I texted Dorkass this week, and she called me back a few minutes later.

"Hey, was that post about me?" she demanded.

"What post?"

This post: Shall I give Karyn a third chance to cancel dinner plans at the last minute? No, I delete her from my phone.

I stared at the phone in my hand—the phone I had just used to text the person now asking if I'd deleted her from my phone.

"Is your name spelled Karyn with a y?"


"Have you stood me up for dinner a couple times?"


"Then how could it possibly be about you?"

"Just making sure."

the butterfly effect

It all started, as debacles often do, with my laziness.

I hired someone to clean my house. While she was here, I locked the dogs in the car so that she might walk freely, without Fredo's snout impacted in her crotch. I'm just that thoughtful. I left the windows down a few inches for the dogs, and when I retrieved them a few hours later, I forgot to put them back up. I discovered this the next morning and promptly sealed the windows.


Heading to town, I noticed something was awry as soon as I reached for the door handle. What was all that all over my car's upholstery?

And thus did scrub 30 hours' worth of panicked-bird shit out of my car, working far harder than I ever would if I were merely cleaning my house.

the quick hook

I wonder if my growing impatience is a function of a increasing awareness of my finite time on earth. For whatever reason, I'm giving everything the quick hook lately. Movies, meals, staff, friends, household projects, you name it. I just can't stand to wait for things to improve or, in some cases, to improve them myself. Toward that end, I waste anything but time.

Shall I help the staffer better understand that missing deadlines is not okay? Nah, I just fire him. Next.

Shall I give Karyn a third chance to cancel dinner plans at the last minute? No, I delete her from my phone. Next.

Shall I finish this crappy restaurant meal? Surely you jest. Shall I send it back and give them a chance to care so little again? No thank you. Here's your money. On to another restaurant. Next.

I went to tremendous lengths yesterday to ferry over to Seattle and see "The Walk" in IMAX 3d. I instantly found it dreadful, affected. At the 15 minute mark, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stood in a CGI Statute of Liberty torch, with a even faker-looking CGI World Trade Center looming in the background. He spoke directly to the camera, twinkling I suppose impishly. Heez cartooneesh fake Fronch accent, eet grated moi nerves eento a fine poodoor. By the 30 minute mark, I was in my car. Neext.

days since the last mass shooting in america

We did it, people! Three of these on this page at the same time!

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

I have a solution to this problem: let's make guns look less like enormous wangs and more like vaginas. Maybe paint them pink and put My Pretty Pony stickers on them. We won't have to take guns away from gun-fuckers. They'll throw them away themselves.

shut in

I haven't left my house in a week, hence the lack of posts. Zero material.

Hold on while I go to Wal-Mart. The things I do for you people.

beautiful girls

Have you ever dated a physically beautiful person, and over time, you couldn't even see the beauty anymore because the rest of the relationship was utter crap? I have. And in a metaphorical way, I am again.

My house in Metamuville is the beautiful girl in question. I just found myself gazing across Puget Sound at the sun rising over the Cascade mountains, an undeniably beautiful sight that I'm keenly aware few get to see every morning. Yet all I could think was "Man, screw this place."

More and more lately, I find myself recalling when I spent a year putting off a breakup. For tax purposes, I stalled for an entire year. Trapping myself so unnaturally, I grew to hate her far more than she deserved. She could say merely "I'm going to get coffee," and my reaction would be What a stupid, shallow slag.

Well, I'm in that place again. And I often think of two pieces of advice I got about that woman a decade ago.

  • Dorkass: "And you think this is healthy for you?"
  • Allie: "Can you tell me one reason you're with her, other than 'she's pretty?'"

sweet dreams are made of this

My dreams about choking millennial designers with a bike chain are getting more intense.

I suppose if I wanted to really hurt them, it would be more fitting to tie them up in a usability lab, prop their eyelids open, and force them to watch someone try to perform everyday tasks with their design. As a bonus, they would learn about the existence of usability labs.


Two months ago, I tore up my elbow. One month ago, I gave up and saw my doctor about it.

"How did you injure it?" he said, nose in his notes.

