Post-Game Wrap-Up

First of all, the game was pretty exciting. I didn’t mind watching at all, though I couldn’t care less who won. No one at the party was a super-fan so we didn’t have any problems with guys in face-paint going berserk when some dude dropped the ball.

Twenty-two guests showed up. Scott, Gunther, Gordo, Polly, and some other obvious candidates, plus the dry cleaner Ramon and believe it or not, letter carrier Hung. The Whole Foods contingent came en masse, and the fun thing was, a lot of people brought a friend or two, so there were new people to meet.

One of the best things about the party was that it was such a weird mix of people that practically no one (besides me) knew more than a small percentage. So everyone was meeting a lot of new people. But hands down, my favorite new person is Astrid the check-out girl’s boyfriend Cesar. He works in marketing, but mostly for appliance manufacturers. His job is to “humanize” appliances by making boring features seem more intelligent. Example: He pointed to my toaster oven. It had a setting called, “Bagel.” He asked me, “What do you think that does?”

I had never really thought about it, but I did use it every time I want to toast a bagel. I said, “I don’t know, some kind of sensor makes the toaster heat penetrate a thicker dough of a bagel?”

He said, “That’s what I do. I make you think the toaster is smart. ‘Bagel’ setting increases the toast time by 10%. That’s it.”*

Turns out, there are only two things that are adjustable on the toast setting. Power and time. You can make the power go from 10% to 100% and you can adjust the time it toasts. That’s it. Putting a button on the front that says “Belgian Waffles” doesn’t change the fact that there’s only those two variables.

I love this guy.**

Anyway, the party was a big hit. Everyone had fun. It was good seeing Scott again. And Gunther even got along with his ex Monica. (I should have mentioned that things didn’t work out with 19-year-old aspiring TV personality Marta. It didn’t long. I think they broke up in December.) I’m not sure, but I think Gunther and Monica may have left together. So maybe if that’s back on, I can add matchmaker to my resume.

* Bagel setting also makes only the top element heat because it assumes you sliced your bagel and placed both sides face up, unlike the normal toast setting which toasts on both the upper and lower element simultaneously. But I already knew that part.

** I will post another entry about the rest of our conversation. I just love it when I learn something that never occurred to me but is so obvious when someone tells you.

Gathering the Troops

This week has been fun trying to invite people to my Superbowl party. The first and only rule is: no emails as it kind of defeats the whole purpose.

I don’t have a Rolodex of everyone I’ve met in the last 18 months but that’s okay. It’s an excuse to track people down and talk to them.

So first, I called the people I know well enough to have phone numbers for. Gunther obviously. And his stupid friend Gordo. I also called Monica but she wasn’t home and I left a message. I called Scott and we caught up for a bit. He’s been auditioning a lot and has a new girlfriend. I invited people from work like Janet, but not Neil and Kyle because they’re just co-workers not strangers I talk to.

I ran into Polly and she’s coming. And my new friend Luke from the pet store.

Tracking down the rest has been a challenge. I left a note for Maria the cleaning lady but I’d be surprised if she showed up. I also left a note for letter carrier Hung and Pedro the newspaper guy.

But I visited Ramon the dry cleaner in person. He was actually very helpful in explaining who was playing and the backstory for the game. I also invited the Cheese Guy and Check-out Girl in person because I was Whole Foods anyway and it was easy. The check-out girl (with the nose ring) is named Astrid and I made sure to invite her in front of Michelle so she didn’t think I was asking her out. She asked if she could bring a friend and I said the more the merrier.

All in all, I invited a couple dozen people and I have no idea how many will actually show up. But I’m buying a lot of beer and a couple party subs from Bay Cities so hopefully it will be a decent turnout.

Another Poker Douche

Gunther invited me to a poker game at his place last night.

Normally I’m not much of a poker player but I’ve been feeling down lately, like I’ve lost some of my talk-to-strangers mojo, so I thought it would be good for me even if I lost my fifty dollar buy-in.

When I sat down, I knew Gunther and his sidekick Gordo. The other four guys I didn’t know. So in between lulls in the play I asked questions, mostly stuff like, “How do you know Gunther?”

That in itself is always a good one since Gunther doesn’t have a real job and knows people in the weirdest ways. One guy literally said, “Skydiving camp.”

One of the guys was a heavy-set douche with a beard who not only won a lot of hands, but told everyone what they did wrong to lead to their loss. (This is the second time I’ve played poker this year and that table had a poker douche, too. What’s up with that?) Everyone seemed to know him and his douchey quality and they just ridiculed him mercilessly, like “Hey, maybe if you spent less time reading poker books you might get laid this year.”

I did not enjoy listening to him tell me how many outs I had or what my pot odds were. So when he went after me one too many times after I lost a big pot, I said, “Jesus, man. Do you have Aspergers or something? Can’t you just tell when people have had enough of your little ‘helpful’ comments?!”

