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My thus-far worthless hobby is about to pay off!

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Anyone who’s known me for any considerable amount of time knows how dedicated I am to my hobby of writing fan fiction. Some fans write about “Star Trek” and some write about “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” while others write about “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

My favorite show is “60 Minutes”.

And if you haven’t caught the buzz yet, they’re making a movie.

Look for it next summer: “90 Minutes — The Sixty Minutes Motion Picture,” starring Martin Lawrence as Ed Bradley and Owen Wilson as Morley Safer.

And not to brag, but some very influential people in Hollywood have seen some of my work and were impressed enough to pony up some dough for me to write the novelization of the screenplay.

Here is a sample chapter.

—–

Morley Safer sneezed, overwhelmed by the dust in the basement of the academic library. He wished his anonymous source would hurry up. He didn’t have all day to collect dust like the antiquated AV equipment that surrounded him.

He looked at his watch.

“Ten more minutes, and I’m out of here,” he muttered to himself.

“Oh, I don’t believe you’re going anywhere, Mr. Safer,” said a voice from the darkness.

Just then, the lights came on.

“You!”

“That’s right, Safer. It’s me. Phillip Morris, himself. Mr. Big Tobacco.”

“You think this is the first time I’ve had a gun pointed at me?” Safer tried to play it cool, though he couldn’t take his eyes off Morris’s nicotine-stained trigger finger, taut around the mechanism that could, at any second, send a lump of lead and blue flash out of the revolver’s cold steel muzzle.

“You think killing me will stop the truth?” Safer said.

“Oh, I don’t aim to kill you, Mr. Safer,” Morris wheezed with detachment and menace. “You have to take a message to your friend Mike Wallace. I can’t have either of you poking around in my affairs any longer. As for the truth, go ahead. Tell the entire world. Tell them the whole truth. Tell them that I am an alien from outer space aiming to conquer and control the human race through its tendency toward addiction. They’ll think you’ve flipped.”

Morris shape shifted. Before Safer’s eyes the CEO became a gray alien, his face devoid of features, his eyes big, black and empty.

“I find your Earth weapons crude, but very effective.” The alien had not spoken, but the words found their way into Safer’s brain, nonetheless. “When you get out of intensive care, make sure your viewers know we prefer to communicate using telepathy.”

One of the creature’s three fingers cocked the hammer.

“Not so fast, Phillip Morris!” Another voice shouted.

Ed Bradley stepped out of the shadows, shirtless and scraped but no worse for wear, an ammo belt draped over his shoulder and a machine gun trained on Morris’s gargantuan head.

“Ed!” Safer cried out to his colleague. “No one is supposed to know I’m here. How did you find out?”

“I’m that good, baby. And you’re lucky I am. Otherwise, you’d be filing your reports from six feet under. Put the gun down, Morris. The jig is up.”

“Up yours,” Morris projected into Bradley’s mind.

“You alien muthafucka!” Bradley opened up on the shapeshifter with the all the M-60 had. Empty shells clattered to the floor as round after round splattered gray alien gray matter all over the dusty overhead projectors behind it.

Bradley then reached into his waistband and pulled out the 9-mm handgun he always carried just in case. He tossed it to Safer.

“Let’s get the fuck out of here, Morley!”

They made their way through the labyrinth of stacks, up the stairs and out the front door. They each breathed a sigh of relief once inside Bradley’s Cadillac El Dorado.

“Check it out, Safer, I just got this new amp.” Bradley cranked the volume on his stereo, and soon Safer could feel the throbbing bass rattle his lungs.

“This be the shiz, my nigga,” Safer shouted over the hiphop groove.

“What the fuck, white boy? You can’t say nigga. Only I can say nigga.”

“That’s a load of shit, Ed. You’re saying a word is off limits to me just ’cause I’m white?”

“Damn right. You white folks got every thing else. You stole the blues, you stole rock n’ roll. There’s even white boys rapping now. You ain’t using the word nigga.”

“Whatever.”

They pulled up to the stoplight. The music so loud, they didn’t hear the black helicopter hovering over traffic.

But they noticed when the Volkswagen behind them erupted in a blazing fireball.

“Shit, they got a chopper on us!” Bradley cried. “Stinger missiles, too.”

“Well then, floor it, bitch!”

Bradley stomped on the gas. Tires squealed. The caddy swerved to avoid cross-traffic that had the light.

The helicopter rained bullets down on the Cadillac and surrounding traffic.

“They fuckin’ up my rims, yo!” Bradley shouted. “You gotta take that chopper out! Use the RPG in the back seat!”

