Happy Thoughts for Friday

The glass isn't half-empty; it's half-full. Of cyanide.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then pictures by children are worth a thousand little words. Words like, "Is this your abstract phase? What's that supposed to be? I've seen modern art better than this. Are you color blind, or just missing some crayons from the box? Did you get any color on the inside of the lines? Was the light off in the art room? Maybe you should take up a different hobby, like paper shredding."

I'm not bothered by the hours spent sitting in traffic. I like to think of it as time for myself, breathing in carbon monoxide.


Little Jokes for Wednesday

I wonder:
Is a fish prostitute called a hooker?

Does she have a tough roe to ho?


When I am King: Shop Till You Drop Dead

When I am King...

Zombie movies will be easier to make.

There's a recurring theme of zombies in pop culture. There are movies every year about them, songs about their zany flesh-eating antics, and a firm idea in the collective consciousness about these endearing flesh-eating creatures. The story is always roughly the same; some disease ravaged our society and somehow produced creatures that have a hankering for human flesh. They're basically like us, but with less of a hangup about cannibalism and slightly worse personal hygiene.

I believe that popular entertainment is a reflection of our fantasies and fears. We fantasize about wielding chainsaws and massacring hordes of people, while we fear another high school musical sequel.

So what is it about zombies that captures the public imagination? Is it their listless look as they stumble through life like a teenager in math class? Is it the shy and retiring way that they feast on brains? Or is it just that they provide more interesting target practice than cans and the neighbor's cat?

I would argue that zombies are real, and that these movies are actually documenting an important social phenomenon that we are all trying to understand.

I see zombies every time I go shopping in Costco.

I was shopping last weekend, noticing that everyone around me was slowly shuffling along, pushing their cart. They looked slowly around the shelves with dull, confused eyes. They grabbed flats of cookies and gallon jugs of mayonnaise. And they kept moving forward in their ambling gate, lurching from one foot to the other in an effort to just keep shopping. They didn't notice me or any of the other undead in the store. Carts bumped, feet were rolled over, and nobody noticed. They all just kept moving along on their zombie shopping excursion.

The only thing missing from the scene was blood-smeared bodies and the smacks of zombie feasting. Then I passed the food court of the store and got that too; faces covered in ketchup and fudge sauce completed the experience.

When I am King, zombie movies won't use actors and far-fetched stories to explain the undead. Instead, filmmakers will just take their cameras to these stores and roll film. A few screams to enhance the soundtrack and they'll be done. This will free up the movie industry to put more effort into other fictional masterpieces, like more high school musical sequels.


When I am King: Kindleness of Strangers

When I am King...

E-Books will be cheaper.

Or at least my e-books will be.

Okay, so this is just a cheap ad. But heck, it's a cheap book.

I just knocked nearly a buck off the selling price of the Kindle version of When I Am King..., taking it down to the low, low price of $2.99.

But wait, there's more...
No, scratch that. That's all I had to say. Same book, cheaper price == more laughs per dollar.

So hurry up and order yours before they run out of bytes.


Geek Jokes 0000 1000

Do church servers have mass storage?

Q: Why is religion like a programming language?
A: It's all about the sin tax.


When I am King: Be All You Can't Be

When I am King...

We will all be imposters.

I've had this nagging feeling through many years of university and every job I've had since. I feel that I have landed where I am not through merit, accomplishment, or actual intelligence, but rather through some magical coincidence and general mistaken belief by others that I am someone entirely different and better than the person I know myself to be. I am, essentially, an impostor.

On one hand, it seems like something that's not so horrible; lucky me if I can achieve at a level impossibly above my potential. On the other hand, it's followed by a feeling of guilt and fear. Guilt that I'm occupying the spot that should be rightfully held by someone far cleverer than I. And fear that one day I will be found out and will soon make my living dispensing carts at Walmart. And still, I'd have a feeling that I was unqualified for the work. (Am I saying "Have a nice day!" too forcefully? Does my blue polyester vest ill-fit me appropriately?)

