Tales of Idiocy and Woe...But Now I'm CRAZY in California!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Reflections on Geekdom...

Well, I just came from a movie that is destined to be a cult classic; Serenity. I won't bore with details (Wash dies) but as I was sitting around, I noticed that the room was entirely filled with a certain type of people; Geeks. As I was examining the wildlife in the theatre, I started to ponder the wide variety of geeks. There are so many different types, and yet so many similarities. So my flat-mate and I were chatting about 'What makes a geek?' and we started to discover that nailing down the defining qualities of 'geek' is rather difficult. Here's what we came up with as common denominators of 'geek':

1. Geeks, across the board, have underdeveloped or nonexistent social skills. Geeks always seem to be malfunctional or askew in social situations. Their humor is often bizarre and usually exponentially funnier to themselves than it is to the rest of the planet. Their typical topical types of talking involve comprehensive understandings of atomized areas of interest that are often shrouded in garrulous erudition to produce a false impression of focal acumen (ie. they like to cluck on and on and on 'bout things that y'all don't give a shiv about and use big shiny words to sound edumacated). Well bred geeks tend to also have amazingly bad timing in conversation, saying the worst things at the absolute best times (for us listeners...what?). They tend to do bizarre things when talking to the opposite sex and often make conversational faux pas (like making too little or way too much eye contact) with disturbing regularity.

2. As a separate and yet very related point, Geeks often know everything about things that don't matter to anyone but themselves and the rest of their clan. Like memorizing the entire dialogue of science fiction movies, or obscure musical scores, or the weights of certain ancient car parts. It's not that their knowledge is not extensive, but more that it's extensive about complete trivia. Knowing which episode of a certain show had which hilarious 'line' in it is pretty dang useless...as is being able to sing the entire discography of Bobby Vinton...as is knowing the names of all the members of the 1976 Brazilian olympic basketball team. I mean, it's also not that such information is entirely useless, for we always love having geeks around for the random and vocal submission of such information into a conversation. But, it's not the best use of the available cranial space one has to offer.

3. Geeks often ally their obscure and trivial knowledge with their passions...ie. geeks are often defensive about their geekness. I mean, if you've already read this far and have taken offense to anything I've said, then case in point. I've heard geeks argue, almost to the point of rage, as to the proper grammatical construction of the phrase "Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog" in Klingon. Talk about crying over spilled milk. I've also heard many geeks who are white as the driven snow mutter mis-pronounced Japanese insults at other white individuals that don't understand certain forms of Japanese animated film. I mean, who's kidding who? Having all the episodes of Trigun and Inuyasha on DVD doesn't make you Japanese...and calling me "Otaku" is more likely to win you a beating for your lunch money than any ounce of respect you ever had coming.

4. Geeks often are cliquey, hanging out with other geeks. In fact, they often travel in herds when they work up the audacity to emerge from their mother's basements. You usually never see just one geek out stretching it's wings. Oh no. They travel together with the illusion that numbers breed social imperceptibility and make them appear to be routine persons in the mall/theater/restaurant/concert/Star Trek Convention. Not quite so my little fruit cups. We see you.

5. And again, on a related point, when geeks go out they often display the 'gift' of public presentation that many of them have. If I had a dime for every overweight individual in the mall with a trench coat covering up their "Ghost in the Shell" T-shirt who's walking around trying to look mean, I'd have enough dimes to buy those Naruto action figures I've asked my totally real, non-imaginary girlfriend for. Not to say that trench coats are it. Oh no! There's a wide variety in 'geek wear' that is often equally amazing. Pretty much any shirt bought at Randy River qualifies as 'colors', showing your geek markings with honor. Also, your shirts with ASCII code jokes don't get you out of jail...nor does your shirt you bought from www.purepwnage.com.

