Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In Which I Visualize Numbers One Through Nine

Unless you have been living under a rock for a number of years, you've probably heard of the game "Sudoku". When I first heard of it, I figured it was just another game my grandmother would play, but over the past year or two I've picked up a few puzzles to see if I could figure it out. Not being one to have a fucking piece of paper stump me, I quickly gave up each time. I never really put the effort forth until a couple of months ago when I solved my first puzzle.

Once I solved that first puzzle, I was hooked. I've blazed through my "Easy Sudoku" book, and I'm 10 puzzles deep into the "Intermediate" level. I've likened my addiction to that of other vices, such as gambling, hookers, or drugs. The more Sudoku I do, the more I want to do it. When I'm not working on a puzzle, I'm thinking about working on a puzzle. Often times this mental obsession projects itself verbally, and causes confusion for those not privy to my broken sanity.

"What do you want to have for dinner, Michael?"
"ONE, SIX, OR SEVEN!"

"What was your favorite part of the movie?"
"NINE!"

"Do you have change for a twenty?"
"THREE? SHIT. NO, FIVE!"

I routinely have to explain that no, I do not have a numerical form of Tourette's, that I was simply imagining the possible locations of the numbers one through nine on a square grid of eighty-one boxes divided into nine larger boxes, where each larger box and vertical/horizontal column can only contain one of each digit.

Lucky for me, I am used to getting weird looks.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In Which I Talk About My Personal Hygiene

About two months ago, I made a trip out to the local drugstore. I was almost out (read: was out a week ago, and was using clouds of cologne to mask the smell of death radiating from me) of shampoo, soap, and deodorant. It was very convenient that all three ran out at the same time, because it saves me multiple trips to the store. I'll let you think that the aforementioned simultaneous expiration of my personal hygiene products was pure coincidence, but really I was metering the usage so I could make one trip out when they were all gone. One could argue that one of my character flaws is laziness, but with gas prices today? Who can afford multiple trips to Rite-Aid? I ain't made of money.

After getting lost in the makeup and adult incontinence aisles (funny they had them in the same aisle), I finally found the section containing Men's hygiene products. I quickly located the brand of shampoo and soap I use and selected a bottle of each, ignoring the elevated price seeing as they figure its okay to charge extra for convenience. "I'll just make it last twice as long," I say to myself. When searching the shelves for the type of deodorant that I normally use, and I start to get nervous when I realize that the bastards don't carry it. Selecting a new brand of deodorant is like trying to decide which hooker to get... You just won't know which one you like until to take it home and try it, and making the wrong choice could result in pesky irritation or a rash.

Finding a deodorant with a similar smell to my normal brand proved to be very difficult. I'm thoroughly convinced that each company has patents on their specific fragrances, lest there be olfactory confusion when Man A using "Fresh Burst" and Man B wearing "Active Sport" get accused of wearing the same brand. Each time I opened up a new stick to smell the fragrance, I got the evil eye from the clerk behind the checkout counter. I shrugged off her heavy gaze and returned to my quest, determined. I didn't care if I got accused of sampling... All I knew is that if I made the wrong selection, I'll either end up smelling like a 65-year-old man or a gigolo every time I got axillarily overheated.

Frustrated, I opted for an Adidas brand deodorant. It was as close to a smell-a-like as I could find, and it was marked down 50%. I should have taken its "Clearance" status as a warning, but apparently my better judgement was still clouded in a deodorant-testing stupor. Avoiding the gaze of the nosy cashier, I paid and left as quickly as I could.

After my trials at the drug store, I'm proud to say that the shampoo and soap work perfectly. I have no complaints about their performance at all, which is the main reason I am a repeat customer. Two thumbs up.

The deodorant, you ask? How did it fare in its daily use?

Unless you enjoy smelling like a warm, spicy onion, two resounding thumbs down.

The "deodorant" effect of it only lasted for the first few hours after its first application. With any amount of sweating after that, I would have to liberally re-apply it. It was surprisingly ineffective for a brand name so popularly associated with sports. One day a week ago, after my seventh application that day, I decided that "Adidas" is an acronym:

A Dismal, Incapable Deodorant, Astoundingly unSatisfied.

