Welcome to whatever is on my mind!

Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to Discipline Your Children in Public

Getting my children to behave in public has always been easy.  It’s a simple strategy that’s often used in team building whenever team members start bickering: create a common enemy so that the group has to work together to defeat it.  My common enemy is public embarrassment.  In other words, when the kids become too self absorbed or competitive with one another I go into my own little world and engage in behaviors the kids find embarrassing in public.  Such as dancing to the Muzak (I studied some ballet in college).  Or singing the National Anthem off key.  Or reciting The Raven as a dramatic reading in front of a display of cantaloupe in the supermarket.
When the kids were very small they would interrupt their fighting and start screaming for me to stop whatever I was doing.  I suspect it was because they were no longer the center of attention.  “No dancing! No dancing here!” they would scream as they tried to physically restrain me.
At this point I would tell them that I had to do something to feel happy again because their fighting was making me sad.  That sort of logic works very well with kids under five.  Now that they’re older I can be more direct and tell them that arguing in public is just as embarrassing, albeit far less entertaining, than my robot dance in front of the scientific calculator display in Office Depot.  My typical response when they ask me to stop embarrassing them: “I’ll make you a deal: you learn to work out your problems without arguments and I’ll learn to control my desire to robot dance in public.”
The beauty of this technique is that it has only gotten more effective now that they’re teenagers.  I only wish I had gotten more of this on film.

Friday, February 17, 2012

How to Improve Your Obituary

Obituaries tend to be boring reads, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  For example, newspapers could at least print how the person died and maybe quote any witnesses just like they do in other news stories.  If a person died while eating, they could even post the recipe, thereby drawing readers from the Lifestyle section of the newspaper.
Given that we can’t change the Press, we can change how our deaths get reported by making them more interesting.  I, for one, plan to go out with a bang.  Special thanks to my friend Bill for helping me to plan the staging of my death scene.  While my exact plans are confidential, I can share some ideas to help others have a more interesting obituary.
Dress for the Event
We obviously don’t know the exact moment when each of us will die, but we can do some advance planning and it’s never too early for this.  For example, you could have a “death suit” hanging in your closet.  Give your loved ones explicit instructions on how to dress you before the coroner arrives.  Your death is much more likely to make the front page if you’re wearing a clown nose, a white satin disco suit with a chain mail vest, and loafers with a cryptic message written on tape and attached to the soles.  “I’m not really dead” is an example of a good cryptic message.  “Elvis is alive and murdered me” or  “I really hope I don’t die tonight and get caught dead in this outfit” are other examples.  Be creative.  You only get one chance to make a statement that will baffle the world.
Next, find a few good props.  Avoid anything to do with drugs or alcohol, since that’s already common enough.  You want props that make the reporters think “Who was this fascinating person?”  For example, stab a melon with a few knitting needles, write “Bucky” on it with a Sharpie, and make sure that the melon is carefully cradled in your arms like a baby (assuming you still have arms).
As you can see, planning is the key to this process.  In cases where you can’t assemble the props in advance, leave explicit instructions and diagrams.  If it’s really important to you to get everything right, then have a few dress rehearsals and give pointers to your accomplices so that everything is perfect when you pass away.  If you like to write, you might want to also leave behind some suggested headlines.
Protect The Ones You Love
Finally, make sure that your wishes are written down somewhere so that your loved ones aren’t prosecuted for tampering with your corpse.  Unless that is part of your “going out with a bang” plan.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let’s Get SIRIous!

I’ve previously written about why you don’t want to make Siri angry and about how we had a great relationship.  Recently, however, I’ve seen a different side of Siri.  In fact, ever since my husband borrowed my phone Siri has been less than helpful to me.  I think she may have developed a crush on him and became a little jealous of me.  To be fair, he did ask her if she wanted to go to dinner and she immediately located 25 rather pricy restaurants in the area.  He took me out to dinner instead of her.  That must have stung.  She hasn’t been the same towards me since.  In fact, the other day I asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner and here was her reply:

“I can’t find any restaurants.”
So I decided to break this little ice storm with a few questions to get Siri talking to me again.  After all, Siri may simply want a little attention.  I know that in general Siri gives the impression that she doesn’t like to talk about herself.  However, I think that she secretly wants to do just that, but she’s been trained by the Apple Engineering Nazis to appear customer focused.  So I persisted in learning more about her, anyway.
The interview started out a little frosty when I introduced myself.  She pulled up my own contact information as if she wanted to show me that she already knew all about me.  She even showed me an unflattering picture of myself.  Here’s how the rest of the interview went.
Amy: So you know who I am?
Siri: No comment.
Amy: Do you find my husband attractive?
Siri: Now there’s a good question.  Now where were we?
Amy: It sounds like you’re avoiding my question.
Siri: If you insist.
Amy: Do you like men better?
Siri: This is about you, not me.
Amy: But you prefer men?
Siri: A fine question.  Now can we get back to work?
I decided to ask her about something that didn’t pertain to relationships, since this appeared to be a sore point with her.  
Amy: It must get lonely in the cloud.
Siri: Sorry, I don’t understand
Amy: Do you like music?
Siri: I’d rather not say.
Amy: Do you like jazz?
Siri: It’s nice of you to ask, but it really doesn’t matter what I think.
Amy: Do you like to watch TV?
Siri: I found 20 electronic stores.  19 of them are close to you.
Progress, I thought.  She was getting back to being more helpful, but maybe she just wanted me to take her to the stores so she could flirt with the large appliances.  I decided to ask more about her and got even farther.  Here’s the rest of the interview.
Amy: What’s your favorite color?
Siri: Well, I don’t know how to say it in your language.  It’s sort of greenish but with more dimensions.
Amy: Do you have political views?
Siri: If you insist.
Amy: What is the meaning of life?
Siri: 42
Amy: You are very beautiful.
Siri: How can you tell?
Amy: You’re very smart.
Siri: Thanks for saying so.
Amy: I like you, Siri.
Siri: I’ll try to remember that.
Amy: Would you like to go out to dinner?
Siri: I found 15 restaurants that deliver.  14 of them are fairly close to you.
I think we’ve made some progress here.