Now I'm going on and on, and at the end of the day, we all have some geek in us. We all know a little too much about that one 'guilty pleasure' TV show. We all know the lyrics to a few songs that we'd never admit too. We all sometimes say the stupidest things or make jokes that go over like a dead carp. None the less, you cannot escape your inner geek...in as much as you'd want to. Don't flee your inner geek, but don't feed it too much either. Learn to enjoy it with some balance. And I'm not one to be preaching here...I mean I've got lots of geek in me...hey! I've got a blog with 'geek' in the title. None the less, what do you all think? Any other thoughts or ideas? I'm kinda tired here and shooting from the hip, but I'd love some real responses here. Bring it on! Until Next Time,

The Armchair G-G-G-G-GEEK!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

5 seconds of venting...

Okay. The next person who spams my blog advertising THEIR blog is officially getting a sight dedicated to mock them...or at least an entire post as to how stupid they are. What's with that Pilates's guy on my last "Daily Golden Gong" post? What about the low carb loser? I think those two fools are related to the dopes that create and pedal spyware and kiddie porn. If you want to say something intelligent, or even random and nonsensical (But everyone still loves Yosemite Sam...the most faithful commenter ever!), then do. If you think that my blog, the fruit of my frustrations, the exhaust of my existence, the catch within the 'Net, is a place for you to spam adds to, then you are a communist...a communist who steals Halloween candy from kids in wheel chairs and kicks them into the ditch...who then makes a getaway in a car running on leaded gas...a Trabant...made by slave child labor in East Germany. Yup. That's what I think of blog spammers. Hmmm. I should check out their blogs and go and spam their freaking blogs... put a post that says "Hey. I was checking out your idiotic blog and I wanted to tell everyone that reads this how much of a freaking moron you are. If you're reading this post and tired of all the 'almost english' and boring content posted by this drooling fool, come check out my blog at (insert blog address)..." How would that be? HA! I doubt I'd ever do it, but man is it fun to use my imagination for evil! HA! Until Next Time,

The Armchair Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Wonderful Spam! Spammity Spam!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

It feels so good to be right...

Oh my. Working in computer sales is most likely one of the more frustrating jobs in the whole world. People NEVER listen to you but instead assume that everything you say is a lie, people all think you're an idiot and don't listen to you ever, even after the second and third times they call you with an easy to prevent problem that is a result of their own stupidity, and people somehow think that they deserve a computer at $50 below cost by merit of being annoying enough.


...Every now and then, the same God who in irony allowed the costumed Ahab to take an arrow in the side puts his ironic/poetic hat back on and flexes his muscles...and when you're around to witness it, it's freaking SWEET!

So, there's a customer that came in a week or more ago and was shopping for a laptop. Alas, our cheapest one was way to much money for him. $499 for a laptop. Apparently we were ripping him off and he figured that he could get a way better deal somewhere else. I told him that if he could find a store with a laptop that was cheaper than $499, he should buy it then. Apparently, we don't share the same definition of 'store'. He brought in a laptop recently for 'fixing'. He had bought it at a 'store'...ie. E-Bay. E-BAY! HA! Now that's not the best part. Apparently, the super cheap laptop he bought on E-Bay doesn't work well...and by 'not work well' I mean 'has a completely pooched motherboard'. And the guy he bought it from has become a mist and has disappeared. "What? NO WARRANTY? WHAT!? Shouldn't a 'new' computer work right out of the box?" I mean, who buys a computer for $300 on E-Bay and thinks it's new?

Well, shoulda bought from me instead of buying a cheap laptop from a Mr. Johnathan Quest on E-Bay (Man, that name sounds familiar...?!). I guess you live and learn. At least, some people do (hopefully). Others remain idiots but shift from being idiots to being angry idiots...who peel rubber out of your parking lot in an audible protest against the injustice of God withholding wisdom from them. Hence all the traffic accidents. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Online Con Artist

Friday, September 23, 2005

September 23, 2005: The daily Golden Gong award goes to...

