Statistics Saturday: Some Promotions For The Coming Month


  • Rocktober. Self-explanatory, you’d think, but all right. Everybody’s into geology.
  • Shocktober. A whole month spent distinguishing between behing shocked and merely being startled.
  • Mocktober. The month for spoofs (good-natured).
  • Locktober. Three weeks we waste trying to remember the combination. It is 11-4-69.
  • Blocktober. The floor is covered in Legos.
  • Clocktober. We all engage in clock- and watch-themed crimes to overwhelm the Caped Crusader!
  • Spocktober. 31 days of serious inquiry into Dr Benjamin Spock’s program and how it differed from what the people trying to follow his guidance differed, with the final question about whether he was a net positive or negative force answered once and for all on the 29th, by a paintball fight. 9 pm Eastern/6 pm Pacific.
  • Hard Mocktober. The month for spoofs (nasty and a touch bitter).
  • Octoctober. You have eight arms! Finally! I mean that you can show.
  • Stocktober. You lay in enough durable supplies for the winter ahead, as it’s a bit late to lay them in for hte summer behind.
  • Docktober. We finally get all these breakbulk goods off these cargo ships.
  • Socktober. Finally something warm and comfortable on our feet.

Reference: Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!, Arthur C Clarke.

How Things Are Going


Generally, terrible. They’re all on some kind of hyperfire where every part of the fire is exactly the same vastness of fire. But that is a general matter. Specific things may be less awful. Let’s review some of them .

Weather. It’s now at the right temperature where you can dress so you’re too hot, or are too cool. There’s no combination of clothes you have that will let things feel all right. This awkwardness will continue through Saturday, and over Sunday will give way to modest embarrassment with scattered clumsiness and afternoon to evening thundermeekness.

Yellow things. Yellow things need no attention and are fine as they are.

Vocabulary. The use of the word ‘coruscate’ around you has been steadily increasing. Consult the masses of people lined up outside your door to say it. Yes, this action is doing nothing to convince you it is an actual word. Why they’re doing this is a mystery. It’s not like we think you’re responsible for the word, so don’t go worrying about that We apologize for the inconvenience but can’t think of anything to do about it.

The Capital of Montana. The capital of Montana remains missing. It was last seen approximately five months ago, when it was photographed during a school trip. Now the capital is nowhere to be found and the schools are a bit wobbly too. The school thought the trip was successful and the capital was showing an interest in kickball. Those with leads are asked to call the governor anonymously. The capital was an ‘M’.

Green things. Green things need to be less yellow-y so as to not need attention.

Haunting Odd Behavior By Co-workers. Yes, your co-worker has responded to how you end the late-morning chat by saying “hope you enjoy your lunch” with the answer, “isn’t that the truth!”. It seems like that thing where you give the correct response for the wrong prompt, but they have done it three times in the past two weeks. Their hearty laugh shows they’re enjoying it, at least. Maybe they have wicked plans for lunch? Maybe they eat ironically? Maybe they’ve transcended meals wholly, and exists on giving co-workers a vague despair? But then why are they doing it in these times?

USB. We are still doing that thing where there are about 48 different shapes of USB plugs. We’ve stopped that thing where some of them are called mini USB and others are mini-B USB and some are micro and some are -C and some are -A and all that. Now they are all simply USB 3.0, except those that are 3.1. Some of them are called Thunderbolt or Firewire or Lightning Loops or Superdooperlooper or Batman: The Ride. We have no idea why anyone puts up with this.

Purple things. They’re just overdoing it because they want the attention. Pay them no heed.

Spelling (Non-Vocabulary Division). In the past week alone I have created by typo the words “touside” and “lightnight”. Both words deserve to be things and I will leave it to you to complete the rest of the work. I feel like “touside” should be a chipper sort of slang said in a slightly dangerous part of town, but will leave that up to other parties. It’s important no one person do everything. “Thundermeekness” is a fun word too, but its uses have obvious limits. I also composed “trea”, but that one could use some work.

General Cleanliness. Somehow the keyboard keeps getting fragmentary Cheez-Its lodged between letters, most often in the bit between the ‘f’ and ‘g’ which stare out accusingly at your housekeeping. There haven’t been any Cheez-Its near the keyboard ever. Logical explanations are needed, and there are none.

Heeding things. Earning two and a quarter percent; some restrictions apply.

Comic strips. That one Far Side from 1987 that you weren’t getting? The joke is that ‘Al Tilley, the bum’ sounds a lot like ‘Atilla the hun’. Now nights when you really need to sleep you can lie awake wondering about this Calvin and Hobbes from 1992, and whether it is ‘lie’ or ‘lay’.

Your Blogging Site. Is still encouraging you to try their new post editor, as if you were a big enough fool to try that. The only good version of anything computer-based is the second design they published after you started using the thing, and everything since then has been this somehow water-y thing where you can’t do the one simple task you always do.

I hope this has relieved some of your anxieties, but know it has not.

