONE was home and had dinner together.  Every night, at 6 pm.  I think this is the greatest thing in the world.  Regular family time.  We couldn’t even take phone calls during dinner.

Dinners were very simple, as both my folks worked full time to support us.  it would be hot dogs, or hamburger helper.  Often I would make the dinner since I was home from school and enjoy cooking.  But, there was always a vegetable, and we were always together.  At the dinner table, not in front of the TV.  You can bet there would be no smart phones or tablets in play, either.

I truly hate to say something nice about Comcast, but they have an internet commercial where a parent can pause the wifi for the whole house.  Man, I would love that.  it would be off during dinner, and it would be off after 10 pm.

What’s the best smell in the world? 

Your mother?  Sorry, force of habit.  It is vanilla.  That is how white bread I am.  It is the greatest smell in the world.

At your new restaurant, what would be your lowest cost/highest profit item on your menu?

French fries.

Know what it is in Europe?  Water.  You don’t just get water in restaurants in Europe… or anywhere outside of North America.  You have to ask for it, and pay for it.  It comes bottled, but it’s corked.  So, it is just tap water.  In Prague, beer was literally cheaper than water.  Beer was $1 (and it is a big ass beer, just as you would imagine), and water was $3.  $4 for sparking water.  Sparkling water is when they fart in it for you.  In France, I assume.

I, however, will not charge you for water.  Nor will I open a restaurant.  You can’t possibly make a profit.  Especially when the servers were making $2.50 an hour are now being paid $15 an hour mandatory minimum wage.  I am all for a great minimum wage, but it isn’t the panacea people think it is.  If it is more expensive for someone to run their business, they will simply pass those costs on to you.  Great, now you make $15 an hour… and $15 will get you a plate of fries at a restaurant and not much more… because they have to pay out that minimum wage.  Or.. he business just folds.  That isn’t good for anyone, and all you are left with is hacky corporate megaliths.  I say this in the situation of servers who also get tips.  Of course they should make more than $2.50 an hour, but $15 an hour its nuts.

In Europe (I am not trying to impress you by mentioning this.  Its just that I was just there last month for two weeks) a tip is NOT a given at a restaurant.  If you are truly dazzled, you leave 10%.  When they run your credit card, they don’t even have receipts where you can add a tip.  You have to tell them in advance to add that amount.  It’s rather awkward.

 

Friday Fives – Todd is an asshole edition

bob

If you were a cult leader, what are some of the things your cult would believe in? 

Stupid liberal stuff.  Women leaders, no guns.  NO Todd.  Fuck you, Todd!  the more you work and contribute, the less taxes you have to pay.  I’m not talking that Ayn Rand shit where we take care of your stupid baby, either… BETH.

I kinda like this dictum, from Spiderman Jesus – The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.   OOOHHH… I just thought of something funny.  Here is a new saying for the GOP – “the needs of the money outweigh the needs of the few®”

If you started a new sport, what would be some basic rules and the point of the game? 

football, but without the pads.  The game is dangerous because these guys are stacked with 30 pounds of smashing gear.  To reference the great Bill Simmons (great sportswriter who stopped writing,, only does podcasts now) there should be a team weight limit.  In 97, or 98… something like that… the Packers played my new adopted home Broncos.  The Packers had the heaviest O line in the league, no one under 300 pounds.   Broncos had the lightest, with no player over 300 pounds.  This was a sea change, further catapulted by the athleticism of Michael Vick.

If you invented a new food craze, what would be the basis? 

Onions.  More onions.  EVERYTHING needs onions.  Look at you, that much is true!

If you founded a new country, what would one of the tenants of your new constitution? 

No Todd!  Rule #1.   Respect each other.  No guns, unless you are hunting;  No Todd.  Everyone learns to cook, and has to cook once a week.  For me, at least.  Except Todd, who even looks like a total asswipe.  I can not emphasize that enough.  No slander or maiming other’s character.  Except for Todd, who is a lazy, 1 eyed, dog fucker.  Like you mother!  Lastly, no ‘slut shaming’.  Beyond mean, it’s dumb.  If a guy gets laid, he’s a stud.  If a woman does it, she is a slut?  Dumb move, fellas.   Oh, except for Beth.  Beth is a stupid whore slut.  The rest of you ladies, though, are a-ok with me!

 

Friday Fives – at home? or in the theater

Image result for gyro

would you rather

Download music // buy a CD

Buy a CD.  I want the physical thing, that can’t be lost in-between format changes or computer moves.  Plus, I love the liner notes.  Bands know they have to compete with digital downloads, so they are making great packages.  I love the liner notes, and the pictures, and (often) the little essays that come with an actual CD.

Use MP3 player // Use CD Player

In the truck, CD.  I have a really good system in the truck with a subwoofer.  At home, I use streaming.  It’s just easier.  Plus, I have a smart TV plugged into a very good bose home theater hifi.  So, I can watch live youtube music through the hifi, and it’s amazing.

Watch a movie at a theater // Rent a video

Same with a football game, at home.  Unless it is something like Lord of the Rings, I am happy to watch it all at home.  Have a big and nice LED tv, and (as I mentioned) a great hifi.  Plus, seeing a movie is wicked expensive.  Tix are about $10 each.  For me and the wifey to go see a movie, after a snack or two, we are out $30.  OR… I can wait 2 months and OWN it for more than half that cost.

Amusement park for the day // Picnic in a park for a day

Amusement part.  Do you think I am dead inside?  Am I that old?  Last year, I went to Water World for the first time.  It was amazing!

Read a magazine // Dollage with a magazine

Dollage with a magazine?  I have no idea what that sentence means.  What is dollaging?  I guess I ought to google it.  Ok, that didn’t work.  Google thought I wanted to say ‘collage’ a magazine.  Is that the question?  Who the hell writes this stuff?  Not me.  I rarely if ever write the questions, only the answers.  Am guessing dollaging is some kind of pinterest/etsy craft soft of thing.  How about a bonus question to make up for that one?

What cheap (<$20) guilty pleasure can turn a bad day into a good day?

A great gyro.  It’s the perfect sammich, and I RARELY find a perfect one.  Usually, too much bread.  A good gyro should be a thin bread.  See this?  Too much bread.  This?  Now we are getting closer.