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I’m a freelance interactive content strategist and copywriter in Austin, TX. See my work here.

I post about whatever geeky stuff interests me. Sometimes I post funny stuff that I make up. About once a week I post videos of my cat Yeti ignoring me. I welcome reader suggestions and feedback. I seldom get any.

Oh, yeah. I’m also the recording artist currently known as ManChildATX.

Monday
Sep292014

My call to room service at the New York Times International Luxury Conference

 

The New York Times International Luxury Conference will be held for the first time in the United States December 1-3. Join Deborah Needleman, Editor in Chief, T Magazine, and Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director, The New York Times, to explore how the fields of art, fashion and technology can be utilized and maximized to enhance the unique value of luxury companies and products.

Hello, this is Mr. Malley in room 1304. Well, not so good actually. That’s why I’m calling. What? No, I will not hol–

(luxury hold music)

Yes, I’m still here, just barely. Why, I’ve never been so—Sorry, what did you say? That was Miss Furstenberg? She had a poodle emergency? Well, then I suppose it’s all right.

Yes, the reason I’m calling, let’s do get to that. Yes, well, I had a frightful night, and with today being the first day of the conferénce—Hmm, excuse me? The conferénce! The conferénce! Well, sorry, I use the French pronunciation. You should get used to that. Conferénce. It is the more luxurious pronunciation, after all.

So, as I was saying, I had a frightful night, and with today being the first day of the… of the festivities, I’m afraid I’ll just look like hell in front of Ms. Needlemen, Ms. Friendman, Ms. Furstenburg, and all the rest of the luxury-istas.

Well, certainly I will tell you why I had a frightful night. Are we on a time limit here? Because I thought one of the perquisites of luxury is that I get to take as long as I damn well please to dress down those in service to me. What’s that? Apology accepted.

Now, as I was saying, it came time for me to retire last night and what should I find on my pillow? No, don’t try to answer. It’s a rhetorical question. What I should happen to find on my pillow is a Perugina chocolate truffle.

What’s that? Why, no, as a matter of fact, there wasn’t a problem with the Perugina chocolate truffle. No, you see the Perugina chocolate truffle was the problem.

Because unless I’m hallucinating—and that’s a distinct possibility after the nine hours of poor quality sleep I got—this is a luxury conferénce. And, I’m sorry, but this is 2014, and in this day and age, Perugina can’t be seen as anything but entry-level luxury. I expected and feel like I am paying mid-grade luxury prices and should receive that level of consideration at the very least.

Well, since you asked, I should think a local artisanal brand comprised of a minimum of 70% pure Eritrean cacao would be the minimum barrier to entry when it comes to the chocolate left on my pillow.

Very well. Now, about the pillow the chocolate truffle was resting upon. Excuse me if I’m wrong, but I distinctly remember reading on the hotel website that I would be sleeping on 1200 thread count bed linens. Was I wrong about that? No, I didn’t think so.

Well, let me tell you my good man… What? Sorry, my good woman, let me tell you that try as I might I could not count higher than 950 threads. That’s 250 threads shy! What? Yes, I did count it more than once. Several times as a matter of fact.

What? No, no, no, do not put me on hold agai—

(luxury hold music, line disconnects)

Friday
Sep262014

Recent highlights from my neighborhood listserv

GOd morinG NEIBORGS! I just want to lett you’ll KNOW THAT I HAVE MUFFINS. For sale. Comme AND GIT ER!!!—Bertha on Holmes Ave.

Hi, does anyone have some kale fermenter I can borrow? My four-year-old was playing with our microbes and killed them. I can’t bear the thought of paying retail prices for our schlembacha, plus there’s a certain je ne c’est quois and piquancy to the self-fermented kind. Anyone?—Mary on Monroe
P.S. Yes, I did use this as a teachable moment to educate my son about the sanctity of all life, and most especially microbial life.

Ha! HA! VARY FUNNY!!!!! Some one EMAiLeD me private and ASKED IF my MUFFINS WAS FRAISH!! Thats’ dis gUstinge!—Bertha on Holmes Ave.

To the neighbor who wanted kale fermenter (more properly known as volmet, by the way), I have some extra upchukka (i.e., beet fermenter) that you can have. Not sure if it’s a good volmet replacement, but you can try it. I’ll leave it in a jar on the front porch, and I’ll make sure it’s exposed to the air and in direct sunlight. We like the fuzzy stuff that grows on top, but you can scrape it off if it’s not to your taste. Good luck!—Sativa on Lemonade Ln.

