Saturday, December 30, 2006

But Seriously, WTF?

Ok, I got this comment on my last post, and just had to re-post it verbatim. It's very long, and extremely crazy, so feel free to skip down to my (short and succinct) thoughts on this:

Here it is, verbatim:

I caught your "flying cars" post in a "Google Alert" for flying cars...

I'm one of those, "lazy bastards who aren't giving you your lovely flying cars"...

I'll tell you where your flying cars are... You already know where they aren't...

They're in my 14 cases of 75-thousand pages of notes... That's where they have always been, since 1978...

Now I'm beginning to understand why my project has and is being so stifled...
I read in a blog, that Bush recently legislated "under the counter" that Americans are banned from developing engines and powersources which might obsolete Oil consumption...
What's with that guy? Is he hellbent on tossing all of us back a couple thousand years ago.. or What?..

It's scary that one guy could stifle humanity that big, and get away with it...

Have you seen the latest "flying car" claim..?
It's a blimp, tied to a something or other.. It looks like a "floating gurney"...
Next thing yah know they'll be driving their cars off'n cliffs, claiming they have flying cars...

I have the technology for flying cars engines... I just can't find the funding..? And I sure have tried... I've been snubbed more times than I can count... Now, being snubbed is just a way of life for me... I expect it...

...1978 late Fall.. on a planned three-week leisurely cruise across Canada, along highway number-one, along as much of the scenic-routes as I could find.. just past the Ontario border into Manitoba.. I saw two large meteorites cross a huge "X" in the sky.. and thought about it with all I had.. "What makes Alien craft's engines work", I telepathed from all my Being...
...A few minutes later, I had to park, to write the flood of new data, for three hours straight.. resulting in the crude bench manual to build a liquid electricity rocket...

James Watt watched a kettle boil, and invented the steam engine...
I saw an X in the sky, and invented the liquid electricity engine...

I attempted to detail the workings of the engine to a visiting European nuclear physicist.. "mindless dolt" would be a better fitting title... 60-seconds into the description, his face when pale, his chin dropped, he struggled to speak, he accused me of "talking in the forth dimension", barely managed to stand, managed to walk three paces, and fell flat on his face...

Over the years I have contacted pretty-much every major scientific concern in the big business world, and all the powerful politicians, and even a couple of the great religions.. to no avail...
All I got was "classy" snubbing and scorn, from the mindless scientific community, governments, and religions... and a lot of "remote viewers" desperately trying to suck technology from my mind, mostly when I slept.. till I figured ways to seriously damage them upon approach...
Plus there were a lot of attempts to dig into my computers, them believing I'd put the meat in a computer connected to the Net.. thht on that!.. They destroyed five of my PC's in their desperate attempts to rob me... Seems this race doesn't want engines for flying cars, and engines to take us to other solar systems, Unless they can steal it from the inventor... It's a pity I am being forced to take all this technology to the grave...

All this engine is, is a couple simple modifications to laser... It "cracks" light... Damaged light "particles" self-heal with the nearest molecules.. thus creating raw antimatter-acids, which are saved in exhaust scrubbers, and sold by the public, to power industry... The service station pays the consumer for plugged full exhaust scrubbers.. A complete 180 turn-around for having to pay for gas all these years...

Fragmented light "particles" instantly decay into liquid electricity, which produces tremendous thrust from a tiny 14-inch long by 4-inch diameter engine... Among the 110 new-technologies in this science layer, it replaces combustion as a power source, opens the bonds of the inert elements, establishes plazma-welding of all materials to all materials, is the base to establish disintegrator trash-pails, obsoletes hospitals, gives us planetary defense weaponry and thousands of new toys, and gets us to other habitable-planets before this one shows us we've already killed it...

It's that.. or you'all can go try to find it all by yourselves, by your classic "scientific" trial and error methods...

If anyone has a clue how to get new technology funded, I'd sure appreciate hearing about it.. and I'm sure you would benefit from it greatly when I start marketing flying-cars... Do you prefer two seaters or four seaters?..

Why is it so tough to get new technologies funded?.. Could it be that mankind's intellect is devolving..? given that cell phones are baking brains.. meth, and coke are dissolving and melting brains, the drug industry's pain killers evolutions are numbing people to escape reality, dirty smallpox vaccinations are destroying brain file connections, alcohol and the prolific lack of nutrients are literally desiccating brains in their cases... Every day it seems more and more that humans are devolving into Apes... Just look at how they, you, we, treat this planet, like it's an expendable resource...

Bottom-line is, You get flying cars about five years after I gets a lab and a credit card... Simple as that... if we still have a planet left after the 13-Colonies nuclear world war three game...

I've done a life-time of work acquiring this technology.. I've taken it as far as I can without funding... If I'm not funded by my 60th birthday (10 months from now), the 75-thousand pages of notes burn in the garden on my 60th, and I'll send a video clip of the bon-fire, and a cover story, to the mindless scientific community, for their archives... and you all can get your flying cars when the next one like me comes along, in about 500 to a 1000 years...

So.. Now you know why you are not driving your flying-cars today.. and why those alive today won't be seeing flying-cars in their lifetimes...


This liquid electricity emitter's raw output is a dirty-pink stationary light-cloud... which evolves into 4-D TV, and into cinema special effects breakthroughs for the next 500-years... Filmable synthetic actors.. restricted only by lack of imagination...

A little further research, this toy evolves into engines that will obsolete Fire as a power source... Fire will become illegal... The atmosphere will have the opportunity to self-heal.. and the air won't stink so bad...

This plazma engine will power all our vehicles, including moon and mars capable consumer RV's... and will provide mankind with the basic means to populate other planets in other solar systems...

This engine evolved to tools and weaponry, will do things like, "write a poem on a lunar cliff-face from earth... and drill a meter diameter hole 20-miles into the earth's crust, for us to plant magma batteries, which crystallize into crystallines, with hardnesses 14 to 28 on the Mho's scale... Thereby revolutionizing several industries: optics, bearings, abrasives, weaponry, and pretty much evolving every industry and life in many ways...

This is what our Species has been searching for... I found it, but it seems no one can even begin to fathom any of it... I tell them, and they "piss" in my face, and try to damage my life...

The usual reaction I get when mentioning any of this in various Internet forums, is verbal flame, and barrages of mindless insults, and varying religious, pseudo-physiological, and political battles, with aggressive mindless people, all hellbent on defending the insane stagnancy-quo...

I defend myself well against slanderous attacks, which have resulted in me being banned from many forums and scientific communities...
I've heard it all repeatedly, in various world forums, and from other sources.. and from the mindless scientific community, that can't even grasp the first minute of any of these technologies... It's the same "wall of fear" and insanity that all the ancient greats were confronted by... It's what trashed Tesla's lab after he plugged a light-bulb into the ground... It's what ridiculed Flemming for inventing penicillin, for claiming that "tiny invisible bugs were the cause of disease"... Then the medical scientific community tried to destroy Flemming's life.. and then they returned, content, back to their tapping wounds with filthy turkey-feathers, dipped in alcohol and various bright colored rock-powders, to frighten-away disease and infection... "ookook-eiee! Auk!"..

It's that dam wall that your devolving superstitious mindless fearful species just can't see any light nor reality through... Seems there is no secret entry-point through this Race's mindless blind insanity levels, to permit a true scientist to build new technologies anymore, to give this Race more... Seems you are all content with the fall into Oblivion.. forever numbing the discomforts of the fall, with your latest evolutions of designer drugs, and your silly interactive-cartoons, to keep your minds off your species impending demise... When then near the year 145,730AD, the last human can be viewed cracking the marrow out of the bones of the second last.. and by 155,000AD, the planet can't even support the life of one single hardy beetle...

