I consolidated the stories about Fred.


...long live, Hill Blocks View. I miss writing. But the thought of one more round of "welcome backs", or obsessing over stats, or thinking of the clever response to a comment, or the obligation to read everyone else's blog... not so much. So I'll try and write. No pressure. If you feel the need to respond, you can email me. I like email. flipaul@yahoo.com

Monday, January 30, 2012

A List Of Things That Make Me Feel Stupid.

The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner  Wait. What?! Caddy got married?! And then divorced? Did you read the same book I did?

Quantum Mechanics. What do you mean, time isn't constant?

Advanced Theological Principals. Do I have free will, or was I predestined to question predestination?

Sudoku. Screw this, I'm just gonna use zero. And some imaginary numbers. 

Oxford Philosophy Debates. Is that even a word? I might understand what you're saying, if I could understand what you're saying. 

Jazz. You mean, it's supposed to sound like that?

Taking A Journeyman Plumber Test. How many times am I allowed to fail this thing?

Reading Shakespeare. He must be talking about eating. No? Then, I don't have a clue. Sex? Really? 

Chess. Checkmate? Again? You just learned today? And you're seven? Give me back my horsey.

Buying A Car. Can't you just take the undercoating off? Your manager is gonna cut me a deal?

An Art Critic Describe A Jackson Pollack Painting. You mean, it's supposed to look like that?

Radiohead. You mean, they're supposed to sound like that?

Women. What?! You said you were fine. And that you didn't want to talk about it.

Crossword Puzzles. Does anyone really know how to spell the word for an ceremonial ancient Egyptian drinking vessel?

Geometry. I don't think you gave me enough information. Pi-R-Squared? What kind of pie?

That Part In Les Miserables Where Victor Hugo Went On A Political Diatribe. Eyes glazed over.

The Impressionists. I know opiates and dangerous amounts of heavy metals are bad for you. But still...

Long Division. Can't I just use a calculator? This is like, hard. And taking forever.

Punctuation. People, are beginning to talk. Im really bad at punctuat-ing. Maybe; I should get a book?

Henry Kissinger Discussing Cold War Foreign Policy. Selling guns to Panama stops socialism in Kenya?

Dennis Miller. I'm pretty sure he was a French existentialist philosopher. But why is that funny?

Multiplication. Which one is the multiplication symbol? Is it the dot or the x or the *? All of them?

Foreign Languages. What? I can't understand you. I said, WHAT? W-W-H-A-A-A-T-T?! It's like we're not even speaking the same language.

Scrabble. Get out of town!  I can't use Texas, but you can spell a letter? You can't spell a letter.

High School Teachers Discussing Moby Dick. It's not just a story about a whale?

Addition. Adding is easier in the summer. Sometimes those extra 12 toes help.

Tic-Tac-Toe. I think this game is rigged. My five year old always wins. 

Walking While Chewing Gum.  If I think about walking my gum falls out, if I think about my gum I end up in traffic.

Breathing. In. Out. In. Out. In. In. In. (gasp) Dammit. Out. In. Out. Out. Out. (getting dizzy) In. Phew, that was a close one.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Future Is The Children

*Attention readers: Recently a fellow blogger, named Addman, asked what would it cost to guest post on my blog. I told him that a hundred dollars should take care of it. He thought that seemed a little steep, but agreed. So I sent him a hundred dollars, and he sent me the following post. Please give him a warm, Hill Blocks View, welcome. 

Today, I come bearing some grave, atrocious, terrible news; the economy is in the crap.

I understand that this may come as an immense shock to you so I’ll give you a few seconds to collect yourselves...done? Good, now make sure you’re sat down because the revelations are only going to get more astounding as we continue.

To prove my point, I’d like you to take a glance out of the window right now. See those people passing by? Statistics say that 96% of those people are jobless. That guy on the right near the mailbox is an ex headteacher who hasn’t eaten in 2 weeks. Soon enough, he won’t be able to regurgitate enough food for his chicks, condemning them all to starvation. That teenager over there hasn’t managed to buy fresh trainers since his mother was made unemployed. If this continues, his stale shoes could cause his feet to become gangrenous, forcing him to gnaw off his own leg to prevent further infection.

