May 2008

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« Who Will Kill all the Senior Citizens? | Main | Creative Question »

Comments

jerry w.

Well,
Last year at band camp......

Wait, stop me if you've heard this before......

F' it, I'm too far gone to get this right...

http://boskolives.wordpress.com/

p-daddy

***I HEAR DEAF PEOPLE***

Last year, I drove to from CT to new jersey with my son and pregnant wife.

We were all in a **fantastic** mood as wife-unit vomited every half mile, cursing me all the way.

Got to the hotel (can't remember the name) at 11PM. The people milling about outside of the lobby were smoking, but they seemed vaguely retarded (I'm not trying to be rude here--it's just a vibe I was getting).

Check-in? No problem. room? 2nd floor from the top. Signs in the lobby? "Please pardon our appearance while we remodel"

They neglected to inform us, however, that 'remodeling' meant using JACKHAMMERS on the *TOP* floor (yes at 11 PM). At 11.30 I went up and confronted one of the workers. He said, "we're stopping right now."

"you're goddamned right you are"

I call front desk to complain and make sure they won't be starting up again any time soon. I'm reassured by front desk that they won't start until 9AM tomorrow.

3 AM - 4 AM: Strange noises from people outside in the hallway. it sounds like screaming and 'whale noises', interspersed with laughter and slamming doors. Are the retarded people all on our floor, too?? WTF?

I poke my head out the door and see several presumably retarded people in the hallway. I (calmly) try to ask them to go to their rooms. They stare at me blankly.

7AM. JACKHAMMERS...this time with *feeling*
7.30 AM, some crazy bastard is going door to door on our hallway BANGING (and I MEAN *WAKE-THE-DEAD BANGING*) on door after door after door, emitting the same crazy shrieks and "whale-noises" that we heard at 3AM. Don't these people have chaperones?

8 AM: more door slamming and whale-noises.

8.15 AM: I go down to the lobby to complain that we got virtually *no* sleep. I find empty beer bottles strewn near the elevator bank on my floor. The retarded people were drinking?

Then I see the banner, a large yellow rectangle, proclaiming: "Welcome to New Brunswick!, Eastern Association of Deaf Bowlers."

then it all made sense. the whale-noises, beer bottles, smoking, door slamming. deaf people (especially ones that are hung-over) don't hear hotel wake-up calls so you have to wake them up by banging repeatedly on their doors.

explained everything--except those frickin' jackhammers.


http://www.eadbowl.com/

DWH

As I read about your calendar/painters example I saw,in this empty head o' mine,pandemonium occur when 20 different painting outfits show up to paint your house.By the end of the day, your home is 20 different colors and you have to remove a few dead painters.On the bright side, it didn't cost a thing to get a coat of paint on your home!

Al

I think the phenomenon you're finding is that many of us may have good stories, but can't think them up when put on the spot.

Matthew Kovich

"fuck you, commie"

LOL

Matthew Kovich

"fuck you, commie"

LOL

Matthew Kovich

Hmm... I use Google Calendar...


They should probably buy the person who owns the patent, and then implement it into GoogleCal.


Which would also be their first step into their next logical business venture - buying people.

patricia

When I was about a year old, we lived in a very poor part of town (in El Salvador). On the corner, much to my father's dismay, was a whorehouse. The ladies, having found out that my mother was a seamstress, would sometimes come to her to have her fix or sew them clothes. My father didn't care for this and specifically asked my mother to stop doing that. Well, as I said, times were tough and money had to be made so my mother did all the sewing while he was away at work. One time, one of the ladies didn't have enough to pay my mother for the dress she'd commissioned, so my mother kept the material that was left over as partial payment. (The material was pretty distinctive, lime green with Warhol-esque images of a woman on it. ) From that she made me a little pants and blouse set.

Everything was fine until the day my father saw a girl standing on the streetcorner wearing a lime green dress. My father stormed into the house demanding to know why his 6-month old daughter was dressed like a hooker!

Sounds kind of dry in this quick telling, but believe me, I get a lot of requests for the baby hooker pants story. :D

Ralph Woods

Melanie, I'm sure it was a joke (the 'commie' is what tipped me off).

