Friday, May 25, 2012


So today is Towel Day. If you don't know what that's all about, I suggest you go and read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Seriously. It's only like 200 pages. I'll wait. Otherwise, this won't make a whole lot of sense, and it's slightly more serious than funny today, so this whole thing may just end up getting lost on you. At the very least, read this (from the third chapter of the book):
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.
     A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value—you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you—daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
     More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit, etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker may have accidentally "lost." What the strag will think is that any man that can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
     Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in
"Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
I first picked up a copy of HHGG at the age of twelve. It was a small stroke of luck that I even came across it in the first place. It had been cleverly hidden away in the A section of the fiction area of my school library which, in turn, had been even more cleverly hidden away in a town of 100 people in North Dakota. (Actually, it was the Omnibus Edition of the trilogy that was published about a year before "The Hitchhiker's Trilogy" became a misnomer. FYI, and such.) The cover bore a cartoonish planet with a wide mouth and lolling tongue. This planet was juggling three similar planets. Ten years later, a face like this one (except with eyes) would come to be known as the Jake Face, and would become the exclusive facial expression used in pictures of me.

Apparently I wear that hat a lot. And that jacket.
The book had only been checked out once or twice before, but I would go on to add my name to its card (remember those?) several times before I graduated. I started reading it immediately, and had already finished the first chapter before I even reached the desk to check it out. My initial impression was that this may have been the single greatest combination of words ever assembles. As I progressed through the book, I would discover that this may have been an understatement.

I remember thinking—because I was twelve and American—that the error in Ford Prefect's attempt at adopting an inconspicuous name was merely orthographic in nature, and that misspelling "Perfect" was simply an entertaining irony. At some point not long after this, I read in the introduction that the name was actually a mistake on his part regarding the dominant species on the planet, and suddenly I began to understand that this was a book I was going to be reading very many times. It's the first book I remember reading in which I was not only being told a story, but also learning a lot about How To Write. Before that, most of what I'd read took itself far too seriously. Douglas Adams was the first author to show me it didn't always have to be that way. He somehow managed to blend Telling The Truth and Making Shit Up in a way that was funnier than anything I'd ever read before (or since), but also incredibly intelligent. He was one of my very first literary influences.

In 2001, at the age of 49, he joined my ever-growing list of authors whom I deeply regret having the misfortune of never being able to meet in person. I was just about to finish the first year of a Bachelor's degree in English at the time. $20,000 of higher education had equipped me with the ability to go "oh, shit" and feel a deep sense of loss, which is as good a tribute as any of us who Make Shit Up can hope for—that it meant something to someone, even someone we never met. Especially someone we never met. Two weeks later, some people who were not me created a holiday to commemorate his life and his work. That's Towel Day. That's today. That's why I spent the past two nights making this:

Just the towel. I didn't make the book. That was Douglas Adams.
Honestly, have you been paying any attention at all?
Also, I think I just made it through a whole post without saying "fuck." Except for there. Fuck.

Anyway, happy Towel Day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Everything is fine. Nothing is ruined.

This isn't a real post, but I drew this after I worked last weekend because this happens every time I work a weekend. It's like there's some kind of Saturday bomb.

"I don't know where that fuckin' book is, man. It could be anywhere. There's a lot of 'em about!"

Monday, May 14, 2012

I meant to post this yesterday. It didn't happen.

You know how sometimes you're switching out the laundry, and the brand-fucking-new box of dryer sheets falls into the washing machine, but you don't notice because you're holding a huge pile of towels and shit, and you drop all of that in on top of it, and then when it comes out, everything is covered in dryer sheets and bits of cardboard?

Yeah, I just fucking did that.
Welcome to every day of my life.

In other news, here's what you've been missing on the rest of the interwebs:

What you missed on stumblr.
I pinned this stuff. It's made of awesome.
SNARKS MCGEE. I made this, and they totally posted it. "I've got a course you can plot." (The back story.)

What you missed this week on snark:
My brother graduated from college.
Apparently they don't do "have it your way" anymore.
The actual end of my patience.

Some other stuff that I didn't make, but you should look at anyway:
This is one of the most horrifying things I've ever heard of.
For the love of god, someone get me one of these.
Holy trainwreck, Batman.
Being a human: You're doing it wrong.
10 lovely reasons why men shouldn't be ordained.

Finally, something that a friend inflicted upon sent to me:

You're welcome, Internet.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Give a man food poisoning with a fish, and maybe he'll stop coming to your restaurant. Or die.

This actually fucking happened last week, and I had to write about it because it's still not legal to punch a stranger in the face, no matter how much of a fucking cockbite douchecanoe he is writing is good therapy.

