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Archive for May, 2010

18
May

Laugh Inappropriately (You Jackass)

Sometimes you just can’t help it. You know it’d be wrong to laugh. This a serious situation, damnit! But the more you think about trying not to laugh, the harder it becomes to resist.

It happens to all of us, and I love it. Most of the time. And since everyone enjoys a good list, I present to you the top five most inappropriate situations to laugh in. In no particular order.

Laugh Hard1. During a movie. Better yet, a serious movie.

You’re in a movie theatre, and half the audience is getting teary-eyed. But for some reason, you just can’t help but laugh. Dudehead¬†laughed during Schindler’s List. And it happens to me all the time. Maybe I just like the weird looks I get from people sitting around me when it happens.

It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a sad movie. Have you ever been to a movie that had funny parts, which made everyone else laugh, but you seemed to laugh at all the other parts? You’re the only idiot sitting in the theatre, laughing when the dude gets fired from his job, or when his dog dies.

2. During an important phone call with a client.

You’re in an important phone call. You know you shouldn’t be browsing Fail Blog while you’re talking to that client, but you’re doing it anyway. Or something funny just pops into your head. A good memory of the time you threw your friend over a fence into an unsuspecting gardener’s yard in grade school.

Yesterday at work, Turkish was talking to a client. I was cleaning up some garbage from breakfast, and he threw his garbage to me to put into a bag. Apparently, I temporarily forgot how to catch things, because the garbage hit me in the face, and we started laughing. I’m not sure what the client thought, but Turkish was laughing so hard, he had to hang up the phone.

3. During a public speaking event/conference.

A couple of years ago, I attended a VMWare conference in Toronto with a colleague. During one of the talks, I looked over to see him scratching some paint off his jeans. He turned to me and, in his best Russell Peters impression, said, “Just got some paaaaaaint.” I started to crack up. I’m not good at holding in my laughter.

I could feel my face turning three shades of red. Maybe seven. I started to shake with laughter-induced convulsions. My colleague, who had started to laugh at me at this point, was now wheezing like a chain smoker from trying to hold it in. The more he laughed, the more I laughed. People around us started to get visibly annoyed. By the time we had finally calmed down, more than half of the people sitting around us had left and our section looked empty!

4. The big one – during funerals!

The scene: My grandmother’s memorial service. The audience is asked to read a quoted scripture from their Bibles. Turkish opens his, turns to the page requested, and finds a little piece of paper hidden in the book. On it, a short message: “Hola senor Turkish! *smiley face*” He starts to crack up. He shows it to Dom, who’s sitting beside him. Dom starts to crack up.

Laughter is highly infectious. Especially Dom’s laugh. Kudos to them both for the effort they put into hiding it, but I could hear them both from the front. I sat there and smiled, vaguely recalling hiding that little note in his book months prior. Turkish still feels embarrassed to this day, but I continue to assure him that we (the family) were all happy about the incident – my grandmother was a jovial woman, and probably would have pulled the prank herself, if she was able to. She would have been glad that it happened at her funeral.

That said, not everyone has as good a sense of humour as my family, so I don’t officially condone this behaviour. ūüėČ

5. At the expense of others’ pain/injury.

We all laugh at those fail videos. Don’t even try to tell me this isn’t funny:

A guy gets wholloped in the jacobs by a child (been there). Boyo walks into a metal pole (seen it). Girl gets poked in the eye by her boyfriend. In those precious few moments before it hits us that they may actually need help, we laugh. Who knows why, but if it isn’t serious, then why not?

It’s truly a sad existence that someone lives if they can’t laugh at themselves. I do it all the time. It keeps me sane. It keeps me grounded. It keeps me humble. So next time you feel the urge to run away embarrassed, try just laughing at yourself, instead. Out loud. It helps. And it shows people that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

I’m really enjoying hearing some of your inappropriate laughter stories. Stick yours in a comment and join us all while we laugh at you, too!

