At least I wasn't naked.

I had to take a four and a half hour test today for my Blackberry Enterprise certification, and it was horrible. Did you ever have that dream where you forgot you had a final exam and when you finally sat down at the desk in the gymnasium and flipped your paper over, you didn't know a single answer? So you sat there and stared at the paper, and all you could hear was everyone around you busily writing? And then, one by one, they stood up and handed in their papers until you were the last one left in the room? No? Well, it was kind of like that.

My test was at 10:30 this morning and I had to be there 15 minutes early to fill out the paper work. This was the second time in a month that I've been to the test center, since I stupidly showed up on the 7th because I had rescheduled the test and not changed it on my calendar.

The girl behind the counter looked at my two forms of ID, then she took my Blackberry away and locked it in the cabinet and for a second I felt very free. No phone, no pager, no e-mail -- just me and the open road. I contemplated making a break for it and just driving until I hit Mexico. We don't need no steenking certifications. But then I remembered that I have a wife and a house and a mortgage and a job in a tough economy in a state where jobs are hard to come by, plus I am a pasty gringo and I probably wouldn't fare well in the tropics. So I stayed.

This testing site is really a training facility -- so they are big on classrooms, and small on exam rooms. Their "test-taking" room is basically a closet with four library-type desks in it, all facing in opposite directions. It's not very comfortable under the best of circumstances, and if the AC isn't working great it's like being trapped in the trunk of a car that's been left in the sun. Of course, today was about 93 degrees, and their AC was wheezing and stumbling like Michael Moore's heart.

When the counter girl sat me down at my desk, there was one other guy already in there. She said "If you need anything, just let me know." I thought about asking her for an appetizer and a drinks menu but she didn't look like she was having a great day. Before I could start my test, I had to click through about six pages of legalese, and then click on a button that said "I agree." Even now I have no real idea what it was that I agreed to. As I type this, someone could be on their way to my house to harvest my left kidney and be fully within their rights to do so.

About a minute after I sat down, I heard something strange. It was sort of like someone singing a single note, about two blocks away.

After about the third time I heard it, I realized it was coming from the other guy in the room with me. Apparently, he had a "thing" where he made this little high-pitched humming noise in his throat every 30 seconds or so. He sounded like a really distant test of The Emergency Broadcast System.

So that was pretty annoying. That and the heat. I tried my best to ignore him and click through my questions. The majority of the test consisted of hypothetical scenarios, and you'd read a page about a fake company, their servers, their network configurations, the number of users and their geographical locations, what systems they currently had, how much money they had to upgrade, and then they'd ask you a dozen questions about what to do and how to do it. The answers were always multiple choice, but not like: What does TLS stand for? (a) Terrific Light Show (b) The Last Starfighter (c) Transport Layer Security. Instead, they were the kind where they tell you to "choose the best three" and there are something like six possibilities and they all sound right. Unfortunately for me, "How the fuck should I know?" never seemed to be one of the choices.

I was about an hour into it, when the counter girl came in with another test-taker. He sat down at the desk next to me and the second the door closed, he immediately let loose with the fart of all farts. I mean, it wasn't a loud whoopee cushion fart -- it was relatively discrete as farts go, but the room was so quiet and the desks are so close that there is nothing even approaching privacy. If some nose-breather had a whistling booger, it would sound like a Lou Marini sax solo in there. The volume of gas in this guy's colon was staggering. It sounded like a tire losing air. It was fully 5 seconds long, and I feared for all our lives.

So I'm in an 8x8 room with a human teapot and someone who smells like he just shit his pants, and I'm only on question 30 out of 160. Things were going well.

I started breathing through my mouth and reading (and guessing answers) faster. I also found the one movement that made my chair squeak slightly, and I kept doing it over and over. So sue me -- I'm a little passive-aggressive.

After three hours of this, I was done, in more ways than one. I thought about using the last hour to go over the answers I hadn't been sure about, but then I realized there were very few answers that I actually had been sure about, so I would probably just be wasting even more of my time. Plus, I figured that if I stayed between EBS and IBS for much longer, I'd snap. As it was, I figured there was already a 75% chance that I'd have to burn my clothes.

At least the part of the nightmare about being the last one to leave didn't come true. Fart boy and the human tea kettle were still there when I left, and for all I know they still are.

I have no idea how I did, but I'm pretty confident I failed miserably. I was nowhere near prepared, and it was a beta test, so the good thing was I didn't have to pay for it. I'll get to take it again when it's an official test, and hopefully I'll have better luck in all respects.

Lastly, it seems I'm all about pimpin' my blog this week. I just found out that my Blogger friend Averyl has entered the Mad Men contest! If you have a second to vote for her, it's a one-click thing and the link is here. Thanks!


In which the Mighty JT makes an appearance.