Hi, neighbors. I cleaned out my inbox, and so I lost a lot of phone numbers to businesses and services that people on this listserv have recommended over the years. Right now I’m looking for the number of who to call about two groups of young men who are engaged in a running gun battle in the alley behind me. It’s not that it’s bothering me in my house, but I am working the late shift this week, and the fusillade is a little too vigorous for me to risk a dash to the carport. Would anyone have that number handy? Thanks.—Mr. L on Tremaine Ct.

NIEHBSOR!!! You’ll KNOW THAT MUFFINS IS ARE KITTEN WRITE????!!!!!!! Whan HE ASked me if MUFFINS WAS FRAISH I got the wrong WRONG idae!! HA!!!!!!! HA!!!!!!!!!!!! HA!!!!!—Bertha on Holmes Ave.

To the lady who was looking for volmet or upchukka (can’t remember which it was), if it hasn’t been too long since you last fed him schlembacha, you might try culturing some from your little one’s stool. Worked for us! Hope this helps.—Josh on Mulberry Rd.

Wednesday
Sep242014

Amazon pimpin': SodaStream Starter Kit

Click pic (or link below) to shop the SodaStream Fountain Jet Soda Starter Kit

This is one of those things that I put off buying and then as soon as I got it I wondered why I waited so damn long. If you drink a lot of fizzy water like I do, this thing will pay for itself in no time. 

Easy to use, works great, doesn’t take up much room on the counter. And you can make it as fizzy as you like it, even as fizzy as Topo Chico. 

I personally do not use any of the SodaStream flavorings, so I can’t speak to that side of things. I’m a plain fizzy water guy. 

Note: I try to offset my expenses for this site through Amazon affiliate links. I only pimp items on Amazon that I’ve actually purchased and used. 

Wednesday
Sep242014

Amazon pimpin': Weber Spirit SP-310 Gas Grill

Click photo to shop Weber Spirit SP-310 three-burner liquid propane grillMy Weber gas grill is probably the heaviest—and most heavily used—item I’ve ever bought on Amazon. I bought mine nine years ago. The model has since been discontinued, but this is very similar in size, number of burners and features.

We use our Weber gas grill year round a minimum of three times a week and usually much more. I’m pretty sure this thing will outlive me. Let’s face it—equipment that lives outside and endures a lot of high heat takes a lot of abuse. What I like about my Weber grill is that replacement parts are readily available, so when something wears out, you don’t have to start over with a new grill. 

It’s easy to clean, it works great, and Weber customer service is top notch. Take it from me, an outdoor gas grill is one of those things you don’t want to cheap out on. Yes, there are lots of lower priced brands that look similar when they are shiny and brand new in the store. You’d be lucky to get five years out of one of them. Buy one that will last and be done with it. 

Note: I try to offset my expenses for this site through Amazon affiliate links. I only pimp items on Amazon that I’ve actually purchased and used. 

Wednesday
Sep242014

My cat Yeti on whether he would maul a human to death (or not)

Tuesday
Sep232014

Crowd Sourced Really Bad Flavor Names for Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream

Here’s a starter list of 22. Send me your contributions via Facebook, email (link above) or tweet to @richie_boy.

 

Caramel Confetti Mishap

Alabama Almond Aspic

Natural & Artificial Flavor Showdown

Raspberry Roadkill Road

Marshmallow Muenster Mush

Your Spumoni’s No Good Here

Flexible Fudge

Creampie Cameo

Naked Bunch (o’ Bananas!)

Berry, Berry Bruised Fruit

Massive Dump

Too Hasty Pudding

Red Corduroy Cake

Chewy Chewy Chapstick

Buried Toffee Treasure

Mocha Loco Choco Chump

Triple Double Entendre Eclair

Test Tube Flavor #713R

Ticky Tacky Tobacky

Oil Slick

Bean There, Dung That

Too, Too Fruity

 

Monday
Sep152014

Seven Guys You Should Get to Know

L-R, Victor, Sid, Ramon, Charlie, Steve, Charlie, Phil

Phil Erckstein—Knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who can get half price tickets for decent seats to any concert you want.

Steve Belk—Just good people.

Ramon Villarreal—Skilled, discreet criminal attorney.

Adam Marshall—Not a particularly personable dude, but can do this thing with his eyebrows. Hilarious.

