Load of the Flies

July 20th, 2006   —   (7 years, 9 months ago)

Since I don’t have a category for “creepy, kafka-esque shit”, I’ll just file this under “General” for now. This is the tale of me and like twenty flies.

But before I forget, isn’t that post title hilarious? Because I’m writing about a lot of flies! haha!

It all started on Monday. Or Sunday. Let’s say Monday. I noticed that there was a fly in my apt, buzzin’ about being all nosy as flies are often wont to do. But then I noticed another fly. I figured I could easily outlast them in a game of “How Long is your Lifespan?”, so I let it be.

Now that I think about it, I think it was Sunday.

Anyway, the following day those two flies were just a-buzzin’ around, as happy as can be. That’s when the trouble started. I looked up, and saw a third fly. Now this is getting serious. To make matters worse, it was headed for my kitchen! Aghast, and with no small amount of hesitation, I laid my laptop down and followed it into the kitchen where I was met with… oh god like five more flies! What the hell people.

I looked around for open food containers or, I dunno, a rotting banana, knowing full well that I wouldn’t even own a banana, let alone keep it out in a place where something living and visible would have access to it. Alas, nothing could be found, and tracking their flight patterns, I found no region of interest (ROI) that would provide some clue as to the flies’ attraction to my kitch.

So after I hung a few strips of duct tape from various places in my kitchen (note: this does not actually work, it turns out), I walked into my hallway to find even more flies. Now it has become an endemic. After silently crying to myself, I uncurled from a fetal position on the floor and set to work. This called for a three-prong attack:

  1. Deception. As everyone knows, flies are attracted to light, like moths to a flame, because they think the light is the sun, and — a little-known fact about flies — they suffer from hubris, causing them to soar higher and higher into the sky, until the glue that holds their wings together melts and they come crashing into the ocean, never to be seen again. Tactically turning my lights on and off to get them into position, combined with gusts of paper-generated wind and a quick opening of my door, tricked quite a few of the little beasts from my darkened apartment out into the lit hallway, where they promptly disappeared from my sight and hence no longer existed.

  2. Attack. Using a rolled up paper towel roll, I bopped them lightly enough to cause them to be unable to move quickly — but not hard enough to cause a fountain of icky fly juice — leaving them a twitching mess on the floor, ready for Step 3:

  3. Disposal. I vacuumed their bodies up. I really hope that killed them.

Over the next few days I found bodies littered on the floor near my windows, which I promptly Step 3′d. As the days went by I found fewer and fewer bodies. Today was the second day in a row where there was only one body, so I’m hoping that was the last.

Since I don’t really have a punchline or a moral to this story, I’ll end with a joke:

Q. What has four wheels and flies?

A. A garbage truck that’s missing a ton of wheels, apparently.

The Gas Man Cometh

March 23rd, 2006   —   (8 years, 1 month ago)

Yesterday afternoon, I had a plan for the evening: I would get out some chips, some guacamole, and a pop, then I’d sit on my couch and play a game, then when I got bored of that I’d read more of my book. While exceedingly boring, I thought this was a good plan and I was excited to be a part of it.

Upon arriving home, though, we were greeted with a warning that we were not to turn on any gas-using appliances in our apartments. As it turns out, the gas company apparently fucked up while installing a new meter. Since it was already 4:30 pm, they decided to just shut off the gas in the building and call it a night. So, no heat and no hot water — and no stove, though it was hard for me to care about that — all night.

Anyway, Walnut was nice enough to put us up in the Pittsburgh Hilton, which is right at the Pointe (where the three rivers intersect) and not too shabby. Claire and I carpooled, and naturally I used the $24 valet service. This was funny because my car isn’t worth a whole lot more than that, what with its rust and missing hubcaps. So tossing my keys to a well-dressed attendant was worth the look on the hotel staff’s faces.

We decided to waltz on down to the ballroom to eat, and passed a series of display boards for a convention on metal working or something. Anyway, they were boring from a distance, and looking at them close up was just painfully boring. It was shocking, actually, the level of tedium that it must have taken to make the various displays. Coma-inducing, really. Needless to say, we quickly left that emotional Chernobyl and headed towards Restaurant Row.