"I was unloading a 300 pound grill from the back of a truck."

He glared at me, then went back to his notes. "Diagnosis: stupidity. Acute."

"Oh no," I said. "That's chronic."

That night, I tore my Achilles tendon. I imagined going back to the doctor and explaining that I was dancing with my dog Fredo when I felt a horrible pop in my heel.

"Diagnosis: whiteness. Acute."

And I would again correct him.

the week in entitlement, part iii

Puck Glazowski and I haven't seen one another in years. Defying stereotypes of hulking former hockey players, he's an incredibly sweet guy. Courteous, sensitive, and he remember things that strangers said years ago even when they're not hot women.

I don't know how he does it.

He called me the other day. He just got a job at my alma mater. "If you need anything, anything at all, just give me a ring. I'll set you up. Tickets anywhere, any game, any sport." Wow! The ticket offer is amazing in itself, but I am not accustomed to people thinking about me if I am not actively writing their name on a check. I was touched and bowled over by this offer, out of the blue, from a guy I've smoked cigars with twice in 10 years. What a kind man. What an amazing bro. I felt a warmth toward my fellow man that I do not often feel.

Two hours later, I was cold-called by a stranger. Puck's friend. He's in Seattle now, works in the tech industry, is having trouble finding work, and do I have anything?

Lack of faith in humanity: restored.

the week in entitlement, part ii

Monday I was in an online meeting when there was a knock at my door. The dogs went batshit. In order to avoid said batshit during said meetings, I had placed a sign at eye level by the door.


It has been marvelously effective, especially with missionaires, who, now disappeared, at one time interrupted me 2-3x per year. (Apparently Jesus thinks I'm a huge "get.") I figured that FedEx needed a signature, so I waded through the barking dogs to the door. Wearing my headset and trying to keep the dogs at bay, I was greeted by an old asshat extending his hand to shake mine. No introduction, no apology, just “Here’s my hand. Touch it!” Wanting whoever-he-was to die a swift, horrible death, I did not accept the handshake, so things got awkward fast. He then explained that he’s my neighbor two doors down and he wants to fish; can he please use my beach stairs?

That’s Metamuville to me. After 13 years of ignoring me, my neighbor introduces himself by 1) ignoring my sign, 2) popping in unannounced, 3) wrecking my business meeting, and 4) getting into my personal space 5) to ask a ridiculously presumptuous favor that 6) he could make unnecessary by driving a mere mile.

"Sure, go right ahead! And while you're here...I'm planning on taking an enormous dump tomorrow at 5am. Is it okay if I use your bathroom?" I replied in my imagination later, two hours too late.

paying the dirt tax

Is it unkind of me to look forward to my friend's wife dying? Before you judge me, hear me out.

Dirt and Kiki visited last week, with an asterisk. Any plans* with Kiki require that infernal asterisk.

She is the most astonishingly self-centered person I have ever met. She starts conversations with strangers while you're in the middle of answering a question she asked. She will also call someone while you're talking. When you're on the receiving end of her calls, you will often say "Hello?" and then have to listen to her prattle to someone else for several minutes before she even acknowledges that you answered the call. I hang up when she does that. She pointedly tells me that I'm being rude.

If we go someplace together, she will propose car-pooling, then make me wait in the car as she runs errands. When I visited them in November, she did not think to leave for the airport, an hour away, until after I landed and called. (Irritated, I took a cab. Her delight was unconcealed.) While there, I said I had no interest in the Mall of America, but she insisted that I really, really, really needed to see it. Once we were there, she and her daughter vaporized into the temporary Barbie World, leaving me to drink alone in a bar, getting progressively angrier.

No matter how firm they seem, any plans with Kiki are provisional. She makes firm plans with everyone so that in any given moment, she can opt for what sounds best to her. They were here for a week. She told me they were staying here. They stayed one night, which is fine, but of course she reserved the right to spend any other night here, too. I cleared the week, then spent it alone, watching groceries spoil.

A typical Kiki moment follows.
This is how I found out she was canceling the noon lunch I was just finishing preparing.

the world's nicest pissing match

My business is increasingly reliant on the fantastic programmer Amy found. He's based in London, and somehow his cheerful Englishness blends perfectly with my company's unrepentently coarse Americanishness.

