M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, March 31, 2003  

Reader Mail Slot, Epiode XI

I have the best readers in the world, you know. I realize that a lot of you maintain your own online diaries and journals and blogs, and I respect your efforts. Some of you even inspired me to get into this in the first place. But compared to my readers, your readers suck. Unless they also read me, in which case they’re the best readers in the world. So hang on to those readers, other online diarists/journalers/bloggers. You won’t be getting better ones. Because mine—and the ones I share with you—are the best.

Seriously, these people are totally looking out for me. I’m not just talking about Victoria, who thoughtfully sent me a news story further supporting my long-held thesis that Clear Channel is evil (an executive summary: Clear Channel-owned radio stations have been sponsoring rallies in support of the government, which is currently hearing cases and complaints about Clear Channel. And then Clear Channel News covers those rallies. Evil!). I’m also talking about readers like B. Loppe, who brought an accessibility issue to my attention:

I dunno what the problem is, but for some reason none of your entries have loaded properly for the last week. The links from DHAK send me to the March 19 entry. Sometimes, by clicking the archives link for March, I can read all of the entries except the most recent one, but sometimes even that doesn't work.

Thanks to B.’s heads-up, I was able to immediately scramble my cadre of tech-support mavens to address the problem. In other words, I clicked the “forward” button on my Hotmail screen and sent it off to Blogger. I hope it works now. If it doesn’t, B. is reading this a week in the future! B., I hate to ask you for another favor, but could you send some early-April stock prices back to me here in the last day of March? Thanks a bunch.

Thanks also to Lori, who cleared up my confusion about the incredibly cheap and easy mortgage refinance we just did:

I just read your latest entry and had to comment. I work for said company and process mortgages. Time$aver refi's are a processor's dream, they go so quickly. The whole idea is to have a product that saves your customers time and hassle and makes them want to be a customer for life. Plus, we make money off of other loans. The percentage of Time$avers is pretty small compared to all the other type of loans we do.

And yet the percentage of refi’s I got this year that were Time$avers (and how much do I love that word?) comes out to an even one hundred percent. I daresay I got the fuzz-free end of that particular lollipop.

It's nice to see someone happy about doing business with my company. Basically, I'm just a big dork and when I read your post... Feel free to mock. ;)

Hey, everyone, look at the dork! She’s happy that people are happy with her company! She’s proud of her employer! I bet she even likes her job!!! God, what a…what a…

I’m sorry, I just need a moment.

Okay. I’m back. I guess I’m a little emotional, what with the sleep deprivation and all. But my readers, like Eden, are even helping out with that:

Put the spray bottle by the bed and point in the general direction of the caterwauling. You can do this without actually getting out of bed or opening your eyes. This seems to work on my most obnoxious cat, who after the 3rd or 4th shot jumps into bed and falls promptly asleep.

That’s a good suggestion, but I don’t have that kind of patience. So instead I invested in a pistol that shoots tranquilizer darts. I want to hear bang-squeak-thump. It’s working okay so far, but my aim isn’t so good with my eyes closed in the dark at 4:00 in the morning. Some of our furniture is starting to look pretty sleepy. And getting Trash out of bed in the morning has become quite the battle.

Like me, mnvnjnsn (is that a Fish Called Wanda reference?) is starting to wonder whether the cats know something we don’t:

I, too, have been awake every morning for the past week because of my cat. He would start meowing at around four, then pace about the bed, then finally knock breakable things onto the floor until I got up to let him out. And, as soon as I got back into bed, he would claw at the screen door to be let back in.

At first, I thought it was because Newman was concerned about his paper route. But what cat can successfully complete a paper route in the time it takes me to walk from the back door into the next room and get back into bed?

My other cats soon started to follow suit, and now four in the morning has become a flurry of activity, what with the cat fights, the sofa scratching, the caterwauling
[there’s that word again]and whatnot.

I don't have any recommendations for remedying this problem, but I eat cookies while I wait for them to tire themselves out. Cookies and Vicodin.

When Strat first came to live with us, he was extremely nocturnal. He’d sleep all day and then spend the whole night jumping on our faces. Then we hit on the idea of manually adjusting his internal clock. I’m not talking about cracking him open and fiddling with jumper switches or anything. We just had any number of daytime activities or conversations that were abruptly interrupted by the following exchange:

“Where’s Strat? What’s he doing?”

“Is he sleeping?”


And we would, and Strat would say, in Cat, “WhaaaaaAAAAAT?”