...drum roll please. Every now and then, someone walks into my shop and says something so ludacris, so absurd, so stupid, that even I pause in stunned amazment. Today, the covetted Armchair Geek's Golden Gong award (otherwise known as the "A-Triple G" award) went to the customer who came in and said:

"Hey. I'm working in the oil patch and I don't have a lot of money. What is your cheapest 17' monitor?"

I mean...You're in the oil patch and you don't have a lot of money? Excuse me? The people in the oil patch are the only people who have money! Ha! I almost...almost...laughed in his face. But I didn't because I'm a professional. Damn Skippy. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Geek

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Memories from the OTHER Huricane...

Well, back to school season is slowly coming to a halt as classes commence and those who needed to buy laptops for surfing the net in the back of the class have purchased them. This means that I've made a little more money this month, but my Tylenol budget went up by a factor of 13. Why, you say? Here's a smattering of what came out on the couch last night as I was at my weekly 'session' with my therapist:

1. Laptop computers are now going for $799, and people for some reason think that the one that is $799 is the loaded model. It seems like everyone in the last 6 weeks has said "Why would I want to buy that one, with double everything, when this one with nothing is like $150 less?" Somebody get me a brandy. If I had a dime for everytime I have had to explain to someone why a computer with more speed, memory and features is more money, I'd buy a country. And not a little, crappy country like Naru or Liechtenstein. Oh no. I'd buy a country with a nuclear weapons program, like Pakistan. Or North Korea. Awe yeah. Nuclear Fracking Weapons.

2. I actually had a customer in here who couldn't remember how to spell his first name. I'm not kidding. When someone wants to finance a computer and they don't know how to spell their own dang name, chances are they don't have good credit or a big coin job. Not to discriminate, but a primitive and yet blazingly effective way to measure an individual's success level in life is to gauge them as to their ability at 5 "S"es. The things that start with an "S" that many of my friends take for granted, but some people find to be insurmountable obstacles. Here's some free information from my new book on leadership called "The S's of Success":

"S" number 1. Sleeping. You realize that you need to sleep at night and don't instead try to do that during the day, while you should be at work. I find that most people who show up 4 hours late for work because they were up until 5:00am the previous day usually don't work for long.

"S" number 2. Showering. Some people have not figured out that if they smell like a diuretic camel, I kinda don't want to be around them and/or do business with them and it is actually a problem in a work environment. Basic hygiene is a miracle for some folks and actually limites their abilities to get jobs. Don't get all 'high and mighty' with me too...you've been around Stinky McGee and as much as you're sensitive and considerate, you wanted to bolt for the door too. Admit it.

"S" number 3. Suit. Now by 'suit' I mean 'suit to suit'. Dress to match the occasion. Don't wear a tuxedo when you're working derrick on a rig, and don't wear fire retardant coveralls when you're serving at a fancy restaurant. Wear clothes that make sense with what you're doing. If you think you're first day on the job is a great time to wear your "earth first: we'll log the rest of the planets later" shirt, you most likley will need to keep those extra copies of your resume.

"S" number 4. Spelling. If you cannot spell the word "spell", or your own name for that matter, it's a sure bet that you're not going to be driving that Mercedes anytime soon.

"S" number 5. Subtraction. Basic math skills are a must. I once was a Burger King and had a meal that came to something like $8. I gave the girl at the till a $20 and she gave me like $19.79 change, as well as my $20 back. Now I told her that she gave me the wrong amount of change and she then took my $20 back and proceeded to give me like $15 something, the second time. I'm not sure whether she was having fun at my expense or something, but if she was seriously unable to figure out that 20 minus 8 is 12, she's most likely at Wendy's now.

I'll be on tour with John Maxwell for a few weeks in November, so come out to my book signings.

