Conversations

 

July 07, 2008

Going Down

Conversation with a friend, as we walk to the elevators:

Friend: So, what are you up to this weekend?

Me: Saturday we are going to the Chihuly museum.

Friend: Oh, you know it's not just Chihuly, right? It's devoted to glass in general.

Me: No, I hadn't realized.

Friend: Yeah, they even have a glass blowing room, where you can see people making art and stuff.

Me: Cool.

At this point the elevator arrives containing two people. We enter.
Friend: The last time I went they were blowing a squirrel.

Me: A squirrel?

Friend: Yeah, it was like this three-foot high squirrel, and there were two or three people blowing it. Like, taking turns.

Me: That's kind of strange.

Friend: Not at all what I was expecting to see, that's for sure.

We arrive at the next floor. The two other people exit looking perplexed and creeped out.

May 02, 2008

The Bright Side

The Queen, observing the crowd demographics as we arrived at the Seattle Cinerama for the premiere of Iron Man: "Well, at least there won't be a line for the ladies room ..."

January 30, 2008

Snippet of Dialog I am Parking Here Until I Get Around to Writing That Screenplay

Guy 1: What have you been up to?

Guy 2: Looking and lots and lots of pictures of gunshot wounds.

Guy 1: What for?

Guy 2: I'm studying. Pre-med.

Guy 1: Ah. Going to be a doctor, eh?

Guy 2: No, I meant premeditated murder.

January 08, 2008

As Advertised

The Queen IMs me at work:

Queen: hey

Me: What's up?

Q: Bored

Q: I called our insurance company, and have been on hold for like five minutes

Q: They are playing classic rock. Right now I am listening to "Can't Get No Satisfaction"

Q: OH THE IRONY

December 17, 2007

Apples and Oranges

Being married to a professional botanist has its ups and downs. It's nice on day hikes, for instance, having someone around who can instantly identify every plant we see. On the other hand, I don't need to be notified of every ecological incongruence in the films we watch. The Queen spent much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy leaning over to me in the theater and whispering, "pfff, I can see why they call this a fantasy--they have polystichum munitum growing in a tropical upland climatic zone."

Last night we went to a wreath-making party last night. Our host provided us with wire frames, fir boughs, holly, and pine cones; before dinner, while I read stories to Squiggle and put him to bed, everyone else got all elfy in the garage.

At the end of the evening we collected our wreath. Ours, while beautiful, was the least ornate of the bunch, consisting only of boughs. As we carried a sleeping Squiggle out to the car, I asked The Queen about this.

Me: Why didn't you put holly in our wreath?

Queen: Because holly berries are poisonous, and when Squiggle saw them he pointed excitedly and yelled "cherries!"

M: Ah, good call. But what about the pine cones? You could have put a few of those on there.

Q: No I couldn't. They were the wrong kind.

M: What do you mean?

Q: The boughs were from one species of tree and the pine cones were from another. It would look weird to have them on the same wreath.

M: What, seriously? Nobody would know but you.

Q: Yes, it would look weird to me. That's what I'm saying.

M: Oh, come on. What's the big deal?

Q: Let me put this into terms you can understand: imagine if you went to a Star Trek convention and saw a bunch of people dressed as Jedi.

M: Oh, god. Right. Gotcha.

October 17, 2007

Captain von Kirk

Overheard:

"It's weird how Beethoven's good symphonies are the odd-numbered ones, but the good Star Trek movies are two, four, and six."

August 22, 2007

Shivic Duty

I am on jury duty today. Again. Third time in five years. Random selection my ass.

As I walked through the metal detectors at the King County Superior Courthouse this morning, a security guard beckoned me over.

Guard: Is that a keycard on your waist?

Me: Wha-? Oh, yeah. It's from my work. I just kind of habitually clipped it on this morning.

Guard: May I see it?

Me: Sure.

{I hand him the keycard. He examines it for a moment.}

Guard: Is there a knife in here?

Me: A what? A knife?

Guard: Yeah.

Me: No, it's just a keycard.

{He hands it back to me.}

Guard: You can buy these keycards now that have little concealed knives in them.

Me: Oh. Well, uh, thanks for the tip.

August 14, 2007

"It's Like 'AAAOOOooooooooooo.........' But Forever!"*

I was with a bar with a friend and, after a few beers, attempted to describe the Shepard Scale to her.

It was difficult. Eventually I pretty much gave up and resorted to Lovecraft-like allusions. "It's like a color that shouldn't exist," I said. "Or an angle that doesn't add up."

Here is is: The Shepard Scale. Note: ogg file; profoundly unsettling; may induce insanity.

* This was Alan Taylor's attempt at describing it.

July 23, 2007

Forecast: Divorce

We in Seattle enjoyed torrential rains Saturday and Sunday.

This morning, in the elevator, I overheard this conversation:

Man: So, what did you do this weekend?

Woman: Went to a wedding. An outdoor wedding.

Man: Oh, god. That must have been fun.

Woman: Yeah, it was pretty bad. The bride was totally pissed at the groom because of the rain.

Man: Why? Wasn't his fault.

Woman: I guess they had some indoor place all lined up to use, just in case, but he was sure that having it outside would be okay.

Man: Still, though. How was he supposed to know?

Woman: He's a weatherman.


May 10, 2007

Where's Keith When You Need 'Em?

A woman is giving me her personal information over the phone:

"First name: Janet; Last name: Oakley. Email address: jaoakley@yahoo.com; that's J as in James, A as in Andrew, O as in Oscar, A as in Andrew, K as in, uhhhhhhhhh, Welcomebackkotter ..."

April 19, 2007

Riposted

The Queen: Do you want to watch America's Next Top Model with me.

Me: Ah, no. I did that once in my lifetime, so I'm good, thanks.

The Queen: Oh, come on.

Me: Sorry, but I just don't understand the appeal of a bunch of stupid people prancing around like idiots and blurting out whatever damned-fool thing flitters through their heads.

The Queen: ... says the guy who reads political blogs.

April 05, 2007

Encounter at the Intersection of Maudlin and Geek

Squiggle and I are strolling through a park, and I am singing Daisy Bell to him. As I near the end of the song, we approach a middle-aged woman, who is walking briskly in the opposite direction. She suddenly stops dead in her tracks and stares, dumbfounded, as I belt out the last few words.

Woman: Were ... were you just singing "Bicycle Built For Two?"

Me: Yes.

Woman: Oh my God. My name is Daisy. My great-grandmother used to sing that song to me when I was a little girl, and I don't think I've heard anyone else sing it in, like, forty years! How do you know the words? Did someone sing it to you when you were a child?

Me: Ahhhh, no. It's the song HAL 9000 sings as he dies.

March 30, 2007

Fool And His Money II

The Queen and I chat:

The Queen: Your post about the Susan B. Anthony coins was pretty funny.

Me: Thanks. You know, I heard they are coming out with a new dollar coin.

Q: Why do they bother? No one wants to carry those around.

M: I do. I'd much rather carry around coins than dollar bills.

Q: Oh yeah, that would be fantastic. Then, every time you sit on a couch, you'll lose thirteen dollars of our money instead of just sixty-four cents.

March 09, 2007

Will Wonders Never Cease?

Overheard at the aquarium: "The amazing thing about otters is how waterproof they are."

March 08, 2007

Fool And His Money

Coworker One: The vending machine is giving out Susan B. Anthony coins.

Coworker two: Mm?

Coworker One: Yeah. I put in a five, and got four of these back as change. It usually gives you those Sacagawea coins--I've never seen it give Susan B's before.

Coworker two: I've never seen a Susan B. Anthony coin in my life.

Coworker One: Really? Here, take a look.

Coworker two: Thanks.

Coworker One: You can go ahead and keep it, if you want.

Coworker two: Okay, cool.

{Long pause}

Coworker One: Hey, wait a minute: I just gave you a dollar.

