6.29.2005

Yesterday was a bad day.

The air guys came over and were extremely apologetic about the screw up. They worked on the unit and got it all fixed and such, and even offered a big credit on our bill for the new unit to help cover the damages. While this was nice of them, it still didn't stop the fact that, after they left, I had mildewed carpet and plaster laying on the floors on 2 levels of my house.

I didn't feel like dealing with it right then, so I retired to my PS2 (something I RARELY get the chance to do, but since I was off work to handle the air business, I figured "What the hell"). I settled in behind my brand new Logitech Driving Force Pro wheel and fired up Gran Turismo 4 and smiled as I relaxed for a fun afternoon of simulated driving.

I began racing down the streets of Italy during Special Challenge 1, hoping to win and get a brand new Cadillac Cien (concept car, super fast, blah blah). Buildings and barrier walls are flying past me at an incredible rate as I slide around the blind corners and cobblestone embankments of one of the most challenging circuits in the game. Just as I'm taking a blind corner and attempting to slide between a pizzaria (very accurately rendered, mind you) and my competitor for the lead near the end of the 2nd and final lap, it happened.

My pedals died.

This sent me into the wall and lost the race for me. Now, I'm not sure if everyone else is like me in this regard, but I've found throughout my life that, regardless of how mad you were before you relaxed, and regardless of how relaxed you were able to become after being mad, if something infringes upon that relaxation, you become twice as angry as you were before. And I was. I was twice as angry. Grrrrr + Grrrrr.

I tried everything humanly possible to troubleshoot the pedals (which are only 4 days old) and came to the conclusion that they were, indeed, dead. So I gotta return those and get new ones, and the very last thing I felt like doing was allowing CompUSA to inflict itself upon me as it always does during the return process.

I'm left standing in my bedroom with a body full of rage... And I figure, the only way to effectively get rid of it all is to go out and hop on my bike and convert rage to speed. So, that's what I did. I got all decked out, tuned up my bike and made sure it was ride-ready, and took off.

Within 30 seconds, I was flying up the first hill out of my neighborhood at around 18mph (not bad for a seven degree hill) and just started pounding the pedals as hard as I could. It wasn't long before I'd reached the halfway point of my ride 10 miles in. Normally, when I check my time, I'm sitting right at 35 - 40 minutes, or 15 - 16 mph for the ride - which isn't TOO bad, considering the number of hills and their severity in that area.

But today, I'd reached the halfway mark at just under 30 minutes, meaning I was putting in a 20mph day - INSANE! I was destroying my previous record of 18mph for this ride! I doubled my efforts. I wanted the carbon frame of my Trek 2300 to know that it was being pushed to its limits. As I rounded the downhill corner at the 16 mile mark, the unthinkable happened.

I blew out my front tire.

Now, this isn't normally too terrible to recover from, but I was doing about 40mph downhill and turning a corner. It took everything I had to shift my center of gravity to the back wheel before I'd flipped over the handlebars and ate asphalt. I got off the bike and grit my teeth - not a big deal, right? Change the tube, pump it up, get on with the ride. Right? Right.

I hit my kit and reached in for the spare tube... And it hit me. I'd never changed the kit over from when I went mountain biking Saturday, so all I had was a mountain bike tube (which is about 2x wider than a road tube. Bottom line - It dunna' work dat way). So I had to foot it 4 miles home with a bike on my back. And wouldn't you know it? That's when it decided to start raining.

And in case you need a description for that - Walking on asphalt for 4 miles in wet socks and bike shoes - blister-o-rama.

Yesterday was a bad day.

6.27.2005

I came home to find a massive puddle of water on my kitchen floor.

The center of my kitchen floor.

There was no leading trail of water to follow, not from the sink, not from the dishwasher, and not from the washing machine. This was just a free-floating puddle.

I then noticed a small drip hit the puddle, causing the reflected light to ripple outward. I looked up. The drip came from the kitchen celing.

The center of my kitchen celing.

