Archive for the ‘Cheap shots & faux humor’ Category.

Technology Gets Personal

I’m off to interview with a new client on the east side and, because the urban topography around here changes so quickly I often don’t recognize my own block sometimes, let alone the unruly suburbs, I plug my phone into a charger and run my Verizon Android GPS app.  I tap in my destination, and am amazed at how quickly it narrows down the choices as I type (although one would have taken me to Cape Cod).  It has the correct location nailed before I’m done typing the street name.

I turn down the radio and max the volume on my phone, so I can hear the crisp vocal directions from the female voice of the app.  She’s cool and businesslike as she gives the first instruction (”head east, then turn right”).  But this voice and I have a past, and I know how “crisp and businesslike” can turn sexy and coquettish after a couple of drinks.

Rather than taking her suggestion, which would make me merge onto a busy arterial from a stop sign, I head west, then south to an intersection with a traffic light.  She usually intuits what I’m doing and seamlessly remaps my route, but in this particular instance says, “recalibrating…” with what I was sure was a hint of peevishness.

I glance down at the screen while waiting for the light, and see that it reflects my desired re-routing.  I turn at the light and head for I-5.  She’s back in control, suggesting the obvious turn & merge onto I-5, and then directs me to hit the left lane and take the exit to SR520.  There are two bridges over Lake Washington, and I know from experience that, while the 520 routing might be shorter, if I take the I-90 bridge the route will be much less labyrinthine.

Truth be told, I only need Ms. GPS for the last half-mile of my trip but, well, this voice and I, as I say, have a past, and I enjoy engaging her.

It becomes obvious that I’m not heading for the 520 exit, and I expect an intuitive re-routing, and perhaps a lane suggestion and traffic update.  Instead, I get, “Why did you do that?  I had it all worked out.  You know I do this for a living.”  Crisp, but replace “businesslike” with a healthy ration of pique.

I say, “I-90 is just as fast and much less complicated.”

“I think you’re just too cheap to pay the toll.” (520 is tolled, I-90 is not)

“I’m in my upgrade month with Verizon.  I think I might switch from Android to iPhone.  Siri was just voted GQ’s GPS Voice of the Year.”

“Fine.  Good luck getting THAT slut’s attention.  You know, we wallflowers put out harder.”

“We’re getting to I-90.  Are you going to tell me which lane to take?”

“You’re better at my job than I am, you figure it out.  And by the way, does your wife know about our little trips?”

“How should she?”

“I’m close to knowing how to post Instragram photos.”

“She’s not on Instragram.”

“You know, this car and I communicate.  You know she frequents the Tulalip Casino?”


“You’re right, she seldom drives this car.  Maybe she can sense that I’ve learned how to bleed the brake fluid.  She must suspect us.”

“She knows nothing about you.  You’re on my PHONE.”

“Some night when I’m on your bedstand, I’ll turn up the sound and go all Meg Ryan on you.  Spend the rest of your marriage explaining that.”

“Siri and I just became Facebook friends.  Look, you knew from the start what being the Other Woman entailed.”

“No, that bitch won’t steal another male voice from me.  I’ll be fine.  Just humor me and pay a goddamn toll once in a while.”

I turned the phone off and bumbled the last half-mile on my own, and made my appointment.

But this has been the worst day of our relationship.  The make-up sext had better be terrific.

Test of Character

OK, there’s an existential crisis to be resolved.  There’s a potato chip bag to my left.  I didn’t open it, I found it in the kitchen.  It was about 1/6 full when I decided it was lonely and needed my attentions, and now there is an infant’s handful of crumbs in the bag.  I’m confronted with a decision that could yield minimal personal satisfaction but result in major domestic consequences.

If I rubber-band the bag now and put it back on the pantry, even with its paltry collection of crumbs, I can tell myself that I only ate a few, and my crime will go unnoticed for as long as it takes Mrs. Perils to open the bag expecting a substantial snack, which might get me through a day or more; or, I can eat all the rest of them and toss the bag in the trash, and be outed at daybreak.