Scott probably thought I was criticizing him for filing a patent simply to sit on his ass and sue people who executed the idea, most likely because of how I composed my comment (saying 'shame on you' right after I mentioned this case).

To me it felt like a minor misunderstanding, nothing "I'm not your fan anymore" serious. If anything, now I have my best story ever - Scott Adams himself said "fuck you" to me!

JR

The patent office rejects most applications, but that's not the end of the story. A good patent attorney really earns his/her fees when the negotiation with the patent examiners begins.

It's a lot like getting a "no" from your parents when you were a kid. You saw it then as just their opening position, and you had a million reasons why they should change their answer to "yes." So it is with the patent office.

Your patent attorney probably gave up way too easily, Scott. And if they didn't, you may need a better attorney.

Andrew Denny

Here's one of my stories:

As a kid I always had trouble with knots. I could never knot my school necktie properly like I was told; it never looked good. I was picked on by the teachers (it was a private school where tying your tie was an important part of the curriculum).

So I invented my own, and I thought it looked good, and I was happy, and my teachers didn't notice it was actually better than theirs. I wasn't a conventional knotter, but I *was* a critic and an aesthete. This was, ooh, back in the early 1960s.

Then, over 20 years later, about 1989, the papers were full of a 'new' tie knot, recently invented by some guy called Pratt, and popularised by a TV presenter, and called the 'Pratt' or 'Shelby' Knot (depending on whether inventors or TV presenters are more important).

And they said how it was the greatest advance in knot tying since rope was invented.

And I looked at the instructions in all the papers for tying this knot, and IT WAS MY KNOT! My very own knot, the one I invented myself because my teachers gave me such a hard time for my scruffiness in class!

I wonder who thought of gravity before Newton, who thought of the steam engine before Watt, who had the idea for evolution before Darwin, who invented the Internet before Al Gore?

Wish I'd met a patent lawyer in a gym or something, but when I was a kid, the idea that you went to the gym for fun was laughable. Which is a form of fun too, I guess.

Mark Thorson

I suppose one of my better
stories is THE DAY EVERYTHING
WENT WRONG.

It started well enough.
I took a friend of mine to the
boardwalk in Santa Cruz and
she got the idea of renting
a crab trap and trying to
catch a crab.

It was very windy that day,
and in trying to get some
money out of my pocket to pay
the rental fee, a $20 bill
came out (I never use a
wallet.) and the wind
immediately caught it and
it landed on the boardwalk.
I chased after it, but the
next gust took it way out
over the water. Although I
momentarily considered jumping
in after it, it definitely was
not worth $20 to do that.

We set out the trap, and
after a while pulled it up
and we had caught a crab!
We had brought along a bucket,
and I reasoned we should put
some seawater in the bucket
to keep the crab alive until
we could get home and cook it.

There were places along the
boardwalk where stairs led
down to the water, for boat
landings. I went down one,
and as I leaned over to scoop
up some water into the bucket
with the crab, my car keys
fell out of my shirt pocket
into the water. In the
ensuing shock, I somehow also
allowed the crab to escape.

I had to call a locksmith to
come out and make a new key
for the car. So far, I've
lost $20, a crab, and the
cost of making a new car key.
But the day isn't over!

I take her home, and somehow
fumbling around with the new
key, it ended up on the
dashboard and fell down one
of the slots at the front of
the dashboard where the warm
air comes out to defog the
windshield. In that model of
Toyota, there was nothing to
prevent that from happening
and no way to get anything
back that fell in there.

I called my Dad, who was the
original owner of the car,
and he brought over the spare
key. And that was the last
thing I remember from that
day.

Andrew Denny

Here's one of my stories:

As a kid I always had trouble with knots. I could never knot my school necktie properly like I was told; it never looked good. I was picked on by the teachers (it was a private school where tying your tie was an important part of the curriculum).

So I invented my own, and I thought it looked good, and I was happy, and my teachers didn't notice it was actually better than theirs. I wasn't a conventional knotter, but I *was* a critic and an aesthete. This was, ooh, back in the early 1960s.

