Wednesday, August 27, 2003

"Corporate procurement services, how may I direct your call?"

"Yes, Hi, I was asked to participate in a survey about the new procurement application, and I'd like to decline to participate."

"Well, (pause)...Why do you want to do that?"

"Well, I've never actually used the new procurement application, and I think my feedback would be rather irrelevant."

"Everyone's feedback is important."

"Yes, but..."

"It's a very small group that were asked to participate, so we really need everyone's participation."

"I understand, but I've never even seen the new application."

"Besides it's too late to get anyone else. The survey list has already been sent in. That's why you got the email."

"How did I get on that list, exactly?"

"There was a selection process. It's a very short survey, but if you feel that you would rather not participate in evaluating new initiatives, you can talk to your manager about that."

"No, it's not that, I'm happy to participate in this kind of thing, it's just that I really have never even seen the new application at all."

"Well, we need to know why people have chosen not to use it as well, and the survey helps with that too."

"I have nothing to do with procurement, so I'd really have no occasion to choose one way or the other. I don't know the first thing about the procurement process with or without the new application-"

"Procurement is how you get all of your equipment, like your computer, your phone-"

"Yes, I understand that, I'm just not directly involved in it."

"So you're declining to participate."

"Yes...but, I mean...there's no point in my participating in this particular case."

"Well, I'm sorry you think your input is not valued or appreciated."

"That's not...I mean, all I'm saying is that you'd get as much value out of having my next door neighbor participate in the survey as you would from me!"

"Oh, does your neighbor work for Wescott MultiCom too?"

"No, he's a groundskeeper at a Cemetery, actually."

"Well, then, I can't imagine what he would have to contribute..."

"That's exactly my point."

"Okay, I get that you don't want to take the survey. I'm going to put you on the line with my supervisor now..."


" that she can explain to you what you need to do to excuse yourself from the survey, and remove yourself from the list of potential survey participants."

"Well, I don't... - Fine."

"Okay, here she is."

"Good afternoon sir, my name is Portia, and I understand you would prefer not to participate in the quality survey process."

"That's right."

"Might I ask why?"


Monday, May 19, 2003

Last night, I spared an ant.

It was one of those ubiquitous black kitchen ants, somehow separated from its detachment like a lone T.I.E. Fighter leagues and leagues away from the Death Star. It was crawling in my bathroom sink, and instead of mashing it, poaching it with the faucet turned all the way to hot, or drowning it with a mouthful of toothpaste (all of which I have done with glee in the past), I allowed it to live.

Let's be clear. I hate ants. They are one of the few species on this planet that I would genuinely like to see go extinct. I can't begin to estimate the number of times I have left a dinner plate out for even a couple of hours, and returned to find it and my countertop in a state resembling a TV set tuned to a non-broadcasting channel. They come in force from any breach in the house's hull, no matter how slight. They set up infiltration camps in houseplants and cupboards. They march in wide, brazen phalanxes across the kitchen floor to pillage the garbage can. They mass in huge numbers somewhere under the house, fear neither man nor God, and have no regard for those they torment.

I call them "Little F**kers."

My son, on the other hand, calls them "Little Guys." In truth, he's kind of ambivalent about them; when he notices one crawling on his possessions or person, he gets very distressed. "Oooh, there's a little guy on there!" he'll exclaim, dancing frantically from foot to foot and pointing, waiting for my wife or me to come and "please flip him off!"

He also, however, frequently asserts that a lone enemy scout, caught on a reconnaisance mission to the coffee table or pantry, is "just walking about" or, more often, "looking for his family." "He's funny, Papa!"

See, when it comes to ants, my son epitomizes the kind of Wasp-ish liberal sensibilities described by Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon - "I love gays and blacks and latinos; as long as they don't move next door." He finds them quaint, cute, and amusing, but doesn't really want them to touch him or his stuff. I, on the other hand, am Lyndon Johnson, Jesse Helms, and the Georges Bush all rolled into one. Kill them all. They're the Axis of Evil. Somebody hand me a can of RAID and a Nuke.

So yesterday, when I was helping him wash his hands in the bathroom sink, he saw a "little guy" on the edge of the basin. "There's a little guy! He's washing his hands!!" he exclaimed, grinning and laughing. "He's so so funny!"

My son, the seditionist, the enemy sympathizer.

So later that night, when I had one of the dirty little guerillas right in my sights, I was moved to mercy. This could be a fatal break. Maybe it's the turning point where the ants finally gain the upper hand, attacking me through the soft heart of my son.

I feel I should say that I didn't actually help the ant out of the sink, thereby aiding the enemy. Instead, I left him (or more likely "her", given the organization of ant colonies) to her own devices. Maybe she got out, maybe she didn't. It doesn't matter - there are so many, many others where she came from, and they are relentless and without remorse.

Little F**kers.

Monday, May 5, 2003

So today, just for kicks, I decided to do a search on Google for Horizontigo.

This website was not only the first result returned, but the first TWO results.

Granted, "Horizontigo" is not exactly a premium key word (like "Auctions" or "Nude Girls," for instance), and the total results returned only fill 2 pages. Still, getting popped to the top of a Google search, an oft-coveted holy grail of website marketing, gave me pause.

For one thing, the "word" (which it isn't, in case you were wondering) is beginning to pop up in disparate conversations on subjects ranging from travel ( to media studies (

Now, I'm no linguist, but as I understand it, this is essentially how words are born - once usage is common enough to indicate a grammatical or semantic niche, a non-word achieves status as a "real" word. It's sort of like the process of speciation in nature (I actually wrote a paper on this in the one linguistics course I did take in college - I believe the response from the professor started with "If you had bothered to do the homework...").