The caddy weaved through traffic, the helicopter hard on its tail, leaving destruction in its wake. Cars crashed. Trucks exploded. Exciting shit. Safer hung out the window, the rocket launcher on his shoulder, taking aim at the helicopter.

“Can’t you keep this car moving in a straight line,” Safer complained. “I can’t get a shot on the copter.”

“Hey, don’t tell me how to drive and I won’t tell you how to get shot down by Lesley Stahl.”

Another explosion jolted the car from behind.

“The road don’t get no smoother. Shoot them muthafuckas!”

Safer cleared his mind, took aim, held his breath. He had but one shot. He squeezed the trigger.

Direct hit. The helicopter blew up. Pieces of it fell out of the sky onto cars and pedestrians. None but the pilot were seriously injured.

“Ha ha! Nice shootin’, my nigga!” Bradley said.

Bradley and Safer walked into CBSNews headquarters, greeted by their colleague Lesley Stahl.

“Hi boys.”

“Lesley, you should have seen it!” Bradley rejoiced. “You ain’t the only one that’s good at shooting down around here!”

She eyed Safer. “What’s he talking about?”

“Oh, it was nothing, really.” Safer said, shuffling his feet.

“Nothing? Nothing? Lesley, this helicopter was on our tail, and our boy Safer here took that motherfucker out!”

“Safer! Bradley!” Mike Wallace shouted. “In my office now!”

“Gotta go,” Safer said to Stahl. “Tell you all about it over dinner tonight?”

“Um… No thanks. I’m waxing my cat tonight.”

“Now, Safer!” Wallace shouted.

The two men followed Wallace into his office.

“Shut the god damn door!” he ordered. Bradley obliged him. “I just got off the phone with Phillip Morris! Can you explain why you’re harassing him, Safer?”

Safer and Bradley looked at each other, chilled.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you, god damn it!” Wallace shouted. “What the fuck are you doing bothering an important businessman like Phillip Morris?”

“I was doing legwork on a story. I didn’t know he would be there.”

“Didn’t know he would be there? You’re telling me he’s got nothing better to do than just show up wherever you happen to be!”

“Sir,” Bradley interjected. “Phillip Morris is an alien. And he’s supposed to be dead.”

“What the fuck are you talking about, Bradley? And what the fuck were you doing there? Aren’t you supposed to be working on a story about air bags? And where the fuck is your god damn shirt?”

“But I got wind that Morley was walking into a trap.”

“Shut the fuck up, Bradley! You’re on thin ice! Thin! Fucking! Ice! I don’t want to hear any more nonsense about aliens and dead businessmen and traps! It’s bullshit! I’m sick of this loose cannon reporting! Safer, you’re off this story! I don’t want you going anywhere near Phillip Morris, do you understand me?”

“But Mike,” Safer said. “I’m on to a big story here.”

“Do you understand me!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now get the fuck out of my sight. Deadline is coming up tomorrow and I want to see something good from both of you!”

“Yes, sir.”

Bradley and Safer left Wallace’s office, hanging their heads. They turned the corner in the hall and there stood Andy Rooney.

“Did you ever notice how you two are a couple of fuckups?” he said.

“Shut the fuck up, Rooney,” Bradley said. “Aren’t you supposed to be in your office bitching about paperclips or some shit?”

“Whoa. Snap,” Safer said.

Skippy For President

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

A few weeks ago I wrote a rant to clarify my thoughts on a few issues. Amongst the comments was this one, by Stickfodder:

“Ok in response to #2 I wasn’t old enough to vote the last two times so don’t you go blaming me blame my parents for not having me sooner. And as for #4 Skippy and Michiel In 2008!”

Now having someone want me for President certainly appeals to my vanity. On a scale between “Doesn’t Care About Recognition” and “Bottomless Vortex of Emotional Need” I probably lean just a teensy bit towards the latter.

But as much as I appreciate the vote of confidence, I must point out that it is misplaced.

But as a quick aside, I want to note that if I did run for office, I would never have Michiel as a running mate. Michiel is sane, logical, intelligent and moral. In other words horrible VP material. You see, if something bad was to happen to me, people might think that Michiel could step in and do just as good, or perhaps a better job than me. And that simply will not do.

The true purpose of the office of Vice President is to make everyone terrified of letting anything happen to the President. I don’t want sane, logical, intelligent or moral for a VP. I want a barely controlled psychopath. I want a man who can, at best, display a fingernail’s grasp on reality. The kind of guy who would call a press conference to strangle a kitten or eat a baby. Someone who becomes visibly aroused when talking about getting to be in charge of the nuclear arsenal. Because if somebody tries to assassinate me, I want those Secret Service agents motivated to jump in the way.

