there is water underground.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I am an ass.

So a few weeks ago, I was walking around outside during lunch, and an elderly gentleman got out of his car and said "Pardon me...". So of course, I asked if there was anything I could do, and he asked me if there was a KFC nearby. It just so happens that there is a KFC right as you exit the highway, and it's only about 1/2 a mile from where we were. So I gave him the directions; he thanked me and then told me that it was his 80th birthday, that he was a war veteran and was on his way to celebrate.

I thought it was awesome that he wanted to celebrate at the KFC (nothing says 'purple heart' like $0.99 buffalo snackers?). And so I proceeded with my day.

That was a few weeks ago. This morning, as I was walking from the far parking lot to work, I noticed that there was a huge number of cars in the main parking lot, and I asked another passerby what was going on. She told me that there was a town meeting in the Knights of Columbus hall and some official was being honored. I didn't give it too much thought. Then, at about ten-fifteen this morning, I had a sudden epiphany:

Knights of Columbus. KFC. K of C.


I sincerely hope that the old guy was really looking for some fried chicken, but somehow I doubt it. I have two images in my head. One is of a crowded Knights of Columbus hall filled with expectant veterans, waiting to honor this dude who fought in a couple of wars. The other is of a thoroughly confused 80-year-old guy at the counter of a Kentucky Fried Chicken trying to ask the equally confused teenage Hispanic cashier about a K of C.

To the old man - wherever you are, I hope that you got the party that you deserved, and that you showed up with a huge bucket of chicken and a story about some shmuck who thought you were hungry.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I have too many gadgets. Let's inventory (how Japanese... using a noun after the word "Let's"):

- One iPod. Best. Toy. EVER.
- One cell phone. Surprisingly still functional.
- One digital camera. Yay.
- One blackberry. Still figuring it out.
- One bluetooth earpiece for said blackberry. Ditto.
- One Toshiba laptop computer (personal).
- One Dell laptop computer (work).
- One Nintendo 64 system. It's about ten years old and I only have two games (football and Mario Kart) but it rules.
- One electric razor.
- One beard trimmer.

All of these have chargers, which makes travel fun. Of course, I'm unlikely to bring the N64 on a two-day business trip, but much of the other stuff will come with me. No point to this post apparently; it just gives me pause.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Randomness, or Chillin' in Boston

"Bob Dylan makes William Shakespeare look like Billy Joel." -George Harrison

That made me laugh a whole lot. It's an interesting juxtaposition of tastes. Anyway, it's cold here. Real cold. Like 7 degrees with a wind chill of 17 below. That normally would not faze me too much (just pile on those layers), but yesterday was incredible in terms of the variety and amount of stuff that came out of the sky. First there was about five inches of snow. After that, pure ice started falling. Seriously, just ice crystals. Then there was a little more snow, followed by sleet and freezing rain and a smattering of hail (which only seemed to fall when I stepped outside to periodically clean off my car). This lasted a full 24 hours. The net effect of all of this was that 1) the initial snow became very dense, and 2) everything else on top of it froze. So now the side streets around Boston (as I'm sure is the case around NY and NJ) are basically ice slaloms. My driveway has a 3-inch-thick layer of ice... perfect for hockey, not so perfect for taking the trash out.

So on the way to work this morning (left an hour and a half earlier than normal), I decided to treat myself to some coffee at Dunkin's. Felt I deserved it after forty minutes of digging my car out and thawing the windows (and I still had to pull over twice to clean my windshield because my wipers refused to thaw). Now, even when it's cold outside, I like iced coffee. When I ordered it, the guy at Dunk's said, "that's iced coffee, right?" And I responded in the affirmative, figuring that he was just being a nice guy and double-checking. However, when I got to the pickup window, there was a nice steaming cup of coffee. Hot coffee. I explained that I had ordered iced coffee - twice - and the lady looked at me as if I had six eyes. "Really?" she asked, to which I replied, "Yes, really... ask the guy who took my order." She did so, and then proceeded to talk to me - nay, lecture me - about the dangers of drinking cold beverages when it's cold outside. She did so while not preparing my iced coffee.