Despite the shortcomings of my ill-advised choice of deodorant, I decided to use that piece of shit until it was completely gone. I was simply not going to be out done by a clearance section reject. After many, many complaints from family and friends, I am proud to say that yesterday was the last day of use I could scrape out of the Devil's Deodorant. I still wasn't able to find my tried-and-true brand while out shopping earlier this month, so I bit the bullet and tried another brand.

After all, when compared to "Decaying Sailor", the "Fresh Burst" scent doesn't seem so bad.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In Which I (Might) Divulge My Deep, Dark Secrets

It has been said that one shouldn't go too far into specifics when they talk about their lives on the Interwebernet. From personal experience, I have been threatened legal action for comments I made about an ex-boss on a journal I used to have. I've also heard stories about people losing their jobs or losing friends from the opinions and thoughts expressed through their writing. So when I started fresh with a new name and a new blog my main objective was to not give away too much, and hide in the relative anonymity of the Internet.

I feel as if I've succeeded thus far in my goal. So long as I keep it fairly general, I feel comfortable talking about where I live, how I grew up, and other random facts. I don't mind telling you all my real name (its Michael, for those interested). I'll gladly tell stories about things that I experience or have experienced, but I do have to draw the line somewhere.

Some of the earlier entries on this blog listed off some things about me, personality-wise. With a degree of vague-ness, I am willing to share more without baring it all. So I ask you, my readers...

What do you want to know about me?

I will answer each question truthfully, and will post the response in an entry later on.


Happy questioning!

Friday, April 18, 2008

In Which I Bite My Tongue

While at work today, I had an encounter with a customer that was less than pleasant. I am normally a patient and polite person, but this guy was an entirely new breed of asshat. He started in on me immediately, using up my "Emergency Reserve" of patience within the first 45 seconds. He continued pushing my buttons, and I came within mere inches (nay, centimeters!) of completely losing my shit.

Considering how much I enjoyed this wonderful experience, I've transcribed* it for your reading pleasure. Read on...

*(Some creative liberty might have been used.)


ME: Thank you for call-

ASSHAT: *heavy sigh* FINALLY someone picked up. I've been on hold for three minutes! That's outrageous! How can a company such as your treat their customers so poorly? I've been with this company for years and I've never been treated this way.

ME: Well, Sir, I do apologize but this is just their answering service. They must be experiencing a high call volume at this time. I can take a messa-

ASSHAT: I don't WANT to speak to the answering service! I need to fax some documents to the office, and I need confirmation that they received it. This is VERY important and it needs to happen RIGHT. AWAY.

ME: Okay, Sir, what I can do is either take a message to have someone call you in regards to this, or I can give you their fax num-

ASSHAT: I don't WANT to leave a MESSAGE. I need to speak with SOMEONE who can confirm that they received my fax. Transfer me back to the main office.

ME: Unfortunately Sir, I do not have the ability to transfer to any number. The only transaction we provide is taking messages from callers for a return call within one business day from the main offi-

ASSHAT: I CANNOT WAIT for a callback from the office. This needs to happen NOW! I need to fax some paperwork to them that is VERY important.

ME: Like I said, Sir, I can only take a message for you. If you'd prefer not to do that, I can give you their fax number so you can fax in your paperwork, and you can call later on today to follow up.

*heavy pause*

ASSHAT: I CAN'T just fax it in without someone knowing what it is for. Someone needs to know what it is for before I send it. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

ME: I understand what you are looking to do, Sir, and I wish I could help you directly. The only thing I can do for you is take a message, and if that doesn't work for you then you will have to try calling back lat-

ASSHAT: I DON'T WANT TO CALL BACK LATER! I WANT THIS TAKEN CARE OF NOW! YOU ARE BEING UNREASONA-

ME: Sir.

ASSHAT: -BLE! THIS IS SUCH A SIMPLE THING AND YOU ARE MAKING IT INTO A HUGE PRODUCTI-

ME: SIR.

ASSHAT: -ON! I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW LITTLE YOU ARE COOPERATING WITH MY SIMPLE REQUEST!

ME: Sir, I am trying to cooperate, but please understand that I can ONLY provide the services allowed by the main office. The only function I have is to take a message, and they return the calls as they are received.

ASSHAT: *heavy sigh* FINE. Just give me the FUCKING fax number and I won't bother you anymore.