Why is this happening? It’s because the world has become too complicated, what with all the exchange rates, quantitative easing, polyhedrons and stuff. People just cannot navigate this minefield of information, even with Google Maps. Our leaders have introduced extra levels of complexity to make their jobs more exciting, only to discover that they don’t quite know what they’re doing themselves. Rather than backpedal or admit that they’re in over their heads, they simply introduce another convoluted policy, term or idea to try and fix the original mistake. That’s why project managers exist.

But what can we do? After all, the adult world is a convoluted one and to dumb it all down would be admitting our own stupidity as a society. Complexity is what being a grown up is all about. That’s why there’s only one group of people who can sort this all out for us; children.

When I was about five or six I remember walking with my mum up a rather steep hill. It was a hot day, sweltering in fact, and the hill was understandably taking its toll on us. I remember thinking “shouldn’t there be some sort of reward for this? Some sort of payoff for our hard work and effort when we reach the summit”? That’s when I came up with a brilliant plan:

"Mum, when I’m in charge, I’m going to put an ice cream van at the top of every hill."

Kids say the funniest things, right? But if you think about this rationally, it makes perfect sense. By installing ice cream vans at the top of hills, you are generating thousands of jobs in one go. The ice cream industry would flourish, causing other international ice cream manufacturers to flock to your country, which would improve industry and generate more money for government coffers. The government can then sell these state-owned ice cream assets at a profit to confectionary moguls, earning back the money they initially invested and more.

If one child (albeit, a handsome brainy one) can have one awesome idea like that, imagine the gold that is sure to emerge from a toddler think tank. We should set up a branch of government called the Blue Sky Minors. The simplistic nature of children is a perfect antidote to a world spiralling into convoluted chaos. Before we know it, it’ll be Christmas everyday (stimulating the retail markets), and bedtimes will be eliminated (allowing children more time to come up with more ideas in the evening).

I understand if it seems galling to you parents out there who have to answer their inane questions such as “What’s the space under the cooker for?” and “Why do we have chins?”, but sometimes it takes a person who isn’t fully aware of all the facts to come up with a solution.

Think about it. If you were put in a hopeless situation, it’d be easy to give up. You’d weigh up the pros and cons and subconsciously decide that you’re doomed either way, resigning yourself to failure. Children have no such problem, what with their youthful mixture of optimism and ignorance. That’s why I’d support their plans to build an escalator to the moon.

My proposal is to hand over the reins of power to our kids. If children really are the future, it’s time for them to step up to the plate and lead us to prosperity, and possibly chocolate.

Head over to Addman's site, Muppets For Justice (http://muppetsforjustice.blogspot.com/), and read some of his other stuff, it's pretty stinkin' awesome. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

El Jefe Of Banana Republic, And Flaming Sansabelt Slacks.

