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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day and Overstated Valor.

This past weekend I hope everybody enjoyed Memorial Day. A day set aside to give honor to the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. As a veteran, I am glad I didn't have to pay that price.
   It also a good time to call attention to the terrible people who pretend to be veterans in some sick attempt to get attention. It is called Stolen Valor, and there are several organizations out there dedicated to exposing these wackos.
   But the VA has come up with a new designation, and I think they have overstepped their bounds. Recently the VA called and told me that I was guilty of Overstated Valor, and that I was no longer allowed to call myself a Decorated Combat Marine Veteran. I explained that I was in fact a Marine who had awarded citations and been in combat. They told me, and I quote, "barely."
    When I asked what that meant, they told me that I wasn't a very good Marine, that the war I was in only lasted for four days, and that furthermore, most of my ribbons were unit accommodations that I hadn't really done anything to earn. I told them that I thought they were being a little picky, and that I had bravely faced combat. They said that was called being young and dumb, with an emphasis on the dumb.
   Eventually their labyrinthine arguments and their threats to expose my browser results (like I'm the only person in the world who Googles "I love to punch kittens") forced me to give up the fight. But as a compromise they have generously sent me a replacement ribbon.

I wonder when Participant Day will be?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Things I Learned This Christmas.

Christmas is a time of giving and of sharing. And if you don't do it right, it's a time of yelling, and tears, and thrown cutlery. In an effort to help educate my gentle readers, I'll share with you some of the things I learned this Christmas. I'm the ghost of Christmas Oops.

If your wife gives you a coupon book of romantic things the two of you can do in the bedroom, you shouldn't regift that in the company gift exchange.

If the office Christmas party's dress code is business casual, they don't mean work from home business casual. They expect you to wear pants.

At ugly sweater parties, things are a slightly more casual, and the whole wear your pants thing is a little less strictly enforced. Just kidding, you totally still have to wear pants.

If you give somebody a gift of alcohol, you are expected to give them all of it. Apparently three beers of a six pack, or half a bottle of Champagne, or the worm at the bottom of a bottle of Tequila is not considered a quality gift.

Even the most died in the wool Republican will get their panties in a wad, if you try to employ trickle down economics with the money they gave you to spend on presents for the children.

Children are naturally excited and rambunctious during the lead-up to Christmas. You should deal with them with patience and kindness, and not by spiking their yuletide treats with Nyquil and Xanax.

A traditional Christmas meal can bring your family closer and be a special time for all. A bottle of ham flavored vodka and some candy canes is not technically considered a meal.

You should be gentle when explaining to your children that Santa doesn't exist. And not throw a road kill badger and a Santa suit into a wood chipper, and tell them that Santa owed money to the wrong people.

No matter how you try to explain it, getting wasted while singing Karaoke at the local dive bar is not considered caroling with the church choir.

I learned many other things this Christmas, but I'm dictating this, and my one phone call from jail is about to run out. Merry -click-.

Another on the list of things that might have been funny a month ago. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

I Can't Believe How Stupid My Smartphone Is.

Hey. Is the boss there?
Oh my God, where are you? Where have you been? Are you alright? Man the boss is going to kill you. She called in the cops and the FBI. Were you kidnapped? Did you go on the lamb after robbing a bank?
What? No. I just went to my scheduled 2PM appointment. Look, is the boss there?
What? You haven't been seen or heard from in days. How can you be at your appointment? Ooh, did you get abducted by aliens?
Yeah right, aliens are illegal. I heard that on the internet. What do you think I am, some kind of moran?
I'm not! Can I talk to the boss or not?
Not right now. She's on her way to meet with her lawyer and insurance agent. Why don't you tell me what happened.
It's this stupid smartphone you guys gave me.
The stupid smartphone we gave you made you disappear for three days? What, did you discover Candy Crush?
No. I just typed in the address for my next appointment, and then followed the directions.
It was fifteen minutes from your previous appointment. Did you walk? No, even that wouldn't take three days. Did you pull the van? Did you dismantle the van, carry the pieces over and reassemble it?
NO! I just drove.
For three days?