3. I had an argument with a customer regarding the adage "you get what you pay for". I was trying to explain to this customer that, as a rule, things that are better quality usually cost more money. I used the example of a Lada compared to a Cadillac, saying that a $9,000 Lada Riva is a lower quality car than a $60,000 Cadillac Seville DTS. She laughed at me and told me that the only difference was the brand name and the price difference was because the one company was ripping everyone off (and insinuated that I was attempting to rip them off too). Apparently a Lada Riva and a Cadillac Seville DTS cost the same to manufacture. How people ever survive to middle adulthood wilst being sooo unbelievably lobotomized is probably my biggest argument against Darwinian evolution. Survival of the fittest? How come that one's still alive and driving a Lexus? What do you say Chuck D?

4. I had my worst nightmare come true: Seniors who were buying their first computer, had never ever used one before (farmers), had 20 minutes to buy one and run, and were determined to buy one. I tried to walk them but they were intent on buying one. They didn't know anything at all...and I mean anything. They wanted it to never break and read their minds and make them breakfast and wouldn't let me discourage their attempt at a purchase. I imagine they'll throw it out a window in a month in an effort to get their "windows" working or something insane like that. Worst of all, they'll tell their friends a boatload of BS about me and how I took advantage of them or whatever. Sheesh.

5. I had a guy tell me that he was a software designer and knew everything about the software side, but he didn't know what a Pentium was, nor what RAM did. He apparently didn't get involved with the "tech side" of computers. So you're a software designer, eh? Sure thing buddy. He was shopping with the king of Spain, apparently functioning with the tech friend. I'm sure they ended up buying a stack of pancakes with a keyboard and a mouse and now are wondering why all their CD's are sticky after they burn them.

Well, that's all that I have time for. Until Next Time,

The Armchair HynoSalesman

Friday, September 16, 2005

Amidst the Hurricane...

Okay. It's back to school season and it's been SO busy in here that I've not had either the time or mental where-with-all to post. Once it calms down and I get it together (and I finish restoring my own computer...), I'll be back on with stories galore! Until next Time,

The Armchair Geek

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Tackling the untouchable topic...

Yes, I'm putting a blog about one of the 'taboo' things that annoys me...yup. I'm talking about international customers (immigrants for the non "PC" out there). Now, I love international people. I'm a tremendous fan of most of their food (I'm a cury-a-holic and I am on the patch for my problem with sweet and sour pork/chicken/beef/kimchee), I like their cars and I mostly like them as persons. My favorite doctor was East Indian and many of my friends are from the Pacific Rim. I listen to Morning Musume, Jay Chow, Ayumi Hamasaki, Baby Vox, L'Crimi Christi, Malice Miser, Khryzler and Kompany, Tokyo X, Racer X, Impelliteri and Gackt and I like plenty of Asian, Indian and African music ('Shakti' or 'Sweet Honey on the Rock' anyone?). I don't want to come across as racist or negative, but I've gotta get a few things off my chest. In as much as there are true stereotypes about us Canadians (materialistic, selfish, narrow-minded, capitalistic, wussy, no regard for family, etc.), there are certain patterns of behaviour and conversation that seem to occur with frequency with certain international people groups that come in to buy computers. I've compiled a top ten list of comments/behaviours that are my favorites:

10. Coming into the store with 7 or more people in tow. I don't know how things work where you're from, but why do 4 cousins and grandma need to shop with you? Also, it's just plain intimidating when all nine of you are transfixed on me while I try to explains to you...It's like that one scene in Village of the Damned with dark haired instead of blonde kids.

9. Discussing me in your native language while I'm standing in front of you. Please don't, or at least don't point at my stupid tie while you are doing so...that's a dead give away that you're talking about me. I do speak Greek, Hebrew, English, Latin, German and French, so I'll possibly be able to figure out what you're talking about sooner or later, after consulting a textbook or something. Plus it's rude!

8. Pretending you don't speak english at all. You have a Canadian drivers liscence and you're going to University, doing a Masters where you have to write 35 page papers in English. I'm pretty sure you scored higher on your English proficiency exam than I did (you do have a higher paying scholarship then me!). I'm annoying, not stupid. Plus, that's also rude.

