Some Memes

At a client’s office waiting for test data. Nothing else to do. Brain to dead to write, so Reddit. Reddit to memes. Memes to “I want to make it”. “I want to make it” to I’ll make fun of my friends.

If you want the original files they’re here:

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Justin:  since panda didn’t help that much. but, a reply definitely doesn’t mean quality
I wonder how many posts are older than 2004 and have one or two replies
I should make a spreadsheet

Steve:  dust off the old excel chops

Justin:  I have no excel chops
I saw this guy on a conference call going balls deep on some spreadsheet.
It was awesome

Steve:  I don’t think any in history has been that excited about excel

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Writing Project – design your perfect house in words.

Duncan took me up to his place that weekend, and what a place. Sitting halfway up a forested hill was some sort of post-modern experiment in Japanese architecture. Large and white, from a distance it looked like a large set of stacked rectangles with sloped Japanese roofs.

Coming to the front door was an experience in itself. The stone walkway led you through a small oak-slat gate between perfect, whitewashed walls. There was no handle, or even a discernible hinge. Embedded in the wood was some sort of inductive circuit, which when my host held his wrist watch to the gate responded with an elegant “click” that released the magnetic lock and the door silently yielded with the force of a finger.

The gate opened to a traditional Japanese garden atrium of simple stone, ferns and bamboo. A small stream wound its way around the garden, running under the walkway from the gate. In the center of the atrium sat a comparatively plain set of wooden furniture. The house itself surrounded the entire atrium. On all sides, glass sliding doors opened onto the various rooms of the house. In front of us, the sliding doors were open directly to the kitchen, with the oak hardwood flooring one small step up from the garden. It appeared that some one had been a little over zealous with the stainless steal in the kitchen design, but it still had a warm feeling from the light that pored in from small, wide windows that ringed the entire room, high up near the ceiling.

Almost everything the house had the same lighting and flooring: slick, warm and sophisticated. The main bedroom differed slightly in that it was floored with tatami mats, and a low profile bed. The room also had the same sliding glass doors on both sides of the walls. When I first entered, the glass doors were totally opaque, but as my host slid his finger over an unseen panel in the wall, the glass became transparent, basking the room in light and the view of the atrium on the one side, and the pool and deck in the back.

Parts of the deck actually overlapped the swimming pool, and were spaced with glass panels for maximum effect. The steps to the pool started at the same level as the deck, and slowly descended to the bottom of the pool, which flowed off the side of some unseen barrier as if waterfalling into the wooded back yard.

“Not bad, eh” said Duncan as he grinned.

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Stroh Rum Search

My good friend Bergen sent me this – I cannot say how proud I am of this moment!

Stroh Rum

Stroh Rum Search

Thank you Google and Bergen!

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Sharia Law

Saying that Muslims should not be able to practice Sharia law is kind of the same is saying that a priest who hears a murder confession in the confessional should go to jail if they do not turn evidence. As a society, we seem to feel that it is reasonable for a priest to not report crimes because they are protected by some sort of confessional Hippocratic protection, which they don’t. The idea that we (read Tennessee), need to pass a law stating that it it illegal to practice Sharia is even more bizarre than passing a law saying that a layman (read priest) has some sort of legal status in the judicial system. How can you tell if someone is NOT eating bacon because they don’t like it or if they don’t want to break their religious laws.

The point is that our laws, the laws of the state, no matter how stupid they may be, supersede any other law. Passing a law to say that one type of law based on imaginary men in the sky is more illegal that another fiction-based system of law is so laughable that I’m surprised some of our legislators heads haven’t exploded due to an overdose of irony (which they probably think is similar to goldy or silvery.)

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Charlie Sheen Enlightened?

Why are we obsessed with Charlie Sheen?

