b3ta.com user springjack
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American. Texan. Male. Married. Neo-Pagan. Beer geek. Writer. Want more info? Ask.

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» IT Support

Back compatibility?
...don't I wish.

Anyway, the year, my reader, is 1989. Or so -- I was stoned a lot then. See, I worked as a student assistant in a computer lab at a local community college whilst I was getting my own degree (in English, which I never got.)

Why was an English major working in the computer lab? Because my best friend was also my boss was also my dope dealer was also my roommate.

Two stories come to mind:

1) We had a mainframe computer on which the serious computer geeks learned to program in COBOL and FORTRAN and all those other archaic languages. It had been donated by a company that shall remain nameless but whose initials are IBM, and was 'experimental'.

Read, it was a piece of shit. One day, it just decided to stop compiling programs. No one could figure out why; computer technicians, my boss, and everyone from the guy who taught welding to my boss's girlfriend were beating on terminals, peering into the guts of this monstrosity, and otherwise trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

Nothing worked. The next morning, my boss walked in in a suit jacket. (This rarely, if ever, happened.) I figured out why when he pulled his 9mm pistol out from his waistband, set it on the main terminal, and said, "All right, fucker, compile."

And it did.

2) One of our students came in, an older gentleman who was going back to school. He was gray-faced, shaking, almost crying, and clutching a manila envelope. He went in my boss's office, and about twenty minutes passed. He then came back out and, wobbly-kneed, left the lab. Five minutes passed, then my boss came out, with a look that seemed to waver between hysterical laughter and tears -- and showed me what was in the envelope.

See, the guy had just upgraded from a computer with a 5.25" disk drive to a computer with a 3.5" disk drive.

And his wife had decided to be helpful.

And trimmed nine hundred dollars worth of software down to the new size.

With a pair of pinking shears.

I hold this example up as a definition of 'justifiable homicide'.
(Thu 24th Sep 2009, 19:24, More)

» The most childish thing you've done as an adult

I admit it. I'm an overaged thirteen year old.

I still like cartoons (Phineas and Ferb or Bugs Bunny). I still spend a lot of time playing video games. As an adult, I once moved out of an apartment by the simple expediency of throwing everything I didn't want off a third-story balcony. (Dining table, not so impressive. Console television...much more so.)

But the best part is -- see, I work at an establishment that sells package liquor. And sometimes the wine sits a wee bit too long, and needs to be written off. And by law here in the US, we have to destroy the bottles. Not just throw them away -- destroy them.

So picture, if you will, a 6'4", 300+ lb guy pitching bottles of turned wine into a large metal dumpster, cackling with glee at each little explosion of glass and vinegar.

TOO much fun.
(Thu 17th Sep 2009, 16:24, More)

» I don't understand the attraction

And another thing...
Gods love the b3tan who reminded me of this one.

Here's a simple freaking quiz.
1) Are you Eastern European?
2) Are you drinking it mixed with tomato juice, with optional celery, celery salt, worcestershire, or hot sauce?
3) Are you drinking it straight, in shots, just out of the freezer?

If the answer to these three questions is no, then STOP DRINKING VODKA AND GET A BIG KID PAIR OF ALCOHOLIC PANTS.

Vodka is tasteless, colorless, and mostly textureless. Vodka is alcohol for people who can't handle alcohol. Vodka is designed to be hidden by some sick tutti-frutti mixture so that chavs/frat boys/sorority girls/Jerry Springer extras can get shotfaced while pretending it's just orange-banana-cherry juice.

Drink gin, for gods' sake. Drink whisk(e)y. Become knowledgeable about wine. Go be a beachcomber in Trinidad and drink rum. Learn how to order -- and make -- proper cocktails instead of Crown and Coke.

But I swear to Dionysus, the next person who asks me how to make a martini with vodka will get a serious ranting-at.
(Thu 15th Oct 2009, 21:58, More)

» I don't understand the attraction

What don't I get?
More like who...

I do NOT get Bob Dylan. I'm sorry. He's a good to very good songwriter, true; I'll be the first one to admit that. But as a performer -- dear gods, people.