Then, over 20 years later, about 1989, the papers were full of a 'new' tie knot, recently invented by some guy called Pratt, and popularised by a TV presenter, and called the 'Pratt' or 'Shelby' Knot (depending on whether inventors or TV presenters are more important).

And they said how it was the greatest advance in knot tying since rope was invented.

And I looked at the instructions in all the papers for tying this knot, and IT WAS MY KNOT! My very own knot, the one I invented myself because my teachers gave me such a hard time for my scruffiness in class!

I wonder who thought of gravity before Newton, who thought of the steam engine before Watt, who had the idea for evolution before Darwin, who invented the Internet before Al Gore?

Wish I'd met a patent lawyer in a gym or something, but when I was a kid, the idea that you went to the gym for fun was laughable. Which is a form of fun too, I guess.

concatenator

(OK, Johnson you got it)
That wasn't a very good story, Scott.

Everyone's full of stories, but most of us think they're not very good. So we don't spill them. (Or we do now, on our boring blogs).

Some think everything they have to say is interesting. It's not.You might be among the few who actually are interesting more times than not. Or not.

Either way, no pain no gain. I say, tell your stories, and let someone else call your bluff about being interesting.

Con-Cat-Enator

CanadianBoy

Beyond that I have half of this condition. I have funny stories, but no endings to them. This results in me being reviled since I wind people up and then quit before the good stuff.

PS: I'm confused, why is the communist the one who thinks there shouldn't be government involvement in business?

Ken Ryan

OK, I don't consider myself a particularly good storyteller, but I'll throw one out and see what happens...

A bit less than two years ago, for our anniversary night out, my wife signed us up for a lecture and tour at the NTSB Training Academy in Ashburn, VA. The subject was the reconstruction and analysis of the TWA800 crash (the 747 that broke up and crashed into the sea off the coast of Long Island).

The lecture was fascinating, as the lecturer (the lead metallurgist on the investigation) walked us through the sequence of events, how they identified and reassembled all the bits of airplane, how they analyzed the breakup sequence, and determined where the originating event occurred. The level of detail they were able to deduce was amazing.

He then took us to their hangar (garage?). In there is an assortment of wrecked vehicles - smashed boats, jetskis, and the star exhibit, a 90-foot section of the TWA800 fuselage, reconstructed on a mesh frame. It was incredible - you can clearly see how the breakup sequence could be identified - the characteristic tears and distortions of pieces that tore off in the slipstream, pieces that burned, pieces that hit the water more or less intact and so on. The center fuel talk was open on one side so you can clearly see where the wingspars sheared, rotated, and impacted the next spar. I spent quite a while examining all the areas, contemplating the sequence of the breakup from the initial conflagration in the center compartment of the fuel tank to the separation of the nose section to the two segments of the aircraft impacting the sea.

Then I saw something which instantly shifted my attention to the "big picture" - they had reinstalled several ranks of passenger seats. Many of those seats were distorted and most were blackened from the smoke and heat. All looked hauntingly mournful in the cavernous, blackened interior of the fuselage.

I spent the rest of the time thinking about the passengers on that flight - the pain of injuries, fire and the wind blast, and the sheer terror they must have felt as they plunged earthward with no hope of survival. It was a very, very moving experience, one that will stay with me for the rest of my days.

As an engineer working in the aerospace field, it also put a rather different perspective on the array of safety and certification requirements we spend such a large fraction of our time wading through...

George guy

Well, once I lost my wallet in St. Louis on my way to a convention, which was just a couple weeks ago. I freaked out for all of five minutes before I deduced that I must have left it on the hotel's airport shuttle van, because I remembered taking it out to tip the driver. I notified the front desk, and as soon as the van came back, they retrieved my wallet and it was unspoiled. Much gratitude was tossed around.

Andy Ihnatko

When a friend of mine from the Midwest was visiting New England and she wanted me to take her on a road trip so she could see all kinds of stereotypically New England things, I was pretty damned pleased. Among many other things, she wanted to walk through a forest and she wanted to eat at a diner, so it was a perfect opportunity to revisit the Chelsea Royal Diner in Brattleboro, Vermont.

