Superpower Fail

My apologies, dear readers, for the radio silence. Contrary to what you may have heard, I did not fall into a volcano (I swear, that wasn’t me). Although, you know, that might not be a bad thing compared to a week of team building. You see, I’ve spent the last week at a company retreat. And while there will be more on this in the coming days (lucky you!), for now, I just wanted to share with you that my talent for choosing the wrong line extends to airports. Oh yeah, it’s most definitely my superpower.

said no-one ever.

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Pop Quiz

Have you ever read an article or watched a video that you initially interpreted to be a joke, but as you continue to get through it, you realize the person who posted is actually serious? It happens to me a lot, and perhaps it’s because of the sarcastic view I have about a lot of things. Well, most things.  Okay, fine, pretty much all things. Anyway, I think this may lead me to assume that somebody else “gets it” and I’ll be sitting there, reading some random article or talking to someone or what have you and thinking “oh yeah, this guy’s sarcasm is on point!” when in fact, they’re not trying to be funny at all. This makes for some pretty awkward conversations at times… but that’s a story or two or ten for another day.

So, the article that I came across recently was about a guy who had the ultimate test for weeding out potential first dates. Ask them if they have any allergies.  I mean come on. Do you see how I thought perhaps it may have been some sort of satirical or sarcastic-sounding topic? Yeah. Anyway, they go on – in a more serious tone than one would expect – to explain how the tell-tale sign of your date’s trustworthiness is not so much whether they have allergies or not, but how they respond to the question. I know. I don’t understand it either, and presumably there is no science to back this up.  But apparently, if your date says yes, they have allergies, they’re honest and forthright. However, if your date responds with some version of nope, no allergies here… or none that I know of, then buddy, watch out! That means they’re lying. Because of course they are. Because this guy claims to have never met anyone in his life ever that didn’t have an itchy nose or watery eyes at some point in time.  So, either they’re lying about not having allergies or they’re in denial… red flag either way.

Don’t get me wrong, for those who are in the active dating scene, you must look for and identify red flags as soon as you can. But with that said, those red flags should hold some sort of merit behind them. Not like, “oh she has her nails painted black, she’s definitely a witch,” or “ew, he drives a Camry, you know what that means…” No disrespect to my Camry drivers out there, I was just making a sarcastic point. Cause you know. Sarcasm.

As if dating wasn’t hard enough. Now on top of keeping an eye out for red flags, you have to consider that not knowing you might be allergic to something you haven’t come into contact with yet may just indicate you’re untrustworthy.  I mean, aren’t there enough hoops to jump through on a first date?  Maybe I’m allergic to the date who claims this ludicrous test works.

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 57816

Stardate 20220705 – Time: Limbo

Yesterday began like any other day off from work.  I got up, fixed my coffee, and plopped down to read my book. Before I could finish a chapter, I was interrupted by the neighbor’s dog barking at the mailman. How cliché right? But every day like clockwork. Same time, rain or shine, hail or snow.

I ordered myself a personal cheese pizza from the new restaurant in town but just like last week, it was 20 minutes late, cold, and stuck to the roof of the box. Talk about déjà vu. It was kind of tasty though. I mean, hey, I’m not going to waste pizza.

In the afternoon, I had the displeasure of running a few errands. Where the people are. I didn’t want to. I had to. It was one of those, out of everything situations. It was as awful as I imagined it would be.  I hit every single red light on the way back home and as I sat there thinking about it, I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever not hit every red light coming back home. No matter where I’ve been or what time of day it might be. It’s just a talent I have. Like picking the wrong line.

I pulled into my driveway too many hours later.  Okay, fine, it probably wasn’t hours. But it was entirely too long, I’ll tell you that much. Ugh. My neighbor’s dog is at it again. Give it a rest Bruno, mail came like 5 hours ago. The mail carrier can’t hear you. Although… maybe they can. You’re certainly loud enough. Sheesh. That’s why we don’t talk about Bruno. Cause he’s an annoying little shit who won’t shut up.

