Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Random thoughts and links, part 102

Slowed down this week at work. Kinda drove me crazy, sitting there all day with nothing to do. But that's ok...

Barb is leaving.

I knew it was coming when, two weeks ago, I found where someone had been checking on a resume posting thru the web on one of our communal computers. It didn't take any major CSI work to figure out who it was. But I kept my mouth shut and said nothing until she told me yesterday.

In all honesty, I do NOT wish her any ill will. But I know a lot of us will be glad to have some peace again. I knew she wasn't really happy at our place. A few times her lack of knowledge caused some riffs with some other people.

What's really amusing is the little, insignifcant things that actually drove her to look for another job. She didn't like the fact that our Gestapo-like dress code wouldn't allow her to wear open-toed shoes without hose. She complained a lot about not having enough vacation (you get one week after you've been there 3 months, 2 weeks after you've been there a year, 3 weeks after 5 years and so on...). There were time she seemed very much like a 'princess.'

So anyway, we have only a few days left with her. Which is good in a way. Like I said, hot having to hear her beat the death out of stories over and over will be nice. But who knows what kind of life form will walk in the door to replace here....


A lot of work for a very cool item... me want!

I can... can you?

Damn cool. And I'm not even a motorcycle fan (thanx Csam for the link)... vrooom!

Ok, here's the situation. You're stuck next to an obnoxious/hateful/nosey/smelly/rude or otherwise unpleasant person on a bus, train or plane. Very casually open up your laptop or other web browsing device and launch your web browser or email app. Close your eyes and raise your head. After a quiet moment of reflection... go here.

Yes, I know how politically incorrect it is, but if you were stuck next to Barb on your next 13 hour flight (and you didn't mind the jail time afterwar) it would be so worth it.

Monday, March 5, 2007

What an excellent day for an exorcism

Yesterday Argon-Man and I were talking in the kitchen when I heard my phone ring in the other room. The ringtone alerted me that it was ‘family.’ The very second I pick up the phone it stops ringing. The caller ID on the outside LCD screens says:

“Argon-Man’s Cell”

*blink blink*

I walk back into the kitchen. “Argon, where’s your phone?”

“It’s in the office. Why?”

*run back to office*

Argon-Man’s cell phone is laying on a shelf. In the office...


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Dial W for Weird

It was a dark and windy day when the call came in... nine times... from Tonasket... but first, a little background info.

My old cell phone croaked right after Christmas so I got a new Samsung. It's nice, it has a camera, color LCD screen inside, monochrome LCD screen outside, has mp3 ringtone capability, and you can actually call people on it, too.

I spent a lot of time updating my contacts, putting everyone into groups. So now when I get a call the outside LCD screen will show an icon for whatever group they are (Family, Friends, Work, Haunted House) and will display the person's name. If it's a call from someone that I don't have programmed into my phone, it will simply display the number with no icon.

Like I said, it was a dark and windy day when the first call came. Friday at around 4pm I get a call from an un-programmed number. But this one is different. This one is showing a computer with a phone icon. Weird.

I open the phone to answer but I can't even do that. Normally, the screen has the options of "Accept" or "Reject." This time, I can only "Reject." "Accept" isn't even on the screen. Try as I might, I can't answer this call. Coming from a computer. With a phone.

Thinking it's just a glitch in the system, I reject it. Only to have it call me back 5 minutes later. Same deal all over again.

I'm on my way out to my car to go home and it rings a 3rd time. Now I'm getting pissed. I decied to call the number back and find out what the hell this bonehead with the computer and the phone is trying to do. Maybe it's a telemarketer using a computer-dialing machine. Maybe it's a fax machine. Maybe it's an automated dialing service. Maybe the fucking federal government is tapping my damn line again.

Anyway, I call it back and am told via a cell-phone-company recording that I "can't do that on this line. Please dial 611 for customer service."

Fuck'em. Forget that.

On my drive home the phone rings 4 more times... from the same number:


Once I get home it happens twice. For those of you bad at math, that's a grand total of 9.

Now I'm curious. Where the hell is area code 509? So once I get settled in the house I do a little Googling. 509 is in the state of Washington. The prefix 486 comes from a four-street burb called Tonasket.

