Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sentences That Imply Their Opposites

As usual, I rely on my friends and random commenters for my topics, for I am weak in imagination and possess a paucity of originality not seen since Hollywood discovered the Sequel.

This week's idea came from metamonk. I can't link to him since he has no web presence to speak of. No real presence either, now that I think of it. I imagine him to be the sort who knows all about high energy radio waves and how much concrete you'd need to go 'unnoticed'. He's also the sort, although he's never said it, who's quite comfortable using the phrase 'off the grid'.


This is what happens when you spend the most formative years of your life reading books on espionage, apparently.

Onto the topic: Sentences That Imply Their Opposites
  • I don't want to be mean but...
  • I'm not in it for the money...
  • Comic book collecting isn't just for kids and 40 year old virgins who live in their parents basements, you know.
  • This won't hurt a bit.
  • Far be it for me to suggest a change, but...
  • It's not you, it's me.
  • Normally I don't watch that show, but I was flipping through the channels and...
  • I'm pretty slow to anger.
  • I'm not one to notice looks, usually.
  • I don't pay attention to celebrity news.
  • Man, I hate how cars are such status symbols now.
  • Hey, before you head out home, can I talk to you for just a minute?
  • I'm not a violent man.
  • Strip clubs are so lame.
  • I only read the classics.
  • Barry Manilow? My mom must've forgotten that CD.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Enthusiasm

Joe Smith, the head administrator here, is leaving, after many years of faithful service. I have only one recollection of him, which I squeezed for all it was worth to write a decent column for our newsletter. Yes, he actually did do this.

Enthusiasm is something we all aspire to have, in some way. It keeps work fresh, coworkers fired up, and adds a bit of pep when your mind wants desperately to go on cruise control.

Not all the time, of course; no one wants to be the perpetually perky upstart who needs 37 cups of coffee and 2 hours of Elmo just to get out of bed in the morning. The sort who causes everyone to roll their eyes and start speaking sarcasm as their second language.

But some enthusiasm, even the odd outburst of Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailedness is good. Even welcome.

And if there is one word that best describes Joe Smith to me, it'd be 'enthusiasm' (the good kind). There's one instance that comes to mind, where he had to get us rank-and-file enthused.

I mean, there are many ways to rally the troops, as it were. You could stand up and spout off an endless series of speeches that, while perhaps entertaining to some, don't exactly inspire. You could send out craftily worded emails with clever clipart; which would entertain a number of people, maybe not for the reasons intended, and it too would fail to inspire.

Or you could, if you had the moxie and, dare I say, gumption for it, don a super hero outfit, have a comic made of you, and call yourself Captain Positive! That, I'd put to you, inspires far more enthusiasm than anything else.

I didn't even see his transformation in person. I only heard about it, read the comic, and saw pictures. But, even one degree of separation from such a gutsy display of enthusiasm, I was impressed. How could you not be? It's pretty much the definition of 'giving 110%'. It's all the staid corporate phrases broken down and made into something real and applicable -- in the form of ill-fitting spandex and a motorcycle helmet, I'll grant you -- but pretty darn neat, all the same.

And now that he's off, possibly back to the land of Oil and Cow, he's leaving us with that image, that burned-in-the-retina image of a administrator hell-bent on getting, and giving the best to his staff. A man with no compunction for ceremony. A man charged with a hefty dose of enthusiasm. A real Captain Positive!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This Is What Freedom Looks Like


This is actually a picture of an internet friend of mine, Chris B.

Er. e-friend. Someone I met online. You know, there's no way to phrase that that won't make you stand up and holler at the screen "YOU ARE A GIGANTIC NERD". So I'm going to stop trying to make it normal, because damnit, I'm not, not very, anyways.

Oh shit, I should've gone with penpal. There's nothing creepy about penpals. Damnit.

Onto the picture.

My dad was big into candid shots. He'd sorta stalk his kids, us jumping off the couch or trying to suffocate each other or throw small, blunt objects at each other with surprising regularity. He'd hold this Canon point and shoot by his leg, all spy like. And then, snap. We'd all go "aww maaan" like this was the most worstest thing he could do.

