Monday, May 30, 2016

Quiz Of The Day

Question #1: What is Bill's wife's name?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Apparently if you're born with a tiny penis the obstetrician says you're a girl.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Spot The Grammatical Error

I'm a soldier. And as a soldier, I will not leave my bunkmate's behind.

Monday, May 16, 2016

My Superpower

Recently I've been really depressed because it seemed like all my friends were better than me. They had more money. They had boyfriends. Not only were they nicer and more attractive, but they also seemed to have more to offer the world. It was like each had their own superpower drawing a thick black line between them and regular folks.

Never was it more apparent than on last Saturday night. My friends Emma, Damien, Charlotte and I were in a cab on the Upper East Side when suddenly we saw a man dressed all in black running down the street holding a huge duffle bag in one hand and a sparkly jacket in the other.

Emma knew everything about New York, and a bolt of inspiration flashed through her eyes. "That building is the Belgian Embassy. But it's always closed at this hour!"

Damien knew everything about current events. "The Belgian Ambassador is in town trying to get America's assistance in fighting a fringe insurgent group. He's having a small party tonight to try to drum up American support."

Charlotte knew everything about fashion. "That jacket he's holding is a one-of-a-kind Rosie Assoulin for Lanvin, and it belongs to Heidi Klum. She'd never part with it, because it really flatters her rather unremarkable figure. He must be a thief! I'll bet he's tied up all the party guests and robbed them!"

Emma's hands flew up to her face. "We've got to do something!" she cried.

Naturally I felt left out, because everybody else had just demonstrated an amazing skill while I was in the back seat and could barely move my legs. I was a lump of mud next to these people! I was just a ridiculously tall geek with spiky hair.

"We have to do something," Damien said. "If only there was some way to attract the attention of nearby police."

"Roman," Charlotte gasped, "you're ridiculously, insanely tall. Crowds form when you try on shoes. Children cry when you try to dance. Anderson Cooper appeared out of nowhere the last time you tried to exercise. You can do it! Stand in front of the building and flail about madly. Every cop within eighty miles will investigate. YOU CAN DO IT, ROMAN HANS!"

I can do it, I thought. In one motion I swung the cab door open and raced to the sidewalk. I took a deep breath and held it. Summoning the spirit of the wind I felt my body slowly inflate, from my toes to the top of my head. My posture straightened as it filled my torso, and as it spread into my arms they floated weightlessly into the air. As its power strengthened, my movements transformed from rhythmic and smooth to sharp and wildly spasmodic. Within seconds it had turned into a tornado that was barreling through my body, holding me bolt upright but whipping me to and fro, my every movement utterly out of control.

One car stopped, then another. It was working! Traffic came to a standstill. Still madly flapping, I glowed with pride, and I realized an important lesson. We've all got talents, talents that are unique to us. That's indisputable. The challenge lies in recognizing these talents, accepting them, and exploiting them for good.

Within seconds Charlotte's words came true, and a police car pulled up to the building.

The first policeman's jaw dropped open. "What the fuck is that?" he said.

The second policeman shrugged. "Beats me, maybe a new tire store opened?" he said, and they drove away.


Friday, May 13, 2016

The HP Envy 5530/5535 Wireless Printer Is A Massive Piece Of Shit

I knew I was screwed when I opened the box. I'd ordered the HP Envy 5530 on Amazon because I knew it'd work with my ancient Mac. But here, in big, bold print, it said HP ENVY 5535. I called the sender, Dave Electronics, and they didn't reply. Waited a day and emailed. "It's the same as the 5530," they replied (best as I remember). "Google it."

I did. There were different stories, as usual online: one model was sold by retailers, while the other was sold by HP. Or maybe one included a USB cable. What I didn't need to Google, though, was the fact that the one they'd sent me was ten dollars cheaper than the one I'd bought.

I couldn't decide whether to keep it or not until I had over a hundred things I needed to print. All of a sudden, ten dollars wasn't that important. I unpacked it and installed the software and of course it didn't work.

I called HP. Even over the phone line I could hear the tech guy's surprise-. "You ... used the DISK to install the software?" he asked incredulously. It was the tone you use to ask someone why they made a mobile for their toddler out of discarded plastic bags.

"I did," I said. "Because it said to, you know. IN THE INSTRUCTIONS."

"Oh," he said. "Well, maybe it'll be okay. You have an old computer and an old operating system and it's an old printer so maybe the old software will be okay."

His confidence was inspiring. I knew I should have downloaded more recent software, but I'd been at this for over an hour and I was sick of it. He thought it would be okay so I thought it would be okay.

And it was, for three days. Then, suddenly, the printer couldn't find the new network he'd set up. When I tried to connect it, it said the password was wrong. I called HP back.

"The security is too tight on your network," another tech guy said. "Call Time Warner Cable and have them change the security on your network from WPA to WEP."

This was Greek to me, but I did as instructed. And the Time Warner Cable guy actually laughed at me. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," he said. "There have been huge strides made in network security over the past ten years. And you want to erase all that progress and let anybody WALKING PAST YOUR HOUSE WITH AN ABACUS to get access to all of your files?"

He tried to connect the printer to the router over a WPS network (still Greek), which the printer claimed to support. Still no luck. "It's a hardware problem," he declared. "That printer is never going to work."

I called HP back. "I'll escalate this," another tech guy said. "Someone will call you back within 24 to 48 hours."

As a workaround, he said, connect the printer to the computer via a USB cable. Easy. Now I could print! Unfortunately, though, all those cool features the printer boasted -- printing from my tablet, printing from my cellphone, emailing to the printer, having HP monitor my ink and automatically send new cartridges -- wouldn't work.

