Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pretty Sure I'm a Lurker

Like many of us I am a fan of the old Facebook. I like how it allows us to easily keep up to date on what our friends and family members are up to. Especially those who live far away which without Facebook we may never talk to or hear from again. Like a kidnap victim, whose kidnappers are asking for way too much money.

With Facebook I can feel like the kidnapee is still part of my life. Assuming the kidnappers allow them access to Facebook. But if they don’t have access don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I’’ll do just fine without getting their constant silly updates about what the kidnappers fed them for dinner and such. Especially when you take into account all the money I’ll be saving by not paying the kidnappers. With all those savings I could finally afford to do things like pay off my student loans or hire several private investigators to do background checks on myself. You know, in case there’s something I don’t know.

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes, Facebook. When I first jumped onto the Facebook train I was pretty good at consistently posting something about myself. Maybe even the occasional picture or two. But as the years have gone by I’ve noticed that while I still spend as much time as ever looking at other people’s statuses and pictures, I hardly ever update my own status or really post much of anything at all. I’ve become a lurker.

I’ve started to feel guilty that for all my Facebook friends, our lines of communications has become one way. Should I feel bad about this or is it OK to be a lurker?

Pat:  I really think you should reconsider the use of the term “lurker” in describing yourself. I almost didn’t open this post because I thought maybe you felt comfortable enough with me and our blaudience to share some secret detail about yourself that I, and likely our readers, really didn’t want to know about (and you can’t UN-learn somethings, buddy!).

That’s just a really creepy term...the kind they reserve for playground peepers and such. Really....please reconsider.

Christian:  OK, how about a voyeur? Is that better?

Pat:  How about “innocent watcher of other peoples’ lives”? That sounds a lot less creepy, yeah?

Hey, I kinda’ feel like all bets are off when you agree to be a member of the Facebook legion. We’re either extroverts who want the world to know about us, or introverts who simply want to know about the world, or some combination of the two. And all of them are okay. Well, actually, being a bit of an extrovert myself, the former is a bit more okay than the latter, but still...

Wanna’ know something funny? I just found out that for the last three weeks all of my posts have been going to only one of my “friends” because I forgot to change a little filter detail. After I suddenly realized why no one had been responding to my posts--whew! I thought everyone had just stopped being interested in me!--it occurred to me why I haven’t heard from that particular “friend”. I suppose that seemed a bit like lurker overkill, yeah?

Christian: That is hilarious. Ha ha! Although I don’t know why. I’ll just trust you since you say it’s funny.

An IWOOPL huh? I guess that is better than lurker.

So should I feel guilty about being an IWOOPL? When I go IWOOPLing around on Facebook and see old friends and lost relatives post their latest news I’m thankful that they are still somewhat in my life. But it then always occurs to me that while they seem to be somewhat in my life I’m not really in theirs because of my IWOOPLing. Is this fair?

Pat: Totally fair...keep on IWOOPLing! I actually like the idea that there are more people reading about me in secret than there are people reading about me...in public? Not sure what I meant there.

I think what I’m trying to say is that part of the allure of Facebook, as I’m sure Zuckerberg well knows, is that you can IWOOPL people you knew, know or will know and kind of imagine what their life is like without having to COMMIT to actually caring about them. Not sure if that’s what I meant either.

You know what really kind of freaks me out? There are some people from WAY back in my life who’ve connected with me on the ‘Book, and it’s not like I thought they were dead, but I kinda’ thought that since I stopped regularly thinking of them many years ago...they kinda’ stopped existing. Like they were partially dead.

 
Thanks, guys. It’s hard being one of Pat’s Facebook friends.

It’s weird when you realize that all of those people from your past are actually still living! And that they have gone on and had lives of their own! Lives that you can read all about as an IWOOPLer on Facebook!

Christian: Which I do. But I still feel guilty from the one-way communications on my part. So I decided I needed to come up with a solution to this problem. Instead of posting stuff myself, I thought what I needed to do was just comment on everyone else’s status updates so that they know I’m not partially dead. But that would take a lot of time.

Therefore my first strategy was to “like” everyone's posts. This way they would see that I’m still around and I’m somewhat communicating with them but I wouldn’t have to actually read all of their posts. Perfect!

So I tried it.

It worked great for the most part, but not so much on status updates by people posting things like they broke their leg or their mother just died. Or for people leaving a suicide note as a status update.

FB FRIEND: “This world is too cruel for me so I have decided to end it all. So long forever.”
ME: Like!

I needed a different strategy. One that was easy and still allowed me to not have to read everyone’s posts. I needed a “stock” comment that I could just copy and paste into everyone’s status updates, that would apply to any kind of update, positive or negative.

