There has been a pair of brand new, still in the box Chuck Taylor’s in the back of my closet for over a decade. Put them back for safe-keeping because the old ones aren’t quite broken in yet.
Two cups of coffee, one Red Bull, a 16oz. Coca-Cola, a mid-sized pack of beef jerky and a Baby Ruth candy bar and should not be consumed within a two-hour time period. Gastrointestinal calamities aside, the caffeine to chronology ratio may result in you turning up a song very, very loud and dancing on your desk while shouting, “Yeah, can you feel that shit!”
So last month I put this on Twitter:
Stop using "guru," "ninja," and other terms for job descriptions. You are a Sparkly Code Princess. Own it.
— Patrick Graney (@betthearm) November 9, 2012
It seemed to resonate with people, and that gave me a nice feeling. Now, however, you call tell the world you’re a Sparkly Code Princess on either a t-shirt or a mug.
Yeah, I made a Zazzle store. Go shop now. Or not. I’m not the boss of you.
Work bio, take three.
Patrick Graney was born a poor dirt farmer in the fields of Los Angeles. At age 4, he built his first computer, utilizing spare parts, earthworms, and a stolen credit card. By 7, he was a premier hacker, utilizing the original definition as “one who cuts or severs with repeated irregular or unskillful blows,” because how else does on farm dirt? At age 12 he was accepted into the prestigious California State Juvenile Correctional Facility, where in 4 years he excelled in avoiding gang rape.
Upon his release, there’s a 20 year gap where he’s off the grid. Jesus also had this gap, so we can only assume the circumstances were similar.
Patrick reappeared over 13 years ago when he took employment as a janitor/international man of mystery. He has shown initiative, drive, and a fine eye for creating forts out of just about any materials laying around.
In his spare time, he writes bios.
Work did not like my last bio and asked me to resubmit.
This was my second take.
Patrick Graney began his career over 13 years ago. At the time he was a bright, fresh-faced lad who wanted to change the world with gumption, a smile, and 3.6 cubic tons of Semtex. Since that third one was illegal, he opted to instead begin work on this new invention called “the internet” and not, as originally planned, blow the Moon just enough out of orbit so it would spin into the sun, thus averting the disaster when the Moon hatches and the dragons come.
Once firmly established in the company, Patricck now uses hugs and understanding to create innovative, compelling products. Some people call them “choke holds and psychological torture,” but they are HUGS AND UNDERSTANDING.
In his spare time, he collects various slimes, molds, and fungi just like his mentor and confidant, Egon Spengler.
Let him hug and understand you.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, I’m unsure if work is crazy or if it’s me.
At work, my particular department has grown quite a bit in the past year. The other day, the boss sent an email requesting each team member write a bio for ourselves to share with clients, new employees, etc.
This was mine.
Patrick Graney was raised in the wild by a rouge family of platypi. Shunned by his peers for lack of a venomous spur, he slowly integrated to Man’s World, despite it being occupied by “a feeble bunch of tailless freaks.” Patrick has worked in various media outlets before settling into the internet, because what else is he going to do?
Due to his unusual upbringing, he is the only person who finds the “duck lips” phenomenon attractive.
If they ask for a photo I’m sending one of Beaker.
Why did I get up so early today? I wanted to finish reading a book. Yeah, there was only a chapter left and I cranked it out pretty quick (all while preparing BBQ chicken. In the crock pot. Shut up, it counts) but when I was in the shower this happened:
Me: Man, that book was great.
Disembodied Voice In My Head (DVIMH): Yeah, it was. Took you long enough to finish it, though.
Me: Fuck you, I’ve been busy.
DVIMH: Yeah, yeah. But now you have time and a slew of other books to get through.
Me: Exactly how much is a “slew?”
DVIMH: It’s not so much a precise measurement as much as “STOP BUYING BOOKS AND READ THE ONES YOU HAVE OR I’LL KILL YOU.”
Me: Wow, for a subconscious manifestation you have serious anger issues.
DVIMH: Eh, Dad never hugged me. What are you gonna do?
So in order to prevent the Disembodied Voice In My Head from committing violent atrocities within the confines of my gray matter* I started another book, which is pretty cool, but then I kinda lost track of time because I had a good book, one dog curled at my feet and quietly snoring and another curled up by my side and loudly snoring. And since the idiom is “let sleeping dogs lie,” I did just that and it’s a great saying because I got to read another chapter or two. Or three. And not get bitten.
This is why I got up early. Well, that and a whiny dog who had to pee, but really the book thing.
* It’s not like I can reach in there and stop him. I mean, I could, but, you know, severe head trauma, which I think would be playing directly into his hands. Clever, Disembodied Voice In My Head. Clever.
When creating a link to a voter registration page on the company website, do not use “Vote, Bitches” as the headline. When a supervisor sends you an email asking to change said line, the following is not the appropriate response:
No. Vote, Bitches is much funnier. And XXX* said I could do it. And I like bitches. Bitches are great to have around the house. Jay-Z likes bitches. I mean, he got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one. And without bitches we wouldn’t have puppies. You don’t want puppies to go away, would you? Not liking puppies is un-American. Why are you un-American, XXXXX*? What are you, some kinda pinko-commie?In conclusion, bitches = freedom.
* Names blocked due National Security. This message is Terror Color Code Plaid.
I swear I’m not making this up.
While squirrel hunting in high school, I inadvertently got a chipmunk*. My family doesn’t hunt for sport**, so since I killed it, I had to bring it back and figure out a use for the carcass. Chipmunks aren’t very tasty, so I put it in a Ziploc bag and tossed it in the freezer, where it was promptly forgotten.
