Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Liberating Foolishness on a Cold Winter's Day

I’ve never been much for Christmas. For reasons I won’t go into here, my mother’s side of the family didn’t celebrate. They had alternative fests. Much like pork, it was the sort of thing I never quite got a taste for. It isn’t that I dislike the holiday, it just wasn’t important. All Christmas really meant was spending time with friends and/or family, and sometimes, the giving and receiving of gifts. Any religious or traditional significance beyond those acts is more or less superfluous.

This Christmas, however, had a certain uniqueness thanks to the weather. Oklahoma rarely has white Christmases. The snow and ice tends to come more in January, and usually in the form of crippling sheets of ice and sleet rather than in the white, powdery snow children dream of playing in. This December 24th, however, the snow came down hard, laying down more than four inches in an evening, and trapping myself and my friend Russ Trippett inside what was, for another week or so, my house.

Earlier in the evening I’d driven the half-block to his house to see him, and we decided to go back to my house for dinner. I had leftover pizza, and there was fun to be had with good company. Coming back to my home, it had taken a herculean effort to move my car into the inclined driveway. In the end, it was stuck and barring a change in the weather or a concerted act of several physically capable individuals it would remain there indefinitely.

When it came time for Russ to leave, he called his folks to come get him. This was at about 10 in the evening, and we rationalized that the roads would be good enough for them to reach my house and drive back, so long as they didn’t attempt to navigate the inclined driveway that trapped my own car.

After about ten minutes, Russ’s iphone rang.

“I’m stuck.”

I could hear a bit of the conversation from across the room, through the tinny, muffled speaker of Russ’s cell phone. His father had gotten stuck in the snow. We had to mount a rescue.

A lack of typically snowy weather tends to equate a lack of snow-ready clothing. I threw on a long sleeved knit shirt, donned my coat, thick socks, my sneakers, an extra t-shirt wrapped around my neck like a scarf and a pair of work gloves to keep out the cold. I topped it all with my only winter hat; a bright orange toboggan with “hat of shame” knitted into it. A gift from my college days, it was a drunk hat, to be worn by the person in the dorm who was, at that time, the most inebriated.

Thus, Russ and I set out in the cold. The snow had stopped coming down, but the wind still blew. The white snow and the thick clouds reflected the city’s light into an unnatural twilight and our vision was no more obscured than it might be on a cloudy afternoon.

Anyone who has ever been a boy can tell you that there is an exhilaration that comes only from doing amazingly stupid things. In the false-twilight of the winter snow I felt it in my bones. I laughed with each step, relishing the crunch of the snow and the tingle of wet and cold. Yards and streets were blown over with an even coat of snow. One footstep would sink a few inches, another almost a foot. We came up a rough hill, and saw Russ’s father in his car, stuck on 29th street.

Russ’s father was trapped in a six inch drift of snow that made street, curb and yard all into one unbroken plane. The cold and the absurd situation conspired to bring out the best in me. I laughed as, digging with gloved handsm we cleared the snow away from the tires. Braced against the ground and the bumper we shoved the car until it moved backwards, only to find it trapped again. Back and forth we pushed and shoved the vehicle, sliding it slowly down the hill.

Partway through our adventure, Russ’s mother appeared. She had walked from their house with a bag of kitty litter to provide extra traction. Again we pushed, shifted, and pulled. The car rolled slowly downhill.

“Keep going, don’t stop.”

It stopped and was stuck again. More digging, more pushing. I fell down as the car pushed out of my hands and rolled backwards. As the car drove slowly backwards I waved my arms and jumped about as though I were directing planes on an aircraft carrier. The wind snapped my pseudo-scarf into my face, blinding me as I shouted muffled directions. The shirt was hard as cardboard, layered with ice crystals and flecks of snow.

Finally the car was far enough back it could turn around and return home. Russ’s mom handed me the kitty litter to help me move my car and, not knowing what else to do, I took it and started walking home.

As I walked home, I thought of old stories I read in school. Most notably, To Build a Fire. Overcoming an obstacle with raw force and wit brings to life a feeling of power and accomplishment. Awash in the adrenaline high of the physical exertion and the tingle of the now everpresent cold and wet I trudged back home. Our footprints were already gone, reduced to small ruts by the sweeping wind that carved steppes and valleys in miniature in the shadow of electric reindeer lights and argon street lamps.

