Friday, July 30, 2010


Okay, I did it.  I ordered my MacBook for real this time.  And it's from a merchant called A1 Bargains instead of some dude named Delante Cowans.  And they have a good rating on lots of transactions.  So I think this is the real deal this time.  So I'm going to allow myself to get a little bit excited.


Okay, that's it for now.  I won't get any more excited than that until I get a shipping notification.  And then I'll just add a "Yeah, baby!"  But I won't get truly excited until I open the box and confirm that it's a new 15.4-inch LED-backlit MacBook Pro with 4GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, and 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor (insert Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor's signature man grunt here).  That's when I'll jump up and down and pump my fist like a Super Bowl winner and exclaim that I'm the king of the world.

But for now, I'll just stick with "Woohoo!"

(And if you want to get one just like me, follow the link below.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Come On!

I kind of miss working with a bunch of weird people who did weird things.  I don't have any good stories about my new coworkers.  They're nice, helpful, and normal.  And they don't pronounce things funny or talk in weird voices.  It's frustrating.  I'd like just one guy here to sound like a cartoon.  Or to turn 360 degrees every time he leaves his desk.  I mean throw me a bone, people!  I just want a funny story to share.

Although I just thought of a story, now that I mention it!  I went to the bathroom a couple of days ago and a guy named David was in there.  And it's a one-room bathroom, and he didn't lock it.  So I started to apologize and walk off.  And he said, "Oh, don't worry about it.  I wasn't actually using the bathroom.  I'm just putting a picture on Todd's phone."  And that's when I saw that he was holding a cell phone.  So I felt better that I hadn't walked in on someone peeing.

Then I thought about it some more.  What was he taking a picture of in the bathroom?  It wouldn't be that funny to change someone's background to a toilet or a sink.  And why wouldn't you lock the door for that?  If someone walks in while you're snapping an inappropriate picture, that leads to awkward questions.  And in this case, all of those awkward questions are in my head.  So now I think David is weird.  Or he picks really lame ways to prank people.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Talk To The Hand

So I know I talk about it a lot, but I'm excited about getting a MacBook.  The reason I know I talk about it a lot is because my wife told me I talk about it a lot.  For my anniversary gift, she contributed to the MacBook Fund.  And she requested that my gift to her be that I shut up about it for two seconds.  So judging by that request, anyone reading my blog posts is probably getting sick of hearing about it too.

But you don't get to pick what I write about.  So I'm gonna talk about it again.  And if I could spell the noise one makes when sticking out their tongue and blowing a raspberry, I would.

So anyway, I don't know if I'm late to the party or if this thing I discovered is relatively unknown, but there's a whole world of MacBook sticker art out there that incorporates the glowing Apple logo.  They have stickers that make it look like Snow White is holding the lit-up apple.  They have reproductions of Magitte's Son of Man painting where the lit-up logo is the apple obscuring the face. (No, I didn't know what that painting was called.  I googled it.) So there's no shortage of creative options for the decals.  And they're relatively cheap.  And here's the one I'm getting as soon as I get my laptop:

You can find the link to it here.  How awesome is that?!  I will make so many new nerdy friends who are just like me!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Breaking And Entering And Being A Man

I found out yesterday that it's quite easy to break into my house.  I had my garage door opener, but not my house key when I got home.  And my wife wasn't home yet.  And it was raining.  And it was H-O-T (thanks Texas).  So I didn't want to sit in the garage or sit in my car and waste gas.  So I figured I'd try the credit card lock-picking trick.

I grabbed my Men's Wearhouse membership card because I figured whatever I was about to try would surely ruin the card.  And so far, the only time I've used my Men's Wearhouse membership card was to scrape some gummy bears off the tile in the kitchen.  So it wouldn't be a big loss when I inevitably ruined the card.

But much to my great surprise, I was able to jimmy the lock open in less than 15 seconds.  I rewarded myself with three mini chocolate donuts (okay, six donuts) and a little bit of video game time (okay, nine donuts).  I then added "Broke into my own home." to the list I started recently called 'Manly Activities I've Performed'.  It's now on there with "Replaced EGR valve on my Grand Caravan Corvette." and "Jump-kicked a tiger shark."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Out Of Context

One of the things I think is fun that other people probably think is lame is to invent sentences that could make sense in a specific context, but no one has ever said them before.  Usually I'll hear someone say something that's weird and I'll comment, "Wow, I bet no one has ever said that sentence before."  I can't think of a good example with a backstory, but here's an example of one that I made up:

"I just jump-kicked a tiger shark."