It's an authentic Worcester diner with fan-TAS-tic food, including a chunky tomato soup that's worth driving two hours for. Which is handy, because that's how long it takes to go from Boston to Vermont. You get there by driving the two short legs of a right triangle. You can't take the hypotenuse unless you're driving a Bradley tank or perhaps driving drunk in an Escalade.

I'd only eaten at the Chelsea once before, a couple of years earlier, during a previous road trip with a different pal. He's the president of a small software company that makes a text editor for Mac software developers. Not Microsoft by any means, but he does okay.

We arrived in Brattleboro just in time for dinner and were seated in the "old" part of the diner. I'd just been served my bowl of tomato soup when I was distracted by something in a booth a few yards away.

It was the exact same booth that I'd sat in with the president of the software company during my previous visit.

Up until a few years before, every purchaser of the text editor got a free tee shirt with the product's logo on it. Yup...the booth's current occupant was wearing one.

Rebel

I have what is at least a fun story for me to tell, if not a "Good Story". I meant to post this the other day and never got around to it. But, now that you are practically begging...

When I was 17 my best friend asked if I wanted to go to Hawaii for the summer between our junior and senior year in high school. His grandparents lived there and would "rent" us a room for the summer. Somehow I managed to convince my parents that this would be an ideal learning experience for me, and they let me go.

Two weeks into the summer, rent money was gone and we had to get jobs. So, my friend, who was always more ambitious than I, found a job working as a telemarketer in a high-rise in downtown Honolulu. I kind of figured that his grandparents wouldn't really kick us out for not paying, and I was dead wrong on that point. So, before long, my friend had arranged the same position for me after I had bombed on my own.

We went to work everyday, and called people about life insurance. In the evenings we got to hang out at Waikiki beach. I know what you are thinking...that's better than the summers most kids were having back in Kansas. But, to me, it was a travesty.

It was, at least, not what I was expecting, until one day we notice the absolute most gorgeous girl working as a secretary for some other business on our floor. For about two weeks we made excuses to walk around our floor just to catch a glance. Now, I know what you are thinking. Two seventeen year old boys would think just about any thing with two legs and female was hot, but I am not kidding you, she was Playboy material without need of a negative touch up.

As it turned out, I was still lazy for the most part, and I would go down to the lobby where they had sofas about every five feet, and I would sleep over my lunch break. (I hope I didn't snore back then, but I am not certain.)

A few days later I am sleeping on a sofa in the lobby when this beautiful secretary wakes me up and asks me if she can sit down on my sofa. I knew I was dreaming, but I wanted to see where it would go. I said sure, and I kind of sat up, rubbing my eyes.

She starts a conversation, and I have no idea what it was about. All I could do was stare. Eventually I heard her ask if I would like to go to lunch with her tomorrow. How could I turn down such a sweet offer...well, she had just woke me up...but I agreed anyway.

We go to lunch the next day and we talk, and I am pretty sure I lied about my age, which was dumb, but you know. Turns out she was 21 and was working in the building but was a budding model/actress and had done a few television commercials. (I told you she was gorgeous...more proof comes later.)

On the way back to our offices, she asks me if I would like to go to the drive-in with her on Friday. Count me in. On the elevator flight up, the last person gets off, and it is just the two of us for a few more floors and she comes over to me and kisses me. It was tremendous. She smiled at me and I knew it was going to be a great movie on Friday.

We see Rambo II at the drive-in, although I didn't get to really pay attention to the plot twists. The sexy secretary was letting me kiss her all I wanted, and it was all I could do to contain myself. We didn't have sex at the drive-in, but she did invite me to stay at her house overnight for our next date, a few weeks later.

Then, tragedy struck. My best friend's grandfather had a heart attack. My best friend's parents bought round-trip tickets so they could take care of him and his grandmother. They arrived, and promptly sent our asses home on their return flight, and planned to use our return trip tickets a month later.

ARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!!! You have got to be kidding me? I have to leave? But, I have a date with, well, you don't understand, but she is the most amazing female alive, and I have to leave? FUCK NO!

So, I am back in Kansas four days later and I am one sad sack, moping around the house, pissed at the irony of it all. I write her a letter and explain that I lied about my age and I would understand if she never even wrote back.