Charlie Carten—Even though he dated my sister and broke her heart, I still think the world of him. One of those guys, you meet him once, you’d do anything for him. Salt of the earth.

Larry Robinson—Blows a decent tenor sax, reliable, and has a working phone and his own car.

Sid Terrell—A good guy to have on your side when the chips are down.

Victor Burton-Suarez—Knows how to keep his fucking mouth shut.

Thursday
Sep112014

My cat Yeti does not get Obama's pronunciation either

Tuesday
Sep092014

NFL Announces Cap-and-Trade Policy for Domestic Abuse Offenses

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell announced today that the league would further modify its ever-evolving domestic abuse policy by allowing players on a team to offset a teammate’s league imposed penalty for domestic abuse by “trading” credits they will now receive for each season they complete without incurring a wife beating incident.

“I got it wrong again,” Goodell admitted at a hastily called news conference this morning. “When I suspended Ray Rice indefinitely yesterday after video surfaced of him punching his wife unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator, I inadvertently punished our fans, and, most importantly, I inadvertently punished our owners who have so much precious money invested in these athletes.”

After reiterating his stance that the league had “zero tolerance” for domestic abuse, Goodell turned the program over to league spokesperson Bobby Danabout, who gave reporters the broad outlines of the spousal abuse cap-and-trade-scheme.

“This is a reality-based plan that acknowledges that our sport has both inculcated an uncontrolled capacity for violence in certain players on the one hand, and recruited other players expressly because they already had an innate capacity for antisocial violence on the other hand,” Danabout said. “What this policy will do is enable the players who have successfully avoided spousal abuse for an entire season—or have at least avoided getting caught for it—to help their fellow players stay on the field following a wife- or girlfriend-battering incident.”

While Danabout said details were still being ironed out, he asserted that the policy was strict enough to protect the league’s reputation, if not the wives and girlfriends of its players.

“This will not be a free pass by any means,” Danabout continued. “Players can only trade spousal abuse credits like-for-like. So, for instance, if a player knocks his wife’s teeth out, he’ll need to find a teammate with a “wife’s teeth knocked out” credit willing to trade them to him. It can’t be a ‘girlfriend’s teeth knocked out’ credit, or a ‘gave wife a black eye’ credit. Absent the availability of a matching spousal abuse credit, the full force and severity of the league’s penalties—whatever they may be at that moment—will come down on that player.”

Danabout said the changes would go into effect immediately and would be permanent until the next uncomfortable public revelation forced a hasty revision.

 

Monday
Sep082014

Netflix vs. Amazon: whose streams start faster?

Netflix’s streaming on demand service pretty much made me a TV watcher again. I haven’t had cable since the 90s, and hardly watch any broadcast TV. But with Netflix, having a pretty good variety of stuff that I can watch on my own schedule got me in front of the tube again.

Then, a couple of years ago, we signed up for Amazon Prime, mostly for the 2-day shipping it offers on most Amazon purchases. At the time, Amazon was mentioning access to their streaming video library almost as a toss-in for signing up with Prime. Now, of course, Amazon is pushing streaming video more aggressively to compete head-to-head with Netflix, acquiring lots of new programming and producing new shows as well.

Cable companies, of course, hate Netflix, because they are one of the leading reasons more and more people are cutting their cable subscriptions and just relying on cable providers for internet bandwidth. The industry calls Netflix an “over-the-top” service, because they are charging money to deliver service over the Internet provider’s bandwidth. Cable companies hate that.

And Netflix has been so successful, it now accounts for over a third of all downstream bandwidth usage during prime time. Cable companies REALLY hate that.

Over the past year or so, I have noticed that it seems to take much, much longer for Netflix’s shows to load than it used to. And when they do load, it is often at a crappy resolution. Since there is a lot of overlap between Netflix’s offerings and Amazon Prime’s offerings, when a Netflix show is taking forever to load, I will often check to see if Amazon Prime has the program. If it does, it always seems to load much, much faster than the same show on Netflix.

I’ve been meaning to document this for a while now. This morning, I did, as seen in the video above.

Bear in mind that this happened at 9am. At 9pm, the difference is much, much more pronounced.

Assuming viewers consume bandwidth to watch Amazon at a level comparable to Netflix, can we expect the cable companies to target Amazon’s streams for throttling? Maybe, but maybe not. Unlike Netflix, Amazon controls lots of internet infrastructure that may have value to the cable companies.