ME: Okay, Sir. The fax number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. If you'd like to call back to make sure they received your fax, they are open today until five o'clo-

ASSHAT: FINE. I take care of this myself. I don't know WHY you had to make this so FUCKING difficult.

*CLICK*

I could not believe it. After putting up with this guys bullshit, he had the nerve to hang up on me.

Perhaps it would be beneficial to mention that I absolutely hate being interrupted. It doesn't matter if my 93-year-old great-grandmother did it, I still get really annoyed by it. And when some asshat in a pissy mood takes his misguided frustrations out on me right from the start, and interrupts me nearly every time I speak? He's lucky I didn't reach through the phone and fucking strangle him with the cord. I could feel my blood pressure rising with each word that came out of his mouth. Resisting the urge numerous times to hang up on him was very, very difficult.

I should get a fucking medal for dealing with that guy and not losing control. Especially with this having happened within the first four hours of a 12-hour shift.

One thing is for sure... My "People Who Are Sure to Perish Should I Ever Go Manically Insane and Accquire Lethal Superpowers" List just got a little bit longer.

More on that later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Badass Geek "How To" Tutorial, Part Four

STEP TEN: Completion

Congratulations! You have arrived at the final step of the Badass Geek training program. There is no task for this step, short of taking a moment to revel in your own glory for attaining the lofty designation of an Official Badass Geek. You should feel very good about yourself for having accomplished something in your life, and for once you can prove to your family that you followed through with something from start to finish.

As proof of all your hard work, a personalized "Certificate of Completion" is available. Also, as an official Badass Geek, you are now a member of the Badass Geek Brotherhood

Again, congratulations on completion of this course. It not only proves your dedication, but that you have way too much free time and possibly are in need of a decent hobby.

---

Now that I'm done with the BAG training program entries, I'll try to think of some other shit to write about. Bear with me, I need to restore my creativity.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Badass Geek "How To" Tutorial, Part Three

The steps leading up to this point have shown you how to adapt your supposedly "normal" life and become a Badass Geek. The life of a BAG is not always easy, so the next three steps will provide some guidance should you hit some turbulence along the way.

(Editor's Note: If you have made it this far in the training and have not yet given up, I commend you. If you plan on giving up soon, I don't blame you. Either way, here is the third installment of the highly acclaimed "10 Simple Steps to Badass Geek Success" program.)


STEP SEVEN: Building Confidence


After being out in public with your new persona, did you find it difficult? Were you intimidated by the curious looks from those not used to your new appearance? Were they also shocked by your profane but tasteful language and stimulating conversational material? It is not uncommon for those new to BAG-status to receive strange looks and pointed fingers, but don't get discouraged. Keep in mind that regardless of who they are, you are more important. Don't back down.


Much like in Step One, having supportive friends and family can result in an increase in overall confidence. Here are a few other things to try if personal experience and a supportive social network doesn't help:
  • Develop rude hand gestures (ie. "flipping the bird")
  • Use profanity in different environments, including while driving to prevent road rage
  • Start blogging (if you don't currently)

It is crucial that you remain strong at this vulnerable stage. If you falter now, your image will be tainted. While one's image isn't essential to a BAG, it helps pull off the desired effect.

STEP EIGHT: Troubleshooting

If you are not careful in how you select and deploy the different elements of your image, you might develop some problems. For example, you will appear rediculous if you look too much like a badass but let your inner geek expose itself at inopportune times. Worse still, you might be accused of being a "poser" if you appear to be a geek but are acting the part of a badass. Maintaining a neutral attitude and proper balance between both is needed at all times.

Examine yourself honestly and if needed, repeat the earlier steps in the program. If problems still arise after multiple attempts, perhaps you are not cut out for the life of a Badass Geek.

STEP NINE: The Badass Geek Network

There is only one certified Badass Geek currently on record. With the social network at the BAG Network at the smallest possible number, it would greatly benefit from any new members. The task for this step is to post a link to this blog in your linklist or blogroll. Write a blog entry about your experience, and tell the world what you really think about me.

The more Badass Geek's in this world, the better.


---


Coming soon.... The Final Episode! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Badass Geek "How To" Tutorial, Part Two

Its been a few days since Part One of the tutorial, and I hope you've had some time to review the first three steps. Please make sure you are comfortable with everything mentioned in Part One before going any further in the program. As a motivational tool to help you get motivated, I will instill you with a nugget of Jedi wisdom: "Do, or do not. There is no try."

