I’m a skeptic when it comes to pretty much everything. I also realize that the previous statement is about as obvious as a forehead zit in a senior yearbook photo. But for some reason, whenever a strange gypsy lady lays out a deck of creepy-looking playing cards and tells me I’m gonna be wealthy, get married to Jessica Biel in Santa Cruz, and have three kids and a Pontoon Boat, my ears perk up.
Sadly, there are too many naive people like me in this world, cart-wheeling around with their thumbs up their butts, more than willing to waltz in and bend over for anybody that has a business card with the word Psychic on it. Which begs the question:
Is your Psychic really telling the truth?
But because of the dramatic influx of amateur fortune-teller talent over the past few decades, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to identify authentics like Sylvia Browne, Ms. Cleo, and Madamme Weebles from the average con.
Before you eagerly toss a loaf of cashola into the lap of a potential fraud, be aware that there are foes lurking in your Psychic Friends Network. Consider the following tips to avoid getting scammed the next time you pop in for a glimpse of the what’s-to-come.
Never trust a Medium that:
- Furnishes the reading room with white retro leather furniture and a Jim Morrison poster.
- Is wearing an “inside psychic-joke” t-shirt that says, “I knew you were gonna say that”.
- Begins a session with a pop-voodoo ritual asking the candidate to make a wish, followed by waving his/her hard-earned cash over the deck like a magician’s wand and repeating a mantra like, “highsy lowsy here we goesy”.
- Offers any up sells under their Psychic Goods and Services Umbrella. ie. mystical shampoos and body products, polished rocks, holistic witch serums, or spousal surveillance.
- Wears a green plastic poker visor.
- Claims to be picking up messages from the abyss from a non-human source, like a deceased pet cat.
- Speaks artificially broken-English.
- Asks questions that they should already know the answers to. ie. You have a woman in your life, no?
- Offers a coupon package like, “buy 2 readings, get 1 free”.
- Drives a Volkswagon bus.
Of course, this list doesn’t guarantee you’ll weed out every dingleberry clairvoyant on the market – that’s your responsibility. Use your own intuition when shopping for a reliable fate-sayer. The last thing you want is to find yourself prematurely setting your work desk on fire with a bucket of kerosene after learning of a non-existent trust fund inheritance.
But if it turns out that you are in fact a beneficiary, toss me a bone, will ya? *wink
- Keep your friends close, but keep your Psychic Friends even closer, Chowderheads \m/
I’m not proud to admit it, but I’m still floundering away at The University of Microsoft Paint.
If you’re not familiar with it, MS Paint is a watered-down photo editing program that comes standard with every PC. The only thing it’s useful for is drawing a perfect circle, square, or trapezoid, then filling it with a primary color. Basically, it’s one step above an Etch-o-Sketch.
Since I’m in a giving mood today, I thought I’d give all you graphic artist snobs an opportunity to point and laugh at some of my crudely-edited pictures from the past. Up until now, none of them have seen the light of day. The tour you’re about to take should give you an idea of what I’m working with here.
In short, my graphic design skills are about four feet shy of a slam dunk.