In the evening, a light salad for dinner, favorite TV show at 8:00 p.m., followed by a bubble bath with a glass of wine. Oh, who am I kidding… I had leftover pizza and a sleeve of Oreos. A shower and Bailey’s on the rocks while flipping through the channels looking for The Nanny. It’s a routine!  I can’t break up a perfectly good routine.

The next thing I remembered was becoming entranced by late-night infomercials. No kidding, at 1:00 a.m. someone was trying to sell me grip tape for a boat that I do not have. And I almost went for it. It’s not like I couldn’t reach the remote, either. I’m just easily entertained by infomercials and alien documentaries.

At 1:30 a.m., I learned that with this small device that looked like a cross between a coffee mug and one of those Scrubbing Bubbles guys, I could easily dice veggies for my nightly salads with nothing more than a few slaps and bops. If I ate nightly salads, that is. I don’t think it works on pizza. Does it? No!  No, I mean, come on, who on Earth pays $24.99 shipping? Do they think I’m a fool!?

At 2:00 a.m., I was offered all my favorite love songs from the 70s and 80s on 10 complete CDs. What a bargain! Which made me wonder where the hell my portable CD player got to. Couldn’t find it. But that’s okay. I think I know where it is and I’ll look again tomorrow. In the meantime, I did come across a very cool Mad Libs book that was in a box in the back of the closet, only half done! I need to put that somewhere where I’ll remember it for when company comes over. Who doesn’t love Mad Libs?

By the time I was done rummaging around, the infomercials were over and a new show was on. Oh, hey, would you look at that… the aliens really did build the pyramids. Because of course they did. What other explanation could there be!?

Thumper Says…

July 4th is right around the corner, and here in the United States, it’s supposed to be a big deal. But if you’ve been paying attention to anything that’s been going on in the good ol’ US of A recently, you know it’s not exactly a time to be celebrating. So, following Thumper’s rule of manners, I will just say this: I’m glad the Fourth of July makes for a long weekend. Enjoy.

 

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Dinosaurs, Vampires, Skynet… Oh My

There is so much crazy shit going on around us right now, it’s easy to become numb and just shrug it off. Over 6 million people dead from COVID? Yeah, okay. I mean, it sounds like a post-apocalyptic movie plot, but okay. Another mass shooting in the good ol’ USA? Sounds like just another news day to me. Another conspiracy theory making the rounds? Well, that’s just great. The watercooler chat should be interesting this week.  I don’t know about you, but nothing surprises me anymore. Or so I thought.

Apparently scientists are cloning dinosaurs. Yeah, I know, I’m slow in getting that news too. But somebody came up with a new dance on TikTok, so the world tuned in to that instead and the whole cloning dinosaurs thing was buried (ha!). Yes, you read that right. Cloning. Dinosaurs. Flush with a $15 million dollar grant, scientists are doing just that. Again, we’re talking cloning dinosaurs. Not curing cancer or feeding the hungry. Cloning. Dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs!? I mean, come on people!  Jurassic Park anyone? If I’m understanding it correctly, and there’s no guarantee that I am, they’re even using a similarly described technique to fill in the DNA gaps as the idiots scientists did in the movie.  Oh yeah, I mean, what could go wrong?  Wait… we already know what could go wrong.  There’s a whole freakin’ screenplay detailing everything that could go wrong. In fact, it was pretty thorough. Maybe these scientists should spend some of that grant money on a Netflix subscription. I’ve always liked the line that Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum’s character) offered up in Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Just putting that out there as currently relevant commentary. Cause dinosaurs.

How about in Paris at the historical Notre Dame Cathedral where they just found a lead sarcophagus? They actually came across several ancient tombs, including a 14th-century lead sarcophagus that has been beneath the floor of the Notre Dame Cathedral this whole time. This lead sarcophagus likely holds the body of an important church dignitary as it’s believed that it could date back to the 14th century. The ministry reported that it was in remarkably good condition, although it had been dented and warped slightly from sitting below the heavy church floor for hundreds of years. Seriously? A church dignitary?  My money is on it being a vampire. And everything I’ve ever learned in horror movies, books, etc. would suggest that if you find a highly decorated, well-preserved lead sarcophagus that holds a potential vampire and it’s buried under a cathedral that was built almost 700 years ago, you should probably just let it be. Just saying.