Eventually it worked. I think it’s probably time for a readjustment. Trash and I just have to decide which one of us is going to have to take a day off work this week to keep him awake. But at least that’ll be easier than getting him off the Vicodin. God, he loves that stuff.

Lacrosse Dude came to my rescue on another front: that of the dirty little secret of digital cable:

I had to dumpster dive my parents old broken VCR so I could leave the house at a certain time slot. I was sad - my 2 VCR's were no longer enough - three shows in one time slot meant no going out.

LD Followed that up with highly technical instructions involving extra VCRs, cable splitters, digital terminals, S video, and some words I didn’t understand. Even so, I was game to give it a shot. But the results weren’t quite what I expected. I was testing the setup by taping VH1 while watching CBS, and by some mistake in wiring that I’ve yet to fully understand, I appear to have become the president of Viacom. Weird. I’d cancel Survivor this minute, but apparently I’m just a figurehead.

At least I didn’t break anything, unlike when I tried to wash my scarf. Wrecking my own stuff has led to a surprising amount of support from my readers. For instance, Eric Neely had this to say:

Yeah, you might have expected me to talk about your little Scarf Down post, but no such luck -- I'm here to talk about the Thundercats, and, in particular, Snarf.Wasn't he just the biggest waste of cartoon airtime ever? Where there any kids begging their parents for the fucking Snarf action figure?

You know, I was worried that my posts were getting too linear.

Theryn, a reader who seems to know a thing or two about knitting, helped me look on the bright side:

As a general rule, drying anything that is knitted is probably a bad idea. It sounds like your scarf is wool which means you felted it. You should be excited; felting is the most popular trend going in knitting now and you figured it out on your own.

Really? Because I felt horrible.

Oh, stop looking at me like that. I’m not sorry.

Something else I’m not sorry about is how I made you notice the way radio commercial actors never seem to pause for breath. How can I feel bad for you when regular reader (and writer) Kelly was forced to create that effect for a living? And then unfairly blamed for it by me?

I used to work for a recording studio as an audio engineer, and one of the things we did was this B2B project called "Newstrack"…For two years my main job was recording, and then editing, these pieces. During the editing process, one of the most common methods of cutting time (these voice over folks tend to run long) is to “cut out any pauses or unnecessary breathing” (my producer's words, not mine).

I appreciate the fact that Kelly seems to recognize the absurdity of the phrase “unnecessary breathing.”

It's not all that cutting edge, and it's not even really our (by "our" I mean the overzealous recording engineer) fault, because what the producers want, the producers get.

Especially if they work for Clear Channel.

It's just a matter of a quick cut and paste in digital performer or pro tools, a little smoothing around the edges, and wham, the poor schmuck who did the voice over sounds like he's oxygen deprived. A few times I actually even had to speed up the entire article to fit it, and while I managed to keep him from sounding like he'd just sucked the life out a helium balloon, he definitely sounded like he needed to cut back on the cappuccino.

That’s one reason why blogging is better than radio. Can you imagine what this site would look like if I had to cut out my paragraph breaks, margins, and all those space between letters and words just to fit into a specific space? Especially on Reader Mail days, when I already sometimes edit people’s hard-typed missives so aggressively for length that they look like someone dropped a piano on them? Well, you don’t have to, because I can just tell you it would look like a featureless black brick. If Clear Channel ever buys Blogger from Google, I'm outta here.

Okay, even though I basically have unlimited space, my time is anything but. So let’s wrap this up already.

Ever hear the phrase “mnemonic device” to describe some phrase or rhyme that’s designed to help you remember something? The word “mnemonic” comes from Mnemosyne, the ancient Greek goddess of memory. Significantly, so does this month’s last e-mail:

I just read your entry for today (re: bar trivia), and I couldn't help but point out (as I'm sure others will), that generally speaking: “A pint's a pound the world around.”

Normally, I’d come up with some brilliant way to say “shut up,” except for the sad fact that in any discussion, a rhyming couplet is a rhetorical nuke. Which is why O. J. Simpson is a free man today. Damn you, Mnemosyne! If an argument rhymes, it can’t be—something that…rhymes with…dammit!

Anyway, I just thought I'd pass on that little nugget for future reference. Might come in handy in future bar quizzes.

You know what else might come in handy? Knowing the name of the ancient Greek goddess of memory. If only I had some sort of mnemonic device…

Now, what was my theme again?

posted by M. Giant 3:32 PM 0 comments


Post a Comment

Listed on BlogShares www.blogwise.com
buy my books!
professional representation
Follow me on Twitter
other stuff i