Friday, December 30, 2011

Insert Funny Here.


I saw this in a local newspaper last week. Just to get it out of the way, yes, they were being sold as food. No, I’ve never had the (dis)pleasure.
source
UGH!

But still, grim fate of these reptiles aside, the picture is funny. There are so many things I could say about this picture. But I prefer to let you guys have a go at it.

Think of it as a caption game.

Feel free to play along.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Adventures In Journalism.

I'll say one thing. This job is a real adventure. On any given day, you never know where you'll end up. The other day, I got to go on one of these.
Cool, right?

Then, that same evening I was at a fancy Christmas party for the local architects' association. And of all the people I'd run into there, I met my former nemeses employers, (former) Bossman and (former) Bosslady.

(former) Bosslady played it cool, but (former) Bossman was a little surprised to see me there. I took the high road and refrained from my whole "BOOYAH!!! In your face, motherf*cker!" routine I'd always fantasized about. For good measure I interviewed him too.

Then, earlier this week, I had to go look at a landslide on the north coast heading toward Maracas Bay. I hadn't been in that area in a really long time. When you spend all your time in the mostly built-up areas, you forget just how tropical the tropical island you live on really is.

Then you spend an hour and a half travelling through this.
And you say, "Oh... right..."

It may look scary but it's actually really peaceful and scenic. Actually the photographer who was driving called this stretch the "scenic route". I was so caught up with the view at times I ended up sticking my phone out the photographer's car and snapping pictures like a tourist. In the end we wound up here:
I think I hear dueling banjos. No, wait! This is Trinidad. Maybe dueling steel-pans?
It was still raining and there was a light mist hanging. On one side of the road we had the mountainside rising above us. On the other side was the steep drop where the mountain continued. There was so much water flowing down the mountain from the rains it made a small river flowing down the other side.
I was caught up in the beauty of it all for a bit, but then it occurred to me that all this water could trigger another landslide. Then I wondered if there could be snakes as big as the one in the picture I posted a few days ago. That's when I told the photographer I'd wait in the car.

The next day I was back in the city checking out stores to find out how their Christmas sales were going. And I have no idea where I'll be tomorrow.

It's awesome.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Me Vs Nature.

Pastelles are a Christmas tradition here in T&T. For those of you who don't know, they're these steamed, meat-filled, cornmeal pies. The traditional way is to cook them wrapped in banana leaves. They're awesome!

Mrs. C makes kick-ass pastelles. She actually used to make extra money at Christmastime selling them. She doesn't make them for sale any more. Too much work. We would often lose an entire night's sleep to make them. She still makes more than enough for us and to give out to a few friends and relatives, though.

But as I was saying, banana leaves are required. They're not a must. You can wrap them in foil, but my wife's adamant about doing it the old fashioned way. She says it enhances the flavor. All I know is they taste great. Who am I to argue?

When I wrote about where I'm from I said it wasn't uncommon to have banana trees in the average Trini's yard. But there are exceptions and most of the places we've lived in the past didn't. This meant me having to go around to neighbors to get leaves.

But this year I got lucky. There isn't just one banana tree in the yard of our new apartment, there are two. So this time I don't have to go around to the neighbors to get leaves. Plus, free bananas! Win-win, right?

Well, it looks like someone has other plans. The other day I went to the back yard to check on the condition of the trees I'd soon be pillaging for leaves. I also wanted to check on the three bunches of bananas that were growing too. That's when I noticed a slight hitch in the plans.

It seems a small Ground Dove has set up a nest in one of the banana bunches. Needless to say, I wanted to share this so I decided to get a picture. I went back yesterday morning to get one and the mom flew off in fear and abandoned her babies.

I question her parenting skills.

This did, however, give me a change to scope out the nest. And I took pics.

For some reason I feel like saying, "Crikey! Those are beauts!"
Um... Occupied.
I checked this morning and the did mom come back. Apparently she was in a calmer mood because she didn't fly off this time.
What the..! You again?!
Awwww... So cute, right?