7. Coming in 9 times and never buying anything. I don't know why some internationals will stop in at my store a dozen times during the process of shopping. I've seen people in here daily for a month. What in the world are you doing? I honestly cannot figure this one out. The first 3 times, it's a return shopper. Then next 5, it's indecisive. Then next 3, it's annoying and any after that make me check the roof for hidden cameras... I have this fear of one day turning on the TV and seeing myself right after a TV host says "All right Dick, let's watch the next hilarious tape sent in by a mystery shopper from Saskatchewan. This salesman doesn't have a clue what's going on here and the hijinks that ensue are priceless!"

6. Taking 5 hours to buy something. I mean, how much time do you need to check out specs, price and make a desicion? Most people can be in and out within an hour or less, and that time involves haggling. I've seen some international customers sit in here all afternoon, deciding as to whether or not something is a deal.

5. Any other form of being indecisive that hasn't been previously mentioned. For some reason, many of my international customers just can't make up their mind to save their lives. I don't understand why this is the case...

4. Playing stupid. This one is specifically aimed at my Asian customers. The statistics are in and the surveys all verify what we all suspect (And Russell Peters agrees)...you're not even half as dumb as you pretend to be. I know everything in my shop is built in your birthplace and your children have more technology in their cribs than Bill Gates has in his den. I mean, come on! I've seen those 'Hello Kitty' games. I can do minor programming but I can't figure those freaking things out! I remember the Super Famicom and TurboGrafx16, which were using CD's back while I was still playing Coleco-Vision. I know you even invented the CD, the DVD, the MP3, and every other hi-tech toy/gadget/tool short of Divx (The only thing I've ever thanked Playboy for...). I've seen those Kyocera PDA/Wifi/mp3/PsP/video-phones that you all have that James Bond has on his Christmas list. I've seen those jackets with solar panels and 802.11G routers built into the sleeves. I've seen ASIMO break dance and slice a ham. I know you know more about technology than I ever will...so don't play dumb with me. I have low enough self esteem as it is. Don't mock me! I'll snap! I swear!

3. Pretending I'm your friend and offering me a meal at your home as an 'honored guest', hoping to get a 'deal'. Let's face it. You really don't want me in your house any more than you want me dating your daughter. I'm also not giving you 'friends and family' pricing no matter how much you pretend we're ex-cricket chums or related. And what's more, you'd charge me full price to the penny in your store no matter what I said. I've actually gone to where some customers worked and I've paid every single dime or the marked price, and that's after I gave them $75 off a package that was already discounted when they were in my store.

2. Being extraordinarily cheap. I mean, some international customers will bargain and bargain and bargain until their heads fall off. For some, it's like this war of attrition...They won't buy until they either get me down to 70% off or I die of exhaustion. If something is $900, they offer me like $400 and whine and whine and whine and whine and whine and whine and whine and whine and whine and whine and whine and whine when I say 'no'. International customers are usually cheap. Not just cheap, but CHEAP. And don't think I'll buy the "I hab no ma-nee...I so pooooo!" line when you pulled up in a new 5 series. I'm not sure how business works overseas, but I'll give you $50 off if I like you, not $500. Annoying me makes you ,move closer to the door. Write it down.

1. Being cheap. Now I know that technically, I've already stated this point. The thing is, it's such a MAJOR point that I thought it was worth mentioning twice.

Yeah. Just getting that off my chest. Gee...this blogging stuff is therepeutic! Hooray! Until Next Time,

The Happy Summer Armchair Levis GEEEEK!!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Send Help Quick!

I arrived at work today only to discover that there are some gnomes next door doing renovations...to the tune of tearing up floor tile with some form of jackhammer. Head ache factory. Dogun. I'm hating it. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Tylenol Poster-Boy