The Daily Dump

A place where everyone (me) is welcomed to express their opinions openly and honestly. I encourage free thinking, free wheeling, off-the-cuff banter and monetary donations.

Tuesday, September 5

An Open Letter To My Readers


I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is, this will be the last post for The Daily Dump. There have been some big changes in my life recently (including being homeless and alone in a world of pain and confusion) and these sorts of things don’t make for good writing, especially when what you’re writing is frivolous attempts at humor relying on an overuse of similes and copious run-on sentences. I’m not going to tarnish the good memory of this blog by allowing myself to get drunk one night and publish a post entitled “FUCK YOU, WORLD”.

The good new is, you guys are awesome. Honestly, everyone who’s ever come through here. Obviously if you commented I like you more, but you’re all heroes in your own way. So to everyone who has ever taken the time to read what I wrote, I just want to say thank you. On more days than not, writing a blog post has been the most fun hour of my day, and not just because I’m consistently thrilled with myself, but because every so often you guys had as much fun as I was having. It’s hard to say with a straight face, “The Daily Dump has been so rewarding for me,” but it’s the truth. So again, thanks for being awesome.

On a more upbeat note, I’m definitely not ruling out the chance of me starting up a new site in the future. I spent too many hours learning how to add a line break in HTML to never use that knowledge again. So if you want, send me an email now and if the time comes that I get back in the game I’ll send out a notice and we’ll all reunite, reminisce, and get back to making this world a better place.

And on a final note, to all you other bloggers out there: make sure you keep on writing and entertaining the shit out of me. Because that’s how we roll.

Thanks again for the great run – it was better than I ever thought it would be.

Dan

Tuesday, August 29

Sometimes I’m Just Irrationally Bitter And It’s Not Your Fault


I’m taking the week off. Because I can.

Enjoy the extra three minutes a day you won’t waste reading my opinions and misadventures. Try to do something productive with them, like not cry.

Friday, August 25

Update On The Blog Remodeling

This is quickly proving to be a horrendous decision. I haven’t spent this much time on something this impossible since I was eight and I tried to get my dog to bark my name. The problem is, I can’t give it up. Now that I’ve started, I can’t go back. It took me forty-five minutes, but in my “test blog” I managed to delete the title. I mean, just the words. Forty-five minutes. And I’m pretty sure that you don’t even have to do that.

The good news is that I’m confident it will look good when I’m done. The bad news is that once upon a time I was also confident that I would be Spiderman. So sometimes these things just don’t work out.

Here’s a video of me in my office right now:

Thursday, August 24

Site News

A few things:

1. I know things have been a little slow and off schedule around here, but I have a very good reason for it. I’ve been busy with another project that I can’t really talk about yet. Actually, yes I can. It’s my fantasy football team. Deal with it.

2. I just added some new links to my sidebar, including an RSS and Atom feed. Honestly, I have little to no knowledge on what an RSS feed is, how it works or who uses it, but someone emailed me saying they thought I should have one. So I got one. Not much different than eight grade when super-crush Tanya Vasquez thought I should buy the soundtrack to Jurassic Park. Hopefully this RSS thing will be a better decision.

3. Also included in the new links are My Yahoo and Google. Again – things I know very little about. But apparently you can customize those sites to include the news, sports, finance, blog, etc. links that you want, all on one page. I set one up with Google and, along with some up-to-the-minute headlines and weather forecasts, I got this:

It’s things like this that make Google such a successful company. Come on, How To Do a Roundhouse Kick?! Would I ever think of sitting down at my desk one morning and saying, “It’d be really awesome if I knew how to do a roundhouse kick the right way.” No, of course not. But was I practicing in my office this afternoon? You bet your ass I was. And am I a naturally gifted karate fighter? Well don’t piss me off and you won’t have to find out.*

4. Finally, I’ve been getting awfully tired of looking at my template lately. (By lately, I mean the past 10 months.) While I like the general layout of things, the colors are boring and the lack of a banner up top just smacks of “HTMLoser.” I mean, even all the mommy blogs have a decorative banner up top. It’s depressing. So I want to put one up on my site.