Well cuteness aside, this poses two problems:

  1. I need leaves later this week. I don't want to disrupt their home but there's no way I'm missing out on my wife's pastelles or going around the neighborhood for leaves for this.
  2. I kinda had my eye on those bananas. They're the ones most likely to be ripe first.


I need to figure this out.

Birds! Why id it always birds?!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Random Thoughts Of A Sleep Deprived Mind.


For those of you who have noticed my lack of posting this week, I've been in the midst of end of semester exams. For those of you who haven't, well... I haven't been posting this week... because of... exams.

I recently finished a final project for one of my classes which kept me up until 4:30am and I haven't had chance to get a full night's sleep since.

I think that is the reason I've had all kinds of random things bouncing around my head that I thought I could slap together were funny enough to make a post. Kinda like my old "Random Tuesday Thought" posts I used to do back in the day.

I blame sleep deprivation for what comes next...

- The other day I was folding a shirt when I realized it was inside out. The first thing I thought about was hitting the "Undo" button. That's when I realized I've probably been spending too much time at the computer. Then the next thing I thought of was to blog about it.

- We've been battling a serious ant infestation in our home. I think they're winning. The other morning they scored a victory by getting inside our electric kettle's wiring and rendering it useless. Don't ask me how.

- I learned the other day that two jumbo hot dogs are my limit. I know. I’m a total lightweight. I was able to figure this out very out soon after jumbo hot dog number four.



Not a good day.

- Up the street there's a yard with two really big dogs. I think one of is mixed with a smaller breed because his front legs are noticeably shorter than his back legs. I call him Dogosaurus Rex. He amuses me.

I miss those RTT days.


I'd say I need a nap but I'm actually about to leave for work. Plus, this is a six-day work week for me and I still have a Math assignment and two exams left.


Joy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The World of Warcraft & Public Transportation.



I mentioned a few times that I’m not a fan of getting behind the wheel. This, to the point where I don’t even have a driver’s license. However, this does leave me a slave to the public transportation system, and that in itself has its own challenges.

To properly illustrate what I mean, I'll employ the help of WoW Model Viewer. Let’s say that this is me.
I’m a dwarf. Why? Because I’m short... And stocky too. Let's just pretend that, like a dwarf, I’m really ripped too.
But I digress. Generally, taxis here in T&T pick up passengers in groups and take everyone from point A to point B. That normally means three passengers in the back seat and one in the passenger seated up front.

I try to get the front seat. That’s the seat of choice. You can get to the taxi hub and see the first 5 or 6 cars in the line with only the front seat filled. Unfortunately, more often than not I end up in back, which sucks. Why? Well, let’s say I get in the back seat of the taxi.
That’s when a really large person will get in next to me.
Sure enough, someone else who is equally large (or larger) will come in on the other side. 
Leaving me squished in the middle. For those of you familiar with World of Warcraft, you’ll notice that I’m reppin’ Alliance, while they’re from the Horde. This is not good. We’re from enemy factions so we’re already predisposed to not liking each other. Added to that is the fact that it’s been a hot day and the driver either refuses to put the air conditioning on or it’s broken. All in all, not a very comfortable situation for anyone involved.

Especially me.

And it doesn’t help when they’re both level 85s and have on full epic gear while I, on the other hand, am just a lowly noob...

Priest.
I’m probably going to get ganked before the end of the ride.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Changing The Detour.


I've made a slight change to how things operate with linking my Sprocket Ink posts from here. As much as I know you enjoy my little pseudo posts to send you over there when I have a post up, I've decided to put the kibosh on those.

But fear not, I bring you an alternative that I think works better. See my official Sprocket correspondent's badge over to the right? Now, if you click on it, it'll take you directly to the last post I did there. See? It even says that it links to my most recent post there right above it.

Oh! By the way...


I've got a new post on Sprocket Ink again today. It's about what the folks at Fox Business think of Hollywood. Click here and check it out.

Okay, that was the last time. I promise.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Ride Continues.


A little while back, I took a spin on Ninja Mom's Character Assassination Carousel. No word on whether ol' Br'er Rabbit finally got what was coming to him, but this isn't about that.