STEP FOUR: Look The Part

According to statistics I made up for this step, 75% of people say that their first impression of someone is based upon how they look. For analytical purposes, I have created another pie-chart:


Because of this, it is very important that your outward appearance conveys the proper message. No loud colors or radical choices of hairstyle are allowed, and clothing considered to be "popular" or "trendy" is generally frowned upon. It is preferable to a Badass Geek to not stand out, but rather to blend in with his/her surroundings. When selecting a wardrobe, keep in mind that you are dressing for both a badass and a geek. Would a badass wear pleated-front khakis? Unlikely. Would a geek wear pre-ripped designer jeans? Of course not. A tasteful combination of basic jeans and a screen printed t-shirt is acceptable for a plethora of occasions. For events requiring more class, or if your employer has a dress code, tailor your attire accordingly.

If you are into high-fashion and enjoy following the latest trends, and do not feel you can fully comply with this step, now would be the time to bow out gracefully.

STEP FIVE: Choose Your Geek Genre

Part of being a BAG is understanding the compromise between the "badass" and the "geek". Due to its nature, the "badass" personality can be overbearing and appear more dominant to others, but that effect should be reduced with a subdued attire. To help amplify the "geek" and add balance to the metaphorical scale, one must choose a geek-genre.

A geek-genre is a subject, event, or hobby. It must be something that you know a lot about, and you must be capable of talking about it at length should the situation demand it. I have prepared a list of my personal geek-genres as an example:

  • Music
  • Movie/Television trivia
  • Computers

It is acceptable to have more than one geek-genre, and depending upon your level of "badass-ness", you might need more than one to even things out. For example, I have three geek-genres because I swear enough for two people and I have a tattoo, making my badass-to-geek ratio an even 3:3. It is advised that you do not overload yourself with geek-genres, as further attempts to boost one's "badass-ness" might result in criminal records and/or restraining orders.

STEP SIX: The Badass Geek in Public

Now that you have completed half of the steps required for Badass Geek success, it is now time to take what you have learned and put it into action. With the support of your friends, go out to your local shopping mall, roller skating rink, or other popular venue of choice to try out your new-found personality. Use caution when swearing, and do not freely talk about your geek-genre unless prompted to by means of conversational direction. Remember to be both yourself, and a badass geek.

---

At this point in the program, I will request proof of your completion of the program thus far. A picture is preferred, however I will accept a description of events of you exhibiting your Badass Geek-ness. I will not publish any other steps for the program until next Monday, April 14th, and the deadline for proof submission will be Sunday, April 13th.

Please e-mail your submissions to:

badassgeek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Good luck!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Badass Geek "How To" Tutorial, Part One

In response to my last post, Leonie mentioned that she is neither a geek or a badass, and asked me to teach her how to become one. I promised her a tutorial on how to become a Badass Geek (or a BAG, for short), however I must make some cautionary statements beforehand. The road to becoming a Badass Geek is not a task for the light of heart, or for those who have large amounts of self respect. While simply being a badass is easy enough, and being a geek does have its intellectual advantages, it is the combination of the two that prove to be volatile if the proper steps to achieving BAG status are ignored.


Before I continue with the instructions, my legal counsel advised me to mention that I accept no blame for any mishaps, injuries, or loss of friends should the "10 Simple Steps to Badass Geek Success" plan backfire. Strict adherence to the plan is necessary for success. Please also note the following side effects:


  • Increase of hangovers combined with partial memory loss
  • Unexplained purchases of suspenders and/or pocket protectors
  • Decrease of party invitations
  • All your calls to friends go straight to voicemail
  • Sudden appearance of tattoos

If you experience any of these side effects, stop the training course immediately. Also, you might be trying too hard, so lighten the fuck up and don't take this so seriously.

I will release the "10 Steps to Badass Geek Success" tutorial in four episodes, three of which will be comprised of three steps, and the final episode will contain the conclusion. Shall we begin?