Well I think the reason is that we, as human beings love to talk about other people; It is our favorite thing to do. We don’t actually talk about much else.. we gossip; when was last time you hung around with a group of your friends and didn’t talk about some detail about some friend that you knew mutually. Most celebrities are a of kind mutual friend that we all have in common. So when one of them explodes or goes catatonic, or does a 3 Mile Island then it’s something we can chat about, all relate to, and its something we can all talk about the same way we do with the weather or sports or who’s getting married. And it’s always the friend that that has the most problems and issues you most like to talk about.

But is he crazy? Well I’ve heard some very similar things come out of the mouths of folks who have become enlightened the easy way, that being the drug way. Considering the man’s lifestyle, I’d guess that things like “winning” and “getting it” and “knowing the truth” are actually right. Not that anyone other than a few would even understand what I’m talking about, but yeah, I think Charlie Sheen found enlightenment. What a good joke 🙂

Seriously dude, we’re F-18s bro, WAY better than Neon.

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Worst Websites Ever

I’m not going to hyperlink these, other wise if you get over zealous with the control-clicks, it’ll bring down your browser pretty quickly.

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Trip to South Africa, Part 10 – Herring and Kimchi

So Monday began better than most. Waking up to yet another selection of fruits and cereal for those who didn’t appreciate cheese and chutney sandwiches, and coffee for those hung over. I never thought that I would miss Ricoffee. My parents had instilled in me a type of distain for those who drank it; too lower class or not real coffee or something. But it tastes like old scouting camps and college, and goes really well with cheese and chutney. Then began the preparation for the first game the cousins would be joining us for.

Holland vs Denmark defiantly had that big game feeling, and although no one really knew anything about Danish football, we all felt like we did. Holland is somewhat of a weird third choice team in South Africa (at least for the cup that is). Amongst the whiteys, the English folk have the poms for their second and the Afrikaners the Freaky-Deaky-Dutch for theirs. Somewhere after that comes all the African countries, mainly because we were all told to support Africa. It’s weird actually, most people in South Africa have less to do with Ghana than they do France, but we were all clearly told by every right-minded TV personality or politician that it was the right-minded thing to do.

The game had a bit of a strange background story, as a week or so before, a bunch of nutters had been caught planing an attack on the stadium, seeing as some Danish newspaper cartoonists had drawn a picture of Muhammad (Praise be to him in a don’t-blow-my-ass-up kind of way) and had the audacity to publish it. It was fairly staggering that any religion (as bizarre and stupid as they all are) would be insane enough to consider attacking a legitimate form of peaceful worship that actually does the world some good. Jealousy makes you nasty I guess. Anyway, our travels were peaceful enough as we all sang “We all hate the French” on the bus to the game.

In fact getting to and from the game was much more memorable than the actual event. Holland won of course, but traveling with the Brian, Laurie, Jonno, Mike and Kerry made the whole thing seem like what the entire world should have been doing if we lived in a perfect universe. It was also our first experience of Soccer City, Soweto’s calabash shaped stadium which is shear magic. The thing is spectacular, and brilliantly designed. Not a bad seat in the house, brilliant crowd control and quite beautiful to boot. It’s only a pity that all the people there had to be bussed.

On leaving exiting the game, surrounded by mad Dutch fans, we were informed that the bus drivers who had so politely dropped us off in Soweto, had promptly gone on strike after their last passenger had “de-bussed”. This however allowed us to experience the general confusion and panic associated with thousands of South Africans who had never been on a train before added to the shear insane exuberance of thousands of train-enthusiastic, victorious, Heineken-drunk, mental-cases from the Netherlands. I am pretty sure that more than a few Dutch fans who woke up in Hilbrow in clogs and orange dresses with gigantic fake breasts and orange wigs, are still there now, terrifying the locals, being macheted, trying to explain that they are not, in fact, Afrikaners, and some who are still quite drunk.

Yet we survived. From train, to bus station, from bus station to Sandton, from Sandton we walked or waited for rides back to the house. All in all, five hours of travel for a 30 minute drive. We polished off the night with pizza, wine and song.

The next morning Rob started out with a mission: To find as much North Korean fan apparel as possible. Rob’s favorite dictator is Kim Jong-il, and seeing as they were going to be something like a billion to one that evening against Brazil, we all agreed to support the underdogs.

