Tag Archives: funny

Star Trek and ATM’s


A bit of irrelevant ranting for a Monday morning…

"Is there a 'Fast Cash' button upon this device?" "Dude, are you gonna be a while?"

I stopped off at an ATM last week to pick up some cash for the farmer’s market and the nearest bank was, of course, the ever-prevalent, Bank of America. The bank that charges you a fee to look at it as you drive by. I pulled in, skipped gayly across the parking lot, and strolled up to the machine to begin my transaction. Now, a small note about myself: I have this weird little thing where I actually pride myself on my blazing ATM speed. Bing, bang, boom! I’m out! No receipts, no surrender! Nothing worse than getting stuck behind the guy who wants to deposit money, pay bills, and check the balance of his 5 accounts via the machine expressly intended for people in a hurry. Not this guy. I use double fingers like I’m playing Simon Says.

Anyway, I quickly realize from looking at the very first screen that I am on unfamiliar ground, as I rarely use B of A machines, and this may not be as cut and dry as I’m used to. The first screen asks for my language and it literally gives me 8 options to choose from. Really?!? 8? I know this is northern California and we are pretty ethnically diverse, but I haven’t seen that many language options since I tried to read the warning labels on my Swedish-made furniture (long story short, attach all furniture to walls like your blonde-haired life depends on it).

I stared in amazement at my plethora of options and half expected to turn around and see the entire cast of Star Trek waiting in line behind me. That’s about the only circumstance I could foresee in which most of these languages would ever be used, and while I did see some character-based languages, I’m pretty sure none of them were Vulcan. Scotty could just select English, but I still think the ATM would have to either be drunk or use an accent in order for him to understand. Of course, we all know that the Federation has no use for money in the 23rd century (duh), but I think we also saw that sometimes it is necessary to go back in time to northern California to save extinct whale species in order to stop giant space probes from tearing the Earth in two, so ya never know.

The icing on the cake was after I pressed “English” it then went to the next screen where it proceeded to tell me that I had selected English and asked me whether or not that was correct… in English, of course. Did some software designer somewhere get paid by the amount of ridiculously useless screens he created? If it was wrong, how the hell would I know?!? If I had accidentally selected Vietnamese I would have been left staring at a screen of wingdings for who knows how long!

What a complete waste of time and energy on everyone’s part. Just another example of common sense being overruled by the desire to placate even the tiniest percentage of the consuming public. If the United Nations ever decides to come to Chico Ca. on a “fact finding” mission about the medical uses of marijuana you can then reinstate the universal translator software, but until then I think maybe it might be easier if I just slip in my bank card, that has English written all over it, and then enter my PIN.

Advertisements

Aliens Vs. Apparitions


There I was, 11-years-old, brushing my teeth in the bathroom mirror, getting ready for school… and terrified out of my gourd. Toothbrush slowly shaking across my front teeth, back and forth, over and over the same spot as my bulging eyes darted between the open door leading to the dark hallway and the wall behind the shoulders of my reflection, just knowing something evil must be near. I leaned over to spit out some excess toothpaste, taking my eyes off the mirror for only a split second and when I straightened back up, there was my mother standing behind me. Her bed-head hair was twisting in contorted directions, her bloodshot eyes stared blankly at me, and her jaw lay slack from a mid-yawn pause. All in all, the most terrifying, gut-wrenching, thing I had ever seen… that morning. I screamed like I was Macaulay Culkin putting on aftershave. Toothpaste-laced spittle was flying to and fro and my hands flew up in a defensive position across my face, toothbrush bouncing off a wall somewhere, no doubt. I pushed past her and her confused face, knocking her aside as I leapt in one swift motion out of the bathroom, thorough the dark hallway, and into my bedroom where I slipped under my blanket like a poof of smoke and began sobbing uncontrollably.

That’s it!My mothered yelled at me, following my flaming smoke trail into the bedroom. You’re taking those books back today!

You see, the week before my class took its regular excursion to the library so that we could all browse around and read or checkout a book or two to take home. Trying to stir the imagination, I suppose, was the intended goal of the teacher, but her noble intentions did not take in to consideration the twisted little mind of one of her students and the near nervous breakdown it would cause an 11-year-old to have just a few days later.

Two books sitting side by side caught my attention immediately. One was about the evidence that aliens might be visiting our planet from time to time and the other was about the possibility that ghosts may be all around us, all the time. Tons of photos of smokey body shapes and eyes lurking in the background of family photos, or bearded men dressed in civil war era clothing leaning against tress. I took them both home and opened up a little can of crazy on the rest of my family.

The alien book I found very interesting and not at all scary. Little slimy midgets wearing sunglasses hurdling through time and space in flying muscle cars seemed pretty awesome to this little 5th grader. Lifeless corpses who watch you from the shadows with their dead eyes and the power to possibly posses your very soul, all while moaning and spitting blood? That seemed a little less appealing for some reason.