So now you really know why you don't have your 1200mph flying cars today...
Or as that gossip-guy Paul Harvey on the radio would say, "And now you know.. The rest of the story".. why us "lazy bastards" haven't given you you flying cars...

LazyBastard Scientist DonaldJ Engel (alias "Cosmicbrat")...

Ok, first let me waste my time by rebuking the science of this.

"Damaging light particles". Ok, pal, you kinda picked the wrong person to try and sneak this by. Light "Particles" don't exist. Light is a wave. Light is also a form of energy, just like heat or sound energy. Sure, you can see the effect energy has on particles, but damage the energy itelf?

Even if you want to get into quantum physics, where the belief is that particles and waves are interchangeable (Or at least share the same properties), how do you get these "antimatter acids" from light particles? Or particles that the "damaged light" uses to "heal itself".

Acids are complex stuctures. You're essentially claiming you can get ten pounds of energy out of a one pound box.

I had to say I also love the "Stationary Pink Light Cloud".

I could continue rebuking the science of this, but if anyone actually reads that drivel, I don't actually have to. The "remote viewers" trying to suck the information from your mind" has already done that.

Do you sleep in a tinfoil hat?

As for computers being destroyed by evil government hackers, I suggest a good virus checker. I've got this strange feeling that if you protect your computer from viruses, you "Men in Black" hack attempts might mysteriously stop.

(And PS, I should inform you that blogs are NOT known for their fact-checking ability. Conspiracy theories about "under the table" dealings to supress technology that doesn't use oil might just be a little made up).

But never mind pal, I'm sure you'll eventually be able to find some eccentric millionairre who loves conspiracy theories as much as you, likes the style of your jaunty tinfoil hat, and loves conspiracy theories as much as you do.

Oh, and finally people aren't defending the "stagnant-quo" by flaming you. You see, reputable scientists can talk about warp-drive, quantum physics and people will listen. What people won't do is listen to crazy people talking bollocks.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Where's My Flying Car, Dammit!

It’s nearly 2007, a very “Buck Rogers” Sounding year to be sure.

I mean, think of all the shows that came out in the 60’s and 70’s. Space 1999, etc. Every show had the year 2000 (or round about there) as the magic year for amazing technology.

I’ll never forget watching an episode of Star Trek, only to hear Kirk exclaim:

“That’s one of the first generation, interstellar colony ships! They haven’t been in service since 1999!”

In short, back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, we thought we’d be living in a technological wonderland.

Well, a lot of this is the fact that as soon as a new technology arrives, it becomes common place and taken for granted. (For example, with a laptop and a wireless card, you can run a video conference from pretty much anywhere in the world…if someone had told you that you could have a video chat to someone anywhere else in the world from your car back in the 80’s, you’d have laughed at them).

On the other hand, I can’ help but feel a little cheated. There’s plenty of stuff we should have now, but don’t…and because of this, I give you:

Inventions we Should have By Now, But Don’t

1) Flying Cars

I mean, seriously, flying cars have been in Sci-Fi shows for decades, those lazy bastard scientists know we want them, but they’re too busy wasting time on frivolous things like curing diseases instead of making my 1989 Ford Aspire fly.

Guys, you have until 2010, if I don’t have at least a star-wars style speeder bike by then (Preferably with blasters), I’m gonna come to your house and ruin your shit.

2) Artifically intelligent talking computers

Why, oh why am I wasting my valuable time typing? Why aren’t I dictating this blog to a computer with a sexy female voice, that warbles, boops and beeps instead of making the grinding Hard-drive sound and the microwave-oven like sound of three cooling fans running at full speed.

3) Voice operated everything.

I want to walk into the room and say “Lights” to turn the lights on, tell the TV what channel I want to watch, and have my door welcome me home, give me a list of visitors that have called in my absence before my recliner detects my unique ass-print and molds to me perfectly.

4) Email Pie

We have delivery, Direct to Drive computer software. Why the hell can’t I have pie emailed to me? Why can’t I go to, click a button, and have a door on the front of my computer that opens, to reveal a slice of delicious, delicious pie?

5) Stupid Filters

Know when someone walks up to you, and starts talking and just won’t go away? Know when no matter how non-commital you get, answer in monosyllables and grunts, but they just keep talking about their cat’s eating habits, or how politicians are really saucer people?

Well, I want a implant with patented ‘Stupidity and Bullshit Detection” software, that upon detection of bullshit, literally tunes it out and plays you music or an ebook of your choice (With a low ‘ping’ sound to prompt you to nod or say “uh-huh” when you need to respond).

6) Cordless Shower Heads

Ok, it completely disobeys the laws of physics, but it’s almost 2007 people! We break laws all the time! What’s so special about the laws of physics? (The arrogant, self-righteous bastards).

A shower head with no cord. That’d be AWESOME.

7) Glasses with a fighter-plane style Hud and night vision

Pretty self explanatory. Why? Because it would be PIMP! That’s why!

Ok people, that’s what I wanna see in 2007

How bout you?

Monday, December 25, 2006

What's The Average Call-Out Fee for Xmas Day?

Christmas has been slightly depressing for me for about the past 6 or 7 years.

Back when I lived in England I was always a little depressed that I wasn’t getting to spend Christmas with Sunny…now I live in the USA, I always get a little depressed that I’m spending Christmas 3500 miles away from my family.

However, today has been a much better day that I at first thought it would be. So what made the difference?

Was it Sunny surprising me with a small, but highly appreciated extra gift this morning?


Was it the absolutely excellent dinner cooked by my wonderful daughter-in-law, Kathy?


It was walking through my step-son’s front door, and after a carefully gauged amount of time, his letting slip that the wireless internet he got for Kathy’s laptop wasn’t working, and would I mind taking a quick look at it for him?

Ah, Christmas Day Tech support…I feel more at home already.

It was nice to find myself partaking of one of my own personal Christmas traditions, which back in England was doing a circuit of my relation’s houses and setting up anything that comes with at least one wire.

Like my Auntie Les, who swore blind she’d tried to set up the new TV/DVD player for my cousin, but couldn’t work it out. (The answer was press the “menu” button on the control and select “auto-tune” from the menu)

Tried all morning, my ass. BUSTED Auntie Les…IN YOUR FACE!!!

Or my Uncle Jim, who couldn’t work out “plug one wire into the small round hole and the other end into the wall, and connect the other wire to the only other hole on the back of the Sega and the other into the antenna hole on the back of the TV.

So all sarcasm aside, Thank you Kathy and Clay for giving me something to do on Christmas day that reminded me of home.

God Bless us Everyone!

Happiness For Me = Superglue + Your Tongue + The Roof Of Your Mouth

Dear annoying girl currently singing on my TV,

Stop trying "vocal gymnastics". You can't do it.

Vocal gymnastics only works when used sparingly, actually stays in key and compliments the melody.

It does not work when a talentless fuckwit, whose parents have assured them they have a "good voice" decides to completely ignore the beat, melody and key of the song in order to make their voice bounce up and down like a spastic yo-yo.

Yes, you've seen Beyonce and Christina Aguilera do it...but there's a difference between them and you.

They can actually sing.

The song goes "Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way." not "JiiiiIIIIIIiiiiiIIIIIiiingllllLLLLe BEEEEEeeeeeEEEEElllllLLLLllS"

You're not being impressive, you sound like puberty is making your voice crack, while simultaneously trying to do an impression of the acne faced teenager from "The Simpsons".