The problems with that:

1. I don’t know how.
2. See #1.

So I was hoping there was a kind reader or two out there who had some sort of working knowledge on how to do this and could help me out. Not like you would have to come to my house and stand over my shoulder saying, “No, put the cursor there. OK, no, wait, you lost it. Go back. OK, are you retarded? This isn’t that hard.” But maybe you could just be on call for any troubleshooting problems that may arise. Or maybe I could email you my template and you could do it, I don’t know I’m just thinking out loud here. But the end result is a more awesome website for everyone. Like the saying goes, “It takes a community to raise a middle income white guy with no formal HTML training.” So email me if you’re interested in not making any money to take on a project that will likely end with you hating me.

____________________________
* In the interest of full disclosure, I did take karate lessons when I was 12, but then quit after orange belt because that meant I would have to start sparring with other kids. And not because I was afraid of fighting (I was a killing machine), but because I was afraid to wear a cup. If I had three wishes, I would honestly make my third wish “I wish that last sentence wasn’t true.” But if Terminator II taught me anything, it’s that even killing machines have their weaknesses. Mine happened to be a discomfort of wearing things on my groin.**

** I can’t believe I tell you people shit like this. My therapist said it would be good for me, but personally it’s about as therapeutic as his suggestion we reenact those nightmares I had about being molested, which I’m still not certain is an accepted form of treatment.

Wednesday, August 23

Uh, Martin? I Think They’re Talking To You


It’s been a little slow in my office today, so I got through sorting out an enormous stack of papers that had accumulated on the side of my desk. Underneath them all, I found an article I had printed out from the New York Times about how large, black women are being unfairly portrayed in the media as brash, comical, aggressive figures of authority. It begins:


“At 200 pounds plus – most of that pure attitude – she is hard to miss. . . . She typically finds herself in an exchange that is either confrontational or embarrassing. And her best line is often little more than a sassy ‘Mmmm hmmm.’ “

(Pause to let your mind finish going through the montage of large, black female actresses saying “Mmmm hmmm.”)

It continues:

“The heavy black spokeswoman for Pine Sol was one of the first to embrace the role. Her aggression was aimed at household dirt, however, not people. In a recent commercial for Captain Morgan rum, a large black woman berates her man for playing dominoes and making her late.


In one Twix commercial, a full-figured black woman asks her boyfriend if her pants make her rear end look big. As the camera focuses on her plump backside (exaggerated by the camera for effect), the man stuffs his face with a Twix bar and mumbles an indecipherable answer. Pleased with his response, the woman walks away. She is not shown being aggressive or loud, but the commercial leaves the impression that if the man had given the wrong answer, she might have erupted.”

I don’t remember why exactly I saved this article, if it was because I agreed with the fact that not all large black women should be defined as strong and humorous or disagreed with it because I can think of a lot worse things to be defined as then strong and humorous. (Like, oh I don’t know, a black man being portrayed as a lackadaisical dominoes player.) Or maybe I just liked the fact that a New York Times writer wrote the phrase “plump backside.” But now that I reread the article, what strikes me is how racist it is. Not to black people, but to white people. You don’t think white people are typified and pigeonholed in the media? Like in movies, whenever an unassuming martial arts expert is in a bar and some macho guy messes around with him and ends up getting beaten up? You know who that is? A WHITE GUY. Or whenever there is a car chase and the two vehicles go careening through the streets of a crowded city and people constantly have to jump out of the way or risk being killed? You know who they are? WHITE PEOPLE. Usually carrying shopping bags and lingering near a fruit stand. BECAUSE YOU KNOW US WHITE PEOPLE. SPENDING OUR HIGHER INCOMES ON CLOTHING AND FRUIT. You know, I fought really hard for the role of sassy teacher on “Boston Public.” And in the end all they wanted me to do was test drive their BMW around the unusually curvy streets of an upscale suburban community. It’s just not fair.

(Note: An extremely interesting fact culled from the article: The Cream of Wheat Guy has a name – Rastus. RASTUS. And we’re writing articles about the Pine Sol lady? I mean, why didn’t they just name him, “Yessuh"? Or would that have sounded “too gentrified”?)