I was incapacitated by abject fear for weeks. Every open window into the night contained flesh rotting corpses hovering and waiting for me to look their way, so they could stare at me with deadpan eye sockets. The mirror became a portal to the netherworld where a turned back could get you a one way ticket to hellish death. Every creak and crack  was a limping, dragging, foot and every breeze a whisper or moan from a tortured soul. I was inconsolable.

I eventually got ahold of the reigns and straightened out, but to this day sometimes I just cannot control the fear once my brain turns something over. I saw the movie “The Ring,” which I understand is laughable to some people, and I couldn’t go to the bathroom or down my hallway by myself for a couple weeks… and I was 26! I mean, the hallway light was a long florescent bulb that flickered on and off! How scary is that? I was living alone with my cat (totally hetero thing to do) and I had to pick him up and take him with me at night whenever I had to go to the back of the house. After all, cats can sense spirits right? Hey, I know all about it, I saw Ghost too. Pathetic.

But when I stop and really think about it, it seems like in this world you generally fall into two categories: you’re terrified of ghosts OR you’re terrified of aliens. I know there is the group that is scared of anything and everything, and then, of course, the “I ain’t a-skeered a nothin!” group which we all know is bullshit posturing, but for the most part I think people would definitely choose one over the other.

My wife lands on the alien paranoia side. Sure she has a healthy respect for possibly ill-intentioned ghosts, but you can hardly let the word “alien” roll off the tongue without igniting a little terror and sending her fingers plunging into her ear canals. La-la-la-la-la I can’t hear you!

In basic training she was woken up in the middle of the night to pull her guard duty shift. She emerged from her tent, rubbing the sleep and exhaustion out of her eyes, only to see three moonlit shapes slowly marching towards her in the dark. They were all holding rifles, of course, and were wearing hooded gas masks as they creeped across the clearing in the woods, towards where she was standing. She was legitimately horrified that they were alien invaders for a moment and almost screamed out… which of course would not have made for a pleasant ending to her military exercise.

What is the difference? Why do I think aliens are cool, but she might need adult diapers if we ever watch “The Fourth Kind?” (Never going to happen) It seems to me that the answer to the question about which you are more fearful of might have to do with a deeper, hardwired, response that you have to fear itself.

Aliens represent an external unknown. Aliens come in and observe you from a distance or they swoop in and steal you away from your own home and place of safety and comfort. They are truly unknowable and foreign. They experiment on you in very inhuman ways and represent something that is beyond anybody’s control.

Ghosts, on the other hand, are very internal and a somewhat known variable. They are basically you, but a different version of you, a possibly evil version of you and others like you. They don’t come from afar, they come from within, and could possibly be sitting next to me as I type this out (… stop saying stuff like that.) They are dead, lifeless, cold, lost souls… and you might become one of them. You know that you could, because if ghosts are evil, you understand that you have that propensity for evil within you right now and you can see it in humanity as a whole.

So which are you? Do you pull the covers up to your eyeballs when you sleep alone at night because you’re afraid someone might come in and take you or because they are already there sitting at the foot of your bed? (stop saying things like that!)

Remember that one time, when the world was going to end?


Monstrous tornadoes ripping cars right off their cinder blocks and out of every front yard in tornado alley, massive tidal waves wiping out entire hippie communes up and down the Western U.S. seaboard, gaping fissures ripping open and swallowing large women and their tiny dogs in the blink of an eye, and heat so intense that even baby seals and drowning polar bears burst into flames.

This may be a slight exaggeration on the picture painted for us by modern doomsday prognosticators, but it isn’t that far off. Unfettered by that pesky little idea about history repeating itself, they continue to press on, spitting in the face of restraint, rational thought, and every other delusional egomaniac that came before them.

One generation after another, after another, after another thinks this is it, this is the time, it’s the end, we’re all going to die… and each time, apparently to their sad surprise, instead of some epic turn of cataclysmic events leading to their noble demise, they stub their toe on a rusty gate and die from infection.

Recent generations have come up with more inventive ways of destroying humanity than just the old standard of God’s terrible wrath smiting evil-doers with one wag of the finger. However, these fun new ways to die are more a reflection of modern man’s circumstances than any real originality or imagination. I don’t want to discount the effectiveness of a good old fashion smiting, Revelations style, it’s just that it’s been done to death. Just know that for a very long time people walked around with their eyes down waiting for God to take a heavenly dump on their heads.

So, with the rise of modern warfare and modern weapons, the 50’s and 60’s saw the emergence of the idea that the world would simply be blown to little bits by atomic or nuclear warheads:

“More coffee dear?”

“Why, yes I think I’ll have some more. Say, do we have anymore shoe polish?”