In my job I get paid a pretty decent wage, and I get to work with my hands, and my customers are all pretty nice. So you know, of course, I totally hate my job! I have to work. Hard. All day. (Except for the bits when I'm taking a break, or lunch, or second lunch, or I'm just not feeling like working, or I don't show up because I'm using a "sick" day, or it's beer thirty, or it's early beer brunch o'clock, or the sun is too bright, or... whatever.) And my boss totally expects me to do good work, and like show up, everyday! He even expects me to be some sort of accountant. For instance, if the customer pays me $500, he gets all mad if I lose a bill or two. (If I wanted to be an accountant I would've gone to that accountant place. You know that one with the doors and the chairs and all that math stuff? Where all the smart people went. That high school place. Jeez, get a clue buddy. What am I, some kind of rocket surgeon?)
   But, the worst part of my job, is the cold. I HATE being cold! (Except for the times I caught on fire; those times, it would've been OK.) Especially in the winter, I seems so much colder in the winter. It's just so, you know, not hot. Maybe we should vote to move the winter to the summer like the Australians did. That would be great, and besides, people are always complaining it's too hot in the summer time.
   So the other day it was particularly frigid, and I couldn't bear to get of my vehicle to work, so I walked down the block to a nearby diner/bar/pawn shop and had some "breakfast". While I was drinking my breakfast I perused the want ads, because you never know when somebody is looking for a hard charging, go-getter like me. And right under the ad that said, "F U CN RD THS, U 2 CN B A CRT RPRTR", was the ad that changed my life. "Do you hating your life? Are you tired and sick of being working for, how do you say, the Man? Do you like to move where it is hot and sunny instead of during snow? Do you like being the head of a Banana Republic? Maybe you can be, apply yourself now, experience not requested." So I called the number listed with the ad, because hey, I could totally be a manager. Especially if they don't require experience. I hope I don't have to dress up. I hate being all prissy.
   But it turns out that the number wasn't for a Banana Republic, clothing store, somewhere in Phoenix or Miami or something. It was for a small Central American country called Pantalones Del Fuego. Pantalones was a originally a particularly infertile region of Honduras known mainly for it's polyester sansabelt factories. Early in the 1980's, Pantalones was feeling a tad neglected, and seceded from Honduras. Quite frankly, Honduras had always been rather embarrassed of Pantalones, and actually encouraged them to leave and to form their own country. After the polyester fad of the disco era faded away, Pantalones transitioned to a money laundering and meth lab, based economy.
   Pantalones Del Fuego had recently employed the service of a headhunter to secure a new leader, someone not mired in the rampant corruption, corruptly running rampantly through the national political scene. Unfortunately for them the local headhunter was good at curing impotence and not so much at finding people to fill leadership positions. The poorly worded want ad I answered was his best idea, which worked out OK for me. Apparently, I was the first one to answer the ad, so I got the job. Goodbye winter. Hello paradise.
   So now I am the El Jefe of Pantalones Del Fuego. My assistants are a little jumpy, possibly from the cloud of meth that hangs over the entire country. But at least they are surly and ill mannered. My aides refer to me as El Scapegoat Grande, or as El Impostor, or as El Target Numero Uno, obviously terms of endearment for their new beloved, and well respected leader. Everything I wear is emblazoned with the presidential logo, and the presidential logo is awesome! It totally looks like a red bullseye. Pretty stylin', if you ask me. The only problem with the job so far, is that I keep getting these prank calls. Some guy with a raspy voice named Medellin or something, keeps calling up my mansion in the middle of the night and demanding un millones dolares that was borrowed from him or that he is going to asesinato el jefe. My aides tell me not to worry about it, that asesinato just means throw a big surprise party. Then they kind of scurry off in a serpentine fashion. I can't wait! I totally love surprises!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Perhaps, I Shouldn't Self-Medicate Out Of The Pharmacy Dumpster.

