This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

People Whose Computers I Have Recently Repaired

Before I get all into this mess, I want to thank God for making it rain today. It was pouring upon the dry crusty earth, and the clouds were so thin the sun was a visible bright orange ball. These Dallas days, any rain is a sweet relief from the sameness of 95 and sunny. Yeah, you think you'd like that, but you wouldn't, trust me. Unless you're my wife, in which case 80 and cloudy is cause for a hoodie.

And man, that rain just came out of nowhere, didn't it? Is the science of meteorology still in its infancy? Why didn't any of those slickly-dressed "scientists" on TV see this coming? Looking at the Dallas radar, it's totally clear except for a little blob of dark red activity where I live. Maybe God is telling me to take a shower.

Side question: Anybody out there use Google Earth? Does it help fill your...satellitey needs? I'm going to try to get it to run on Linux, except that reminds me that I never finished my post/essay on Linux. Consider yourself lucky.

now, back to the whole purpose of this post, the
Numbered List of People Whose Computers I Have Recently Repaired.
by A. Computer Guy (Epth Nation will neither confirm nor deny the identity or even existence of this person, so don't bother even trying to figure out who it is.)

1) My place of employment is in a grubby brown office building. On the wall by the stairs, there's a horrific painting of a bullfighter that has either: a) long blades of grass sticking out of his bullfighting jacket, or b) green claws for hands. It's hard to tell. If you go up the stairs and go through the second office door on your left, you will be in a law office/collection agency. Actually, I think either both entities share an office, or the collections lady works as a subsidiary of the law office. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that my company is contracted to take care of their computer stuff, so I had to wrestle with their labelmaker for a couple of hours the other day. I was in there so long that I got acquainted with the office staff. First there is the receptionist, who is on her honeymoon. She's a cute hispanic girl with glasses. In her place on this labelmaker day was an older lady who was working as a temp. She was nice and reminded me of Phyllis on The Office.

The collections lady is one of those people who has a sense of humor but doesn't like to laugh. I don't know if she's just trying to be no-nonsense, or if she's just a b****, but she didn't ever laugh, even when she said something funny. This makes her an awkwardness machine, as nobody knows if its ok to laugh around her. I'd hate to have her calling my phone asking me to pay up. On top of the humor problem, she also looks like a bulldog. Specifically, she looks like that bulldog that gave Sylvester the cat fits in the old WB cartoons. That must also come from working in collections. When she started there, I bet she looked like some other animal, maybe a squirrel. Over time, she turned into what her job is. In two more years, I bet I'll look like Dell Dimension desktop.

Also temping in this office are two teenaged boys, carbon copies of each other and the insipid d-bags who inhabit MTV shows like Laguna Beach. They both have suspiciously even tans and wear lots of hemp. When I was working on the labelmaker, these twins were in a room in the back of the office talking loudly about how they like the n-word and how it sounds cool when you say it in a high voice. Then one of them started screeching "n- please yo n- my n-" and so on. He liked the word so much, he just kept on repeating it over and over. No wonder bulldog lady was in such a bad mood, I thought. She has to deal with these dunderheads all day.

So I'm at the receptionist desk working on the increasingly insane-seeming software that runs this supposedly state-of-the-art label printing machine, and all I hear for a good 10 minutes straight is this white boy n- screeching. Then some dude walks in looking for the lawyer, who is not there. He stares at me as if I'm the receptionist, because I'm restarting the computer or something and it looks like I'm just sitting there waiting for people to walk in the door. But I'm just the computer guy, so I just walked back and told the tan temp hemp twins that there was somebody at the door. Clearly embarassed, the one who was obsessed with that horrible ethnic slur had to stop using it long enough to tell the guy that the lawyer was at trial and wouldn't be in the office. He and his buddy had a good laugh, though, since they were sure the guy had heard n- this and n- that coming out of the kid's mouth, and that was so naughty of them. They're such rebels in their fashionable clothes and aloof attitudes. Nobody else does that.

2) There was this lady who started our conversation regarding payment by floating the idea that she would just pay with her dog, a really cute yorkshire terrier. While the dog was a wonderful young animal with a winning personality, I told her I couldn't accept a dog in lieu of payment. All the time I was there, she kept on with the joke. It was charming at first, and then I got to thinking that maybe she didn't really want to pay. Maybe, I would have my first delinquent/non-paying job. She did end up paying, thankfully, and as a bonus gave me some of her literature.