February 22, 2007

On Call

L: Help, I'm stuck on a boring conference call! Chat with me!

Me: Um, okay.

M: What should we chat about?

{A minute goes by}

M: Hello?

{A minute goes by}

M: What's the deal? Am I supposed to be chatting at you?

{A minute goes by}

M: OZYMANDIAS

M: I met a traveller from an antique land

M: Who said:--Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

M: Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

M: Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown

M: And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

M: Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

M: Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,

M: The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.

M: And on the pedestal these words appear:

M: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

M: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"

M: Nothing beside remains: round the decay

M: Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

M: The lone and level sands stretch far away.

{Ten minutes go by}

L: Sorry!

L: I meant we should chat with each other, but I wound up speaking for the entire call.

M: I hope you at least managed to slip an Ozymandias reference in there.

L: I didn't think of that. And now everyone is disconnecting.

M: Quick! Just blurt something out!

M: "Hey Janet? Of frown and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command? Could you come to my desk and help me with this Excel spreadsheet? Right now it's a colossal wreck, boundless and bare."

L: Too late, they all hung up.

L: Oh, well. Thanks for being game, anyway.

M: No problem. My officemate is currently on the phone, guiding his eight-year old son through the process of unclogging a toilet with a plunger. So it was either chat at you or listen to that.

L: It's like primitive tech support.

L: SHUT UP AND REFLUSH

January 15, 2007

You Say Tomato

My Pa-In-Law came to visit last weekend. At one point he was reading a small book.

Me: What'cha readin'?

Pa-In-La: The manual for the router I just bought. I'm trying to figure out how to set it up.

M: [Sighs inwardly at the cluelessness of this generation regarding the fundamentals of networking] Maybe I can help. How many PCs are you trying to connect? And is it wireless? You know, most of these routers just have a configuration page you can access through your browser, and you can set it all up through that.

P: It's a router for the hardwood floors I'm installing.

M: You shouldn't need to install ... wait, "floors?"

P: Right. Do you know what a wood router is?

M: I, well... Um, not really.

P: [Sighs inwardly at the cluelessness of this generation regarding the fundamentals of home improvement] Okay. So, say you have a piece of wood, and you need to mold the edges ...

August 21, 2006

Ice Queen

The Queen rubs the top of her head and makes the ow-that-hurts air-through-the-teeth noise.

Me: What's wrong?

Q: I have a bump on my head and it's getting bigger. Feel it.

{I engage in some impromptu phrenology}

M: Wow, that's a good 'un. How did you get it?

Q: I got hit by a block of ice.

M: Did it knock you out cold?

Q: It's not funny.

M: Sorry. What happened?

Q: I wanted to pack the cooler for our weekend camping trip, so I went to the grocery store and bought a big block of ice. As I was walking back to the car I tumbled -- honestly I don't know what happened, I just suddenly went ass over teakettle -- and when I threw my arms up the ice flew into the air. Then, after I landed on my butt, the block of ice came down and hit me on the top of the head.

{Pause}

Q: What?

M: Nothing, I'm just waiting for the part of the story that's not funny.

August 18, 2006

I Forgot My PIN Number, Can I Have Yours?

Pick-up line used by the guy two spots ahead of me in the ATM line on the woman directly in front of me: "So, do you need cash too?"

July 12, 2006

i don't IM

W: what's up?

Me: Nothing. What's up with you?

W: oh i thought you were IMing me. I don't IM.

Me: Well, aren't you Mr. 19th Century?

Me: I shall contact you via telegram forthwith!

W: but as long as we're chatting

W: do you wanna cheap tv stand?

Me: No.

W: the tv stand is free! I put it on craigslist. no takers.

Me: Try offering some free oral sex on craiglist. I bet that will get a response.

Me: Stipulate that they have to take the tv stand too, though

W: post: insatiable cocksucker offers multimedia furniture.

W: you know i have thought about becoming a gigolo. but I'm concerned about the health risks

Me: You mean the mental health risks of having people sing that David Lee Roth song EVERY FUCKING TIME you mention your profession?

W: tell me about it. that's why i had to quit my job as a tambourine man

June 26, 2006

Soccer Is Hell

I ask my friend A. why he is so tired.

A: I've been getting up every morning at five to watch World Cup games.

Me: Still? The US is out, man.

A: I'm not rooting for a team, I'm rooting for the entire thing. Go soccer! Besides, I'm kind of glad we got eliminated. They say that playing soccer is a metaphor for waging war, and I don't feel like we have anything more to prove in that area.

Me: Yes, the United States is something of a literalist when it comes to the whole "waging war" motif.

June 16, 2006

Blue State Skies

The Queen: I think Bush is in town for a few days.

Me: He was just here this morning. He left a few hours ago.

The Queen: Ah. I wondered why the sun came back out.

June 14, 2006

A Pitcher's Worth A Thousand Words

I get a lot email. Not all of it is mine.

To: Matthew Baldwin
From: Geoffrey Ambler
Subject: Friday Night

Hey Matt,

I was talking to frazz last night and we were talking about how we should have a late night dinner before we go out of friday. I have work til like 630 on friday and then I am coming into the city with bull should be there by 9. Make a reservation somewhere for like 930. I mean bars don't get good til after 11- 1130 anyway. We might aswell eat and drink and then drink drink delta til 6 am. Let me know what you think?

I love you,
Geoff

* * *

To: Geoffrey Ambler
From: Matthew Baldwin
Subject: Re: Friday Night

Hey, Geoff. This sounds great, except I think you're probably talking about a different city than the one I live in (Seattle). Also, you may have intended this to go to a different Matthew Baldwin. Sounds like a good time, though.

Best to frazz and bull,
Matthew


* * *


To: Matthew Baldwin
From: Geoffrey Ambler
Subject: Re: Friday Night

You know what you're right the baldwin I am talking about is straight. You must be his gay twin who his fucking Jamie Moyer (pitcher for the seattle mariners). I'm sorry man I won't bother you anymore. Seattle, huh, doesn't it rain 23 hours a day 6 days a week there?

Best to grunge rock and starbucks!


* * *


To: Geoffrey Ambler
From: Matthew Baldwin
Subject: Re: Friday Night

Oh hey man, I thought you knew: Jamie Moyer (pitcher for the seattle mariners) and I broke up back in February. It was probably for the best. Honestly, we'd been drifting apart for years. He spent so much time on the road with the team, and I was spending so much time on my latch-hook ... you know how it goes. We were really only staying together for the kids there at the end, you know?

I still see him occationally, at Starbucks or grunge music concerts. He's moved on now, I guess -- got a new guy named Trevor or Tyler or something.

Thanks for asking, though -- it means a lot to me that you care.

Well, too bad Friday night didn't work out for us. I guess I'll just stay at home this weekend. Been doing that a lot, lately. Just staying home and listening to the rain and thinking about Jamie. We had some great times together, me and Jamie. Some really great times.

I love you too,
Matthew

May 31, 2006

Just Entertainment Weekly For Me, Thanks

Two young ladies at the bookstore:

Young Lady One: Have you ever read anything by Greg Bear?

Young lady Two: Nuh-uh, who's he?

YL1: He writes hard science-fiction.

YL2: I don't read anything hard.

May 22, 2006

In Which Predictions Are Made And Fulfilled

Me: Look, gmail now has built-in chat functionality. After years of avoiding the siren song of Instant Messaging it has now been unwillingly foisted upon me, and I therefore have no choice but to use my newly acquired powers to pester you at work. I shall do so every half an hour from this day forward.

L: You're bluffing.

M: Is that a challenge? OH IT'S ON!

M: I'm going to invent a light switch that shouts "OH, IT'S ON!" whenever you flip it up.

M: You know, for the blind.

M: Then I'll create a knockoff for kids that says "OH, IT'S ON ... BIATCH!"