What’s Happening In Town This Month


1st of April. Easter! Learn which of your friends have rabbit costumes they’ve just been waiting for a chance to use! That’s fun. Also learn which of your friends have egg costumes they’ve just been waiting for a chance to use! That’s a something. Good luck poking around the yard finding all your egg-costumed friends. If you miss any it’s going to lead to soooo many petty, passive-aggressive little quarrels. “Why would I go looking for you underneath the goldfish pond netting in the neighbor’s garage, Matthew?” “I don’t know, because you thought I was worth finding, maybe?” Maybe you should tie strings to your friends before they go off hiding. But where you are you going to tie a string around an egg? They thought about this way before you did, clearly. I don’t know what to suggest.

9th of April. Videotechque, the beloved and iconic longrunning institution, on the nation’s list of the ten most awesome video stores, announces it’s closing. The owners cite their advancing age, and the trouble in finding someone willing to take over even a place the whole metro area agrees is the best spot to find knowledgeable and friendly lovers of TV and cinema. But someone put Encino Man on to play in the shop, and the local alt-weekly’s business reporter stopped in while that was on, and asked about it, and after fifteen seconds of embarrassed stammering the owner just announced they were shutting down and it would be too awkward to go back on that statement now that it’s been made to the press and all. Really the movie isn’t that bad, it’s kind of dopily charming.

15th of April. Roving gangs of pedants wandering around the business district waiting for some unsuspecting person who’ll refer to the tax deadline as “the ides of April”, just so they can explain at length how the 15th is no such thing. This group of ten know-it-alls correcting each other is the biggest crowd downtown has had since the cleanup of the Unexplained Hardenberg Street Sewer Explosion of ’14.

16th of April. Roving gangs of accountants wandering around the business district talking about those dopes who forgot the tax deadline was the 17th this year.

18th of April. The library’s first Community Library of Stuff event turns out to just be chance for people to swap their old toasters with each other. Pretty good time all around though.

22nd of April. The Blitman Street Diner that’s a beloved and longrunning institution, on the alt-weekly’s list as one of the top two best places to hang out when it’s 3 am and you need to stare at a carafe of bad coffee and a plate of strawberry pancakes in a confused mix of fury and longing, announces it’s closing. The owners cite increases in rents and how hard it is to keep staff after someone’s just emitted a 65-second long scream of despair at the heap of plastic-packet creamer.

24th of April. So the club you didn’t know you needed in your life? The one for old-time radio enthusiasts who get together and talk about the stuff and even do re-enactments and sometimes perform charity shows? The one that’s got three people who’d go on to be the best friends you ever knew? The one that leads you into a minor but incredibly fun sideline as a voice actor, mostly recording stuff for museums or doing puppets for the occasional educational play for elementary schools? Yeah, that was meeting at 5:00 and you missed it. Sorry.

26th of April. That weird store on Holland Grove Road 3 that’s just got to be a front for something, because nobody’s ever seen any person going in or coming out from it, or buying it, and there’s no figuring out what they sell from looking in the window, and they’ve never run an advertisement in any known medium, and there’s like five different heaps of words somewhere in the window and on the door door any of which might be the name of the place but none of them clearly are, and the city tax records just list them as ‘PRODUCT SERVICES LLC’? They announce they’re closing because all the other beloved and longrunning institutions are closing and they want to hear some nice stuff said about them for a change. So gather your stories about finding the place weird and a little creepy!

30th of April. The County Line Road Merchants Association announces they’re putting covered scaffolding all along the sidewalks. This isn’t because of any construction going on. They just like the atmosphere it gives of being in a bustling, busy city.

My Well-Scheduled City Plan


OK, so my brilliant plan. I’m going to find one of those cities where people will invite me to events but not really care whether I show up or not, so that I don’t have to show up. However, when I do go to events I’m going to show up with a confederate. We’ll be ready with a stock conversation that we can make vamp as long as necessary, so that during a lull in the room chatter I can say as loudly as I can manage, “19th Century superclown Dan Rice”. Then my voice fades back into the background, letting people wonder what possibly preceded or followed that. All this will take some effort, because I’m a soft-spoken person. There’s people who’ve known me in real life for years and couldn’t pick out my voice from a collection of random voices or ambient sound effects. Two of them are my siblings. But I’ll rally my voice and find some way to do it at no less than one even per week. Done.

Is It, In Truth, Fun To Stay?


I saw a billboard promoting a Village People “Concert Event And Costume Contest”. I was surprised to learn there were Village People concerts that didn’t include costuming for the audience. I would have thought costuming was an important part of the Village People concert-going experience, along with counting down the minutes until they sing “Y.M.C.A.” and “Sweet Caroline” (because somebody thought, well, they always play that at wedding receptions too) and “In The Navy” and “Pretty Sure There’s Another One And It’s Probably Not `We Are The Champions’, Right?”.

But then I got caught up on it being billed as a “concert event”. I know what a concert is, but “concert event”? That seems to add exactly enough qualification that I don’t know what it is anymore. Is it just people gathering around doing the sorts of things they might do at a concert, without necessarily committing to the idea there’ll be a concert per se, just the kinds of activities and events that make someone think there’s a concert there? Is it possible we’ll see all the activity of a Village People concert minus people being up on stage singing, and if so, is it going to result in people dressed as construction workers in the stands strumming a guitar and trying to remember all 42,650 words to `Bohemian Rhapsody’?

