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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Read One, Get Three Free!

When a blogger meets a blogger, comin’ through the rye.

Hey, kids. I’m in a particularly skittish mood today, so I think I’ll regale you this time with a short series of mini-posts. Here goes:


Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gary Coleman are running for Governor of California. Did I hear this right? And what color pill do I have to take to go back to my ‘normal’ world? This is like a friggin’ Simpsons episode. I fully expect to see Apu next time I go to the store, hawking Squishies and deadpanning, ‘Thank you. Come again.

Put me back in the matrix, goddamnit!


So, TiVo.

Those of you who’ve previously visited this here asylum may know that I’m getting TiVo. As a matter of fact, it was installed yesterday.

Only, it wasn’t.

Oh, it was scheduled to be hooked up yesterday, but the DirecTV dude couldn’t find the house. Which means he can’t read a friggin’ map, because we don’t live at the end of some unmarked street. This isn’t the cul-de-sac on Lost Souls Lane, here, folks. It’s dreadfully easy to find our house. A child could navigate its way to our door, and what’s more, the last DirecTV guy had no problem in getting here.

So, obviously, the bumblefuck wasn’t trying very hard.

(Oh, and if you happen to be the local DirecTV installer, and you’re reading this, please know that I mean ‘bumblefuck‘ in the nicest way possible. Really. It’s still not good, ya lousy non-navigating asswipe, but it’s as nice as ‘bumblefuck‘ can be.)

Oh, and then the guy had the wrong number for us, so when he called, he got a big bunch of not-me. And so now I have a big bunch of not-installed TiVo. And I’m back in the queue, and rescheduled for Monday. I gave them the nearest cross street and the right phone number, so I can’t decide what the hell’s going to stop him on Monday, but I’m sure he’ll think of something. He’ll probably get struck by lightning on the way over, or have a heart attack, or something. Inconsiderate jackass.


I got two pieces of mail from the state of Massachusetts today. Well, not directly from the state itself, but you know what I mean. Massachusetts — or L’il Mass, as she likes to be called — and I don’t really communicate directly that much any more, you see, what with the restraning order she took out after our recent unpleasantness.

(I swear, there really was a big giant bug on her shirt. Really! I was just trying to brush it off. Mass, if you’re out there, call me, would you? I know we can work this out. Vermont believes me, and so does Rhode Island. Listen to your friends!)

Okay, I don’t know what the hell that was. You should probably just ignore that last part.

So, anyway, I got two letters from the state government today, both related to my current unemployedness. The first was a ‘Benefit Determination’ document. Apparently, the purpose of it is to show me how much money I’ve made in each of the past four quarters, and how much — or little, rather — I’ll receive from the gub’ment until I find a job. Fine.

But in looking at the amount I earned in the past year, I noticed something freaky. Now, I don’t want to embarrass myself by telling you just how little money that I’ve been willing to work for, so let’s just call what I made in the first quarter ‘100’. Arbitrary number, no significance, okay? Now, you’d expect the numbers for the other three quarters to be 100 as well, wouldn’t you? Or maybe just a little more, if I’d gotten a raise in there somewhere. Right? Right. Here’s approximately what the record showed:

3rd Quarter 2002: 100

4th Quarter 2002: 80

1st Quarter 2003: 115

2nd Quarter 2003: 85

Now, I ask you: What the fuck?!

I know we only got raises once a year, and no cash bonus to speak of. I also know that my actual earnings check-to-check didn’t ping-pong around like the freakin’ Dow Jones average. Additionally, I know that I got paid every two weeks, like clockwork, and that I wasn’t laid off until the third quarter of 2003. So any blips that may have occurred as a result of my departure shouldn’t be on this document at all.

So again, I posit: What the fuck?!

I can only conclude that the braintrust of the State of Massachusetts, or perhaps the pencil-pushers at my old company, are horribly mistaken somewhere along the line. I only hope that when they make their next error — and, apparently, they will — that it’s in my favor, is absolutely fucking enormous, and that I can convert it to unmarked bills in a foreign account before they can detect the miscalculation.

So if I post a message here to come see my new blog with a Jamaican domain, you’ll know what happened. Or, more likely, if I have to start writing from the Northeastern US Penal System network, then you’ll know that they were quicker than I thought in tracking me down. Oh sure, that they’d actually be good at! Bastards.


So, the other piece of mail that I got from our fine feather-brained friends in the Massachusetts government was my very first unemployment check. Which is, of course, a Good Thing™, as it’s just that much more beer money that I have to entertain myself with. But even here, there’s a slight issue. I’m not actually sure that I’ll be able to cash said check. Let me tell you why; I’m sure you’re dying to know.

There’s a very thin green bar along the top of the check. Inside the bar, in dark green lettering (I know, green on green; who are these people?) is written:

THIS MULTI-TONE AREA OF THE DOCUMENT CHANGES COLOR GRADUALLY AND EVENLY FROM DARK TO LIGHT WITH DARKER AREAS BOTH TOP AND BOTTOM.

Now, first of all, that’s a friggin’ mouthful. And you know that the state shelled out many thousands of dollars to fund a study and a panel of experts to get the wording just right, when a much simpler statement would have sufficed. Something like, I don’t know, maybe:

FANCY-ASS PATTERN FADES TOWARD THE MIDDLE

But that’s not the real problem I have with the check. That’s just semantics, or grammar, or governmental gobbledygook double-speak. If they want to say ‘changes color gradually and evenly from dark to light with darker areas both top and bottom,’ then that’s fine. I can live with that.

No, the real problem is that it doesn’t. Which is to say, the ‘multi-tone area of the document,’ as far as I can tell, just frickin’ sits there being multit-tone, and makes not even the merest hint of an attempt to ‘change color,’ gradually, evenly, or otherwise.

What’s more, in the few esoteric sets of conditions I can contrive to try to convince myself that maybe the color changes just a bit, it’s crystal clear that the color is not darker ‘both top and bottom‘. If the color does anything — and I mean anything, using a black-bulbed flashlight at dusk, or backlighting it with a UV heat lamp at one hundred percent humidity, in a desperate attempt to see something — then it fades from darker to lighter, top to bottom. End of story. No dark area on the bottom. No obvious effect whatsoever. And, most likely, no money and a hefty jail term for me when I try to cash it in. Bitches!

These are the people running our state government? The same ones who can’t print out a check to meet the nonsensically verbose description they’ve invented for it? Fan-fucking-tastic. Ooh, ooh. Can I please pay more taxes now? Oh, pretty please?


So, that’s it for me today. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. In other blog news of note, the 100 Things About Me are coming along, slowly but surely. I’m almost one-quarter done with writing the mini-posts to accompany each thing. I only hope they make more sense than the blenderized crap above. Until next time, as my Venezuelan amigos like to say: ‘Vaya con blogos

Ay, chihuahua!

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