Monday, March 30, 2009

Further Proof That I Probably Shouldn’t Work In Tech Support

I always enjoy peeking into the HTF mailbox, and a recent note didn’t disappoint.  This is another one of those White House Press Conference Questions where it’s 40 questions in one and the answer is either “Botswana” or “What Budget Deficit?!” or “We’re looking into the the United Nation’s allegations.”  Anyway . . .let’s take a look at the note sent in by alert reader, Becca:

Q. Now that you work for Microsoft are you finding that people automatically expect you to have inside information about PC's, Windows, or that you are in good with the creators of Vista?

A. Yep, pretty much.  In a company with like 95,000 employees “inside information” is a pretty relative term.  The guys at Wired Magazine probably know a heck of a lot more about that kinda of stuff than me.  (I feel obligated to point out that “Creators of Vista” would be a great name for a rock band).

Q. We all know that you have a specific job that you do there in your storage closet - but you can fix our computers too, right?  Because mine won't print, and Firefox quit working a...a...a...and sometimes, when I turn it on, it makes this funny whirring sound like something is taking off inside the computer - but it's not really - it's just this noise actually.  .... well yeah I know that has nothing to do with Microsoft necessarily, but you do work there right? 

A.  Not sure how I became Tech Support Boy (a new, but pretty unimpressive super-hero), but you’re not the first to ask a stunning series of questions like that.  As far as tackling your computer problems I have an 800 number you can call where actual “smart people” will answer and help you out.  If your issues are very dire, I will send you a link to Best Buy, Dell or HP so you can just buy a new computer.  (this is what we do should do when we get holes in our socks, so why not do it when the computer stops working?!)  Also, I most definitely have hair and cheek-bones exactly like the guy in the picture to the right.  The more common question I get is the one I think you’re about to ask . . .

Q. Oh and also can you get us free stuff? Can you can you?

A. If you’re talking about bouncy balls and keychains that say “I’m a PC” . . . yeah probably . . . but I’m guessing that’s not what you’re talking about.

Q. Did they put a chip in the back of your neck at orientation?  Do they use it to monitor you?  OR to upload info directly to your brain? Can you get me a couple?  I could use them on my kids - and my husband too - that would rock!!!

A. Out of deep respect for your dear husband, and out of fear for the lives of your kids when they’re teenagers I’m not going to tell you about about the 3 millimeter, silicon, RF-Radio, nano-chip that I may or may not have in my frontal lobe right now.  (can I PLEASE get some props for saying “FRONTAL LOBE?!”  I’m even laughing now)

Q. Oh and one last question that I have pondered for many years... does it really make any sense to use the terminology POWER DOWN to turn off a computer?  To me it is an oxy moron - I mean how much extra power does it really take to turn everything off - or am I missing something?  I just think techno jargon reigns supreme among the cubicles!  And as always thank you for sharing your political and techno prowess with the acutely challenged.

A. Fair question, but anyone who doesn’t think it requires actual POWER to turn off a computer is clearly not a Facebook user who has been faced with the 2AM dilemma of whether to check that last all-important status update of a guy you think you may have known in Junior High or sleep for a couple hours before the kids get up.

So thanks for the probing questions, my friend.  My your computer miraculously cure all of it’s own problems, just like a self-cleaning oven, and also start spitting hundred dollar bills out of the CD drive.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spending A Saturday Night With Teenage Vampires and Living to Blog About It

So this weekend the Mrs. HTF made a run to the local Target to pick up the long-awaited DVD version of some vampire movie that you may have heard of (no, she’s not one of “those people” – you know, the obsessed kind – the movie was just on sale.)  I think we had a discussion about whether or not we should buy the thing, but I must’ve been Jedi-Mind-Tricked because somehow we did actually buy it and I don’t remember a fight.  Yes, I’m now the proud owner of a Twlight DVD.  But before I’m forced to turn in my man-card, let’s be clear, I’m the owner of it in the same way that I’m the owner of my wife’s mascara (yeah, legally mine, but if I were to actually touch it with the intent to use it, you may as well shoot me).

And so, on Saturday night, we found ourselves (along with my sister and her brave husband) watching Bella and Eduardo do their thing.  Not knowing what to expect at all, except for vampires and unreal-teenage-romance, I admit to a little trepidation.  A few takeaways from the flick:

  • Wow, the Washington State Tourism folks shouldn’t show this to anybody.  Had I seen this before I moved here a few months ago I’d have had second thoughts.  Apparently the state is entirely devoid of color and the people all have faces the color of the Obama’s new house.
  • Movie was scarier than I expected.  I’m a massive wimp with anything approaching horror/scariness, so pretty sure that Traci was rightfully laughing at me.  When did so many females start liking stuff like this?!  Is it just the heavy dose of romance that let’s them sorta tolerate the vampires tearing apart security guards and unlucky boater guys?
  • Baseball scene was pretty much my favorite – who knew vampires could ball?!
  • The movie’s music would’ve made Dora the Explorer feel like a horror flick.
  • Apparently vampires make big bucks, cuz that family had a super-cool house and sweet cars.
  • Did anyone wonder if Bella realizes that her crazy-haired (yes, I’m just saying that because I’m insanely jealous) boyfriend is like 80 years old?
  • Fight scenes worked for me, but the sneering and animal-noises the darling draculas (GNFARB) made were over the top.  Also liked the cool vampire family who don’t attack humans.  The bad guys could’ve looked “badder” but they acted plenty bad.
  • I was told repeatedly as I interjected opinion during the movie that I needed to read the book to really understand.  I’m on the fence on that one . . .  (yes, I’m worried that if I read the thing I’ll like it and get made fun of)

Anyway, those were just a few observations.  Overall I thought it was alright, but didn’t really catch the frenzy that seems to be out there.  Still, I expected to not like it at all, so I was pleasantly surprised.  I’m still befuddled (technical term) by the huge appeal to most women I know, but then again, I’m a guy so “befuddled” and “women” almost always belong in the same sentence.

PS – If you really think I should read the book, let me know.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stuff You Just Gotta Know About Some HTF Readers

A few posts ago I invited you all, you stunningly-intelligent and smoking-hot HTF readers, to do a little counting.  Despite the involvement of pre-school math and the fact that some of you had to go barefoot to finish the task (the correct answer was 12 and you ran out of fingers) – there were some actual respondents.  And now they’re about to get what’s coming to them.  So without further A-Dew, let’s read a bit about some of your fellow readers (including their street names), very little of which is based in actual fact.

  • Becca (aka Mizz Thang) – Raised by a remote tribe of muskrats in Uruguay, this girl can be stealthy when she needs to be (and can also nibble a single saltine for several hours).  She’s most famous for her series of romance/action/sci-fi/political thriller/children’s books.
  • Bryan (aka Sugar Cube) – The BP once made the mistake of hiring me.  And you can bet that was the gift that kept on givin’.  When he’s not sky-diving in the buff you can find him on the golf course using his patented ultra-light, but super-fragile, balsa-wood clubs to routinely break triple digits.
  • Alida (aka Sista B) – One of the few top-tier CIA agents who successfully juggles 5 kids and may or may not be involved in covert anti-terrorist operations in Peshawar, Pakistan.  AND she teaches origami classes for dogs.
  • Devin (aka Dr. Shizzle) – He’s a test pilot for the government’s newest fighter jets (built by the lowest bidder).  No one is sure why he wears that hot pink flight suit all the time, but somehow the sunglasses make it all work.  A stand-out power-forward in college (at the Univ of Wyoming of course), he still has the NCAA record for blocked shots in a game.  (unfortunately his were the shots being blocked – he still scored 48 in the game – dude likes to shoot . . .)
  • Aubri (aka Icey Flava) – A hip-hop artist who’s moves are so fly that she doesn’t even need to sing/rap/whatever.  She recently branched out to produce a series of instructional street-dance videos for senior citizens.  She was recently on Oprah claiming to be able to talk to her cats and may soon have her own series on The Discovery Channel called “The Cat Whisperer.”

And there you have it.  Clearly, HTF readers are way more interesting than readers of other blogs (or it’s getting late and I’m kinda tired)!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Power of Tears and a few other Updates

Hi HTF readers – sorry for the little hiatus (almost 2 whole weeks).  If you read the previous post you’ll see that’s part of the reason.  Here are a few of the recent events, that you may or may not care about:

  • Unpacking update – Traci was without a car for a few days and totally did her magic on the boxes of stuff.  We (by which I mostly mean her) are almost done..  I’m still pretty sure we somehow got a bunch of somebody else’s stuff, judging from the mountain of boxes still in the garage. 
  • Sydney get’s a bike – The other night I read Braeden (7) a book called “How To Be a Friend.”  A key principle was sharing.  As if to test him, right when we were done, Sydney (5) came in and asked Braeden if she could borrow his bike.  He looked at me and smiled, and then said “yes.”  I started into my congratulatory speech only to realize that Sydney had burst into tears and ran out of the room.  (sidenote – this is often the case when guys think they’re doing something nice for females, the result is a female in tears and a very confused guy.  I say this from years of similar experiences)  Turns out that Sydney wanted her own bike and was hoping that B would say “NO!”  We found one for her on CraigsList the next day.  (Ah, the power of tears…)
  • Home selling skilz – WE HAVE SOME!  (closed yesterday)
  • Kidz get sick – We did one of our “pass the virus” things between the kids.  Thankfully it was just fevers and not anything difficult too . . . uh . . . clean up.
  • MARCH MADNESS BEGINS (NCAA Basketball Tournament) – this will be the 12th year of the annual Pope Family & Friends Tournament.  Traci has beaten me 11 of those years.  This year I’ve tried her tact – I’ve pretty much watched nothing and done zero research.  [As an HTF reader you are TOTALLY invited to play along, but time is running out.  The more the merrier!!  Send me an e-mail if you want in, it’s superfun!  But you need to have your picks done by Thursday morning!]