Which leads us back to the original point of this post, which is that I would probably be the worst President ever.

I would bring to the office a sense of, oh, let’s call it whimsy. The sort of whimsy that is usually associated with Pee-wee Herman, or Caligula.

I would preemptively invade foreign countries. Not because they harbored terrorists, or had natural resources that our nation needed. My military adventures would be based entirely on how hot the women of the country in question tended to be. All assets would be pulled out of the Middle East, and refocused on Brazil. The women there are so hot that they got a hairstyle named after them.

Now to be fair, there’s a lot of good things I could probably accomplish while in office. For instance, I have a sure fire method to reduce the price of gasoline.

Step One: Invite the heads of every major petrochemical corporation to come visit me at the White House.

Step Two: Arrange for comfortable seating, drinks, hour’dourves, perhaps a nice string quartet.

Step Three: The Speech.

The Speech will go something like this:

“Gentlemen, I am very glad that all of you could take the time out of your busy schedules to join me here tonight. As you are no doubt aware, our nation is currently undergoing a bit of a fuel crisis. But I am positive that the people in this room have the know-how and motivation to set things right. I would like to introduce you fine people to Master Sergeant Atrocity.

Master Sergeant Atrocity is a former Special Forces weapons expert. He then spent eight years in Delta Force, followed by a ten year career doing black ops and wet-work for the CIA in a variety of hot-spots around the globe. He’s brutal, efficient, practically invisible, and completely loyal to me.

If gasoline at the pump isn’t under two dollars within the next three months, Master Sergeant Atrocity will go to your home and torture your family to death in front of you. Then he will finish you off. And it will look like a suicide. A messy, lengthy, and amusingly creative suicide.

Are there any questions? Yes you there, the CEO of Conglomco International?”

“Who the hell do you think you are? You can’t just interfere with our business and threaten to–”

“Master Sergeant Atrocity? Please give our friend here a lesson in applied economic theory.”

“VIOLENT LOVE BEGINS NOW!”

Various unpleasant wet and squishy noises result.

“Are there any other questions?”

“What happens if we go public with these threats?”

“I would describe the results of such a breach in confidentiality as ‘Spectacularly Unfortunate’.”

“I see. Well it’s cheap gas for America from now on I guess.”

Step Four: Replace the carpet.

Tales From The Fun Mine

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

One day I walked into my supervisors office and the entire design team of my project was in there, in the middle of a very serious debate.

(Names changed to protect the guilty)

Cred: Ask him! (points at me as soon as I enter the room)

Me: Ask me what?

Sill: Do you think Annie Potts is hot?

Me: Who?

Pick: The actress who played the secretary in Ghostbusters.

Cred: She was also in Designing Women.

Me: Well she was hot. I haven’t seen her since the mid-90’s.

Sill: She’s aged real well.

Cred: Dude, she’s like, 60-something now!

Me: That doesn’t mean she can’t still be hot. That just makes it less likely.

Sill: Let us consult the internet.

Internet image search commences. After a brief search a current picture of Annie Potts is procured. Her MILFdom is debated. (Or GILFdom as the case may be.)

Pick: She looks pretty good for her age.

Sill: I agree. And she’s a redhead. I’d hit it.

Cred: You guys are nuts. I don’t find her attractive at all.

Me: I gotta go with the other guys on this. I think she’s still pretty good looking. Plus she’s famous, which has to count for something.

Cred: But I can’t stand her voice.

Sill: (Gives Cred a look which could only be described as “withering”) When you fantasize about women you have them speaking? What the hell is wrong with you?

Pick: I think less of you as a man now.

Monday Morning Update

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Here it is, the now traditional list of things that you should not do. This one is medically themed. And by the way, if any readers happen to have any items for the do not do list, either military or other, by all means send them in.

Things you should not do in a medical office.

