To the person or persons who purloined my road bike (which was purchased from a thrift store for $20 and was old) last weekend from the bike rack under the stairs of my apartment:
Thursday February 12, 2009
I swear, if I had a nickel for every time the Dame has told me to get rid of my guitar amp, I’d be under investigation by the IRS. Jeff’s the name, and in days past, the big amp used to sound the beat of my heart. That was back when my heart was a six-string electric guitar, and the boys and I played under the name Triple Bypass in basements and garages in our suburban paradise. These days, my heart has two broken strings, and the amp sits facing a corner gathering dust. I still get a nostalgic buzz whenever the dust gets kicked around in my face and cakes in my lungs like cigarette smoke.
But nostalgia means less to the Dame than a Betamax tape, and now she’s telling me to get rid of the amp again. “Alright,” I say. “I’ll get rid of it.” I mean to speak as if getting rid of the guitar amp is my idea, but her smile tells me my place. Deep down I know I’m just playing into the Dame’s hands like a toy soldier. I should feel uneasy at the lack of control, but I kicked the illusion of control a long time ago like a bad habit. These days I know I’m playing the patsy, but I can’t help it. A smile from the Dame makes me feel richer than Donny Trump, and keeps me coming back for more.
The next day, while the Dame’s out counting coins in the warehouse district to the tune of 10 bucks an hour, I’m sitting in a comfy chair, typing, and snapping photos of the product in our second story apartment. I post the classified to a place where I figure some interested body’ll see it. I figure my ad seems friendly and legit enough. I can’t tell though, so I pound my computer keys like meat tenderizers to soften it up even more.
Bandit 65 Guitar Amp – $180 (Provo)
Reply to: email@example.com
Date: 2009-02-13, 1:07PM MST
Peavey Bandit 65 Solo Series
20″x9 1/2″x18″… LxWxH dimensions
200 Watt Amp
High Gain and Low Gain inputs.
A little dusty but in great condition.
Works great. Maybe 10-15 years old (I got it used).
Can get really loud! I’d keep it, but don’t have room for it in the apartment since getting married.
I know the “can get really loud!” segment sounds stupid, but I want to come off sounding just like everyone else on Craigslist: stupid. And I figure I’ll charge 180 bucks ’cause it’s an antique. But no one bites and I start getting restless.
Finally after nearly a week, I get a tug on the line.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> 2009/02/19 7:33
** CRAIGSLIST ADVISORY — AVOID SCAMS BY DEALING LOCALLY
** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html
I would like to know if this is still available
The message is short and sweet. No embellishment. I figure Ben Bowen is the kind of fish I can deal with. Just to be sure, I make sure this guy’s local.
<jeff@***.com> 2009/02/19 8:26
To: ben bowen <email@example.com>
It sure is. Do you live in the provo/orem area?
The response comes later that night, but something’s wrong.
<firstname.lastname@example.org> 2009/02/19 20:16
To: Jeff <jeff@***.com>
Thanks for the prompt response, I am satisfied with the explanations and condition stated at craigslist and i will love to make an instant purchase. I will pay an extra $50 for the posting to be taken down from Craigslist.I should be rest assured that the item is reserved for me and will also like you to know that i will be paying via bank check, which will be over night payment due to the distance .You also dont need to bother yourself with the shipment, my secretary will take care of that. I will need you to provide me with the following information to facilitate my secretary to cut the check.
Your full name,Your mailing address be it residential or postal address, and Your phone number.
I will have my mover come over as soon as you have the check.
Ben Bowen doesn’t have to dodge my question like a bullet for me to know there’s nothing local about this stooge. The whole deal he’s proposing reeks like chicken fat that’s left sitting in the kitchen trash can too long. In the seedy world of Craigslist, your only friends are Franklin, Grant, Jackson and, when necessary, the occasional Hamilton. Taking a bank check is like accepting a knife in the back. And I don’t particularly care for unnecessary surgeries.
On top of that, I can only guess that the “mover” is none other than some local tough with a crowbar looking for some fresh goods to move to market.
