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2.21.2007

It Must Be A Full Moon

A friend of mine said I should give up 24 for Lent.

She's crazy.

Seriously.

Maybe I'll give her up for Lent.

2.20.2007

Fat Tuesday

It's Fat Tuesday, and that means Mardi Gras time. Woohoo [read sarcastically]. But for those unaware of Fat Tuesday's significance, it marks the last day befor Lent. So people binge on the thing they're giving up starting the next day, Ash Wednesday. Or at least that's their excuse to throw the biggest party of the year. Every year I try to fast during Lent, not because I long for the days before Luther's 99 theses, and not because I need another shot at a New Year's resolution, but because I think it's a good idea. To fast from something I grasp too often, and feast on something more meaningful. Over past Lenten (is that a word?) seasons, I've fasted from:

-Kissing. Me AND my girlfriend partook of Lent that year.
-Sarcasm. I was so dull no one talked to me for 40 days. I think I lost friends that season.
-Lying. It's harder than you think.

This year, I'm thinking desserts. Sweets. Junk food. Unless it's fruit, but that's not junk food. I thought about giving up cussing, since I don't really cuss all that often. Imagine me on Fat Tuesday if that were the case: bleeping expletive bleeping bleeps. I'd have to get it all out of my system. 40 days is longer than you realize. I thought about giving up myspace and facebook and blogging, but that wouldn't be fair to you guys. I thought about fasting from making fun of people, but that wouldn't be fair to me. I was dull when I lost sarcasm. What would I be left with if I gave that up?

The thing for me though, when I actually give up these things I need to, I am generally bitter about it. Frustrated. Resentful. And prone to re-indulge myself once Easter hits. So I want to have a better attitude this go-round. If I give up junk food, I want to eat healthy. I don't want to just fast from something; I want to feast on better things. And I don't mean that literally, in this case. Feasting on fruit literally, would still negate the fasting from junk foods. But figuratively, I want to replace that which I'm giving up. Like the kissing. Replace it with quality conversation, and intense hand-holding. Right. And the lying. Tell the truth. The sarcasm. Say nice things about people and situations. That one was the hardest. Except for the lying and kissing. I wouldn't say the sarcastic remark I was thinking, but I'd note audibly that there was one in my head for that moment. Same difference. Just not as many laughs.

All this to say, you should think about giving something up until Easter. And when you do, be happy about it. It really is a good thing.

Just don't give up kissing.

Now I've got some junk food to go gorge myself with. After all, it is called Fat Tuesday. And it's almost over.

2.16.2007

Verizon's Inferno

I called Verizon today. I was working. I called their residential line, not the wireless/cell phone part of the company. I don’t mean to be sacrilegious or heretical, but if Hell is more than just fire, I think it will be filled with traffic jams, second-hand smoke (from cigarettes, not just the burning lake of fire) and an everlasting telephone conversation with Verizon. It’s the 10th circle of Hell Dante never could have envisioned.

They put you through this automated gauntlet of options. And it’s not even a human being. It’s not someone who can sympathize with your anguish or discern you’ve reached your boiling point. Just a voice that incessantly pursues its agenda: to never connect you to a live human being. I don’t even think it’s better than Pakistanis and India Indians trying to understand your problems through the language barrier. At least they have a pulse. Can sense tone. No matter the language, anger is pretty clearly interpretable. Americans complain about outsourcing. Yes, it’s a problem. But at least the social justice aspect is met in hiring someone in India to answer your Hewlett Packard questions. Verizon has outsourced to a soulless, lifeless, flash drive with a stolen voice identity of some shill that thought recording the vocabulary of a small genius for a few extra bucks would constitute a shrewd business move. Monopolies are shrewd business moves too. Doesn’t mean they’re great for society. This lady, who so effortlessly sold her voice to the devil, has in those same few breaths tarnished a nation’s pride, weakened its morale, sabotaged its moral stature, and inhibited its manifold destiny.

It’s not that The Voice is rude, quite the opposite. The Voice is polite and tries to be helpful in her way. Some things she says:

"Would you like to hear this in English?"
"Para espanol marke dos."
"What is the nature of your problem?...I’m sorry to hear that."
(After saying your phone isn’t working) "I know this isn’t likely, but are you calling from that number?...I didn’t think so."
"Let’s run through some options."

If you interrupt she stops mid-sentence and moves on to the next question in her spreadsheet. Not offended. She doesn’t pick up your sarcasm. Or rage. You also can’t charm her into going the extra mile for you. She’s a computer. Just a voice. And once you finally come up with a problem that doesn’t register within her expansive vocabulary, she connects you politely to an agent.

I complained to the agent—the living, breathing, eternal soul of a darling—that it takes SO MUCH time and effort, it’s only fun the first time, and that I’d rather wait in silence or listen to elevator music than interact with an invisible, imaginary person you can’t even flirt with if they HAD a cute voice. So she gave me a secret password. Because I charmed her into it, I suppose. (A perfect example of why Verizon made this ungodly business move in the first place.) If you say the word “agent” at ANY point during The Voice’s spiel, she is forced to connect you with an agent.

But boy, she really doesn’t like that.

I called back just to try it out. I mean, I guess I still needed to “talk to an agent.” I toyed with her. Went through myriad options. Repeated phrases, spouted numbers, spun in circles, jumped through hoops, slapped my mom and shot my dog. She was doing phone line tests from her cozy little hard drive, and just as she was getting warmed up, mid-sentence, I blurted out “AGENT.”

Almost in spite. For what she puts me through EVERY SINGLE TIME I CALL VERIZON.

Almost for rescue. Like a secret agent man would save the day.

Then there was silence. For about 5 seconds. I thought she hung up on me. Disoriented, and no doubt feeling played, she said something about finding my answers on the internet and “I will now try to connect you to an agent.”

Try?

Passive-aggressive little Voice, aren’t you?

She comes on in a much more business like tone, no more friendly, soothing, helpful overtures. “Your call is important to us. Your time is valuable. We will be with you shortly.” Or translated from cyborg to real life, that’s “Go sit in the corner. We’ll talk to you when we’re good and ready.” I waited 5 minutes. At least. On a silent phone. Like she was punishing me. You get an automatic connection to an agent as soon as you’ve trudged through her plethora of spreadsheet obstacles, but opt out of those options with the secret password “agent,” and there’s Hell to pay for it.

Or at least what I’m imagining Hell to be like.

2.12.2007

For Kicks and Giggles

Funny stuff.



In case you were curious. That is a boy and his mother.

And yes. I'm a jerk.

2.01.2007

A Fly-by Shatting

I parked under a tree the other day.
















Birds are such racists.













And cowards.
















Using Fly-by Shattings.