(Submitted by Sicarius)

1. When filing charts, don’t exclaim to the rest of the department, “Who wants to play dead patient bingo?”

2. Don’t play dead patient bingo. It violates HIPPA laws.

3. Especially when patients can hear you.

4. Don’t threaten to bring everyone in the office an individual dessert (I love to bake, don’t judge me.) when they all go on Weight Watchers and then start a ‘who can lose the most weight’ competition. (I’m the only male in the office aside from the doctors, and in good shape. I need no contest.)
5. Don’t follow through on that threat.
6. Don’t remove the balls from the mice of people who are at lunch. It makes them late when they try to punch back in.
7. Don’t threaten to poison the water cooler when the people whose mouse balls you stole find your car keys, move your car to the hospital across the street’s parking lot, and then turn your radio up to full blast.
8. Don’t pick up a frog that’s found its way into the office and show it to the people who are afraid of frogs.
9. Don’t complain when people find out you’re afraid of spiders and put a live one in your hair. The horror.
10. During office emergency training, don’t answer with “By way of the evil light shining from Doctor X’s eyes” as an answer to “How do we escort patients places if the power and the backup generator go out?”. For the office manager will have to reprimand me.
11. No matter this particular doctor has made every secretary and half of the receptionists cry because he’s so cruel.
12. Especially when the doctor is at the meeting.
13. Even if the office manager made the same joke a few days before.
14. Don’t answer “Because the entire office is PMSing today” when someone asks why you’re going to the basement if there’s no work to be done down there today.
14. “What the fuck?” is never an appropriate answer to any question.
15. Even if it was in response to a co-worker seriously asking if you were listening to white power music. (It was Nine Inch Nails.)
16. It is not appropriate to draw pictures of penises on your lunch in the office refrigerator instead of writing your name.

And By ‘Ever’ I Mean ‘In This Post’.

Friday, July 25th, 2008

It has been a long stressful week, and I got nothing tonight. So instead have some fun things that other people have made.


Best Music Video Ever.

Best Candy Bar Commercial Ever.

Best Movie Trailer Ever.

Best Dating Site Ever.

Edit: Fixed link problems….woops.

How you doin?

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

I graduated high school at the age of 17 and had my heart set on a service academy. West Point or Air Force, however I didn’t take into account that just meeting the minimum 1200 on the SATs would not guarantee me acceptance. It didn’t.

I still wanted to get away from mom and dad and not have them hold college tuition over my head to control my behaviors. So I took a scholarship to Georgia Military College, and went there with the intent to enjoy the southern belles, and introduce them to a whole new brand of Man-whore, yankee style.

I enjoyed a few lovely belles my first year there, but was smitten with the local preacher’s daughter who would go out with me, but not give in to my amorous advances. This girl was beautiful, but beyond that she was unlike any other girl I had seen. She would wash and wax my car, she would wash and iron my clothes and uniforms to include my underwear, she would cook me the best dinners, back rubs and foot massages were routine, because she enjoyed taking care of her man, and I was even allowed to spend nights at her house on weekends (though on the couch).

The sexual tension was insane, she was after all a repressed southern baptist preacher’s daughter. After a few months she told me that she wanted to give me whatever I wanted, but that I had to be “clean” for her and therefor I had to get myself tested for STDs. I figured that was probably a pretty good idea considering that I had been pretty active the previous year, and I was willing to do whatever necessary to get with this girl.

The next week I showed up at the free clinic, paid my 15$, and was led through a few stations by a very striking young nurse. I made it a point to flirt with this lady throughout the testing. She drew my blood, had me pee in a cup, and then took me into a private room and told me to drop my drawers. Being only 18, I had no idea what was in store for me, but judging by all of the smuggled pornographic movies that I had seen as a teenager I thought that I did.

I dropped my drawers, put my hands on my hips, gave her a wink, and said in my best Joey Tribbiani impersonation “How you doin?” She smiled and dropped to her knees. She gently grasped my manhood, looked up at me with the loveliest doe eyes, and quickly shoved a triple sized, spiraled, metal Q-tip up the head of my penis, and yanked it out just as quick.

As I looked down at her (now clinging to the ceiling tiles with my finger and toe nails like a cat) she gave me a wink and said in her best Joey Tribbiani impersonation “How you Doin?”

I now know why when people are faced with the possibility of doing something unpleasant that they say “I’d rather be tested for the clap”.

Some Comments On The Comments

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

In the three or four months that I have been contributing to Skippy’s List, the thing that has made it fun and rewarding is your comments.

“Even the comments from right-wing asshats, Michiel?”

Yes, even the comments from right-wing asshats.

Seriously, it is fun to throw weird thoughts and stories out there, but without the feedback, it would be pointless masturbation. (Perhaps it is still pointless masturbation, but who doesn’t like an audience? Am I right, or what?)

But, sometimes the conversations go off course. Sometimes people take it way more serious than I ever intended. Sometimes people just don’t think it is funny, and sometimes it just gets weird.

So, I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite curve balls from my previous posts. Let’s start with the most recent, “George Bush Hates Elves.”