So I came up with this:

“Interesting.”

It’s perfect! It works for everything whether it be positive or negative. Let’s try it out:

FB FRIEND: “I got the new job!!! I gave my notice and start next week!”
ME: Interesting.

FB FRIEND: “Just found out the wife is pregnant! I’m so excited!!!”
ME: Interesting.

FB FRIEND: “Found out the baby’s not mine. Time for a divorce.”
ME: Interesting.

FB FRIEND: “This world is too cruel for me so I have decided to end it all. So long forever.”
ME: Interesting.

Swish!

I really nailed it. I think this just might solve everything.

And for all you other IWOOPLers, and non-IWOOPLers, out there, if you are wanting to do some IWOOPLing of PCPPP feel free, or even obligated if you will, to like our Facebook page. It can be found here and here, and under here. We like likes! Thanks!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What a Drag it is Getting Old...

Pat here, reporting on special assignment from an eighth floor Hilton Hotel room (and, yes, Christian, before you even ask...I WILL tip the cleaning staff!

Read
Tip-Fusing, folks, to see what a cheap bastard my partner is!) in Santa Clara, California. I’m here because later today I am going to a memorial service to celebrate the 98 years of amazing life lived by my Great Uncle Jim.

And before you start thinking that this post is all about mortality and the onset of the downfall towards old age and ultimately death...it’s not.

See, what I didn’t expect in this impromptu trip was to be treated to a view, directly outside my hotel window, of a place that conjured up visions of fantasy, wonder and amazement when I was a youth--Great America!  

Have you ever been there? Or to something like it? (If not, I’m really sorry. Think “Wally World”...but better!) The ribbons of roller coaster tracks creating a giant tangle of entertaining velocity-based fun? The sickly sweet smell of churros and caramel corn and slushy drinks and frozen treats and pretzels with nacho cheese? It is WONDERFUL! The b-rate musicians playing at the smallish amphitheater--can I get a holla’ for my homeboys from the U.K., Squeeze?!!?

When I was younger, I would beg my parents endlessly to take me there when we visited family in the Bay Area, and three times I convinced them (or wore them down) and they conceded and took me. Those trips might have been the highpoints of my youth, if not my life.

So, back to the hotel room. You know what sucks about getting old, Christian? Not the fact that phrases like, “Oh, it’s nothing, just my sciatica flaring” or “Sweetie, I’ve kinda’ got a six-pack, right?” are commonplace...

...it’s that here I am, a professional adult with money in my pocket that I could use to walk across the parking lot and buy myself entry into amusement park heaven, and yet I know that one minute after I lock myself into one of those thrill rides, I will be throwing up all over the place.

Yeah, what really sucks about getting old is that I can’t stomach the very rides that I used to dream about going on when I was old enough to buy my own ticket (which I now am, by the way)!

Can I get some sympathy, brother?

Christian: Yes I hate getting older. It’s probably one of my least favorite things about life, right up there with having to be responsible member of society and styrofoam.

It’s been awhile since I have been on any amusement park rides though. To be honest most of them made me sick to my stomach even when I was a kid. Except roller coasters for some reason. And I do like roller coasters. Although I probably haven’t been on one in more than 10 years so I guess now, thanks to you, I don’t know if I like them anymore.

How do you know you would get sick if you hopped on a thrill ride today? Are you basing this on recent experience or are you just making wild assumptions in hopes of getting some sympathy?

 
Pat?

Pat: How would I know? Well, I’d hop on one of them there thrill rides, like I did last summer with my kids, and I’d ride it for the duration, like I did last summer with my kids, and then I’d exit said ride and make haste to the nearest restroom to un-eat my lunch in the toilet, like I did last summer with my kids.

Thanks for asking.

What else do you wanna’ know? The good news is that my sciatica has been really dormant for awhile.

Christian: And how much did you drink before going on the ride?

Pat: Just a swig of gatorade. Not my usual drink of choice, but apparently they don’t believe in water at the local sketchy amusement park. Do you think that a dram of whisky might have helped to settle my stomach? Hmm...that’s an idea. Maybe the JOY of getting older is that you can legally get tanked prior to going on those amusement rides. Is that what you were thinking?

Christian: I’m always thinking that. I would suggest taking at least two drams if not three drams of whiskey before your next ride. When will your next ride be, because I would like to know if this works out sooner than later.

Pat:   I think you’re going to be disappointed, buddy. I’m a fair-weather amusement rider, and given that it’s definitively non-amusement season, it’s looking like at least a few months.

That said, I’d be happy to swig a dram or three of whisky anyway and let you know how I feel.  Kinda’ the same, isn’t it?