This was also the house with the system of dog gates that could theoretically keep either of their two "yorkies" confined to any room or hallway in the house. It took like 5 gates to get up to the computer room. This is overgating and should not be encouraged. We need more free range dogs so their muscles don't get stringy.

3) This isn't a specific person, it's more of a generalization: Aside from the Bulldog, no fat people seem to need computer service. Maybe it's a Dallas and/or wealth thing, but all my clients have been thin. I feel bad for soiling up their house with my girth.

4) And then there's the weightlifting place with all the freakish-looking and fitness-crazed men and women. But that's not the fun part: The place is run by a former pro-wrestler, and in the guy's office are dozens of framed ads from the 70's, detailing wrestling matches he participated in. He was a native-american-themed wrester, and on one of the posters under his name it says (in quotes) "hates the white man." He's my new hero.

5) Many smokers need computer service, but they don't seem to realize that smoking in their house all day for a year gives their computer (and the rest of their stuff) a sticky yellow film and a strong stale scent. I went to one apartment and the woman was smoking while I was standing there. She said, "Yeah, it needs to be cleaned out because the dust is so bad in this neighborhood." Right...that yellow film is caused by dust. I understand she's ashamed of her habits, but we can recognize chain smoking when we smell it. My car smelled like that computer for two days after I transported it.

Not that there's anything wrong with smoking...I don't want to be dragged into that issue. No way. On the issue of smoking being smelly, however, I am 100% affirmative.

6) There was a lady who bent over to write out a check, and hooooah! I don't know what happened, because I was strategically and consciously looking at the nice paintings on the wall of the house. I don't think she realized what she was showing, either, because that would be creepy. Anyway, to expound a bit more on my political leanings, I am 100% pro-bra and 0% pro-loose-fitting tank-tops. Call me a gentleman if you want (is that an insult these days?), but I don't need this.

7) There was this old guy who was clearly befuddled by the nature and workings of computers. He also claimed to have gone to high school with Warren Buffet. Buffet was on TV with the Gateses talking about their massive philanthropic efforts, and he was yelling at the guy to donate to his high school. Yeah, yelling at the TV makes you look crazy. I'll have to remember that the next time I watch the Packers play.

There are more people, but most of them are too boring for this blog. Most of them are ex-military, and I fear their contacts could kill me if they find out my identity, which can be neither confirmed nor denied by anyone. Just remember that, snipers.


If you're on for a month, can you really have a "series finale"? I'm looking at you, Pepper Dennis.

They're delivering a baby on Cheaters right now. Can anyone give me a definitive word on whether that show is real or fake? Let me repeat...they're delivering a baby on the show right now.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wireless PCMCIA Card I Need

Yeah, Yoda might say it like that.

Anyway, I need one so I can post during the day, in my car. There's something very romantic about that idea for me. I'd feel like a gumshoe. Tomorrow (Saturday) I'm going to make a list of all the people I need to tell you about, the people I've fixed computers for. All of them seem to have unique qualities about them that come out when the computer guy is around. I think wealth might have something to do with it, or age. Most of the people I work for are either old or rich or both. Those are the two groups of people who don't care -- they'll say whatever's on their minds. I can't wait for that day. When I'm old, this blog's really going to be something.

Preview: One customer claimed to have gone to high school with Warren Buffet, the guy who's giving away billions of dollars . I believe him.

I still like my job, for those of you who care. I work with good people, and as Thoreau once said, "That has made all the difference." Cocky SOB, that Thoreau. I just misquoted him.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Go Beavers

These are heady times to be a person with a relative starting her freshman year at Oregon State. They just won their first NCAA championship in anything since the 1940's, a 2-games-to-1 heart-stopper in the College World Series. A poor North Carolina player got his tar heel stuck in the dirt, causing him to throw the ball wildly past the first baseman. I don't know what inning that was (like most people, I didn't and will never watch the College World Series), but I hear it was the play of the game. Get a mascot that's not a dirtied-up body part, Tar Heels. And that goat doesn't count.

We visited Corvalis (the home of OSU) a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I, and had some bad chinese food. I got an "Oregon State Beavers" t-shirt while we were there, which is totally in fashion now that they've won something. Maybe I can sell it for double price. It's orange, so probably not.