I’m a wizard at blacking out teeth. Lucky for me, Suze Orman is already missing one. The caption saved this one. The sketchy-looking thought bubble did not. Grade D+
The caption saved this one too. Grade: D
What began as a Chariots of Fire-inspired tribute to Michael Phelps, ended in a craptastic horn sympony of wet farts being lit on fire. I blew this on so many levels. First off, I butchered the name. Phleps? C’mon man. Secondly, the Olympic Rings look like they just got off some Woodstock hippie bus after eating a handful of brown LSD. Needless to say, this one didn’t bring home the gold — or any medal for that matter — just a raging case of genital herpes. Grade: F
Where was I going with this one…This was actually an old piece from my graphic design portfolio. People who interviewed me described it as being preposterous, laughable, and harmful to pregnant women. One guy even called a couple weeks after the interview to tell me he’d gone sterile after looking at it. Liar. Needless to say, my computer drawing career never panned out. Now that I look at it again, I can see where they’re coming from. You did’t have to be a dick about it. Sheesh. Grade: F
Wait for it…
…and boom goes the dynamite. This one gets high marks for originality of content. Unfortunately, I’m not sure The Enquirer is gonna fork over any loot for this Photoshop hack-job. A Kindergartner could do a better job of cutting and pasting. Look at Bush — he looks terrified. I’ll bet this won’t be the first time G-Dub’s had a low mark stamped next to his name. Grade: D+
The shading is spot on in this one, but I kinda goofed on Sara Jessica Parker’s hair. Oh, and I totally forgot that she doesn’t eat carbs anymore. Sorry chicky, this ain’t gonna help straighten out the long face —-> Grade: D-
…Exhibit G: *G-Money*
Here’s an exception. Not much wrong with this one. Except for the fried egg in Becca’s hair. It was supposed to be a daisy. Whatever. If you print this out, don’t try using it at Walmart. They just busted someone recently who was trying to score change for a million dollar bill. True story. It’s obvious that Walmart invests heavily in counterfeit and fraud prevention. But who would wanna get rid of something with that pretty face on it? Grade: A+
Gary Busey is so grouchy around the paparazzi. I think he has a sugar problem. Or a coke habit. Probably both. By the way, fake blood is hard to do on MS Paint. It looks like cartoon barbecue sauce. Someone give this man a rabies shot. Stat. Grade: D -
More pickin’ on Bush. Wait. That came out wrong. Nevermind. If you’ve never seen the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off then you’re probably scratching your wig right now. Congratulations! You’re the only person on the planet that hasn’t seen it. The bong in the photo looks sort of believable, I guess. And it’s patriotic too! Who am I kidding. It all sucks. Grade: D+
I can’t imagine his monthly dry cleaning bill. Actually, who cares about that. I’m sending a Christmas card to the owner of the shop. What a saint for handling all those poopy pants. Grade: C
I even screwed up my tribute to David Dixon. Wait, is that his name or his nemesis? Either way, you make it look easy, my friend. Grade: F
End of Tour.
I hope nobody went sterile.
If you guys didn’t think this totally sucked, let me know. I have a lot more Fotoshop Fails in the dumpster out back. I could do a weekly bit called something corny like, “Fotoshop Fridays?” Meh. I’ll work on a title…
Oh, and check out the Post of the Week by Alien Red Queen. Nicely written, Ms Lady.
-Happy Blogging \m/
Author’s Note: I’d like to apologize for any mistreatment and/or agony caused by the profuse usage of capital letters during Sergeant Gunnery’s boot camp tirade. Sadly, the Sarge couldn’t make it today because he is now a semi-permanent fixture on my garage ceiling — courtesy of eight rolls of duct tape. Hoo-ah.
If there were a scientific method for measuring and ranking all the things that suck in this world, car shopping would probably fall somewhere between getting shot in the groin with a potato-launcher, and dealing with a bout of moderate to severe Seafood Poisoning.
Unfortunately, owning a car is a necessity for people like me, and every few years I find myself in the same pinch at the local motor mall.
Looking for a car isn’t the hard part. In essence, it’s actually not all that different from putting a fridge on layaway. The part that makes it less desirable than a spud to the hangers is when any of the following semi-fictional bullshit-artists enter the equation:
- Jerry Flannigan aka “The Dice Man”
- Ron Wystromski aka “Big Cheddar”
- Dick McGiven aka “The Shark”
- Ed O’Mallory aka “Fast Eddie”
From that point on it’s nothing but a high-pressure hassle.
Walking through a car dealership is like hiking through the desert with a piece of rotting meat tied to your back. From the moment I pull into a lot, there’s always some greasy sales buzzard wanting to shake my hand before I can put my foot on the blacktop. After introductions, I’m getting forcefully shoved past the econo-car section of the lot, and tossed into a pile of Corvettes, Cadillacs and Monster Trucks.
Meanwhile, there sits a tiny, imaginary man in my head, behind a xylophone, frantically playing an ambiguous tune. It’s a circus melody that perfectly captures the stress and confusion of the moment.
Many people feel the same way about the whole experience as I do. However, they go about preparing for it the wrong way. Most folks look to generic buying guides like Consumer Reports or the Suze Orman Show for tips and strategies on how to buy a car. This advice is shoddy, at best. Neither of these pop-resources highlight that being approached by a haggling salesman is an Act of War.
If you wanna avoid the runaround and get the most bang for your buck, car shopping requires a tactical, military-like approach. Hopefully you’ve already completed Tuesday’s Basic Training. You’re gonna need it.
Let me break it down by operation.