See what I mean?  It's totally awesome, and it's possible that in some context, it would make sense (although it's highly unlikely).  And I can almost guarantee that no one has ever said that.

An important note here is that I'm not talking about randomly spouting off words.  Saying, "I like your chocolate suitcase banana sword monkey breath lightsaber," would not count.  That's just silly.  You have to create a sentence that isn't just gibberish.  And it's a fun game if you can think of good ones.  Because then you get into funny arguments trying to convince people that a ridiculous sentence could make sense.

So go try it with your friends (or if you don't have any real friends, try it with your facebook friends).  Here are some other examples I came up with:

"Well, so much for Sword-wielding Saturdays."
"If it weren't for my metal detector, I would never have spent that year in college."
"And that's why we're not allowed to bring potato guns to the driving range anymore."
"You accidentally decapitate one lousy sculpture, and everybody thinks you're a psychopath!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nevermind, Pretend I Never Said That

I thought it might be too good to be true.  And it was.  The transaction got cancelled, my money got refunded, and the seller's store and profile disappeared from Amazon.  But I got a very reassuring email from Amazon that there was no security risk.  It was just an issue of that seller's store not being ready for business.  So I don't feel too bad about it.  Although it would be nice not to have to wait even longer for the laptop.  It was within reach!

So as of now, I'm still about $300 short of what I need to buy the MacBook from a reputable seller.  I guess I'll have to start selling more stuff on eBay.

Also, I better keep my posts short these days.  My desk might as well be on the jumbotron at a sporting event with how easy it is for people to see what I'm doing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Day That Will Live In iNfamy

Well, I ordered my MacBook Pro today. I found a seller on Amazon who was selling it for $1400 (which is $319 less than Amazon is selling it). So I was on the fence about buying it. But then I read the Amazon buyer protection policy (twice) and I'm covered if the seller doesn't send me exactly what I ordered. So if it's used, opened, broken, the wrong model, or some knockoff called a MockBook Pro, then I can just file a claim and have Amazon refund my money. The only risk I see is that if there is an issue, I'll have to wait a few weeks to get it resolved. But I think that the possible hassle of a claim is worth the money I'm saving.

And just as I hoped I would, I was able to raise all the money without taking any out of my budget. So the laptop is essentially free. And my wife won't have to hear me talk about it all the time anymore. And I can start saving for something else… like an iMac!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Random Stuff

My older brother owned a car a few years ago that had a malfunction in the horn.  For about three weeks, every time he took a left turn, his horn honked.  And it wasn't a simple "excuse-me-I-don't-think-you-saw-me-kind-sir" honk.  It was a "you're-the-single-most-incompetent-driver-in-the-history-of-automobiles-and-yes-that-includes-old-people-and-Lindsay-Lohan" kind of a honk.  So it almost got him in trouble a few times.  Although he did lose some weight while it was doing that, because he was too afraid to go to a drive-thru.

The directory of employees at work includes an entry for each person for "cake flavor."  This is so we can arrange for that cake to be available when the person's birthday comes around.  We have one guy who works remotely, so he's not here on his birthday.  So either as a joke, or as a treat for all of us, he put his cake flavor as "Eskimo pie."  Now I'm getting really excited for November 16th!

One of my coworkers called me a "pro" today because of how well I did during a client meeting.  I was thrilled.  Then ten minutes later I told him we should settle an argument with a dance-off, and he didn't laugh.  Not so thrilled about that.

Trivia question: What did Dwight call Creed in The Office episode called "The Injury"?  It was the one where Dwight crashed his car and got a concussion when he went to pick up Michael, who grilled his foot.
(For the answer, turn this page upside-down.  Just kidding, you can read the entire episode transcript here.  The answer is about half-way down the page.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm New, Not Lonely

It's getting increasingly harder to blog these days.  My desk might as well be in the CEO's office with how well everyone can see my screen.  And I'm still new enough that I don't want people to see me blogging yet.  And that's for two reasons: 1) I don't want to be seen not working and 2) blogging is nerdy.  It's like when I used to collect Beanie Babies baseball cards.  It's just a dorky thing to do.  So that's why I've been a little wary to sit and blog at my desk.