L: I don't think kids have been saying "biatch" since 1998.

M: No way. If I'm still saying a catchphrase it is hip by definition.

L: And I'm pretty sure it's spelled "biotch." It's so played that it's probably in the MS Word spellchecker by now. I'll verify.

M: You'll start typing it and clippy will pop up and say: "It looks like you are trying to 'give mad props' to your 'peeps' ..."

L: Word actually says that it's "biotech."

L: (Feel free to make something funny out of that for your blog)

M: Um, thanks

L: It could be funny!

M: Yeah, but if I have to work to make it funny, it's not much of a gift. That's all I'm saying.

L: It's the seed of inspiration.

M: You people. You're always, like, "Hey, I ate a tuna sandwich yesterday. Feel free to couch that in the context of a some wacky and completely fictitious events, invent a bunch of humorous dialog to accompany it, and use it on your blog!!"

L: Whatever. Someday you'll be hard up for material and just cut and paste this conversation into a post, I'm sure.

M: Is that a challenge? OH IT'S ON ... BIOTECH!

L: And curtain.

April 24, 2006

Take Your Best Shot

Conversation with a fellow dad over drinks:

Me: How old is your son, now?

A: Five and a half.

M: Going into kindergarten next year, then?

A: Yeah. That's kind of a hot topic of debate at our house these days. He's currently going to Montessori, and we have to decide if we're going to put him in public school.

M: Right. And you, bleeding heart liberal that you are, are advocating public schools. Because you want to give your child a ruinous education and score a few cheap political points.

A: Exactly. In fact, that's kind of the problem: the Seattle school system is actually pretty good, so it's not even like we're throwing him to the wolves. It's more like we're throwing him to a bunch of puppies. It doesn't burnish our liberal credentials at all.

M: That's rough, man. Well, look at the bright side: the way things are going, I'm sure the "Indeterminate War On Terror" will still be in full swing 13 years from now. So you can always encourage your son to enroll him in the military after high school, thereby proving some sort of political point or another.

A: Hmm, that's a thought. Of course, if we don't put him in public school he'll probably wind up in a specialized military academy for Montessori graduates. They'll be all, like, "We're not going to tell you who to shoot. Just get out there on the battlefield and express yourself."

April 14, 2006

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Overheard:

Guy One: Today is Good Friday.

Guy Two: What's "Good Friday"?

G1: It's the Friday before Easter; the day Jesus was crucified.

G2: And it's called "Good Friday?" That doesn't sound very good to me.

G1: I guess "Bummer Friday" didn't have the same ring.

March 10, 2006

Tick-tock

"Happy birthday!" cries my father. "How old are you, now?"

"Thirty-five," I reply.

"All right," he says. "Halfway there!"

Apparently he knows something that I do not.

January 03, 2006

Tell Me How You Really Feel

Yesterday morning The Queen and I were both in the bathroom. She was brushing her teeth at one sink; I was shaving at the other and considering my reflection in the mirror.

Me: Okay, I give up. I thought I'd let my hair grow out to a normal length to see if I could do anything with it, but it's impossible. I'm just going to shave it all off again.

Queen: Thank God.

M: Why, do you think it looks bad too?

Q: It looks terrible.

M: Well, c'mon -- it does't look that bad. But I have so many cowlicks that it's hard to --

Q: It looks ridiculous.

M: Hey, I'm saying it doesn't look good . That's my point. So I'm going to shave it -- there's no need for the pile-on. I was growing it out a little bit as an experiment, but --

Q: It's been an ordeal for the whole family.

December 15, 2005

I'm A-Start Some Drama

I walked into the kitchen this morning to find The Queen groggily gathering coffee-making accoutrements.

"Wha'cha gonna do wit all dat junk?" I asked her. "All dat junk inside yo trunk?"

She scowled at me as a reminder of the household's "no conversation before caffeine" rule, but then asked, "What are you saying?"

"No no, that was all wrong" I said, disappointed. "You are supposed to reply ..." -- I switched to falsetto -- "... Iím a-gi gi gi git you drunk, git you love drunk off my hump."

She looked confused. "I'm going to get you drunk?"

"Right," I confirmed. "Love drunk. You know, off your hump."

The Queen stared at me blearily.

"And then," I continued, "you emphasize this final point by saying: My hump, my hump. My hump, my hump, my hump. My hump, my hump, my hump. My --"

The Queen interrupted. "Is this that song you've been talking about on your blog?"

"Hang on," I said. "We've coming up on the best part."

"Okay," she said, resigned.

"Are you ready?"

"I'm ready."

I cleared my throat, took a deep breath, and began again. "My hump, my hump. My hump, my hump, my hump. My hump, my hump, my hump. My lovely lady lumps."

There was a long, stunned silence.

"Check it out," I added.

"That's awful," said The Queen in horror.

"Now you understand," I said, nodding somberly. "And it's knowledge that can never be unlearned."

"Why?" asked the Queen. "Why did you do that?"

I shrugged. "That song is like The Ring," I explained. "You have to pass it on, or you die."

November 23, 2005

Board Of Directors: Tom, Dick, And Harry

Leaving work I get on the elevator going down. A man and a woman are already on it, in the middle of a conversation:

Man: ... know you're on Jen's team, but -- I'm sorry -- I don't know your name.

Woman: Karen.

Man: Ah, okay. Nice to meet you. I'm Steve.

Woman: You work with Jim, right?

Man: I work with Jim and Mike, right. Along with Jeff.

Apparently I work one floor below All-American Names Unlimited.

November 16, 2005

Head Light

Snippet of conversation between the men standing behind me in line at the deli:

"... when Jesus was born he came out with, like, a halo around his head. Not the round cartoon halo but more like an aura -- his whole head was glowing. He looked awesome."

October 26, 2005

From Boasting To Blubbering In 60 Seconds Flat

From an IRC channel I frequent:

matthew: The cute and at-least-ten-years-my-junior barrista at my coffee shop just comped my afternoon decaf. This may be the first fringe benefit of flirting I have ever received.

matthew: Aside from the wife and child, that is.

torrez: HAHA. Oh yes, them.

tenuki: You go out for decaf...?

dreamattack: i've never understood the drinking of the decaf

potentato: she feels bad charging money for decaf

valmunin: Decaf coffee is just hot water...

matthew: It's was a decaf latte, okay? A latte. But the latte is beside the point. Cute girls are comping my drinks, people. Can we please stay on topic?

torrez: Arenít you a fancy boy? A latte!

tenuki: latte-da

matthew: YES A LATTE THAT'S WHAT 20 YEAR-OLDS LOOK FOR IN A MAN YOU KNOW: SOPHISTICATION

gribblet: You drink decaf lattes? I'm suprised your sperm had enough energy to impregnate wife with child.

hypoartist: Did you get the senior citizen discount?

winterdrm: Don't fucking post again unless you get a free scone.

brax: Did you get a shot of hazelnut too, hot stuff?

photek: Wow, you guys brought the heat. I'd be surprised if Matthew wasn't crying and spitting up latte all over his embroidered lace doilies right now.

October 19, 2005

The Root Of Evil

On the phone with The Queen.

The Queen: Did you guys have fun at music class this morning.

Me: Oh yeah, we had a blast. And afterwards, when I was driving The Squirrelly to daycare, he ate raw carrots for the first time. I think he really liked them.

Q: Where did he get raw carrots?

M: I forgot to bring him an after-music-class snack, so I just gave him the baby carrots from my lunch.

Q: You gave him whole baby carrots while you were driving?! And he didn't choke to death?!

M: Ah, no. And for future reference: if I ever tell you a story that involves our son choking to death on baby carrots, I promise that, A, I'll mention that fact in the lead paragraph, and, B, I will not refer to the experience as 'a blast'.