Operation 1: Reconnaissance
Begin by surveying the dealership for a few days with a pair of binoculars from across the street. Behind a bush. Determine which day is staffed with the fewest amount of Sales Pests. Identify a breach area. Keep a log sheet of your observations. Take pictures if you can, and carry an infrared lens.
Operation 2: Infiltrate the Enemy Establishment
After the surveillance operation, enter the lot at the identified breach area, and park as far away from the sales office as possible. Stealth is key. Use the vehicles in the lot to shield yourself. Stay low to the ground. Remember to camouflage: sweat pants and a dirty T-shirt with a Budweiser logo on it. You’ll be hard to spot if you look poor.
Operation 3: Create a Tactical Diversion
You will eventually be targeted. Remain calm. The key at this stage is to create a Tactical Diversion that will delay and/or weaken the offensive strategy of the oncoming insurgent. Note: the following tactics are battle-tested, but may lead to a brief jail stint if executed poorly.
Choose from the following list of Diversions based on your scenario:
- Parking Lot Tag – When the Sales Pest has captured you for introductions, immediately initiate a game of parking lot tag by firmly tapping him on the chest and yelling out:”Tag, you’re it!” If he doesn’t give chase, insult his mother.
- Cops and Robbers (or Cowboys and Indians) – This tactic is also childish. But who gives a fuck. Integrate a lot of somersaults and barrel rolls on the pavement into your evasive routine.
- Panic Button Hand Grenade – Request a set of keys for a vehicle. Once you receive the keypad, hit the panic alarm button and launch it grenade-style deep within the enemy compound.
- No Speaky English – If you’re not confident in executing any of the above tactics, use language as a sales barrier.
Operation 4: Identify Target Vehicle
While your Sales Pest is trying to catch his breath, and/or bent over a car, puking his lungs out, survey the enemy compound and identify the target vehicle for a test drive. Make sure it’s a Ford. And make sure it’s not Gold or Burgundy.
Operation 5: Highway Storm
After you’ve targeted a vehicle to test drive, request the keys. Bring your Salesperson. If he politely declines, try softening him up by applying reverse sales tactics: place your hand on his shoulder and ask about his beer league softball career.
After he’s in the vehicle and buckled up, put the pedal to the metal. Really open up the engine during your test drive. Do things to the target vehicle that you wouldn’t do with your current vehicle; brake torquing, neutral slamming, red-lining – get a feel for the beast.
If the salesman shits the seat, Abort Mission.
Operation 6: Negotiate Hostage Situation
At this stage, a hostage situation could mean one of two things:
1.). You’ve landed yourself in the sales office and are negotiating the price of a car.
2.). You’ve landed yourself in jail and are negotiating the terms of your release with a lawyer through a piece of bulletproof glass.
We’ll concentrate on the first one.
This is your opportunity to put the hammer down. At this point, the enemy should be showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress. Use these symptoms to your advantage. Make a lot of sudden, jerky movements, and drop things on the floor, like a stapler, to create loud noises. If that doesn’t work, try a computer monitor. This will keep the enemy in a vulnerable, defensive state of mind.
If executed properly, he’ll do whatever it takes to get you the fuck out of his office. When he’s cowering, immediately submit a low-ball offer on the Target Vehicle. Hold eye contact. After he prints a contract at the newly negotiated (low-ball) price, illegibly sign on the dotted line. Do not shake hands, and do not turn your back to him while exiting the cell. Before fully carrying out your exit plan, bark. Like a dog. Do it with passion and fury.
While he’s under the desk, make your break at full sprint.
Eat my Pants, Suze Orman.
What’s the battle plan when you go car shopping? Please share your funny stories!
-Happy Blogging, Private First Class \m/
- Car salesman brothers guilty of fraud (modbee.com)
- Bucks Blog: What I Learned the Hard Way About Leasing a Car (bucks.blogs.nytimes.com)
It dawned on me the other day that sustaining an audience through weekly, incessant ranting might not be a good long-term concept. Not that I don’t enjoy bashing trends, or whining about trivial stuff, but it gets old — even for me. Does this mean the end of My Right to Bitch? Yeah right. I think it’s just time to add a few more ingredients to the salad bowl and mix things up a bit. I have too much to talk about that doesn’t revolve around pissing and moaning all the time – at least that’s what my therapist says.