I just lost the job I had held for, like forever, or almost a year. And it is really making me depressed. Or rather, more depressed than I was before. And also, more angry. And more cry-ey. And laugh-ey. Just more emotion-ey, in general.
This is what happened. My boss called me into his office and asked me to sit down. So, I did.
"No idiot, sit in the chair." 
"Waaaahh! Thank you, sir."
"Why are you crying? I'm sorry I called you an idiot."
"It's not that sir. It's just that chairs make me so sad."
"Chairs? Chairs make you sad."
"Yes. Think of all the people who have died in chairs. It's just so, so sad."
"That's stupid. People spend much more time alive in chairs, than they spend dead in chairs."
"Except for the electric chair."
"Well yes, that one is more associated with death. But, I assure you that isn't a death chair in any way."
"Maybe somebody used this chair to commit suicide with."
"Somebody could've kicked this chair over as they hung themselves."
"I bought this chair new. Nobody committed suicide on it."
"Maybe it was the guy at the factory who made it. Maybe he was so in dept to his bookie, because he had lost his bet on the Olympic fencing finals and his wife had left him for a merchant sailor named Salty Gertrude and his children had joined a cult based on the show Firefly and they had disowned him and his dog kept running away because he was embarrassed of Francis..."
"Yeah, Francis. That's the name of the guy who made this chair. And then one day it was all, just too much and he finished this chair and then stepped up on it and put his neck through the noose and kicked off and ACK! that was the end of Francis. And that just makes me so sad."
"You're loony."
"Thank you sir, I'll be going then, shall I?"
"No, you idiot. Sit back down. No, dammit! SIT DOWN IN THE CHAIR! There, that's better. What I wanted to talk to you about, is that we have been getting some calls about you being a little overly emotional with the customers lately."
"Now you see? That's what I'm talking about."
"I'LL KILL YOU T... No, no. I'm sorry sir. I have been a little stressed lately, I'm sorry. I'll try and work on it."
"For instance; when one of the customers asked if there was anything they should be doing in the way of maintenance. Did you in fact tell him, that you should 'cave his stupid effin' head in?'"
"Maybe, sir. He did say maintenance in a very patronizing manner. As if he was all better than me and such."
"Wasn't he your pastor?"
"Mister high and mighty, more like."
"And did you recently yell at a female customer 'back off you filthy ho, I'm married?!'"
"Possibly. She was a real hussy."
"She was seventy."
"In a wheelchair."
"Wanton woman."
"Asthmatic. On oxygen."
"Round heels."
"She asked you how much the invoice was!"
"That's code, for she wanted to canoodle with me!"
"That's code for, she wanted to know how much the invoice was for!"
"I'm not sleeping with you either!"
"Shut up, you spaz! Lastly, did you in fact, spend the whole day, last Friday crying hysterically?"
"You didn't? I only ask, because every client you talked to on Friday, called in and said you were a sobbing wreck. Some described you as a broken shell of a man (several used that one), and others said that you were pathetic and sad in a particularly unlikable way. Also somebody said, you were a complete and total, crybaby douche. That one was from your Aunt Verna, I believe."
"I didn't cry all day. At my last stop of the day, I was overcome with joy and laughter. Things just seemed so very funny."
"Your last stop?"
"Yes. The last one."
"The one at the funeral home?"
"Oh yes. I was struck by how funny it was to see all the little sheep in their stupid conformist suits and ties."
"There was a funeral going on."
"I know! And you can't spell funeral without FUN! Hahaha."
"Actually, I think the policemen in the lobby there would like to talk to you about that."
"Oh. Hey! I remember those guys! They were at the funeral. Hey guys! Hi. Remember me? Hmm, they don't seem to be in any better of a mood today."
"They are going to have a little talk with you downtown, OK?"
"Sounds GREAT! Should I come back when I'm done?"
"No. I don't think you should come back."
"Yea! Vacation! ... Oh wait, I'm being fired?"
"Oh, don't cry. I'm sure you'll find something better. Something not here."
"(sob) It's not the job, or the money. It's the fact that I'll have to spend more time at home. And there's chairs at my house! I just can't get away from the chairs."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Street Parties These Days Aren't Like I Remember Them

I thoroughly researched the following blog, (Oh yes, I do extensive research on all my posts. No going off half-cocked, for this intrepid bloggist.) about the level of hospitality available at the competing protests occurring around town. I wanted to see who threw a better party, the Tea Partiers or the Occupy Wall Street Movement. So I made up a vague sign voicing my displeasure with "them" and set out.
   I started with the Tea Party. I figured with all the attention the Occupy Wall Street movement was getting, that perhaps the Tea Party would be feeling jealous and overcompensate. I had hoped, that maybe, there would be some lovely door prizes or somebody serving cocktails, I was sorely disappointed. All I received upon showing up with my sign was several almost imperceptible headnods acknowledging my arrival and a slight parting of the crowd to give me room to stand on the sidewalk.

   These guys weren't even trying. There was no hostess with the most-est, no hors d'oeuvres, no cupcakes, donuts or even a stick of gum. Just a overwhelming sense of Dockers and sensible haircuts. Maybe they just needed some motivation. I pulled a forty of Sam Adams (patron saint of the Tea Party) Oktoberfest out of my backpack, shotgunned it, took off my shirt to reveal Obama Sux! painted on my chest, and started pumping my fist to "We're not gonna take it", by Twisted Sister which was now blaring from my iPod powered speakers. "C'mon guys, join in!" Nothing. They were content to sedately protest, and anything other was seen as unbecoming. Eventually the weight of their vanilla stares became to great to bear and I headed out.
   The Occupiers appeared to be in a much more jovial mood. I followed the sound of Bob Marley blaring from a beat up boombox to a group of hygienically challenged gentlemen standing on the university sidewalk. They were laughing and yelling about how the man was keeping them down. As I walked up, they eyed me angrily and I realized that I hadn't put my shirt back on. I told them that some Tea Party thugs had jumped me and painted it on me. One guy gave me an understanding nod and said something about how they had given him an anal probe and eaten his cat. One of the other gentlemen explained how only Bob Marley could save me from the evil lizard people. And a third wisely postulated a puddle of puke on my shoes. Just then the homeless shelter van pulled up and asked if they needed a place to stay for the night, and all of my companions boarded the van and disappeared. Thank goodness, those were just crazy homeless guys. For a minute there I was concerned that the 99% was more in dire straits than I had ever imagined.