But I’m nobody’s sucker. I send the following, and be sure to act civil:
<jeff@***.com> 2009/02/19 21:56
To: ben bowen <email@example.com>
I’m sorry “Ben”. But I will only deal in cash. I hope you understand that this sounds like a scam. I apologize if this is inconvenient.
I don’t expect a reply, so it’s like throwing my own surprise party when he doesn’t answer. I figure he’s off putting grandma’s china in the back of an unmarked truck and swallowing grandpa’s retirement. There’s millions of gullible fools on the internet who eat stuff like this up, like it’s the last roast beef dinner before Armageddon. That’s why in this town, it pays to be a universal skeptic. If you want my advice, keep your collar up and your eyes open. And if you get “a limited time offer on Oprah’s acai berry diet” remember this lesson: you’re better off buying my guitar amp. It’s still for sale. And the Dame’s still chiming away until it’s gone, like a grandfather clock at midnight.
A Hello, My Name is Jeff Double Feature!
Tonight, we offer two frightful tales of the macabre: the first, a horrifying campfire story of what happens when one man’s wife is seized by the supernatural as they sleep, and the second, a harrowing poem fueled by greed and deceit, the depths of which cannot be contained in this post alone.
Imposters of the Night!
March 2, 2009
It is 2 AM on Monday morning. I am spooned out of the dark pudding of deep sleep by movement and the realization that my wife, Shannon, is sitting up and staring at the clock. Still emerging from lethargy, it sounds like she is saying something about colons. I can’t be sure. And she’s not wearing her glasses, so she couldn’t possibly read the clock’s digital illuminated face. “What?” I try to say.
She turns to me, still sitting up, and says, “what side are you on?”
I am confused. I’m not sure what she’s asking. “I don’t know what you mean,” I say.
“What side are you on?”
The repetition of the question does little for my comprehension. I’m still baffled and still groggy. “Shannon, I don’t know what you are talking about.”
At this point, Shannon seems incredibly frustrated. “What side are you on?”
Amid the darkness, I search for an answer to what she could possibly mean, and wonder if I’m simply not awake enough to understand the question.
She breaks my reverie with a more baffling question, “Who are you?”
I think that perhaps this is meant to be an insult because of my ignorance. “Shannon, I’m your husband.”
The next question confuses my lethargic mind beyond hope. “Which husband?”
Not waiting for an answer or offering an explanation, Shannon lays her head back down on the pillow and, despite the lack of illumination, I can see her staring at me. Finally, she closes her eyes.
A long silence follows, eerie in its contrast, and leaves me with my swirling thoughts. “I love you,” I say into the darkness. There is no answer.
I lie in bed, my mind swirling with questions for several hours after, before sleep finally overtakes me again.
Hypothesis #1: Shannon was talking in her sleep again.
This has been known to happen. One time she clapped and cheered in her sleep.
Hypothesis #2: Shannon was possessed by aliens or ghosts.
If this is the case, I need to look into paranormal investigation techniques and possible protections.
Imposters of the Day
Sunday March 8, 2009
I enter a contest at Poetry.com under the nom de plume, Ben Bowen, as a prank to enter this poem contest.
It goes as follows:
If I sumbit my poem will for me give 10,000 dollars?
I am wonder where I do submit my poem
so I can take advantage of CASH PRIZE of your contest?
I think, maybe my poem will not be good
but one can never know or tell who is fine poet or not.
Do you know if poems that has rhyme is more often winning?
THanks on advance for answers so many my inquiries.
GREAT DEAL OPrah’s acai berry diet Limited Time Offer
Go to http://www.n00tslesx4.00 for details!
We are sorry to leave you wondering, who is Ben Bowen? What could be the significance? And where can I get a hold of OPrah’s acai berry diet? I promise the first two questions shall be revealed. The third might be revealed. Maybe. Stay tuned for Thursday’s extra week treat, “The Man Known as Ben Bowen”!
Several weeks ago, this very blog was approached by a visitor FROM BEYOND! This visitor was, by means of Google’s translation service, able to read my post about pumping a bike tire, in a language that suited him/her/it better than English. As chance would have it, visitors FROM BEYOND prefer reading Japanese to anything else. The difficulty of written Japanese suggests that this visitor has mental capacities that exceed our own (which tells me we should pay more attention to Japanese sci-fi films, and spend less time giggling when they talk).