So, this 50-something in an Army hat comes up to me looking like a reject from the Clive Cussler collection. Seriously, he had the floral shirt, the shorts, and the tall white socks. If he'd just had a lei, he could have been in Hawai'i (you can fill in your own joke here if you want). Immediately, my blood pressure rockets up to a million over fuck-you because I've dealt with this fucktard on several previous occasions. Let's review:

Sometime in January When I Wasn't Writing Much Because of Reasons:
Captain Asshat comes up to me and demands that I find something for him because the catalog is stupid. [Spoiler Alert: It's not the catalog.] Dipshit me decides I'll show him how to use it! Teach a man to fish and all that empowerment shit. When I get over to the catalog with him, I discover that he's stretched the mouse all the way across the keyboard to the left side, and stands at about a 60° angle to the screen while typing with one finger of his right hand. I immediately begin to regret my decision.

Still, I've apparently got some kind of obligation to try, so I start explaining how you have to use the little letter buttons to make words that tell the machine what you're looking for. Except I use my superhuman capacity for restraint to do it without being condescending. At first. I type in the author he's looking for and click 'Search.' Miracle of miracles, it brings back all the books by that author!
Corporal Cockbite: But I want audiobooks.
Me: OK, just click at the left where it says 'Audiobooks.'
CC: I have to do this every time? Every time I want something I have to do this?
Me: Well, if you want to search by a specific format, you can just click 'Advanced Search' and—
CC: No, you can do that. I can't do that.
My internal monologue: Then you, sir, are an idiot.
Me: pokerface.jpg
Eventually, I find him a couple things he's interested in (side note: they're not audiobooks) that don't happen to be checked out at the moment, and I begin seriously hoping he's capable of finding them on his own because even superpowers have limits, and I think I've just found mine. [Another spoiler: he's so not.]
Lieutenant Douchetard: How the hell am I supposed to know where this is?
Me: Well, you have to read. Right there, where it says 'first floor.' That means it's on the first floor.
LD: This is so stupid.
Then he proceeds to bitch at me for a while about how there's got to be an easier way, and probably some other stuff, but I've stopped listening because I'm wishing we still had an actual card catalog that I could make him dig through because, y'know, computers are hard.

No, seriously. Shut the fuck up.
Late April, Maybe:
Major Asshole shows up again. He's found a book he wants, and he knows it's on the fourth floor, which makes me feel sorry for whoever was working on the first floor about ten minutes earlier. He walks over to where he wants the book to be and doesn't see it after five whole seconds of looking, so he demands that I show him where we've hidden it. I look it up in the catalog and discover that it's a made-up story involving real people who actually lived in the past, and I tell him it's in Historical Fiction.
Private Wanker: Why the hell do you do that?
Me: Quoi?
PW: Why do you put the books all over the place like that?
Me: You mean in different genres?
PW: I mean you should put all the books by one author together. This is stupid.
Me: Most of our patrons like to read in a specific genre, and this makes it easier to find them.
PW: No, it's stupid. You've got one book in Mystery, and another in Historical Fiction. If he wrote a romance, would I have to go all the way over there?
Me: No, because you're standing right next to Romance. But yes, if he wrote a romance, we'd put it in the Romance section. Assuming it hadn't caused the universe to collapse.
PW: That's stupid.
Then he decided he didn't want the book because he didn't want to have to walk all the way over to the Historical Fiction section to get it. Instead, he walked DIRECTLY FUCKING PAST IT ANYWAY JUST TO GET TO THE ELEVATOR SO HE COULD LEAVE WITHOUT THE BOOK.

Last Friday:
This is where you came in. General Fuckhead literally throws a scrap of paper with a title written on it down on the desk and says "I'm looking for this book and I can't find it." It's in Historical Fiction again. He just came from Mystery. I don't even wait for him to follow me or start bitching, I just go to the shelf and grab it. When he finally decides to walk over, he sees that it's a mass-market paperback size, so he goes "I don't want that crap, I want a book." It shouldn't surprise me that he doesn't recognize one.

Ce n'est pas un livre.
Then we have the exact we had a couple weeks ago, plus this:
Sergeant—You know what? Fuck it: None of you people understand this. You know what I think it is? It's a make-work project for librarians so you can have a job.
My inner Sith: I find your lack of faith disturbing. forcechoke.exe
Me: Oh, I'd love to let you talk to our director about that.
SYKWFI: No, I don't want [grumble grumble]. It's like talking to a deaf wall.
This is a deaf wall. Or, as most people call it, a wall.
This is not a deaf wall. If the walls in your house look like this,
FUCKING MOVE before you start getting messages written in blood.
Of course, he walks off still bitching to the air about how stupid everything is. The complete inability to do anything for himself kind of makes me wonder how he ever survived in the military. At least without getting fragged.

See Also: The woman who bitched about how we're sure putting her tax dollars to good use because we were closed on A FUCKING FEDERAL HOLIDAY.

Friday, May 11, 2012

As long as "your way" happens to match our whims at the moment.