Friday
Sep052014

Rejected letter to the editors of People Magazine: Brangelina's wedding

Dear to the editors of People Magazine:

I was most thrilled and surprised to receive yours of September 15 (how do you do that?) featuring Brangelina’s wedding on the cover.

I guess my invitation must’ve gotten lost in the mail, for I was unaware said nups had occurred. But I was very disappointed that your photo ablum did not mention WHO Brangelina was marrying! I can only hope it is that actor with whom she shares all those rainbow babies. 

I had to chuckle at the part about how Brangelina’s dress was covered with her babies’ drawings. I can just imagine how my own late mother would have reacted to finding that we, her beloved children, had drawn on her wedding dress. After recovering from the shock of learning that her children were all born before she was married, she would have beaten us all down one side and up the other! 

Kudos to your photographer. I see no visible marks or bruises on Brangelina’s brood. 

I wish Brangelina and whomsoever she has married great happiness. 

Yours of September 5,

R. Ddiva Lalmye

Tuesday
Sep022014

My cat puzzled by Astros firing of manager Bo Porter

Monday
Sep012014

Uber über alles: Is the rideshare giant a big bully?

Uber and Lyft are the two biggest competitors in the “ridesharing” market, which is where car owners use their private vehicles to give strangers rides for money. Both services are enabled by smartphone apps that let potential riders book rides, while also allowing drivers to claim rides and bill for them. The companies take a cut of every ride, and the drivers pocket the rest. 

Uber is the biggest company in this market, with over $1 billion in venture capital and a very aggressive global expansion plan. Lyft is the next largest. Competition between the two companies—as well as some smaller rivals—is intense. 

When you think about their business model, it’s no wonder VC is flocking to some of these companies. You write a piece of code, you build an app, you do some marketing, and you’ve got a platform for ongoing revenue generation where costs make up an increasingly smaller and smaller part of overhead. You’ve got all these drivers—who are not employees, but private contractors—hustling and putting themselves at risk in traffic to make a few extra bucks, while you just kick back and take a cut. 

And, obviously, the more drivers you have within a given market, the more potential rides and the more potential money you make. 

Which is were the competition between the two seems to have gotten out of hand. This piece in the Verge exposed that Uber has a written formalized program for poaching Lyft drivers and recruiting them to Uber. A follow-on post on the NYT Bits blog summarizes Lyft’s contention that in markets where Uber is active in these efforts, it is reducing the average income for Lyft drivers. (In response to the Verge article and increasing press inquiries, Uber launched this page to put a shiny gloss on its practices.)

The way Uber’s poaching program works is that teams of Uber recruiters, working for hefty commissions and armed with burner phones that can’t be traced back to them, order Lyft rides and then try to recruit the drivers to Uber during the ride. 

Lyft says that these rides are shorter than typical rides and thus impede Lyft drivers from snagging more profitable customers. They also allege that Uber recruiters further disrupt the ability of Lyft drivers to earn by ordering and canceling thousands of Lyft rides. Some of these are apparently because an Uber recruiter will realize that the Lyft driver en route to pick him or her up has already been given the Uber sales pitch, and thus is a waste of effort. But between the time the Lyft driver accepts the ride and the time the Uber recruiter cancels it, the Lyft driver may be missing out on other fares. 

There has also been some speculation that Uber is having its recruiters order and cancel rides simply to make it harder for Lyft drivers to earn, thus putting Uber in a better light. And it also appears that many of these rides are canceled to avoid having Lyft’s management catch on that a particular phone number is associated with an Uber recruiter.

So Uber’s practices, which, again, are formalized and written in a playbook, definitely seem to have the potential to hurt Lyft’s drivers, as Lyft indeed alleges they have. But what are the potential long term consequences for Uber drivers? I’d assert they’re not good either.

The more drivers Uber has in a market, the more attractive the service seems to potential customers. After all, if you get picked up by an Uber driver faster than a Lyft driver routinely, you’re more likely to continue using Uber. Up to a point, that might help Uber’s drivers too. But it’s not hard to see a point beyond which Uber drivers start to compete with one another. Think how a Starbuck’s franchisee feels when he or she learns the company has awarded another franchise two blocks away.