September 22, 2005

And You Can Still Innertube From Memphis To Minneapolis

Two co-workers, as they walk past my office:

One: There was once an earthquake so big that it caused the Mississippi River to run backwards.

Two: Wow. For how long?

One: Just temporarily, I think.

September 13, 2005

On Deaf Ears

The Queen and I make chit-chat over breakfast.

Me: Have you read Mighty Girl recently?

The Queen: Nuh-uh, why?

M: It sounds like she has the same problem with her spouse that I have with mine.

Q: Bryan doesn't listen to her when she he talks?

M: No, he -- wait, what?

Q: I uhhh ... I mean, what does she say?

August 09, 2005

Werewolf

Check out this astonishingly comprehensive fansite for the late-80's FOX show Werewolf, complete with pictures, videos, mp3s, fan fiction, and even scripts for the original episodes.

I find it oddly heartwarming that someone built sust an impressive site in tribute to a program I barely remember.

August 08, 2005

Adventures With The Highly-Strung Cashier

As my items trundle down the conveyer belt at the local co-op, the cashier grabs a bag of cherries, sets them on the scale, and then reaches for the bananas. As he does, he glances at the scale's display.

Highly-Strung Cashier: Whah?! That's ridiculous!

Me: Huh?

HC: Oh, this thing is telling me to "mind the scale." Like, who's the cashier, here?! I know what I'm doing.

M: Ah.

HC: It's ridiculous. Why is it only telling me to mind the scale, when there are so many other things that need minding?

M: I, um, don't know.

HC: Next these things will be telling you how to do everything. It'll say, like, "mind the ... ", uh, like "get with the program."

I decide to play along.

M: It'll say "Don't forget to pay your taxes."

HC: Oh yeah, "pay your taxes" -- so your money can go to wars instead of schools!

I decide to stop playing along.

He eventually finishes ringing up my items in irritated silence and announces my total. I swipe my card through the reader.

HC: Credit or debit?

Without waiting for my reply he starts to push a button.

M: Debit.

HC: DAMN IT!!

June 21, 2005

Dull As A Spoon

Oveheard on the bus:

Girl 1: So what happened with XXX after we left?

Girl 2: Not much. We wound up spooning all night.

G1: That doesn't sound like "not much."

G2: I was so bored. It was pretty lame that nothing more happen.

G1: Did you want more to happen?

G2: Not really. But, you know. It was like spending the whole night drinking non-alcoholic beer.

April 17, 2005

Good Luck With That

The Queen overhears a conversation between two 50-ish women at the bus stop:

Woman 1: The next time I marry, it's gonna be to a Christian.

Woman 2: Oh?

Woman 1: Uh-huh. I already have him picked out and everything.

Woman 2: Really? Why haven't I heard you mention him before?

Woman 1: Well, he doesn't know it yet. Also, he can't stand me.

April 07, 2005

Wearing That Cross Must Have Been Uncomfortable

Me and The Queen chit-chat after work:

The Queen: Have you heard the Pope speak?

Me: Which Pope?

Q: The one who just died.

M: Have I heard him speak? Since he died? No, have you?

Q: Yeah. They had some clips of him on NPR today.

M: What's was he saying? "Braaaaaaaaaains! Braaaaaaaaaains! But no condoooooooooms!"

Q: No, these were clips from before he died.

M: Ah.

Q: I'd never heard him speak before, and his voice sounds just like somebody else's.

M: Whose?

Q: Someone really famous.

M: Okay.

Q: Do you want me to tell you?

M: Or I could just listen to the clips online.

{pause}

M: But you're clearly dying to tell me. So, okay: who does the Pope sound like.

Q: Dracula. A really, really bad Dracula.


Judge for yourself.

February 04, 2005

Ah, Homophones

We bathe The Squirrelly after his dinner, and the foodstuff he is invariably covered in eventually accumulates in the basin, leading to conversations like this:

Me: Can you watch the baby for a few minutes? I want to clean the bathtub.

The Queen: Is it dirty?

M: Yeah, it's full of pea.

Q: The Squirrelly peed in the bathtub?

M: Hah. No, I mean the other kind of pea.

{Pause}

Q: You peed in the bathtub?

January 27, 2005

The Magician

A little over a decade ago, in the final days of Bill Bixby's life when he on the cover of many tabloids and weeklies ("Bill's Heroic Battle Against Cancer!"), I was standing in in line at the supermarket behind a woman and her young daughter. The mother pointed to Bixby's picture on one of the magazines and said "Do you see that man? When I was a your age I had the biggest crush on him. He was on a show called The Courtship Eddie's Father, and couldn't wait to grow up and marry him."

Although I don't make a habit of talking to strangers in the grocery store, I couldn't resist saying, "It's probably best you didn't -- he had one heck of a temper. You wouldn't have liked him when he was angry."

To which the woman deadpanned: "That's not the Bill I loved."

(I was reminded of this story by a recent discussion on "TV Crushes" at a site I frequent. For the record, the earliest crush I recall having was on Caroline Ellis, who played Joy on The Bugaloos. I distinctly remember my eight year-old heart racing whenever I watched the show.)

January 14, 2005

Security Systems

I talk to another new father:

Me: Does your daughter have, like, a security blanket?

B: She has a stuffed animal she carries around. Why?

M: I read that kids at this age will become attached to a "security' something-or-other. But The Squirrelly hasn't really taken to anything.

B: That's probably for the best. When I was a little kid my parents had to take my blanket away.

M: They took away your security blanket? No wonder you are so screwed up.

B: They were trying to get me to stop sucking my thumb, and I only did it when I was carrying my security blanket. So, one night, the blanket disappeared ...

M: I'm sure your folks sent it to a beautiful farm, some place where it could roam free.

B: ... and when I woke up there was a note that said that it had been taken by the Blanket Fairy.

M: ?? The "Blanket Fairy?"

B: You know, like the Tooth Fairy? He took the blanket and left fifty cents. And after that I didn't suck my thumb any more, so I guess it worked.

M: It's a good thing, too. If it hadn't you would have woken up one morning to find yourself with eight fingers and a buck in change from the Thumb Fairy.

{ Laughter }

B: [Little kid's voice] "Whaa! I can't even pick up the quarters!!"

January 10, 2005

Adventures in Communication
  • The Queen, The Squirrelly and I were taking a day hike. A mile into the forest we encountered a women who was standing off to the side of the trail and talking on her cell. About an hour later, as we were coming back, we saw the same woman in the same spot, still yammering into her phone. "She got a very specific calling plan," The Queen speculated as we passed. "The rates are dirt cheap, but that's the only place in the State she gets reception."
  • One of the joys of being a new father is getting into conversations with co-workers who have also recently had babies, and having this long, involve discussions about the mechanics of birth and infant care without using any words like "vaginal" or "breastpump," instead choosing phrases like "yes, the baby was 10 lbs, 7 oz. but she still gave birth to him, um, the not-cesarean way." It's like playing pick-up games of Taboo.

January 04, 2005

Idi-um?

Chatting with a friend:

Me: So what's up with you and T.? Still feuding?

K: Yeah.

M: Come on. You guys need to either patch things up or stop hanging out.

K: I know, I know. A few weeks ago we did try to uhhhhhm ... you know, to, uhhh ...

M: "Bury the hatchet?"

K: Right, exactly.

M: But it didn't work?

K: No, because I'm still mad, and I really didn't want to bury the hatchet. So I made a big show of burying, but it wasn't really the hatchet I was burying. I was burying something else and secretly keeping the hatchet, like, hidden behind my back, so I could hang onto it for later.

{pause}

K: Whoa, I way over-extended that metaphor.

M: I didn't want to say anything.

