May 2, 2013

As I’m sure you know, WAT is the new WTF. It’s the hot meme right now.

Wait, you mean I’m late to this party, it’s played and now lame?


Anyway, I just spent two days with the Bobs. They weren’t actually named Bob, but they might as well have been. Two days in a Motivating Change seminar. In a conference room. Two days. About Motivating Change. With the Bobs.


Several hours in, I started amusing myself by capturing WAT moments on the notepad they provided me. I used to call these Hedgehog moments. Now I call them WAT moments. Whatever.

Here’s the annotated list.

1. The speaker referred to a study, and gave us the numbers, something like “3 out of 4 dentists recommend Trident.” But then he said “I mean, whatever, that’s not empirical data, but . . . ”

WAT? Of course it’s empirical data. It is a study conducted by studiers, on the studied. It resulted in data. That data is empirical.

2. Passerbys. Bob, in an offhand way, said something like “He ignored all the passerbys and stayed focused.”

WAT? It’s passersby. You speak in front of people for a living. You’re welcome.

3. Foyer. He said Foe Yay. Which I know some people do when they are pretentious or funny. This guy was neither. I mean, if you know how to say “passersby” you can go ahead and say Foe Yay to be funny, but anybody who says Foe Yay straight up is a @#!*% . Just stop it.

4. Bob loves quotes, some more than others. Bob had a quote from Machiavelli on a slide. Except he didn’t say Machiavelli. He said Mack uh velli. If you’re going to go to all the trouble of calling out a quote by putting it on a slide that you use as part of your job, in front of lots of paying customers, maybe look up how to say his name. I’m not Italian. But I know how to say Machiavelli.

5. How do we help people through change? We need to be humble. We need to avoid hubrisnous.”

WAT? Hubrisnous? Is that like Hubricity? Hubristitude? Hubriscosity? Or perhaps just Hubris. As in, this entry is the height of Hubris.

6. We watched quite a few clips from movies to illustrate the stages of change. Many clips came from Remember the Titans. Which is a good movie. No complaints. Until he said, as he queued up a clip, “By the way, best soundtrack to a movie, all time, hands down, no question.”

WAT? Now, I know, lists are subjective. But no list I can find lists Remember the Titans’ soundtrack as even exceptional, much less best EVER. In fact, it’s not on most top one HUNDRED soundtracks. It’s a soundtrack full of standard oldies like “I heard it through the grapevine” and Ain’t no mountain high enough.” The TWILIGHT movies have better soundtracks for crying out loud. Has this guy never seen Pulp Fiction? Or The Godfather? Or a Hard Day’s Night? Or even Amadeus. WAT!

Okay, I have a notepad full of this. But I’m sure you’ve seen enough.

Here’s a final sample. On a key slide, a bullet point said “Employees will have allot of questions.” Really? At $1500 a head, you couldn’t have an editor or your mom go over the slides?

Thanks Bob.

Bonus WAT moment–“The change went by super fast, like a light year.” WAT? I’m not sure that word means what you think it means.


save it for later

March 19, 2013

Occasionally I get emails from alert readers and friends who (reasonably) think that something ridiculous or obscene or disgusting fits right in my blog wheelhouse. I have no idea where they get this idea. So mostly I simply ignore these “helpful” suggestions.

But today, Jon, friend, beloved bike builder, and all around good guy, sent me two pics from a bathroom in St. George that I could not leave alone.

First, the scene:

seems innocent enough

seems innocent enough

Okay, no big deal. Just a regular bathroom. But let’s zoom in a bit. What’s that on top of the soap dispenser?

yup. there it is.

yup. there it is.

Why, that’s gum.

And that’s a thing that makes you go Hmmm. Because

  1. the gum is chewed.
  2. there is a trash can nearby, but the gum was instead carefully placed on top of the soap dispenser.
  3. if the gum is chewed, and not thrown away, does that indicate the chewer needed the space in his or her mouth for something else?
  4. after consuming the “something else” (in the bathroom!?) was the chewer planning on retrieving and chewing the gum again?
  5. this is a bathroom. most things, including solids, give off some form of airborne particulate matter.
  6. ew.

Jon, thanks for sharing. These things are too much to carry alone, and we are with you.


pearls before swine?

March 13, 2013

You know how if you share something super important to you, like, say, your favorite movie, or a favorite restaurant, and they hate it, you know how that sucks? Or even suckier, if they’re indifferent?

So I’m talking to Ian the other day. You know, the Ian who is totally into electronic music, some dubstep, Bonobo and the like, and who wants me to listen to it all the time whenever we’re in the car. Or everywhere.

Anyway. Earlier that day (the day when I was talking to Ian), I had watched the first song from Stop Making Sense, Psycho Killer, and had this wave of nostalgia wash over me–Stop Making Sense was my first midnight movie (that I stayed awake for–my first was The Song Remains the Same–who can stay awake for that at midnight?), and it’s awesome, and I love it, and so should everyone. EVERYONE!

So I pulled up the Psycho Killer video on my phone and said to Ian (who loves music, so of course would love something as awesome and groundbreaking and important as this) “hey Ian. Watch this.” (No pressure, right? It’s just my soul I handed to you just now.)