This was a post based on a news story about how the North Pole was melting away and may even completely disappear before the summer is over, and my wondering what people are going to tell their kids about where Santa lives, if it does. Granted it got a bit political. This was not my intent when I wrote it, it just turned out that way.

The comments started out with some fun, back and forth, about how Santa is a communist because he wears red, and eventually ended with me concluding that Republicans were fascists, based on what the “right-winger” I was talking with had posted. (Here is that portion of the conversation). There was also a fun semantics argument about whether North and South are relative or arbitrary, which eventually led to an offer to have my baby, and a discussion about the spelling of my name. In short, a good time was had by all.

But quickly, some people started to take it a bit too serious, like Ed Herring, Jeremiah Hatch, and our very own Lt. Ronald, and a debate began to rage about whether global warming is real or not. Props to Lt. Ronald for providing several sources about the South Pole getting bigger in recent years, to which I replied, “OK… but the article was about the North Pole.”

For the record, I am not knocking any of you guys, and I enjoyed the debate. You all put up an amazing effort to site sources that frankly, I’ll probably never check because I was just writing what I thought was a fun post. I will admit that my post did get a bit weighty, and clearly shows my own opinion that global warming is happening, and even took on a bit of a criticism of the whole hurricane Katrina debacle. But when I sat down to write the post, my initial intent was just stupid humor based on an article I saw, and my tangent of a thought about, “where will Santa live now?”

I really thought the Santa angle would take the edge off the topic, and we could all have fun, but I was wrong.

When it comes to taking it too serious, no one could top this comment from bmb84. I must admit that I have never been bitched out by someone that basically shares the same views I do. Obviously they missed some of my sarcasm, and wanted to know “what kind of narcissistic high and mighty catholic” I am “to diss people that dont believe in god or are gay or having sex before marriage.” When I read this one, I just had to laugh… and, of course, comment back. ;-)

Oh, and regardless of where you stand on the global warming issue, check out this video. It pretty much simplifies the debate to the real issue and what our choices are. Seriously, I highly recommend that you take the time to watch the video. It will not convince you that global warming is or is not happening, but makes a strong argument on how to handle the issue.

Another post I made where the comments were not so much taken seriously, but somehow became too scholarly for the topic was “What would really happen in a zombie apocalypse.”

Basically, this post was my vision of how a zombie apocalypse would go down. I did not include an explanation as none is really needed. It’s freaking zombies. It’s the dead coming back to life.

Do we really need to analyze the holes in my scenario from a scientific perspective?

Apparently, some people do.

The very first comment ran with my concept and even took it a step further to conclude that there would be, “zombie shit in your intestines.” And I thought I over thought the zombie thing with undead goldfish and plants.

Quickly, people began to comment on how if it was a disease, it could not possibly infect so many species. To which I replied that, “Obviously, it is not a virus.”

But this did not stop people from continuing to shoot holes in my vision of a zombie apocalypse by using the virus model of zombie infection. Jinn made a comment about a zombie killer whale and then stated that, “I highly doubt zombie infections could spread to fish,” when in my story there were zombie goldfish in a toilet and zombie sardines in a can. And, although I missed it at the time, I feel the need to point out that whales are not fish, but mammals like you and me.

Morrogoth then points out that there can’t be zombie bacteria as your blood shreds them and that mosquitoes do not carry enough blood to infect you with the zombie virus. So, again, I point out that it is not a disease.

Finally, I Am An Evil Taco, attacked insects as carriers of the disease and the ability of the disease to infect every species. This lead me to a mini rant in the comments section…

Based on the scenario, and what everyone is saying about disease and what it affects and how, it is obvious that in this instance it is not a disease.

Maybe it is magic, maybe cosmic rays, maybe evil pixie dust, maybe it is God. Who cares? Everyone dies. It’s my zombie apocalypse and I say everything is affected and everything will end up dead and/or zombified.

And why do you assume the problem starts with people and spreads to animals? I think it hits all things at once. That is why the dead plants are zombies too.

Face it, in my zombie nightmare, you are doomed, and no matter how clever you think you are, you’re dead. DO YOU HEAR ME? YOU ARE ALL DEAD!

It’s my scenario and I’ll kill off who I want.

Oh, and I am miraculously immune to the whole thing, now I can spend my time reading and not being bothered by the rest of the world. Now where are my glasses. (crunch)

But sure enough, someone, (I’m not naming names, but I am staring at you, SKD), has to point out that there is no way for me to survive my own zombie apocalypse either, “due to the fact that there will be nothing for you to survive on.”