December 03, 2004

The Burdens Of Parenthood

The Queen:

"I took The Squirrelly to the hospital today for his second flu shot. After he got it I was out in the waiting room getting ready to leave, and there was this old lady sitting near us. And she starts asking me all these questions, like 'how old is he?' and 'how much does he weight?' -- but not in a friendly way, she was all aggressive about it. So I got all ready to go, and stood up, and started rummaging around in the diaper bag for his hat, and she totally yells at me, "you need to put a cap on that baby!!" And I turned to her and started to say 'how about I put a cap in your ass?!' But I stopped myself. Because, you know: I'm a mother now."

December 02, 2004

911

There is a woman just outside my office door who, for the last five minutes, has been talking to someone on a cell phone about (a) what order they are going to "hit" the various stores at the mall when they go shopping this weekend, and (b) how they are going to dress their dog (??!) for an upcoming Christmas party. IF ANYONE WHO WORKS IN MY BUILDING IS READING THIS BLOG PLEASE PULL THE FIRE ALARM IMMEDIATELY!!!!

November 23, 2004

Vital Signs

This evening's "how was your day" conversation:

The Queen: I made a major faux pas in baby sign-language class.

Me: What happened?

Q: Well, all of the women in the class are super religious, and one of them asked what the sign was for "Jesus." And the teacher said that you touch the palm of your left hand with your right index finger and then vice versa, like for stigmata? And I totally snickered.

M: You snickered at the cruicifixion of our Lord?

Q: I couldn't help it! I just thought it was ridiculous. I mean, what if the sign for every famous person was the way they died?

M: You'd move your head back and to the left to sign "JFK."

Q: Exactly. And to sign "Elvis" you would sit on a toilet.

November 16, 2004

The Brimstone State

Guys on the elevator:

First Guy On Elevator: How was your trip to Miami?

Second Guy On Elevator: Uggh. I hate that state. It's unbearably hot and full of stupid people.

First Guy On Elevator: Jeeze, you make Florida sound like the Cliff Notes for Dante's Inferno.

November 10, 2004

Monkeyshines

The Queen and I hang out with Michelle:

Michelle: What's your kid up to these days?

Me: Crawling. Like, all over the freakin' place.

Queen: And he's losing his monkey toes.

Michelle: His what?

Queen: You know, if you touch the sole of a newborn baby's foot how his toes will kind of curl up around your finger? Like he's trying to hang onto a branch or something?

Michelle: Right, right.

Queen: His toes don't do that as much anymore.

Me: Also, we finally took him in and had his monkeytail amputated. His balance has been all screwed up ever since.

Michelle: You should totally tell him that when he gets older.

Me: Oh, I will. "Yeah, you were running and swinging all over the house when you were three months old. But then we had your tail cut off, and you had to relearn how to walk." I wonder if I could get an actual tail somewhere, put it in a jar of formaldehyde and keep it as "proof?"

Queen: He'll probably take it to school for Show and Tell ...

Me: Hah! Oh man, that will be great. I love being a parent.

Queen: Other fathers can't wait until their child is old enough to play sports or hold a conversation; you, you're just waiting until he's old enough to hornswoggle.

Me: It's so true. I guess I could start now, buy a big rubber breast or something.

Michelle: I bet my husband would loan you his.

October 21, 2004

Nobody Likes A Homonym

Worst news I heard yersterday: I was in the kitchen doing dishes and The Queen was out in the living room watching TV. Suddenly, I remembered that the Red Sox / Yankees game was on. "Quick, flip to KSTW and see what the score is," I hollered. I heard the channel change, and The Queen shouted, "the Yankees won!"

Best news I heard yesterday: Then the Queen continued, "... and the Red Sox eight, bottom of the sixth!"

October 12, 2004

Saved By The Bus

Woman One is standing at a bus stop; Woman Two, carrying a stack of Watchtower magazines is walking by. Woman Two recognizes Woman One and stops in her tracks.

Woman Two: Well, heeeeey!

Woman One: Oh. Oh, hi.

W2: What's going on?

W1: Oh, just, you know. Waiting for my bus.

W2: I hear you.

[Pause]

W2: You been at work?

W1: Yeah.

W2: Me, I've been spreading the Word of the Lord.

W1: Oh?

W2: Oh, yeah. Because folks around here, you know, they say they have faith. But there's "faith," and then there's faith, you know?

W1: Uh-huh.

W2: So I give 'em one of these, and we get to talking. Have you heard of this magazine Watchtower?

W1: Uh, I ...

W2: Here, let me --

W1: I think that's my bus.

W2: Which one?

W1: This one right here. Yeah, this is it.

W2: Awwwww. Well it was great to see you! We should talk some time. You got my number. I don't know why you never call me.

September 02, 2004

Born Again Jogger

One guy speaking to another in the locker room:

"I saw my doctor last month and he put me on Lipitor. And I was, like, 'Lipitor? I'm only 34!' But he said I was getting too heavy. So I decided to turn over a new leaf. I've been exercising for the last three weeks and it's been fucking awesome!! Pardon my French."

July 01, 2004

Story Problems Are Hard

Woman on her cell phone:

"I picked up some tiki torches at the dollar store."

...

"A dollar. They were a dollar a piece, so I bought six."

...

"Six dollars."

June 29, 2004

Behind The Scenes: The Making Of "Veep-Stakes"

Me: Hey, who was the Big Bad in the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

The Queen: What?

M: I'm writing something for the yeti and I've trying to remember who the main villian was in the first season of Buffy.

Q: Dracula?

M: No, although she did meet Dracula once. That's who I've currently got in the post, but I thought it might be funnier if I used the name of the head bad guy in the first season.

Q: The Ubervamp?

M: No, he was in the last season.

Q: It was some super vampire guy.

M: Right. And he had a name.

{pause}

Q: Fred?

M: So, you're bored of this conversation, is that what you're saying?

Q: Pretty much.

June 21, 2004

i.e.

Overheard at work:

Coworker one: I have a great idea for a game. Wanna hear it?

Coworker two: Sure.

Coworker one: Okay, so everyone divides into teams, and on a turn a team draws a card with a word on it and everyone on the team has to shout out as many synonyms for that word as they can in 60 seconds.

Coworker two: That sounds like the most excruciatingly boring game I've ever heard.

Coworker one: And it would be called "syno-names."

Coworker two: What's another word for "terrible"?

June 14, 2004

At The Co-op

I went to the health food store yesterday with The Squirrelly. While trying to decide which of the many varieties of flaxseed cereal to buy, some guy approached me and said "Boy, that kid looks just like you!" You might find find that a little odd, but it happens to me all the time when I go out wearing my favorite ducky onsie.

Also, over in produce, I overheard a dialogue between two women. Well, it wasn't so much a dialogue as a monologue, with one woman droning on and on about her strictly-organics vegetarian diet while the other stood there with a glassy look of waning patience. Suddenly the second woman reached out, put a hand on the other's shoulder -- stopping the first woman's screed mid-sentence -- and said, "Listen, I need to run. But I want you to know that I found this conversation very empowering."

June 08, 2004

Get A Grip

At work, talking to The Queen on the phone:

Me: How are you getting downtown?

The Queen: I dunno, drive, probably. Maybe take the bus. Do you know which bus goes there.

M: The 37. It leaves that Park & Ride near our house and stops downtown on 4th.

Q: Ugh -- I'll drive. I've taken the 37 before, and it's always full of hyperactive high school kids. I don't really want to be surrounded by a bunch of teenage boys who don't know how to handle themselves.

M: Yeah, kids today have forgotten all the essential skills. Why, when I was a teenage boy I handled myself all the time.

{dead air}

M: Okay, well, now I kinda wish I hadn't said that out loud at the office.

May 03, 2004

Bugle Boys

Junkies ... On The Bus! (Another in a series ...)

JotB: The woman at the clinic said she wasn't gonna give me any more methadone. I told her I was totally fine now, that I didn't have the impulsive behavior or violent thoughts anymore, but she still said no. If she was a man I would'a hit her.
Later.
JotB1: ... so I told her, "hey, stop trumpeting my intentions."

