Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Right Gift

There is a saying that a true gift is giving someone what they need, not necessarily what they want.

I have been experiencing the fatigue of frustration lately, especially when it comes to the global situation and the pervasive "let's wait and see if the world can fix itself" attitude.

The other day HQ announced: "I got you something."

Curious, I waited. She presented me with a journal. A journal of the self-contemplation variety made popular by the current recession. HQ obviously knows that I have a (quote) mild (unquote) obsession with writing journals. My favorites are simple, I prefer understated black or brown leather journals. In an emergency, a spiral bound notebook will do. Unfortunately, this one is sporting a garishly bright orange cover with an unfriendly font that begins with "In my humble opinion". A strange gift considering neither one of us is particularly fond of novelty items.

Available at this original company

"You got me a fugly journal?" I asked ungratefully.
HQ looked at me with that smile that states I know you are going to love it. "Never judge a book by its cover," she quipped.
I flipped through it, then slowed down to chuckle and laugh; on the left pages are quotes, since I collect quotes, some of my favorites are among them:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams

Many people would sooner die than think.
In fact, they do.
Bertrand Russell

The world is a stage,
but the play is badly cast.
Oscar Wilde

Such is the human race. 
Often it does seem such a pity that Noah...didn't miss the boat.
Mark Twain

On the right hand side are lined pages to write down my thoughts and opinions about what humanity, in my not so humble opinion is doing wrong, prompted by some of our most intellectual thinkers and writers.

An entire journal, devoted to the singular purpose of therapeutic venting about the stupidity of mankind, the people that annoy me, how we are driving ourselves into extinction and make each other more miserable than we have to.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thought For The Day

You are walking through a hot desert, when you encounter a tortoise that is lying on its back.

You watch it desperately trying to right itself, but you do not help.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Antarctica

Apparently we are not the only species that is capable of feeling entitled to something that does not always belong to us.

Reporter: Black Mask agreed to talk to us if we do not reveal his identity.
Black Mask, how long have you been acquiring Bob's pebbles?

Black Mask: Let's see. This is my fourth mating season.

Reporter: Are you not worried that you will get caught?

Black Mask: Naaaaah. Look around you, there are 5 million of us. I blend right in.

Reporter: Any reason that you have chosen Bob in particular?

Black Mask: Yeah. He has a good eye for the nicest rocks. Knows just what the ladies like.
Not that sharp though, if you know what I mean...

Reporter: Not really.

Black Mask: Hey Bob. Larry was looking for you. Said he found some really nice pebbles 30 nests down.

Bob: Uukay. Thanks, man. I owe you one.

Reporter: Which one is Larry?

Black Mask: Who is Larry?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fun With HQ At Ickyeah.

HQ and I made a decision that we had both been avoiding; a trip to the blue and yellow prison that asks its inmates to give back to society by assembling furniture. Storage items were needed, a list was drafted, maps and layouts were studied and an escape plan was hatched.

Ickyeah is doing well despite the economic situation, probably because it successfully traps customers for hours in its one-directional "you must walk through all sections before you are permitted to exit the premises" policy. Quite brilliant actually, because what they are selling is ugly and cheap.

HQ: Okay. We split up. I look for decorative laminated particleboard, while you look for functional laminated particleboard.

Me: Got it.

30 minutes after HQ's clever plan, I am wandering aimlessly in the children section pondering whether I can fit on the sculptural plastic rocking horse. HQ calls me.

HQ: Where are you?

Me: I am playing with a toy rabbit named Fijorgensnorf and am surrounded by freakishly tiny people. Get me out of here. Pleeeeaase.

HQ: Follow the yellow brick road blue arrows, get to the home organization area. I'll meet you there.

After an Ickyeah associate prevents me from going the "wrong way", [Seriously? I cannot go back the way I just came?], I finally get to where I am supposed to meet HQ, but cannot find her.  I try calling her, but Ickyeah is blocking my signal. Oxygen-deprived, I notice that I am pushing someone else's cart and left mine somewhere in the Ickyeah labyrinth. I am beginning to worry that I may never see HQ again, when I hear the following store-wide announcement:

"Antares, please come to the play area, your mom is looking for you."

Oh. No. She didn't!

"Antares, please come to the play area, your mom is looking for you."

Oh. Yes. She did!

After I trek through kitchens, bathrooms, the "restaurant", the Sahara and Sweden, I show up in the play area where parents get to abandon their children in a pool of colorful balls. I can see HQ cracking up when she sees what I am holding. Clutched tightly to my chest is a stuffed toy that looks like a broccoli mated successfully with an icecream cone.

*Childish grin*: "MOM! This is Smorjebijork, can I have him?"

The associate, who is standing next to her, is looking at me with a mix of confusion and horrified pity, HQ is doing her bathroom dance and I finally get to go home. After we scan our own purchases, we escape with candles (not on the list), pillows (also not on the list!) and crap items with more Umlauts than they produce in Sweden.

To be assembled...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Randomly Pondering:

1. Why is America one of only 3 countries (Burma and Liberia) that does not use the metric system? Does anyone like feet all that much?

2. How do people keep losing just one shoe in public places?

3. Where did all the bloggers go? Is this an annual pre-winter hibernation? Is it contagious?

4. Why are we all swamped with work and RL at the same time? Why "swamped"? Why not; I got quicksanded at work today?

5. Why do they not manufacture universal lids that fit any container?

6. In an age of alleged environmental consciousness, why is technology disposable and not made to last?

7. Why do I collect so many glass jars for painting, when I do not have much time to paint? It's not like the glasspocalypse is coming and they'll stop making them.

Yes, sometimes I wish I had my problems too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Just When I Thought That Customer Service Could Not Get Any Worse, I Realize That I Was Naive.

We have all dealt with those mind-numbing situations that require the assistance of someone who is very courteous, yet spectacularly obtuse, because the thing [and it is a thing, one can insert anything into this space] we are paying for or have paid for is not in compliance with its purpose, ceased to function, kicked the bucket or simply put is broken.

Not only can it no longer be repaired, but as a valued customer you are expected to repair it yourself or haul the thing into the Distribution Deposit Decomposition Center, conveniently located in a different country. Alternatively, one is expected to pay for the replacement of the thing, because the repair person who has recently attempted aforementioned repair managed to destroy it beyond all recognition.

One is then asked to abandon reason, dignity and hope by contacting "customer service":

"Hello, someone was here to repair the thing and it is not working."

"The report from the tech says that the repair was completed."

"Unfortunately, it was not. The thing is not working. Could you send someone else?"

"The report says that the repair has been completed. Did you turn it on?"

You want me to do what? Turn it on? 
At this point I realize that persistence is futile. Time for escalation.
"Can I speak to your manager?"

"There is no manager here."

"You do not have a manager? Could you transfer me to the office?"

"There is no office."


While waiting for the disclosure that I am an involuntary participant of a new reality show called "punk your customer" or a test subject, I re-examine the purpose of my existence, the passage of time and my life and ultimately decide that this is not the hill I want to die on.

"Ms. Wasteoftime, this was most enlightening, but I have to go since my cat Spawn is performing his annual poetry recital. He bites those who are late."

For 10 minutes of sheer wish fulfillment, I highly recommend that you watch the most elaborate prank pulled on a call center here