As fun as it was, I am amazed at the ability to over rationalize a scenario where the dead come back to life. Seriously, you have a problem with how zombies come about, but not the fact that it is probably impossible to have the dead spontaneously reanimate by any means other than the supernatural? Oh let’s forget it and move on.

This next post I knew would be controversial before I ever typed a single word.

9/11 Humor… What? Too soon?

This was a post based on an advertisement for a 9/11 sale that my girlfriend saw on a website, and I then proceeded to take the concept of 9/11 ads to the extreme to

a) point out the over commercialization that we are exposed to here in the US

b) point out the occasional insensitivity of said over commercialization, and

c) to have a bit of 9/11 humor, because I think it is totally healthy to laugh in the face of tragedy and fear as it helps us move past it and keeps us human, plus it probably pisses off the terrorists to think we can laugh at this abominable shit they pulled.

Fortunately, most people understood what I was doing. But the very first comment from Swagman, was anything but understanding. He simply wrote, “Wow. Michiel, you really have no sense of what is funny, do you?”

To which I replied, “And neither does Skippy, his wife, our common friends, my girlfriend, my parents and the guy that posted just after you.

Before I posted this, I ran it by a LOT of people. I knew I was entering dangerous territory, and to anyone truly offended, I apologize, but again, for me the best way to heal and the best sign of healing is to be able to laugh at tragedy.

I even explained this to Swagman in the comments but he persisted in saying it was not funny. So I posted a comment that looking back is funny in a smart ass way, but was a bit insensitive. “… is it the subject matter that is not funny, or the execution of the various punchlines and the general structure of the piece that you take issue with? If it is the subject matter, as I would suspect is the case, then what would make for acceptable 9/11 humor to you? Please provide examples.”

He never provided examples.

If he just did not find the jokes funny, I am ok with that. As a comic I am used to jokes killing with some people and dying with others. Humor is not universal. I am only bothered when people do not give it a chance because of the topic, and not because they are not happy with the quality of the content.

So, Swagman, I hope that someday you will be able to read that post again and see the humor in it, but I understand why you don’t at this time. We all heal at different rates, and being that I live in Texas, I was fortunate enough to not know anyone that died that day, which probably makes it easier for me to make jokes about the whole thing.

I think Board in School summed up my thoughts on this whole thing the best when they said, “only in America after 7 years people would still be so shocked not to find that funny.”

And again, I was an insensitive smart ass and and responded with, “We are also shocked by womens boobs too. I’m not sure why. I think they lead to dancing or something. I really do not understand why so many Americans have a stick up their butt, but you have to admire the fact that at the end of that stick is a flag waving proudly in the wind.”

Again, my apologies, but that was damned funny.

OK, enough of the serious stuff, lets get to the just plain weird and funny. Some of the strangest comments I have received were in my post, “So many levels of irony. – Why outsourcing has to stop.”

This post was about a customer service call to my bank and getting idiots in another country on the other line. In short, they asked for some personal info I was not comfortable giving to foreigners, so I asked where they were, and they refused to tell me because of the company policy. It ends with me asking what planet they are located on and they could not reveal that either. Perhaps my call went to another planet, but I doubt it.

I’m not sure how to explain the odd comments I got, so I will just let them speak for themselves.

Virtual Assistant said, “I thought, that’s very significant, that is why he never gave his location. Sometimes we don’t blame people, he just only secure his self, right?”

So I replied, “YES! Seriously though, did you outsource this comment?”

By the way, the link his name went to was, http://www.outsourcingit2philippines.com/

I thought maybe someone was jacking with me until I got these next two comments.

Web Support Agent commented with, “Wew. sometimes you can get so much from what you bargain for.”

So I responded with, “I totally agree, and like they say, the early bird is worth two in the bush.”

And here is the link to the site you get when you click on his name. http://www.dcglobal.us/

Finally, Graphic Designer commented with, “Yes i agree,. outsourcing is too much, i guess it really need to stop because alsoof the negative effects of outsourcing.”

Which prompted me to reply by saying, “One of the negative effects of outsourcing is not to be able to understand what person on the other end is try to saying, also they only havening a small knowledge of American English, and usually they can has terrible grammar. It is very much like talking to a LOL CATS.”

His name linked to the same http://www.dcglobal.us/ web site as Web Support Agents.

So that is about it for the odd and interesting comments. Keep them coming. It is what makes this whole thing fun for me. So thanks for taking the time to read and comment, and I’m sure we will do this again real soon.

The War Against Organized (Social) Crime

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

For those of you Skippy readers safely ensconced within the loving embrace of a military base, you may be unaware of a dangerous subculture that threatens our civilian way of life. That subculture, dear Skippy readers, is the Muffia.