So stop it.

Many Thanks,


PS Tell the other girl who came on after you that she couldn't hit the high note on "O Night Divine" either.

PPS Yes, I know I can't sing either, but I'm not on TV.

PPPS Before you ask where my Christmas spirit is, how 'bout you go get yourself a nice warm mug of shut the fuck up?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Spider sense tingles for a REASON

When Sunny first told me she was getting my laptop fixed for Christmas, I had one of those really awkward moments.

You know, it’s like the gift you get from your Aunt every year who’s convinced you really like something that you absolutely hate…and gets you something related to it every single year.

In other words, you’re faced with an expensive gift you have absolutely no desire for, but you can’t say anything about it, and know that by not saying it, you’re going to get something similar next year.

Basically, Sunny got the laptop fixed for one reason only, so we could both play Second Life at the same time. I had to break it to her that my laptop wouldn’t even come close to running it. There’s also the simple fact (and the reason I never attempted to get it fixed myself), that I could flat out buy the same laptop now for less than it cost to get it fixed.

For the techies out there, it’s a P3 500, 128meg memory, 4 gig hard-drive and a 4mb graphics card. I bought it second hand almost 6 years ago

Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful idea, and I’m incredibly grateful that she put that much thought into a gift for me. I just had visions of the fixed laptop, gathering dust on a shelf somewhere.

Then something equally wondrous happened. I remembered how great it was to have a working laptop.

Sure, my lappie might not be the fastest on the block, but it can handle general word processing and web surfing.

Part of the reason I don’t write any more than I do is because I don’t like being trapped behind this desk. Feet up in a recliner? A whole different story. When it’s a freezing cold night, curling up in bed and reading the blogs before I go to sleep is my own, personal, geek heaven.

Long story short? I love my laptop.

Now we come to the fly in the ointment.

When Sunny told me it was away getting repaired, my first thought was “There’s no way they’ll be able to fix it.”

While I don’t have much formal training in computers, I can build a computer from scratch with my eyes closed. My fellow geeks out there will know what I mean…after a while you develop an instinct which tells you whether it’s worth the effort of trying to fix it…or whether you’re fighting a losing battle.

Basically, there’s something wrong with the hardware on the laptop. Sometimes it won’t turn on at all, or will work fine for an hour or so, before the screen corrupts and it freezes. Either that, or it’ll freeze, the screen will slowly change from normal to pure white…and then it’ll turn itself off.

I had a hundred different ideas. All of them hardware. I’d ran virus checkers, spyware checkers, reloaded all of the driver’s etc. Nothing fixed it. The big downside of a laptop is you can’ even open them up and poke around easily.

I was surprised, however, when it arrived back at the house, and seemed to work perfectly. I was still dubious. It had been known to work for a couple hours at a stretch…but it worked fine for a day or so, so we forked over for the wireless.

Then, yesterday, I turned it on, and started reading an ebook. 15 minutes in…you guessed it…the screen corrupted and it froze up.

Then this morning Sunny goes to check her email…she gets the start-up screen…and the screen whites out and it turns itself off.


Now the guy who fixed it gives a warranty, which is still in effect, but my instincts tell me that it’s unfixable. At least unfixable without searching ebay for components that aren’t made anymore.

Basically, if the guy isn’t a dick, I sense a refund in the near future…which isn’t a bad thing…except for the fact that we also spent a hundred bucks on the wireless setup, which becomes a expensive paperweight…unless we feel that the one cable wire is incredibly unsightly, and decide to spend another fifty bucks on a wireless card for the desktop…which for some reason I find incredibly doubtful. I can think of other things to spend 50 bucks on than to hide 6 feet of cable.

Moral of the story? Listen to your instincts.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Perfection? I don't THINK so!

So I spend a few hours today trying to set this shit up, and get absolutely nowhere.

This pissed me off immensely. I paid for my own private network, so I damn sure as hell am going to get one!

Now this may not seem like such a “perfectionist” issue to many of you. After all, it’s just trying to get something to work as advertised.

But, here’s the thing:

I have absolutely no use whatsoever for a private network. If this was a new laptop, sure I’d wanna use it. My own personal LAN and a couple copies of Battlefield 2? Sign me up for that shit!

The two uses I’d have for a personal network would be sharing the printer and transferring the odd file.

The other big thing is I can already transfer files anyway. Either just email it to myself, or be even quicker and easier by using my USB flash drive.

Printing? Hmmm, this network only works within the actual house. In other words, I want it set up so I can print from my laptop, instead of having to walk the 10 feet to the desktop computer and turn it on.

So basically, thanks to a “perfectionist” nature, I really, really want something I don’t actually need…and I won’t give up until I get it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Wonders of Wireless

Today’s post is a very special one. It is the first EVER blog post brought to you from “on location”.

Ok, maybe it’s not that special. The location I’m blogging from actually my couch…about 10 feet away from my desk.

Sunny got my laptop fixed as a surprise Christmas gift. (Actually, she had to reveal the surprise a while ago, the guy needed my BIOS password to fix it). Then, thanks to the generosity of my parents, not only did we get the desktop upgraded, we also got a wireless router and wireless card for the laptop.

(Guys, let me give you a good piece of advice. Find an online game that you can get your wives or girlfriends into. You see, this year for Christmas I got quite a bit of computer hardware…and I can honestly say that we bought it for “us”, not “me”. Can you believe the laptop was actually Sunny’s idea?)

If you’re still shopping for Christmas, and want wireless for your own home, I can highly recommend the Linksys Boradband G Router and Wireless card. The whole set up cost a little over hundred bucks. Fifty for the router, fifty for the wireless card.

This thing is awesome, and was actually amazingly easy to set up. Networking is one of the few areas of computing that I know very little about. Setting up my wireless network was as easy as plugging in the wires (with step by step instructions on screen)…then I simply clicked a button on my laptop, then pressed a button on the front of the router.

Then everything happened automatically. With those two button presses, I have an encrypted secure wireless network. If you actually know what you’re doing, you can also set everything up manually the way you like it. As it stands with me now, every time I turn on my laptop it connects itself “behind the scenes”, but remains secure, in that no one else can use my network without my password.

The only thing that could make this setup sweeter is if my laptop was a little better. It’s fairly ancient. I have a Pentium 3 500, 128mb of RAM and a 6 gig hard disk.

I mean, it’s good enough, I only use the laptop for writing and general websurfing, so it fills my needs quite nicely.

In fact, that’s what prompted this post. I installed Skype on the laptop. I was kinda doubtful if it would actually work very well, but I’m please to announce that it works perfectly.

I told Sunny about this with unmatched glee:

“You know.” I said. “Technically, we not have a mobile skype phone. I can talk to my parents on Skype from any room in the house…even outside!”

“So?” She replied.

Is it me, or are wives just completely blind to the wonders of technology?

I have theory on this. At least how it applies to Sunny.

Sunny can work a computer easily…but when it comes to how they actually work, she doesn’t know or care. Because she doesn’t really understand just how complex it is…she doesn’t get how wondrous it is.

Sunny is the same way with computers that I am with cars. I know the absolute basics of how they run…but when my stepsons start talking about “intake manifolds” my eyes glaze over. I know I push the pedal on the right to make it go, and the pedal on the left to make it stop. I’m the guy that make’s the mechanic’s eyes light up at the garage.

He could tell my that my flux capacitor is shot and that my “Wankel Swage Armature” is out of alignment with my “Overhead rotary compensator”…and I’d nod knowledgably and pull out my checkbook.


Actually think about this.