“Well, I’m sure I saw some on your…”

*flash*

Congratulations, your ass and seat are now one and the rest of you is a black stain on the wall!

Next came acid rain… dun-dun-dun! What other two words could you possibly stick together that would sound any scarier? I mean, it’s acid and it falls from the sky… onto your babies and other valuables apparently. Bravo, instillers of fear and exploiters of paranoia!

Movin’ on up (Jeffersons reference) to the 80’s and 90’s we still have nuclear war hanging over our heads, but now technology is thrown in as a little twist just for fun. Uh oh, we don’t even have to press the button, maybe the computers will do it for us! Wargames, Terminator, Terminator 2, Y2K, and Short Circuit 2 all left people terrified of the possibilities.

Now that people have started to climb off the ledge a little bit, we get hit with a nature bomb. As the vengeful and terrifying God of the past is slowly being replaced by a kinder, friendlier, Earth and the worship of nature itself, the damn planet is pissed and is now going to wipe us out. Well, that’s great. Thanks a lot for the pep talk Al Gore.

If I were a betting man (and I am) I would put my money on things spinning along swimmingly for quite some time.

Keep feeding your dog. Keep clipping your toenails. You’ll be glad you did.

Some spectacular failures of the past: Top 10 Failed Apocalyptic Predictions – Top 10 Lists | Listverse

Top Ten Ways to Squander the Best Years of Your Life


Who doesn’t love a good top ten list? Especially when the list is just sad and self-deprecating. Standing here at age 32, I look back at my teenage years and early twenties and a single tear squeaks out from my cringing eye. I hope everyone finds some humor in the travesty that was my youth:

10. Go straight home after school, do not pass go, do not collect any cool points – Who has any fun doing this? Backpack over both shoulders, hair parted cleanly on the left like a fascist dictator, broad-striped polo, overly snug blue jeans that never knew the touch of the top of my XJ-900 discount high-tops. I silently walked to and from the bus stop, head down, minding my own business everyday. Never hungout too late or forgot to call home. Good God man, do something with yourself!

9. Date a strictly religious girl in high school – Life is too short to spend it trying to breech the walls of godly servitude with the inadequacies of male teenage hormones. My days and nights spent wooing a girl who already had a man in her life. My 15-year-old game with the ladies was no match for The Jesus.

8. Play video games until eye twitches involuntarily – Nothing says “Chick Magnet” or “Life of the Party” like beating Super Mario Bros. 3 in 25 minutes and then taking polaroid pictures of the screen to prove it to all your friends at school the next day. Oh yeah, I did that. Nobody seemed to be as impressed as I thought they would be, which pretty much sums up the extent of most of the accomplishments of my youth.

7. Ferociously consume Doritos and Pepsi like they’re going out of business tomorrow – Combine this one with my video game prowess and you have a formula that can’t help but keep you from getting any action with the ladies. What does Johnny-Football-Hero have that I don’t have? Besides the fact that he is not borderline diabetic, his skin is not pale and blotchy from lack of exposure to the sun, his teeth are white and his fingers aren’t stained orange.

6. Work at a fast food joint/clean toilets in Wal-Mart – As you can see here, I got the privilege of experiencing the intricacies of the entire digestive process first hand. McDonald’s in Wal-Mart, followed by the ascension of my powerful career to stockboy in the Wal-Mart itself. Talk about having your life-force drained on a daily basis. I guess the only upside to this is things have to get better from here, right?

5. Put off getting a car/love masheen – Worst. Decision. Ever. The only means of escape that you have as a young man working a crappy job, living in a crappy apartment in a crappy town. Having a car is your own little piece of freedom and solitude. My advice for any young man/woman? Get in a car and just drive away. See where you end up.

4. Get involved with a married woman – This should seem mind-numbingly obvious… to some. To others, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” I wish I could go back in time and kick my own ass. It wouldn’t matter I suppose. When I was 19 you couldn’t tell me anything. My 19-year-old self would look at me now and try to tell him he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about… what a waste.

3. Have kids before you’re done growing up – Were you forced to grow up too fast after a rocky childhood? Do you work at a fast food restaurant or clean up human feces at Wal-Mart? Are you involved with a married woman? Do you have no car, money, friends, life, or future to speak of? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then you might have what it takes to be a real moron and compound your problems infinitely!

2. Join the army – Why be miserable at home when you can do it overseas, in a desert, surrounded by people with explosives who hate you! You didn’t really want those eight years of your life from 21-29, did you? What were you going to do anyway? Start your life?

1. Marry a bona fide lunatic – Ah, the discolored and rotting cherry on top of it all. I think the fact that she got drunk before our luxurious Reno wedding should have been at least one small clue. Ya know, in case I missed the paternity and adultery issues from before. Damn, was I an astute young man or what? I spell relief with a D.

Thank God that’s all over. I’m sure my 30’s will go off without a hitch….