I drove away. I don't need random Dunkin' Donuts employees giving me crap about wanting to drink their product. Especially at 7:15 in the morning. I just wanted some iced coffee (and it's warm in my car and in my office, dammit!). But I can't complain too much - I was able to get my car out and not go stir crazy. There are a whole lot of people who are literally iced in. I worked from home yesterday (ever accessed the ftp site and updated the temp/active list in your underwear? it's awesome) and was a little loopy from sitting at home all day. I didn't really have the option to go anywhere, and that's what made me stir crazy. But I did realize that Steven Seagal hasn't stopped making movies, that the light in my living room is very pretty around 2:30 pm, and that my Asian neighbor on the third floor actually speaks.

Friday, February 02, 2007

the moon rulz #1

“Holy shit, we’re being overrun by electronic terrorists from the moon!”

This is not a post about the upcoming Transformers movie (only 152 days to go!). On Wednesday, the city of Boston shut down the subways, tunnels, waterways, and bridges because a whole bunch of light boxes were placed around the city in a guerrilla advertising campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. It’s one of the best cartoons ever – if I could be a cartoon character, it’d probably be Frylock – but not that many people know about it because it’s on cable late at night. The “devices” were in place for three weeks in ten cities around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, and New York, and yet Boston was the only city that went ape and called in the bomb squads.

So the city now stands divided. Half the people are laughing, and half are crying foul. It’s an age gap. The average pop-culture-saturated college kid has a good shot of knowing about the show, if not the specific characters that the light boxes portrayed. The average forty-five year old, well… not so much. The big question, and one that will be debated for a long time to come, is did Boston overreact? In my opinion, you bet. Even in a city where the population swells by well over 100,000 students during the school year and where the average age hovers near 40, there are still a whole lot of folks who don’t know ATHF, don’t get the joke, and might genuinely be freaked out by a mildly profane light box. I’d venture that most of the adults in any city have never heard of the show, much less know the Mooninites, who only appear in a few episodes.

Nevertheless, our elected officials didn't bother to go through the normal channels of investigation that one might think would be appropriate: Check with other cities to see if anything else had gone down, run the image by the press and see if they could match it with anything, and perhaps look at ONE device rather than bring the city to a standstill while trying to tackle all 38 of them. Mayor Tom Menino wants about $750,000 from Boston to compensate for the inconveniences of shutting down the city for a few hours and activating the bomb squad, and I think that his comment that “It is outrageous that, in a post-9/11 world, a company would use this type of marketing scheme” is not appropriate. His reaction was unbalanced and rash, and therefore irresponsible. He is fearmongering and playing on people's fears of terrorism, and that ain't right.

I’d also like to add a few words to the end of his comment: “Without informing the city first.” I can’t help but be a little pissed at Turner Broadcasting too. One phone call on their part, and I have a feeling that the city of Boston would’ve bent over backwards (that’s legal here!) to help out the marketing campaign. Hell, if the city had been in on the joke, it would have been awesome. Think of all those students who would subscribe to cable, or buy ATHF merch, or help the campaign out in some way or another. It was definitely a bad idea to not inform the city officials. There have to be one or two of ‘em who are secretly laughing on the inside. So yes, foul on Turner Broadcasting. That said, does it make sense for people to get all up in arms about a bunch of Lite-Brite boxes? Of course not! With every news report about this incident that I hear on TV or the radio, I laugh harder and harder. I think the entire shitstorm is absolutely hysterical.

But in the long run, this isn’t going to hurt Turner – sure, they’ll wind up shelling out 750 large to apologize to Menino et al, but the nationwide news networks haven’t stopped talking about this for days. That’s publicity, and I guarantee that there are thousands of 18-to-30-year-olds out there who are going to start watching the show and buying the t-shirts. Hell, some guy in Georgia made a replica – a frickin’ replica! – of one of the electronic Mooninites and offered it on eBay with a starting bid of $15. He sold it for nine hundred and fifty dollars. That’s why I love this country. And the whole campaign, no matter how brilliant or ill-conceived, will definitely bring the curious and the newly converted to the ATHF movie. That’s right, the campaign was originally intended to promote Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres (shades of Borat, hm?), the full-length cartoon movie due out in March. And guess what? Thanks to this whole debacle, it'll rake in much more cash than expected.

And by the way, the only people who should be punished are these two. They’re the ones hired by Turner to place the electronic Mooninites around Boston. I don’t think their actions are deplorable, but Christ, look at them! One should go to prison for the hair alone. That very photo (or similar ones taken around the same time) graced the covers of today's papers, and I think it was the Herald that gave the headline "Bad Hair Day."