My parents sit at their computer in England. They talk into a little device plugged into their computer. Then, at the speed of light, what they say travels through a labyrinth of computers and cables halfway around the world, somehow finds it’s way to my modem, where it travels into my router…and is then securely transmitted to my laptop. This happens in nanoseconds.

It’s a miracle, plain and simple.

Of course, if you try to explain this to Sunny, she looks at you and says:

“Ahhh, so it’s a magic laptop.”


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dumbass Training Manual

This is sort of a follow on from yesterday’s post.

You see, my wonderful parents sent me a wad of cash for Christmas, and Sunny and I decided almost immediately that some of it should be spent on more memory for the computer.

(As a totally weird aside, do you think the computer feels like Superman after having a Kryptonite necklace removed? Think about it, it’s like going to sleep and waking up with double your brain power.)

Now, I have to say that the one thing I despise more than anything else is shopping for computers and computer components at retail stores. I was lucky enough in England to live a stone’s throw away from Europe’s biggest permanent computer fair. The people there were knowledgeable as a rule, and because they traded on word of mouth, you very rarely got screwed…because if you got screwed, word spread like wildfire, and they went out of business.

In retail stores, sales assistants (or associates, or whatever they’re called these days), come in one of two flavors.

Knowledgeable, but completely willing to screw you over to get that bonus for selling the obsolete, half-broken junk that’s been sitting on the shelves for years…or completely and totally clueless, but STILL try to blind you with science (“Uh, yeah, this one’s great, it’s got lots of frames per second and two twin cooling gigs”).

However, the thing I want to talk about today is something they must cover in basic sales assistant training class.

It’s called S.H.I.T., or Stupid Highly Irritating Talk.

You see, for some reason, they feel the need to come out with the most pointless and inane chatter possible.

For example, when I bought my printer from Staples, the sales clerk asked “Oh, these are good, you gonna use it to print stuff?”

No, you cretin I’m going to use it as a toaster. I like to eat hot bagels while I’m web-surfing. Either that, or I’m going to use the guts of it to build a doomsday device, and melt the casing into a fine piece of art and go for the booker prize.

Anyway, today I was in Staples, and was shocked to actually come across a normal sales person. I don’t mean normal as in “The same as all the other sales-people”, I mean, normal as in a normal human being.

“Excuse me.” I asked, bracing myself for the worst. “Can you tell me where the Desktop Memory is please?”

“Sure, over on that wall. The shelf underneath the laptops.”

I was stunned.

Not only did the guy give me this information without having to ask someone, get the rest of the staff over for a conference, or make me wait for 15 minutes while he thought about it…the Desktop Memory was exactly where he said it would be.

I started to sweat a little. I’d obviously crossed over into the bizarro world. The check out guy was going to pay me to take this stuff away, then I’d head outside where cars drive people.

So, browsing through the memory, I found the type I needed, and headed for the checkout.

The second sales clerk gave me a shit eating grin as I handed him my purchase.

He can’t say it. I thought. Please don’t say it.

“Memory huh?” He said as he put my half-gig stick of PC3400 DDR RAM into a bag. “Trying to speed up the computer a little, right?”

“No actually, I’m trying to make it as slow as possible, that’s why I’m buying a frigging upgrade because I want my computer to run as SLOWLY as possible.”

Alright, I didn’t say that, I actually said “Yeah.”

…but I SOOOO wanted to.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

...and these people wouldn't hire me.

Regular readers will know that a few weeks ago, I put in an application at my local Staples store.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, I never got a call back.

Well, yesterday, Sunny and I went to run some errands. On the way home, we stopped at Staples to price Desktop memory and drool over the laptops.

Spotting a particular laptop, I looked at the sticker to check out the specs. All that was listed was the Hard drive size, memory and processor.

Then “Confused Looking Old Guy” stumbles over.

“Can I help you?” He asked.

“Yes please.” I said. “Can you tell me what sort of graphics hardware this laptop has?”

I saw the look of terror cross his face. Obviously I’d asked something that wasn’t covered by his 8 minutes of intensive training. He looked at the laptop, and looked momentarily relived.

“Ah! ATI!” He said, pointing at the sticker on the front of the laptop. He looked at me all smug, like he’d just laid down an ace. “Anything else?”

Wondering where he’d put his “I’m dumb” sign, I said.

“Errr, I mean how much memory? Clock speed? Chipset?”

The look of terror covered his face again, and he started working frantically at the laptop, randomly clicking and pushing buttons. I’d seen this dance before. Translated from performance art to plain English, it means:

I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, and I’m hoping you know little enough about computers to not recognize this fact. I’ll keep doing this in the hope another staff member comes along and I can make my excuses and leave…if they don’t, I’ll make some shit up.

A few minutes passed and he finally gave up.

“Well,” he said, obviously in a flash of inspiration. “More than likely it shares the memory with system memory.”

“Yeah.” I said. “But how much?”

Finally, after another 5 minutes of him hammering keys on the laptop, I just had to say:

“Excuse me, mind if I look myself?”

I mean, come on people. Start, Control Panel, System.

How hard is that?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What's REALLY Important:

Sometimes, it's not whether you cross the line or not that's important.

It's your reason for crossing or not crossing it.

When fear of getting caught is the only thing stopping you from crossing that line, you might as well cross it've already done it in your head, and decided you liked it over there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Excuses, excuses.

Reading Ozzy’s blog recently reminded me how much I want a bike.

Now, even though technically I used to have a bike, I can’t call myself and actual biker. For some reason, I think you can only call yourself a biker, when your bike can be heard at least two blocks away. It should also have a deep, throaty growl.

The ‘tortured lawn-mower’ sound my old 150cc scooter used to make, just doesn’t have that sort of credibility.

Now, as anyone who owns a bike out there knows, the hardest step in getting a bike isn’t coming up with the cash or passing the test. It’s convincing your significant other that getting on is a good idea.

You see, there are plenty of arguments against motorcycles. They’re much more dangerous than cars, you can only ride them at certain times of the year, and taking one out in the snow is tantamount to suicide.

Then, the other day…my brother in law gave me the perfect excuse.

You see, Sunny’s car is probably gonna give up and die within the next year or so. We also really need a truck. A bike, at this point, would be little more than an expensive toy.

Then my brother in law came along.

We were talking about my difficulty in finding work.

“The other big problem right now,” I said, “is they’ve changed the rules on the driving test. You have to have your permit for at least six months before they’ll let you take the test. Even if I pass the written exam tomorrow, I’ll still have 6 months before I can actually drive to work.”

He looked thoughtful for a moment.

“You know,” he began, “If you get a permit for a motorcycle, you don’t need to have anyone with you while you’re riding.”

He made an excellent point. A motorcycle permit is to all intents and purposes, a license that you just have to renew every six months.

Unfortunately, I was out maneuvered by the missus.

“That sounds great!” She said. “So as soon as you can come up with about 5 grand, you can go ahead and get one!”

Stupid money…why can’t I just get everything for free?

I deserve it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Glimpse Inside My Personal Matrix

Today, an event occurred that I just had to share. This post could also be titled “Why I don’t like talking to people.”

Last night, I was playing Second Life. I was just hanging around with my best bud Leila at a sandbox. (A sandbox is a public area used for building).

Now usually if I’m trying to build something, I’ll set up my private skybox to be left alone. You may wonder why I’m so anti-social in the sandbox, but the rest of the story will explain this.

If you can’t be bothered reading on, the answer can be summed up in one word:


So, I’m talking to Leila, and in strides Mr. Fuckwit.