This is ramp up and shake out time for the rideshare industry. It would make business sense for Uber to try to eliminate or marginalize other competitors in its markets, with the aim of being the lone credible rideshare platform once the industry matures and the market saturates. When your drivers are virtually the only drivers in a market, you get a cut from more rides. You also monopolize the labor market, so you can more effectively dictate terms to your drivers, deciding to take a bigger percentage of their fares, for instance. Because who else are they going to drive for?

Uber no doubt rationalizes its slimeball recruitment practices by asserting that they are trying to help Lyft drivers join a team that will give them better earning potential. And in the short term, that may be true. Uber can use some of its billion dollar VC nest egg to accept lower profit margins, pay higher commissions in the short term, and make themselves more attractive to Lyft drivers. 

But does anyone believe that these practices bode well for Uber’s drivers in the long term? And does anyone think that a company that would engage in such practices would feel a compunction about deceiving its customers and its investors, too, if it thought the “business case” justified it?

There are things I like about the so-called “sharing” economy. For instance, I like being able to get a ride when finding a cab is impossible. I also like the idea that someone who owns a car can use it to earn a little extra money. But when the market shakes out, I believe the dominant sharing platforms are going to have masses of struggling independent contractors at the bottom of the food chain, and a select few people accruing massive transfers of wealth at the top of the food chain. Ultimately, I think ridesharing will just be a new model for trickle down economics.

I deplore Uber’s in-car recruitment of Lyft drivers, and I won’t use the company until it admits the practice is wrong and ends it. If Uber wants to recruit Lyft’s drivers, fine. But I don’t think riders should reward them for being rapacious slimebags about it.

Friday
Aug292014

Blogging is back, baby.

Jason Kottke says so because Michael Sippey, Lockhart Steele and Elizabeth Spiers say so.

Good to know.

When do the checks start rolling in?

Friday
Aug292014

5 Favorite T-Shirts

Brought to you by the “What Can I Blog About Now” Dept.

An original Big Boys shirt, featuring a design by the late, great Randy “Biscuit” Turner on the front. (Although I’m not entirely sure it’s not by Big Boy Tim Kerr, still an accomplished and prolific artist and musician to this day.) This was hand printed by Big Boy Chris Gates, whom I was roommates with briefly in the 80s. Their famous skateboard “A” is on the back. The Big Boys were the greatest and one of the most influential bands to come out of Austin—ever. I was one of their legions of fans and hangers-on. This shirt is tissue paper thin. Can’t be worn. Won’t be discarded. 
VIDEO: BIG BOYS Austin TX punk, ‘Funk Off’ / ‘Baby, Let’s Play God …

This is just a t-shirt I got at Target eleventy billion years ago that will not die. It’s been washed eleventy billion times. It’s got a particularly unflattering lack of shape. It used to be much bluer. Excellent for couch lolling. 

Clay Davis was a character from the Wire, my favorite show. He was a corrupt but charming politician. So this is such an inside-baseball design for a t-shirt. Created by hotshot Mule Design Studio. Also a favorite because it was a gift from my dear friend, Rod Barks.

Holes in both armpits. Shrunk to virtually unwearable. Will I ever part with this original Astrodome-era Houston Astros t-shirt? No. No I will not. 

Just a brilliant design by my friend, “artist” Ellen Gibbs. Ellen originally used the design to make small floor warning signs (similar to “wet floor” signs) alerting people to the presence of cat vomit that hadn’t been cleaned up yet. Then she got the idea to make a t-shirt with it. For a while, she was sold out of these and not interested in making more, and I would gripe to her, because every time I wear it, at least two or three people ask me where they can buy it. But now she has a whole range of cat vomit-wear available on Cafe Press. Get some.

Monday
Aug252014

16 Explosive Statements About ClickHole, the Onion’s New Parody Site

 

  1. Clickhole exists to parody the insipid viral content that is coming to dominate the web. The site was launched earlier this summer.

  2. It’s produced by the people who publish The Onion.

  3. Sample posts include, “23 Insanely Mind-Blowing Facts About the Class of 2018.”

  4. These posts are full of a combination of the funnily mundane (“First off, they’re graduating in 2018”) and the absurdly specious (“None of them have vestigial tails.”)

  5. That “vestigial tails” line is exactly like something out of my “Did You Know” series of spurious facts on my old site Thot4ThDay site. Eerily similar. Whatever.

  6. On its article pages, Clickhole runs paid ads for the same kinds of viral content it parodies:


  7. It is such a cynically brilliant (or brilliantly cynical) business model, I’m insanely jealous I didn’t think of it myself.