This is the sort of crap that makes me laugh.

A few days ago, a fellow blogger who I recently started following on Twitter (and who goes by the name BadAssGeek) wrote:

"Trying to decide what I want for my one framed picture that is allowed on my desk at work. So many options."

I immediately responded with this suggestion:

He replied that he was "more of a Star Wars kind of guy."

So I sent this one over:

A little while later, he posted this to his TwitPic page:

Go visit him here. Judging from the picture's surroundings, he works in a padded cell.

He's funny, and has more followers than I do, but don't hold that against him.


A picture is worth...well...pretty much nothing in this case.

I can't get used to the way Blogger handles the pictures now. It sucks, and the spacing is all off.  

Since I am pressed for time today, and I have no idea how this new picture BS works, I figured we'd do a picture post because that makes sense.  

The reason it's a short post today is because I'm going to relive a bit of my childhood tonight and see Rush in concert.  I'll let you know how it goes -- they are supposed to be playing all of Moving Pictures, which they've never done before.  If you haven't checked out the new movie "Beyond the Lighted Stage" I highly recommend it. Very entertaining.  How these guys are not yet in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is beyond me.  Even if you hate them, you have to respect them.

Anyway, my blackberry ran out of space today, and I realized it's because I have a ton of completely useless and ridiculous pictures on it that I barely remember taking.  I was going to just delete them, but then I figured I'd share them with you, and let you make whatever judgements you have to about the sort of shit I deem picture-worthy.  Sorry for the quality.  It's a crappy phone.

First up - this amazing piece of artwork at my place of employment:

Now, I'm no art critic, but this looks like a bunch of scribbles to me.  In fact, I'd go one better and say that it looks like something that I might have drawn on the wall of the family room when I was 4 years old, given ten minutes of unsupervised time and a 64 pack of Crayolas.

All I can hope is that both the artist who created this abomination and the person who paid good money for it both suffered the same fate that I probably would have, and ended up over someone's knee getting their asses beat.

Next up, an even dozen lemon drops the size of your head:

I found this in my father's bathroom.  After the Rain is not a good description of when this is to be used.  Not at all.

The menu in Ten-Forward:

Commuter rock, waiting for the bus:

I think there's a cream for this:

Dish of candy at work for everyone to help themselves.  Hey! Who wants the shitty jelly beans that my kids won't eat?

I walked into work one day, and this was sitting outside of my cube.  It sat there for two days:

I am pretty sure that 30 seconds before I saw it, it was on the back of someone who said, "Fuck this, I quit."


Chain, Chain, Chain....Chain of Fools.

I hate e-mail chain letters. Since I've worked in IT practically all of my professional career, (ok, just for the sake of argument, let's pretend for the duration of this post that I'm a professional and that I have a career) I've seen just about *every* e-mail ever forwarded to anyone since the day personal computers were invented.

They all annoy me, but for different reasons. Mostly I hate the ones that I've seen ten times, no matter how funny they are, but I also hate the ones that attempt to tug on the recipient's heart strings, or faith strings, or superstition strings. I will confess to getting a kick out of it when someone forwarded me my own JC Penney post, though. That was unexpected and pretty funny.

Sometimes, if the info in the forward is false or incorrectly attributed, I'll respond with a link to Snopes, or reference some other web site in an attempt to educate the person who sent me the stupid thing. My other pet peeve with these things is that I really, really, really hate links that automatically start playing music, especially when music isn't mentioned anywhere in the e-mail. One minute you're sitting there minding your own business, the next thing you know, Celine Dion is crapping in your ears.

One of my coworkers constantly gets religious and patriotic e-mail forwards from one of her friends or relatives -- I can't remember which -- and she takes great delight in sending them to me if they are extra religious-y, because she knows if there's one thing I love, it's having someone else's feel-good religious views in my face. (Even if said views are of my own religion.)

For instance, here's one she sent me today that combines religion, government, music and the reading speed of a 4th grader:

To: Johnny Virgil
From: coworker

Subject: This is really awesome!

ANDREA BOCELLI...this is awesome


When the screen fills up with words, then the words tumble to the bottom and new words start up again at the top of the screen.


Because I don't like to click on stuff like this from my work PC, I sent it to my home address. Later that night, I clicked on the link, listened to the song and read along until glowing Jesus made his appearance. After that happened, all I could think about was this:

I'm pretty sure that was the gist of the message, anyway.

Also, I should totally make that into a T-shirt.


Deja Vu all over again.

You know how when you buy a certain kind of car, you start seeing that car all over the road when you probably never noticed them before?

Now that I've been actively looking for losers who are copying my stuff, I'm unfortunately finding it.

I pretty much gave up on the JC Penney thing a long time ago, because it went viral with no author and a bunch of people just decided they wrote it, but I just found this guy who stole about half my "chumbuddy" post.