I went upstairs to the spot above where the leak should have been coming from and found that my carpet was SOAKED. I mean, totally soaked. Gross, squishy soaked. The water spot seemed to be coming from the baseboard on the other side of the bathroom, so I went in there only to find nothing. No water. No leaks. Nothing.

"Oh, SHIT," I thought. "This is a busted pipe in the FLOOR."

That's bad. I dunno if any of you have ever seen or had to deal with a busted pipe in the flooring of an upstairs area, but it's extremely costly to repair.

But that's when I felt another drop. It came from the celing.

And then it dawned on me - the new air conditioning unit is right there.

I went into the attic to find that the overflow pan was chock full of water and it was just running over, spilling into the insulation just to the left of the stairs.

Which led to the carpet just below.

Which led to the kitchen celing.

Which led to the center of the kitchen floor.

What a mess. This sucks. I have a flooded attic, upstairs and kitchen. It's fantastic. It's freakin' AWESOME! I mean, this RULES! God, I've waited all my life for this awesome an event to happen just after getting home from a hard day of work!

Anyway, that was my Monday. How was yours?

6.23.2005

Ever since I wrote the Motherboard Chronicles, I've heard a LOT of feedback from it. The story has been linked on all sorts of sites, including the most famous of them all, Fark.com, as well as ThisIsTrue.com which features one of the better known Dell horror stories on the net.

I'd say that, on your average week, I get no less than 3 but usually somewhere closer to 10 emails specifically about the Dell story. Below is the most recent, and is very typical of the sort of messages I get about it:



Mentally Incontinent - A Joe The Peacock Book - Feedback Mail

Sender's Name: Chuck P.

Message: I just read about your experience with the Dell Inspiron 8500. I had the same problems with it locking up -- as have about 200 other people from reading their support forum -- but Dell would not work with me on the issue -- as they did with you. They wouldn't even take it back under warranty to check it out. I'll NEVER buy a Dell again, and if I ever met Michael Dell in person, I'd probably go to jail for assaulting him. They took my money and gave me an unreliable computer in return.



Man, I cannot say it enough: I HATE DELL. Truth be told, I have actually had more dealings with them since writing this story, and each interaction is more painful than the last - half due to the history i've had with them and half due to the fact that it really seems like they people at Dell are getting DUMBER as time goes forward. I don't quite know how that works... Maybe there's something in the water in both Texas and Bangledesh, I don't know. Maybe they play subversive ultrasonic messages in the office music. Whatever it is, everyone I talk to on the phone seems utterly incapable (that's right - not just incapable, but utterly incapable, like they've been practicing how to be incapable for a tournament sometime) of helping me on even the most rudamentary of issues.

For instance, up until last Thursday, I had a Dell Business account that had this mysterious 30 dollar balance on it. Where did the 30 dollar balance come from? Well, it seems that several months ago, when I was in one of my standard fits of rage with them, I decided to just pay them off and get them out of my life. I pulled from another budget and sent in the balance we had on the account, but as fate would have it, we were ONE day late with the payment. Thus, a late fee ensued. Of course, they never sent me a bill reflecting this, since I didn't have a balance (seriously, that's the explination the guy with the thick accent gave me. Three times, as luck would have it, due to my inability to understand him). Dell just kept tacking on late fees on this late fee, as well as acruing interest. Five months and 30 dollars later, I get a collection notice in the mail.

I'll cut to the chase - I dialed SIX separate phone numbers given to me over the course of seventeen phone calls. Total time on the phone - two hours, twelve minutes. And the final resolution was so utterly simple - go back to the original payment, wave the late fee, and voila - problem solved... But not before I explained to the poor guy on the phone that I was about three seconds away from exploding and creating a gigantic mess for the cleaning crew to deal with.

OH MY GOD I HATE THEM!

*Pant... Pant... * Ok. Anyway. We closed the account and never, EVER again will I or anyone I work with or for do business with Dell. Ever.