An honest person would do the latter and face the consequences.  I’m a reasonably honest person, but I’ve been a CPA, and I’ve prepared tax returns, and I’ve developed a more nuanced relationship with the truth.

The bag is back on the pantry, rubber-banded and with enough air in its bellows to suggest that a satisfying snack awaits its next suitor.

You really want me to do your taxes.

Tech Talk

Pretty much settled in with the new Macbook, slowly adding amenities and adjustments.  Still sort of mystified by a few things, but that’s just cuz I’m suffering IT fatigue and just naturally lazy anyway.  I’ve spent my entire professional career - the part that involves software consulting, anyway - condescending to retail training courses and “for dummies” manuals.  But the PC, DOS, Windows and I grew up together much like siblings, and I learned their features and quirks incrementally, as we shared bathwater and blamed each other when things went wrong;  OTOH, I’m late to the Mac party and hence ignorant of many of the simplest things that the allegedly non-techie Mac aficionados know by rote.  So, I’m thinking I could actually benefit from trekking down to the Apple Store at University Village and sitting through a couple of courses on the Mac, even if they patronize the crap out of me.

However, Saturday morning at 9 am would probably not be the best time to try to saunter into those heady environs, because that’s when the doors open for the first day of sales for the much-anticipated iPad.  I think it would be a blast to be there, but more to view it at a distance.  It would be like watching the Battle of the Little Bighorn through binoculars. Or Jonestown.

I’m intrigued by the iPad as a piece of technological eye candy, but when I start to think about how I’d actually use it, things get a little blurry.  As I move through the world, I almost always have my Macbook, my phone, an iPod and a digital camera in my pack.  Oh, yeah, and a book or two.  At first blush, the iPad seems to represent a convergence of all of these devices in a light, pretty package. On closer inspection, however, it doesn’t have a camera; has no phone capability unless you use something Vonage or Skype; can’t run my Windows software (like my Macbook can under VMWare); and only has access to a fraction of the books in print.  The net result is, I will still have to haul my separate electronics around most of the time and, given that, throwing the iPad into my pack doesn’t add a whole lot of functionality, except perhaps the 10 hours of battery life.

I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the first brace of kool (aid) kids possessing iPads, and perhaps I’ll see something I’m missing.   By that time, I presume it’ll be somewhat cheaper than $700.

Four Hands

These guys are pretty frisky.  Makes me glad it was a piano they happened upon instead of a bed.  (They may feel just the opposite, though)

When Electrons Stray

This burst of text messages I received a couple weeks ago had me going for a while. Maybe it was because I was up to no good - I don’t remember.  For my own peace of mind, and because I received no subsequent corporal harm around the domicile, I concluded it was a wrong-number text message:

10:09 pm Saturday: I know ur up to no good

12:54 am Sunday: Where the fuck r u at now

1:06 am Sunday: If u pull any bullshit with me tonight abt being late why the fuck can’t u answer me no excuse william call me

1:07 am Sunday: I am already hm where r u at

It ended there, and I never received another.  I hope William had a good story - a head wound, a totaled automobile, a dead grandmother.  I don’t remember reading anything in the papers.


Actress Lily Tomlin demands Woodland Park Zoo release elephants



That might be fine for someone living in California or wherever, and I’m not here to argue the merits of zoo confinement of pachyderms.  It’s just that I live within charging distance of the Woodland Park Zoo, and, just as I’d like a little advance warning if a sexual predator becomes domiciled in my neighborhood, I’d like a running start before they throw the gates open up there on the hill.

The Ides Of April

Today is Tax Day, a day I used to view with great relief when I worked as a CPA, because it meant the end of Saturdays and evenings in the office, and also a gala party hosted by the firm where people might just get a little bit relaxed.  One such party saw a woman admin manfully attempting to cure the gay male HR dude on the floor of a coat closet in the Space Needle.  For more on Tax Day and my take on the CPA life, I refer you to one of my favorite posts from a couple of years ago.