JotB2: Trum-peting?

JotB1: You know, like a trumpet. Like, blowing your horn.

JotB2: Blowing your horn?

JotB1: You know, like talkin' shit.

JotB2: Oh sure. I mean, yeah.

March 29, 2004

Happy Birth, uh, Minute?

Junkies ... On The Bus! (Another in a series ...)

JotB1: You got any kids?

JotB2: Yup, two boys. They're twins.

JotB1: Oh yeah? How old?

JotB2: Martin's 25 and Brian's 24.

March 23, 2004

Domo Arigato

Email from a friend:

An elderly and perhaps indigent woman sat next to me on the bus the other day.

She was repeating the following phrase to herself, over and over in a calm tone: "Mmmm, Mmmm Good. Mmmm, Mmmm Good."

She did this for a little while before stopping and saying, "That's the sound a robot makes when it turns itself off."

January 29, 2004

Trippi

Checkout line at the grocery store, conversation between my cashier and my bagboy, neither of whom looked to be over twenty:

Bagboy: I like Dean.

Cashier: Dude, Dean blew it.

BB: Yeah, I guess.

C: Dean reminds me of one of those guys ... y'know, those guys? From Hawaii?

<pause>

BB: Hawaiians?

C: No. You know, the, um. The hippies.

BB: Dean reminds you of Hawaiian hippies?

C: Exactly.

January 14, 2004

I Am My Anti-Drug!

The Queen calls me at work:

The Queen: Guess what.

Me: AJ is your favorite Backstreet Boy.

Q: I just saw you on TV.

M: You ... huh?

Q: I was watching the local news and, in the middle of a story, there was this huge close-up of your face.

M: Really? What was the story about?

Q: The pleasurable effects of smoking marijuana.

M: Whaaaa-?

Q: They were talking about some new study that says the buzz people get while running is chemically similar to a marijuana high, and they were showing footage from a gym. And I was, like, 'hey, I think that's Matt in the background.' And then, all the sudden, your face was filling the screen.

M: Wow, crazy. I must have been the best looking guy in the gym; it's the only explanation.

Q: I don't think so. Actually, you looked pretty unpleasant.

M: So they were talking about the euphoric effects of pot while showing a picture of me sweating and grimacing?

Q: Yep. You probably stopped a hundred kids from experimenting with marijuana.

January 12, 2004

IT Guys ... In The Elevator!

Overheard in the elevator:

IT Guy 1: Sure, I know that band. They're pretty good.

IT Guy 2: I have their album, if you want me to burn you a CD.

IT Guy 1: That would be cool. But burn it as mp3s, not as CD tracks. I don't even bother with CDs any more. Over Christmas I converted all my CDs to mp3s and then used a 25 foot cable to connect my server to my stereo. So now I just run the whole thing from my PC.

IT Guy 2: Yeah, I did that too. 'Cept my PC is in the room adjacent to the living area, so I have a 50 foot cable.

Oh, brother. At least when guys discuss their cars there's a modicum of subtlety about what they're actually comparing.

December 10, 2003

Oh Yeah? Well Solaris Was Boring!

In the elevator this morning a man and a woman were talking to one another in Russian. I couldn't understand anything they were saying until, in the middle of a sentence, the man dropped in the title "Big Fat Greek Wedding." At this the woman adopted an expression of disgust and began speaking disdainfully. This too was entirely in Russian, except for one part where she rolled her eyes, made air quotes, and said, in English and with utter contempt, "American style."

October 29, 2003

I Raised Her Good

Ma Baldwin phones from the East Coast.

Ma: I got a question for you.

Me: Shoot.

Ma: Your dad and I were at church, and I was telling some people about Seattle and what a big music place it is. But I couldn't remember the name of that one band. That band you like.

Me: [Inwardly sighs] Nirvana. You're probably thinking of Nirvana, Ma.

Ma: Not Nirvana. After Nirvana.

Me: Pearl Jam?

Ma: No, no. This is a newer band. All women. And they're named after a street, a street in Olympia, I think.

Me: Named after a ... Wait, Sleater-Kinney?!

Ma: That's it, Sleater-Kinney. I couldn't remember their name.

[pause]

Ma: Hello? Are you still there?

Me: Yeah, yeah, I'm here. I'm just kind of, you know -- I'm all choked up with pride right now.

October 23, 2003

The Seattle Three-Day Forecast

Chance of continued, heavy showers: 70%

Chance of continued, tedious, "most rain in 50 years" chit-chat with coworkers and acquaintances: 100%

September 09, 2003

Weight Of The Law

Overheard from the woman sitting behind me at a theater.

"If lawsuits helped you lose weight, I'd sue everyone I know."

August 14, 2003

You Mean With Me, Right?

Coworker enters my office with a adolescent girl.

Coworker: Matthew? This is my daughter, C.

Me: Hey there, C. Nice to meet you.

C.: Hi. Are you "Matt the Jew"?

Me: Am I, uh, what? The Jew?

Coworker: Oh, hah hah! I told her about what happened at the meeting last week.

Me: The meeting?

Coworker: You know. When you were demonstrating that software but you mistyped your username so it kept calling you "Mattjew" ?

Me: It did?

Coworker: Yeah. Don't you remember?

Me: I guess I didn't notice.

Coworker: Really? Why did you think everyone was laughing?

Me: People were laughing?

Coworker: You didn't notice everyone laughing at you?

July 27, 2003

Bus Pass

Chatting with a female friend.

Me: I dunno what it is, but I've seen a lot of attempted pick-ups on the bus recently.

L: Yeah?

Me: It's like open season or something. Has anyone ever tried to pick you up on the bus?

L: Sure. It happens from time to time.

Me: Really? What do they say?

L: Oh, you know. They don't use "lines" or anything, they just say something to start a conversation and go from there. Like, I had my headphones on at the bus stop a few weeks ago, and this guy came up and said "So, what are you listening to?" And I said the news, because I was listening to NPR. And he said "Oh, that's too bad. You should be listening to ..." and then he went on to list his favorite bands and ask me what my favorite bands were and stuff.

Me: And that works?

L: It probably works on some girls. But not on me, because I'm not in the market and I know what they're up to. I mean, when someone comes out of nowhere and starts talking to me like that, I know they are either trying to pick me up or sell me God.

Me: [Laughs] Actually, that's my backup plan when I try and pick-up girls. If it's not going well I start pretending like I was only interested in converting them.

L: Crafty.

Me: I say "You're listening to the news? Well, have you heard the Good News?"

L: Then, you know, they're not rejecting you, they're rejecting God.

Me: Which gives me the added comfort of knowing they are going to Hell.

L: It's win-win.

July 17, 2003

Team-Building Exercise

Conversation at a social gathering.

Hetrosexual Female Buddy: Hey, your [female] friend S. is really cute.

Me: Yep. She's single, too, in case you ever decide to switch teams.

HFB: Really? Hmmmmm. [Ponders] Wait a minute: has she switched teams?

Me: Ah, no. So you'd also have to talk her into that.

HFB: Ummmmmm ... yeah, that sounds like too much work. But thanks, though.

June 30, 2003

Someone Needs A Smiting

Overheard on the bus.

Guy 1: Did you hear they made gay sex legal?

Guy 2: Yeah, disgusting.

Guy 1: [Surprised] What do you care?

Guy 2: I care because it says in the Bible that gay sex is a sin.

Guy 1: The Bible says all sorts of stuff is a sin. It says you're not supposed to shave. It says that masturbating is a sin.

Guy 2: Yeah, but ... you know. <shrug> I don't think there's anything wrong with masturbating.

June 17, 2003

Everything Was Fine

A women already on the elevator was relating a Tale Of Woe to another person when I boarded. Between the fifth floor and the ground floor I didn't hear enough of the narrative to really know what had happened, but I did hear this key phrase:

"Everything was fine until it got out on the Internet."
I wonder how many contemporary Tales Of Woe contain this exact line. All of them?