Speaking of expensive health services, I visited my chiropractor today for the first time in a few months. All of this blogging has become a real pain in the neck (pun intended). Sitting for extended periods of time does a real number on the body, so I decided to pop in for a much needed re-alignment.
If you’re not familiar with what Chiropractic is, let me break it down for you…
The Chiropractic Experience
In a nutshell, Chiropractic is basically the science of twisting bones and joints in ways that they weren’t intended to move. Each visit brings a sampling of medical wrestling techniques designed to measure your tolerance for pain, as well as how easily you cry.
When visiting a clinic for the first time, the same initial protocol takes place as with any other doctor. You’ll typically spend a half-hour filling out a phone book-sized stack of forms highlighting your aches and pains. After that, prepare to spend another half-hour waiting in a room full of other decrepit people, anxiously listening to cries of agony coming from the occupied rooms. Don’t run.
Right before you’re about to fall asleep, the doctor will call you in for spinal x-rays. After the pictures are developed, they are then placed on a lighted board, which makes it easier for them to point out the problem areas, as well as the faint outline of your crotchal region. From there a diagnosis is made, and the real fun begins shortly after.
There are several procedures throughout the visit. The first set of bone manipulations begin with the patient laying face down on a table that’s supported by impact springs. The springs are meant to absorb the large amounts of force being driven into your spine from a defenseless position. Climbing aboard and riding the table of death to the horizontal position is the only fun part. After the elevator ride, the patient then grasps the “oh shit” bars below, while the doctor proceeds with a series of pile driver-like moves, causing your spine to briefly meet with the inside of your sternum.
Sternum: “Well hello there, Spine!”
Spine: “Gotta run. I’ll drop by next week.”
High Velocity Maneuvers
Some practices use adjustment techniques called High Velocity (movements), which look and feel similar to what Steven Seagal does to the bad guys in a lot of his movies. As a matter of fact, it’s exactly the same technique. While the patient is seated in a chair, the doctor silently approaches from behind, and when least expecting, violently twists the head of his victim — far enough for the person to momentarily view their own back. If it sounds painful, that’s because it is.
I nicknamed my doctor “the hammer”, because he does to his patients what Gallagher does to watermelons. On top of being medically-aggressive he’s also 300lbs – I’m not exaggerating. The guy is built like a dump truck, and likes to use me as a guinea pig for all of the new karate moves he learns at conventions. One of his newest techniques involves grabbing a hold of the skull, and forcefully extracting the patient’s head from his body cavity like a reverse-battering ram. It’s kind of like tying one end of a rope to a door knob, and the other end to a pick-up truck. Just for grins, I decided to measure myself before a visit. Surprisingly enough, I grew two inches after the adjustment.
And I’m not supposed to crack my knuckles?
It’s important to note that if you’re considering visiting one, be mindful of what you eat beforehand. For example, a stuffed bean burrito would be a poor choice of meals. The reason is self explanatory. When someone is jumping from the top turnbuckle onto your intestinal region, it’s unlikely your sphincter will maintain its gassy parts. Each visit brings with it the potential for becoming a human whoopee cushion. Many have fallen victim – myself included.
Right now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Why the hell do you bother going?” The answer is simple; it’s a life-saver for me. Most people don’t realize that all of the organ systems are connected to the spine. Even a minor subluxation can cause a body system to function improperly. I was extremely leery about it before I started visiting one, but haven’t looked back sense. If you’re considering it, do your homework first and find a good one. You won’t regret it –
What are your thoughts on Chiropractic — believer or skeptic?
**Please share your funny stories **
-Happy Blogging, ya wimpy Bitchers!
- Dr. Ben Altadonna Announces New Information to Help Doctors of Chiropractic Eliminate The Skepticism of Chiropractors and Chiropractic (prweb.com)
- Warwick, Seagal among those who owe Calif. taxes (cnsnews.com)
- Steven Seagal, Dionne Warwick make list of biggest tax scofflaws in California (cbsnews.com)
At a time when I’d found myself wallowing in the deepest, darkest depths of writer’s despair, the universe once again delivered. Unfortunately, my newfound inspiration came with a price tag of a hundred dollars and a few days of lost blog-humping productivity. One all-too-anxious click of the mouse and I’d contracted a nasty case of cyber-gonorrhea, as well as an attitude toward the stinky prick that was responsible for it all.
It was hard not to feel remorseful about the timing of the matter. I was just starting to feel centered for once. The colorful aura that had surrounded my optimistic project faded, forcing me to shelf it for the time being. Back to the bitch diaries. I had a more pressing issue at hand.