8 people have commented. What do you think?
12
May

$16,000?! All I Wanted Was a Damn Coconut…

You just had the most amazing idea. All the details are coming together in your mind. You need to create a web site, and you have the perfect name in mind. But much to your chagrin, ilovecoconuts.com is already taken. And what’s worse is that nobody’s even bothered to make it into a real site. It’s nothing more than a lame, generic page that’s stopping you from living your dream of imparting coconut-related facts and info-graphics to your hungry visitors.

Domain Parking Page

What do delicious coconuts even have to do with sexy Latin and Japanese women, anyway?

We want a new domain name, but half the time, the ones that we want are already reserved by douchebag companies that don’t plan on doing anything with them except reselling them for profit, or generating advertising revenue from people who stumble upon them, expecting actual content. The people that do this are called “domain squatters,” and they really piss me off.

I was recently involved in a short email exchange with Jacob, who works for one such company:

Jacob to Tristan:
Hello Tristan, you contacted us in the past regarding ilovecoconuts.com. The domain is still available, and I wanted to reach back out to you to see if you were interested in submitting another offer on the name, or finding out the asking price. I look forward to your reply.

Tristan to Jacob:
Hi Jacob, just curious – what’s the “asking price” we’re talking about here? Thanks.

Jacob to Tristan:
Hello, the seller is asking $16,000USD for ilovecoconuts.com. Let me know how you’d like to move forward.

Tristan to Jacob:
Hi Jacob, that is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t appreciate being lied to. Have a great day.

Jacob to Tristan:
Who lied to you?

Tristan to Jacob:
$16,000? The domain isn’t worth that much, especially considering I already saw it for auction, starting at $60, with no bids.

Jacbo to Tristan (At this point, I’m so annoyed, I can’t even be bothered to correct my mis-spelling of Jacbo’s name):
Where did you see it for auction?

Tristan to Jacbo:
I really don’t feel like playing this game with you. I appreciate you taking the time to get back to me, but I’m no longer interested. I’m sure ilovecoconuts.com is just one of many domains your organization is squatting on, and you and I both know that you are never going to get such a price for it. Feel free to contact me if you decide on a reasonable number.

Coconuts!Not the first time I’ve dealt with a domain squatter. I remember talking to one who wanted $500 for a domain. Not even 24 hours later, he was offering it to me for $25. The reason? They have to pick their battles. Squatting on hundreds of domains can be expensive, as you still have to pay to hold each one. At some point, a domain loses its potential for profit, and it becomes more prudent to cut your losses and let it go. That’s one of my theories, anyway.

So here’s where I’m going with this. If you see that rad domain name you want being squatted on, don’t give up. Even if you don’t enter into negotiations with the squatter to acquire ilovecoconuts.com, keep an eye on it! Squatters pick up and drop domains all the time. You could very well get lucky and find that your squatter hasn’t renewed when it comes up for renewal.

Don’t let evil Jacbo come between you and your dream of dropping a coconutty knowledge bomb on the web!

7 people have commented. What do you think?
10
May

Discount Pharmaceuticals – Get ’em While They’re Hot!

Hello. I am the former Nigerian prince, Haskdjwoijg Nyorksdfi. I have selected you to be my heir, and have $500 million to be wired to your bank account immediately. Please contact me immediately so that we may set up the transfer of funds. And if you act now, I will provide you with a large stock of viagra and cialis I recently came into possession of. When our business is concluded, I will send you an e-card to thank you for your timely response. I look forward to doing business with you.

I’m an “IT professional.” I often tweet about this. You knew it was coming. Just a few small things to take note of to better protect yourself on the internet. You’re welcome.

You wouldn’t believe how often I get this all-too-familiar panicked phone call: “OMG! I’m getting all these pop-ups on my screen, there’s an anti-virus program that says I’m infected with 4,672 viruses, and my computer keeps trying to eat my hand! HELP!”

Congratulations. You’ve got the digital clap.

So what do you do now?

You’ve already called me. Good job. But I’m going to give you a few guidelines that will help protect you from having to make that embarrassing phone call in the first place, provided you follow them. So please pay attention.