Now, the social “rules” for Second Life are the same for real life. If you see two people together talking, you don’t just stride up and start talking. I mean, you might…but you’d walk up, introduce yourself and join the conversation…not just blurt out the first stupid shit that comes into your head.

This guy was a noob. Not a newb, a noob. There is a difference. A Newb is a new player who is trying to learn the game. A noob is a new player who thinks they know everything, will argue that black is white, and generally act like an asshole.

So he walks up and pulls out, of all things, a trampoline. At least I think that’s what it was meant to be. It was a black circle surrounded by a blue one. Forget the fact he just dropped an object directly on something I was building, the dumb bastard started jumping up and down on it, and tried to make me buy one from him.

Trying to be nice, I just say “No thank you.” To which he continually asks me why I don’t want to part with my hard earned lindens for quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

Upping the ante, he pulls out this little marvel:

PLEASE click for a better must see the suckiness!

He said it was a sleigh. What I saw (and what you probably see) is a hollowed out cube filled with different colored primitives).

You see, to build in Second Life, you use “primitives” IE, basic shapes, cubes, spheres and so on. In the hands of a talented builder, they can make simply stunning and detailed objects. In this guy’s hands, you get a hollowed out cube. He starts trying to sell me this prim abortion as well.

Finally, Leila and I snap at the same time. Leila just asks him bluntly why we’d buy something from him we can make ourselves in 2 minutes. (I make a lot of objects for clothes, like flexible skirts, and Leila is herself a very talented builder).

Then, this 4 day old idiot starts telling us we don’t know what we’re talking about, and that we can’t possibly match his building skill.

Actual conversation:

Fuckwit : “Let’s see you try, if it’s so simple, you do it.”

Me : “Dude, I don’t have time for this. Look, I made 4000L this week from the stuff I made, how about you?”

Fuckwit : “I made 20,000 this week.”

Me : “Whatever, dude, can you go away now please?”

Blah, blah, blah.

Me : “Look, your whole sleigh is only made of about 6 prims, even a decent pair of shoes should have at least 20.”

Fuckwit : “You need 20 prims to make a pair of shoes? You mustn’t be a very good builder!”

Two things here. One, I’m making his dialogue actually readable. Two, apparently, more detail is bad in his eyes.

(Just in case you haven’t grasped the situation yet, in Second Life, I’m a successful builder. People actually part with their money to buy my ‘creations’. Leila is the same. This guy had only been playing for 4 days, and was still on his way to mastering the basics. He’s basically the guy from school who would talk out of his ass and argue with the teacher. I’m in no way a master builder, but against this guy, Leila and I might as well be frigging DaVinci)

Then he says “Well, let’s see you make reindeer as good as mine then!”

Big mistake.

Leila, stepping up to the challenge, starts to make a copy of his reindeer. Something she does in a couple minutes, and does a much better effort. I was considering just muting the idiot and going back to what I was doing…but as Leila was busy, and I had no-one there to talk to, I started to build a sleigh.

Of course, fuckwit decided to heckle. There was no way I’d ever be able to match his building mastery.

As the ten minute build progressed, fuckwit began to get nervous. It became obvious that there was no way he could look at my effort and still proclaim to be a better builder than me. So he resorted to making fun of my shoes. (Which was odd, because I didn’t make them, and his shoes where newbie shoes…in other words, just his feet painted black.)

Finally, I stood back, and said:

“There, that’s a ten minute build. I wouldn’t even THINK of trying to sell it. If I wanted to, I’d spend a couple hours, put in ten times the detail and script it to actually fly. Now do you see why I don’t want to buy your from you?”

Here was my effort:

At which point, he called me a cunt and left.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Geek Horror Story

Yesterday I decided to give the ole computer a bit of a spring clean. (Yes, I’m aware it’s November, I’m a procrastinator, what can I say?)

So I open the case, to find a potentially mineable seam of compacted dust.

This is when things started to go wrong.

I removed the processor fan with no problems and unclipped the heatsink. I tried to lift the heatsink out, and it wouldn’t move. I checked I’d unclipped it properly, and tried again.

This time it came free with a little pressure.

Then I noticed something very, very disturbing.

There was no processor in the socket.

With a sense of growing dread, I looked on the underside of the heatsink. There, almost glued into place with far too much thermal paste, was my processor.

To the non techies-out there, let me explain why this is a problem.

The underside of a processor is made up of hundreds of tiny little pins. These things are Delicate, with a capital D. In fact, they’re so delicate, installing or removing a processor is done with a “zero pressure’ system. The processor is dropped into place, then locked with the use of a tiny little handle.

Guess what I’d just done?

Yep, just yanked out a processor that had been locked into place.

With an even greater sense of growing dread, I examined the underside of the processor.

No fewer than six of the pins were bent.

Know how if you bend a paperclip backwards and forwards a few times it snaps? Ok, now imagine that paperclip is about 0.010mm thick, about 2mm long and is made of gold, one of the softest metals on the planet.

Yep, I hate to bend 6 of them back into place, while trying not to bend any of the other VERY close set pins out of shape.

…and if one of them snapped, it would turn my processor into a $400 plastic and silicon novelty ornament, and my computer into a great big $1100 paperweight.

Oh, and without SL, Sunny would go through withdrawals and probably kill me.

So I spent about an hour moving pins the slightest amount I could, then test fitting it.

Luckily, I finally managed to fix it.

Next time, my computer can get as dirty as it likes. I’m not opening that case unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"The Lost Post" or "MS Word Sucks Big Fat Donkey Balls"

Here I sit, broken hearted,
Tried to blog and got it started,
Halfway through the comp got stuck.
So with a loud voice, I shouted “FUCK!”

Breathing slow, to find my center
tried not to get mad while pressing ‘enter’
My post was gone, not sign of it,
So with a loud voice, I shouted: “SHIT!”

The post is gone, not coming back
I wanna hit the comp with bricks in a sack
I start to realize what I want to do
Give Bill Gates the finger, and a big “FUCK YOU!”

Friday, November 17, 2006

Urgent Press Release

In a shocking press release today, an industry insider leaked out what many computer users have know to be true for a long time.

The existence of the fabled (and long denied) ‘FU Chip’ that resides in all consumer grade printers.

“Well, me and the boys, after completely screwing the printer consuming public on ridiculously over-priced ink, decided to try another way to stick it to our customers.” Said Reginald P. Sackslapper, a Lexmark employee. “We came up with the FU chip as a joke, but it very quickly became a standard component.

So what does the FU chip do?

Using highly advanced technology, satellites and computer monkeys, the chip monitors the output of the printer and adjusts performance accordingly.

“So, if the user is printing a joke from the internet, a digital photograph of a particularly impressive poo or something inconsequential, the printer will work fabulously.” Said Sackslapper. “However, if it detects that something in the printer queue is important, especially if it is time sensitive, or urgent, it will completely crap out…or as well like to say in printer-lingo…’throw a major fucking wobbly, chuck its toys out of the pram and come into your house on Christmas Morning and piss on your kids’.”

So, as an example of this technology if, say, an immigrant to America from England decides to waste paper and printer ink by printing his SL store’s logo just because he thinks it’s pretty cool looking, he will encounter no problems whatsoever.

On the other hand, if he has an interview at a staffing agency at 9:30, and tries to print out his resume at 7am, the printer will completely fail to respond and won’t work until he’s uninstalled all the drivers, re-installed them and disconnected and connected the printer multiple times.

When our reporter asked Mr. Sackslapper why the printer industry enjoys inconveniencing their customers so much, he gave the following statement:

“Why? Why? Fuck ‘em! That’s why!”