The table went kind of silent. Then the guy said, “Yeah, I do have Aspergers. Sorry if I upset you.”

Shit. I turned totally red. Obviously everyone else knew this but me. Thanks for the head’s up, guys!

At the end of the night, I apologized and said I didn’t know. He apologized, too. And then a weird thing happened. He said Gunther told him about my project, and was wondering if I could tell him about it so maybe he could get better at meeting people.

So it just goes to show you, that for every poker douche out there, there’s some actual mental disorder (or trauma) causing it. I think I’m going to help this guy.

Commissioner Gordo

Gunther came by last night with that nut-job Gordo. Apparently, their GPS-enabled sneakers found a backer.

Seriously. Some moron gave these two idiots half a million dollars to go into production. (If you don’t remember the idea, it’s to put GPS tracking devices in sneakers that are linked to Twitter or Facebook so when you turn it on, everyone knows exactly where you are all the time.) They are calling the shoes “Trakkers.”

Initially I thought, “Why would anyone want to be tracked? Why would anyone want the world to know where they are every second of the day? Don’t people value privacy?”

Then I remembered that no, no one wants privacy anymore. Everyone wants the exact opposite: fame. We are becoming so narcissistic as a society with useless status updates and tweets that of course we want people to know where we are. How else would all our “friends,” “fans,” and “followers” stay in touch with our every inane thought and move?

I know I’m not the first to say it, but it needs to be said again: Most people have little if anything interesting going on in their lives. Not everyone can be a celebrity. Not everyone deserves an audience.

Maybe this is hypocritical. After all, I’m writing this blog, aren’t I? Is the implication, “You have nothing worthwhile to say but I do”?

I guess the difference is, I only post my interactions with strangers (and some updates on my love life) when they are interesting and on topic. I don’t post “Go Bruins!” or “I hate my boss!” And I don’t tell you where I am all day long!

So long story short, I will not be buying Trakkers. Will you?

Gordian Knot

That guy Gordo keeps emailing me asking if there’s any jobs at my bank.

I’m the kind of guy who responds to every email (excluding junk) but these ones I just deleted. Then, last night he calls me on my cell. (Thanks, Gunther!)

I was dreading taking the call, but I figured he’d just keep bothering me, so I answered. I said, “Yeah, hey, I checked around and we’re not hiring.”

But he was like, “Oh, don’t worry about that. That’s not why I’m calling.”

Turns out, he wants to talk to me about a business idea he has. I really, really didn’t want to hear it but guess what? He was calling from Gunther’s place, so before I knew it, he and Gunther were in my place pitching their idea.

The idea is stupid as you might have guessed but I still don’t want to publicly describe it in case some other idiot wants to invest. Suffice to say, it has to tracking devices, Twitter, and a certain item of clothing.

Now that I think about it, I’m fairly certain no one will ever want to pursue this, so let’s just be clear what we’re dealing with: GPS-enabled sneakers that automatically link to your Twitter account. The idea is that you can track celebrities who want to be tracked via Twitter. Not sure why anyone would want to wear these, but if any readers are interested I can pass on your info. They’re looking for $500,000 “seed” money.

This is not an April Fools joke.

Goodbye, My Love

Gunther came by last night to pick up Ms. Pac Man. He brought some sketchy dude named “Gordo,” which I assumed meant his name was Gordon, but he said it didn’t and I didn’t pursue it any further.

I was really getting into the idea of being a guy with a giant video game in his apartment. Jennifer obviously liked it, so I can only assume it would be popular with most ladies. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s Ms. Pac Man after all. An icon of the women’s rights movement.

I realize of course that I could have just bought it from Gunther. In fact, I wondered whether that was his plan all along. But it’s a little frivolous to spend your money on shit like that and it did take up a lot of space. So tonight I helped the two of them move it out and into a shipping crate.

By the way, this guy Gordo, he’s a real weirdo. Apparently he does “odd jobs” for Gunther and other people he knows. But he didn’t say “odd jobs” like the phrase it usually said, like with equal emphasis on “odd” and “jobs.” He said it like, “ODD jobs,” like not miscellaneous, but actually odd.

I was like, “Oh really, what kind of ODD jobs do you do?”

He said he once drove a “friend’s” car into the dessert and abandoned it there. Then he had a different friend come pick him up. (He didn’t think to have the friend drive out there with him in the first place. Instead, he waited four hours by the side of the road.)

I asked him what was in the car. He said that information was “beyond his pay grade.”

I told him that he could have been charged as an accessory if he was concealing something illegal, like say, a dead body.

He replied triumphantly, “Yeah, and that’s why they paid me forty-five bucks!”

Well played, sir.