So I took the boys to the former “place-to-be” in Jo’burg, and my former stomping grounds, Sandton City. Yes, that’s right, the mall! My friend Charles had lovingly provided me with the administrative access for the mall’s wireless internet access and so I would finally be able to get in almost a full days work while the boys went shopping. Hopefully they would be able to find some small trinkets to take back home for memorabilia and gifts, and I might be able to save my company. Neither group was particularly successful, but Andrew found a lovely USA scarf and I had a delicious lunch.

Charles met us back at the Adams’ family (much worth has been wrung from that joke), to join us in the evening’s adventure. Charles is one of my oldest and oddest friends. I’m not sure if he realizes how funny he is, but Rob and Andrew were convinced that he was the best “straight-man” they’d ever met. I tried to explain that he is not that way on purpose, but they refused to believe that anyone could throw around so many half-witty, half-mad non sequiturs with a straight face and not be doing it with intent. Later they would come to understand that Charles is just a charmingly deranged individual who barely grips the fragile strings of sanity, while he daringly swings, successfully, between the complex oddities of his life. And he’s one of my best friends, so that doesn’t say much for him either.

The game was absolutely fantastic! The crowd was a sea of yellow and green and other than the “Official North Korean Fans” (who were paid Chinese actors with carefully choreographed chants), we were NOTICEABLY the only DPRK fans in the stadium of 75,000. And so, of course, we were a hit. At first there was some concern that our gesture would be misunderstood, but I think the irony was thick enough that even the thickest of the South American’s were able to grasp the gag. We had chants and songs and a scarf! We screamed and yelled and sung, completely entertaining the fans around us who were fighting off the cold. Man it was cold! We were in the top row of Ellis park, at night, in the middle of Johannesburg winter at night. That slow creeping cold that when you walk out of your door in the morning you say “Christ, what a nice day! I’m going to have a great day and wear a light jacket, and even skip a little!” Then you remember that it’s Johannesburg, so you throw your long-johns and Glock into you jacket pocket before you let your enthusiasm get you killed.

The good ol’ DPRK didn’t do too badly actually. A late goal meant that we had something real to celebrate. Apparently, the next day, the game was shown on a massive screen in some grand square in Pyongyang, but no score was broadcast and the Brazilian goals were edited out. I think it was also announced that North Korea had won the World Cup.

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Trip to South Africa, Part 9 – Boerewors and Beer

Sunday arrived the way Sundays should, late and smelling of coffee. I, as usual, got up first left my dozing companions for the comfort of the kitchen to breakfast with my aunt and uncle (even though I guess they’re cousin and cousin’s husband.) This became a truly enjoyable ritual during our stay in Jo’burg. We’d drink tea and chat about family, work and cheese and Mrs. Balls chutney.

Because our trip had not been particularly well planned, I had four tickets to each game and only three bodies to fill them. The idea was that I would be able to use these free seats as bribes for couch space or drinks and entertainment, or at the very least get some of my money back. Our first game had been too soon to organize a forth, but Brian had suggested his niece, Kerry, should come with us to the Netherlands v Sweden game on Monday. Seeing as I hadn’t seen Kerry in years and having a girl our age around sounded like a good idea for the local social scene, I gratuitously offered up the ticket I had nothing else to do with. Kerry, in her infinite wisdom and gratefulness, decided to thank us for her ticket by throwing us a braai (South African BBQ) and inviting some of her friends around. Rob got so excited about the possibility of “sexy time” that he had been doing a little weird jig where he would move his mid section side to side in an odd rotating motion as if he was trying to hula-hoop… badly.