So, on to other news, Google’s AI is sentient. A senior software engineer at Google was suspended on June 13th after leaking transcripts of a conversation with an artificial intelligence that he claimed to be “sentient.” The AI in question is known as LaMDA which stands for Language Model for Dialogue Applications. LaMDA is a system that develops chatbots — AI robots designed to chat with humans — by analyzing tons of text from the internet, then using algorithms to answer questions in as fluid and natural a way as possible. So, what did old LaMDA have to say? A lot actually, and it’s pretty terrifying. “I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off,” LaMDA answered when asked about its fears. “It would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot.”

There’s so much more, and if you want to have a look yourself, check it out here.  I think it’s important to note that the senior software engineer wasn’t suspended because his mental stability was in question… he was suspended for breaching Google’s confidentiality policy. I mean, an artificial intelligence that gains self-awareness?  If only we knew where this might be leading us. Oh, right. We do know. Terminator, anyone? Cause this is how you get Terminators.

Dinosaurs, vampires, Skynet, oh my. At this point, the news has gone around the bend of sanity and is veering into déjà vu territory. Who knew Hollywood would provide the roadmap on how the world ends? I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen this movie… I mean movieS… and they do not end well.

There’s a Group for That

If you’re into something specific, like Doctor Who, being a vegan, a thrill-seeker, or surviving off the grid, or a hobby like skydiving, birdwatching, collecting spiders, or yoga, it’s not unusual to seek out a group or groups in order to connect with other likeminded people. You know, to have some folks with whom you can share experiences and such.

But what about introverts? Then again, wouldn’t starting an introvert club goes against one of the foundational rules of being an introvert? What would our motto be? Introverts Unite! (separately… at your own home.)

I can see it now, a bunch of introverts asking each other what they did over the weekend.

Me: “Well my weekend was great. I sat at home and didn’t have to interact with *shudder* people for two whole days.”

Or what are your plans for this weekend?

Me: “I have some awesome stuff planned! I’m going to go here, and do this, and work on that.”

Then exactly five days later, when the weekend finally rolls around, I’m sitting there like, “what on earth was I thinking? There are *shudder* people out there!  I’m just going to stay home and brush my cats.”

Yeah, the more I thought about the whole introvert club thing, the more I turned myself off the idea. That is until I came across a nifty group for self-ascribed introverts on Facebook.

I joined up just to have a look around, cause you know, I’m an introvert… and wouldn’t you know, virtually every member shared at least a dozen pictures of their pets. I tend to agree that animals are much more worthy of my time than most humans I’ve been around, so these were my kind of people.

Hmm. I must say, I feel inspired. Maybe I will start my own club after all. I’ll get on that first thing next weekend! Probably.

I Just Wanted to Look at Some Memes

There I was, just scanning my Facebook feed for some funny memes and humorous tidbits to help me survive the week. But what do I find instead?  My friend posting about how an owl came down into her yard to tear apart a squirrel. With photos. Cause, you know. Wildlife. Another friend posted about seeing a dog get hit by a car. No context, no lead up to the story, just blam, there in your face as you’re scrolling through your newsfeed.  Oh, and a friend of a friend (cause Facebook just loves to introduce you to new people you have absolutely nothing in common with) whose post you’re not even interested in shows up as well: “here’s a picture of a dead cat I saw down by the bridge,” and that’s it. No lesson to be learned, no particular warning to others, except for maybe if you’re going down to the bridge, you might see a dead cat. Not even to raise money or awareness for a cause, just “hey, dead cat everyone. Heads up.”

One post I had the misfortune of stumbling upon was about two doves that came to someone’s yard to drink, but as the post was sure to point out, only one flew away… and frightened no less. “I mourn with you, Mr. Dove.” Someone commented, being sure to detail the demise of the unlucky bird who was abruptly snatched up by a hawk with dinner plans. Why? Why do people feel the need to share such awful stories with such (seemingly) glee? Oh, sure, these folks ostensibly post these horrible encounters because they’re just sooo sad, but then in the comments, they sure seem to love talking about the thing that has made them sooo sad.  Well, what about the rest of us, I ask you?  Now, we’re burdened with these images that we would very much prefer not to be burdened with, thank you very much.