Feel free to leave him a comment, although it looks like he just deletes them eventually. You'd think a 60 year old engineer would have more integrity. Unbelievable.

annnnnd.....we have a winner.

Hello Johnny,

We have received your DMCA take-down notice dated July 11, 2010 on
We have reviewed the allegedly infringing content in question. In
accordance with our policies, we have taken the content offline and
notified the blogger of the complaint. Should the allegedly infringing
content reappear at this post, please let us know and we will take further

The Blogger Team

Thanks, everyone! You guys rock.


She floats!

However, we don't know if she actually sails yet. I'll tell you guys that story later in the week.

We named her "Constant Sun" -- after my mother, Constance.


This is your ass on drugs.

As some of you probably know, I graduated college with a BS in Marketing and Advertising. I worked for an ad agency for a while, and learned in short order that the "BS" designation was pretty much right on the mark. We were a small agency, and as such had a lot of small accounts. Small accounts generally mean less-than-stellar products, and so we spent most of our day trying to think up good ideas to sell crappy things.

We were on a budget too, so we did things like put plastic wrap over our scanner and dump sand on it in order to get the background for a print ad. The whole situation was crazy. It was a husband and wife shop, and she had a cat with cancer. She loved it like it was her kid, though, so she put the cat through radiation and chemo. As a result, it would puke all the time. One of my duties as the new guy was to keep this half-bald animal from vomiting on the furniture and equipment. Whenever I heard the gakking sound that preceded an "incident," I'd have to run and find the cat, and make sure he was on the floor before he spewed. Nothing like grabbing a convulsing, vomiting cat. It was a great job.

She screamed at me and cried when I gave my 2-week notice. I, on the other hand, did not. She made those two weeks a living hell for me. I have no idea why I stuck it out. It wasn't like I was going to get a good reference or anything.

Anyway, one of the first things I learned in my college marketing class was to objectively evaluate product and/or brand names. You didn't want your product or brand to be inadvertently funny, or mean something you didn't want it to. We read all the case studies about how careful you had to be, especially in foreign countries so that your brand didn't end up biting the wax tadpole. (As an aside, the ad agency I worked for was called Wood & Zuber. They clearly hadn't learned anything in their college marketing classes, because a wooden zuber sounds like some kind of low-budget sex toy.)

Later on, the same thing held true for registered domain names and the unintentionally funny URLs that resulted -- things like childrenslaughter.com, and powergenitalia.com, to name two of my favorites.

That's why it always boggles my mind when a new product comes out and it seems like nobody ever said the name out loud until it was time to make the commercial. I was sitting there reading the new issue of The Week (great little mag, btw) when suddenly I heard something on the television that caught my ear.

Some guy on the screen was talking earnestly about his ass effects. I had immediate mental images of an ass that spent a week at PIXAR studios. Asses made out of flowing semi-solid water, like in The Abyss, or maybe shooting off into hyperspace with a ass-stretching blur and snap of light. Then I thought maybe they were talking about SOUND effects, and that one was even less appealing. I rewound the DVR to make sure I heard it right, and then made my wife come and watch. I don't think she found it as funny as I did -- probably because she's not 12 years old -- but sure enough, there's a drug for heartburn called Ass Effects. And you can apparently try it for free:

I think it's probably been around a while, but it was the first time I'd seen it. Horrible, horrible name. Whoever thought that one up should have been fired, or at least laughed out of the conference room while being pelted with those chocolate donuts that nobody ever eats until there are no others left. I passed on the free offer, because my wife says my ass has too many effects as it is. I was thinking maybe I could get it digitally plumped up a bit, since my grandmother always called me No-ass-at-all.

Come to think of it, that sounds like another pretty sweet potential drug name. Ask your doctor if Noasitol is right for you. God knows what ailment it would fix.

At first I wondered if maybe it was just me, because my mind rests firmly in the gutter most of the time, but then I decided that no, Aciphex was something most anyone would hear.

Here's another test. I saw this on a hunting and fishing mag at work the other day:

Does that scream fish-porn fetish to anyone but me? No?

Dammit. Maybe it is just me.

Can you believe this shit?

Check this out. Apparently, he's been stealing my blog posts for years.

I hate people. (OK, not all of them.) Feel free to leave him a love note for me.

Also, I haven't died. It's just been one of those weeks.

On a good note, I bought an ISBN today. Now I'm committed. (Or I should be.)

edit: I've reported him to myspace, but they want me to do a side by side of his posts and dates and mine...so far it's taken 3 hours of my life. But hopefully they'll address it. What a pain in the ass.

It took a while to get it in the right format for them, but I believe all the stolen material of mine is gone. Rob "Diesel" Kroese is in the process of doing the same thing I just did.

I can't believe the balls on some people. I hope his kids are proud.