Still, I printed, and printed. And then I woke up this morning, submitted something to the print queue, and waited. It didn't print.

My new HP Envy 5535 wireless printer. Didn't print. Over a wire.

Another HP techie, this one a woman, told me that sometimes you need to disconnect and then reconnect the USB cable. It didn't surprise me: I'd already come to the conclusion that the software was written by a small red squirrel. I disconnected, and when I reconnected I saw something I'd never seen before in thirty years of owning Macs. The screen started darkening from the top, like a curtain coming down, and fourteen warning lines said the same thing in fourteen languages. "It takes a lot to kill a Mac," they said, essentially. "But buddy, you did it!"

I told the HP tech about this and she didn't seem bothered. Why should she be? She had helpful computer support. "Why didn't anybody call me within 48 hours?" I asked while waiting for my Mac to reboot.

"Why would they call you?" she replied. "They don't know what the problem is."

Helpful note to HP: include a disclaimer in the small print. "If you don't hear back from us, it means, 'Man, we're stumped!'"

She offered to escalate the problem to management offices. Great, I thought. This printer has been escalated so high up I'm surprised we can still see it from earth.

HP never replied, and never gave a real answer to my tweets. Slowly I came to the realization that they didn't have to, because they'd win either way. They could send me a moldy acorn squash in lieu of a printer, and what could I do? It's the "As Seen On TV" strategy: You can send absolute crap to people and, while some will complain and return it, some will throw it in the closet and shut up. Me, I'd return it! I'd show them! I'd send them back their piece of shit.

I went to Amazon's website and submitted a refund request, then jammed the printer back in the box. I stuffed in the disk and the manual and then taped it up. Now all I needed to do is print up postage.

That rang a bell. Wait just a second, I thought.

Monday, May 9, 2016

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

We would like to introduce you to the Kawaii Cat Cafe.

Currently there are three Kawaii Cat Cafe locations: our flagship location in Akihabara, our newer branch in Oeno on the top floor of the Tokyu Hands department store, and our latest branch in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

In Japan, cats provide relaxing companionship in what may otherwise be a stressful and lonesome urban life. They are appreciated as beautiful, strange, exotic and amazing creatures that are often living works of art. With the opening of our Brooklyn branch, however, we have been very careful to appreciate and respect the differing local attitude toward our feline friends. All the residents there are rescue cats up for adoption, and will serve as ample proof that you occasionally think about something other than yourself.

In our Akihabara location, for instance, you may meet Nichi-Nichi, of the rare Kurilian Bobtail breed developed naturally in a remote archipelago claimed by both Russia and Japan. Easily identifiable by his platinum fur and unique “pom-pom” tail, Nichi-Nichi is an independent, gentle and highly intelligent cat. He loves affection but be careful: there are just two other Kurilian Bobtails in the world, and she is conservatively valued at half a million dollars.

One of the most popular Brooklyn residents is Mikey, a fourteen-year-old tabby-gingham mix. Mikey had a hard life on the streets. He's been attacked by dogs, pigeons, rats, raccoons and seagulls. He has a nice disposition despite the fact his fur is mangy, his tail is bent, and half of one ear is missing. Mikey loves to lie around, with an occasional break to sleep, and children are frequently surprised by how many mice or feathers they can dangle in front of him without getting so much as a blink. Give him a treat but be patient: it may take him nine or ten minutes to notice that you are holding something, and then three more to focus his eyes on your hand. Some people say that he has wonky eyes but we just think he appreciates both our haircut and our shoes.

In our Oeno location, you may be lucky enough to encounter Prince Rajhoul II, a Serengeti Manx. This breathtaking breed was developed by scientists in 2012 and was bred in coastal Kenya to resemble wild African cats, particularly the leopard, which explains his thick fur and spots. Bring a camera and a snack, because you will want to spend some time with this active, graceful, and confident cat.

Back in Brooklyn, you might see our newest resident, Jingles. Jingles was rescued from a home with eight small children. Jingles likes hiding, sitting in dark places, and running wherever you aren't. He doesn't mind meeting new people in medium- to large-sized rooms when not meeting them is completely out of the question. If you'd like to pet him, ask the clerk if there are enough volunteers available and a corner where there is nothing that can break. Remember, shaking and trembling is his way of saying, "I love you!" but please don't approach him if there's an open window nearby.

At the Oeno Kawaii Cat Cafe you may also meet Minska. A cross between the Sphynx and the Munchkin, Minska has two most famous traits of both breeds — hairlessness and short stature. Minska is friendly, athletic, and, of course, small! Before you leave be sure to check your pockets to make sure Minchka doesn't accompany you home!

Back in Brooklyn, it's possible you'll encounter Necrophage. Necrophage was once a feral cat, so he's "streetwise." This means he's good at finding food, meeting colorful new companions, and holding his claws to your throat until you give him your car keys. Necrophage is free to be adopted due to a recent reversal by the appeals court, but make sure there are no children in your home or other things that might move or make noise. Necrophage's custom restraint and harness are dedicated to the memory of Brianne Martin, who was holding him when her cellphone rang.

We are sure you will enjoy your visit to any of the Kawaii Cat Cafes. Please check the website to plan your visit. Unless you are wealthy or famous you will never own a cat as fine as our Japanese residents, so reservations are often booked up months in advance. The Brooklyn location is easier to visit since those cats aren't quite so rare. Still, not everyone can find a junkyard, a cage, or a wire hoop attached to a stick.