If this weren’t a city, if I were in the wild I imagined, I wouldn’t have found my trail back to camp. I imagined myself the archetypical hero in one of those old stories. I imagined the mundane, essentially silly set of circumstances, into a romantic adventure, complete with a beautiful girl waiting in some far-off place, wondering if I’d ever get home. ‘If I fall down and succumb to the cold right here’ I thought to myself, ‘would I have time to send a call for help, or perhaps my goodbyes, in a text message?’ I wondered if that would be poetic enough, if it would make a good enough story. If you die doing something stupid you ought to at least leave everyone a good story.

Thankfully, this adventure was a small one, a simulation of a larger man-against-nature struggle. While capable of stirring a form of nostalgia in the ‘racial memory’, it wasn’t capable of threatening my life. I wasn’t going to fall down and die in the snow. I wasn’t going to get lost and seek shelter in a fallen tree or an abandoned suburban. I could see my house from there, my car barely pulled into the driveway. Still, I felt like a man, brave and powerful, as the failing light glanced off the snowflakes that happened to face me.

The whole world sparkled like a snapped piece of white quartz.

In retrospect, if we’d just walked to Russ’s house, the problem would have been solved and the whole affair concluded with hot chocolate. We had done something foolish and soaking wet, encrusted with snow and blind from my glasses fogging up, I felt alive.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Video is Complete! Behold FROGSTAR!

We finished it.

Our first music video, for the Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' music video contest. I've got a good feeling about our chances. At long last you can see what we've been slaving over, and see me as the terror from space.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Kids Are Losing Their Minds... the BlitzWING Bop!

My 9th official Transformers prose tale, Blitzwing Bop, is now up in the members-only area of the Official Transformers Collector's Club. It's a Shattered Glass "mirrorverse" tale done in the style of the old 80s cartoon. My Co-Writer, Greg Sepelak, and I put in a lot of hard work on it.

Since Blitzwing Bop is members-only, you'll have to join the club to read it (and you should!). If you want to read some of my other TF fiction, however, the New World and Force of Habit are both available for free.

Check it Out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm making a career of evil.

Having officially had 'enough', I've decided that my previous motivations in life were largely misdirected. As such, I've decided to move towards my back-up plan: villainy.

Now, as I see it, I need the following things to be successful as a villain:

1. A theme.
2. A series of bizarre hang-ups to use as a motivation for unfocused revenge.
3. Henchpersons.
4. A new wardrobe and 'villainous style'.
5. A doomsday device.
6. A stack of evil schemes.
7. A nemesis.

I am taking suggestions for all of the above, and I'm taking applications for #3. I specifically need interchangable goons, eccentric assassins, and a second-in-command.

Trent's Evil Organization, Ltd. is an equal-opportunity employer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ro-Man, Ro-Man, Ro-Man... Keep them doggies Ro-man...

As everyone knows, I have a certain affinity for the stumbling avatar of monstery failure, Ro-Man. To this end, I present this (Click to Enlarge):

Dream Journal: In Soviet Union, Myth Busts You! / Night of the Living Mammoth

Tonight’s dream came in three major sections.

The first and second ‘chapters’ were connected by a similar theme. In the first part, I was on a composite of the various Enterprises from the various Star Trek series. The ship was under attack by various enemies of the crew members (Khan, the Borg, etc) who seemed all but undefeatable. In this part I observed more than interacted, and the crew eventually discovered that the phantom foes didn’t know anything their counterpart crewman didn’t. It was shown that these beings were manifestations drawn from their minds, and, as the source of these constructs was being found, I was kicked into another dream.

In this dream, I was in a massive building that was like many stores tacked one against the other, one of which was a giant country-and-western themed gift shop. It was here that I was confronted and captured by the cast of Mythbusters, who apparently needed me as a living subject to test some sort of explosive catapult. Apparently, Buster was unavailable.