Tuesday, August 22

Uncovering The Secrets Of The Universe


Elephants Do Run, Study Concludes

Don’t get me wrong, science is awesome and it can really make you feel empowered in a vast world of complex, staggering mysteries. But you mean to tell me that no one stopped in the middle of this study and, while watching a baby elephant trot around a dirt track with sensors affixed to its joints, said, “Hey, you know a different way we could go about this? We could just say nothing. Because I’m pretty sure everyone already thinks that elephants run,” while all his scientist friends around him nodded their heads in profound agreement?

While we’re at it, here’s another enigma for you to tackle, Science: Why do I feel like such a douche whenever someone sees me eating a peach at my office? I mean, I’m a pretty secure person, what with my barrel chest and charming demeanor. But if someone comes in my office while I’m eating a peach, juice dripping down the cuff of my shirt, I feel like they walked in on me beating off to Friendster while chugging a bottle of Strawberry Sensation Arbor Mist. What gives?

Not Letting The Terrorists Win!


So I’ve been reading the series of articles at CNN entitled “In The Footsteps of Bin Laden,” which has been updated daily under the slogan “Know Your Enemy.” I think it’s extremely important work CNN is doing in keeping the American people informed as to the biggest threat to their freedom and democ–

Aww.

Like I was saying, in the war on terror, it is vital that we, as leaders of the free world, remain educated on the key figures involved in what has become one of the most unsettling and potential catastrophic times in the history of the wo–

Aawwwww.

Because as much as we would like to believe “It could never happen to me,” people all around the world are falling victim to terrorist acts, and after 9/11 the United States in no longer insulated from the violence. The more we know and understand, as a society, about the terrorist leaders and their political agendas, the more we can do in our everyday lives to protect ourselves and the ones we lov–

Aaaaaaawwwwwwwww!

Friday, August 18

My Standard Three Day Late Take on Important News

I’d love to be able to start this off with some sort of nonchalant qualifying clause like, “I’m not one to follow Hollywoodesque true crime stories . . .” but that would be a ridiculous lie. The Girlfriend and I watch shows like “48 Hours Mystery,” “Cold Case Files” and “American Justice” to the point where when one comes on TV, we have conversations like:

Me: “Didn’t we see this one already?”

Her: “Yeah, this is the stupid one with the husband who stabbed his wife for the insurance money.”

Me: “BOOOR-ING.”

I, like many others, watched the primetime specials on JonBenet and was sure the parents did it. Then was sure they didn’t do it. Then was sure they did it again, all depending on what segment of the program was airing at the time. Eventually I just got tired of watching the same home video footage of a six year old girl doing the two-step in full cowgirl costume and let it go. Like everyone else.

But now it’s back! And it’s bigger than ever: with more drama, more plot twists and more characters than ever before. I assume I wasn’t the only one who was overwhelmed with the recent flurry of press coverage, with CNN.com seemingly writing a new article every five minutes. So I decided that I would sit down today, read through all the stories and sum it up for everyone in the simplest way possible, so that we all might share in this theater of the absurd together.

Mary Lacy, Boulder County District Attorney


Random Facts

Vacations In: Doesn’t vacation
Favorite color: Beige
Favorite Emotion: Indifference
If She Were a Fruit, She Would Be: a Pear

Role in Case: If Mark Karr is indicted, Lacy will lead the legal team in attempting to lock him up forever. Unless NBC jumps in and buys the rights to The Trial and finds Lacy to be too “rough around the face” for television, in which case they may hire their own legal team.

Lt. Gen. Suwat Thakrongsrisakul, Commander of the Thai Immigration Bureau and his helpers


Random Facts

Nothing can bring him down, baby!

Role in Case: This group is in charge of extraditing Mark Karr to the U.S. for his eventual trial, though, as my friend Antonella pointed out (she has an eye for this stuff) you couldn’t get the smiles off these guys’ faces with a brillo pad. You would think they were transporting a bear cub saved from a raging river back to its proud mother. I don’t think they understand exactly how little there is to smile about in the grisly murder of a six year old.

