The press conference about the press conference

Can you feel thrill?

Good morning, everyone. I think we can get started. First of all, thank you all for coming out to today’s press conference announcing today’s press conference.

First, a little background about the press conference. As you know, the press conference was first conceived two days ago when we decided it was critical at this time to hold a press conference to explain the press conference.

Our public relations team immediately issued an invitation to media outlining the broad outlines of the press conference, namely that we would be holding a press conference, without giving so much away regarding the specifics of the press conference as to make it unnecessary for the media to attend the press conference, said media being a critical component of said press conference. Continue reading

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One brief shining toilet

Last year, I moved into an office on the second floor because, logistically, logically, it made sense. Six months later, logisticallyer, logicallyer, it makes more sense for me to move back where I came from. It’s kind of like getting deported, except I don’t fear for my life and the greatest inconvenience is having to hang my pictures again.

I’m at peace with the move. For one, I’ll be close to the printer, so now when I stand in front of it for several minutes, waiting for it to spew my project, I won’t have so far to travel when I finally remember I forgot to press “print.”

I’ll also be closer to the coffeemaker, which some days feels so far away I can’t be bothered to get out of my chair to get the coffee I need to have the motivation to get out of my chair to get the coffee, a classic caffeinated Catch-22.

But it’s not without regret, this move. In doing so, I’m giving up a workplace perk that some people only ever dream of: a private bathroom. Continue reading

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CSI: Cat Stink Investigation

We had to put The Dude to sleep yesterday. After writing the post below four years ago, The Dude had come around. He stopped peeing everywhere, settled in and enjoyed a quiet simple life. He did not like to be picked up or cuddled but would approach for the occasional head pat. His being so inobtrusive made him the cat I disliked the least, even though his dandruff never improved. A couple of weeks ago, he essentially stopped eating. Two nights ago, he hopped up on the sofa beside me. He never did that. I gave him some good head pats. Don’t tell anyone.

Drinking Tips for Teens

This time, I have no one to blame but myself. I could blame the cat, I suppose, but there’s no point in blaming something that doesn’t understand remorse. Or how to use a litter box.

Deb’s the crazy cat lady, I’m not – not crazy and not a lady. At one point we had five cats but lost two in quick succession a year ago, possibly due to predators, possibly due to better offers. Down to three, I foolishly brought a fourth one home; a colleague had to leave the country in a hurry (work-related, not felonious) and didn’t feel his 10-year-old cat would survive the trauma of travel and quarantine.

“My wife would kill me if she found out you had to put him down and I knew about it” I said, “so if you don’t find anyone, we’ll take him.” I’m pretty sure this overture immediately ended my…

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In which I enter a literary contest and don’t expect to win, but still


It’s passable!

There is no way – no way in hell – that a self-published novel, no matter how passable, will win a literary contest. Especially if that novel has a cover that looks like someone left it in a damp corner of a basement for three years. I’m not saying my novel is passable, but even if it is, no way in hell.

But still.

You have to try. You don’t want to look at the shortlist later and think, “The Baker’s Daughter’s Teacher’s Pancake? Terrible book! Mine was way better. Oh why! Why didn’t I pay the entry fee!” You don’t want that regret. Because what if it did win…? Although, you know, it won’t.

So even if there’s no way it ever ever ever will win, I’ll kiss 200 bucks goodbye and enter the contest. Continue reading

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New Pot for Old Farts: A Guide

I’m already overwhelmed.

So, you’ve decided you’re going to start smoking pot again. Congratulations!

First, though, stop calling it “pot.” These days, the cool kids call it “weed,” and that’s 30 percent the point of this entire exercise, right? To be cool again, just like you were in your twenties when you wore a bandana and regularly smoking doobies.

Don’t say “doobies.” Or wear a bandana.

Getting the lingo down is just one of the many things you’ll have to relearn after these many, many years since you last smoked the ganja. (Do not say “the ganja.”)

You probably stopped smoking because you decided you were a responsible adult with a job and a family, but mostly because you couldn’t bare the shame of getting busted buying a bag of weed from some high schooler at the bus station. Instead, you did what any responsible adult with a job and family would do: you drank habitually.

But now that you’ve reached middle age, your body can’t tolerate alcohol like it used to. You’ve decided that alcohol isn’t worth it if it interferes with the most precious thing in the world: a good night’s sleep. Continue reading

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The Real Fate of the Furious

Short-term spike in blood pressure

Tell-tale spittle droplets on conference room table

Uncomfortable silence from co-workers

Promise from supervisor in soothing voice to resolve problem

Feelings of satisfaction that situation will be remedied thanks to forceful rhetoric

Feelings of guilt for lack of self-control

Inability to focus on anything except whether co-workers noticed spittle

Failure by co-workers to make eye contact for indefinite period

Lunches alone at desk for indefinite period

Sense that reputation is now considered “difficult”

Sense that “difficult” is code for “asshole”

Failure to receive promotion

New nickname: Spitty McSpittleface

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The man with his hands on his hips

There was an image that flashed across the TV screen Sunday afternoon. I can’t be certain but it might have been an ad for IBM’s artificial intelligence app, Watson. “Hello. I am Watson,” a voice intones at the end, a voice that sounds like what a computer calculates a human would sound like. You would think a company that the traitorous HAL computer was based on would want to get away from sounding like a HAL computer, but these are funny times.

The image whizzed by quickly, in sequence with other images flashing so fast they risked giving one a seizure, which, come to think of it, may be part of Watson’s master plan against the humans.

The image was of a man standing in the middle of a dimly lit control room, computer screens and monitors blinking around him, people at consoles, busy, busy busy. He stands there in a plain, white button-down shirt, open at the neck, no tie, his hands on his hips, legs slightly apart. As the control room buzzes around him and the workers monitor some emerging crisis (revolt of the AI robots?), the man is a bastion of calm.

The image lasted only a second, but I thought to myself: “This. This is what I aspire to.” Continue reading

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