  8. It has a section for parody quizzes, such as “How Many of Grandpa’s Stories Have You Heard?”

  9. At first, while acknowledging the spot-on of-the-moment cultural satire of the site, I wondered how sustainable this essentially one-note satire could be.

  10. But the more I think about it, the more I’ve decided that we, the users of the interwebs, are so collectively credulous and stupid that Clickhole may be a well that never runs dry.

  11. In fact, I wonder if the folks at The Onion didn’t create ClickHole as a frustrated reaction to satirical items from that rag getting viral social play because people actually thought they were real, or could be.

  12. You know, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

  13. And now The Onion folks are laughing all the way to the bank.

  14. The bastards.

  15. The site is an ongoing rickrolling service, ready to supply linkable content to anyone who wants to show how stupid their friends are.

  16. It may be a harbinger of doom.

 

Friday
Aug222014

Cat hadn't planned on watching ManChildATX CD release concert

Tuesday
Aug192014

#OST: More Facebook posts from Oversharing Tuesday

 

I have a celebrity back acne fetish. #OST

The reason I was such a scrawny, malnourished kid? They say breast feeding is supposed to bring a mother and child closer and everything, but I was just never really into my mom’s breasts. #OST

Sometimes I go commando and pretend I’m wearing “virtual underwear.” #OST

I started liking my e-cigarette more when I heard someone say it looked like I was sucking a robot dick. #OST

The first time I was allowed to take my little sister to the zoo by myself I was crushed to learn that even a three-year-old was too big to shove through the bars on any of the cages. #OST

When I was in college, I put a sleeping bag on my bed so I wouldn’t have to wash the bedding. I’m still using the same sleeping bag, and I don’t even notice the smell anymore. #OST

Theatre in the round makes me dizzy. #OST

I cheated on my Mensa entrance exam and failed to get in anyway. #OST

If I need change for the parking meter, I steal coins from the fountain at the childrens’s hospital. #OST

If I really hate someone I’m waiting on, I won’t wash my hands after using the restroom. #OST

 

Monday
Aug182014

The first dream I have remembered in several years

I almost never remember my dreams. This one from last night is an exception:

I was part of a small group of 4-5 people from the Austin ad agency that was my former employer and is a current freelance client. We were driving to Ford, the automaker, to make a presentation. Of course we weren’t going to Ford-Ford; we were going to a small offshoot operation of Ford, with the idea of getting the agency’s foot in the door.

For some reason, I brought along my dog, Lupita, though I didn’t realize that until later.

Just before the presentation was to start, the snot-nosed art director I had been working with (not a real person, but a dream composite) informed me that I was supposed to co-present with him. Immediate panic set in. I didn’t know I was supposed to co-present! I was just the freelancer! But I resolved I would make the best of it.

We thought we’d be presenting to a group similar in size to ours. Wrong! The meeting room was huge, with chairs and tables widely spread all over the place. The Ford people were moving about freely visiting with one another. It turned out that these presentations were like a school assembly for them—a break from work for a little socializing and entertainment. We were the entertainment.

My snot-nosed art director creative partner started presenting. He was getting killed. Completely ignored. It didn’t help that he was talking in a normal tone of voice, which gradually petered out into defeated muttering as he went on. And we were just sitting in the middle of the room, not up on a stage or dais or anything. We didn’t even have a microphone. I resolved that when he passed it over to me, I would be ready to “perform;” I’d leap up out of my chair, use my bellowing speaking voice to be heard, move around working the room, gesture grandly, command attention, really get people to buy in to what we were selling, whatever that was.

Well, I did all that, but I barely commanded anyone’s attention. As I was presenting, working the crowd, gesturing, trying to get folks engaged, I could tell it was futile. We completely misunderstood the audience we were supposed to present to. While I was still talking I realized that the best we could salvage from this day was the opportunity to return and try again, so I was determined to make that happen. I knew that what we really needed to put this over was a big multimedia presentation and a huge sound and projection system that could not be ignored. These people wanted entertainment, so by God, we’d give it to them!

My part of the presentation ended with a whimper and the Ford people took that as their cue to get up and get refreshments and continue socializing. I immediately began working the crowd, meeting people and trying to pull the right strings for a return invitation.