So, I went to [REDACTED] for lunch today because it's the only so-called "fast food" place that offers a veggie burger. During the 10 or 15 minutes I was waiting in the drive-thru, apparently Lewisville Lake exploded and came firing through town sideways, aimed mainly at my driver's side window, which added an extra element of fun to this conversation:
Failburger: What would you like today?
Me: Veggie burger combo and a Coke without ice, please.
FB: Do you want cheese?
Me: Yes. And mustard. But no mayo or tomatoes.
FB: Veggie burger with cheese and mustard. No mayo or tomatoes. What kind of drink do you want?
Me: Medium Coke, no ice.
FB: Did you want a drink?
Me: Yes, a medium Coke, no ice.
FB: Medium Coke?
Me: Yes. No ice.
FB: OK, I totally got that.
[About 8 minutes later, when I finally get up to the window]
FB: Here's your Coke.
Me: All your ice are be in my drink.
FB: Yeah, I heard you say "ice" like six times, so I figured you probably wanted a lot of it. I could get you another drink, but somehow it would take like five minutes because I'm the only one working in the whole store at 12:30.
Also, I discovered that "what would you like today?" was just some kind of small talk, or maybe a survey. It apparently had no bearing on what I was actually going to get. I asked at the window:
Me: You got the no mayo or tomatoes, right? And the add cheese and mustard?
FB: Yes.
FB: bitchglare.jpg
Me, checking it anyway: Um, actually, you got the exact opposite of that. But at least you took 15 minutes to do it, so now I don't have time to wait for you to fix it.
It's sort of like when your parents take you to the mall to see Santa, and you tell him everything you want, but they've already bought all your presents, so the only way you actually get what you asked for is if it happens to be among the stuff hiding in their bedroom closet.

"I want a veggie burger with cheese and mustard, no mayo, and no tomatoes."
"You'll shoot your eye out!"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A study in maroon. And also gray.

So, my brother graduated from college last weekend with a practical-for-his-career-or-some-shit major and a holy-shit-physically-cannot-stop-talking-about-this-because-he's-so-interested-in-it minor, which is usually a pretty good combination for getting through college without wanting to kill yourself, but also finding a job afterwards so you don't want to kill yourself for having blown six figures on a useless degree.

Graduating from high school is a pile of asshat wankery where you watch a slideshow of a bunch of people you hope to never see again, to a soundtrack of Green Day and Vitamin C songs that are almost old enough to be graduating with you. Then about two-thirds of those people start crying about how these are the best years of your life, because you're all at a point in your lives when everything that happens to you, from that one girl whose name you won't remember ten years from now totally calling you a bitch (even though she's the real bitch), to the breakup of your epic seven-month relationship, is a Big Fucking Deal, which will eventually culminate in The End of the Fucking World.

Graduating from college, on the other hand, actually is a Big Fucking Deal, so I flew up for it.

The ceremony didn't actually start until 11, but the doors opened way before that, and people started lining up outside at ass o'clock in the morning, so we had two options: 1) arrive an hour and a half early and have a chance at sitting in the room where the graduation was actually happening, or 2) arrive at what most people would consider a reasonable time and sit in a different room upstairs where we could watch it on TV, which is totally the same, and exactly what I flew the fuck up from Texas to do.

Thankfully, I got to spend the four hours I was there sitting immediately in front of a woman whose daughter was, in all probability, the first person she was even remotely acquainted with to go to college. How do I know? Using my brilliant powers of observation and deduction. (If I were Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey, Jr., this next part would have really cool special effects with slow-motion and text overlays and shit, but all you're getting is a list, so use your damn imagination.)

1. She was wearing this shirt:
To a graduation.
At a private school.
2. Roughly every three seconds, she would knee or kick me in the back and react in a manner that quickly devolved from "herp derp, sorry," to "why do you keep turning around and glaring at me?" Curiously, that sentence is still accurate with a comma after "roughly."

3. She had no internal monologue. Whenever anything entered her head, it would immediately exit through her mouth at a decibel dangerously close to shouting. This was especially true as we shifted from one part of the ceremony to the next. "What are they doing now? Oh, is she going to speak?" Read your damn program; that's why they gave you one. Mathematically, it looks like this:
No, she didn't have arms. She was Venus de Fucking Milo.
4. Every time someone's name was announced, she would screech some kind of horrible war cry, like "ay-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi!" except when it was her daughter. Then she just frantically screamed "THAT'S MY BABY! THAT'S MY BABY!" like she was trying to put out an AMBER alert.

1. She has no concept of physical or social boundaries. Possibly, she has no awareness of or control over her own body.

2. She has absolutely no idea how to behave in this setting, due either to a lack of previous experience or a lack of ability to learn from previous experience.

It's really fucking fun to sit in front of her.

Because graduations are boring as fuck For the benefit of everyone who couldn't be at this joyfest in person, I live-tweeted the ceremony. For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter, I'm including it here. You're welcome. The literally dozens of you who already do can skip this next part if you want.

Now that he's finished his liberal indoctrination college degree, it's probably not long before he ends up on some kind of watchlist. A few years from now, you'll probably see this FBI file photo during the manhunt:

In May 2012, suspect attended an education rally.
Inevitably, it will end with his capture and sentencing to 50 years doing hard labor in the Real World:

Congratulations, bro! I'm pretty fucking proud of you.