Of course, years later, some of those pictures are pretty priceless. One of me playing 'Submarine Captain' in the toilet comes to mind. Legs fully in, half crouched in the toilet, turning around to look at a camera that has spot me before I 'dive', presumably. I have to salute my dad for not actually rushing to take me out of a teeming mess of fecal coliform bacteria and possible drowning. For not first thinking "my god, if he slips, and hits his head...". Nonono, the first thought that came to his head was, "Camera.. where's my camera?". This picture was the source of untold mirth and retelling for my parents.

Anyhoo, that's been my thing with my kids, candids. I love candids. They are stupidly hard to take and you end up shooting 400 shots before 1 even makes you go, 'meh'. But when you can capture that essence, that unguarded moment of just 'being', damn, there's nothing better. I've seen a lot of candids, my dad pretty much took candids exclusively.

So believe me when I say this candid of Chris B has got to be one of the bestest candid shots I've seen. Lots of awesome stuff going on.

The car, for one. It's some sorta 70's behemoth made from 120% American Steel that gets slightly better gas mileage than an Abrams. That steering wheel looks like it's aimed at Chris' head, so if he ever got in accident, the non-flexing, kinetic-energy transfering 120% steel car frame could direct all it's violence upon his head, taking it clear off. No months of rehab, tragic paralysis for him, thanks.

The passenger seat is filled with a drum. Not a girlfriend. Not his little brother who needs to be taken to a viola recital. A damn drum. So you know that trunk (that could probably take a small Olympic-sized pool) has the rest of the band setup stuffed in there.

I'm pretty sure there isn't a seat-belt on that monster. Or if it is, it's a glorified rope with a buckle. I'm positive that if put on correctly, it would in no way impede the progress of your head smashing into the steering column. It's probably only good for trapping you in your seat should you go over a bridge, or pinning you just long enough for the engine fire to engulf you.

And then there's the subject. He's got that great look of someone who's never, ever going to die. The culmination of perhaps 4 years of high-school band perfected into a garage-rocker extraordinnaire. There's something so carefree about him. Maybe its the fact that he looks about 15, or the brave attempt at a moustache, or the longish hair that proclaims to the world that 'He doesn't need your corporate job, man'. Maybe it's that so in-the-moment glance of "I'm listening, hurry the fuck up". Or the feeling that he could either be listening to his mother asking him to 'please pick up some eggs on the way home', or his buddy about 'how you still owe me twenty bucks for the Mary Jane'.

That picture is like a timeless capture of the invincible, innocent, limitless youth.

Don't know if it's better than the Submarine Captain.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bocce News Update #6 : Andy Rooney Reporting

We won our long long LONG running workplace bocce tourney! Go us! Here's the news update I put on our work wiki. Anonymized, of course.


I don't know what's wrong with sport in this country. Why it seems only last week we allowed the Prussian Empire to play us in an exhibition polo match. But now we have all sorts of Continental games being played to and fro, it's getting to be that I don't know if we still play sports, or just throw alot of balls around and hope someone knows the rules.

Yesterday I was present at some sort of bowling championship. Although it wasn't any bowling championship I'd ever seen. There were no fouling smelling shoes to rent, or that bit of the bowling ball retriever that blows out air, for reasons I don't think anyone really knows. There was none of that old town feel, like maybe I could look over the lane and see my Uncle Benny and his friends from the steel plant.

No, this was a different sort. I'm not sure if it's nice to use the word 'foreign', anymore, maybe the aforementioned 'Continental' is alright. In any case, bocce 'is not from around here'. It's played out doors, and the players didn't seem to bowl as much as just toss the balls and hope for the best.

Apparently there were two teams playing, Team A(Joe Smith, Larry Jones, Sam Wise, and Moe Curlie) playing against Team B (Jane Smith and Stan Cooper). I was more confused than usual since it appeared Team A were playing the entire game in masks. Some sort of Mexican wrestling masks, as best as I could muster, but knowing the younger generation, or, rather, not really knowing them at all, it could have been their sport uniform. Like I said, bocce is kind of 'Continental'.