(At the time of writing, printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids in the world. If ink was gasoline, it would cost $175,000 to fill your tank.)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fishy Fishy

So, this week, Sunny and I went grocery shopping…as is our custom, when we’re hungry and there’s no food in the house.

“You know what I really feel like?” I said.

“What’s that?” Asked Sunny.

“Some fish. We haven’t had fish in ages.”

“Fish? You want fish?” She asked, incredulously.

This is a phenomenon I’ll never understand. You see, despite the fact that there’s pretty much no type of fish I don’t like, everyone lives under the mistaken belief that not only do I not like fish…but I detest it with the Fury of the Gods, the Wrath of Kings and the Burning Intensity of a Thousand Suns.

When I lived in England, I’d ask my dear mother for fish when she asked what the wanted for dinner…then we’d get into a 15 minute argument whether I like fish or not.

I like fish. I could walk up to my mother and Sunny and say in a clear loud voice:

“I Like Fish!”

Then, mere minutes later, if I so much as mentioned fish, both would insist I don’t like fish, have never liked fish, and will never in a million years eat fish.

So, after the argument…we bought some fish.

Then, today, Sunny is getting ready to take something out of the freezer for dinner.

“EEEEEWWW! EEEEW, EW, EWWWWW!” I hear from the kitchen.

Expecting a mouse, or for something to have rotted in the freezer, I investigate.

Sunny is pointing at the box of fish we bought, like is was a maggot infested rat carcass.

“What is it?” I ask.

“It’s FISH!” She says, startled.

“Well, I know it’s fish.” I say. “It says so right on the box.”

“No, but it’s fish fish.”

“Fish fish?” I ask, puzzled.

Eventually it turned out that sunny was stunned, shocked and amazed that the fish we bought actually had scales. It was basically a box of fish that had been cleaned, but otherwise left intact.

It seems my wife doesn’t understand that fish doesn’t come out of the ocean filleted, battered and deep fried.

I don’t know whether to tell her that those things we catch out of the pond with the fishing poles are actual fish…might put her off eating them for life.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I Hear ALL!!!

This story, I just have to relay because it cracked me up. Chances are it’s one of those “You had to be there” stories, but who cares? This is my blog, and I can write what I want!

First, the back story.

The vendor in my SL store has a report function. In other words, if I’m online, the second someone buys something I get a notification of who bought what, how much they paid and which location they bought it from.

Now being the simply fantastic guy I am, I often check my sales list and either completely refund money that came from friends, or at least return half of it. (It’s not a strict policy, it depends on if I’m online or not, or can be bothered trawling through my sales reports).

Well, Misty is often online at the same time I am, so I usually get notification when she’s bought something right away. So from her point of view, she buys an item and then suddenly finds I pay her either the whole amount or half back.

This is where things get interesting.

For Misty, this had led to the belief that I am somehow omnipresent, at least within the confines of my store. The rumor has spread that nothing can happen in my stores without me being instantly aware of it.

How does he know what I’ve bought? How can he pay back the money so fast? How does he know?

Now while it’s true that SL is home to some extremely nasty and simply devious listening devices, it’s also they’re against the SL Terms of Service. If you record someone’s conversation without their knowledge, it’s a bannable offense.

In other words, while I’d love to eavesdrop and listen to what people are saying about my outfits…I don’t want to get banned from SL to do it.

So let me put that rumor to rest right now. If you’re in my store, I only know if you buy something. Nothing else.

Now for the actual story:

So yesterday morning, I log in early because I had some maintenance to do. Within seconds, I get an IM from Bridget…

Let me describe Bridget. You may know her as “Enigma” from her blog. She’s one of those funny, irreverent people, but I wouldn’t actually describe her as ‘silly’.

So I was surprised when I got her IM.

(This isn’t verbatim, but as close as I can remember)

Bridget : ROFL, Did you just log in for any particular reason?

Paulius : Huh? I’m just on for a few minutes, need to update my server.

Bridget : Oh, ok *giggle*

Sunny was sitting next to me, and said what I was thinking. “What’s going on with Bridget?” Why was my simple act of logging in funny?…and did she just giggle?

Paulius : Have you been drinking?

An obvious question I thought.

Bridget : LOL, no. (more giggles, rofl’s and lmao’s)

Apparently, she’d bought into the omnipresence theory. She finally cut and pasted what she’d said upon entering my store

Bridget : Kicks the big grey vendor thing because it won’t load fast enough.

Bridget : “Sigh, guess I’ll come back later”

Bridget : Looks around

Bridget : Picks her underwear out of her ass, and looks around again.

Bridget : “Did ya see that, Paulius? Did ya see that, huh?!?!”

Apparently, I logged in mere moments later.

Well, I thought it was funny. It was a slow news day.

On the upside, an SL typo led me to accidentally coin the word “Buttloaf”, which is my new favorite insult word ever. As in:

“Shut it, Buttloaf.”

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Man in A Salon Effect

Well, if you’ve read my last post, you’ll know that I escaped the “pith” or “nightmare” of old ladies, depending on your definition…and I promised to tell you what happened next.

Well, Sunny decided that she needed her eyebrows waxed. (That’s something I’ll never understand, my wife will gladly pay to have hot wax poured on her face and her eyebrows pulled out by the root…but actually faints at the mere sight of a needle).

So, being a good husband, I rode to the salon with her, instead of having her drop me off at home.

Now I felt what all men feel when stepping into the estrogen ocean that is a beauty salon…fear. It’s like being Jewish and suddenly finding yourself at Nazi party headquarters during WW2. You know you just…don’t…belong.

So we walked in, me in my patented Ninja Stance for when the Salon Denizens attempt to tear gas me and sacrifice me to the Revlon God.

“Hello!” Said one of the hairdressers (pardon me…stylists) and suddenly started talking to Sunny about things that I have no idea how she knew about. (They sneak into my house at night and take notes…I know it….The almighty Revlon gets hungry).

I also got a cursory smile and a “hello”.

You see, at this point, I was a ‘Female Accompanied Male’, not unheard of in the Salon Cult, although frowned upon by all concerned.

Then, Sunny went into the back room with one of her ‘stylists’ (pardon me, Paid Torturer).

A strange thing happened. I took a seat near the front, and another stylist walked in, and looked right through me. She didn’t even acknowledge my presence.

A second stylist walked past without a second (or even a first) glance in my direction.

It was odd. Usually people in the South are very friendly. I didn’t even get acknowledged.

Then, two more customers walked in…and I realized what was going on.

You see, I was sitting near the door. The first customer walked in, glanced at me, and there was a moment of shock in her eyes…before they glazed over and sort of ‘slid’ away.

What we had here was a case of forced perceptual cropping.

I was an Unattended Male™ in a Beauty Salon.

It was said that when Captain Cook’s ship anchored off the coast of Australia, the Aborigines couldn’t actually see it. His ship simply didn’t exist in their view of the world. They couldn’t comprehend that such a thing could exist…so to them, it didn’t.

(For completeness, apparently a local medicine man noticed that the waves where breaking differently as they hit the boat. He stared for a day until he finally saw the ship. When he announced its presence to the rest of his people, they could finally see it).

I was experiencing the same thing. An Unattended Male™ in a Beauty Salon simply can’t happen…so the customers and staff couldn’t actually see me.

At the front of the Salon they had all kinds of crap for sale, including 8-ball keychains. I took two off them and held them up to my ears like earrings.

Not a single comment.

I coughed loudly and suddenly, and no one looked up.

I was invisible.

I considered dancing a jig around the room, or covering my entire head with styling mousse. For a brief moment I considered making myself a fort out of the waiting room chairs, fashioning a crude bow from hairclips and scrunchies, and declaring war on the old lady getting a perm in chair three.