Daniel Roberts, Pueblo Vista Elementary School Principal


Random Facts

Amount of Muscles in Mouth: Two times that of average human
Worst Fear: Making a face too much and it staying that way
Weakest Attribute: Judging character

Role in Case: Roberts was the principal while Karr worked as a student / substitute teacher at his elementary school in Napa, California in 2001. Said Roberts, “Oh yeah, I can toootally see him doing this sort of thing. I remember one time in the break room me and some of the teachers were talking and we were like, ‘Dude, John is gonna like, totally murder a kid someday.’ And I was like, ‘I know, right?!’ ”

John Glaser, Napa Valley Unified School District Superintendent


Random Facts

You Might Not Know It, But: He has been undead for two years now

Role in Case: To scare off teenage sleuth teams trying to crack the case by rigging booby traps and misleading hijinks all over town.

Sharyn Lindsey, Napa Valley Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources


Random Facts

Likes: Sex
Dislikes: Not having sex
Last Halloween Costume: Leslie Nielson

Role in Case: More than the eye candy, Lindsey represents a broken school system fraught with incompetency and burocratic log-jamming. She also represents an angle of the story that is completely fucking useless. Who’s up after her, the lettuce guy at a Chipotle in Pasadena who served Mark Karr a Carnitas Burrito one day and DIDN’T IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZE HIM AS JONBENET’S REAL KILLER AND TURN HIM IN?

Michael Tracey, University of Colorado journalism professor


RANDOM FACTS

Prized Possession: Emmy Awards for staring role in TV’s hit show “Miami Vice”
Favorite Album: “Frontiers” by Journey
Favorite TV Show: Nash Bridges

Role in Case: According to The Washington Post, “Tracey said he had been corresponding with Karr – who used an assumed name in the e-mail exchange – for "about four years" before he mentioned the correspondence to the prosecutor's office. [He] would not say what prompted him to alert prosecutors. According to one source close to the investigation, Boulder County prosecutors asked federal investigators to help identify the e-mails' author by his pseudonym, which was BenetKiller4lyfe.”

Kidding!

But really, you correspond for FOUR YEARS with a stranger who is obsessed with the JonBenet Ramsey case and over that time you never become suspicious of this person? During Desert Storm when I was in sixth grade I corresponded with a soldier stationed in the Middle East (cute!) and within weeks I learned that his wife was leaving him and he had a skin disease they couldn’t diagnose. So much for Mike Tracey being good at journalism!

Bob Raines, superintendent and principal at Wilson Elementary School


Random Facts

IQ: 78
Favorite Animal: Cow
Favorite Pastime: Riding in the car

Role in Case: Raines twice hired John Mark Karr as a substitute in second and fourth grade classes in 2001. Further complicating matters, it seems Raines misunderstood the meaning of the word “hires,” confusing it with “going for a ride in the car.” So technically, it’s not really his fault. Because riding in the car is his favorite pastime.

Pam Paugh, Patsy Ramsey's sister


Random Facts

Often Confused With: Delta Burke
Favorite Ice Cream Topping: A sandwich
You Might Not Know It, But: She has feelings too

Role in Case: No real role, but if I didn’t know this woman’s name and you gave me five guesses, I bet by the fifth one I could guess that her name was Pam Paugh.

John Mark Karr, the latest killer of JonBenet Ramsey


Idol: Chris Isaak
Hobby: Confessing to murders; beauty pageants
Date of Facial Expression Change: Independence Day, 1982, when a firecracker exploded near his face, causing him to flinch

Role in Case: Apparently he confessed to the murder, and if there’s one thing I will never understand it’s why someone would confess to a murder if they didn’t do it. But for some reason, in this case it seems like a plausible turn of events. On the other hand, maybe he’s actually guilty and he’s using his confession to make people think he’s crazy and just confessing so he’ll get away with it. Basically, anything is possible at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out like a scene from a family sitcom where the parents come downstairs in the middle of the night in their bathrobes with a baseball bat after hearing a rustling in the kitchen, only to burst through the door and find the golden retriever covered in peanut butter and Honey Nut Cheerios. Only a lot more horrific than that.

