Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fascinating people

Today, I had another occasion (my last, I expect) to interact with a rather fascinating individual.

He isn't fascinating because of his wit or intellect or knowledge or anything that he has. Rather, he's fascinating for all the things that he lacks.

For example, this person (let me call him "Rainman" for reasons that I think will become obvious) and I share a mutual acquantance (Claudia [not her real name]) - someone who's company I generally enjoy. At Claudia's urging, I was called in to help Rainman learn how to use a computer that was given to him as a present. Rainman is an Artiste - he writes poetry, plays guitar and piano, does the odd bit of Art, and so forth - so I didn't expect that he had a lot of computer knowledge. What I did expect, however, was that Rainman would demonstrate some interest in learning; after all, he was given the computer just so he could use it to write his poetry. However, over the course of the dozen hours (spanning several visits) I spent going over things with him, he never seemed to be able to retain any of the information I presented to him. Even using the graphic metaphors displayed on the computer, he was unable (and still is, judging from what I heard today) to grasp the idea that one of his poems was a document inside a folder on the computer. During my visit today, Rainman (again) asked how he could store his poems in such a way that he could find them again. Fortunately, Claudia jumped in and asked me to show HER so that she could show HIM. When Claudia and I went to where Rainman's computer was, he followed us - and as I started demonstrating how to do different things (giving Claudia plenty of time to take notes, which Rainman NEVER wanted to do despite my suggestions), Rainman began banging around on the upright piano in the same room. I quietly asked Claudia if Rainman was really that indifferent to what he was doing, or if he was actually that socially oblivious; all she could offer in reply was a weak smile...

In another example, the three of us have gotten into discussions (which Rainman professes to enjoy for the 'stimulation') on various subjects; each and every time we've done so, Rainman has demonstrated a stubbornness and obtuseness that is, well, fascinating to witness. He simply refuses to use the same words in the same way as those he is having the discussion with - when we got onto the subject of "Entrapment" (don't ask), Claudia and I were using the legal definition in a legal context for all the examples we used; Rainman was determined - despite my, and Claudia's, explicit explanation of how WE were using it - to use the dictionary definition in a legal context. Needless to say, we went around in circles for quite some time before I realized where the problem lay.

Today's incident (which is what convinces me that I'm better off not visiting Rainman) came about because Rainman stubbornly refused to accept that someone else might have an opinion that differed from his own. The context was that IF the government continued to inject itself into the private lives of citizens AND continued to implement policies that progressively opressed the public AND removed other alternatives (such as legal or civil actions), that some of the American people might consider themselves obliged to implement a forcible change in government (a second Revolution, if you will). Rainman is (apparently) so totally anti-violence that he simply couldn't accept anything like that happening, and refused to concede even the possibility: he didn't LIKE it, and so ignored it - except that he kept trying to argue the subject by insisting that there were other ways - the very ones that were premised to have been eliminated BEFORE violent action would be taken.

Now, I come from an engineering/technical background, and I freely admit that I'm sometimes more literal and fixed in my thinking than is necessarily appropriate. However, I don't think that I'm being unreasonable to expect people to be rational, coherent, at least a little consistent, and willing to consider how new information impacts what they already know/believe. If they're able to demonstrate some measure of courtesy, consideration for others, and the like, so much the better.

Sadly, Rainman doesn't seem able/willing to do any of that; knowing how he is, I choose not to put myself into a position where I have to deal with his "excentricities"...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Here of late, I've been left a number of voice mails from several different people.

The thing is, not one of them has left a message consisting of anything more than "This is __________. Call me at 800-XXX-XXXX". A couple of them have said 'please' before the 'call me' part, but that's the exception, rather than the rule.

Observe that they have indicated neither what organization they're with (I'm figuring a toll-free number means they're not just ordinary peeps), nor what the hell it is they want to talk to me about.

Being the contrary and obstinate bastage that I am, I have absolutely no interest in finding out who they are or what they want: I simply don't care enough to want to find out. I suppose that sooner or later, one of them is going to manage to catch me at home, and I'll find out what the deal is then; in the mean time, their inconsiderate messages are costing them a fair amount of time and money -- and to no purpose.

Monday, January 7, 2008


That's short for Self-Inflicted Wound.

That's how Elf, my cat, almost invariably manages get herself into trouble -- even though I sometimes 'facilitate' the process like this:

After my last post, I got home and opted to enjoy some nachos. About halfway through them, Elf turned up and took note of the fact that I was eating something.

Her first considered action was to check it out by sniffing the general direction of the nachos from several different locations. Satisfied that there really, truly was something edible in the area, she proceeded to begin stropping my ankles in an attempt to get me to share. When that didn't work quickly enough, she went on to standing up so she could reach out and pat my arm to get my attention -- clearly, I simply hadn't noticed her.

Having gotten me to recognize her presence, she went on to try and convince me that

  • She really did like nacho cheese (despite never having had them before),
  • Nacho cheese is good for cats (all those vitamins and nutrients, you know),
  • She was all but starved to death, anyway (never mind the kibbles in the kitchen)

Her efforts included silent meows (too starved to make any noise), licking her lips (honest, she likes nachos - a lot), sitting up (yes, like a dog!), and headbutting my leg.

I ignored her for as long as I could (they were, after all, MY nachos; nor did I want to be stuck in my apartment with a gassy cat), then tried telling her that I really didn't think that she'd like them even if I did give her some -- but she was so determined and insistent that I finally gave in. As I figured would happen, she thought the cheese was simply delicious.

Right up to the point that she got ahold of one of the jalapenos -- whereupon she promptly fluffed up and started trying to spit her tongue out while tearing around the apartment.


Sunday, January 6, 2008


I gotta work on this...

h/t to the Wiseass Jooette

Adventures at Wally World

I made one of my infrequent forays into Wal*Mart today, and finished the experience with mixed reactions caused by:
  • Somebody's little cookie-cruncher running amok when it's mother captured it, gave it a swat on the backside, and relocated it to a cage (well, the shopping cart, but...).
  • A herd of water buffalo having a confab -- not just in the middle of the big main highway that circles the inside of the store, but located so that there wasn't any easy/convenient way around them. Demonstrating the patience, tact, and courtesy that I'm widely renowned for, I tried a couple of (progressively stronger) "Excuse me!"s before resorting to asking them "Would you dumbasses mind taking it somewhere else so the rest of us can get through here?". They didn't seem to appreciate my forbearance...
  • After departing the store, I was obliged to putter along in my car behind the couple of shitbirds that felt compelled to wander down the middle of the parking lot lane.