It's time now for me to pass the baton so that someone else can use it to take a well deserved whack at a so called "beloved" childhood storybook character. Next up is Leah from Chapter Four, and she's pulling out the big guns as she goes after the infamous Cat In The Hat. That takes guts!

So click, read and enjoy as the carousel ride continues.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Have You Seen Sprocket's New Look Yet?



No? It’s awesome! Really! If you haven’t been around to see it yet, I’ll overlook the transgression get on over there right now.

Plus, I’ve got a serious warning about smartphones there today that you really need to check out. Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Response To A. Gaddafi.



THE LETTER:

Greeting's



I am Aisha Gaddafi from Libya. I am the surviving Daughter of Late Gaddafi my Father worked was leader for 42 years in Tripoli as a Leader of Libya, before he died in Libya during the invention of the NTC AND NETO. Father deposited the sum of ($10.5 Million) with a bank in Asia.


After the death of my Daddy, I have thought of investing the money in your country and my aim of contacting you is to be my foreign partner and business caretaker who will handle whatever any investment we are going to establish according to your directive. kindly provide me with the information i needed to enable me communicate you for further details.


1) Your full Name.........

2) your private phone and fax number...
3) your age and your occupation.....
4) Any of your ids...........
Please, consider this and get back to me as soon as possible.





Your Faithfully

Aisha Gaddafi

********

THE RESPONSE:

Dear Ms. Gaddafi,

First, let me start by saying that you have my sincerest condolences for the recent loss of your father. This is troubling news and I hope you and your family are coping.

Before we discuss the matter at hand, I beg your indulgence for, you see, I am somewhat slow on the uptake and, as such, have a few questions.

First, I am curious. If you don't mind me asking, is "Late" Gaddafi any relation to "Muammar" Gaddafi? The fact that Late “worked was leader” for 42 years in Tripoli and Muammar was the ruler of Libya, based in Tripoli seems awfully uncanny to me. Then again, maybe the name Gaddafi is very common in Libya, like Smith is here in the western world. As I said, I’m a little slow.

Was your father an inventor? That is an awesome job! I’m sorry that this NTC AND NETO thing that he was working on did him in. I guess that would be a hazard of the job sometimes. I suggest that your people shut down and dismantle his creation. Lock it away as soon as possible. We don’t want any more deaths at the hands of this thing. (Just out of curiosity, does it have hands?) Take my advice and do this before it’s too late! We don’t want it to grow too powerful.

Now, on to business. Let me just say that I appreciate you wanting to invest the money in my country, and I am honored that you would choose to contact me to be a part of this transaction as your foreign partner. However, I must warn you that you may not have made the wisest choice by selecting me. I do not speak in authority for my people. In fact, you could say that I am about as low on the rung of the ladder here as one can get.

I may not be the best person to be your business caretaker or handle your investments here. I am on the bottom rung after all. There’s a reason for that. Plus, to be perfectly honest, if you allow me to broker this deal, I will very likely just keep the money for myself and not use it for your benefit or the benefit of my country. Except when I spend it, that is. I guess I may still be doing my part by stimulating the economy that way.

The information you say that you “needed” me to furnish you with, is it still necessary? You did find my email address after all. (I commend you for this, by the way.) I assume that we can communicate further details just fine this way. Or is it that, in your anticipation of our impending business relationship you have gone ahead and started the paperwork. Again, indulge my slowness as I ask this.

Once again, thank you for selecting me. I hope we can further communicate and find a way to address both our needs.

I await your response.

Sincerely (mostly)
Vinny

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reconsidering [WARNING: There’s A Picture Of A Really Big S.N.A.K.E.]



You were warned…

Even here in the tropics you can get tired of the city life sometimes. When that happens, I imagine things would be better if we moved to country…

Then someone posts a picture like this on Facebook


I don’t know if this really was taken here.

Frankly, I don’t want to know.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Always Remember (Awkward Situations Edition).

You will meet many kinds of people in life...






Some, stranger than others.

(NOTE: THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED LAST WEEK. FOR THE RECORD, THERE WASN'T ANYTHING IN MY TEETH. I CHECKED.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Isn't Funny.