The Ford people were nice and acted like the fact that our presentation had been ignored was no big deal. They seemed satisfied. I explained that we had been expecting a much smaller meeting, and weren’t prepared for an audience full of people who felt free to continue talking and socializing during the presentation. The small group of folks I was talking too nodded sympathetically and replied, in unison, “That’s Ford!” They all laughed heartily at this.

As we were leaving the building, which somehow I hadn’t realized was so enormous, I started rehearsing what I would tell the executive creative director at the agency (my former boss, the only person from my real life in the dream). He would not be happy we blew it. I was angry at the snot-nosed art director for being so poorly prepared and for failing to tell me I was responsible for presenting with him. I decided I was definitely going to throw him under the bus.

Just then we reached the lobby and I saw my dog, Lupita, being doted on by several Ford ladies. I hadn’t realized that I’d brought her there with me, nor that I had just left her loose to roam the halls of Ford during our presentation. But the Ford people were all cool with it. Apparently, lots of people brought their dogs to work and just let them wander wherever. An informal group of Ford ladies kinda looked after the dogs.

I was really relieved to be reunited with my dog, even though I hadn’t realized we’d been separated in the first place. But by then, my colleagues from the ad agency had all left in the car we’d arrived in, and I had to figure out how to get me and my dog a ride back from that far-flung suburban office park.

And the whole time my mind is churning with ideas for how to put the presentation over at our next opportunity. A huge sound system was a definite must.

Then I woke up.

 

Thursday
Aug142014

Recent posts from my neighborhood listserv

 

HI, nIegbhors! SPimmy and tiMmy!! Need a TELSA COYLE for they’re “end of sumer” seance expeeremen. i DONT KNOW what a telsa coyle is butt they say its’ to do wilth the baby rabits speakin of winch has ANYONE bin in our hunch?! were missing a dough. let me no if you have a TELSA COYLE!!!! THX!!! :)—
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE
PS: and ALSO if you have our DOUGH


Hello, there. We’re new in the “hood,” and were wondering about the coffee situation nearby. Is there anywhere close that serves a good old fashioned humane, organic, gluten-free pumpkin spice latte made under supportive working conditions at a living wage? Failing that, a Starbucks will do. Thanks
Rhiana and Donnel on Polk St.


NIEGBHORS! SPIMMy and timMY SAY TO SAY that th TELSA COYLE NEEDS TO be 220! i can COME PICK IT UP!!!!!!!
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE
PS: HoW MUCH DOES IT WAY??????11111!!!


Has anyone else noticed that the noise situation inside my house is intolerable? I live right by a sidewalk, and people have a tendency to walk by my house whilst engaging in conversation and I can hear that there are people there talking. I can’t hear what they are saying, but I can hear that they are walking by and existing within mere feet of my private property. Has anyone else noticed this about my house? Is this normal? Can I sue the city? I’ve lived in this neighborhood a long time, (since early 2012), and if I had known it was going to turn into the wild west, I would’ve stayed in Boca.
Doug on Rafford Mill


Hello, all. I want to alert all residents that the time is fast approaching for our annual neighborhood clean up party. We will meet in the parking lot of Gudger’s Fine Meats at 5am this Saturday morning. Patty’s Donuts apologizes, but they will not be able to donate donuts this year, but Patty said she will send Consuela over with a box of holes. Also, Mr. Gudger will provide ice tea, emu jerky and neoprene gloves. Some of the gloves might be a little bloody, so if that’s a problem, you may choose to bring your own. This year we will be concentrating on clearing derelict vehicles from the neighborhood’s vacant lots. If we get 50 or 60 people, we should be able to finish by dark. Please let me know if you are coming and whether you want a hole, and, if so, what flavor (chocolate or chocolate fudge).
Janice on Curlilew Ct


THANK yOU TO WHEVER LEFT THE TELSA COYLE OWN MY CAR!! !!1 !!
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE
PS: WHut HAPPESN when i toch THIS thing RIGHT he—OW!


Just a heads up that yesterday we observed two subjects kick down the front door of my neighbor’s house, forcibly remove him, cover his head with a hood, shove him in the back seat of their car and drive away. Do you think it would be a good idea for us to call 3-1-1 when we see something like this in the future, or should we just mention it to our police liaison at the monthly meeting?
Cliff & Ginny on Erhardt St.


O & NEIHGBRHRS!!!!! WE FOUND the doUGH!!!!! SHE hid to death UNDER THE HUNCH. WILL mis her.!!!!! tiMMY AND SPimmy our SAD. : )
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.