And I'm starting to get really itchy for that MacBook.  They have wifi here, so when I get my MacBook, I'll be able to sit in the break room, watch a movie, take an online survey, write a blog post, and emit pure awesomeness (or is it awesomicity?) from the comfort of our cheap plastic chairs.  That day cannot come fast enough.  Especially since people keep starting polite little conversations with me out of pity.  If one more person asks me how I'm liking it here, I might scream.  Okay, not really.  Everybody is really nice.  But I wish they knew that I'm totally fine with them ignoring me while they get ice from the freezer.  It wouldn't hurt my feelings in the slightest if they pretended I wasn't there.  I'm adult enough to know that people who don't speak to me are not necessarily holding any contempt toward me.  So I don't need the pity conversations.

On a purely unrelated note, my older brother congratulated me yesterday via text message on the "grammatical unicorn" I inserted into yesterday's post.  How awesome is that term?!  Grammatical Unicorn!  It definitely goes on the list of possible band names.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Pits Of Despair

One of the adjustments I've had to make for this new job is my daily commute.  Gone are the days where I traveled just 6 miles and 10 minutes to get to work.  Now it's over 15 miles and it takes at least 25 minutes.  And while I realize how small even that commute is compared to other people's drives, I do have one legitimate complaint.  The road that I spend 3 miles of the trip on is probably the worst road on the planet.  There are cracks and potholes and craters every few feet.  It feels like I'm driving on the moon.  I've had to memorize the best path to take among the three available lanes to avoid bottoming out in what I can only assume are pits where Civil War prisoners were kept.  And the government must have deemed them to be of historical importance.  Because there's no way that a) natural driving erosion could produce such abysses and b) everyone else is okay with this.

It's so bad, in fact, that I've dropped my phone in mid-call because of the ridiculous jarring effect.  The road is so bad that I wouldn't be surprised if the radio skipped.  And the worst part is that it's the last road I take before getting into my neighborhood.  So the last 10 minutes of my drive every evening is like driving off-road at a rock quarry.  That is not the calming effect I need when headed home.  And if I attempted to avoid it every day, I would have to add 15 minutes to my commute or $1.50 in tolls.

It's actually kind of amazing that I didn't know how bad the road was, considering it leads to my neighborhood.  But if I'd known that that had had a pothole problem for so long, I might not have taken the job (that's not true, I just really wanted to find a way to put "that that had had" in a sentence).

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Older Brother Who Cried Wolf

I heard a good "older brother" story today from one of my new coworkers.  I couldn't figure out a way to pass it off as my own and it's not quite innocent enough for me to have done since it involves lying for a long period of time.  So our story begins many years ago, when my coworker (let's call him "Todd" since that's what he thinks my name is) was helping plan his grandmother's 80th birthday party with the rest of his extended family.  And Todd's older brother came up with the idea to have the family collectively send her 80 birthday cards.  They all liked the idea and so they doled out how many each family would have to buy or make so that she would receive 80.

Now an important sidenote is that Todd's older brother is the family prankster.  So when something happens, most people are pretty sure they know who's behind it.  And Todd, growing up with that kind of prankster as a brother, knew this all too well.  So Todd went to a "novelty" store (when he told me, he used air quotes, so I figured I'd give the textual version of that for our purposes today) and picked out the most offensive card he could find.  He didn't sign it, but he stuffed it in an envelope and sent it to his grandmother.  And before he did that, he took an old return label of his brother's and reattached it seamlessly to the new envelope.

So on the day of her 80th birthday, Todd's grandmother opened all the cards.  And she came to an envelope with the address for Todd's older brother in the corner.  So she opened it (in front of everyone) only to find a card full of the most disturbing images and words that anyone could imagine (I'm not sparing details because it's too gross to tell or anything like that - it's just that Todd didn't go into detail on this part of the story).  She then got really embarrassed and stuffed the card under the couch.  But the funny part is that she took Todd's older brother aside after the festivities and scolded him for a good 15 minutes about how awful it was to embarrass her like that.  And Todd's older brother responded as you'd expect.  He insisted that he hadn't sent it (since he truthfully hadn't done it) and tried to convince her that someone else must have done it.  But the problem is that he was known for denying his pranks, so no one believed him on this occasion.

So Todd sat back and watched the mayhem, never telling the truth.  In fact, he only fessed up after his grandmother died.  That way if she came back as a ghost to haunt someone, she wouldn't have enough information to haunt Todd.  So let this be a lesson to all you pranksters out there.  Don't ever send a letter to your brother with a pre-printed return label on it.  Or whatever lesson you can come up with.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I Like Working For This New, Smaller Company

10. I don't have to hoard office supplies or plastic forks and hide them from people like some weird homeless person anymore. They keep the kitchen and supply cabinet fully stocked at all times.