In what seemed to be an odd continuance of the previous dream tacked on to a bout of semi-lucid dreaming, I engaged Kari Byron in conversation, explaining that I didn’t think she or any of the others were the real deal. In dream logic, this meant they didn’t have jurisdiction to try and blow me up. Kari asked that I put it to the test (keeping in character) so I asked her which was the right pronunciation of her name ‘Kay-ree’ or ‘Kar-ree.’ She wasn’t sure, and I pointed out that neither was I, but it was her name, and if she wasn’t sure how to pronounce it, it’s a good chance that she was molded out of my knowledge. A follow up in which she didn’t remember her own middle name proved that the whole thing was pulled from my subconscious brain. I was immediately released.

Unlike the crew of the multi-Enterprise, however, I was less concerned with learning the identity of my tormenter than I was with attempting to willfully amend my impression of Kari Byron into being the type of woman who would be interested in me.

The alarm clock didn’t cooperate and I didn’t find out if that worked.

Hitting the snooze, I decided to try and go back into the dream, a tactic that never works. This time, instead of being back face-to-face with a perfect simulacrum of Kari, I was in one of the business zones of the great city of the Dreamscape. Ah, the Dreamscape, recurrent environment of my subconscious mind since I was eight, how I’d missed you.

The people of the city, which included my friends Russ, Nathan, Shawn and Lacey. The city itself was under siege by wooly mammoths. The town had apparently been under mammoth attack for a long time, since everyone was used to just getting off the streets when the mammoths came. My friends and I were apparently on a school trip to this town, and when a mammoth came, we just ducked into a Quiznos and waited. Only the mammoth in question had a particular dislike of me, personally, and leaned against the front of the shop until it caved in. What followed was a typical monster/zombie movie scenario (small group on the run from relentless un-killable monster), but with a single wooly mammoth standing in for the zombies.

By the time we started stockpiling weapons to fight the mammoth, I awoke.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Flea Market Adventures

This saturday, Travis and I went to the flea market, as we often do. Once upon a time, the core of my Transformer collecting was the flea market. Around 1996, when I started collecting again, the line was lucky to produce 26 figures in a given year (for reference, the first wave of figures for a given line now approaches those numbers. Thankfully, I'm not a completist). And there was a lot of older material to pull together. So the flea market was a great place to go for TFs. It was also before a lot of nostalgia collecting hit hard, so figures could be found relatively cheap, and I had the sort of time on my hands where I didn't mind buying six figures in crappy shape to combine the good parts off them into one, good condition figure.

Now, the flea markets are primarily a source of raw material for the Pete Promethius film production. I buy a lot of helmets and nerf guns and broken electronics that wind up being costume parts, ray pistols and control panels for an imaginary spaceship.

Well, this weekend I had one of the better 'classic' Flea Market runs, wherein I go and I find stuff that I like for a great price. In this case, I found what amounts to about five sets of Heroscape, for four dollars. For the whole set.

All this in addition to three new nerf guns to make into ray pistols. A good haul indeed.

And now, to counterpoint that rather dull brag at my ability to find nerd-supplies on the cheap, I give you a routine by Dara O'briain:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Welcome to my nightmare, whoah-oh-oh-oh...

I've spent the last week in a period of self-reflection. In all honesty, I probably could use longer, but I'm not able to take more time off from work and money will become an issue if I linger much longer.

Ever since the trip to California, I've been weathering a lot of discontent. The majority of my ability to cope with the life I've been living has been due to a false assumption that the level of discomfort I had was largely universal. That there really wasn't anything out there that was much better. This is demonstrably false. I was inspired, and I've accomplished some great things since then.

But there's also been a bit of a slide. Hope, it seems, can be somewhat toxic when its held just out of reach. I'd also let myself have too much of my self-worth get tied up in elements of my life that simply don't matter. I'm looking to resolve these things, but it is a new war now. Last Monday, I lost a battle in that war, and I've been recovering. I don't know if I'm going to be able to weather, psychologically, that battle again, but I'll find out soon.

Alice Cooper put it well.

In unrelated news, I bumped the back of my bumper against a post, scraping the paint today. It is an irritation, but hopefully I can touch it up and it won't be so noticable.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Slacking: I excell at it.

Ok, apparently, I've let the blog thing slide.

