Anyone miss anything this week?
Anyone miss anything this week?
My surname, Sleep, is an unusual name. It derives from the Cornish language for ‘marshy place’. Couple this with the unusual forename ‘Darren’ and I could be forgiven for thinking I was unique…
Then one day nearly 20 years ago I got an email at work, an environmental science institute.
The email was from myself – at another environmental science institute.
Apparently I was also working in the Canadian forest service as well as in the UK. I actually understand this. If I had been travelling to Canada every day to work it would explain my tiredness. No worries. (Except the only-getting-one-salary part anyway.)
Reading further, the email was from another Darren Sleep who had spotted my name on a scientific paper. Not only are there two Darren Sleeps but both work in environmental science and are roughly the same age. We are connected on Linkedin now, though his career has moved into directorship territory. Oddly, he lived for a time in Quebec, not so far from my friend Dominique in Montreal. He now seems to be in Ontario.
It gets weirder….
Ten years later he got in touch again. He had received an unexpected package from Vodafone. On enquiring he was told that it was a mistake and that it should have gone to Darren Sleep in the UK. He had got in touch to tell me my package was delayed, which was kind of him.
Except…I am not a Vodafone customer….
A quick google search revealed a third Darren Sleep living just across the Pennines in Yorkshire. A picture on his golf club website reveals another beardy middle aged guy. With the same glasses as me…
I am just off to change my name to Abercromby Wonderwaltzer. And maybe shave off half the beard. And wear Elton John specs. And dye my hair blue. That’ll sort them! I will be different!
Abercromby (formerly Darren)
This week’s “Guest in Jest” guest is Afterwards
I am not sure that we ever truly feel our age, I know I certainly don’t though I am fast approaching fifty. I am perhaps a little slower, broader and less inclined to carrying unfeasibly heavy things unaided than I once was but mostly still feel somewhere in my early thirties. My eldest was just born and energy was in abundance and I was perhaps a touch more excitable than I am now.
I did however feel my age somewhat on Friday evening. For 12 years now the same half a dozen chaps from work have been coming over each month (with some periods of inactivity) to play poker. We all worked together once but have since moved on so it is great to eat, drink and be merry.
It was much to my horror though that a few of the lads seem to be exhibiting classic old man syndrome (which I will refer to as OMS for the remainder of this piece). One chap, I shall call him Paul, because that is his name, expressed the sort of fear of gadgetry that only someone with OMS can display. As we discussed the merits of the commected home he was covinced that the risk of wifi enabled light bulbs far outweighed any benefit they might offer.
Apparenly they can be hacked and people can then take over your computer and your life and all manner of beastly things can happen. I am pretty certain that he was convinced that my Roomba (you know those automated vacuum cleaner things) was eying him up and that should he perhaps trip and fall and bang his head he would come to only to find that the Roomba had taken off his trousers and was rubbing itself against his exposed anus in a most sexual manner.
Simon was next to exhibit symptoms. Simon is a bright lad, a great coder and hardly someone that should be fearful of technology. I have seen him impliment some quite fantastic data solutions over the years but when it came to my Amazon Alexa it was beyond him. He could not simply shout across the room for her to play a selection of songs from the nineties. No. He had to leave the table, wander across in the nervous way one might approach an attractive woman in a pub, and with all of the confidence of that man who knows full wel that she is out of league mumbled something about Oasis.
Alexa ignored him.
To complicate matters the Alexa is connected to a Sonos speaker…
I eventually had to step in when he was shouting at the top of his voice insisting that Alexa was a dick head with ‘Dont look back in anger’ blaring out of the Sonos and the Alexa playing ‘Wonder Wall’ equally loud. Apparently he also managed to play ‘Champagne Supernova’ in my youngest’s bedroom at full volume which nearly made him shit the bed.
Oh and two of them were drinking Becks Blue non alcoholic beer because they had to be up to play golf in the morning.
Hey, I’m just letting you know. Guest in Jest has enough submissions to take us through March 22nd. Yeah, that’s a week and a half from now.
No bold fonts. No shameless begging. Just letting you know.
Have you ever felt like a total dweeb because of your phone? Or some other electronic device? Perhaps you have an app that drives you nuts or makes you feel stupid?
I had an appointment yesterday and when it was over it was after 1 pm and Dad and I were famished. We were headed to a restaurant we had never eaten at before. I would have Googled it ahead of time, but my therapist had recommended it as my appointment was ending. It was called Texas Roadhouse.
I brought it up on Google maps on my phone and pressed “start” to activate Google’s voice assistance, whom I call “Aurora.” This voice doesn’t have a name at all, unlike Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. She’s known only as Assistant. She has no identity. How sad is that? Anyway, I named her “Aurora.” By the end of this search for the restaurant, I was ready to punch “Aurora” in the face!
I proceeded as directed by “Aurora.” Now the exact instructions she gave may be off, but you’ll get the gist.
“Continue on US 160 and take the MO-13 S exit.”