9. My new employer uses Quilted Northern instead of Discount Supplier Toilet Tissue A.

8. We have a color printer (that I just know will prove useful for something at some point!).

7. I can park 10 feet from the entrance (don't act like you didn't know I was lazy).

6. I learned everybody's names by the second day.

5. My work computer has iTunes, iMovie, and a bunch of cool Mac stuff I'll soon have at home (not that I would use any of those at work, but I can see the icons!).

4. I get an hour lunch now (I've always taken an hour for lunch, but now I'm not 15 minutes late every time).

3. No internet content blocking (I watched a Microsoft tutorial video on YouTube, that's the only reason I know that).

2. Everyone in the company has met me personally, so I won't get any emails where a random coworker from a different department uses "ma'am" in a response to me. And then I won’t have to awkwardly explain that I'm a dude. And then I won’t receive another email that says, "My bad! I really thought you were a girl! I guess Taylor could be a guy's name too!"

1. I'm wearing white athletic socks with dress shoes and slacks. But I'm a "Database Specialist" now, so it's not weird.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ring Of Power

I'm pretty strict when it comes to public bathroom usage.  I think three steps ahead to make sure I don't touch anything unnecessarily.  I usually grab a paper towel on the way in and put it halfway in my pocket as a backup plan in case I get to a point where I'm forced to make contact with something.  And many of you might think that's a little excessive.  But if you're a guy, you don't think that's excessive at all.  Because what a woman would call a dirty women's bathroom would be cleaner than any guys' public bathroom that has ever existed.  That's why we're never grossed out by CSI or those Saw movies or horrific injury replays on ESPN.  None of those can compare to a gas station men's bathroom in the bad part of town.  In fact, the bathroom setting of the first Saw movie is cleaner than more men's bathrooms I've seen (even with the dead body on the floor).

Well one of the things I do when I go to the bathroom is put my Texas A&M class ring in my pocket.  I ordered the ring when I weighed about 323 pounds and my fingers were a little thicker.  So it no longer fits.  And I'm holding out hope that someday I'll start working out like those Strong Man competitors and get big manly hands that will fit my ring.  That's why I haven't gotten it resized (a.k.a. laziness).  Anyway, because it's so big, when I wash my hands it will often slip right off my finger.  And that is simply not an option in a public restroom.

So last week, I took off my ring and put it in my pocket.  But I forgot that this particular pocket had a hole in it.  So my ring bounced off my phone, slipped through the hole, slid down my pant leg, and hit the top of my shoe.  I was already preparing myself for the bleach dip I'd have to do to get the ring clean enough to wear again when I realized that I hadn't heard it clang on the floor.  So I looked down (wondering if it had landed on a thick, noise-muffling patch of mold or something) and there it was, resting perfectly on the top of my shoe, just an inch or two from hitting the floor.

So now I've decided that my Aggie ring has special powers.  Or if not special powers, it at least has enough sense to recognize a germ-infested floor of death and stop short of touching it.  That's a neat feature.

Monday, July 12, 2010

By The Light Of A Full Moon

My older brother told me a funny story the other day. He recently started a new job and is still getting used to how everything works around his new office. So he went to the bathroom and, as he usually does, he took his sweet time. No use in rushing, right? Then, after about ten minutes the lights turned off. And he didn't hear anyone come in. So he thought maybe there was a power outage. So he finished by the light of his cell phone and went to wash his hands. It was at that point that the lights turned back on. In fact, they turned on the moment he exited the stall. That's when he realized that the lights were on a motion-sensor timer to conserve energy. And someone (who probably weighs 110 pounds) had made the decision that ten minutes was enough time for any human being to finish their duties (pronounced "doodies").