6.22.2005

For those oh-so blessed souls out there who have yet to be completely tainted by the utter dregs of the underbelly of the internet, I have some fucked up news for you:

There's this... Thing. It's called FanFic, and it's BAD.

FanFic is where writers attempt to extend the existing universe of a story - usually movies or tv series - by adding their own storylines. There's X-files fanfic, Star Wars and Star Trek fanfic... Hell, I've even seen Scooby Doo fanfic. If we're discussing semantics, you could argue that Timothy Zahn's excellent post-Episode VI Star Wars novels would qualify as fanfic. But they're good, so they don't count.

But what's worse than fanfic is that there are people out there who write EROTIC fanfic, starring none other than the major characters of your favorite stories. Yep. You can find Scully doing Mulder, Velma doing Daphnie who's doing Scooby... It doesn't stop. The people who write this shit are depraved, so as you can imagine, the topics and cast tend to get a little out there. But nothing - NOTHING - is more out there than fanfic based on children's cartoons and toys.

I need to state this. You probably don't need me to, but it's in me and I gotta get it out: It's really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY goddamn disturbing that there are people out there who have erotic fantasies about toys.

It's 10 times more disturbing that they have the audacity to give these fantasies a voice.

And as disturbing as all that is, it increases by a factor of seven when you find out that some of the toys people are writing these erotic fan-fiction stories about include Transformers, My Little Pony, and the Care Bears.

Case in point:

Transformers Fan Fic

This fucking nutjob has written a story about the Decepticon STARSCREAM. Having SEX.

GAHHHHHHHHHHHH! IT'S A ROBOT, YOU FUCKUP!!!!! Not only that, it's a TRANSFORMING ROBOT! Which means IT DOESN'T EXIST AND YOU ARE AN OVEROBSESSED WHACKJOB WHO NEEDS TO BE BEATEN!!! ABOUT THE HEAD AND FACE!!! WITH A POOLBALL STUFFED IN A SOCK!!! FUCK!!!!!!!!

But it doesn't stop there. OH, no. This fucking wierdo also does Erotic Transformers illustrations. Please, I beg of you, do not click this link.

Oh, God. You did, didn't you. And I bet you said the exact same thing I did when I was sent the link: "SIKJNHBIUBIUYUI@W#&YH*(&#HUNGBUSNAIB ZV&(*#F"

As I discussed this... Abhorrition... With my friend Alec, he said, in mock defense, "Hey, don't knock erotic toy fanfic until you try it." And it occured to me... How can I judge a form of writing until I've at least attempted it?

SO, I present to you, Joe The Peacock's Attempt At Erotic Toy FanFiction, starring Barbie and her ex-husband, Ken:



Ken's latex hand caressed her hard, V-3 plastic breast. He bent at the waist to place his smiling lips on them... "there's no nipple," he said through his bright white teeth. Slowly, he bent only slightly at the knee and kissed her gently as he descended. He lifted his entire body to remove his lips from her nondescript 18-inch waist, slid a few centimeters southward, and laid upon her again. Suddenly, he found her waiting womanhood.

"Um..." He said. "I... Uh... Yeah, okay, there's nothing I can do here," He whispered gently.

"That's alright," Barbie said, placing the extended and clenched fingers of each hand on his unyielding hair and pulling him upward. "Come to me, let me pleasure you." She slid her unbending arms down his abdomen and reached his underwear. Groaning, she strained to remove them. "They... They won't... Budge..." She muttered.



Yeah. That pretty much ends that.

6.20.2005

I have to say, one of the most disheartening things in the world is to grab out a can of Chicken Noodle soup (Healthy Choice brand) and see, in a huge red and yellow starburst call-out on the label, the words "Improved taste!"

This is not the sort of achievement you, as a food stuffs producer, should be proud of. "Our food used to suck, but now it sucks less!" isn't really the message I'd want to be screaming out through a bullhorn during a ticker tape parade in honor of your new soup line - and in case you didn't know it, that's what a red and yellow starburst callout is. It's a parade... only it's just a label on a soup can. But it's the closest you can come to having a parade on your soup can's label.