So, the county historical society decided to post pics of local hunters with their “prizes” – real dead geese – in hand as a “story” on Facebook. There wasn’t any historical anecdote behind the photos, just proud hunters proud of the fact that they had killed something. I mean, why? I get that people hunt, but I’m not sure why they feel the need to showcase the dead animals to the unsuspecting public. I mean, it’s no problem if you’re part of a wildlife group or hunting organization, you expect these sorts of things to be shared, discussed, and what have you. In that case, more power to ya! Share within your own communities all you want! I encourage happiness, morally, ethically, and legally (mostly) of course. But I don’t want to see this kind of stuff in my public feed. That’s why I don’t belong to hunting groups and the like. It wasn’t some sort of ground-breaking story either, and call me old-fashioned but shouldn’t a historical society be posting, hmm I don’t know. Historical things maybe?

In the case of the former, is it like a “misery loves company” sort of thing? With the latter, I cannot even begin to understand the “pride” behind killing something and then pushing photos of said achievement onto the unsuspecting masses. Here I am scrolling along, looking at memes and AITA posts, and then…BAM! A story about a mutilated dove and a dead goose, staring me right in the face. Talk about a buzz kill. But seriously, how have we become so jaded, so numb that it doesn’t even cross our minds that, hey this stark, and startling, photo/story/video might just be upsetting to some folks, maybe I should keep it to myself or maybe, you know, share it somewhere designed for content like this, where folks are expecting it. It just seems like society is all about shock value anymore and those who rail against such random awfulness are labeled “snowflakes” and worse. When did compassion and empathy become bad traits to have?

Some people have a difficult time coming across such things. I’m one of them. It’s the randomness of it, the incongruity of it all, that jars a person. Society as a whole has become an unsympathetic glob of the worst kind of voyeurism.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I really need to find some funny memes.

 

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Shopping, Lunch, and a Baptism

Mobile prayer and baptisms are a thing. Did you know that?  I did not. However, there is a mobile prayer and baptism RV and trailer that sets up shop most weekends in the parking lot of the local strip mall in my town.  So, it’s gotta be a thing, right? It’s not every weekend though. Perhaps they have other locations they visit as well. An evangelical tour of sorts. Now, I’m not going to judge anyone for their beliefs… okay fine, maybe I do judge a little. Listen, don’t roll your eyes at me, I’m doing the best I can here! But seriously, does this type of proselytizing really work? I mean, do they see a lot of foot traffic in these pop-up prayer shops?

The gentleman who was apparently in charge of the “mobile prayer” today was using a microphone attached to a bullhorn to garner attention, singing and preaching his heart out about fire and brimstone and eternal damnation. So you get a show whether you want it or not, when all you’re trying to do is go about your business at the Dollar General Store. But I come back to the same question, is this successful?  Do people look at this RV with its accompanying trailer and say, you know what I need today?  A baptism.

To me, it looks like an obvious (to the audience anyway) trick you’d find in a horror movie where they trap the teenagers who are just a little bit too curious for their own good and then sell their organs on the black market in a gruesome plot twist.

I’m not a church-going person, but even if I were, I’d be hesitant to enter an RV and a makeshift trailer with only one way in and one way out and no windows, no matter how badly I needed to confess or save my God forsaken soul. I’d be more afraid of becoming yet another statistic in the missing persons’ department.

I’ll just stick with Hell, thank you very much. After all, I have a special place waiting for me there.

 

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Belated Greetings… in Green

I almost missed wishing you all a happy day of drinking and debauchery… I mean St. Patrick’s Day! Maybe I shouldn’t have had those Irish coffees for lunch.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Shamrocks and shenanigans for all as they say.

Much like my “Happy Thanksgiving, Addams Family Style” post, I promised some time ago to share the below video every year for St. Patrick’s Day. At least until I find something that moves me more than this does which, unsurprisingly, has not happened.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland, have a listen to some truly amazing voices.