Curious to see what sort of messages this visitor might have received from the translated post, I checked it in Japanese myself (I am crazy). However, I remained uncertain about just how much the language changed the message. So I translated the Japanese back into English, for better clarity. What I found could change the foundations of language and psychological research as we know it. NEW MEANING and SECRET WARNINGS that my unconscious has been trying to tell me were pulled from my own writing. I have placed the translated entry below so that we can mutually learn to restrain ourselves to see the femme fatale with scissors, along with other good life lessons, which have been highlighted for convenience. Compare with the original for full effect.
“I swear afternoon around feel frustrated as well 3:30: I have my lips and moan, and words and how to actually form a syllable in the form of rambling in my mouth I have never learned how to achieve. I’m the last one has been successful is the crucible of Sisyphus improper repair the back of what I have spent hours on the long hard part: the fact that the puncture repair . Now, I fight, I’m on my tube of a bicycle tire pump should feel the air fill with my bicycle tires to create a seal, every time you try to get the pump, I have it If the very idea, the device, in particular, “put air in the tires” are not denied a bicycle tire pump called. Also, find much bad, I dislike, cracking the plastic mouth of the pump were also damaged, and the ability to achieve that purpose.
It is not my anger. My anger is an incredible hulk – has reached its peak. 1, as Samsung has provoked in the jawbone of an ass, I pump on the asphalt of the chef’s arms thrown back and get a pump in my hand I would clatters away a few feet, the target idea is to return the pump, while it is probably thrown in front, you have to restrain myself not to see a femme fatale with scissors.
“I was at that time, the position above, the curse, I can only manage the guttural language of all of my anger and try to really not knowing where to start,” awwwww, and poo and myself have been found. ”
25, I’m embarrassed, “poo” without saying, is an extreme threat, especially as most people feel that appeals to a number of other terms in English. And, it is my confession. It is 25, I still say the word “poo” is frustrated, sometimes even if you say it, I have no complaints. A few months ago, somebody talked about the conversation, I think, asked the first word ME “was poo.” And then I say that out of my mouth next. Needless to say, people are talking about the conversations that I do not come anymore.
In fact, I will confess my real topic, all of my bike, instead of suffering over the last two weeks on a bike ride, I remember. However, at this point I have written so much already, are you “I have a bike” entry of the rest were lying here.”
Notice the existence of the messages “I have my lips” and “I will confess my real topic”. It seems that my unconscious predicted the discovery of these secret messages.
Much of this is still cryptic, and in an effort to decode the message I have included
Questions for Discussion:
1. I fear that the femme fatale could be my wife. What should I do to survive the next time she has scissors?
2. What are these conversations? You know, the ones that I do not come anymore?
3. What could I mean when I say “poo and myself have been found”? Am I trapped in some sort of cosmic toilet, drawn by the swirling flow of time around an inescapable bowl, and doomed to share poo’s fate? Is there no path that involves climbing out of the toilet like a mutant New York rat and shaping my own mashed potato destiny? How can I learn to accept such a fate?
In early 2008, Jeff signed up on the website of Stevens-Henager’s College to obtain some simple pricing information. He never got it. Instead with the aid of his address and phone number, the institution attempted to wrap its shadowy tentacles around him, and draw him in to see a guidance counselor (see also salesperson). The struggle continues to this day…
April 25, 2008
We wanted to let you know about the exciting opportunities offered at Stevens-Henager today. Thousands of graphic design jobs are created every day and can be yours with the training we give. Get on the fasttrack and get that dream job you’ve wanted. And if you sign up for classes by May 1st, we’ll give you a free Apple laptop to use in your studies! This is a limited time opportunity to get a computer and get on the road to meeting your dreams, so come in today!
And for a limited time, if you come in to meet with a counselor, we’ll give you two free movie tickets for a limited time only!
It’s time to stop dreaming, and start achieving the results you want!