The Muffia is a foul underworld organization, staffed by soulless Caucasian housewives so uniform in their upper-middle class mediocrity that a Stepford Husband would flinch in horror. Members of the Muffia (also known as ‘Muffiaso’) are convinced that they alone are the true paragons of femininity, espousing 1950’s rhetoric about a woman’s place being in the home while remaining totally incompetent in any of the “home arts”. They rule their families with iron fists, forcing their poor husbands to slave at the office for 60+ hours each week to support their designer label habit while reinforcing the stereotype that fathers who enjoy spending quality time with their children are secret pedophiles, and claiming that everything they do is “for the children”.

As each day passes, more harmless toys are kicked from the market, innocent television shows are ripped from the airwaves , and fathers become more confused about child-rearing. But we will not go down without a fight! Even as we speak, civilians risk their lives to take back those privileges the Muffia has claimed for itself.

My father is one such brave soul. A quiet man, he was raised to accept the status quo by humble, God-fearing Lithuanian Midwesterners. Yet even he could not stand idly by and watch the Muffia destroy all that is Wholesome and Good about America. This is his story, and I, as his beloved child, am proud to relate it here:

A few years back, I was visiting my family for Christmas. At some point, my stepmother asked my father to run to the grocery store for her. As there wasn’t a golf tournament to nap through that afternoon, he readily agreed and invited me along. Twenty minutes later, we were crawling up and down the parking lot rows, looking for a spot to park. At last, he spotted one, an ideal spot, not ten yards away from the doors to the grocery store. However, as we approached the spot, we realized that it was reserved. But, as we drew closer, we could see that it was not for the handicap, but for parents with children.

Yes, it was reserved parking for the Muffia, and, by coincidence, was on the verge of being claimed by one of its members.

With a strange glint of determination in his eye, my father gunned the engine and cut off the Muffiaso, stealing the spot from right under the nose of her minivan.

“But we can’t park here!” I protested, trembling at the thought of the Muffiaso’s wrath.

“In my day, we didn’t have special parking spaces awarded to us just because we reproduced,” he stated in a tone of voice I hadn’t heard since the Cookie Jar Incident.

I got out of the car, swallowing back a counter-argument about the substantial decrease in parking space size over the past two decades, and braced myself.

The tinted driver’s side window of the minivan rolled down, revealing the Botoxed visage of the Muffiaso.

“Excuse me, sir, but that spot has a Parent & Child Parking sign,” she whined nasally, while in the back seat we could see one tiny, innocent future victim of bad parenting gummed the lid of its Vera Wang sippy cup.

“Yes, I know. I’m a parent, and this is my child,” he explained, pointing to then-twenty-something me. The Muffiaso’s Priscilla, Queen of the Desert-inspired makeup was not thick enough to conceal her rage, and her French manicured-talons were poised to rend the flesh from his body.

“Excuse me, sir,” she hissed, “but Parent & Child Parking spots are bigger to make it easier to get children out of cars.”

“Yes, I know,” replied my father, his tone still calm, “but my child is bigger than yours, and my car doesn’t have a sliding door like yours.”

“I can’t get into a regular spot!” she shrieked. “What am I supposed to do?”

My father pointedly looked at all the minivans in the lot not parked in Parent & Child Parking spots, then just as pointedly looked at the dents and scrapes on the Muffiaso’s vehicle.

“Well, you could always learn how to drive,” he suggested.

At which point we ran for it.

Monday Morning List Update

Monday, July 21st, 2008

This time we have a list of things that should not be done if you work for an anti-drug non-profit organization. The original author asked not to be credited, as she would like to still work for the anti-drug non-profit organization.