1. His singing is so nasal as to actually sound as if he has several pounds of shortening shoved in his sinuses.
2. He's utterly inarticulate. I know his lyrics are insightful, but that's because I've read the damned things. I couldn't tell you what he was saying ninety percent of the time to save my life. Bon Scott could give him diction lessons. Hell, Graham Chapman with fake teeth could have given him diction lessons. I've talked to retarded parrots with more precision of speech.
3. He's ugly. And I don't mean 'so ugly he's cute' ugly, like, say, Tom Waits. He's just ugly. He looks like five miles of bad road. He looks like he has had regular facials with a cheese grater. If he pulled up driving a van with no windows, I'd hide my daughter.
4. Fact is, my boss -- gods love 'im -- went to see Dylan this summer, and brought back a bootleg. He hasn't improved with age. His singing is worse, and his guitar playing is...enh.

Sorry, I don't get it. If Bob Dylan is the voice of a generation, then apparently that voice can't speak -- or sing -- English of ANY sort.
(Thu 15th Oct 2009, 17:48, More)

» Family Feuds

So...this is a tangled web, and I've been trying to figure out which string to pull. I think I have it now.

We will start with my mother. The child of an alcoholic single mother (I never knew my grandfather; I wish I had), she may or may not have been sexually abused, physically abused, and/or ritually abused as a child. I know for a fact she had to put up with my grandmother carrying on a ten-year affair with a Roman Catholic priest, who may or may not have aided and abetted the abuse.

See, the stories always changed -- and most of the time my mother was so looped on the tranquilizer-of-the-year (Miltown, Xanax, methaqualune, whatever she could get the latest doctor to prescribe) that it really didn't matter. She had three stillborn children after I was born in 1968; one a year like clockwork, '69, '70, '71. Sometimes she was functional after that; sometimes she set things on fire in the driveway and cackled like Macbeth's spiritual advisors.

Needless to say, she and my father divorced when I was nine or ten. She did the single parent gig for a few years; she had a decent job at the local hospital (yes, she was a registered nurse) and we were doing... all right. Not great, but all right.

Then she married my stepfather, a socially inept career virgin farmer who at 37 still lived with his parents. I have no clue what she saw in him; the man was mostly a waste of time and skin. He didn't want the kids - there were three of us at that point - and we moved to a farm outside a small town that would have to improve to be considered the rectum of the Midwestern US. I would have, at this point, slavishly accepted someone who wanted to provide me with a father figure; instead, he was just another dipshit who didn't have time for any of us. After five years of living with her drug-induced drama and my cro-Magnon stepfather, I left. Went to college, flunked out, went back home for just long enough to realize how miserable it was, and went to live with my great-grandmother a hundred miles away. Mum hated it; she screamed and threw things the night my then-girlfriend and I packed my stuff and I got the hell out.

Fast-forward. My brother gets out. My sister, who has cerebral palsy, has come to her own arrangement somehow. I get married, have a son -- my mother's first grandson. The wedding ceremony is unabashedly Pagan, and mom grits her teeth all the way through it. Ten months later, she has a heart attack in her sleep and dies. She was 47.

My stepfather says, and I quote: 'Come get your mother's shit'.

I go back to the house I lived in for five years, and am not allowed in the house. My stepfather has already taken up with the cleaning woman, of all people; I have to get what of my mother's stuff he allows me to have out of the barn, where he's unceremoniously dumped it. Family furniture: stolen. Heirlooms: ditto. Myself and my sibs are edited out of my stepfather's life before my mother's corpse is fully worm entree.

I actually tried to contact him some years later. Sent him a letter: his response was 'Fuck off, you fat queer; I don't want to talk to you'.

Fifteen years has muted the pain somewhat, and I've learned that the material things I lost are bearable. But because of my mother's issues, I lost eight years with my real father, and she replaced him with a complete and utter twit who barely let her cool before he moved on.

I don't know if this is a feud. I know I was a shit to my stepfather at times, so I suppose so. I just know that in the end, I cut my losses and moved on. I have three kids now, lovely children, and I'm relatively happy. I doubt the same can be said of him.
(Thu 12th Nov 2009, 17:31, More)
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