He watched it in silence. And then said “That was weird.” And handed my phone back to me.

Remember the movie Broadcast News, when Jack Nicholson rips Albert Brooks’ heart out on the set, and Albert leans in and whispers to Holly Hunter “I’m going to go outside and cry. When I go, laugh like I just told you something hysterical so nobody knows I’m dying inside.”

It was kind of like that.

(Except, right after that, Ian said “hey, can we watch the next Godfather movie tonight?” And then later he said “so I’ve kind of been listening to nothing but Radiohead lately.” It’s hard to be mad at someone who says stuff like that.)


just between you and me

January 30, 2013

I don’t want to belabor the topic, but I finally burned a lunch break and drove my defunct Comcast remote down to the Comcast service center and traded it in for a shiny new remote, all shrink-wrapped and everything.

Last night I set about teaching my remote to connect with my TV. Which is easy, right? You just look on the handy instruction sheet for the code that matches your TV, then follow the steps that seem a little like the fancy dance Vin Diesel does in The Pacifier (You know, the Peter Panda Dance–“Roll like a log till you can’t roll no more! Better jump up quick like there ain’t no floor, Hold your breath, and jump/step/slide to the left; And that’s the Peter, I swear that’s the Peter, That’s the Peter Panda Dance!”–Remember NOW?)

Anyway, I forget what I was talking about. Oh, right, I’m training my Comcast remote. Which feels a lot like being punked with all the clicking and pointing and waiting. And it’s NOT WORKING.

I try it like 20 times, with every code on the page. I go behind the TV with my iPhone flashlight app, to see if I can get more specific on the model number. And finally, I sit in front of the TV, and dial up Comcast support, get in the queue, put the phone on speaker while I wait, and watch Predator (what a serendipitous little surprise that our TV should be stuck on Predator).

Finally, right as Arnold squares off in the mud with the ugly alien, I get a live one on the phone.

“No problem sir, I can walk you through that.”


“What’s the make of your television?”

It’s a Mitsubish . . . . um, well, it’s a TOSHIBA.” Aaahhhhhhhhhhh!

Me, now knitting my shaming hair shirt which is waaay less shaming than to tell all y’all about this.

Let’s just keep it between us okay?

channel 4 will do

January 25, 2013

Remember Commercial Free?

I’ll raise you a Cable Remote.

Our digital cable remote recently had a stroke. And, like a stroke victim, the remote now works on the left side, but not the right side. That is, volume control, on/off, but no channel or guide control.

So, rather than examine the root causes of stroke (um, straining at bowel movement?), we . . . well, we did nothing. We are stuck on channel 4.

At least it’s the HD version of channel 4.

Or, we crawl up to the cable box, and squint or use the iPhone flashlight app and find the channel buttons on the box.

Last night I had enough–I dialed up Comcast support.

After 35 minutes of wading through menus and waiting on hold, I hung up, crawled up to the cable box, and changed the channel.

not crazy at all

January 24, 2013

Yay me. I have discovered a new permutation of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. My last discovery centered around the su . . . er, around the process of drying oneself after a shower.

In a nutshell, the discovery was this: You can dry yourself in order, but you can’t KNOW the order of the drying. Simple, yet crazy.

So last night, I was leaving work, got in the elevator, which was a bit crowded and cramped, and then tried to put on my jacket.

Well, I was blocked to my right, so I put on the left sleeve first. And then I froze. “Ahhh! I can’t find my other sleeve. I’m trapped in my jacket, help.”

Bile rising, panic setting in, I bit my lip until we reached the ground floor and I could burst into the hallway and take off my left sleeve, and put on my jacket properly, right sleeve first. I hesitate to describe the process for fear of violating Dug’s Uncertainty Principle, but it’s like this:

  1. right arm in.
  2. swing jacket around the back, while left hand reaches behind looking for the armhole.
  3. push left arm through.
  4. shrug the jacket up to the shoulders.

See? Perfectly rational. Not crazy at all.

Just don’t screw it up.

In a Friends episode, Joey, Chandler, and Ross are out trying to party like rockstars, but they run out of steam around 10pm. To make themselves feel better, they talk about how it’s okay because they’re not so young anymore:

Chandler: I’m 29 years old, damn it! And I want to sit in a comfortable chair, and watch television, and go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Joey: Yeah, yeah. And I’d like to hang out in a quiet place where I can talk to my friends.
Ross: Yeah. And so what if I like to go home, throw on some Kenny G, and take a bath.
Joey: We’re 29; we’re not women.

Well, I’m no Ross, but, here it comes, I like to throw on some Pinback, grab a glass of cold milk, a big pile of double stuff Oreos, my magazine, and take a bath. There, I said it.

So, tonight, I’m taking a bath. Kim’s in the bedroom, reading. And I realize I’m missing some key ingredients.

“Hey, do we have any Oreos?”

“No. But we have some black licorice.”

Who among us is not, in this instance, reminded of something Jesus said?

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?”

I share Jesus’ admonition with Kim. And, without looking up, Kim says “Whatever, now you have something to write in your blog.”