May 2, 2008
We wanted to let you know about the exciting opportunities offered at Stevens-Henager today, in case you forgot. There are BILLIONS of graphic design jobs created every 6 seconds, and the market just can’t keep up with the demand! YOU are in high demand today, Jeff! So what are you waiting for? And as if that weren’t enough, sign up for classes by May 16th, and we’ll give you a free Apple laptop or Windows laptop to use in your studies! This is a limited time offer, so come seize it today!
And for a limited time, if you come in to meet with a counselor, we’ll give you dinner for two at Olive Garden!
It’s time to stop dreaming, and start making the money you’ve been waiting for!
June 15, 2008
We wanted to let you know about the exciting opportunities offered at Stevens-Henager. You are clearly not aware that an infinite number of jobs are generated every 13 nanoseconds, and that companies are practically throwing money at graphic designers. Still not intrigued? We’ll give you a state-of-the-art laptop that will do the work for you! You just have to sign up for classes by June 22nd! Isn’t that easy? We’re practically giving you your future!
And for a limited time, if you come in to meet with a counselor, we’ll give you a hot-air balloon!
It’s time you quit ignoring us!
June 15, 2008
Remember us? We’re Stevens-Henager College and we just want to make your life better. Every time your heart beats, you draw closer to death, and you still haven’t signed up for our incredible Graphics Design training! What could you be waiting for? When was the last time you saw a zombie taking technical school classes? It just simply DOESN’T HAPPEN. Have we mentioned that if you sign up for classes by the end of the day, we’ll give you a fully-automated robot, that will not only do all the work for you, but protect you from potentially devious and powerful enemies? Your future has never had this kind of longevity!
Sign up today, because death is only a poisoned-dart-fired-from-a-mysterious-business-man’s-briefcase away. No, we’re kidding.
Did we mention free movie tickets?
February 6, 2009
Dear Current Resident,
Have you ever had a dream for the future? We at Stevens-Henager College once had a dream that a young man named Jeff would join our school and take classes from us. We dreamed about patting him on the head as he learned under our tutelage, and adopting him as a son when he graduated from our ranks. We dreamed that he would become one of us, and take over when we had passed on.
But those hopes were dashed when he threw away our letters, ignored our phone calls, fled from the sound of our approaching footsteps, and foiled an assassination plot.
If you see Jeff, or speak with him, will you let him know that we’re thinking about him? And Jeff, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late to change your mind. We’ll never change ours😉
August 17, 2008
We appreciate your interest in the Animation Program; however, we regret to inform you that you have not been accepted. We have limited spaces within the program and wish to fill them with people who have real skill. We’re sorry to be the ones to bring this absolute lack of talent to your attention, but know that your family and friends are weak and too afraid to bruise your frail ego and tell you what they really think. This is entirely your own fault. They may have seen your work and expressed approval. But you should have noticed the slight pause as they assessed whether it was not more beneficial to tell you the truth before they answered. And why were you too dim to see the way they refused to peer at your work for more than a few seconds? Had it been as beautiful as they said, they would have stared at it for long, long hours, pondering the theme and lauding over its sensitivity, the way they would with real art. Instead, their eyes darted to other objects in the room, the light fixture, the table… the door (how they must have yearned for an escape). You should have seen this coming.
We wish wholeheartedly that you could have been there as we reviewed your portfolio and (literally) tore it to pieces. We wish you could have seen us as we laughed, mocking your crude linework, and concept of space and form. As we pretended to draw like you would, our brows furrowed, hands pawing the pencil like a cripple, scribbling stick-men and pausing to make grunting noises until we toppled from our chairs in painful, spasmodic laughter.
If you still wish to have a career in the Animation industry, may we suggest the janitorial services path? Cleaning offices and mopping floors may be your only entry into this sphere.
Normally, we say “better luck next time”, but may we suggest that there not be a next time? Instead, focus on your ability to polish door knobs, and make toilets shine with the reflections of the animators as they use them.
Regards, and thanks for the laughs,
The Animation Program Portfolio Review Committee
P.S. Do not come pick up your portfolio. It has been burned.