So there’s the little update.  May your March have Madness, but in a good way!

Play on, playa!!!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

There’s No Place Like Home . . . Except the Storage Unit

I sit here right now in our new house at long last.  Yep, a happy time.  Yesterday the “movers” (technical term) unloaded our worldly possessions into our new place.  Suddenly I’m the proud owner of so many boxes that we may need to get a second house just so the boxes have somewhere to stay.  Our kids, of course, think this is pretty cool.  Kinda like living in a full-scale version of Lego-land.  I’ve already had two requests to sleep in boxes . . .

unfortunately both of these were from the Mrs. HTF requesting me to go slumber inside some cardboard.

Last night we spent the first night here, and for some reason when we woke up all of our stuff was still in the boxes.  My sincere pleas for the “Unpacking Gnomes” to visit during the night and do their thing just didn’t work out.  At one point tonight, and I’m not making this up, our oldest couldn’t get back into his room because the doorway was completely sealed off by conspiring boxes (aka-“Conniving Cardboard”).  I think he fashioned a bed in the hall with a couple towels, some twine, and my jumper cables.

We’re also learning the idiosyncrasies of our new house, like where the right light switches are and which toilet to flush to dramatically decrease the water temperature while your sibling/spouse is in the shower.  The kids, of course are adjusting quickly.  Tonight my son declared a family meeting in the kitchen so that we could find out where the forks were.  (he was kinda hungry)  Somehow the forks had escaped from their cardboard home and were in actual drawers.  We’re “roughing it,” which means we don’t have cable or dish yet.  This has helped the kids focus on other things like, well, how to build condominiums out of boxes – of course these structures DO have cable.

Anyway, it’s a fun time.  If any of you happen to be in the Seattle area with a few hours to kill you should swing by.  Just don’t get nervous when I hang a sign around your neck (Flavor Flav Style) that says “Unpacking Gnome.” 

PS: YOUR CHANCE TO BE SLIGHTLY MORE FAMOUS THAT YOU ALREADY ARE – send an e-mail to telling me how many times “boxes” and/or “cardboard” were mentioned in this post (including this paragraph).  All correct respondents will receive a sentence or two “shout-out” in an upcoming blog post which you may or may not like and which will probably not contain any actual facts and will possibly embarrass.  Sounds pretty great, huh?!  Tell your friends/neighbors/family, the more the merrier (that’s what I’m saying about the boxes at this point).

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Saving the Economy with Disc Golf and Doorbells

Having alert readers (hilarious friends) totally rocks.  Last week one of these alert readers sent in something that she referred to, correctly, as the “Motherlode of Blog Fodder.”  (also a great name for a rock band.)  I’m not going to write a long post about this, because some things kinda speak for themselves.  But I did want to point out just a few of my favorites.  These are proposed project to spend your money that you gave to the government.  I don’t know why you keep giving them money since they don’t really seem to need it (because spending it has zero correlation with how much they actually, you know, have).  But you keep on sending it in.  And as an awesome award for your generosity, I (via alert reader, CM) give you this:

Go ahead, click it.  It won’t hurt.  I have to take a minute to just point out a few of my favorites from my thorough, 3.5 minute review of the massive list of projects:

  • $866,000 for a DISC GOLF COURSE in Texas – absolutely nothing generates jobs and stimulates the economy as efficiently as disc golf except for perhaps:
  • $600,000 for DOG PARK CONSTRUCTION in California – I say we build the dogs a park once they start paying taxes, until then there’s always the neighbor’s yard.
  • $20,000,000 for a DOWNTOWN QUIET ZONE in San Diego – this one is a job creator because it’ll include a few hundred librarians walking around the city shooshing people.
  • $150,000,000 for LITTLE LEAGUE PARKING in Puerto Rico – I had no idea they let the little leaguers drive there.  Guess the laws are a bit different in the PR.  And everyone’s favorite:
  • $99,600 for DOORBELLS IN MISSISSISSISSISSISSISSIPPI – Yep, I said DOORBELLS.  (no need for me to comment on that one)

I could go on and on and on.  You should really take a look.  I just pointed out a few small ones.  Most are at least in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  And the big ones carry cool names that are intentionally REALLY vague like “Industrial Green Zone” or “Orange Line Phase 3” or “Solar LA Project.”  So enjoy reading about all these super-kool ways to spend your money.  And let me know if you stumble across anything that we should all laugh at know about.

Remember to send in your questions/comments/randomness to

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