Brian and Laurie have had a set of goal posts in their backyard for almost as long as I can remember. I know I didn’t become a reasonable goal keeper from school soccer (we play hockey and rugby in high school), nor was it from playing club football – I could already play by then – but standing in goal that morning with my sneakers (tackies) tied tight and my grandfather’s old leather gloves on, I realized that Jonno breaking my hands as a kid with his ridiculous left foot may have something to do with it. For god’s sake, the man was hung over, wore no shoes, had a beer in one hand and had injured his left foot so he was kicking with his right, and his shots still bent my my wrists. My jeans got covered in mud and grass stains, and I think I broke a pair of sun glasses, but god it was fun. I really miss that kind of stupid Sunday.

Jon, myself and the boys hit the local Spar (grocery store) to stock up on some needed supplies (read “more beer”) for the braai and got back with enough time to try and make ourselves look as good as three drunks who hadn’t shaved in 2 weeks could. Kerry arrived early to make potato salad and remind me that I had locked her in some sort of toy box when she was six or some such nonsense and that I am responsible for some of her deeper psychological problems. At least I’ve stayed consistent throughout my development. I helped out by pouring drinks and the boys helped with fires and table setups. When Kerry’s friends arrived, we all played adults sitting outside, drinking wine and chatting about our careers (well except for Andrew who is unemployed so can mainly only talk about dancing) and how great all our lives are, and where we plan to move to make them even greater.

I had completely forgotten about the Jo’burg Girl Attitude. Living in Florida for the last 10 years had fooled me into thinking that women wore shorts and flip-flops and where generally prepared to talk to anyone who would buy them a Corona Light or has air conditioning. I think that at one point in my life I had convinced myself that I liked the insane “challenge everything you say” and “I really care about what shoes you wear” or even “if you don’t drive a BMW I’m not going to give you the time of day” was something that I honestly liked in women. They were a challenge, something to aspire to be able to please. I don’t know if it’s the US or if I’m just getting old, but I don’t have one second left in me for that shit. The girls were entertaining however, and because of the attitudes, and the fact that they were kind of a captured audience, it was much easier to shock them with relatively tame comments.

The meal went extremely well all things considered. I got nice and blotto and the boys flirted with the girls and helped with the braai. Jon and I occasionally got sucked back into the soccer net, and sometimes the others would even join in. Rob, as it turns out, actually has a pretty good right foot on him – maybe next time he decides to lose some weight he should try out for the local footie club and not the RX methamphetamines.

I don’t know what it is about being a man that makes you feel like you should stand around a grill. It just makes you feel manly I guess. I’m a vegetarian, and my food was going to be heated up in the microwave, yet still I stood at the barbecue. Its the same with power tools or construction or whatever, if one guy sees another working on some concrete with a jackhammer he’ll just want to stand near it, even if he’s never seen a jackhammer in his life before.

“So, eh, what model is that?”

So a good time was had by all, great food, tons of wine and beer and even whiskey for dessert. When the good times were coming to a close, Kerry decided that we should all go out for a night on the town, so we all went down to the Jolly Rodger to watch Germany/Australia, and continued the drinking there until someone took us home.

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Trip to South Africa, Part 8 – Welcome to Johannesburg

The first sounds of the Vuvuzelas in the morning echoed in chorus with the baboons ranting in protest. I had almost forgotten that we were here for the World Cup. The baboons were so pissed off that they decided to raid one of our neighbors condo units, along with some monkey accomplices. They got in through an open back door and began running amok. We all sat and had a morning beer while watching the monkeys and baboons run out with pillows and dvd players and what looked like plastic fruit decorations. Primate Control showed up eventually with paintball guns and bad-ass attitudes and proceeded to end the show.

I called my uncle and got directions to Jo’burg through Hartbeespoort Dam so we could play with the curio vendors and get off the highway for a bit. We stopped off at an outdoor bar and had a great meal with cheeky waiters before hitting up some of the curio stores to look for gifty things.

Ahh, Johannesburg! Like no other city on the planet. Sure it’s my home city, so I’m probably biased, but there is no other place that quite has the feeling that Joey’s brings. Multi-cultural, pretentious, dangerous, beautiful, hideous and a lot of fun.