Personally, I think i'd try to get some sort of celebrity or spokesperson to eat your soup and wait for a positive comment. It doesn't even have to be anything extravagant... If I saw a soup can with a label boasting that Stephen Dorf tried the soup and said "Boy, this is tasty," I'd buy that soup. I mean, come on, it's STEPHEN FUCKING DORF, and he's saying this soup is tasty!

And the great thing is, the more notorious the celebrity, the less they really need to say! You can't tell me that if YOU saw a can of soup in a supermarket with a label stating that Dennis Hopper ate the soup and was quoted as saying, "Well, I didn't puke it out so violently that it poured through my nostrils and onto my pants," you wouldn't buy that soup! And man... OH MAN would I ever buy the soup that Christopher Walken said, "It tases like I hid it in my ass in a vietnamese POW camp." That's the soup for Joe, right there.

But "Improved taste?" Blah. That can goes directly into the Salvation Army Food Bank box next to the water cooler in the break room.

6.14.2005

So.

The Starbucks I usually write at has had it's share of oddness over the past few years. Strange things just seem to happen there, usually while I'm in attendance.

Tonight, however, I wasn't even able to get near the place. Why? Well, it seems that the movie theater in the same shopping complex as it has a robbery suspect holed up inside with the SWAT team surrounding it. The entire complex has been sealed off and no one can go inside. So, instead of writing from there about other stuff, I'm writing here about there.

That entire area is just plain wierd.

6.13.2005

I need to say this up front and right away:

I love getting email from people RE: My writing. I love finding out what people think / feel when they read the things I've written and I love knowing what parts of what I've done have effected people. I also really like hearing feedback on things that people feel I can / should improve on. I do, I swear I do, cross my heart and hope to die if I'm lying.

That said, QUIT SENDING ME LINKS TO McSWEENEY'S AND MADDOX AND TELLING ME I SHOULD "Write more like this." Okay? Okay.

Look -- I LIKE Maddox. Maddox is a nice guy and has some pretty funny stuff - but Maddox is MADDOX. If you did a biological comparason between Maddox and myself, you'd find that we share no DNA markers outside of possibly one which makes us both crave attention. I am not Maddox. Thus, I will never "Write more like" Maddox.

As far as McSweeney's goes, yes, there are a few - A FEW - funny items on McSweeney's. But that website and associated publication is in no way the barometer by which anyone on this planet should ever measure humor. It's vastly populated by overblown stuffy writers who compensate for poor devices for introducing "t3h funn3h" by puffing up their writing to the point of bursting. It's pathetic how unfunny this snobbish, urbanite tripe is (for the most part).

Take, for example, this little gem:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2005/6/8moe.html

THIS IS NOT FUNNY. I am very very very very sorry if you think it is. It is NOT.

Now, for the person who emailed me this link and told me I should "Write more like this," I can honestly say that the only way for me to "Write more like" that article is to collapse upon myself and form a gravity well so dense, not even light could escape it.

And for anyone biting their bottom lip, getting ready to fire off an angry email letting me know how much better than these examples I am not, let me go ahead and disarm you -- I know I suck. If there were a bright center of the writing universe, I'd inhabit a small cave on the dark side of the planet that was farthest from it. I am not saying I am better than anyone on McSweeney's, nor am I saying I'm better than Maddox. All I am saying is that it is not necessary for anyone to even bother with copying and pasting links to their articles in an email that states I should "Write more like" those examples from this point forward. And if you do it, I'm going to flog you digitally.

Thank you.

6.06.2005

Don't get me wrong.

I love my wife. And I love the thought of spending time with her. And I love that Wednesday is our anniversary.

But what I don't love is the thought of spending our anniversary swimming with FUCKING DOLPHINS.

Yes. Dolphins. The animals that puked on me. THEY PUKED ON ME and now I'm going to go subject myself to more DOLPHINNESS.

BUIEBVYY*EIONOWGYWUZSKOIKFGE