Thursday, August 17

Today’s Awkward Moment, Sponsored by Man’s Innate Pessimism

A commenter yesterday suggested that the “Santino” I spoke with yesterday via HP’s “chat with a technician” service was actually nothing more than a computer spitting out preprogrammed responses generated using keywords from my questions.

It hurt.

It made sense though: the robotic responses, the quick typing, the way he made me feel . . . But I couldn’t bring myself to accept it. The thought pained me that Santino, who had helped me so much and was, for those ten minutes, such a well-spring of knowledge and cheerfulness, could have been a conglomeration of circuitry and futuristic know-how. I had to find out for sure, and the only way I could think to do that was to get back on a chat with another HP technician.




(No response.)













And there you have it: proof that HP online technicians are, in fact, people too. And that while this world needs a lot of things, like renewable energy, a cure for AIDS, an emphasis on good core workouts and a foundation dedicated to saving the attractive girls from impoverished nations, maybe a good place to start would be with some trust in our fellow man.

Good work, Santino.

Wednesday, August 16

Today’s Awkward Moment, Sponsored by HP

I don’t know who came up with the concept of online customer service chats, but I’d like to shake his hand. Really hard. And then make him punch himself in his face repeatedly with his own hand while saying, “Why are you punching yourself? Stop punching yourself. Why would you do that? It makes no sense to punch yourself.”

After waiting for 10 minutes on hold with HP this morning, I decided to try their “chatting” service. Immediately upon the little messenger window opening, two things didn’t make sense:

1. If this person is available to instant message with me, why can’t they pick up the phone and talk to me? They are over there, in their office, sitting in front of a computer typing to me, and I’m sitting here in my office, in front of my computer, typing to them. I am looking at my phone. They are looking at theirs. Yet we sit here and type. It absolutely defeats the purpose of instant messaging which is to either talk to a friend at work when you can’t use the phone, or get a girl to do something nasty, because while she may not say it, she’ll definitely type it; and

2. “Chatting” with a service technician about your computer is about as comfortable as going on webcam with your mother. I honestly can’t explain why, but you just can’t sound normal while doing this. I mean, at least in an email, sounding formal just comes off as professional. But when “chatting,” professional comes off more like douchbag. At the same time though, you’re not going to be all casual and sarcastic and like, “haha, lmfao at system BIOS error L” with some guy you don’t even know. So what you end up with is some sort of in between language where you don’t use contractions but still try to be cool by saying “hey” instead of “hello” and not capitalizing proper nouns, and the end result is you sounding like a tool. Not a jerk or a asshole – just a toolish person who says things like, “That was a terrific play!” when watching baseball games.

Still though, by the end of our ten minute “chat,” I really feel like Santino and I had worked up a good rapport with one another, to the point where when it came time to end our chat I was half expecting him to say, “add me to ur buddy list, k?” But he didn’t. Instead we simply exchanged our sad, lonesome, kind-of-casual goodbyes.

Tuesday, August 15

That’s Not My Ass, But It Could Have Been


After a five day long weekend during which the largest difficulty I had to overcome was getting the lid off the cocktail shaker after it had been encrusted with sugar and mint leaves from mojitos, I returned to my apartment Sunday night and immediately fell asleep, wasted by endless hours of volleyball, drinking in the sun and laughing heartily at the notion of people working while I played volleyball and drank in the sun. I didn’t unpack, I didn’t straighten up the apartment, I hardly even brushed my teeth. I just collapsed.

Flash forward to the next morning when I stumble out of bed about 20 minutes after The Girlfriend has left for work. Because she has a “real” job, this is our usual schedule. And because I have the apartment all to myself for those 40 minutes I spend getting ready, I don’t mind doing things I wouldn’t normally do while wearing just my underwear, such as stretch and eat a bowl of cereal. Usually, I don’t even bother closing the shades, because our apartment is in the back of the building and there is a rather large gap between us and the buildings behind us. So while often times I can see in the windows of those buildings, without the telephoto lens on my camera I can’t discern if they are fully clothed, just wearing underwear, or rolling around on the floor completely naked with their dog. Hence I feel secure, using the time tested “If I can’t see them, they can’t see me” logic, going about my business unashamed by original sin.