On the way back to Johannesburg, we started hitting traffic for the opening match of the Cup. People were losing their minds: dancing in the streets, blowing their horns (hooters) and generally displaying acts of football induced insanity. We finally arrived at the cousins’ place and were greeted with an electric gate decorated in the South African and American flags. Apparently there had been a big row about the US flag replacing the English flag my dual-citizen cousins had originally had in its place, but Laurie’s hospitality had won out.

Our welcome was fantastic. Brian and Laurie gave us hugs and beer and warmth to the point that even Rob felt like he was home. My younger cousin, Mike, was also there with smart comments and a silly hair cut to move us quickly in front of the TV for the opening game. It felt like the good old days, sitting there in their lounge, drinking Windhoek and watching soccer (although it wasn’t Manchester United.) And what a game it was! Even though it was 1-1 (South Africa v Mexico), we all lost our minds with the first goal. We danced and high-fived and hugged each other like idiots. There is something about the pointlessness of sports that makes it so special. Everyone knows deep down that it doesn’t matter, but it’s the closest thing that we have to being able to deeply support a war. That basic instinct of us vs them makes you feel like your standing on some ancient battle field, ready to die for something you don’t understand even though you got all painted up for the big occasion.

We ended the evening with more beer and whiskey. Brian and Laurie had made up the pool-table room into a dorm for us with beds and futons and everything. After the travel and the whiskey we didn’t so much fall asleep as pass out.

The next morning we awoke to a full continental breakfast laid out for our pleasure. Laurie greeted us in a fabulous blue toweling dressing gown and massive smile. As we ate, Jonathan, the eldest cuz, arrived with that distinct look of a young man who has been up all night drinking and partying. Bleary-eyed and smelling like gin and cigarettes, Jonno managed a bleat of a welcome and went straight for the coffee. Jon decided that he would be better suited for the day ahead if he went to bed. Brian and myself hit the road in order to get our tickets for the tournament. My secret weapon, a South African ID book; this once-useful-in-a-lifetime item allowed me to buy the tickets at the discounted Zapher rate, as apposed to the pricey “I earn dollars” rates. So we waited in the Line. That capitalization was intentional. It stretched from the Aston Martin dealership, well past the BMW store. Brian doesn’t do queues well. Bouncing on the balls of his feet and chatting nervously to everyone in line, he proceeded to tell everyone how much he hates lines.

Finally successful in our quest, we returned home triumphant with our yellow and silver-leafed glossy trophies. My stack of 24 was much more impressive than Brian’s two, but happiness comes in multiple sizes. From there is was prep time for our first game. Brian had organized us a lift with his friend and his son. The gentleman in question was… very organized. We got to the park-and-ride four hours before the game started, and the bus ride to Ellis Park only took 15 minutes. This left us, and about 25 other punctual fans, in the 70,000 seat stadium with very little to do but wait. I introduced the boys to boerewors rolls and Magnum Ice-cream.

The game was Argentina vs Nigeria and the Argentinian fans where out in full force. Banners and flags, faces painted and blue and white vuvuzelas. Andrew almost lost it with school-girl like excitement, which degraded into alternating between punching and hugging me. The game was really a “holy shit we are actually here” kind of moment. The noise was incredible and the atmosphere was simply brilliant.

Later that night Bergen came round to the house with his new squeeze. He’s pretty much exactly the same with a little more gut and a little less hair. He took us out to the new cool parts of town, driving like a maniac and eating meat. Rob claimed that he was getting altitude sickness, and Bergen’s girl was getting a headache, so we dropped the ladies off and Bergen, Andrew and myself went to go look for a hookah bar. After a brief tour of Johannesburg, we concluded that either there were no hookah bars in the city, or Bergen didn’t know what he was doing, so he took us back to his place to use his. Unfortunately, he had none of the fixings, so we drank whiskey (or at least I did) and talked about the “good old days” until the whiskey and the events of the day started to drag on our senses. We climbed back into our dorm room and barely noticed Rob’s snoring as we moved into unconsciousness.

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