I'll preface my apology with an excuse. I've got a lot more on my plate lately. Video Projects (Actual Video you can watch will be up soon!), more comics (more details to come, Yo Joe!), secret projects (darn NDAs) and all the old stuff on top of that.

And yes, Champions Online.

To this end, I've been letting things slip and I'm sorry for that. The IP policing at work has been stepped up, so a lot of my 'type while bored' projects have been torpedeoed. If you've been feeling neglected, its not you, its me, and I'm going to be trying to keep up.

I promise an angry rant or three sometime soon, as well as the self-congratulating braggartry you've all come to know and love.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Everything is Different

To those who want to know how Trentmas went, don't worry, I'm going to be reconstructing a full account shortly. I have other more pressing concepts pressing on my brain in the meantime. Foremost of these is this:

Everything is different.

Normally, Trentmas is a much needed break. For a few scant days I'm kind of a big deal, and then I go back to being just some guy on a phone. The process leaves me refreshed and ready to weather the storm until my next Botcon. I dream about it. I long for it in my metaphorical heart. The friends, the events, the sense of freedom and joy... they all mix together with the sense of unbridled discovery of an unknown place.

This year, however, Botcon/Trentmas isn't a much needed break. It is a sea change.

There has always been this lingering, nagging voice in my head. This voice would say that every place, every life, would be roughly the same, and as such weathering my current existence was the best I could hope for.

But I've seen, first hand, that there are better things. My humid pit of misery and failure is a unique prison, and there are things beyond it, greater in scope and magnitude, that I have but to reach out and grasp. My soul-crushing job is a fetid, meaningless lie that is beneath me. And in this realization, the shackles begin to crack, and my ascendancy begins.

As such, I reintroduce myself to everyone here.

Hi, I'm Trent, maybe you've heard of me. I'm kind of a big deal.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Uncle Truman

I know everyone is waiting for news of my trip, and it will come in a large, well-thought out post. I don't have internet very much out here and so I have to keep things short until I get back to Tulsa. This, however, warranted borrowing a computer.

My uncle Truman died yesterday at about 3:30 in the afternoon. I say died for a reason, because "passed on" fails to express the loss that I, and the world itself, is faced with. My uncle Truman (actually my great uncle) was a remarkable man. He lived longer and better than any human has a right to hope for, and was my inspiration in many things. Even in the twilight of his life he was teaching watercolor painting to the others in his shared community. He was a strong, noble man, and is worthy of remembrance.

He is survived by his wife, Mildred, and a large family that includes myself.

In other news, my sister was in a car accident. Fortunately, she is alright, even though the airbag failed to deploy. I am relieved beyond all knowing that she is going to be well. 


Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Trent-mas...

Greg arrived in town yesterday, and we're geared up and ready to embark on a quest... A quest to find the true meaning of Trentmas, and to put an end to Snarflawq, the dragon of vaguely-defined despair.

The second element of this quest is made more difficult of late, however. Since Obama's election, Snarflawq has taken up residence at Fox News Headquarters, as it is now all all-you-can-eat buffet of vaguely-defined despair for him. Also, its well known that Snarflawq supports tax cuts for the rich and gay marriage.

Now, long trips are always a point of panic at their earliest stages. Everything must be gathered up, checked, doublechecked and then stowed in some fashion that makes it able to be located. And if you forget it, its miles away by the time you remember. As someone who operates poorly with this human 'memory' thing, the essence of panic is tangible. I think I've got everything packed away and ready to go.

For those who are keeping tabs, today is the first day of Trentmas. As such, its time for you all to set up the wreath of regrets, in Trentmas tradition. For those of you waging the War on Trentmas (and I think you know I know you know who you are), a wreath of regrets is a wire hoop that you fasten your regrets to (in the form of notes scribbled on grocery store receipts you saved for Science-knows what reason). Throughout Trentmas, as regrets come to you, banish them to the wreath. At the end of the holiday, the wreath is burned or fed through a woodchipper to be used as pet-cage liner.

This symbolic act has a noticable placebo effect and will keep you regret free the whole year long.*

Today's Trentmas Carols are Livin' in a Box, the dirge of Keyboard Cat, and Bananaphone.