The mystery deepens. I know only one person in Washington (an old Spymac buddy) but he doesn't live in Tonasket. But I email him anyway, hoping maybe he might know something about the town. Maybe they have a telemarketing firm there. Maybe they have a cell phone relay center there. Maybe THAT'S where the REAL Area 51 is and the Mothership is trying to contact me.

Good ol' Ric jumped right on it and came up with two names of people I don't know, nor have I ever
heard of. I thanked him for his diligent research but I'm still stumped.

That night after Argon-Man comes home I tell him my tale. He then tells me about something he saw on CNN last week about new technology being used in vending machines. These machine can now automatically dial their home office or service center whenever they experience an error or malfunction. So perhaps there's a Coke machine somewhere in Tonasket, Washington, that's desperately trying to tell its service center that it's out of Sprite. And it's dialing my number by mistake.

Which COULD make sense. I got the nine phone calls from 4-5pm Eastern Time... which is 1-2pm Pacific Time... right after lunch. Perhaps the workers in Tonasket really like Sprite.

Since this episode I've asked several people if they'd had any weird phone incidents like this. So far, I'm the only one.

It could have been just some freak thing with my cellular company. Maybe a malfunctioning tower. Maybe a satelite freaking out. The weather WAS awfully windy that day. Could be the weird weather. Sunspots. Alien interference. The fuckking federal government. Who knows.

I only know this; I hope it doesn't happen again. And that Coke machine still needs a refill on Sprite pronto.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Stranger in a Stranger Land

Remember the hex from a few weeks ago? Well, it’s gone, but it’s been replaced by something worse. I think I’m on the wrong planet.

I think it happened the morning of the Chicago Halloween Trade Show trip. The trip itself wasn’t too shabby. We bought some extremely cool and spooky things. And altho the weather was dreadful and did a great job of killing any kind of adventurous mood our group had, we came home safe and sound. And I didn’t have the urge to kill anybody this time.

But something strange happened while we were in the car. I had whipped up a pretty nifty playlist to keep the mood upbeat. Now I have some strange things on ye olde iPod but I kept this particular playlist pretty mainstream out of consideration of the other passengers. By mainstream I mean groups like Smash Mouth, Duran Duran, Kool & the Gang and Prince were included. Familiar favorites, ya know.

All went fine on the way up, but on the way back home I was informed my music was “weird.” Not in a hateful way, but still. I had purposely kept out the Tom Waits, Soul Coughing, cartoon music, Was (Not Was) and the like. But my personal musical taste has been labeled “weird.”

This was one of a few moments during the weekend when I felt like an Earthling visiting Mars.

Back to the strangeness, tho. Two days ago I discovered that very few of my emails had ever made it to their destination. I called my broadband provider and, after talking to a techy for 20 minutes, found out that the Broadband Company and Apple don’t like each other. According to the techy, Apple’s most recently security updates have been so strict with email that this particular company’s software/hardware/hamster running on a wheel wasn’t compatible or something like that. The point is, nobody has been getting my emails for about 3 months. Nice of someone (especially the broadband provider) to tell me this.

The good news is my email is working properly again. The bad news is I was feeling pretty damn lonely, unloved and unwanted for about 3 months... wondering why no one ever responded to me.

But today really is hinting that I’m from another world. One of my co-workers was asking for a good suggestion for the iTunes radio station and I recommended “Fistful of Soundtracks.” When the station came on I recognized the first song and said:

“Oh. Little Green Bag. Reservoir Dogs.”

Two of my co-workers looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.

*blink* “What did you say?”

“The song is called ‘Little Green Bag.’ It’s from the movie ‘Reservoir Dogs.’ It’s played during the opening credits.”

*blink blink* *look at each other, look at me*

“Oh, come on. Yall’ve never seen Reservoir Dogs?”

The lobsters must be getting bigger. They’re not even blinking any more.

“Reservoir Dogs. Quinten Tarrentino’s movie before Pulp Fiction.”

“Nope. Never seen it.”

Ok. That’s it. Somebody switched planets on me. What the hell? Please tell me that’s there’s somebody in Loserville or Southern Indiana-Hell that knows what the fuck Reservoir Dogs is. And knows the song Little Green Bag. And won’t get weirded out by John Lee Hooker.

If not, I need to scrounge up some cheap airfare to get the fuck off this imposter planet.