STEP ONE: Coming Out

The first step is quite possibly the most important. Before any changes can be made, you must first tell your family and friends about your decision to become a Badass Geek. Be prepared for a variety of reactions, as the highly religious tend to be adverse to this "alternative lifestyle". A rift might develop in the relationship with your family or friends, so carefully plan out the delivery of the news and an escape route ahead of time. Having open-minded friends and/or family will help you in your overall success in this program, so if you do not know any open-minded people, I suggest you meet some right away.

STEP TWO: Learn A New Language

Part of the badass image is comprised of swearing. If you are prone to swearing already, then you can skip to the next step. If not, I suggest you pick up and get comfortable using a handful of swear words. The word with the highest shock-factor is "fuck", and I suggest you save that for moments of intense emotions or in the trusted company of friends. There are swear words that are much more universal, like "shit", "ass", or "damn". They can be used in a variety of conversational scenarios, in lieu of pansy-words like "shoot", "crap", or "darn". Use discretion when swearing, because while it may be customary to swear at a football game, it is generally frowned upon to cuss during your nephew's baptism ceremony.

The language involved in the geek image is more about intellect. Try using large words, making sure you fully understand the meaning and correct way to pronounce the words before using them. Depending upon your general level of intelligence and relative size of your vocabulary, consulting a thesaurus would be helpful at this stage.

STEP THREE: Learn The Attitude

The attitude of the BAG is multifaceted. However, at this point in the program, it is strictly an attitude based on neutrality, which can often be mistaken for apathy. You must be vehement about your beliefs when the time comes, but generally the BAG goes with the flow while maintaining the standard of non-conformity. Show interest when it is appropriate and be polite when its required, but remain neutral otherwise. The attitude will develop and change as mastery in the other steps of this program is attained.

Stay tuned for Part Two of the Badass Geek Tutorial, coming soon.

Friday, April 4, 2008

In Which I Talk About Myself

I must confess to the handful of readers of this site that I am perhaps more of a geek than I am a badass. After all, the simple acts of swearing, rebelling against organized religion, getting tattoos, and listening to metal music aren't the only deciding factors that make one a badass. I definately have more personal qualities that pull more weight on the "Geek" side of the scale, so I feel the need to expose my true colors.


My geek-ness was largely apparent during my high school years. I grew up in a very sheltered, very Christian home. I was a big Star Wars fan. I was homeschooled, but attended public school for some classes. I was the drum major of the marching band my senior year in high school. I taught myself the Microsoft DOS language because I thought it'd make me look cool. I had my first official girlfriend midway through sophomore year in high school. Didn't get my first kiss until senior year, and shortly after that I saw my first PG-13 movie. I listened to classical music and Christian radio, and my friends were either band-geeks or drama club-geeks.

On my own during my first year in college, a transformation began. I started listening to popular, non-Christian music, watching R-rated movies, and swearing. I lost my virginity and stopped going to church. Church became a place for hypocrites. I told myself that I was still the same respectful person, except now I had an opinion and a backbone. I thought taking advantage of what the world had to offer was making me a better person. It wasn't until I realized how much my relationship with my family had suffered that I discovered just how wrong I was.

I was completely off-the-wall in college. These days, I'm much more evened out. I am a premium, slow-roasted blend of my former and latter self. I'm still a big Star Wars fan, and swearing takes up a large place in my vocabulary. I still am fluent with DOS, and most of my favorite movies involve nudity and an R-rating. I respect my parents, and we agree to disagree on certain things. I still have an opinion and a backbone, but I'm mostly a pushover. I'm not a geek in the sense that I wear pocket protectors, have tape on the bridge of my glasses, and snort when I laugh. I'm not a badass in the sense that I wear muscle shirts, drive a Camaro, and women fawn over my rugged good looks. I am in fact none of those things, except I did snort while laughing once, and I do have rugged good looks.

To help you understand, here is a pie-chart:




Call me what you wish, but simply put... I am a Badass Geek.

Re-Design

I spent a few hours today doing a little bit of upgrading to my blog. I wasn't satisfied with the way it looked, which in turn made me feel less like writing. The changes are pretty obvious, so if you didn't notice anything different please kick yourself in the teeth. Unless of course you are a first time reader, then please imagine the previous design as a horrid layout void of any inspiration, complete with an animated GIF depicting a sorry knock-off of the Intel logo. Today, armed with my mad skills in Microsoft Paint, I have brought my blog out of the gutter.

I suppose now I should focus on writing things interesting enough to attract readers.