Done. Easy enough.
“Proceed to left turn lane and turn left onto S. Campbell Ave.”
Done. Ok. This isn’t too difficult. Yay!
“Make a U-turn at El Camino Alto.”
Crap. A U-turn? Why didn’t we just get off the freeway further down, I wondered. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about a U-turn. Ok. U-turn made.
“In 600 feet, turn right onto W. Cardinal.”
Wait. What? What street? Didn’t see any street called Cardinal. Obviously, I missed it.
“Make a U-turn at Republic Road.” What she really meant was, “Now you have to turn around and try again dummy.”
Ok. Aurora is directing me to turn around. Let’s try this again. Ok, back to the U-turn at El Camino Alto.
“In 600 feet, turn right onto W. Cardinal.” What she really meant was, “Let’s try this again, dumb ass.”
Crap. Where’s the road? There it is but I’m in the wrong lane. Too much traffic. Missed it again.
“Make a U-turn at Republic Road.” What she really meant was, “Are you freaking stupid? You missed it again!”
Here we go again. Got it. Back to that U-turn at El Camino Alto.
“In 600 feet, turn right onto W. Cardinal.” What she really meant was, “Don’t miss it this time you idiot!”
Yeah, yeah. Got it this time. CRAP. Argh!! This road is the freeway! Grrr…… What the heck is going on? Now that I’m back on the freeway, we see the sign for the restaurant. Ok. Now I have an idea where it is, maybe I can find it without “Aurora.” Tried my best to get over there, still kept getting in the wrong place. At this point, “Aurora” is telling to go here or go there, but I am ignoring her. I can hear her screaming at me, “ARE YOU DEAF? You gigantic dweeb!” Of course, she’s not really screaming at me or calling me names, but boy howdy, I bet she was thinking it!
I finally ended up back on the original road and U-turn. Let’s try this again. Before we got to the U-turn, we noticed there IS a road that we missed, but in our defense, it actually looked like a driveway to the Subway located there and the road sign was hard to see.
Ah-ha!!! Made the U-turn, made that right hand turn onto W. Cardinal and we were on our way. Good thing, because we were starving!! There’s the restaurant!! Yay! Pulled up and parked. We wondered why there were no cars in the lot…. Then we read the sign. Dammit! It’s one of those places that open only for dinner: 4 pm to 10 pm. Seriously? It was only 2 pm! Crap. All that work for nothing.
We were just going to go back to the area of town we were familiar with to find a place to eat when we noticed FD’s Grillhouse not too far from the Texas Roadhouse. Sounds like a plan!! It was actually open! Yay!
We both decided on a shrimp platter, mine with batter-fried shrimp and Dad’s with grilled shrimp. We both got a baked potato. I had cole slaw and Dad had broccoli. I was so parched I drank 3 glasses of iced tea! Dad had his Merlot. I hate wine. It stinks and tastes awful. I almost had a beer, but I was too thirsty.
When our meal came, it was just in the nick of time! I think my stomach was ready to eat itself. The food was great! The baked potato could have been much hotter but the shrimp was delicious!
I’m glad “Aurora” was no longer ‘with’ us. I don’t think I could stand her judgmental little thoughts (imagined by only me) throughout lunch. Whew! What a day!
I thought I’d put a dragon up there to get your attention. Did it work? I guess if you’ve read this far then it must have.
I know you’ve all intended to send in posts for Guest in Jest, but it takes a lot of time to write up a ‘proper’ post. I don’t blame you, life gets in the way. Plus, I’ve probably begged enough, haven’t I? Perhaps the well is dry. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to let this series go down without a fight. No sirree, Bob! Ever wonder who Bob was?
Anyhow, I had a thought. Stop cowering in the corner! My thoughts aren’t that scary, are they? Ok, perhaps they are, but I think you’ll like this one. For the next few weeks of Guest in Jest I would like the normal posts, but if you can’t come up with something that long, I have a solution.
I now present you with:
I guess that means you can be Guest in Jest Jokers. Or Jesters. Or something equally ridiculous. Being ridiculous has always been highly regarded here at Everyone Else Has the Best Titles.
Here are the rules:
Send your favorite joke(s) to me at email@example.com.
Oh wait…that’s just one rule. How simple is that!?
I think this will be fun. If this doesn’t work, I swear to dog that I’ll resort to memes. Don’t make me resort to memes. But I’ll do it if I have to! You have been warned.