By not funny, I'm talking about my post on Sprocket Ink, that is. I'm putting funny shoes and balloon animals aside for a bit to talk about sports... Well, not really. It's more like an ongoing scandal in the sporting world. I'm not all that into organized sports, but I just had to say something on this one. Check it out.

Also, I created this Google+ page and I guess I should get to using it. So, if you're on Google+ you could... you know... add me to your circles... if you like. Just sayin'.

But go over to Sprocket first. That one's important. Then do the Google+ thing. Remember! First, Sprocket, then Google+. In that order.

'K, bye!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What Defines.

At some point we have had or will have that one pivotal moment or event in our lives that plays a major part in the direction our paths take. I've mentioned mine. When I lost my job at the bank more than two years ago. It changed my life irreversibly. I was set in a whole new direction that I never would have taken otherwise.

Recently I began to wonder. How many of us have had the rug pulled out from under us? How many of us have had our lives so completely upended by just one, singular event? It's so easy to let that one major triumph or defeat consume us. If we're not careful, that one life-changing event can become the thing that we use to define ourselves. Too often we get trapped in that moment. We let what we see as out biggest failure, or or even victory, define who we are. I know that was how it was for me for a while.

For a long time I let that one event define me. I let it cast a shadow over how I saw myself and dealt with others and with situations. I felt worthless, like everything I had accomplished up until that event was worthless. Worst of all, I felt like what had happened to me would be all I'd be known for. I just couldn't see past the mistakes I had made. At first, when my "big fall" happened, I hoped and prayed for some way to go back and fix the things that I did wrong. I knew it wasn't possible but if only I could only have a do over... But you can't go back.

After a while I became resentful. I blamed everyone, including myself, especially myself. I told myself I wanted nothing to do with that bank ever again. "Screw them!" I thought, "Banking isn't for me. I wasn't happy there, anyway." I know, sour grapes. But I meant it. I wasn't happy there. I would have preferred to have left under different circumstances, though.

I convinced myself that I was glad for it to be over. But, of course, it wasn't. I still have a loan and credit card there that I'm trying to pay off, so I have no choice but to go back from time to time. And for a while my stomach would turn every time I walked in the door. Even after months passed, I still felt pangs of guilt, shame and anger every single time I even passed in front of the building.

It took me a while to realize that that event wasn't all there was to me. I wasn't a loser or a failure because I failed at that one instance. Even if my mistake was a huge one, my life wasn't over because of it. It doesn't define who I am. I've realized that the only way it could do that was if I let every choice I continued to make was determined by that one incident. As long as I continued to live in that guilt, shame and anger I felt, then it would define me.

It wasn't the first time something bad had ever happened to me. More than likely, it wouldn't even be the biggest thing to ever happen in my life (even though one could hope that nothing worse could happen). Life has far too many ups, and even downs, to let just one event dictate who we are. The way I see it, you learn from it and do better the next time. Sure, shit happens, but as much as the situation may stink when it does, it will always stink if you just stay there and wallow in it.

I, for one, am tired of just wallowing in that shit.

[UPDATE] I didn't plan this but it fits. Check out Studio 30 Plus for other posts on this week's prompt "The Best Advice".

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What I Didn't Expect To Hear Them Say.


I had no delusions when I started. I already knew that the hours would stink, the pay would suck and that it would be a lot of work. I knew all of that going in. I've accepted it as what comes with the territory in journalism and I'm okay with that. Even though a fat paycheck is nice I've always believed that, in the end, if it's what you really want to do and you enjoy doing it, then those things aren't supposed to what keeps you doing it. Of course, I say again, a fat paycheck wouldn't hurt.

When they said that, often, working well into the night was normal, I wasn't too surprised. When they disclosed the starting salary to me, I still took the job. I was a little daunted at first when they stressed how demanding the job would be, but I said yes anyway. In truth, I mostly expected all of this. What I didn't expect to hear however, when I submitted my first story was, "You write well... but you need to make it simpler. You're going to make the reader have to think too much."

Huh?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that sounds like they're telling me to dumb my writing down. Right? When did I need to dumb things down? I've always thought of my "style" (if you want to call it that) as pretty simple. I'd even go so far as to call it juvenile at times. I'm confused, to say the least.