Christian: Good idea. I’ll do I did the same.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's the End of The World As We Know It, and I'm Down With That

Who’s excited about death? No one, that’s who. It’s a major downer. No one likes to think about or really even discuss it, which now that I think about it, probably makes for a very poor blog post topic. Oh well, that’s never stopped us before.

For me the big bummer about dying is all the stuff I’m going to be missing out on as the world continues on without me. Family and friends going on with their lives, amazing new technologies being invented, new variations of Aquafresh toothpaste being released. I could on and on.  

A common philosophical questions that is asked is “If you could choose, how would choose to die?” For me it’s easy. I would choose to die from the Earth being destroyed by a runaway asteroid. Why? Because there is something comforting about knowing that everyone else would die too so not only do I not need to worry about all my love ones grieving over me, but I’m also not going to miss out on exciting new Aquafresh advancements. Win-win.

 
Comforting.

So Pat, is it selfish of me to want the entire world to be destroyed if I were to die?

Pat:  Umm...yes. Entirely. Completely. You selfish son of a bitch.

Me? I was content to simply have a plaque placed in my honor near a vista somewhere atop a mountain.

You kinda’ obliterated that idea, yeah?

Christian: Oh don’t get me wrong. A plaque is nice. And if knowing you are going to get a plaque makes it easier for you to accept the end of your entire existence then more power to you.

But be honest. If you knew you were going to die in a year wouldn’t you find it a little more comforting and easier to accept if it was because the Earth was about to be obliterated?

Pat:   Umm...still no. Because then it wouldn’t be about ME, it would be about US. And when I die, I want YOU to be sad because you are going to miss ME.

In your scenario, there is absolutely no room for self-serving sympathy. Instead we would all be fighting about who should have more sympathy directed towards them...a sort of sympathy battle royalĂ©. And no one would win, ‘cause we’d all be dying.

So...given that my death is all about the sadness and distress everyone else will be in after my departure from earth, I have to say that I want all of the attention to myself, and I do not want to share it with an earth shattering asteroid.

Christian: OK, who's being selfish now? Sounds like you want all the attention and everyone else to feel bad while they fawn all over you because you are going to die. In my scenario everyone gets to feel terrible for everybody. Much better.

Plus to be honest, if I knew I only had a little bit of time left to live I think I would hate getting all that sympathy. Not to mention everyone walking on eggshells around you trying to not to discuss what’s going to happen on the next season of Mad Men or say something like “I’m dying for a cheeseburger” or speculate on what the next round of Aquafresh improvements are going to be. Who wants that?

In my scenario everyone is equal and in the same boat. The same sinking boat. So maybe choosing to have an asteroid from deep space on a collision course with Earth isn’t so selfish after all?

Artist's rendering.

Pat:   I hated that game. Once you used the thrusters you were screwed. Couldn’t stop moving. Damn anti-gravity! And in real life my spaceship would be way cooler than an arrow.

I’ll take the sympathy and eggshells. Hands down.

Christian: OK, how about this; If we go with the asteroid demolishing Earth scenario we’ll make sure everyone that wants it can have one weekend where everyone else mourns them and they don’t have to mourn anyone else. That way you can have a full weekend of nothing but people being sad for you and walking on eggshells. We’ll even make your’s a three-day weekend. How’s that sound?

Pat:  Are you really going to try to organize that? Remember when we used to struggle to get six people to agree what to do on a Friday night, or even what to order on the pizza after we realized that we weren’t going to do ANYTHING?  

Don’t forget the inhibiting power of human indecision. I’ll choose a sudden, untimely and unmourned death, thank you.

Christian: Fine. Have it your way, but if you think I’m not going to talk about future Aquafresh improvements just because you’re dying you are going to be bummed.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Donut vs. Doughnut

I know the title of this post makes it sound like I’m going to talk about some totally awesome B-grade movie about two giant radioactive doughnuts that battle it out in some Japanese metropolis while destroying everything in sight until a super cool giant silver robot that is formed by the powers of five teenage samurais flies into the scene shooting lasers out of it’s hands while yelling “POWER OF THE SAMURAIS GO FORTH!!!” causing a barrage of lasers and lightning to fall from the sky destroying the radioactive donuts in an explosion of maple icing and different colored sprinkles, but I’m not.

This is the best picture I could find of two donuts fighting.
What I was picturing was a little more exciting. And violent.

No, this post is about the spelling of the word doughnuts. Should it be “doughnuts” or “donuts”? Pat?

Pat: Easy. “Doughnuts”. Done. Next topic?

Christian: Whoa slow down there premature-Patty. Why go with “doughnuts”? I know it’s the more traditional way of spelling it but we live in modern and hip times nowadays. It’s 2013. We have iPhones, HD TVs, and Tide has reached a level of stain fighting power that we never before dreamed imaginable.