We've been calling you nonstop.
I can't talk on my phone while I'm driving. It's against the law.
Ugh. You couldn't have been driving the whole time, didn't you ever stop?
Yes, I stopped at five every day. I was told; no overtime.
Why didn't you answer your phone then? We called you a hundreds of times.
Hey, after five, it's me time. I don't answer the work phone when I'm off. I leave my work at work.
You are so stupid. So where are you?
At the address! And now nobody is here. And it's snowing and I'm cold.
It's snowing?!
Are you sure that it's not just sand, and maybe you're just drunk again?
No. I know the difference. If you get sand in your underwear it itches, if you get snow in there, it makes your junk all cold and then melts and people think you wet yourself.
Why would you put snow down your pants?
D'uh! To see if it was itchy. It's not. On an unrelated note, my man parts are tingly.
Oh my gaw, too much info. You are stupid and strange man.
Abe thinks I'm plenty smart.
Abe is your lucky penny. He doesn't think anything.
He told me you were going to say that. You're just jealous.
Of what?
His shiny beard. 
Well, I have news for Abe and you. You are not a smart man. You are an idiot. Smart men don't get lost for three days when they're only supposed to be going across town.
I just did what the dummy-phone told me to do.
The smartphone told you to drive to where it was snowing?
No. Yes. I typed in the address. 1321 Elm Street, Avila Beach, California., and here I am.
It was probably just an algorithm. It couldn't find the address you were looking for because you typed in something wrong, or whatever, so it found the closest matching address through some complex algorithm. It happened to me one time, it gave me the directions to get to the McDonalds in London, England, but I had the good sense to ignore the map.
Algorithm? How does a map use rhythm to tell you where to go? I didn't even have the radio on. That's stupid. 
No. You're stupid. I take that back, you're looking up at stupid. You're in the basement of stupid. You are sub-stupid.
No, I'm not. I just might be a little lost. Go outside, and see if you can see me. I'm right under the sun. 
We're all under the sun. You're not near here, it doesn't snow here! EVER!
Well, I don't know what to tell you. I'm here and I'm freezing. Nobody is home, and I don't know what to do.
Look down at your phone. Where are you? What does it say on the address thingy?
I told you, 1321 Elm Street... Detroit, MI.
You're in Michigan?
Is Detroit in Michigan? 
Then I guess so. Is that near where I'm supposed to be?
Close. You're only 2500 miles off. Give or take. Didn't you realize something was wrong when you had been driving for three days to something that was around the corner?
I thought maybe it was a shortcut.
I'm not entirely sure you know what a shortcut is. Never mind. Now we need to figure out how to get you home.  There's no way we can trust you to get back yourself. Maybe somebody can get you pointed back West. Can you ask somebody for directions or have them program our address in the map app on your smart phone?
No. I don't see anybody. Oh look, there's a guy. Hold on, I'll ask him. Hey mister. Are you done playing hockey? Strange, I don't even see a hockey rink around here. Anyways, can you help me with my phone? Just type in the the address for me. Oh I'm sorry. I didn't notice that you had a giant hook where your hand should be. Probably shouldn't play hockey with that thing, you could hurt somebody. It sure looks sharp. Oh I get it, you're not playing hockey, you must have been ice fishing and you were using that chainsaw to cut holes in the ice. Boy that chainsaw sure has seen it's better days, huh? Is that rust? What kind of lube are you using? It's all clotty and brown and icky. You should probably take that into the shop. You want me to come closer and see for myself? OK office, I got to go, this nice gentleman's going to show me how his chainsaw works, but then I'm sure he'll help me out.
Man, we lose more plumbers that way.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Swing A Dead Cat.

Well you can, but they don't like it. 
In all fairness, there are tons of ridiculously good looking men here as well.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Great Thing About Facebook.

My whole life I have been, what you might call, socially awkward. Or more accurately, socially inept. Although, people rarely use those phrases. Dork, nerd, spaz, weirdo, and freak, were more common. I just have a hard time fitting in. I am aware of my failings, but am powerless to change.
   The thing is, I can almost appear normal in a one on one conversation. I don't look at your face while we talk, and I often talk about myself, or my own interests more than I should, but still, almost normal. But the more people you add to a conversation, the odder I come off. I don't know when to jump into the flow of a conversation, so I will stay uncomfortably silent for long periods of time and then blurt out meaningless factoids or unrelated opinions.
   And then came Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the like. And my life totally changed. Now instead of only the people in my direct vicinity being aware that I am incapable of human interaction, I broadcast it to the whole world.

Sorry world. I'm not trying to be a douche. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

That's How They Do It In The Movies.