Evil VirusAntivirus Software Recommendation

Invest in proper anti-virus software. Here’s a good one: GFI Vipre. Ditch the Norton Antivirus. Not only is it a less effective scanner, but it’s notorious for hogging resources and bloating/slowing down computers. It’s also far more expensive, comparatively. Vipre is effective, fast, light, and costs $30/year. Buy it now. And no, I did not get paid to plug this product. I’ve only been using it everywhere for over two years now, and can personally attest to it being a good product.

Online Protection is 25% Antivirus Software, 75% Common Sense

No one antivirus system can effectively block 100% of all malicious software. Good a/v is an important baseline, but real protection comes from using common sense and safe browsing habits. Don’t visit questionable web sites (lay off the porn), and be extremely careful when using your email (more on this in a moment).

Keep an Eye on Your Address Bar

If you think you’re on Facebook.com, but the site in your address bar says something like, “http://ihatepandas.com” or “http://142.48.72.108 …” you aren’t actually on Facebook. This is called a “phishing attack,” and it means you’ve just been tricked into visiting a malicious site designed to masquerade as a legitimate online service, and steal personal data or install bad software on your computer. Fish are tasty and healthy. Phish are evil and taste like betrayal.

Email is Dangerous

It’s a sad fact, but we can’t get around using it. So be careful. DO NOT click a link in an email without confirming the address it’s actually pointing to. DO NOT open an attachment from someone you don’t know, or even if you weren’t expecting it. DO NOT even think about opening an attachment that ends with “.zip” or “.exe” unless… No, just don’t. And e-cards? Forget it. When was the last time someone actually sent you one of those, anyway? E-cards are so 2001 – so don’t bother with them, just delete. Trust me.

Just a Few More on Email

Sorry. Prince Haskdjwoijg is never going to send you money. Those viagra pills are fake. E-cards are the devil.¬†FedEx will never send you tracking data in an attachment. An online service will never “update their systems” requiring you to give them your password via email. And when in doubt, pick up the phone and call tech support (or a friend in IT) for verification. The only stupid question is the one left unasked.

If these points help anyone, even remotely, then I consider this post a success. Just remember, common sense is key. Keep your eyes open, and if you find that you’ve fallen victim to number three, consider changing your password(s). Here’s a great post on keeping your passwords strong: The Top Ten Commandments of Password Protection (edit: original link was to an article on Securityphile,¬†written by Jason, but he’s since removed the article). You don’t have to follow all of them, but the more you do, the better.

I’m always happy to answer questions! Comment here, send me an email, or grab me on Twitter.


Part 2 of this post can be found here: Digitally Transmitted Diseases 101.

5 people have commented. What do you think?
5
May

Read This Before Tazing Yourself – Because Knowing is Half the Battle

I had this story “starred” in my Gmail mailbox from a while ago, and just read it again. The first time I read it, I laughed so hard, I nearly keeled over onto the floor in front of my desk.

For the record, I still think it’d be hella cool to taze myself.


Pigeon Tasers“Last weekend, I saw something at Larry’s Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked¬†my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary, and I was looking for a¬†little something extra for my wife, Julie. What I came across was a¬†100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized¬†taser. The effects of the¬†taser¬†were¬†supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your¬†assailant, allowing you adequate time to retreat to safety.

 

Way too cool. Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing, and pushed the button. Nothing!

I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button and¬†pressed it against a metal surface at the same time, I’d get the blue arc¬†of¬†electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Awesome!¬†Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the¬†face of her microwave.

So I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself, “It¬†couldn’t be all that bad with only two AAA batteries, right?”

There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (the trusting little soul), while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh and blood moving target. I must admit, I thought about zapping Gracie, even if only for a fraction of a second, but thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So there I sat, in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, taser in the other.

The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your¬†assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a¬†major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly¬†make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water.¬†Any burst¬†longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries. All the while,¬†I’m looking at this little device measuring about 5 inches long, less than 3/4¬†inch in circumference, loaded with two itsy, bitsy AAA batteries, and thinking to myself, “No possible way!”

What happened next is almost beyond description.

