Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wow! This is COOL!

Fort Worth, Texas; 04/27/06; For Immediate Release

Amalgamated Aardvark Industries, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aardvark Worldcorp N.A. (not affiliated with Aardvark Sushi and Bait, Aardvark Tattoo and Tea Parlor, or Aardvark Fashion Consulting and Farm Supply), has a product in development that will completely transform the field of written electronic communications.

Intent-chek®

How many times have you carefully crafted a missive only to discover that ewe used the wrong homophone, punctuated poor’ly, left words, done made grammatical errors, used wrong words that may of may not have shared betters with the word you thought you were typing, or just realized that what you wrote had another meaning entirely (Honestly, Honey? Those jeans DO make your butt look phat!). And naturally, your discovery is made AFTER the email has left your control.

Let’s face it, Spell-Check can only do so much. Which is why Amalgamated Aardvark Industries is working so hard on Intent-check®. Intnt-chek®’s advanced algorithms will recognize what you MEANT to say and make sure you have a change to chance your words BEFORE its to late.

Imagine the peace and prosperity that Entent-cheque® will bring!

Our software ingeneers are working night and day on this exciting new product and have promised to have it ready to ship by __/__/__ (do we have a date yet?)

In fact, this very News Releese was produced using our Intint-chek® beta!!!

Investors interested in funding future Amalgamated Aardvark Industries productucts, should direct their inquiries to: thisisnotascam.no.really.Iwouldneverripyouoff@allthingsaardvark.com. Please be sure to include your bank account number and routing information.

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    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world

    So, let’s say I’m a guy. (So far, so good) And let’s say I have little to no command of the English language (again, so far, so good), but I am fluent in Spanish. (Ok, this is where the similarities start to break down) And let’s say I manage to ingest a sufficient quantity of mood/mind altering substances so that I’m no longer in my normal, controlled behavioral patterns. (Hmmm. Maybe it’s best to jump off this band wagon before it rolls over me)

    Now, just for the sake of speculation, let’s say I wander over to a neighbor’s house where I break in by smashing a window and crawling through. 911 is called. I produce a knife, though whether I had it with me when I broke in or whether I picked it up in the kitchen is not really clear. Not content to open the door and simply walk out, I break another window to make my exit. Extra style points are earned.

    Somewhere along the line, though I can’t imagine where or how, I’ve manage to cut myself. So, I sit down with my knife on the front steps of my neighbor’s house to think things over. For civility's sake, we’ll forgo any speculation on whether or not I’ve managed to retain my pants. Oh, what the heck…I haven’t. Is that so wrong? Hater.

    The police arrive and begin demanding in English and Spanish that I put down the knife. Instead, I decide to walk towards the police, showing them the pointy end of my knife. I fall, but I continue to crawl towards the police while waving the knife about. It’s a good thing I’m not drunk or high or both, because I think I’d really look like an idiot. Oh, wait. I am. I am an idiot. I am an idiot with a knife.

    The police, instead of just shooting me for being an idiot with a knife (too much paperwork involved after the fact to make it worth their while), attempt to taser me, but miss. Since I’m still holding the knife, and I’m still an idiot, I continue moving towards the police. Granted, I’m on my hands and knees, but for some reason the police still feel threatened by my swinging knife. Thinking that it would be A Very Good Thing if, perhaps, I was not holding a knife, they taser me again, this time with success. I drop the knife, though I still manage to retain my idiot status, and I continue to struggle and resist while they put the handcuffs on me.

    Paramedics are called to treat my cuts and as they are working on me, my heart stops and I die.

    Now, the question must be asked: who is logically at fault for my death?

    To which, there can only be one right answer.

    The police.

    Naturally.

    At least that’s what my family claims, though if I were the police, I’d blame the neighbor’s. After all, it’s their fault the police were even there.

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    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Ice Age 2

    Saw this on Saturday with the EAC.

    Can I just say?

    POSSUMS!

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    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    In the words of Admiral Ackbar

    “IT’S A TRAP!”

    So, I get to work this morning to find that MY internet is back on, but several of my coworkers still don’t have access.

    Oh, sure, they SAY that they started bringing back up the hiring managers first, but I think they just wanted a smaller pool of suspects.

    As Indy’s friend told him after uncovering a tomb filled with poisonous snakes, "It could be dangerous. You go first."

    (And no, I’m really not that paranoid, but it makes good copy…)

    [Editor's Note - 7 PM

    Ok, I'm not sure this is going to work all that great.

    First of all, they (work) added all the legal gobbledygook to my email and so that shows up, which means I'll need to email to Yahoo or my home ISP and then edit and forward from there.

    And second of all, hard returns are double spacing instead of single spacing.

    And third of all, editing reveals all sorts of HTML code that evidently is embedded in my email (fonts, font size, spans and who knows what else), probably because I have HTML selected as my default style (instead of plain text). Which is all ok, I guess, unless you actually want to, you know, EDIT the thing to remove all the extra lines and legal clauses ('cause I'm OCD about some things), in which case all that HTML stuff makes it hard to find what you actually wrote, so you're more than likely (at least in my case) to delete stuff you didn't intend to.