I spent the next couple of nights by candle light, snapping off tacky one-liners with a quill pen and a head full of trance. Nothing that I wrote satiated. I needed more. I was desperate for reprisal, so I decided to try and track down the bastard. If I was going to find any closure from the whole ordeal I’d have to do a little police work first.
I figured my best shot at finding the guy would begin with establishing a motive and a detailed profile. In between slugs of coffee, I paced the room like a nervous cartoon, jotting down notes on a spiral-pad. I was feeling confident, on to something I thought. The pencil in my head began to swirl a composite sketch of the perpetrator at large.
I knew that he didn’t work for a reputable company like Microsoft or Apple, because it would contradict his whole philosophy. It’s difficult to get hired into a company like either of the two when you’re on a bi-monthly bathing schedule. I could picture him; isolated in some basement hideout, screaming into a headset while touring the World of Warcraft – the smell of some off brand air freshener fighting off the stale pizza rolls and TV dinner trays piled up on his desk. In between yelling fits and large blocks of anime porn, there he sits, writing malicious code on a highly sophisticated machine.
Reason led me to believe that he probably didn’t leave the house often, so I’d have to track him down outside of his headquarters. Where would he go? What would he look like? My brain was in desperate need of answers.
He had long hair – an anything-but-trendy ponytail, perhaps. A person of poor hygiene would mean long hair. I’m sure a hairdresser wouldn’t leave their scissors near a person smelling like a dirty sponge, yet alone volunteer their services. Facial hair was also a strong possibility. He’s clearly a non-conformist, which meant rule out anything fashionable or trendy. Cheap sunglasses, military boots, an old recycled leather jacket even.
A strong supporter of the Unix operating system. Everything else was inferior computing, fit only for the common caveman like myself. Maybe I could track him down online. Start in the forums and look for the arrogant flake.
All I needed now was a motive. What would drive a human to bully the civilized world with such malicious intentions? The answer was obvious. The poor bastard was probably exiled from the rest of his peers at a crucial time during development. It caught up with him later on – revisiting, lamenting his awkward high school years. Now he was evil. Non-conformists are born that way though, no fault of another.
The Fruitless Pursuit…
There was no use wasting anymore time. Generally speaking, I had a good idea what I was looking for. In retrospect, it was a bit optimistic of me. More importantly, I didn’t know what I was going to do with him when I found him. What sort of punishment would fit the crime? More questions. Then it hit me: motherboarding — a method used for dealing with cyber terrorism, which involved tying the perpetrator to his throne, and beating him senselessly with a stack of motherboards. Half the problem with the prick is that he’s too smart for his own good, so I may as well bring his IQ down a few clicks.
I knew where I’d find him. The downtown district is full of non-conformist beatniks – lumbering around in large packs like prairie bison. What if this was all for nothing? What if I was pursuing the wrong person? Maybe he was much more refined — off shore bank accounts, suave dresser, expensive car, Rolex — the whole bit.
The once roaring fire of optimism within me was now turning into a smoldering pile of doubt as I watched the markers tick by. I could feel my foot easing off the accelerator as my reservations intensified. I decided to pull off for a bit and make sense of everything.
I ordered a coffee – no cream, no sugar. It was hard to keep myself from pulling napkins out of the dispenser and shredding them on the table. The smoke was heavy – a thick blanket of it hanging above the greasy diner tables. My mind was still in overdrive, but my thoughts were halted by an angry woman that stood up and threatened to off the male sitting in front of her. I could sense the tension mounting in the atmosphere after the blow up. Maybe it was the caffeine. Either way I decided to leave a tip and exit before I was the recipient of a misguided projectile.
Going back was intolerable. I’d been beaten this time, but not destroyed. What sense would it make to continue this pursuit? Tracking down one anonymous hacker and removing him would be like containing an influenza epidemic with a single can of Lysol. Let him have his kicks for now, I thought. The poor bastard has his coming…
-Happy Blogging Private Eye Bitchers…
- Security Brief: Anonymous Operations (news.softpedia.com)
- Hackers Take Over Mexican Government Websites (theepochtimes.com)
- How Anonymous Hacked the Media (thedailybeast.com)
- Following your own path–How to be a socially acceptable non-conformist (onehotmessage.wordpress.com)