If in fact "Horizontigo" is destined for lexical cannonization, might I infact be in a position to influence it's ultimate definition? More to the point, am I responsible somehow by virture of the fact that I have locked up a piece of the increasingly-important vocabulary real estate of domain name land? Would it be at all cromulent of me to assume such a position?

Well, anyway, based upon the newly-increased threat of people actually visiting my site (Did you mean: Horizontal), I have made some resolutions.

  • I will upgrade the site, add some stuff, and make it more like Target, and less like K-Mart.

  • I will not allow several months to go by without adding new content.

  • I will not start new entries with overlong, gratuitious appologies for allowing several months to go by without adding new content.

  • I will endeavor to always uphold the nascent meaning of the word "Horizontigo," whatever that meaning may turn out to be.

Thank you for visiting.

Friday, May 2, 2003

Overheard conversation. The actual names of the participants are not known - I have added fictitious names that I felt reflected their physical presence and aspect. When this did not seem like quite enough, I also added some other details about their lives that may or may not be true.

Delbert Bumfuddle:
Mid-30's, skinny guy.
Works as a stockclerk in a grocery store 10 minutes from his parents' house, where he still lives.
Is a Giants fan, but still likes Sammy Sosa, and is pretty conflicted about it.

Sally "Big Sal" Murtz:
Heavyset blonde woman, late 30's or early 40's.
Owns a "Lark", but has no medical condition that would justify its use. She calls it her "Groshry-Helper".
Enjoys listening to "'skynrd."

Sal: "I do believe though... really, they'll be able to beam us one day. Some day... I mean, that's for sure gonna happen. Technology is too powerful. It has to."

Delbert: "Yeah they can already...see, at IBM they just a little while ago already beamed a molecule. They can do that all the time. But with a's...a person is made up of like, billions or millions of molecules..."

Sal: "Yeah, uh-huh..."

Delbert: "...and there's just not enough computing power...there's no computers that can handle that much information."

Sal: "Yeah, but there will be someday, if Bill Gates has his way."

Delbert: "heh...yeah...but there's this other thing, Einstein came up with called the Hindenberg Principle or something like that that says it's too hard to do it. There's somethin', some really super-crazy mathematics that just can't be done."

Sal: "If there's a big enough computer you could do it."

Delbert: "Yeah, probably, but I think it's a theoretical limit or somethin. Like, you can only know so much information. At least with computers."

Sal: "yeah, that's right."

Delbert: "Einstein was autistic, did you know?"

Sal: "Really?"

Delbert: "Yeah, or maybe it wasn't autistic, maybe it was some other disorder...or disease or when you're a savant, that can do all these amazing things and you're really smart, but it's just this condition. Einstein had, like, classic,, textbook signs. All of 'em...he had, like, all the signs."

Sal: "No way!"

Delbert: "Yeah. Newton too...Isaac Newton. And Edison. Prolly all those guys."

Sal: "Wow."

Delbert: "Yeah, it's wierd. You know - you think all these people are, like, geniuses and stuff but they're's all just this disease they have."

Sal: "Hmm. It'll sure be cool, though, when they can beam us."

Delbert: "Oh, yeah, cause then they'll be, like, no traffic, or crowds, or any of that more waiting in line, or traffic jams, and the roads'll be like, totally empty for everybody...hell, they'll probly tear down the roads and build, like, condos or somethin."

Friday, March 21, 2003

Here's something about which I don't quite know how to feel...

Now, to start with, I never, NEVER dream about famous people. Ever. Actors, musicians, politicians, medical curiosities...oh, wait, when I was in my pre-adolescence, the Elephant Man showed up recurrently in some disturbing ways...I think that's the only exception, though. It certainly hasn't happened in my adult life.

During the night following Tuesday, March 18th, I had this dream.

I, Lee, and our son were waiting to meet someone, I can't remember whom, at the airport, and we found out that President George W. Bush was going to land there in a few minutes. In the dream as in my waking life, I was not a big Bush fan, but I thought "this'll be something [our son] can tell his kids about some day. We should try and meet him." So we went over to the gate where his plane was supposed to land.

Oddly, there were only about a dozen people, mostly reporters, waiting for his arrival, and we got right up to the front. When Pres. Bush arrived, he walked off the plane waiving (like you'd imagine), but then came straight over to us. He picked our son up, and held him in his arms. He said a bunch of things I can't remember to us, and to him - I remember he seemed to think our little boy was very important for some reason. He kept smiling, and holding our son up near his face for pictures. Somehow it seemed like more than just typical political baby-kissing and photo-op'ing - the fact that it was our son was somehow significant.

When it was time for him to go, for some reason we were being escorted along with him - the President was carrying our son, and we were following just behind. At one point, I turned back to get something of our son's - toys, or something like that - that he'd forgotten. When I turned back around to follow them again, my son was running towards me, and I heard the secret service guys shouting "The President is down! The President is down! He was trying to pick up his own hat!!"

When I looked, they were loading Bush onto a gurney. His head was wrapped in bandages. I remember thinking he must've fallen and hit his head during the risky hat-retrieval maneuver. As they loaded him into the ambulance, he waived at us and smiled. The ambulance sped away, and I woke up.

The next evening, U.S. forces launched the first strike against "targets of opportunity" just outside Baghdad.

I have not told Lee about this dream, becaus I had forgotten about it until just now. She would probably be disturbed to learn that I had let George W. Bush hold our child. I myself am a little disturbed by it.

He had seemed nice enough in the dream, though.