Me VS The Machine

Yeah, I’m back!  What started out as a two-week hiatus to tweak my blog turned into a six month life-and-death struggle with technology.  It was man versus the machine, and the machine had me outgunned and surrounded.  (Now I know how John Conner felt.)

The problem was (and still is) that I’m a man of the 20th century, and two decades into the future I just haven’t caught up.  Let me put this into perspective – the difference, in years, between 2022 and 1990 (when I still thought I was cool) is the same as the difference between 1990 and 1958!  No wonder I have no idea what’s going on.  I’ve become my grandfather trying to understand television. 

In the beginning, everyone from YouTube to the teenagers at BestBuy said it was easy to upgrade my blog — get a new theme, add stunning graphics, put in add-ons and plug-ins and an endless supply of apps.  Lying bastards!  I clicked one icon (I swear it was one icon) and all hell broke loose.  Suddenly, my Cyber-presence (is that even a word, anymore?) looked like the Wreck of the Hesperus, and I was the one lashed to the mast.  Three or four days and a variety of increasingly creative obscenities later, I knew I needed professional help — but that just made things worse.  Every time I tried to explain or get some answers from the techies, I felt like a medieval peasant asking the priests for directions to heaven.  And no matter how faithfully I followed their instructions, I kept finding myself further and further away from salvation.  For the next few weeks (that turned into months) I alternated between unholy despair and increasingly creative curses on everyone from Johannes Gutenberg to Bill Gates.  I thought (seriously) about just pulling the plug – all of them – even the toaster.  Because, believe me, rock bottom has a basement.

But we folk of the 20th Century are made of stern stuff.  Yeah, the 2000s have crazy jihadists, Vladimir Putin and this petulant pandemic, but I survived Disco, Cabbage Patch Dolls and 80s slang (gnarly?) so the Taliban, Vlad and Covid, don’t scare me – and, come to find out — neither does omnipotent technology.

“You’re not God, you pile of plastic and silicone!  In another life, you’d be somebody’s fake boob.  I run this keyboard.  And don’t you forget it!”

And in one glorious act of liberation, I swept the carnage into a separate folder and deleted it.  So, from here on in, I don’t care about URLs, SEOs, analytics, portals, platforms, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, cuz I finally remembered one thing.  On the other end of my computer screen, there’s a person – not an algorithm!

It’s 2022.  Happy New Year, everybody!

Internet Philosophers

I don’t surf the Net very much.  I don’t have a problem with spending hours wandering through cyberspace – actually, I think it’s kinda cool – I just don’t have the time.  Basically, I stick to my favourite sites every day, and that works for me.  However, every once in a while, I go nuts and get tangled up in the web of The Web — and I’m lost in space for a couple of hours.  I never think of these Cyber adventures as time wasted.  I learned way back in the dialup days that the Internet is an enchanted garden, and once you weed out the idiots, the place is blooming with beautiful flowers.  Here’s just a small bouquet of some front porch philosophers I found the other day.

Taxation is just the yearly subscription fee you pay to live in your country; your childhood was the free trial.

Don’t ask me what’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever done: I haven’t peaked yet.

I just hate it when I accidently step on my dog’s tail because I feel so guilty that I can’t properly explain that it was an accident and I’m really, really sorry.

It’s never a good sign when your fitness watch starts flashing stress warnings and you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.

You know you were right all along when they name a hurricane after your ex.

It’s definitely love when your girlfriend comes home totally drunk, stands by the bed, starts taking off her clothes, stops and says, “I’m sure you’re awfully nice, but I have a boyfriend.”  And then walks out and goes to sleep on the sofa.

The other day I thought it would be cool if someone invented a hot veggie smoothie; then I remembered — it’s called soup.

Cargo pants are just cleverly disguised purses.

If you eat probiotic yogurt when you’re taking antibiotics, does that mean you’re coming out about even?

When I was young, I fell off my bike and fractured my ankle.  I rode my bike home.  Last week, I stubbed my toe– and I haven’t left the sofa since.

When I was young, I wanted to spend a year backpacking across Asia.  These days, I’m pissed when the bum warmer in my car isn’t warm enough.

When I was young, I thought I’d have a great career, a wild social life, a cool apartment and a retirement plan.  I ended up with mismatched wineglasses and a toilet that won’t quit flushing unless you jiggle the handle.

I hate being the parent because I always have to say no to all the same things I loved doing as a kid.

Every morning, men leave the house with nothing but their phone, their wallet and their keys.  How do they make it through the day?