Unfortunately, just as I was finishing up my head-dress (feathers made from trashy romance novels and wig catalogues), Sunny made her entrance, the skin around her eyebrows so red, she looked like she was wearing war-paint.

The spell was broken. I was again a “Female Accompanied Male™’, and therefore plainly visible to the rest of the Salon denizens. I hastily dropped the plastic head I’d just scalped, and said:

“Ready to go, sweetie?”

(Warning, the above story may contain some slight exaggerations…you have been warned).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bad luck, Incompetent Staff and Turmpet Guarding Old Ladies

So this morning, I went out searching for jobs.

I think the term “Absolute unstoppable cluster-fuck” would describe the experience.

The first place I visited was another temp agency, Sunny drove me WAY across town to find it, and I walked in, smile on my face and resume under my arm.

I walked up to the desk…

“Hi!” I said cheerily. “I’d like to put in an application, do you take applications for general office and clerical positions?”

“No.” Said the receptionist. Shit, I thought. “We offer temp services for three industries. Janitorial…”

Wait right there. I need a job, but I’m not that desperate just yet. I’ve got a degree for fuck’s sake…I don’t want to end up mopping the floors in a school where I’m more highly qualified than most of the teachers.


Not something I want to do. Minimum wage with a possibility of getting my ass kicked or shot off.

“…or light industrial.”

A possibility.

“So what’s light industrial?” I asked.

“Production line kind of work, but we’ll only consider you for that if you have at least 6 months recent experience in a similar field.”

“And security?”

“Well, that’s open to anyone as long as you’re an American Citizen.”


“Oh well, thanks anyway.”

Yep, yet another nice long drive that was a complete waste of time. Still…I’m not bitter.

So I get back into the car and Sunny gives me a quizzical look. I explain the situation.

“Next place.” I say.

Now, Sunny had told me that she knew of, and I quote, “A blue zillion” staffing places, but all of them had slipped her mind, and she certainly didn’t know of any others on that side of town. So we decided to drive home, get out the ‘ole phonebook, and look up some other places.

“My blood sugar’s dropping. I’m starting to get the shakes.” Sunny said.

This, while it seems totally superfluous now, does have a bearing later on….stay tuned.

“Isn’t ‘Staples’ on the way home?” I asked.

“Yep.” Replied Sunny.

“Well, let’s stop there on the way home, and I’ll see if I can get an application for there. That’s something I could do, and it’s nice and close to the house.”

And lo’, it was agreed that this was a good idea.

So we pull into the parking lot in front of Staples. I run in.

“Hey!” I say cheerfully to one of the check out girls. “I have a quick question. Who do I need to speak to for…”

“Hey! I like the way you talk, where are you from?”

Fifteen minutes later…

“So in conclusion,” I said, “I have seen ‘Friends’, no I didn’t live in the thatched cottage and we do have cars in England. Now, who do I need to speak to about putting in a job application?”

“Oh, we do those on a computer in the store. It’ll take you about half an hour to 45 minutes. I’ll get someone to set it up for you.”

So she asks someone…someone who doesn’t know and had to ask someone else…who also doesn’t know…

“Excuse me.” I said. “While you’re sorting this out, I’m just gonna run outside for a moment (I need to scream), to tell my wife that she can go run some errands while she’s waiting.”

“Ok.” She responds, brightly.

I run outside and open the car door:

“Sweetie? This is gonna take about half an hour. Why don’t you go grab yourself something to eat (I told you the blood sugar thing had a bearing on the story) while I do this?”

“Ok.” My darling wife replied. “I’ll run to the pharmacy as well, I need to pick up some things.”

So I wave her off, and stride purposefully back into the store. (When looking for a job, always stride purposefully, it shows you mean business.) I see checkout girl again.

“Ok,” she says, “I made a mistake.” (No! Really?) “We don’t do applications in the store any more, you have to do it over the internet from home.”

I sigh. “What’s the address? Just ‘’?”

You know that feeling when you ask a question, and instantly regret asking it? Well, that’s what I was feeling. Apparently, absolutely no-one in the store knew the web address…and considering these where the people I wanted a job from, I couldn’t exactly say “Fuck it! I’ll just google it!”

Then I realized something.

Sunny had driven away. She would be gone for at least 45 minutes, while I was stuck here…and worse yet, I’d left my cigarettes in the car.

So I spend the next 15 minutes wandering around the store.

Now it has to be said that Staples isn’t a particularly bad place to get stranded at. You can drool over the laptops, the huge LCD monitors and all other kinds of gadgetry. It really is like a geek’s porn-store.

…Except for the fact that everyone in there knows you as “The guy who wants to put in an application”, and stops you every 2 minutes to ask if you know that they don’t do in-store applications anymore.

Eventually, after being stopped by the same guy three times and told the same thing, I leave the store and just wait out front. After 2 minutes I’m bored.

So I go next door, which is a strange consignment store kind of thing. They sell everything from trumpets to towels, poker chips to pajamas.

Of course, I’m forgetting the number one rule. If you spend more than 10 minutes in any shop, just wandering around and looking at nothing in particular, they automatically assume you’re a shoplifter.

So I find myself locked in an intricate ballet with a Very Suspicious Old Lady™, who is doing everything she can to make sure she can watch my every move without me knowing about it. She fails at this dismally.

So for a while, I find myself walking nonchalantly along an aisle, watching her following me at the other end… then as soon as her view of me is blocked by the shelves, I make a quick about turn and head the other way.

It didn’t fool her for a second. She was old, but very wily. She would require me as a target within seconds.

(I’ve always thought we don’t take enough advantage of the powers of old ladies. I mean, we could fight a war with someone, and just get a bunch of old ladies to stand on the front line, and glare unapprovingly at the opposing army. Maybe occasionally shouting “Does your mum know you’re out this late playing with that gun? Get home you little rascal before I take my slipper to you!”…the opposing army wouldn’t dare attack!)

Anyway, I took a small item off the shelf (a sudoku game) to examine it more closely. I heard a sharp intake of breath from her at the other end of the aisle. She obviously believed she’d caught me “making my move”, and was waiting for my to slip the item into my shirt, so she could blow the whistle and have me swarmed by the other old lady in the store.

(What’s the term for a swarm of old lady? I didn’t know a single person actually could swarm…but that was her plan…I know it.)

I put the game back, and I swear I heard a sigh of disappointment.

I wonded if, by taking and replacing items of various values, I could actually get her to play a tune with her ‘shocked’ and ‘relieved’ sounds.

Well, I had to entertain myself somehow.

Anyway, I realized I was pushing my luck, so I waited outside for Sunny to come back.

Later that day I went with her to the salon, but that’s a story for tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Great Make-Under

A few days ago, I stumbled across the secret to making a ton of cash.

Unfortunately, it’s not tons of real cash, it’s SL cash…but let’s just say the amount of money I made has jumped a whopping 4000% in the space of a few weeks.

Basically, if we’re talking in terms of the amount of real money I’d get if I cashed in my SL money, I’ve jumped from making about 40 cents a week to about $20 a week.

This is kinda sad when you realize that’s pretty much the same wage I used to get at my very first Saturday job.

So what’s the shocking secret?

For added effect here, pretend I’ve just handed you a ‘DaVinci Code’ style cryptex and told you the password was ‘ultimate secret’. With trembling hands, you align the dials and pull it apart, revealing an ancient yellowing scroll that reads:

Make people believe you don’t actually need or want their money.