This week’s guest is Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks
When bowling teams cry out in desperation, “Help! We’re winning too many points! Who will save us?”—I know just what to do. Bowling like a wild tornado that rips through gutters and puts a hole in the floor is my superpower. But I’ve not used my powers often enough and I’ve felt this gnawing feeling—like I shouldn’t just let myself “get soft”—not when there are so many points I can help other bowlers lose. This feeling grew particularly strong when I saw the wild, wild neon lights of the Lucky Strike bowling alley in Bellevue on my 47th birthday this weekend. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to walk into the place and shout loudly above the disco music: “Everyone, settle down! It’s okay! I’m here to roll gutter balls, so relax! I’ve got you!” Of course, it was super cool to walk in there flanked by my superhero bowling team (Nate and Alex). On their birthdays, they like to come to the Bellevue Square Mall too, but they never suggest Lucky Strike bowling. I, on the other hand, mention it all of the time:
Me: Oooh! That bowling alley looks sooo cool! How about we go there sometime—for my birthday? We’re doing it—we’re totally doing it!
Nate: It’s bowling. I’m pretty sure we’ve been bowling before.
Me: Not like that. Lucky Strike is like celebrity, high rolling bowling—with funky music—and I bet people just start dancing. I’ll bet I just start dancing—and they serve drinks—in case I start dancing and you need to pretend to be drinking something.
Nate: Is that really what you want to do for your birthday?
Me: Yes, yes yes!!!
So, on Saturday, we were finally doing it. We were walking straight through the Lucky Strike doors—and my “personal theme song,” “I Got a Feelin’” by the Black Eyed Peas— echoed in my brain. Nate, Alex, and I paid for two games because well, we didn’t want to overdo it or anything.
Now, I don’t want to brag, but I did take extensive bowling lessons for a combined eight weeks total during high school gym class my freshman and sophomore years. I learned the rules and actually tried to be a good bowler and sometimes, I think I made progress. On Saturday, all of that progress landed me a few strikes and spares, but mostly gutter balls and I think a lot of the gutter balls had to do with my “approach,” which consisted of the following steps:
1) Pick up a 10 lb. ball, even though a 5 lb. ball is probably all I could handle.
2) Swing the ball upward, so that it’s level in front of my chest and then pose and look serious.
3) Do a combination skip/waddle up to the line and swing the ball back, realizing it’s really really heavy, and hoping it doesn’t slip out of my hands because the finger holes are incredibly big as well.
4) Listen for the “cracking” sound as it hits the floor.
5) Cheer wildly when the ball veers completely off course and into the gutters—cheering because at least the ball didn’t bounce out of the lane and into someone else’s beer.
It wasn’t until the day after bowling, when I woke up with an aching wrist and shoulder, that I thought to ask myself, “What could I have done better?” So, I performed a highly technical key word search in Google that contained the following words: how to bowl. Amazingly, when I went about three or four pages beyond the first page of results, I found “Bowl.com,” which is the official website for the United States Bowling Congress (USBC). The USBC is the national governing body of bowling and the keeper of standardized rules and regulations.
On the website, I found an article about the “approach” for rolling a bowling ball. This article contains highly encouraging advice, such as the following: “It’s as easy as 1-2-3-4, just like walking down the street.” Except, instead of the street, you’re on a slick bowling alley lane and there’s a very heavy ball in your hand. Also, your fingers feel greasy and you swear they are beginning to itch as well, so you have to gently remind yourself not to rub your eyes or stick your fingers in your mouth.
In any case, there are some useful steps in this article, which I’ve summarized here for your convenience:
1) Find the “perfect” distance from which to start the approach. I think it would be fun to start out in the parking lot and come tearing through the place shouting, “Move!” However, the USBC probably has rules against such a thing—for many, many good reasons. Instead, you’re supposed to walk up to the line (without the bowling ball), turn around, and take four ½ normal steps back towards the drink menu on the table.
2) Get into the stance. When I first came across this step on the USBC website, I was left to my own imagination. Once I stopped laughing, I realized there was an illustration near the bottom of the page. Here’s the link—just remember to scroll down when you get to the second step. (Bowl.com: The Approach)
3) Walk and swing the ball at the same time. Don’t even try to imagine this move. There are illustrations on the USBC website, thank goodness. Just remember to scroll down.)
4) Do the “slide.” It’s this little “kicky” thing at the end and Nate can do it really well. I’d say that’s his super power. When I saw him bowl yesterday, I said, “Ooh, honey! Swing it! Swing that back leg! Whoo!” He never reacted to my antics though, probably because his “personal theme music” was echoing too loudly in his head. However, I wish I had gotten a picture, so I tried to get him to demonstrate his bowling moves this morning so that I could post an extremely helpful picture to readers of this blog. Here’s how that went:
Me: Hey, Nate. Can you pretend like you’re bowling? I need to get a picture of that back leg swing thing you do.
Nate: I’m busy.
Me: Come on, please?
Nate: I’m busy planning our vacation to Hawaii.
Me: Perfect! The islands of Hawaii desperately need good bowlers. Nate? Nate—are you listening? Nate?
But he never answered me—probably because his personal theme song (Wheezer’s “Island in the Sun”)—was just too darn loud. So, I was forced to draw a picture. As you can clearly see, the leg swings back—just like walking down the street:
Your Turn: Do you have any bowling tips? Or: If you had your own theme song—something that just started playing any time you entered a room—what would it be?