Late September rolls around, and I am still moping, when a letter arrives postmarked from Honolulu, HI. I am anxious as I shred the envelope. Here is what she says, among other things:

They filmed an episode of Magnum PI in our building the other day. I got to meet Tom Selleck and he asked me out! No way! (That fucker! I knew there was a reason I didn't watch that show!)

The good news was she did forgive me for lying about my age. In fact, she knew I had been anyway, and didn't care.

Several months pass and I am almost through with my senior year when I get another letter from her: "Tom and I dated for about six months. He is a nice guy and all, but it just didn't work out. Oh well."

Tom Selleck has to go after MY sloppy seconds! Maybe I'll check out an episode or two of Magnum, just to try to see my old office stomping grounds in the background.

Of course, I haven't heard from her or seen her since, but that is one of my good stories.

Melanie

Scott,
Your side comment to Ralph Woods was uncalled for. I used to be a big fan of yours, but now I feel the need to seriously rethink my patronage.

JD

"Usually I’ll remember some seed of the joke – a key word or concept, and I can reproduce the rest of it by understanding how jokes are constructed."

Okay, the punch line is:
Lady, if he's that far in, there's nothing I can do.

Or, if you already know that one, how about:
LAWYER: OK, now what?

Have a nice laugh!

Randy

One of my favorite stories ... about stories....

I used to work with a very engaging Scot named Ramsay. There are people in my company who know "Ramsay Stories" and have never even met him. Well, I know and like this guy like a brother and I'll tell you one of my favorites.

One night after work, Ramsay and I went out to a local bar for a beer. Ramsay ordered a Stella Artois and I had a Bass. After a few rounds, we decided the next would be our last (again) so Ramsay asked for another Stella. The waitress said they were out.

"Out?" asked Ramsay incredulously, "How could you run out of Stella?"

I suggested that we could always go to the bar across the street, to which Ramsay called the waitress over and said ... "Be a dear love and run over to the bar across the street and get me a Stella...I'll give you $80 for it."

Before I could talk him out of it, the waitress left and within about 5 minutes returned with a Stella. When I pointed out to Ramsay that paying $80 for a Stella was just about the dumbest thing I'd ever seen him do, he said:

"Randy, I spent five for the Stella, and $75 for a good story!"

dislyxec

I used to think I didn't have any stories until I started blogging. It seems, the problem is that I never remember any stories. Writing about them seems to help me remember them.

I prefer to focus on the 90% lucky timing part. Effort just leads to inevitable frustration.

Kohana

My problem is that I have plenty of stories. Long, winding, boring stories that I don't wish to thrust upon anyone. Then, because of that, any good stories I have get quickly glossed over so we can move on...

Huh. It looks like I figured something out about myself... I wonder how I can figure out which are the good ones.

KD

I think having a good story requires 3 things. The first is being lucky (or unlucky) enough to have something interesting happen to you. For example I know someone who has a bit of bad luck and thus has a number of stories like the time the person got a broken leg, back-stabbing coworkers, vendors getting into brawls, a coworker who has children as bad as PHB's secretary's, and that sort of thing. The second thing is being able to recognize it at a good story to tell to other people. You might have some good stories that would be good to you, but not the sort of thing others might want to hear or you just might be bad at recognizing them. The final thing is some ability to convey it in a way other people find interesting. If you have this great story and in the first telling to two you get a blah reception, you might not keep it on your good story list.


Scott, I also know what you mean about the patent thing. I forget the idea I had at the time, but once or twice I remember thinking that such and such would be a good idea and then six months later some company had come out with it. I guess the best way to get a patent these days is to try and come up with a bunch of random ideas that are plausibily useful and hope one of them sticks. But anyways that was kind of cool you met a guy with a similar idea at your gym.

@Texas Toast: in retrospect the television was probably one of the most obvious patents there was... a cross between radio and movies, yet there was a race to get it into the patent office. Then again there are a lot of things that seem obvious once you spell them out, but if you are the first to claim the idea, the system rewards you for initiave. So maybe something obvious just means there's no excuse for someone to have gotten a patent on it and as the other guy, you can only hope he's willing to license it at a reasonable fee if you need to use it somehow.

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