Maybe what makes it a “concert event” is all these people getting together to do the stuff that you’d see at a concert, and this makes the concert happen, whether the Village People are part of it or not? Come to think of it, do I even know whether the Village People are still performing? Am I going to have to go to the concert event to find out, and if I do, what should I wear? And overall, should I ever read a billboard again, ever?

Community Events: Neighborhood Warning Night


Lesser Pompous Lakes, All Residential Neighborhoods, 6:30 – 8:30 pm: All residents are requested to go to their windows and look up and down the block to identify the most petty things their neighbors are doing that still annoy them. Get some sheets of paper and write these things down, then wad the papers up around rubber erasers and after ten or fifteen minutes go out and throw these things at the relevant neighbors. Meanwhile in the confusion a small squad of pranksters from South Lesser Pompous Lakes will be able to sneak in to City Hall and leave the cow. No don’t write that part in the e-mail to the newspaper, Jeremy. No, it isn’t funny to pretend we’re going to tell them why we’re doing it, now delete it before you hit send

Community Calendar: Pronunciation Day


Come on down to the Deer Mouse Street Library to enjoy the fifth annual pronunciation-off at 3:15 pm Thursday. Main Auxiliary Room. Participants are hoping after the preliminary rounds to make it through most of “oryctolagus”. Attendees are asked to specify when they arrive whether they believe “snuck” to be a word so they may attend the correct session. We don’t want a repeat of the quarrels which broke out last time, although we admit it was kind of great when Ms Windling, shaking with rage, demanded the judges tell her whether they thought “tuck” was the past tense of “teak”.

Community Calendar: Streetlight Counting Day


Monday, August 5, 9:30 pm. The Lesser Pompous Lakes Office of the Comptroller invites all residents in and around the municipal area to take part in the fourth-ever Streetlight Counting Day. A half-hour after sunset please step outside, identify any and all streetlights in your area, and whether they’re working, and report back to the Office of the Comptroller. Asked if residents should decorate their streetlights or dance around them or maybe do a thing with flowers or papier-mâché the Comptroller-General said, “Yeah, sure, whatever, just send in the counts.” We can’t wait!

Squirrels Solve Their Own Problems


So maybe you remember I was trying to keep squirrels off the bird feeder by having a stand-up comic keep them rolled up into balls of cackling fur that would roll downhill from the bird seed, and that this just ended up a mess as the comic instead on telling controversial material. After that horrible scene I just tried not looking in the backyard after all and trusted that I’d come to regret this for some original reason.

Now it turns out the squirrels were bothered by that comic too, and disappointed that I didn’t find anyone to replace them, which explains that week they spent kicking my shins whenever I went to my car. (This was more effective than kicking my car’s shins, so good on them.) Turns out they’ve organized an improv comedy troupe to keep themselves entertained, and set up a little proscenium at the back of the garage, and the local free weekly’s named them one of the Up And Coming Events (comedy division) for their summer program, “Not Every Block Of Four Words Is A Potential New Band Name”.

I have to admit, I don’t get it. I think it’s squirrel humor. But now there’s a bluejay squawking about putting on a modern-dress version of Ibsen’s An Enemy Of The People, which seems ambitious for a couple birds’ first time out, but who am I to call anything impossible now?

Community Events: Running Of The White Sound Machines


Running Of The White Sound Machines Invoice Boulevard, 4:00 pm. The community’s longest-lasting yet least-heard parade-like activity enters its fourth year as volunteers bring their white sound machines and cover the Little Business District with a faint wave-like noise. Total running course 1.5 miles; extension cords provided for all but the last 1.485 miles. Sign-up sheets are located. The Running’s conclusion is marked by a starter pistol which typically goes un-heard.

Community Events: Basic Computer Familiarity


Basic Computer Familiarity. The next installment of the Lesser Pompous Lakes Community Library and Media District’s course on Basic Computer Familiarity introduces timid students to the “Q” key as well as the one for increasing the volume, with explanations of how some keyboards don’t have the increase-volume key. Students comfortable with this will be then introduced to “mute”, as a concept, with the key to be introduced two weeks from now. Please alert the instructors beforehand if you are dropping into the course for the first time so they may make arrangements to bring you up to speed, by phone (preferred) or e-mail (snarky of you). Fledged Squirrel Room, 4th Fourth Street Library, Tuesday, 12:30 – 1:30, am or pm TBD.

Community Events, June 3, 2013


Fireworks Cancellation Night at Municipal Utilities Payment Center Field. Sunday, 30 minutes after sunset or 8:45, whichever comes first. Celebrate the nearly mediocre first half-month performance of the Snake Valley Grasshopper Mice in the division B (lower half) state leagues with an all-new series of excuses why there won’t be a pyrotechnic festival this week either. Fireworks Cancellation Night is as always sponsored by the Patagium Village Credit Dairy and Non-Fat Convenience Store unless they’ve changed their credit card number.