   So I set off down the street to look for the real Occupy Wall Street'ers. But they were nowhere to be found, because they got bored and went home. If I had finished this piece when it was semi-topical, lo these many months ago, it might have ended in a funny manner. I would have said some terrible clever things about the hypocrisy of the OWS and standing for the common man when, let's face it; they hate the common man. But I didn't finish this in November when I should have, and now it just stares at me accusingly when I start up blogger and I guiltily open it up and try to finish it and then give up moments later and run up the stairs crying like a little girl and scream, "I hate you, damn political parties and your street movements, oh how you taunt me so!" and "I wish that I was a real writer", and then I curl into a ball and let my racking sobs lull me to sleep. So. I can either wait for the next incarnation of the OWS, in all their hipster glory. Or I can just publish this pile of nonsensical unedited crap and hope that you, my gentle readers, will get some small level of amusement out of it. Or maybe you'll hate it, but at least then I will have someone to share in my misery with, so that's a win-win situation for me.

   Oh, in the end of my story, I was gonna go hang out with the crazy street people, because they were the best of a bad lot. That's some hard hitting political commentary there, huh?! I showed them! Take that you Conservatives and you Liberals and you... other people.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Into The Bright Future. Is It Supposed To Be All Glowey And Explodey Like That?!

It's been almost exactly one year since I started writing and no one has backed a large truck up to my front door and offered me millions to write funny crap for them. (Yes, I said almost exactly. I'm a complete dork.) I was mildly disappointed. And by mildly I mean, I went on a three week long Nyquil and Old Milwaukee fueled bender, where I watched every episode of Red Dwarf on Netflix, decided my house needed a basement, started digging basement, part of house collapsed, decided against digging a basement, and sent threatening letters to Dave Berry and Douglas Adam's for preemptively stealing my funny thoughts.

   But I'm over that now. Now, it's time to look into the future and try and steer my present into that glorious place, all the while avoiding the potholes of people who don't want me to succeed (abject failure seems just a little harsh, Mom), and the oncoming headlights of eminent world destruction. All while trying to figure out; just how in the hell do you steer this thing?
   The typical way it is done, I believe, is with setting goals and/or resolutions. And with out anymore ado, (a doo. That's kinda funny huh? And without any more poop. And without any more crap. Dammit! I just gave you some more ado. Now I really mean it. Without any any more ado,) I present some of my goals and resolutions for this the year of our Lord twenty and twelve.
   This year I will write the great American novel. (Why you fly so high, Icarus?) I will write a terrible, almost unreadable American novel. Or maybe an average Lithuanian novel. A bad kid's book in pig latin.
   I am tired of being harassed for no good reason. This year I will change my current look of bank robber chic. Or possibly I will start robbing banks. I kinda like the scruffy beard.

   I will make progress on my fine art bacon weaving project. My doctor and his "Holy crap, your blood is so high in cholesterol it's practically syrup!", be damned.
  I will test out my new fighting style, by getting into more bar fights. It mostly involves spinning around with my arms flailing about whilst naked and crying like a little girl.
   Three words. Eye lid tattoo. Is eye lid one word? Eyelid. Two words. Never mind. Is that one word? Nevermind. Nope, that's two words. Maybe I'll just draw on my arm with a Sharpie.
   I need to get in shape by the time the grass starts to grow again. That grass isn't going to mow itself. Or rather, that grass isn't going to mow itself wearing a banana hammock.
   I will start a competitive league of over forty parkour. I will not let it bother me that several of them will break hips or fall off buildings or whatever. If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.

   In the immortal words of the Henry David Thoreau, "Why so serious?" This year I will smile more. I will let my hair down more, but not my literal hair 'cause my hair is thinning. I will allow myself to be a little silly.
   I guess that's about it. With these resolutions under my belt I will march boldly into the future prepared for whatever comes. Unless the sun blows up. Or the bugs rise up and overthrow us. Or Godzilla

Oh and I will try and be a better father and husband and blog more often and not drink so much and blah blah blah.