    Oh, well. It's too early to give up yet. I'll try posting by email a different way tomorrow.]

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    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Test Post

    Does this work?

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    A real Charlie Foxtrot

    It’s been over a week now since we’ve had internet access at work. I’m not sure what the problem is (I have some guesses, but this is one time when I’ve been working very hard to NOT know), only that the solutions so far have seemed to make absolutely no difference.

    My guess is that, once they get the electron bucket hooked back up, they will be doing a lot more monitoring of folks usage and wanderings than they used to. Not that I’m paranoid or anything, but it’s good to remember that, sometimes, even if you ARE paranoid, they really ARE after you.

    Which is my way of saying I’m going to have to figure out a plan B for posting. I think I can do it by email – I seem to recall Nate talking about that some good while back. We’ll see.

    Anyway, I’m sending this to my home email so I can cut and paste and post it later.

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    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    It's not just me!

    Service?

    We don't need no steenking service!

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    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Another case study

    And, just in case it goes long, I’ll give you the executive summary:
    Carn-swarned whipper-snappers! What do they teach them these days, anyway?
    Telling of my episode at the Post Office reminded me of another encounter I had recently.

    Mrs. A’s foot situation has provided me with several opportunities where, instead of showing off my mastery of the culinary arts, I merely had to procure dinner. On one such occasion, dinner consisted of deep-fried fish fillets, deep-fried corn meal batter (aka hush puppies), deep-fried potatoes – sliced neatly into long rectangular pieces, and various miscellaneous bits of deep-fried breading (crunchies!). Yes, it was Long John Silver’s night at the Aardvark house.

    Now, normally I don’t carry much in the way of change, preferring to empty my pockets at the end of each day. Sometimes, I’ll “carry over” a couple of quarters for that emergency Diet Dr. Pepper fix from the breakroom, but normally, unless I’ve purchased something else that day, I won’t have any change at all in my pocket. This day, however, was one of those days where I had purchased something earlier and so I had some loose change when it came time to pay for our meal.

    “That’ll be $17.19, sir.”

    “Here,” I said, placing a twenty on the counter. “Oh, and I think I have some change.” I fished (fish! Get it? Oh, never mind…) around in my pocket for just a bit and came out with a quarter and four pennies. I set these on top of the twenty and slid them towards the young lady.

    Now, this is the part where I can rant and rave about kids these days not knowing how to count change back or not knowing how to do math and the like, but really, my expectation was that she would just input the $20.29 into the register and have IT TELL HER that my change should be $3.10.

    Obviously, this was WAY TOO COMPLICATED for this young lady. She stopped and stared at the money on the counter. You could see the gears grinding. Finally, she came to the ONLY logical conclusion – this old dude was crazy. She picked up the twenty and the quarter and slid the four pennies back to me.

    “I’ll just take it out of this.”

    Which meant that instead of having four less coins in my pocket, I now had one more.

    Remembering that you do not want to irritate the people handling your food lest they do something to it while you aren’t looking, I did wait until I got outside to sigh, roll my eyes and shake my head.

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    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    You just can’t make this stuff up

    Back at the local branch of the United States Postal Service on Saturday. I needed to mail a CD (spring break pictures of the EAC and BFG – that’s the Eldest Aardvark Child and the Boy From Georgia for those of you who may not have been keeping up) to the EAC because she simply Can. Not. Wait. Another. Day. Actually, she’s been pretty patient. It’s just taken me longer than usual to burn them as I seem to have a glitch on the CDRW drive at home. (I haven’t figured out whether it’s a hardware or software problem yet, mostly because I don’t have time at the start of the day nor the patience at the end of the day to diagnose it. It’ll wait a little while longer) Which meant I had to RE-load the pictures back on to the camera and take it to work to have TheGuys® burn it for me. (TheGuys® are our PC support staff – some of the best I’ve ever seen, offering not only an air of friendliness and esprit de corps, but a heaping dose of competence as well. Truly a rare combination) Anyway, the CD had to be mailed Saturday. Or else.

    Leaving the semi-gimpy missus and the YAC in the car to bask in the joys of automotive AC, I decided, the task being somewhat basic, that I could, indeed, handle it without supervision. I stepped out of the car and turned to make my way into the building, thereby, coming too near to the truck parked next to me. You know, the big one with tinted windows, the front one of which was down about three inches? It’s really hard to see big, black dogs when they’re behind tinted glass. “ROW ROW ROW ROWLL ROW ROW!!!!” Which, loosely translated from the native Rottweiler means, “Fresh meat! Tasty snack! Come closer! I shall bite you, Large Ugly Squirrel!” I think the jar of my feet making contact with the pavement after a two-foot drop must have re-started my heart. I WAS relieved to see that I wasn’t (relieved, that is - probably only because I had gone just before leaving the house). I should have realized at that point that this little sortie wasn’t going to go the way we had planned it out back in the bunker.