(Submitted by I.M. Employed)
1. When working for an anti-drug association, refrain from making “Cheech and Chong” references.
2. When working for the above, don’t “Talk shop” with those seeking help.
3. Refrain from judging people by “where they get their shit”.
4. Do not give people “better guys” to get “shit” from.
5. Do not refer to the “War on Drugs” as “Vietnam for Society at large”
6. When viewing a slideshow about drug references in media, do not say “That movie’s fucking awesome!”
7. Especially when they show the “bat country” monologue from Fear and Loathing.
8. No matter how you supervisor may act, do not make allusions to the fact that they may be the only person in America who would benefit drug and alcohol use.
9. When hearing a presentation about the state of the drug trade in the United States, try to avoid “correcting” the nomenclature used for street drugs (i.e., “No one calls it “dope” anymore!”).
10. Refrain from mentioning that your friends find your work “ironic” given your past.
11. Attempt to not discuss favorite drinks and new concoctions with your superiors.
12. Especially if they mention they’re in recovery.
13. If one of your superiors is a “stage parent”, do not mention that many child stars fall into substance abuse and ill ends.
14. Even if it is apparent that the kid is pretty much doomed to Dana Plato territory.
15. Never under any circumstances mention that your superiors “drive you to drink”.
16. Especially if the Alcohol Board of Control is in town.
17. When viewing a Powepoint presentation on drug references in the media, avoid laughing at the drug and alcohol jokes when the room is full of drug counselors who will sooner be shocked than funny.
18. If they show Dazed and Confused, Half Baked, Superbad, or Beerfest, just leave the room. Despite how strong you think you are, you will not last.
19. When discussing music with co-workers, never talk about how “Dark Side of the Moon *totally* synchs up with Wizard of Oz”, or how “The Wall movie totally changed my worldview”.
20. Y’know what, just follow the guidelines that Robin Williams gets in “Good Morning Vietnam” from Lt. Haupt regarding musical tastes.
21. Never offer tired-looking co-workers “hair of the dog that bit ‘em’ ” on Monday mornings. It just looks bad for everyone involved.
22. “OSHA would have a field day with what I know about this building” is not a good bargaining chip in any circumstance.
23. Especially when your supervisor is on a first-name basis with the people at OSHA.
24. Try to avoid mentioning that your superior might just remind you of a certain character from Rain Man, no matter how compulsively they may repeat some of the same words, over and over again.
25. Never mention that you own any, and especially not all, of the movies mentioned in number 18.
26. Don’t talk about how much you, your cousins, uncles, aunts, siblings, parents and friends are able to drink in a single sitting without passing out; especially if the aforementioned are all together, with what can only be described as an “alcohol topiary”.
27. Taking naps when you’re four years old is okay; taking naps at work on your lunch break will get a piss cup handed to you.
28. Being the only person in the office who knows how to work the big screen in the conference room will bite you in the ass when you come back from lunch and leave “The Marijuanalogues” on.
29. When working for an anti-drug organization, your thoughts on drug legalization are moot.
30. If you are tired and someone offers you a cup of coffee, the proper response is “Yes, please”, not “Put it in my veins!!”, “Can I just snort the grounds?” or any references to a “caffeine speedball”.
30. Cigarettes are apparently a drug, regardless of legality. Therefore “I was nic-fitting like crazy” is no excuse to leave work for a “cancer run”.
31. Incidentally, if a co-worker has a family member they’ve lost or who has recovered from some form of cancer, calling it a “cancer run” will not win you any favors.
32. If a co-worker levels baseless and just untrue accusations against another co-worker who isn’t you, and they really are just ludicrous accusations, you are still not allowed to openly laugh at the concept.

Skippy’s Dream MMO Part 3

Monday, July 21st, 2008

This time I want to talk about in-game inflation. So its a discussion about economics, as applied to an imaginary fantasy kingdom. I’m such a huge nerd.

In a real economy, the government prints money, ideally with some sort of backing to it. And if they just start printing more money then all of the money becomes less valuable.

In an online game, players are constantly creating more money in the game world. They’re solving quests, and killing monsters, and looting dungeons. All of this is going to cause new money to be created out of thin air and handed to the players. And if the game has any sort of auction house, or trading going on between the players, this will cause prices to start skyrocket.

The time where this starts becoming really evident, is when a new player comes into the game. The low level monsters and quests aren’t keeping up with the rapid inflation. The 5 silver coins that was a good reward last year is basically worthless now.

If you really want to see how out of whack it gets, take a look at any item that players want for sale from an NPC vendor, vs how much for the exact same thing from an auction. Its not uncommon for players to purchase things from an NPC vendor and sell them for several thousand times what they paid.

My proposed solution to this problem is to set the game up in such a way that it can adjust itself to take inflation into account.

My idea is that the game tracks the sale of certain staple items that the players tend to trade a lot. In WOW, a good staple item might be copper ore. Lots of players need it, and piles of it are always trading hands through the auction house.

So every now and then, maybe once a week or some such time, the game tallies up the average price of a stack of copper ore. For the first week lets say this price is 1 gold coin on average. And on the next week the price has creeped up to 2 gold coins on average. At this point the game will have determined that all money is now worth 50% less than it used to be. So it will now double the quest rewards and the treasure from monsters.

I know that is won’t actually prevent the inflation problems. But it might mitigate them a little. Plus it might help to make the world feel a bit more alive and dynamic to the players.

Any gamers or economists have any thoughts on this?