Come in. Please sit down. No. On a chair.
Sorry, I get nervous.
People sit on chairs, not on the floor.
I know, it's just that you look mad. And I get nervous. I think I pee'd a little.
Gross! I am a little mad. Do you know why?
Your inbox is full of spam every morning and you just can't take it anymore. That's why you are mad.
No, it's you.
I don't have a problem with spam, I have a pretty good internet filter, and I...
SHUT UP! You're my problem.
Oh no ma'am, I'm not sending you any spam, I promise.
Screw spam. I'm not thinking about spam, I'm not worried about spam, I'm not mad about spam. I'm upset with you. As an employee.
How long have you worked here?
Uh, two months.
Do you know why I hired you?
Because I am qualified. In fact I'm over qualified.
Hmm, no. You admitted in your interview that you're afraid of water and once accidentally set yourself on fire. Terrible traits in a plumber.
My sparkling personality.
You sparkle like a turd, and you have the personality of a used teabag.
My intelligence?
You couldn't get out of the office the first day. You were trying to push on a pull door.
That happens to everybody.
Yes, but most people figure it out after several seconds. Most people don't call 911 and claim they are being held against their will.
That was embarrassing.
For both of us. You're obviously not going to guess, so I'll tell you why you I hired you. Because you begged, and begged, and pleaded, and groveled, and and you had tears rolling down your face and you were all red and blotchy and you had giant snot bubbles coming out of your nose...
In the manliest way possible.
I was groveling in the manliest way possible.
I've seen manlier kindergarten girls having a tea party. Seriously.
Some of those kids are pretty tough.
...with snot bubbles coming out of your nose, like a little baby, you got down on your knees and pleaded and said you would be a good worker and that you needed a job because you needed money for beer and that you were afraid of being homeless and on the streets because you are not a strong man and that your were afraid the other transients were going to make you their hobo wife. And I hired you because I figured anybody this desperate would be concerned with doing a good job.
I am concerned with doing a good job.
You have a funny way of showing it.
In all fairness, there wasn't really much real work to do today. It was mostly busy work. 
I understand. Every business has days like that. So what did we ask you to do?
Wash the company vehicles.
I washed the vehicles.
Is that what you call that little display?
What else would it be called? I washed the vehicles. Twice. I wasn't satisfied with how clean they came out the first time. I asked you if I could do it again. I thought you would admire the fact that I was a perfectionist.
I was impressed. And when you asked to get your car washing gear from home, during your lunch break, I agreed.
I'm more comfortable with the stuff I use to wash my own cars with.
That sounds reasonable.
So after lunch, I washed the vehicles again. They came out great! Have you seen them?
No, I haven't had a chance yet.
They're really clean.
I haven't had a chance to see them yet, because I've been on the phone with the cops, and the businesses next door, and the neighbors, and TV news crews, for the last several hours.
Do they want me to wash their cars as well?
NO! Well creepy old man Cronce did, but he's just a perv. No. They are upset about the show.
What show?
Whatever that was you were doing in the parking lot!
I was just washing cars. Is it against the law to wash cars?
It is the way you did it. Who taught you how to wash cars like that?
Every music video, TV show, and movie, for the last 30 years.
Oh my G... You are a very stupid man.
That's not what my horoscope says.
I guess that does explain why you were washing the cars while blaring Cherry Pie by Warrant and Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard. I'm still not entirely sure how you managed to move in slow motion, though.

That's just how it's done. If it's really important, play loud music and move in slow motion.
Those are just montages. Not instructional videos. Those are just images designed to make horny teenagers, hornier.
I don't know, I've watched a lot of TV and movies in my day. And I've never seen a car get washed by somebody that wasn't in a bikini.
Did it ever occur to you that, that isn't reality?
How could they show something that wasn't true? That's unpossible. 
I... You... ARGH!!! Your stupidity is so dense and so immense, that I frankly can't believe that you haven't triggered entropy, and sucked the entire universe into a black hole of your dumbness.
Did you ever notice in the videos of the people washing the cars, that the people washing the cars in said bikinis, were in fact young, nubile, well endowed women, of the female persuasion, and not in fact bald middle aged men?
Yes. Really. Every single time. Not one middle aged guy. Not one.
Well, that's kinda sexist, don't you think? 
No it's socially accepted societal norms. Men don't wear bikinis. Women do.
So, only women can wash cars?
NO! Only women can wear bikinis!
I'm confused. Cars are getting washed, so somebody is wearing bikinis.