June 12, 2003

Cary Grant Is Dead

On the bus, a woman is sitting in the frontmost seat chatting with the driver:

Woman: When they make a movie about your life, who is going to play you?

Driver: Well, the man who would have played me just died today.

Woman: Oh, Gregory Peck!

Driver: Yep.

Woman: You know that other guy just died, too. David Brinkley. I wonder who's going to be next.

Driver: I dunno.

Woman: Because these things always happen in threes, you know.

Driver: I know.

Woman: What about Cary Grant? Is Cary Grant still alive?

Driver: I don't think so

Woman: Hmm. It'll probably be somebody else, then. Maybe Bob Hope.

Driver: Bob Hope would be good.

June 09, 2003

Cold Comfort

A man stands on a corner in downtown Seattle. He is loudly sobbing, with one hand over his eyes and the other dangling at his side clutching a cell phone. A woman stands at his side, consoling him with one arm half draped over his shoulders. As I pass I hear her say, "I don't know why you are so upset. She's nothing but a ho."

May 20, 2003

My Cred Is Intact

A coworker walked by my office and overheard the mp3 I was listening to. "Oh my God!" she exclaimed. "Are you listing to The Backstreet Boys?!!"

"No, of course not!" I replied guiltily. "Like I'd listen to The Backstreet Boys! Yeah, right! Hah hah! Hah! No, this is a parody of The Backstreet Boys called 'E-Bay'." By Weird Al Yankovic."

Whew -- that was close! Thank goodness I was able to explain to her that I was listening to Weird Al -- otherwise she might have thought I was a dork.

May 08, 2003

1999

I was getting my hair cut by a young lady at the local barber shop.

Her: What day is it today?
Me: Um, Thursday.
Her: Wow, it's almost the end of the week -- it's almost the end of the month, even! And next month I turn 21! I can't believe it!
Me: Sneaks up on you, huh?
Her: It's crazy! I mean, how can I be 21?! How can it already be 2003?!
Me: Uh-huh.
Her: I mean, do you remember when that song came out, that "1999" song by that guy?
Me: Prince?
Her: Yeah. Do you remember when that song first came out, how they played it, like, all the time? And then New Year's came and it was the year 2000 and they totally stopped playing it? I mean, that seems like yesterday.
Me: When 1999 first came out?
Her: Yeah. Do you remember that? A few years ago?

The haircut cost 20 bucks, but the feeling old was free.

March 27, 2003

Lucky

After work yesterday, riding the elevator down with a co-worker:

Me: How's it goin'?
Co-worker: Ugh! It sucks to sit in the office and see how beautiful it is outside. All that sunlight streaming in, it makes it hard to work. I just want to look out the window all day, you know? [Pause] Oh, wait! You don't have a window in your office, I forgot. You're lucky you don't have to suffer through that.
I live a charmed life.

March 19, 2003

Tip of the Slung

My friend K works with a woman named Bridget. The two are collaborating on a project and intend to get together this Saturday to discuss logistics.

Earlier today, K's boss held a conference with all her employees, and asked each how their tasks were going.

"Great," K enthused, when it was her turn to provide an update. "I'm breeding with midgets this weekend!"

Rev. Spooner would be proud.

March 05, 2003

I Swear This Is My Last Post On The Whole France ~ Iraq Thing

Phone conversation I just had with my buddy.

Him: I'm going to the movies tonight, y'wanna come?
Me: What are you seeing?
Him: Quai Des Orfevres
Me: What the -?! That sounds French.
Him: It is French.
Me: Dude, didn't you get the memo? You can't go to French movies any more.
Him: Why not?
Me: We hate the French now. They won't let us bomb Iraq.
Him: Hah!
Me: I'm only half kidding. Didn't you hear about "Freedom Fries"?
Him: No, what's that?
Me: Some restaurants changed "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries" on their menus because of the whole UN thing.
Him: Come on. That sounds like an urban legend.
Me: No way -- it was on the Internet so it's gotta be true. And I guess some stores stopped carrying French wines, too.
Him: Yeah, I'm sure people who think "Freedom Fries" is a good idea are huge consumers of French wine. France will be economically devastated!
Me: Hah hah!
Him: What about "French Toast."
Me: Now it's "Liberty Toast".
Him: Gotcha. Are any other country names off-limits now? What about "Iraq"? Can we still say "Iraq"?
Me: No, now you have to substitute patriotic words for "Iraq". Like, when you're playing pool and you're between games, you can't say "I rack?" You have to say "Justice?"
Him: Right, right. And when frat boys are checking out girls, now they say "Holy shit, bro: she has democracy that won't quit!"
Okay. I know when I am out-punned.

January 22, 2003

I Have A Crush

I just ordered theater tickets over the phone. "Okay," the customer service rep said "Let me get your name."

"Matthew Baldwin."

She clarified: "'Baldwin' like the piano?"

"Yes!" I was ebullient. "Thank you so much for not asking 'like the brothers'!"

"Which brothers?" said she.

I know it's a little early, but: Anonymous Theater Ticket Customer Service Representative, will you be my valentine?

January 16, 2003

Unforgettable

Guys sitting behind me on the bus yesterday:

Guy 1: I hate that guy Alec.
Guy 2: He's a dick.
Guy 1: No kidding. [Pause] I did his girlfriend. Right after they broke up. Whatshername.
Guy 2: Which one? The blond one?
Guy 1: No, the other one. Whatshername. The one with the big tattoo. What was her name?
Guy 2: The tattoo on her belly? Oh yeah, I did her too. What was her name?
Guy 1: I can't remember. But she was wild.
Guy 2: She was totally wild. She stole my truck once. Shit, what was her name?

December 17, 2002

Can't Buy Me Love

Overheard in the elevator: "I love him. Of course I do. But, you know, it's not like I four-hundred-dollar-DVD-player love him."

December 11, 2002

Children Should Be Neither Seen Nor Heard

As The Queen and I watched Solaris, we couldn't help but notice that the teenage couple sitting behind us was in dire need of a garroting. The girl yammered through pretty much the entire thing. Occasionally someone would glare at her and she'd say "oops, sorry!" and then remain silent for the shortest possible length of human-perceptable time before launching into a verbatium account of the great AIM session she'd enjoyed that afternoon.

The guy was quiet throughout most of the movie, except during the three or four scenes which prominently featured George Clooney's ass. The kid apparently had some sort of logorrheic post-hypnotic suggestion that the sight of Clooney's ass would trigger.

[Scene prominently featuring George Clooney's ass begins] Uh, whoa, uh, hah hah, man, this is a long movie. I know it's long because I, uh, I am looking at my watch right now, and notice what a long movie this is. I mean long as in uninteresting. There's a lot of stuff in this, uh, movie that I'm not interested in, like, uh, the dialog, and George Clooney's ass, and other things that I'm totally not interested in looking at, like George Clooney's ass, which I don't even know is in this movie because I am looking at my watch at the moment, but I'm just giving that as an example as something which may or may not be in this movie that I, personally, would have no interest in looking at. Have you ever been to SeaWorld? My favorite part of SeaWorld is [Scene prominently featuring George Clooney's ass ends] the, uh ... hah hah, uh, hmmmm, penguins, hm.

December 09, 2002

Tis The Season For Insomnia

The lobby of my work building contains a small cafe, and for several hours yesterday a barbershop quartet stood outside its entrance and belted out holiday tunes. People entering the lobby reacted to the singers as they would to a cloud of chlorine gas.

This morning I ducked into the cafe to get coffee, and couldn't help but notice that the young lady behind the till looked exhausted. I'm not one to make small talk with strangers, but this woman looked so wretched that my sympathy was aroused. "Jeeze, " I remarked, "Rough night?"