I’m sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side¬†as if to say, “Don’t do it, you idiot,” reasoning that a one-second burst from¬†such a tiny little thing couldn’t hurt all that badly. I decided to give¬†myself a one-second burst just for hell of it. I touched the prongs to my¬†naked thigh, pushed the button, and…

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION WHAT THE HELL!

I’m pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up¬†in¬†the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over, and¬†over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position,¬†with tears in my eyes, my body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles¬†nowhere to be found, my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest¬†position, and tingling in my legs.

The cat was making meowing sounds I had never heard before, clinging to a picture frame hanging above the fireplace, obviously in an attempt to avoid getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room.

Please note: If you ever feel compelled to “mug” yourself with a¬†taser, take¬†caution: There is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap¬†yourself! You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by your¬†violent thrashing about on the floor. A three-second burst would be¬†considered¬†conservative.

SON OF A BITCH, THAT HURT LIKE HELL!

A minute or so later (I can’t be sure, as time was a relative thing at that¬†point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up, and surveyed¬†the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace.¬†The recliner was upside down and about eight feet from where it¬†originally was. My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still¬†twitching.

My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I had no control over the drooling. Apparently, I had shit myself, but was too numb to know for sure, and my sense of smell was gone. I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head which, I believe to have come from my hair.

I’m still looking for my testicles, and I’m offering a significant reward for¬†their safe return!

P. S. My wife loved the gift, and now regularly threatens me with it!”


Story over. So what lesson can we take home from this? Always have a spotter ready before you taze yourself. You’re welcome.

 

7 people have commented. What do you think?
3
May

Congratulations – You Have 952,127,998 Seconds to Live

What would you do if you knew exactly when you were going to die?

I often joke that if I did (and if it was soon), I would go rob a bank. Just to see if I could pull it off. Get in there, execute my plan, and then… Leave the money. A dead man needs no money. But a (soon to be) dead man invariably feels the need to be remembered after he’s gone. And what better way to accomplish that then to pull off the perfect heist, and not even take anything? That’s the kind of stuff people don’t soon forget.

You can point out all the things wrong with what I just said in a comment to this entry.

A little while ago, I came across a web site that piqued my curiosity: The Death Clock. If only it were that simple – to be able to fill in a few personal details, and learn the scheduled time of my death!

Death Clock

The only time such a big number can seem so small.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I was quite shocked to learn that I wouldn’t make it past 55. To see the supposed year of your death and realize it’s only 30 years away is a little sobering. But 30 years – that’s still a while yet, isn’t it? Think of all you could do in 30 years, all you could accomplish! But then again, think of all you wouldn’t have the time to do in that relatively short amount of time.

Then I made a little discovery. This web site has a little drop-down list labelled, “Mode.” I realized that your selection from either Normal, Pessimistic, Sadistic or Optimistic has a huge bearing on how long it calculates you will live. So I told it I was an optimistic person. Boom. Just added 35 years to my life. Holy crap.

Although a web site can calculate how many caffeinated beverages will kill you, it can’t calculate when you’re going to die. But a site that initially seemed like nothing more than a gimmick suddenly seems like so much more. I’ve always believed in the mind’s power over the body. Why, then, did it take a stupid little form on a web site, and a pop-up telling me when I was going to die, to make me think about it so seriously?

I admit that I’m a cynic, and although I don’t necessarily consider myself a pessimist, I know I used to be far more positive about everything when I was younger. Maybe, sometimes, that was because I was naive. But maybe, sometimes, I had the right idea. In everything that happens in life, there’s a silver lining. Sometimes it’s harder to see, but it’s still there. You just have to look a little harder. Sometimes we get stressed, and sometimes it looks like the odds are stacked against us. But it could always be worse. And (rather unfortunately) there is always going to be someone in the world who has it worse.

Think about it. Count your blessings. Look for the small amount of good in every bad situation, and focus on that. With practice, it’ll become second nature, and I absolutely believe that you will live longer as a result.

Me? Well, I think of what I could do with those extra 35 years, and I want them.

So, a question for you, because I’m still curious. It doesn’t have to be morbid. Let’s just have some fun. If you knew you only had one more year to live, what would you do with your last year?

1 person has commented. What do you think?