So when I found myself naked in the bathroom, just about to step in the shower, but suddenly realizing that I had left my unpacked toiletry case in the bedroom, I didn’t think twice about just walking out of the bathroom completely unclothed and going to the bedroom to fetch it.

Five steps out of the bathroom, though, something happened, the memory of which causes me to shudder and make that audible noise you make to distract yourself from a horrendously embarrassing moment.

(Side story: Back in college during my junior year, I met a girl in one of my English classes and we started to date. As we were leaving class one day, we ran into one of her friends in the hallway, a small, Asian guy I had recognized from another English class we shared. This was how our introduction went. I’ve changed his name to protect him from me:

Girl: “Dan, this is Tim. Tim, this is Dan.”

(Something feels weird as we shake hands.)

Me: “Whoa, what’s with the secret handshake?”

(Time pulls up his extra long sleeves to reveal two deformed hands, each with only three fingers.)

WHAT’S WITH THE SECRET HANDSHAKE?!

Point being, I have forever thought that would be the most embarrassing moment of my life. I might have been wrong.)

Perhaps now is a good time to inform you that there has been construction going on at the building next to ours for a few months. They are gut renovating the entire townhouse, and everyday there are between 10 and 15 workers filing in and out of the front door with hard hats, tools and dirty facial hair. Perhaps my foreshadowing skills have slipped since college, but I think you see where this is headed . . .

Standing in the middle of the kitchen, halfway between the bathroom and the bedroom door, I look up and see, right outside the window on the balcony of the adjacent building, a construction worker leaning on the railing having a cigarette. I have drawn this handy diagram to help you understand the gravity of the situation:

It is a clear, direct visual path from where I was standing to where the construction worker was standing. No more than 40 feet between us. He had on a blue flannel shirt, work jeans and a brown belt. He had short, dirty blond hair. I could have said in a normal voice, “How’re things going over there?” and, despite the operation of heavy machinery nearby, he would have heard me fine. WE LOOKED INTO EACH OTHER’S EYES FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. The best I can describe it is to say that both of us, not knowing how to react, looked away quickly, as though one might do when checking out someone at a bar and they catch you staring. It was probably the most intimate moment I have ever shared with a man, including the time I spooned a friend for warmth in a twin bed in Montreal. (Seriously, is there anything in this post that wouldn’t get me fired from my job?) I can’t even say I was a like a deer in headlights, because even a deer expresses some sort of emotion and eventually moves. I, instead, was so shocked that I just stood there, as normal as possible, like the Earth had stopped and I had all the time in the world to contemplate my many fears and problems, although inexplicably the construction worker standing outside my window LOOKING AT MY NAKED FACE IN MY EYE wasn’t one of them.

Finally, after blacking out for a few moments, I made it to the bedroom and assessed the situation: A strange guy had just seen me buck naked in my kitchen. Assessment: Poor situation.

I put pants on, waited a full minute and then peeked out the door. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best idea, because, if for some reason he was still out there looking in, the absolute hilarity of my face peeking out my bedroom door to see if he was still there would probably have been too much for me to handle. Luckily, he was gone, and I made my way back to the bathroom and washed myself clean of the whole event.

Until, of course, I had to leave my building and was forced to walk past the group of construction workers loitering outside. I think this is the closest I will ever come to knowing the feeling a girl gets when she is trapped in a closet at a party and taken advantage of by an entire fraternity, and then has to fix her hair and pull her cardigan tight as she leaves the party and can’t tell anyone because no one would believe her anyway, even after she sees one of them in school that Monday and he smiles to her across the class and makes a kissy face and she starts crying and runs out of the room. And all I could think while finishing my lonely walk to the subway station was that the days when the lid to the cocktail shaker was my biggest problem seemed so far, far away.













Again, not me. Although Scott won the hair-do battle.