So it happened again the next day and my older brother tried throwing a roll of toilet paper over the stall door toward the light switch. And apparently, his aim is terrible when it's pitch-black and he's sitting on a toilet. So the first time he tried to throw it, it bounced off and hit him in the face. And the second time it just didn't register with the motion-sensor (it's probably been calibrated to ignore flying toilet paper). Then he realized he could open the stall door from a sitting position and wave his hand out about an inch. And that did it. But now every time he goes number two at work, he's gonna have to wave in the dark in order to continue. And knowing his luck, someone will walk in one day just as he's opening the stall door. And that will be super awkward. Especially if he's still the new guy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mulling It Over

I get my last paycheck from my previous employer some time in the next week.  And it includes the week and a half of vacation that I accrued but didn't use.  And since they won't be taking insurance money out of it, it will basically double a regular paycheck.  So I'll end up coming out better financially (and therefore emotionally) by switching jobs.  The problem (not really a problem, more of a temptation) is that I'm about $450 short on my MacBook Pro fund.  And that double paycheck without any new bills or other needs arising in the foreseeable future will be burning a hole in my pocket.  Being gainfully employed with extra money and more pay at the new position makes it really tempting to just cover the short distance between the fund and the price of the laptop.  Add in the fact that I now get to use a Mac everyday at work and see how awesome it is, and it's really hard not to order the thing today.

But two things are stopping me from doing that.  For one, I know that as soon as I spend the money I'll need it.  Someone in the family (me) will get a speeding ticket.  Or someone will get sick while we're between insurances.  Or gas prices will rise to $6 per gallon.  And I just know that it will happen that way.  And the second thing stopping me from assisting my laptop fund is the realization that even if nothing financially unexpected happens, I will have to try to explain to my lovely wife why I think it's necessary to spend $450 of our money on a laptop that we don't technically need.  Here's how that conversation would go:

Me: "Honey, I was thinking... that next paycheck that I'm getting...*BLAM*!!!"

Because my wife possesses both psychic powers and a mean right cross.  So I would awaken in a hospital bed with a concussion, an astronomical hospital bill, and a bill from my wife for $450.  (And I'll be honest.  It's still pretty tempting.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

They Don't Know That I Know, They Think They Know That I Don't Know

I hate not knowing what I'm doing. I think it's more because of my arrogance and pride than anything else, but I like being the expert on stuff. I like when people can say, "That's a good question. I have no idea. But I bet Taylor knows." Usually people say this in reference to dessert questions, but you get the point. I like to know what I'm talking about. So the new job has been difficult so far in that I don’t have a clue about most stuff. And I'm really afraid of asking stupid questions.

Yesterday, in my ever-increasing desire to be in the know, I explored the office a little bit to learn at least a few things and satisfy that need to be informed. So I found the employee information file on the network drive and updated it with my information. And I did the same thing with the phone extension list. Then I went to the break room and familiarized myself with the cabinets that hold all the coffee stuff and office supplies. And I figured out how the coffee-maker works. So then today, someone asked me for my contact information so she could update the employee information file. And I didn't want to seem like a jerk, so I pretended that I hadn't updated it already and answered all her questions. Then I ran into someone in the break room and they "taught" me how to make coffee and showed me where all the stuff was. And it's not a big deal or anything. I'm glad that people are so helpful. But if they found out that I was pretending, it would be pretty awkward (think of Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents when he tried to explain to Robert De Niro about milking a cat).

So I found out that one of the surprisingly difficult things I've had to learn how to do at a new job is to act ignorant. And I'm aware that that sounds weird (as weird as it felt to type "that that" just now). But that’s exactly what I had to do today with the coffee thing and the employee file. So maybe I should stop worrying about feeling informed and start actually learning my job. There's a thought.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And So It Begins....

It's been… one week since I posted here (admit it, that made you think of that Barenaked Ladies song). And it’s for good reason. I had a five-day holiday weekend and then my first day at a new job. So I haven't really had a chance to sit and type anything without being looked down on.

So, I've already noticed some key differences from my past jobs. For starters, everyone at my new office is really mad that I'm here. Apparently I replaced some really nice old lady (who sounds a lot like Mother Teresa) who was let go even though she had eight kids. So everyone is really cold to me and keeps glaring. Okay, none of that is true. I work with really nice people, and they seem genuinely glad I'm here. Not in an "I'm-so-glad-we-finally-have-some-help-because-of-the-insane-amount-of-work-there-is-to-do" kind of way. It's more of a "hey-you-are-new-and-we-are-nice" kind of way. Although the Mother Teresa thing was a big fear I had on the drive in yesterday.
But there are a few differences that I'm actually excited about. First, there's only one floor in my new building. So there are no elevators to deal with. And as evidenced here and here, I don't do so well with elevators. Also, there's good coffee here. They have Folgers! Also, I get to use a Mac Pro! And it has a virtualized Windows PC for parallel processing! (No, I'm not exactly sure what that last sentence means. But it sounds good.)

Anyway, having a job is good. And having a job that's somewhat more nerdy is great. (I have iTunes on my work computer now!)