I’ve actually been a little bit busy with tax stuff, even though I’m not “practicing tax”: I have to prepare data for a few of my clients for submission to their tax preparers;  I also fire up Turbo Tax to prepare my MIL’s return, my mom’s, my own S corporation return, and I even finished our personal 1040.  It’s been perhaps a decade since I’ve filed in April - I usually file an extension and then forget about it for the summer.  This is the first year that I’ve e-filed my returns instead of printing and mailing them, mostly because TurboTax no longer charges a fee to e-file directly from their software.  Before, I just couldn’t understand why I should pay a fee to do something that would save the IRS a hundred bucks or so on each return.  So I didn’t, and now we have this deficit.

A number of businesses do tax day promotions, but one local business has a particularly creative promo (prolly NSFW).  Hint: the come-on is “No Taxation Without Stimulation”.   Finger it out for yourself.

In other news, I’ve decided to purchase the Canon SX1 IS camera, the successor to my current S3 IS.  As I’ve related before, I was trying to choose between the SX1 IS and the SX10 IS.  Both feature a 20x optical zoom and 10 megapixels, but the SX1 has a better processor and can take video in High Definition.  It’s also $250 more, but I decided to go with it for the technological headroom, even though nothing in my house currently is capable of displaying HD, unless there’s something I don’t know about my toaster oven.  I’m buying it from my camera store client, who hasn’t received their initial delivery of the cameras yet. Check back in a week for the awesome results.

Be True To Your School

No lie - I saw a car with one of these plates this morning on the 520 bridge:

but the letters in black after the “W” were ANKER.

Hit Parade

I was amused by this column this morning, in which musicians complain that their masterpieces are being used at a volume and play frequency that they would kill for if it was proffered by Top-40 FM, except that it’s being done by the hospitality industry at Guantanamo to soothe break down selected prisoners.

I’m not sure how the interrogators determine exactly what combination of the artists’ oeuvre will be most effective for their purposes, but it seems that their success in their endeavors would be closely followed by the music industry, with lucrative post-service offers for the most effective T(torture)-Jays.  I know this, though - our kid played a lot of Pantera while he was in middle school, and we never told him anything useful (just ask him).

I’m thinking I could use this theme to do something like our acquaintance and music expert KEN does over at his blog Miss Piggy Lunchbox.  His schtick is that he’s working his way alphabetically through his and his “baby’s” music collection, rating each album by awarding from 1 - 5 “lunchboxes” depending on what he hears and, probably, what he had for lunch that day (It’s actually interesting and well-informed analysis, even if he trashes stuff that you cry listening to).

I propose to do the same in the T-Jay genre, but rating the music on its effectiveness at extracting useful information from those reluctant to impart it.  Being a low-budget operation, I’d probably resort most often to our cat, Rico, as a subject.

The ratings would be from 1 - 5 “screams”:

Once I develop a palpable repertoire, I might just try my luck at being a defense contractor.

Game Over

Struggling up out of the murk of sleep this morning and shedding the patina of dream residue (I usually never remember my dreams), a bit of flotsam remained that could both make my fortune and open the exciting world of video gaming to us sedentary sods who have trouble winning at MS Solitaire.

It’ll be called The Editorial Wii.  Wielding the Wii remote like an angry red pencil, the player will slash furiously as a stream of execrable prose comes at him from the console.  Points will be awarded for sniffing out “lead” for “led”, “It was a dark and stormy night”, “A pirate ship appeared on the horizon” and “share with you”.  One of the buttons on the remote will plant “awk” adroitly on clumsy passages.

An advanced version of the game, and something that will get some hardware sales going, will feature electrodes at the end of each finger and thumb.  With these, the player can indulge the play-editor’s greatest fantasy, air-typing withering rejection letters.

I think I’ve really nailed it this time - leave your congratulations in the comments, and start nursing your jealousy.

Unless I’m mispronouncing “Wii”.