I heard, recently, that this is a common feeling, called the Impostor Syndrome. Apparently, others have this same feeling about themselves. Which means that if you feel like you don't belong, then you should feel right at home.

The fact that psychologists have named and documented this syndrome should make me feel better. If others feel this way, then maybe I'm not so far out of whack, after all. But instead, I find myself wondering whether I should feel more out of place than I do. Am I as good an impostor as I can be? Perhaps these other impostors impost better than my amateurish imposting. Perhaps there's someone out there that would fit in better because they would feel more out of place than I do.

Meanwhile, the workforce of our society malingers in this cesspool of self-doubt, unable to achieve to its full potential because of the emotional energy being spent on sheer adequateness. The productivity lost to internal feelings of ineptitude is staggering.

When I am King, everyone will be an impostor. No longer will we wonder whether we are good enough in our roles, because we will be placed in jobs for which we are wholly unqualified to begin with. Engineering students will become social workers, forced to work with people and issues that they've spent their entire lives trying to avoid. Beauticians will be employed as butchers, accountants as performance artists, and mimes as talk show hosts. Politicians can stay politicians, because they are already perfectly unsuited for what they are elected to do.

No longer will we have these nagging self-doubts about whether we're doing the right thing in life and whether our peers wonder how we got there. Instead, it will be clear to us and to everyone else that we are exactly the wrong person for the job. And so are they. We can finally get past the doubt and insecurity and get down to the business of confidently screwing up our work.

Note that I will keep my position as King, for which I am imminently unqualified. Although I do sometimes wonder whether I'm really unqualified enough...


When I am King: Age-Old Logic

When I am King...

There will be no more aging.

Obviously I am not proposing stopping people from growing old. We’ll always have older people around, driving slowly in the left lane with the blinker on, saying completely inappropriate things in loud voices, and telling the rest of us that we don’t call home often enough.

But what I can and will change is our age.

Time marches on, minute by minute, day by day, and year by year. Even when it seems like time is standing still, like when you’re in line at the DMV or you’re sitting next to someone on the subway that’s talking on a mobile phone in tedious detail about every one of her children. Even then, time is racing by, pushing us further toward the cliff of our existence into the chasm of our not.

And as the years roll by, they add to our age, one by one. Another birthday cake eaten, another year gone.

Some try to cheat the system by simply telling people the wrong number for their age. But everyone knows. And it's rather sad.

But there’s a better way. Why change the number when we can change the number system?

For millennia, humans have used the decimal system, in base 10. I suppose this came from our having ten fingers available, but that makes it a cruel joke that we’re taught not to count on our fingers in school.

But haven’t we lived with that system long enough? Don’t you think we’ve gotten smarter in the last couple thousand years? Did Plato have reality TV? No, he just had reality. Did Copernicus have the internet? Of course not; he just had the galaxy. Did Benjamin Franklin have glasses? Well, yes, but they probably looked a lot dumber than today’s designer glasses and certainly cost far less. And he certainly didn’t have contact lenses that he could lose, tear, and have to replace every few days.

So isn’t it time that we had a shiny new number system, too? In fact, we should have several to represent the fact that our society is complex, diverse, and horribly bad at math.

When I am King, our age will be kept artificially low by increasing the base that we count in. For example, if you are about to enter your 40th year, then you might tell people, truthfully, that you are 37 (in base 11). Or if you are feeling particularly spritely, you can tell them that you’re having your 28th birthday (in base 16).

Or if you’re feeling young and completely nerdy, you can say that you’re 2A (in base 15).

The system also works in reverse. If you’re only 14 and you feel you really really need that six-pack of beer, then you can tell the clerk at the 7-11 that you’re 22 (in base 6).

No longer will people have to construct elaborate and pathetic lies about their age; they can simply tell the truth while using the power of Math.

Remember: It’s not how old you are, but how old you feel... like telling everyone you are.