Also in sports, an alumnus of my alma mater is actually doing something with her life, unlike the rest of us. Amanda Kuca, who just graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW), took 8th in the nationals for the 3000m steeplechase last week. Concordia doesn't even have steeplechase stuff on their track. How did she get so good? She's my new running hero. Suzy Favor Hamilton, you're in second now. And Prefontaine, you're just crazy. And dead.

She takes over as Women's distance coach at CUW next spring. Also, I think she just qualified for the olympic trials next year. She's trained for at least 631 straight days. The next (insert name of USA historic women's steeplechase hero here)? You betcha. Read the interview.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm a House of Fire Again Gorilla Monsoon would say. This isn't wrestling, but it's close. It's called life, and I have so many opinions floating around in my head right now that I can feel my eyes bugging out. Each of these topics probably deserve at least one full blog post, if not an entire essay. But since I haven't the time or energy to get into them right now, I will create some thumbnails for you:

1) I have an irrational hatred of Superman. Every time I see the trailer for the new movie, or someone even mentions Smallville, I feel like my brain's being pulled out through my ear. The obvious question is "why?", and I can't give a definitive answer. I suppose it started with the worst scene in the entire Kill Bill duology, the part where Bill talks about the greatness of Superman and how his secret identity was a bumbling human with bad eyesight. He used that to justify the massacre of a bunch of innocent people. Here's the quote in question (from the imdb, so don't as they say quote me on this):
An essential characteristic of the superhero mythology is, there's the superhero, and there's the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When he wakes up in the morning, he's Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic that Superman stands alone. Superman did not become Superman, Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears, the glasses, the business suit, that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He's weak, he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race. Sort of like Beatrix Kiddo and Mrs. Tommy Plympton.

Now that's a nice solliloquy. Allow me to put my nerd hat on for a second and parse this statement though: First of all, Superman was not "born Superman." He was born on the doomed planet Krypton and only got his powers when he arrived in our solar system, because of the yellow sun. How is that fundamentally different from Spider-Man, who got his powers when a radioactive spider bit him? And how is Peter Parker not Spider-Man when he wakes up in the morning? Punch him, and see what happens. I dare you.

And what of Wonder Woman, who definitely was born with her powers; or Supergirl, who has nearly the exact same characteristics as Superman, but happens to be a girl; or Krypto the Super-Dog, about whom the less said the better? When are they ever going to make a movie or critcally acclaimed but ultimately bad TV show about these characters? Hmm? When is the rest of the Justice League going to get their due? Aquaman and his gay outfit have sat on the shelf for too long. Why does everything have to be about Superman? He's overrated, and I am the sworn enemy of everything that is overrated. Just call me Lex Luthor. I'm bald, you should have seen this coming.

Anyway, my stated rule is that I won't watch another Superman anything until they make a Wonder Woman something. I fully intend to violate that rule because my wife wants to see the stupid upcoming movie, but don't think my own failings will stop me from ripping it afterwards. Keep this post, and my irrational hatred, in mind as you read it.

2) Yeah, the Mavericks lost, and I don't know how I feel about the 2006 NBA Finals. One the one hand, two new teams made it. On the other hand, the refs (here we go again) systematically handed the series to Miami with a series of questionable decisions. The worse team won, there's no question about that. But Dallas didn't really do anything to justify them getting a title, either. They became totally timid and forgot all the lessons of the previous two rounds. Like I said, I don't know how I feel about all this. Dwyane Wade seems nice, and went to Marquette. My cat's breath smells like cat food.

3) The USA is out of the World Cup, and I say good riddance. They sucked, and need to regroup for another 4 years. 2002 was a total fluke. Maybe next time they can make it past Ghana. It's time for the real teams to step up, like those dandy boys from England (or as I call them, "the Gland"). The Gland could win it this year. This Cup is all terribly exciting now that we're down to elimination games. I feel bad for the players that lose these games now, because they have to go back home and face their countrymen knowing that they failed. And those countrymen are brandishing bats and tazers and pepper spray and any number of other nasty weapons. I don't think the World can handle this Cup. I think they need to dismantle this tournament and start over with something that people are more mature about, like knitting.

Plus, there's something really, really sad about some of these poor countries. They just want something to take their minds of the awfulness around them, and soccer does that. When they're eliminated, what do they have to look forward to? Now, that's coming from my piggish USA perspective, and they might very well be on average happier than us, but they live in a dirt clod. I guess it's good to consider these things.
Now that the USA is eliminated, we have to go back to My Super Sweet Sixteen and America's Got Talent. Who deserves the pity now?