Basically, I made over my store. Well, technically, that’s the wrong word. What I really did was give my store a make-under. Before the make-under, I made my store as inviting and friendly as possible. Now it’s a monochrome shrine to the God of “I Have More Money Than You”.

Take a look at my old shop sign and logo:

I worked fairly hard on this. I created a background, composited four pictures of my model wearing different outfits, put in my store name and tag-line (complete with drop shadow), and even went ahead and using all kinds of Photoshop magicks, even put in a subtle bloom lighting effect.

Turned out this, along with my pricing, was a recipe for disaster.


I was trying too hard. Plus, there was the small matter of the ‘great prices’ tagline. Apparently, no established SL player will be caught dead buying from a ‘cheap’ store. Half the fun of a new outfit is when someone asks you where you got it, telling them the price, safe in the knowledge that the person asking you can in no way afford it.

Add to that the point that my prices, while exceptionally low by SL standards, is just out of newbie range. Sure, I might be selling an outfit for L$150 that would cost at least L$500 – L$800 elsewhere…but that doesn’t help if the customer base you’re attracting only has L$50 to spend.

In other words, my store wasn’t doing so well thanks to the phenomenon that causes someone to walk past Wal-mart, where you can get a three-pack of plain white T-shirts for less than $10… and instead buy exactly the same T-shirt at a designer store, where you pay $80 and only get one.

So I decided to go a little “upscale”.

My prices remained the same, but I changed my store logo to this:

Sexy, huh?

Actually, it pretty much killed me to make this. Black and White? What’s the point in Photoshopping something if you can’t add all kinds of gradients and lens flares?

But it did the trick.

My old sign said “Look! Here’s what you can buy! I’m selling it cheap as well!”

My new sign says “I’m so rich, I don’t need to advertise. I don’t even need your money. Hell, I don’t even want it. In fact, the whole thing is a huge hassle, so if you really must buy something, be quick about it, lest I smite you.”

I even changed from “Paulius Designs” to “PD”…you see, I’m so successful, I don’t even need to tell you the name of my store!

Apparently, people no longer care if my clothes are good or not. I’ve arrived at the Calvin Klein stage where people aren’t buying my clothes for the looks…they’re buying it for the label.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Snail Mail

My mum recently discovered a little known service currently being offered by the Royal Mail.

It’s called “Asthmatic Tortoise Mail”.

Basically, if you put your package on the back of an asthmatic tortoise, attached a ball and chain to its leg, blindfolded it, spun it around three times then shouted “Go!” The tortoise would arrive at the required destination a good three weeks before the mail could get there.

Now I gotta be clear, I’m not bashing my parents about using this service. They’re sending me all kinds of British goodies you can’t get in the USA, and they’re paying for it out of their own pocket.

What I don’t understand is why it is so much cheaper to send things overland and by boat, than through airmail.

It’s comparison time!

The last time I flew to the USA, it cost me 600 GBP.

Ok, I weigh roughly 250lbs (stop snickering in the back, most of my regular readers have seen pictures of me…I’m big boned, dammit!)

If we figure that in, I’m flying at an approximate cost of $2.40 per pound (Actually, that’s 2.40 GBP per pound, but this stupid American keyboard doesn’t have a pound sign, and I get very bored typing ‘GBP’ over and over.)

Then we factor in my luggage, which was a whopping 70lbs, which now drops the price to $1.87 per pound.

Then we look at the other stuff. My package doesn’t need to eat, sleep, and certainly doesn’t want to buy one of those overpriced set of headphones to enjoy the 3 year old, cut to ribbons movie.

Also, a square box has a much higher packing efficiency than the average human. IE Packages don’t complain about having no leg-room, or have to move around and take asprin to combat deep-vein thrombosis.

Ok, so let’s deduct the cost of the meal, the cost of heating etc from my ticket price. For simplicity, let’s assume that this knocks a dollar off the price.

So, rough cost per pound for airline passengers is 87 cents per pound.

So, in that case, can someone please explain why it costs almost $20 to send two packages of curry paste and a box of British tea, weighing less than two pounds, by air mail?

If we do this in reverse, this means that if I was to fly at the postal rate, it would cost $3250, not counting the cost of the meal, movie, heating, pressurizing the cabin, stewardess’s wages etc.

Let’s just say that the next time my parents use Royal Airmail to send me something, my package damn well better get a complimentary orange juice and a set of pilot wings.


Well the response to yesterday’s post confirmed something I had suspected for a long time.

You people like the funny stuff.

(Hmmm, ‘You people.’ Is that racist? Am I ‘profiling’ you by saying that? Who knows? More importantly, who cares?)

Basically, I’ve discovered my average reader has a lot in common with my mother. After I’ve posted a carefully worded diatribe on copyright law, religion or philosophy, she’ll say “That’s all well and good, but when are you going to write something funny again?”

Now, what I’d like to do is cast myself in the ‘tortured artist’ role. You’re all the ‘uninformed masses’, who swallow my throwaway ‘funny’ posts with great glee, yet fail to truly comprehend my important works.

In other words, I’m Paul Sheldon from Misery. You’re all Annie Wilkes. I’ve written something I’m proud of, and you hobble me with a sledgehammer and drug me until I write another trashy novel.

Basically, I’m great, you’re dumb. I WIN!

Unfortunately, the truth has nothing to do with that.

I’m humorly-challenged.

Here’s the deal. People who know me say I’m funny. If I’m relaxing with a group of friends I’m as funny as a dog on a treadmill... but if I actually try to be funny…I’m about as amusing as the holocaust.

In fact, forget that…it’s much worse.

I’m as unfunny as a circus clown…and almost as creepy.

It’s like I have a bad cruise ship comedian living in my head. If I’m not trying to be funny, he’ll ignore what’s going on. The second I actually try to be funny, he elbows me out of the way and starts ‘cracking wise’.

“Funny? Ya want funny? I’m your guy for that! Take my wife, please! Everyone! ‘There was a young man from Nantucket…”

You know the type of thing I’m talking about. My brain houses the kind of comedian who thinks “I flew in from Denver, and boy are my arms tired!” is actually funny. I don’t even mean my brain-comedian thinks that it’s funny ironically. He just thinks it’s actually funny.

So, what does this mean for you, my readers?

If I sit at my computer and say “Ok, I’m going to write a funny post.” What you actually end up with is the “Christmas Cracker Joke” style of funny.

You want Dave Chappelle funny, and end up with: “What’s green and goes camping? A boy sprout.”

“But yesterday’s post was funny!” I hear you cry.

Well, that wasn’t me trying to be funny. That was me relaying a humorous event. There is a difference. Trying to be funny is a creative thing. With yesterday’s story, the funny has already occurred and I just had to write it down.

The simple truth is that if you can think of a dog trying to eat a too-hot un-shelled boiled egg and not laugh, you have absolutely no sense of humor anyway.

Which brings me to my second handicap:

I’m British. Therefore, I find two things funny:

1) Sarcasm
2) People hurting themselves

So as you can see, I don’t have the chance to simply relay humorous things on a very regular basis. If I did, my posts would be along the lines of:

Today I saw this fat dude fall over! It ruled!

Or I could post a picture of Lindsay Lohan and write a caption that reads “Hey, look at this fat bitch! I think she needs to go on a diet!”

As a classic example of the things I find funny, today I was sitting at my computer, attempting to make a realistic farting noise using only my mouth, without ‘cheating’ by using the standard ‘raspberry’. I did one that sounding like a very wet fart…and giggled for 15 minutes.

Would you find a post centered purely around my attempts at ass-gas audio synthesis? Probably not.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m simply not funny.