    I made my way into the Post Office proper, got a padded envelope off the wall and took it to the table to address it. That done, I got in line where there was just one person ahead of me - a young mother with her approximately 15 month old daughter. (Okay, technically that’s TWO people, but they only took up ONE spot) We flirted for a while – the 15 month old and I, that is, and then they were beckoned to the open window. It being a small Post Office, I couldn’t help but overhear.

    “Can I help you?”

    “Yes, Ma’am. I just moved here a little while back and I haven’t been getting my mail. I was…”

    “You haven’t been getting your mail?”

    “No, Ma’am. And I know people have been sending me things because my employer mailed my paycheck three weeks ago and it never arrived.”

    “Did you put in a forwarding order?”

    “No, Ma’am, but that wouldn’t make any difference in this case. I’m not talking about mail that hasn’t been forwarded…”

    “You should have put in a forwarding order.”

    “I know, Ma’am, and I will, but I’m talking about mail sent to my CURRENT address not being delivered.”

    “Well, how long have you lived at your current address?”

    “About four weeks, Ma’am.”

    “And where did you live before?”

    “Where I lived before has nothing to do with why I’m here. I’m not getting my mail that’s addressed to where I live now.”

    “Oh, I see. And you didn’t put in a forwarding order.”

    “That’s not the problem. My employer sent my check to my current address and it was never delivered. I have yet to get ANY mail at my current address.”

    “You’re not getting mail now?”

    “No Ma’am.”

    “But you were before?”

    “Not at this address.”

    “And you haven’t told us to forward your mail?”

    “It’s not mail with my old address that’s the problem. It’s mail that’s being sent to my current address. I haven’t been getting it.”

    At this point, the Post Office Lady, seeing that the young woman just didn’t understand the importance of putting in a forwarding order, grabbed a pad of yellow Post-Its.

    “Ok, give me your name. Uh huh. And what is your current address. Okay. And what was your previous address?”

    “My previous address? I had someone send me a package last week to THAT address (pointing to the sticky note) and I haven’t received it yet. Ma’am, can you just go in the back and see if you have any mail for me back there? I was hoping it might just be here somewhere.”

    “Oh. They sent it last week? Well, your mail may be on the carrier’s truck to be delivered. I don’t know where he is on his route, though...”

    “Could you check NOW to see if there’s any mail being held for me?”

    “Oh. Yes. I’ll check.”

    And the Post Office Lady disappears into the back, yellow sticky in hand, for three or four minutes, only to reappear empty handed. Well, except for the sticky note, that is.

    “There was no mail in the back for you. Let me get your phone number. Ok, I’ll give this to the manager when he gets in. He’s not here yet.”

    The young woman eyed the yellow sticky dubiously. If she was thinking what I was thinking, her odds of winning the lottery were greater than the odds of that Post-It ever making it into the manager’s hands.

    “Is there a number where I can reach HIM?” she inquired.

    The Post Office Lady froze.











    “UuuuhhhhI’ll just give this to the manager and he’ll call you, okay?”

    ::sigh::

    “All right, Ma’am. Thank you.”

    “Have a nice day!”

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    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Alas, poor Rippy! I knew him, Horatio.

    Euripides (pronunciation: You-rippa-dees. As in – “Son! Euripides jeans? Whassamatta you?")

    Euripides has shuffled off this mortal coil. Of course, Euripides shuffled everywhere – he was a turtle. What would you expect? He was fine late last week and then yesterday…

    I’m guessing that Houdini and Max are also no longer with us, since they have yet to appear. FYI, turtles dig underground to hibernate through the winter. And we’ve had Euripides for about eight years and Houdini about five. Anyway, their absence and Rippy’s sudden demise leads me to believe that some sort of virus or disease got to them. Either that or the cold/hot/cold/hot winter we just had totally freaked out their systems. Maybe Max, being the newbie, was a carrier for a deadly strain of turtle pox. Who knows?

    I have the fun, fun job of telling the EAC, who’ll be upset if I tell her, and mad and upset if I don’t.

    ::sigh::

    Funeral services have yet to be arranged. Viewing will be held until sometime after I get home this evening.

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    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    Chutzpah unrewarded

    Students in Ennis schools were warned last week that if they walked out of class on Thursday, they would be suspended on Friday and not allowed to participate in any extracurricular weekend activities.

    About 100 students from the 6th grade through the 12th grade left classes or didn't show up at all for classes on Thursday.

    The district, doing what it said it would do, suspended the students. Which meant that the HS Seniors who walked out were not able to attend the Senior prom Saturday night.

    You should have heard them complaining about it on the news.

    The shocking part for me is not that they complained - I've come to expect that - but that the district stuck to its principles and didn't cave. The icing on the cake is this quote from Superintendent Mike Harper:
    One of the greatest gifts we give to immigrants and their families is a free public education, and it shows extraordinarily poor judgment for those who have received that gift to walk out on it.
    What he said.

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