Restaurant Class

There were two restaurants in the hotel: the first being the very essence of the word “pub”. It was a bar with a few video games (golf, of course), some loud music, the smell of grease and spilled beer, and some loudly talking people.

The second restaurant was a classy joint, what with its tablecloths and multiple forks and wine menus. You know, the kind of place where you put your cloth napkin on your lap and politely sip your wine as you discuss the day’s events over a pasta dish with a white wine sauce.

These two restaurants represented the not-so-subtle line between the classes; a bleached white or a dark denim blue collar; a sophisticate or a philistine. I pointed this out to my dining partner as we waited for our dishes to be served. Since it took a little longer than the “just a few more minutes” that our server assured us of at least 6 times, he was kind enough to bring us each a second glass of wine.

While I still have insufficient money and enough empathy left to think a flat tax is a bad idea and to not complain when deciding fiducially when is the right time to exercise vs hold onto stock options, it’s not like I want to eat with — as Gene Wilder once put it to Cleavon Little — “people of the land”.

Bring it on Home

It appears that the gas was turned back on, and pilot lights relit, today a bit after 6pm. Thus concludes another epic adventure in the life of a most assuredly boring individual. (Me.)

Buying a New Roomba

March 16th, 2006   —   (8 years, 1 month ago)

For the first time in a very, very long time, I ran my Roomba. I had either a) been too lazy to pick up all the crap and wires and stuff, or b) forgotten. Upon starting it up, I discovered two important problems with it:

  1. The battery life had dwindled to about 5 minutes
  2. One of the batteries in the remote had exploded, leaving an awful smelling substance inside, and rendering it useless (even after exchanging both batteries).

Both of these things caused me great joy. Why, you ask? Because this gives me an excuse to replacing my old, aging Roomba with a brand new Roomba!

Roomba = Awesome

For those who don’t get excited over vacuuming-based products, allow me to briefly summarize why the Roomba is so awesome:

  1. It cleans your floors without you having to do it yourself.
  2. It’s a robot.
  3. It’s a step towards realizing Ray Bradbury’s beautiful short story, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” from The Martian Chronicles.

Apart from having to empty the dirt receptacle, the Roomba Scheduler could in theory start up, vacuum my apartment, then return to its station to charge — every single day — whether I’m alive to appreciate it or my corpse is slowly decomposing on my couch. Technology is wonderful like that.

Back to the Story

So anyway, at first I was going to get a $225 Roomba Discovery, and buy a separate $59 Scheduler Pack from iRobot, since this seemed the cheapest way to go. What I ended up doing was buying the $329 Roomba Scheduler, complete with all the little scheduling doodads.

I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up the Roomba Scheduler, but sure enough, they didn’t actually have any in stock, only the Roomba Discovery and the Scooba (which cleans/mops floors).

So I asked the people there, and eventually this guy led me over to a computer, where he checked on the inventory. Apparently that store had never had that model. For that matter, the total number of Roomba Scheduler’s in all the Bed Bath and Beyond stores in America, combined, was 10.

So I had to order it. The downside is I have to wait 3-11 business days for it to be delivered, instead of walking home with my instant gratification.

But Wait

So I bought this $329 version at Bed Bath and Beyond, plus tax and shipping, for $371.

But wait! As it turns out, Best Buy was having a sale on that model for $229, and Bed Bath and Beyond price matches. So it wasn’t $371, it was $264.

But wait! I also had a 20% off coupon that Bed Bath and Beyond mails out every week, so the price wasn’t $264, it was $213.

But wait! Since they didn’t have any in stock and they had to order me one, shipping was free! So it wasn’t $213, it was $198.

But wait! They were having a promotion, where buying a Roomba gets you a $50 gift card. So really, it wasn’t $198, it was $148.


And that’s how I ultimately raped Bed Bath and Beyond. Now I rub my hands together and wait for my delivery…

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