When Mom found it a few days later, it was made very clear that (A) I’m a dumb ass; (B) calling it a “critter-sicle” does not make it acceptable; and (C) I had better dispose of it toot-sweet.
Most normally adjusted folks would toss the body in the garbage or a ditch, but you wouldn’t be reading this if that held true in my case. Instead, the plastic-encased rodent was put into a brown paper bag, which was then given to my biology teacher the next day. Told her if she needed and extra rodent for dissection, well, here you go. She laughed, took it into her office, and we went about our merry ways.
A few hours later there was a ruckus. I would describe the ruckus as “screaming.” A lot of students poked their heads out of classroom doors, some teachers were scurrying about, but it diffused quickly and mysteriously.
Soon after there was a call for me to report to the office. This, in itself, wasn’t shocking, but I had not done anything (recently) that would warrant a trip. Upon arrival, standing by the Principal was one PISSED OFF English teacher and the before-mentioned biology teacher, who was trying very hard not to laugh. Apparently, these two shared an office and the English teacher, who brought her lunch, had mistaken the bag of rodent for her noontime meal. She was in the teachers lounge when she reached into the bag, pulled out the deceased, and let out a scream while throwing it across the room, which caused, unsurprisingly, more screaming. Hence the ruckus.
Breaking into laughter at that point probably wasn’t the best move, but come on. Flying cirtter-cicle accompanied by screams of teachers? What 16-year-old doesn’t laugh at that? The thought of it STILL makes me chuckle.
So there I was, containing my laughter as the biology teacher told everyone that yes, I did bring the dead chipmunk to school, but then explained the reasoning and copped that she had put it in the office. It took protests from both of us to convince everyone I had not done it as a prank.
I was dismissed with a summary “do not bring any animals, dead or alive, on school grounds,” which seems pretty obvious in retrospect.
Also in the Mishaps With Critters Series are stories about a woodchuck, feral chickens, being accused of stealing a dog, and a kidney stone belonging to a miniature schnauzer, but we’ll save those for another time.
* I say inadvertently because, at the time, I thought it was a squirrel. Little head peeked out from around a tree a middling distance away and I took the shot. Turns out it was a chipmunk. Damn good shot, though.
**Not entirely true. Yes, the primary function is for food, but folks have been known to let the smaller bucks go by in hopes of a larger one. But as far as squirrel hunting goes, I killed it, gotta use it somehow.
There is nothing more powerful than a book. The ability to move you from one state of reality and into another without pharmaceutical help is a wondrous thing. And there are so many out there, waiting to be discovered. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, collected works…even if it’s out of your wheelhouse, it should at least be on the boat.
I understand not everybody reads, and mores the shame, so maybe for this first go-round share it only with folks who would at least appreciate the idea. Giving a non-reader a book can be awkward; sometimes they take it as a judgment. It’s not, it shouldn’t be, and with all traditions you should do your damnedest to make it fun, not a chore. And maybe someday (with enough time, patience and the proper PR machine) folks will WANT to read.
Regardless, this Saturday, stop by your local independent bookseller (new or used) and give someone a book. (And a flower, if you want to be orthodox about the whole process. Reformed can get away with a card with a flower on it. Lapsed just give the book.) Maybe something you know the recipient has been talking about or an author you enjoy. Maybe something neither of you have read. Maybe a graphic novel. It can be whatever. If they don’t like it, fine. It’s not a big deal.
The idea isn’t to force people to read.
The idea is to share books.
The idea is to celebrate.
Earlier today Maureen Johnson was advocating people being/becoming Ambassadors of Reading, which is, quite frankly, brilliant. And, if you feel like adding an extra feel-good holiday to your schedule, this is the perfect opportunity.
I handed out a bunch of books last year. Some didn’t care, but the reactions were overwhelmingly positive. My mom, never one for the printed word, has since begun devouring Christopher Moore and Neil Gaiman books. My nieces started reading different genres (specifically, crime drama and satire), opening up whole new realms of wonder. One person used the book as a coaster, where it sat on a coffee table for months before it was picked up, read, and loved. Friends who looked down on comics/graphic novels have gotten into Brian K Vaughn’s Y: The Last Man and Sandman by Neil Gaiman. This year I may introduce them to Fables.
I also left some paperbacks in random places around town (parks, tables of cafes, etc) with a note saying “Free. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.” I like to think someone did.
Yeah, it’s cheesy, but it makes me smile.
“Dead tree tomes are passe. It’s all about digital.” Okay, fine. Then send someone an eBook. There are many places where you can download a pdf of an authors work, and Amazon has even come up with a way you can gift a Kindle book. It took me under 10 seconds to find that link; I’m sure a quick search of the Googles will let you find tons of eBooks at affordable prices just raring to be sent out amongst the tubes.
I could sit here and type a heavy-handed statement about the decline of education and the correlation of people not reading, but that’s not the point. The point is, if you love to read, no matter the genre, share it with someone. If you feel awkward, tell folks it’s the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of gifts. “I like this, and I like you, so it would be cool if two things I like liked each other.”
If nothing else you’re giving somebody a present, which everybody loves, and therefore you made someone’s day a wee bit better.
Happy St. George’s Day. Let me know how it works out for you.
EDIT: Since this was written, I have discovered that April 23 is also the International Day of The Book. This is also awesome, but now I have to rewrite all this stuff. Or add an edit at the bottom, which I have done, like so.