Relative to the rest of our misfits, he is ridiculously underpaid. One month he earned $800 for completely saving a $200,000 project. Contrast that with a designer who (that same month) we paid $2000 to create a logo that failed to meet our simple requirements and that I replaced with something I made in 10 minutes in Microsoft Paint. Appalled at the inequity, I told the dev to bill us triple. He politely declined. "Ever so grateful, though."

As his contributions have gained in importance, I grow more and more disgusted by how underpaid he is. This may be a cultural difference, but I really don't care. The man deserves more money. I feel nauseated every time I pay some single-celled bumblefuck more than I do him. And so last month I made a secret lump-sum bonus payment through his agency. Politely decline that.

And he hasn't billed me for any of his time since. Without comment, of course. That would be rude.

Summary of the culture clash to date:

Englishman: "Ever so grateful, but I could not possibly."


the modern day record for repulsiveness

I've been absent largely because in the last five days, I've struck out with three women who had previously expressed an interest in me.

I shall now pause so that you, too, may reflect on just how pathetic that is.

This is a latter-day record. What a scathing indictment of my personality. Nowadays, getting to know me causes women to lose interest. I've tried being myself. I guess it's time to try being someone else. Maybe Clooney.


Hot woman: "Whoa. How are you not fucked up?"

Me: "Shit. I mean...I'm not?"

I really need to learn to not answer questions about my childhood honestly.

school's in 'til summer!

With each year that passes since the baby boom of 2005, September becomes a more and more joyous occasion for my friends.

"When does your shrill, insatiable food-monster go to prison?" they excitedly ask one another, panting with anticipation. (Actual quote may vary. I'm going from memory.) "Mine disappears on Monday. I. Cannot. Wait!"

I'm happy for them. God knows I empathize with wanting to get away from their kids. But September means something else entirely for me: the return of the school bus parade on Metamuville Road. 10 miles long and only two lanes wide, Metamuville Road has only occasional passing zones. Combine that with a remorseless parade of old farts who refuse to pass a school bus under any circumstances, and you have a succession of heart attacks in my car. While moss forms on my tires, I unsilently blame my parent-friends for my plight. Are their kids on that bus? No. No, they are not. It is not reasonable for me to resent my friends. But fuck them anyway. I've stopped 9 times in the last quarter-mile.

Which brings us to these public service announcements:

  • Kids! Have you heard of bloody bus stops? There once was a time when we all congregated at the end of a driveway and made the world stop only once for us instead of the aforementioned 9 times. I know you're super-special angel blossoms and all, but really, you can text your friends while standing next to them.

But they will not. They will continue creep single-file behind that school bus, in a passing zone, speeding up only to tell me how dangerous it is to legally pass seven cars at once.

the shadow knows

There's been a dark shadow lurking, unflushable, in the bottom of my toilet for days, nearly out of sight. I have not been anxious to fish it out, but I have marveled at its resilience. Finally, quite reluctantly, I donned a rubber glove and reached for it.

It was a penny.

First thought: thank christ.

Every subsequent thought: sure, it probably fell out of my pocket, but I'm far more intrigued by the notions that

  1. some asshat may have thrown a penny into my toilet, or
  2. I ate a penny.
Yep. It's been a slow week.

When I do the treadmill, I wear only shoes and a headband. I live alone and my windows face only a vast expanse of water, so why stink up clothes?

During today's workout I was huffing, puffing, and generally not stinking up clothes when I became aware of three sets of eyes watching me. A 50-foot sailboat was puttering past my house, and those on deck got quite a show indeed.

As bad as I felt for myself, I felt worse for them. At least I don't have to see that shit.


The last occurrence of this counter hasn't even scrolled off the page yet.

The problem, of course, is that the reporter and cameraman weren't armed. If think about it, those pussies were asking to be shot.

picking your poison

"I don't know how you can put that poison into your body."

"You feed your kid too much sugar."