Don’t you think “donuts” is a more 21st Century, and better, way of spelling it?

Pat: Yes, if the 21st century is to be defined by a dumbed-down illiterati! Are you trying to prove the magnificent film, “Idiocracy”, a historical documentary as opposed to the brilliant satire that it is?

Want to know how all this got started? The moment they started selling donuts at kwik-marts.  

Just spell the entire goddamned word!

Please don’t sue us, Matt Groening

Hey, by the way, how are you doing? Did you have a nice day?

Christian: My day has been fine. Other than the fact that I fell off the wagon with regards to drinking scotch through straws I made out of Red Vines. It’s the straws made out of Red Vines part that I’m trying to quit so as you can imagine it’s been a very difficult time for me.

But you know what makes having to drink scotch through regular straws more bearable? Spelling “donuts” the easy way. There’s just no misspelling it when it’s that easy. It’s spelled just like it sounds. Do - nuts. You don’t call them do - ugh! - nuts.

Plus I don’t know if you have noticed but the spell checker robot - who will one day wipe out mankind from the earth using spell checking lasers - totally accepts both spellings. So both must be right. So if both are right why not go with the easier and better one? Carpe Diem.

Pat:  Fine, then. As my homeboys* in Sublime would say, “f@#k it fight it, it’s all the same!”  Spell it however you want. Just don’t blame me when our future president is asking you for their “voat” to “leed” you into the next “aira” of “uhmairican” progress. Damn...it was really hard figuring out how to spell those words incorrectly. Maybe you’re onto something.

*Just to be clear, the homeboys in Sublime would have totally kicked my ass in high school. Repeatedly. And I don’t think they swore with symbols. They used REAL swear words. That’s badass.

Christian: Hey I’m all for easier spelling. If words were spelled just as they sounded then maybe we wouldn’t have such a bad illiteracy problem in this country. I didn’t realize you were so pro-illiteracy. To be honest I find that quite shocking considering you’re a teacher.

Pat: No! Stop! You’re doing that weird vulcan twisto-logic thing. Stop it!

You have to stop trying to win the argument by distorting my words and making me think I’m an idiot. It works too well, and it kinda’ ruins my day.

Christian: OK, fine. We won’t debate whether or not you are for or against illiteracy. We’ll just agree the jury is still out on that one. But back to spelling donuts. Or doughnuts. Besides holding on to past outdated standards what’s the advantage of going with “doughnuts”?

Pat: Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but I believe what makes the nut is “DOUGH” and not “do”, so, umm, I guess I’m just one for accuracy.

‘Course, that argument gets skewed the moment you bring up hamburgers, so don’t bring them up, please.

Christian: OK, but exactly what part of the dough-nut is made of nuts then?

Pat: Quit trying to change the subject!

Umm...you’ve kinda’ got me on that one, though. Dammit. Fine. Call it a donut.

It’s too much work upholding civilization through grammar.

Christian: OK, cool. But now that I got you to agree that “donuts” is better than “doughnuts” what I really think they should be called are “hand cakes”. Because that’s really what they are.

Imagine if you had never seen a donut in your life and someone said “Hey would you like a donut?” You’d be like “Whaaaat? A donut? What the hell is that, jerkwad?”

But if someone said “Hey would you like a hand cake?” you’d be like “A cake I can fit in my hand?!?!?! YES PLEASE!!!”

What do you think?

Pat:  Do you normally deep fry your cakes? I think that might be a key feature. Not sure, but I think so. How about “fryballs”? Or “doughrings”?

Christian: Not all donuts are fried are they? Anyways, to show you that I am able to compromise, why don’t we just go with “fried hand balls”? Sound good?

Pat:  Nope. Not ready to compromise. And, yes, I am aware that many of our loyal followers are probably reading this slackjawed at the moment because they are so used to me being the more moderate, compromising and balanced member of the team. Well...to be perfectly honest, I was ready to concede until you hinted at the silly notion that not all DOUGHNUTS (oh yes I did!) are fried. Your utter lack of knowledge regarding that oh-so-crucial component of the fried-dough delicacy not only makes me want to continue this argument, it makes me want to go back a rescind my concession on your lazy spelling.

To quote my favorite movie villain: You couldn't leave well enough alone, could you, little twerp? No, you had to push it. Well, now you're gonna pay!

It’s (back) on!

Christian: OK, I googled it and you’re right, all donuts are fried even the cake ones. Science is an amazing thing. You know what else is amazing? Fried hand balls.

But as for donuts vs. doughnuts, I guess we’ll just have to leave it up to our attractive and well styled, dearest cherished readers to decide. Which is it? Donuts or doughnuts?