And another thing, when didn't we want people thinking? I've always believed that one of the problems today was that people didn't think enough. I say, make people think more. Get those cogs in their noggins turning, dammit!

But then again, I guess I should play it their way seeing at they're the ones paying me after all. This is going to take some adjustment. Thank goodness I blog! At least you guys get me, right?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Swamped!

Between adjusting to work at The Paper and a slew of school projects I've been hit with this week, I've hardly had time to do any writing. Oh wait! Scratch that. There is something. Check out my story about a lying psychology professor on Sprocket Ink. He's a real piece of work.

Well... That's it for here. I've got a ton of books to wade through. Later.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Where My Mind Wanders To When I Find Strange Things In My Pocket.


Me: Hi!
Clerk: Good afternoon, sir. How can I help you?
Me: Hi. I'd like to see No. 111.
Clerk: Excuse me?
Me: No. 111. I bought this shirt here a few days ago and I found this tag in the pocket. It says I should return this shirt to No. 111 if there's a fault or a defect.
Clerk: Oh. Is there a problem?
Me: Are you No. 111?
Clerk: No, I'm Cindy. But if you explained the problem, maybe I could help.
Me: Well... Okay... But it really says I should talk to No. 111...
Cindy: So, what seems to be the problem?
Me: It has this weird smell.
Cindy: It does? (*smells shirt*) Oh! Oh my! I'm so sorry, sir! I don't  know how this could have happened. If you have your receipt, I can exchange it for you.
Me: No worries. Here.
Cindy: If you don't mind me asking, didn't you notice the odour when you bought it?
Me: It didn't smell like that when I bought it.
Cindy: It didn't?
Me: No. It smelled like that when I got home. From work.
Cindy: Ummm... So you wore it?
Me: Yeah. To work! I work now. Awesome, right?! I can't stop talking about it.
Cindy: Well... congratulations.
Me: Thank you. Anyway, when I got home, I took it off and a few hours later, there was that smell.
Cindy: Oh. I have to ask. Did you sweat?
Me: Did I!?! I sweat all the time. I think I have hyperactive sweat glands. That's how much I sweat.
Cindy: Then maybe it's possible that the scent came from your sweating then?
Me: Uh-uh! No way! I thought you'd try to say something like that so I brought this.
Cindy: That's-
Me: My deodorant.
Cindy: I'm confused...
Me: Hello! De.o.do.rant! As in it takes the odour away. No way it could have been me.
Cindy: It doesn't-
Me: And what about the fact that the shirt was wet when I got home. It was hot yesterday. Not a drop of rain.
Cindy: Well... the sweating...
Me: Ah-HA! Look again. See?  It's also an antiperspirant. It blocks perspiring. Nice try, Cindy.
Cindy: Sir, I... You said you did sweat-
Me: You know what? Lemme talk to No. 111. I bet he or she could sort this out.
Cindy: Sir, these shirts are made in England. Whoever 111 is, they're all the way over there. I don't know the inspectors.
Me: Trying to stall me, huh? What's your number? I need to report this.
Cindy: I don't have a number, sir. Besides, there isn't anything we can really do for you.
Me: Well, that's not a very helpful attitude. It's no wonder you don't haven't been given a number yet. Is it, Cindy?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm On The Job.

This is an auto-post because I'm not here right now. That is because, today, I start my job at The Paper.

Wait... Don't be sad! You know I wouldn't just leave you hanging like that. Why not head on over to Sprocket Ink and read my post there, instead? It's there right now. Really! Go see for yourselves. I'll can't link it directly, but it shouldn't be hard to find. Just look for the potato salad.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It All Started With A Simple Request.


Mrs. C: Vinny, could you help me with something tomorrow? I have some letters to post out. I already typed them up but, since our printer is out of ink, you'll have to get them printed somewhere. 

I look at the forms.

Me: It says here that you have to submit some copies of other stuff with them.
Mrs. C: I have those... But only the originals. You can get the copies made in the same place you're doing the printing.
Me: And buy envelopes too.
Mrs. C: Yup. CRAP!
Me: What?
Mrs. C: The deadline on one of them is in two days. I don't want to take the chance to post it and it ends up arriving too late. You'll have to drop it directly at their office for me.