"You know what caused your baldness, right? Gluten. All the gluten you eat. When I cut out gluten, I sprouted hair everywhere, doubled my IQ, added 650 yards to my golf drive, and made my farts smell like jasmine."

• • •

The Diet Police. We all know them. Not coincidentally, we all hate them.

As I listened to one of these pompous twits lecture someone, I had an epiphany. Would I rather be:

  1. Someone who enjoys life and who, if I die at 70, is grieved as a fun-loving soul who died much too young, or
  2. Someone who so obnoxiously masturbates on people about the superiority of my dietary choices that if I die at 70, they will not be able to conceal their delight about the irony?
I'll take the ribeye medium-rare, please. It will pair nicely with this Cohiba.

Anyone? Anyone at all?

buttered popcorn

I had no interest in the Ashley Madison scandal until I just read that 840 email addresses were from the microsoft.com domain.

Man, this is a big database.


At my neighbors' the other night, sadly, inevitably, Caitlyn Jenner came up in conversation. I assure you that I did not bring it up. Reality-show stars from serially attention-whoring families do not particularly interest me.

They interest Madam, though. She lay in wait, ready for her time to shine.

Dad was the first victim. "So he—"

"SHE!!!!!!!" screamed Madam with non-ironic sanctimony. The Pronoun Police would do this a half-dozen more times, getting angrier each time that her outrage was having no apparent effect on people's pronouns. Perhaps that's because it seemed very much like she was masturbating on people she supposedly cares about.

Climax was achieved, at least for me, when Eve used "he" when referring to Bruce Jenner winning the gold medal in 1976.

"SHE!!!!!!!" screamed Madam.

well, there's yer problem

Madam and Eve invited me over for dinner last night.

I get along fine with my neighbors. Seattle fine. That is, we're friendly. We bleat affectionate noises at one another. We laugh at one another's jokes and consume one another's food and drink. And they could not tell you a single thing about me, because they simply do not care. "That's John. We love John," they would say. "He's from Iowa or somewhere and works with computers or something. You have got to try his Manhattan."

I like them, but they are quintessentially "Seattle people" to me. Behind every assurance that if I move they'd be devastated is my certainty that they have no idea, nor any interest in, who I am.

But Eve's parents do. Last night Dad asked about Pittsburgh, and he asked the hard questions. I admitted I find it much more comfortable there. This floored Madam and Eve. They tried to argue the social merits of Seattle. I replied by showing them my phone history.

"I've got 21 years invested in my Seattle friends. I've got 5 months invested in Pittsburgh friends. And you tell me—who do I hear from more?"

Eve considered the question and came to the only logical conclusion. "That's a really weird metric, John."

knowing your audience

I find myself resisting the considerable charms of a very young woman lately. As in decades younger. I'm being good, but sometimes it takes the added layer of "she's also seriously religious" to keep me on the rails.

Not helping are the independent entreaties of Mike and Anna. He's dating someone much younger than himself, she, someone much older. They were working me over yesterday, trying to talk me into cradle-robbing, and I found myself craving a balancing perspective. I knew exactly what to do. 1-800-DIAL-AN-EX.

"I need to be judged," I texted Allie. My phone rang soon after.

"You're old and it's wrong," she greeted me, not yet knowing anything about anything.

grand finale

The dogs were driving me nuts in the hotel room, so I took them to the dog park to let them get their ya-yas out.

Man, that expression looks filthy in print.

Dex overdid it, and she limped mildly as we exited the park. The next day, she could no longer jump into the car. Day three, she could not stand up and walk outside. On day four, I was carrying her to the grass, to her water bowl, to the vet. Of course, it was the after-hours vet, so it cost a fortune to hear his conclusion that she merely overdid it. Running total: $676. Total savings from my staying in the shitty hotel with my dogs: negative $376 (- $376.00 USD).

Day five, Dex sprang out of bed and did her happy dance when she thought we were getting into the car.

dog math

I occasionally do a working vacation in some other city. Get a hotel room in the cool district, work as little as possible and shop by day, drink by night, sleep, repeat. Normally I kennel the dogs, which is no small expense at about $300. This time, I decided to take them. "And what luck! There's a dog friendly hotel right across the street from my normal one!"