"Couldn't sleep," she mumbled. "Nightmares. Christmas carols."

November 18, 2002

Mm

Old Men ... At The Hardware Store!:

Old Man At The Hardware Store: [receiving receipt] All right. Thank you so much.

Young Lady at Register: No problem.
OMATHS: But not too much!
YLAR: Mm.
OMATHS: Did you catch that? What I said?
YLAR: Mm.
OMATHS: First I said "Thank you so much." But then I said "But not too much!"
YLAR: Mm.
OMATHS: Hah hah! Okay, well I'd better go before I get myself in trouble!
November 14, 2002

Control-C-Ven King

Discussion over lunch:

Me: Is C. still on vacation?

R: Yeah, he's gone all month. He's home writing a book or something.
Me: Is he doing that Nanowrimo thing?
R: I don't think so. What's that?
Me: Nanowrimo is "National Novel Writing Month". It's this ridiculous thing where people try and write an entire book in 30 days.
R: No, he's been working on his book for a while. That Nanowrimo thing sounds crazy!
Me: Yeah. I thought about doing it, but then I checked out their webpage, and it said you had to write, like, 2,000 words every day, and in the end you have a 175-page book. A crappy 175-page book. I figured, hell, if I wanted a crappy 175-book, I'd just go buy the newest Star Trek novelization or something. Or I'd just write one really good sentence and cut-n-paste it every day until I had 175-pages.
R: That's what Jack Nicholson should have done in The Shining. When they remake it, they'll show him highlighting that sentence, and then just cut-n-pasting a bunch.
Me: Hah hah! Yeah, and then the wife will be all like "My husband's gone psycho!" And they cops will say "What? All he did was hit control-v a couple dozen times...?"
R: Now they can never remake that movie, thanks to technology.
Me: Oh I dunno, they could use it to their advantage. What if they showed him writing "All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy" on his Palm Pilot 68,000 times? Psycho!
November 12, 2002

This Will Only Hurt a Moment

Paul and I were in my car, stopped behind a red light, and I was reading the political signs that adorned nearby yards. "Check that out," I said, pointing to one that read 'Retain Rick Drumheller As City Attorney'. "What a weird word to use, 'retain'. I guess that's what you do with lawyers, retain them, but they make him sound like a kidney stone."

"Maybe that's intentional," Paul speculated. "I mean, I'd rather retain him than pass him."

October 29, 2002

The Adventures of Into Perspective Putting Woman

Me: [Exiting my place of business] Aw, man.

Woman, Complete Stranger, Standing on Curb: [Gruffly] What's the problem?

Me: [Gesturing at the pouring rain] I don't know what I'm going to do.

Woman: You're gonna get wet, that's what you're gonna do!

Me: Yeah ...

Woman: Oh quit your complaining, it's raining on everyone.

October 21, 2002

Let Me Get This Straight

Guy At Bus Stop: [After spending some quality time staring at the Feather Teaser I am holding] What is that?

Me: It's a cat toy.

<pause>

GAB: For a cat?

Me: That's correct.

September 30, 2002

Grammar Tip of the Day: Refrain From Using Dodectuple Negatives
Stoned Guys ... On the Bus!
SGotB#1: I heard that when we attack, uh, Iraq, you know, we're gonna drop so many bombs in three days that no, no one is, is never, nobody is never, none, no one is never [inhales] so many bombs that no, no, no one is never going, never, no one is never going to fuck with the US again.
SGotB#2: Shit!
September 18, 2002

Okay, You Talked Me Into It

Overheard.

Guy 1: What's up with you and Lannie?

Guy 2: Ah, we ain't together no more. She was too wild. The last thing I want is a wild woman.

Guy 1: Really? That's the first thing I want!

[Both laugh unroarously.]

Guy 2: Me too, brother. Me too.

September 04, 2002

Lactose Intolerance

Story told to me by my mother:

"When I was pregnant with you, your father and I took prenatal classes to learn how to care for a newborn. And in the class with us was this couple who were very young and obviously from a rural area. The husband, especially -- all this guy needed was a piece of straw sticking out of the corner of him mouth and he would have been the very picture of the Country Boy.

"So one day we learned about breastfeeding. And at the end of the class, this young guy raised his hand and said 'But what do we do if we're not going to breastfeed?' And the teacher looked surprised and said 'You're not going to breastfeed your child? Why not?' And the kid replied 'We can't, because my wife is allergic to milk.'"

July 30, 2002

Hot Hot Hot!

I went to the Mariners game last night. At one point the Tigers' first baseman, Carlos Peña, singled to right field. The guy behind me exclaimed "That guy is moy cally-ento!"

July 19, 2002

Bus ... of Death!

The bus pulled away from the stop, but immediately came to a halt behind a queue of cars at a red light. Two women outside began pounding on the back doors and yelling "wait! wait!". As a chorus of "back door!" arose from the passengers, the driver allowed the women to enter.

A minute later the bus still hadn't moved, and a third woman arrived upon the scene, slapping the flat of her hand against the bus and yelling "wait!", just as the traffic light turned green. The driver hesitated for a moment, glanced at the wailing woman in his side mirror, and then took off. Grumbles rippled through the coach, with one young man loudly pronouncing the entire situation "lame!"

After we got onto the freeway, the driver spoke over the intercom. "Ladies and gentlemen, " she said, "We do not allow people to board the bus after it has left the curb for reasons of saftey. People who run into the street after a departing bus often fall under the wheels and sustain injury or death.

"Last year, five people were killed while trying to catch a bus that had already left the curb," she continued in an ominous tone. "Unfortunately for those people, they caught their bus ... for the last time!"

July 11, 2002

Apocalypse Kitty

A young man was yammering on his cell phone as he strolled the sidewalks of Capitol Hill. He was espied by a cat on a nearby stoop, which leapt to its feet, mewed affectionately, and trotted towards him in search of pets.

The man said into his phone "Whoa. Hang on, I have a situation here." Then he stopped in his tracks, dropped his arms to his sides, and slowly backed away from the kitty.

July 08, 2002

Dizzying Logic

In Taco Bell.

Mother: What do you want?
Daughter: A number three combo and a burrito.
Mother: Nooo. That's way too much food.
Daughter: No it's not! It's just a number three! And a burrito!
Mother: Well, okay. I guess you're right.

May 02, 2002

Threes

Overheard in elevator.

First guy: [boastfully] I know I'm gonna get it. I know it.
Second guy: How do you know it?
First guy: Because good stuff always happens to me in threes.
Second guy: Huh. So what were the other two things?
First guy: Nuthin' yet. This'll be the first.

April 24, 2002

Cuppa Joe

Overheard.

Cop one: Where do you park?
Cop two: Over by Nathan's Cafe.
Cop one: Nathan's. They have a good cuppa joe at Nathan's.
Wow: "cuppa joe." Later they went and treated some wiseguys to a little chin music.

March 18, 2002

Teenage Girls ... On The Bus!

TGOTB1: Hey, I'm goin' to that Sonics Game wit you guys.

TGOTB2 [alarmed]: What?!

TGOTB1 [alarmed that TGOTB2 is alarmed]: What? Uh, I said I'm, uh, going to that Sonics game with you.

TGOTB2: Oh. Oh. Hah, I thought you said you were going to a "Science Thing" with me.

[Both girls laugh with relief now that the misunderstanding has been cleared up.]

TGOTB1: "Science Thing!" Yeah, like I'm going to a "Science Thing". Now yer trippin'!

January 15, 2002

Education

Overheard:

Person One: So, how's school?
Person Two: Great.
Person One: Do you find it rewarding?
Person Two: Oh, yes. I think it's very mind uhhh, uhhhhhhh. Errrm, uhhhhhh. Um. Uhhhh...
Person One: "Expanding"?
Person Two: Yes.

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