This is the point where I usually whine, cuss and complain voice my objection about her always waiting until the last minute to try and get her thousand and one errands done. However, given her current-um-"disposition", I choose to keep my opinions subdued. I make a mental note to discuss it with her at a different time of the month... when she's less stabby. It is at this point that I remember telling myself the same thing about a month ago. Then I realize that she has been coming to me with requests like these around the same time she's in this condition.

Shrewd!

Mrs. C: Oh, don't forget that you have to pay the electricity bill and buy a new mailbox, while you're at it. Plus, could you drop off these entry forms for this newspaper competition for me too?
Me: Why the hell not?

********

I decide to get started early the next morning on my mission. I leave home at around 8am and soon arrive at a nearby internet café to get the printing and photocopying done. After that I walk across to a nearby supermarket that houses a small post office sub-branch. The atmosphere was fairly grey since the day started so I wasn't too surprised when a light drizzle was falling when I left the internet café.

I got to the corner of the supermarket where the post office had its assigned counter. I get in line but the clerk notices the envelopes in my hand.

Clerk: Do you need stamps?
Me: Yup.
Clerk: Sorry. We're out.


I thank him for not making me waste time in line and head to the taxis. Since I have to head into town anyway to do all the other errands, it isn't any problem to go to the post office there. I get to town and stop to pay the light bill first. This was uneventful as well. The line was long but moved quickly enough.

I move on to the post office for the next leg of my journey. Here, the line was ridiculously long. Not only that, but the clerks didn't seem like they were in a particular hurry either. As the line inched forward, a woman, with child in tow, joined in about two or three people behind me. The child was about two years old and, as soon his mother got tired of holding him and put him down, he started to cry.

Of course he did!

Crying soon became bawling and bawling soon became screaming. All the while, his mom refused to pick him up again. It was clear that everyone in the line was beginning to get irritated, but no one was really willing to say anything. I looked at another (possibly) two-year-old being held by his own mother a few persons in front of me.

"You speak his language. What's up with that?" I thought.

He looked at me and looked the screaming toddler, "Hell if I know," was his facial expression.

Soon the security guard is directed to let them come to the front of the line. They leave soon after that and then people start voicing their complaints about her parenting skills.

Pussies!

Aside from the agonizingly slow pace the rest of this is uneventful. I finish here and drop off the newspaper entries at the next block. I walk across town to get a taxi to drop off Mrs. C's letter.

Me: I need to get to "K" Building. I'm not too sure where it is.
Driver: No problem.

He picks up his other passengers and we're off. Traffic is always heavy in the city on a Friday but eventually we clear it and are leaving the downtown area of Port of Spain. I look at my watch. It's only 10:37am. I'm making better time than I thought. Two of the other passengers drop off along the way, leaving myself, the driver and one other passenger.

Suddenly, the drizzle that had been falling all day turned into a very heavy downpour. The driver put his wipers on high and we could still barely make out the road in front of us.

Driver: Where did you say you were going again?"
Me: "K" Building.
Driver: Shit! We just passed it.

The other passenger is going all the way in and the street was to busy to turn around. He pulls over next to a nearby shopping plaza.

Driver: Sorry about that.
Me: No worries.

I step out under a nearby overhang. He points out "K" Building just down the street and he pulls off. I wait as the rain pours for a few more minutes. Soon, it starts to get lighter but doesn't stop completely. After several more minutes of waiting I get fed up and decide to risk it. "K" Building isn't that far away, after all.

But it was a trap. Once I'm halfway between the safety of my shop-front and "K" Building, the downpour starts up again. I break into a sprint but have to come to a stop at the street separating me from my goal. Once the traffic clears I cross and go inside the building.

By this time, I'm thoroughly soaked. I find the office inside "K" Building, drop off my wife's letter and go back to the exit. The rain is still falling, but, lo and behold, it's lightened up again. I have to cross to get a taxi back and I decide to risk it. AGAIN!!!