When we checked in, the clerk charged me a $25 fee per dog. Running total: $50

"Where are the dogs supposed go?" I asked the clerk.

"Um. With you?" she replied.

I smiled and somehow refrained from bitch-slapping her. "No, I mean where are they supposed to urinate and defacate?"

She shrugged. "We don't have a spot. I don't know where people take them."

The only patch of grass within a mile's walk is an 8x4 square at my normal hotel. Of course.

Fredo apparently drank his body weight in water whilst I showered, because when I came out there were three enormous, watery orange puddles of puke on the carpet. How do I know it was Fredo, beyond the fact that it's always Fredo? His matching orange necktie and earrings were a clue.

Thus did we go to the local dog wash. Running total: $75

When I tried to work, i found that the dog-friendly hotel's wifi is John-hostile. So I paid for my normal hotel's wifi. Running total: $115

We went for a walk on a trail, and a mere six hours after their puke bath, the dogs found a dead turkey and marinaded themselves in its entrails. Back to the dog wash, followed by the car wash. Running total: $155

Throw in all the gasoline and the aspirin I had to buy a gimpy Dex, and we're at an even $170. I saved $130. And had a shit time. Dog jail is now the law.

imagining therapy

10 years of working from home. 10 years of choosing who I work with. 10 years of living alone. 10 years of very seldom dealing with people with whom I do not want to deal, and if I did, you can bet I was getting paid for it. 10 years of being in almost complete control of my environment, every second of every day.

It's been wonderful. It's also crippled me.

I find myself increasingly incapable of dealing with, well, people. My patience and understanding are gone, replaced with a quick-trigger "Screw this. I'm going home." Tolerance is a muscle, it turns out, and on my body that muscle has atrophied and withered away.

And so I imagine going to therapy to build this muscle back up. I don't particularly like most people, but I also dislike being able to tolerate them for only ten minutes. But then I imagine the therapy sessions, and there's a lot of this:

Me: "I can't spend 10 minutes at the store anymore without intensely wanting to bitch-slap people."

Therapist: "Why is that, do you think?"

Me: "They're entitled jerks."

Therapist: "Why do you think that?"

Me: "Hmm. I suppose that if I had to guess, I'd say it's the average person's obscene sense of entitlement and appalling conduct toward other people."

Therapist: "No, seriously."

Me: "No, seriously."

Therapist: "We can't work on this if you're just going to blame everyone else."

Me: "Okay, then." (gets up)

Therapist: "Please sit down."

(I sit down)

Therapist: "Sigh. So what is it you want from me, John?"

Me: "Is there, like, a pill that makes you not notice that other people are dicks?"

Therapist: "No, seriously."

Me: "No, seriously."
Thus do we talk in circles and not get anywhere. And if we're both very lucky, he doesn't get bitch-slapped.

Here, this comes to mind.

Last week, Fair Dorkass and I went to a Seattle museum to see the Chuck Jones animation exhibit. If you're a fan, I highly recommend it. I'm a bona fide Chuck Jones geek, and there was still lots I'd never seen. It saddened me to know that his work is no longer viewed by children. It is instead, as Dorkass noted, in a museum now. To me, this is both uplifting and tragic.

Prior to that moment, we went to lunch at a place Dorkass promised had "great pizza." Why west-coasters feel remotely comfortable using this superlative is, to me, no small matter of immorality. Much as I don't presume to deem the pain of childbirth "not so bad," I don't want these people rating pizza.

Inevitably, as I waited at the counter for my pizza, this abomination greeted me. What might they one day put in those blank tiles? Gluten-free sprout puree? Soy-cotton peanut butter?


my favorite hit. ever.

Someone found the Percy page by googling "geriatric forced anal."

days since the last mass shooting in america


What easily attainable, feel-good red herring can we go after this time instead of addressing the actual problem?

Edit: He "has Nazi sympathies!" Praise be. You know what to do, airheads. That Nazi flag has got to go, or the gun violence might continue.

moron taxonomy
stupid church signs
super bowl xl officiating
percy chronicles

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