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.

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.