I believe my reasoning at this point was that I was already soaked so what's the worst that could happen? Right? It didn't take me long to find out. No sooner do I step out onto the sidewalk in front of the building and prepare to cross the street...

The rest of my trip goes without incident. I get the mailbox and, eventually, I get a taxi to take me home. My phone rings.

Mrs. C: Hey. Just checking in to see how things are going.
Me: Never. Again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - I Got A Phone Call And...


Monday, October 24, 2011

So The Real Question Is…



Remember when I said that, for the first interview for the reporter job at a newspaper, I was asked a certain icebreaker question? I said that I had answered so uniquely that they just had to have me back for the second interview.

Well, as I said, I was then sworn to secrecy and challenged to figure out the correct answer on my own by the time I got there for the second interview. I also said that the second interview went pretty well but, up to Friday, they still hadn't made their decision. So, in the meantime, why not share that question with you and the answer I provided? Exactly!

It went like this:

“king ... was seen walking and talking half an hour after his head was cut off”
True or False?

Now, for those of you who have come across this type of thing before, the obvious thing is that the sentence is missing a punctuation mark. It makes more sense if you put a comma right after “talking”. I’m sure this would have also occurred to many of you even if you haven’t done this kind of test before.

I, on the other hand, did not exactly answer it in the traditional sense. In fact, I totally missed the point, so to speak. My answer looked more like:

I can’t answer this question without getting some more information first:

- Was it really the king who was executed? It isn’t farfetched to think that he had a double take his place so that he could escape execution.

- Was it the same king ...? Could it have been one “king ...” who was executed and some other “king ...” who was seen both walking and talking somewhere else?

- Was the king who was seen in the act of walking and talking his successor (IE: King… the 2nd, or 3rd, etc)?

- Was the event where he was seen walking and talking a recording played after his execution? No mention of era was given in the above statement.

I stopped there. There were some other things I wanted to know, but I didn’t bother to put down (mostly because I ran out of paper):

- Was the king a walking, talking zombie? You know! As opposed to the more common shuffling & moaning variety.

- What did he do to piss everyone off anyway?

- Did he use time travel? If that was the case, he could have just been saying, “I’ll be the first king to go back in time,” then walked over to the time machine (See? Both talking and walking being done) and used it to go back in time one week. Unfortunately, his feat would have been seen as some sort of sorcery and the people then decided to execute him for practicing the dark arts.

Fortunately, they overlooked the fact that I am an idiot completely missed the point of the question and decided that my need to dig deeper, think outside the box and ask more questions were exactly the characteristics they were looking for in a future journalist. I was then allowed to proceed to interview number two.

I can only conclude that the moral of this story is: If you’re going to get it wrong, get it wrong with style. Things just might work out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ripping Someone Off (Now With An Extra Step).

1. Add graphic:


2. Make people think there's yet again an actual post on your blog.

3. By the time they realize there isn't an actual post on your blog, redirect them to where your posts are:




Click here and here.

4. Once again, end abruptly.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Social Interaction - Going Unnoticed.



I’ll admit that I’m not a social person. I know that and I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve never liked one-on-one conversations except with people I am very close to. I always feel awkward and tend to feel responsible for keeping the conversation going. At which point I end up fumbling for things to say. The end result is an awkward train wreck of a dialogue that onlookers want to shield their eyes and ears from but feel compelled to witness the horror as it unfolds.

Me: So… how ya been?
Innocent victim of conversation with me: Great. My wife and I are expecting. You?

(Note the clearly and conveniently provided segue. Taking this avenue would often lead to a stimulating and healthy conversation. However, I often will miss turn-offs such as these and continue careening wildly into conversational oblivion.)

Me: Good… I’m good… Crazy heat we’ve been having these days, huh?
Victim: Yeah, crazy.
Me: Yeah… So… How’s work going?

Believe me, it’s that painful. Situations like these are probably the only reason why I, as much as I dislike them, find crowds useful. It’s very easy to get lost in one. While in a one-on-one conversation you have no choice but to participate, when you’re in a group you can easily step back and let the ones who like the sound of their own voices do their thing while you just nod or grunt in affirmation at the appropriate juncture. In most cases I prefer to just blend in to the background.