That awkward moment when you ask a girl out for the first time — and then, five years later you ask her to marry you — and she says no – both times.

Finally realizing that the reason you clean the house before people come over is you don’t want them to think you actually live this way.

When you accidently fart in a meeting and it sounds like somebody’s stretching the neck of a balloon.

Telling all your friends you have a twin so you don’t have to talk to them in public.

The secret to a successful marriage is never hating each other – on the same day.

With all the crap that’s going on in the world, these days I watch The Shining to relax.

The only thing in the universe that’s worse than a Man Cold is being married to someone who has a Man Cold.

Realizing you’re excited about Valentine’s Day because you know chocolate’s going to go on sale the morning of the 15th.

“Ignore this text.  I’m pretending to add some jerk’s telephone number to my contacts.”

It’s always difficult when you find out your wife eats spaghetti with a spoon and divorce lawyers are outrageously expensive — on the same day.

You know you’ve been in lockdown too long when the kids start referring to the Amazon delivery guy as Uncle Freddie.

Single people don’t know there’s a wrong way to load the dishwasher.

The best thing about working from home is you don’t have to fight through all the lunch purses in the company refrigerator — and, sometimes, a pigeon sits on the balcony.

When coworkers, doctors and boyfriends say “we,” they usually mean “you.”

And a couple of my favourites:

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat the people who work in restaurants.

People who add a “but” when they apologize aren’t actually apologizing.

Stuff I’ve Learned to – UH – Dislike!

hate

Hate is one of those things we’re not supposed to do anymore.  It’s on this unwritten list of things that are strictly verboten in the 21st century.  There’s a lot of other stuff on the list, but that’s not our concern today.  (Besides the list kinda keeps changing, so it hard to keep up.)  Anyway, hate is a biggie, so if you’re going to do it, you better keep your mouth shut about it.  And that’s the problem.  You see, hate is one of the primal emotions.  It’s hardwired into our DNA — like love, jealousy, fear, sadness, etc., etc. — and we can’t just switch it off because a Twitter mob tells us to.  Think about it!  Every religion on the planet made its bones preaching that our spiritual needs must overcome our baser emotions; Twitter’s no different.  Yet, throughout history, we’ve managed to harvest a pretty substantial crop of sinners.  Personally, I think a little sin is good for the soul: just don’t let it get out of hand.  So, with that in mind, here are a few things I — uh – dislike very, very much.

Eggplant – When I was a kid, this was a particularly insidious brand of child abuse, and I vowed when I became an adult, I would never let this slippery, slimy, sludgy purple horror darken my doorstep again – and it hasn’t.

Wine Snobs – These are the guys (and they’re always guys) who take one sip of wine and start orating its qualities like Cicero in front of the Roman Senate.  Here’s the deal.  It has been proven (literally hundreds of times) that ordinary people cannot actually tell plonk from pinot noir— and even seasoned sommeliers can’t do it consistently.  In fact, in one study (University of Bordeaux) white wine was coloured red and nobody knew the difference!  Fruity aftertaste, my ass!

“The Little Drummer Boy” – Listening to this dirge every Christmas is like getting beaten over the head with candy canes.  This is one holiday tradition that should be shot in the head, dragged by its heels into the back garden and buried without ceremony.

“Relationships” – This is what’s wrong with contemporary society: we don’t have the cojones to love each other anymore.

Faux Foodies – I love genuine foodies.  Anyone who spends that much time and trouble just to find something different to put in their mouth is a dedicated connoisseur of the oral experience.  However, those other clowns who insist guacamole is an entrée, refuse to serve any vegetable with a recognizable name and prowl the trendy shops, looking for esoteric crap like Peruvian pygmy goat cheese, are just assholes.

And finally:

Pompous Asses – Years ago, I had a university professor who thought he didn’t put his pants on one leg at a time.  I decided to squeeze some creative points out of the old boy by giving him a gag gift for his office.  I bought a plaster figurine of Pan at a local garden shop.  Then I created a long-winded provenance that said it was a replica of a full-sized statue, discovered in the ruins of Pompeii.  I even printed a tag that read, Frederico II, University of Naples/Gift Shop.  I thought it was all in good fun.  Unfortunately, Professor X and his colleagues didn’t really have a sense of humour.  They were quite impressed with the gift!  They marvelled at the craftsmanship, and a couple of them commented that it was an excellent example of 1st century Roman art.  One fellow, overcome with one-upmanship, casually mentioned that it was indeed a very good replica because he’d seen the original.  (I needed the marks, so I kept my mouth shut.)