It was, by all accounts, a close game, then Team A pulled ahead to a commanding 11-3 lead. One of them remarked that they were just letting the other team get ahead. I'm not so sure about that. The ground was so littered with twigs, roots and bare from grass that they probably would have gotten the same result tossing dice, or playing "Rock Paper Scissors". Anyways, Team B pulled ahead to make the game 7-13, after which Team A won.

Was that supposed to be exciting? Call me old-fashioned, but to watch a sport you need bleachers and pennants and old popcorn. Maybe a cup of watered down beer that tastes that much better because you're drinking it at ballpark.

In an case, congratulations to Team A, I guess.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Insults From A Senile Victorian Gentleman

You SIR, have the hygeine of an overly ripe avocado and the speaking habits of a vaguely deranged chess set. I find your manner to be unctuous and possibly libelous, and whatever standard you set for orthodontal care, it's not one I care for. Your choice in news programs is semi-literate at best and I do believe your favourite news anchor writes erotic literature for university mascots. While I'm not one to point out so obvious a failing, there has been rumour that the brunches you host every other Sunday are made with too much lard and cilantro. If you get my meaning. There is something to be said about your choice of motor-car fuel, but it is not urbane and if I were to repeat it, mothers would cover their children's ears and perhaps not a few longshoremen within earshot would blush.

How you maintain that rather obscene crease in your trousers and your socks is beyond me, perhaps its also during this time that you cultivate a skin regime that I'm sure requires the death of not a few dung beetles and a charmingly morose flamingo. But at least a flamingo has knees, and not just a continuation of the most unsightly part of one's ankle all the way up to those frighteningly child-bearing hips you happen to have.

Your favourite French translator has a unhealthy fascination with crankshafts and your favourite novelist was last seen doing something trite, shallow, and vastly popular.

I don't think I speak out of turn when I mention your gait reminds me of a palsied giraffe in his death throes being beaten about by a troop of erotically charged baboons.

You remind me of a stork with a lacerated colon. If you don't mind me saying your face has the repugnant sensibilities of one who, quite mistakenly, stopped short of suicide at a young age and, to the consternation of all that is just in the world, failed to fall to childhood consumption as well. Your rather oddly proportioned body reminds me of a humourously crafted sausage that has since gone stale and is only kept on as a curiousity at the local pawn shop. And though it pains me to point out, your ears have all the charm of a wayward pigeon masticated by a gaggle of ravenous seabirds. I imagine it takes a rather shocking amount of fortitude, ignorance or bravery to look in the mirror every morning.

I'm sure your credit is quite fine, something steady and respectable only earned by a man of no taste, little imagination, and a family pedigree about as long as my cuticle. Which I suppose counteracts your preference in short, stout women whose resemblance to sheared horrifically disfigured farm animals is more than passing, and have all the intelligence of an out-of-season pinecone. And not to put too fine a point of it, old chum, but your consistent choice in conversation topics has made me consider avoiding you altogether and say, chatting up a rather long insurance quote for a 17th century shipyard.

Has it been very long that a family of schizophrenic racoons have burrowed up your nose and eaten all that is left of your brain? Are you just running that thick and dimmed skull of yours on racoon droppings and a displaced sense of duty to keep up appearances; because if you must know, there aren't many to keep up.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Last Thing You Want To Hear...

Fireman
"We'll be right with you sir, but the heat is causing my eczema to flare up!"

Police Officer

"These new taser guns are so neat..."

Surgeon

"Well I'll be damned..."

Stock Broker

"The number you are calling is not in service..."

Psychotherapist

"If you don't mind, my blog commenters just had a few questions..."

Your Significant Other Of Several Years
"You're wonderful, you really are, it's just that..."

Dentist
"You're not one of those quack patients who believes in novacaine, are you?"

Drug Dealer
"If you could just repeat your full name slowly and clearly."

Pawn Shop Owner
"Ah, my best client."

Biology Teacher
"If you'll all open up to Genesis, we'll begin class."

Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner
"I got something for that, but first, how do you feel about endangered animals?"

Butler
"Oh, blackmail is such an ugly word."

Pilot
"The weather in sunny Phoenix is 82 and the time is WHOOOOOOOOOO I'M SOOO DRUUNK!"

TSA Agent
"Are you allergic to either latex or petroleum jelly?"