Don’t mind me. I’m just sitting here being part of the scenery. Just another innocuous prop here to make the scene more lifelike. Please carry on.

This is something I’ll have to work on when I become a journalist. As a reporter, you’re supposed to be a talker and, especially, a listener. You’re supposed to ask questions and dig deeper and often be the one to initiate a conversation with complete strangers. I guess it’s about time I learned to be something other than scenery.

This is something I have to change, but it won’t be easy. Over the years I’ve developed a very effective chameleon-like ability that allows me to do just that. If I did it just right, the most people would say about me is, “Vinny? He’s quiet and keeps to himself most of the time, but he seems like a nice guy.”

(Interesting side note: if you say that in the past tense, it would basically be the same thing people would say about someone they just found out was a serial killer or who went postal and gunned down his coworkers. I, however, don’t plan on going postal… I think.)

Recently, though, I’ve been beginning to get the impression that people have been misinterpreting my standoffish demeanor. Instead of seeing me as just quiet, they think I’m actually being unfriendly.

Can you believe that? Me! Unfriendly?! Of all the..! This is exactly why I don’t like most of those sons of bitches and when I do if I were to finally snap they’d be the first ones I’d…

Ahem! Sorry.

Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve been noticing people’s behavior towards me seem to suggest that they think I’m not a friendly person. When did I start giving off this “unfriendly” vibe? Oh sure, I can be *cough* a teeny bit *cough* passive aggressive when I’m ready, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m unfriendly.

Those assholes!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not My Usual Weekend Wrap-Up.


I've been very inactive on the old interwebz for most of this week so I'll forego my usual weekly recap and just fill you all in on what's been going on here with me.

- It's been just about a week now since I lost internet access at home. Since we moved here we were fortunate to have free internet courtesy of the landlady (she provides free wi-fi access to both her tenants). While I've been busy cursing the ISP for the problem (they're the usual culprits so it's natural), it turns out it was actually the doing of our landlady. Seems she forgot to pay the bill before she took one of her frequent trips overseas, and the rest... well... you can figure it out. She assures us it'll be sorted out on her return at the end of the month. Hey, at least I get to bust this out again:

Which basically sums up how I feel about being unplugged.

- Due to my insane week of internet free living and employment hopes, I had only one post on Sprocket Ink which was on Tuesday. If you missed it, be sure to check out it out. Another dad of the year contender has just emerged and he's ready to fight for the top spot.

- Regarding the job hunt, I had the follow-up interview with the newspaper on Thursday. They say they have an opening for two reporters and have narrowed down their choice to three top contenders. And I'm one of them. They're being very cryptic, but they did say that things were looking good for me. I'll know by the middle of next week. I really hate suspense. You know that?

The other interview I was supposed to have on Friday was postponed. They'll call me back when they're ready to reschedule.

Okay! This one is really funny. For those of you who have been here long enough, remember the job I used to have? The one where I was fired, then promoted, then had the position I was promoted to declared redundant? They called and asked me to come back to fill a temporary position for a few months. I'm not kidding!

To be honest, I'm not sure how I should  respond to this. I don't know whether I should laugh or cuss uncontrollably. I may just do both. Either way, I don't think I'm quite desperate enough to willingly go back to (former) Bossman's and Bosslady's clutches. Even if it is just temporary.

Life's just too short, you know?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just Some Quick Updates.


First, I've got another post over at Sprocket Ink today. Seems like there's yet another dad of the year contender making an appearance. Be sure to check it out.


In other news, I'm currently without internet access at home. It's been down since around 8PM last night with no real explanation as to why. While the ISP continue to be "currently in the process of trying to rectify the problem" I've been forced to rely on public internet, like the wi-fi here in school, for the time being. Hopefully, by the time I get home it'll be up and running again.

Finally, I got a call this morning about my follow-up interview. It's set for this Thursday. I did a happy dance and then, about two hours after that call, another place I sent an application to called They wanted to set an appointment for an interview this Friday. It isn't in the journalism field but at least it seems that I'm no longer persona non grata to employers.

And that's about it. Now get on over to Sprocket if you haven't already.