Well, its that time. I'm gathering up my +2 sword of stabbing and we're going after the dragon that's trying to eat Trentmas. Merry Trentmas to all, and to all a robot-filled night!


*This blog post does not consitute medical advice. 'Year' as expressed may refer to a literal year or one of the following: cat years, dog years, horse years, mouse years, tapir years, fruit-fly years or capybara years. By reading this blog you have surrendered your right to sue in favor of arbitration. All aribtration will be delivered through an angry bear. Offer void in Wisconsin.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Trentmas is just around the corner!

That's right folks, there's only two skulking days until Trentmas, the annual celebration of Trent Troop going on vacation. Now, being raised as unwashed heathens you may not know about Trentmas, but I'm going to lay out the basics for you.

When is Trentmas?
Trentmas comes but once a year, except when it doesn't. The exact date and length of the celebration varies, being based upon the largely unused Buscemiean Calender that the Catholic Church deemed irredeemably non-linear in 543 AD. The exact method to calculating the Trentmas season requires the combined efforts of forty blind monks using a single, triple-sized abacus. Thanks to the miracle of numerology, the one pure pseudoscience, the length and location of Trentmas on the calender coincides with a number of factors, primarily the variable rates of hotel costs and the schedule of a giant transforming robot convention. These coincidences prove the sacred nature of this wondrous holiday.

Where is Trentmas?
This year, Trentmas is a 16 day festival involving a pilgrimage to Pasedena, California. In previous years it has been in Cinninati, Providence, Frisco, St. Louis, and so forth in that fashion back through history. The pattern is obvious, and the next location can easily be deduced, provided one has forty blind monks and a giant abicus.

But I'm not going to Pasedena! Does that mean I can't celebrate Trentmas?
Of course not! In fact, there are only two possible positions on Trentmas... you're either celebrating, or you're part of the War on Trentmas. You don't want to be a member of an unpopular outsider group that is routinely accused of attempting to tear down a ritualistic celebration out of a sense of obligation to rationality, facts and fair play, do you? Of course not. So get ready to party like it's 1859!

What are the Trentmas traditions?
The major traditions of Trentmas are:

1) Going to a giant robot convention, and experiencing fellowship and shared interests with Trent and his many awesome friends.
2) Buying gifts for oneself. Typically, these gifts are robots or mind-shatteringly obscure bits of 80s and/or Japanese merchandise. Liberal sects also purchase self-gifts of booze, video games, exotic foreign confections and miniature toiletries.
3) Not engaging in the drudgery of a day job.
4) Pretending Trent is far more interesting and fun than he normally is (also known as 'seeing through the veil')

Now, those are the most fundamental traditions, and require that one be a part of the pilgrimage to Trentmas. If you aren't going, or you don't know Trent personally, then you can still celebrate in the following fashion.
1) Wishing that you, too, were not at your day job.
2) Engaging in traditional Trentmas games. These include Dungeons and Dragons, Smash Brothers (any variation), Space Quest III and competitive napping (the person with the best combination of depth of nap, length of nap and quality of erotic dreams is the winner)
3) Singing Trentmas Carols:
* Rush's Tom Sawyer.
* Herman's Hermit's Henry the VIII.
* Schnitzelbank
* The Theme to Batman, no, not that one, the annoying one.
* The entirety of ELO's breakthrough concept album Time.
* In the Hall of the Mountain King, sung acapella.
4) Drinking Trentnogg and sharing happy times with nerdy friends.
* Trentnogg is Root Beer (or Dr. Pepper, for our friends south of the border and in Europe), Dark Rum and a shot of Jagermeister. I strongly suggest making it fresh, as the store-bought just isn't as good.
5) Inventing affectionate but surreal nicknames for friends and well-wishers.

There's going to be more on Trentmas. Depending on time and internet access, you will all be witness to my ultimate Trentmas blog. Witness as I and a host of friends embark on a journey of self discovery cross-country. Its like Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas without the drugs.
Actually, wait, its more exciting than that.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The newest Winner - "But it couldn't have been my pets..."

I didn't take this call. I wish I had. This one comes courtesy of one of my coworkers, name withheld to protect the innocent:

Caller calls in. Laptop is showing a blank screen, but when its closed and then opened the machine is, like magic (I won't say which kind), covered with a yellowish, crytalizing liquid.

Now, the caller was quick to point out that it couldn't have been her animals that did it.

How did she know? She tasted it.

I told my coworker to pass this on that if the caller felt strange in any way to immediately contact poison control. Mmm... liquid crystal. I wonder what DPI she gets on her liver.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rockets are Go!

A little Sneak Peek at a Project in Progress:


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Worktime First:: Caller Brings Back the Classic Crazy

There comes a point in every skeptic's life when he is confronted by the ultimate abortion of skepticism: the conspiracy theory. I'm not talking about a 'found some wackaloon talking about this on the interwebs' kind of confrontation. No, what I'm talking about is speaking to someone who casually brings this kind of thing up as if it were fact.

Now, there are conspiracies in the real world. At the core, however, they are unglamorous, dirty affairs that crumble and are exposed by the ineptness of their fellows. Insider trading is a form of conspiracy. A religious cult is a conspiracy that may contain others. And there are conspiracies of governance as well. Say it with me: "Nixon".

But these are painfully mundane conspiracies. They're limited in scope and for the truly devoted headcase, they lack the glamor and spectacle that makes the horrible mundaneness of their lives worth living. Price fixing in the oil industry is just simple greed. It doesn't make a bland middle-aged accountant the subject of attention from sinister external forces that perceive him, inexplicably, as a threat that must be observed and silenced.

Today's caller of note seemed like a regular call with a nervous new user. His new computer won't shut down, it says 'installing updates' and sits there. I informed him that the first batch of Vista updates (complete with the service pack) can take hours. Comforted and ready to wait 5-6 hours for it to update, he seemed ready to go. Until I asked him if there was anything else I could help him with.

What followed wasn't not a question, nor a statement, nor a description. It was some indescribable mutation of language that was fascinatingly insane yet completely incoherent. I will sum up the major points of the caller's delusion here:

1) Zone alarm is actually spyware, integrated into the system by the government.
2) It connects to secret cameras hidden in the computer's fan.
3) This has something to do with the systems being sent over seas for spying purposes. Or perhaps foreign governments are in on this. Like I said, incoherent.
4) These cameras are also hidden in new cars.
5) "Well, maybe I shouldn't be talking about this over the phone."

My first impulse is to debunk these hallucinations one at a time. But this guy thinks a laptop fan has a camera in it. A camera that would point away from the user, possibly down into a desk or into a lap, at all times.

Even if the government was interested in your activities, they wouldn't point the super-secret spy camera at your junk. If they want cheap voyeur shots, they'll install the camera in your shower. Then the antichrist and his one-world government cronies can laugh about your excess back hair at their leisure while plotting to control the banking system and corner the market on fezzes and tiny, tiny cars.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

I am the Cham-peen of the World!

Today, I cost a man $750 dollars, or so he'd likely tell you.

I was doing my job, which is largely coddling people who, with minimal effort, could solve their own problems. The sterling customer of the day was a fellow who, apparently, was an entrepreneur of some stripe. He did not want to do the troubleshooting. He was thoroughly convinced that his printer was broken beyond use, and he was not going to waste time with troubleshooting because his time was worth one thousand dollars an hour.

I stifled my impulse to laugh mockingly.

Let me just say that I don't think anyone can seriously claim that they are worth one thousand dollars an hour. People may be paid more than that, but really, at that point they should just embrace the fact that they're scamming and deal with it when the annoyances of life (of which I am apparently one), come at them. Screaming at a traffic jam that its costing you roughly 16.67 a minute isn't going to make it move faster.

Well, since I wasn't dealing with some sort of alternate-universe Gillian Anderson who had turned to high-dollar prostitution to keep going after the cancellation of the X-Files, I felt the claim that someone's time was worth $1000/hr was not really worth taking seriously. Personally, I find the implication that I should prostrate myself before the wishes of people who make more money than me laughable. If anything, it makes me spiteful. I am, after all, only human (despite my better efforts). If you really make twice my yearly salary in a week, you have no right to complain about cash related matters.

Nevermind that you aren't worth anything. You make what you make, but you only deserve it if you do the work. A cut in what you expected to make is a disappointment, but it isn't a loss. The money doesn't belong to you by divine right.

I make $11 an hour, no matter if you get troubleshooting or not. What people in general need to remember that it is know-how, skill and talent that is real power. Money just lets you rent know-how, skill and talent from people more capable than yourself. In the land of the overpaid technical inept, the underpaid tech support agent is King. And I can be a cruel and spiteful king when provoked.

Spite, in this case, is not required. I simply informed the penny-pinching dunce that unless he went through troubleshooting I wouldn't be able to dispatch. At this point his claim lost its foundation. A man who really is worth a thousand dollars an hour would have hung up and left me alone at that point, cutting his losses to buy a new printer (also, $199.99 junk printer is really not what someone of such esteemed status should be using, don't you think?). He didn't.

In the end, after 45 minutes, and thus $750 dollars of his fictional fortune, the troubleshooting fixed all the problems. I was right, he did as I commanded, and the problem was fixed. The mighty font of human wealth was forced to grovel at the hourly wage slave's beck and call. A triumph for all persons of the lower middle class.

$1000/hr. Seriously, one wonders how someone who honestly believed that could stand to go to the bathroom. A fifteen minute break for a number two would be a loss of $250 dollars of potential profit from the penny faeries of the Lost Kingdom of Hypothetica! If he's not there to take their lucre, they'll simply toss it in the streets where poor people might use it for booze and condoms!

Actually, not going to the restroom in order to preserve that precious, precious gold might explain his attitude.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Today is: Surreal and Somewhat Depressing

Today, we do not have a new winner...

However, I did get a call on the Online Services tech line I work at. It was from a guy named Matthew. See, Matthew works for Circuit City as an on-site tech, and was asking us if he could come work for us.

That's... weird and sorta sad, really.

I can only take solace in the wisdom of my good friend, The Phantom Dictator of the Planet Krankor. "I will arrive tomorrow night at precisely eight o'clock. At that time I shall make my wishes known to you. You will obey them... or die! Have a pleasant night's sleep... HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!"

That Krankor! What times we had.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shockingly, we have a new winner.

I thought the guy who didn't know of the shift key was going to rule from his gilded throne of staggering incompetence for much longer than this (I think Barney Frank's campaign headquarters gets a special trophy, so it doesn't quite count in the normal running.)

The new winner, the woman who called me to get the phone number used to call me. This was not a transferred call.

I know being ESL (English as a Second Language) excuses certain failings of communication, but basic fundamentals of logic are supposed to be pan-lingual.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Grandfather Clock - S. Trent Troop

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who had gone on a few dates with a young man of modest income. He seemed like a good fellow, but the relationship was not serious. This was in no small part due to the young man's punctuality. He had a habit of setting dates for precisely 6:37, but would show up minutes, or even hours, early or late. It was rare that he ever arrived on time and when he was in the general ballpark it was largely due to other obvious factors, like the position of the sun in the sky.

After the seventh or eighth incident of this type, the young woman came to her boyfriend's home with the intent of giving him a piece of her mind. When he let her in, however, her gaze was drawn to an old grandfather clock in the foyer. The hands were stuck at 6:37.

"I think," the young woman announced. "that you are in need of a new clock."

"But that clock belonged to my great-great grandfather. It's been in my family for generations. It is a part of our history."

"Then perhaps it could be fixed?"

"Fixed? But look at its fine carvings, the artistry, the quality of the wood and brass. No one makes these parts anymore and it would be a terrible shame to have to change such a piece of art."

"Oh, well if its just there for aesthetics and tradition, maybe you could get a new clock, one that is accurate and actually runs, to tell time and keep the old one around to look at." The woman was getting exasperated but for the sake of the man's feelings and out of respect for his sentimentality she didn't let it show. Or at least, not much.

"Ah but I don't need to. My clock is perfectly accurate when it is 6:37."

The woman thought about this for a minute or three and, without another word, simply turned and walked away. Under her breath she resolved that the next young man she asked on a date would have the sense to own a digital watch.