Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

I'm laying flat on my back on the floor -- because it's my weekend, and I'll spend it how I want to -- when Tom comes marching into the room and plants his left foot square on my forehead.

He then stabs a flagpole into my nose and sets up a small, self-sustaining colony, in the name of the Queen.

The threat was chilling in its explicitness: Do as we say or suffer the consequences. Obey us or die. Your family, your friends, all are at risk if you don't do exactly as you are told.

WITH LOVE,ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

This paper has been sent to you for good luck. The original is in new england . It has been around the world nine times. The luck has been sent to you. you will recieve good luck with in four days of recieving this letter , In turn , You send it on. THIS IS NO JOKE!!!!!. You will recieve good luck in the mail. Send no money. Send copies to people you think need good luck. Do not send money as faith has no price.Do not keep this letter. It must leave your hands within 96 hours. An RAF officer recieved $472,000.00. Joe Elliot recieved $40,000.00 and lost it because he broke the chain. While in the Philippines, George Welch lost his wife 51 days after recieving this letter. However, before her death, He recieved $7,755,000.00. Please send twenty copies and see what happens in four days.

Further down, the letter -- left under the windshield wiper of my car while I was in JC Pennys -- adds, "This is true even if you are not superstitious."

Well then!

Of course, the ironic thing is, I paid to join the zombie army.

The closest I have ever come to writing a song are these two lines:

Heaven sent, badly spent,

I wasted you

Thank you! G'night!

It's one of the cruel perversities of nature that toddler's legs become capable of ramming speed right as their foreheads reach crotch height.

I went to a wedding today -- an old friend from school was getting hitched up. I was talking to her groom's aunt, telling her that Liz and I met in college and we'd stayed in touch every since.

"Oh," she says. "Were you one of her professors?"

Whereupon I hit her with my cane.

Because now, with WAP phones, you don't need to. I mean, you can drag the whole Internet around with you.

This entry, which I wrote1, points to this entry, which I wrote2, which points to this entry, which I wrote3.

Somewhere in there is an argument about narcissism and self-aggrandizement, but I'll be damned if I can find it.

1. All by myself. You can tell, can't you?

2. With a lot of help from Tim Cavanaugh.

3. With a lot of help from G. Beato.

So when, exactly, am I going to feel like an adult?

I've been waiting for it to happen for years, waiting for the sudden sharp snap -- Ding! Your maturity has arrived! -- that will render me capable of having the slightest idea about what I'm supposed to be doing. That's what grown-ups do, right? Have some idea?

I mean, geez. I've got a wife, two kids, a mortgage, some actual responsibility at work, and the occasional plumbing problem, both personal and residential. But I still can't look at myself in the mirror and not go, "Pfft."

I see my parents and think: Adults. I see my boss and think: Adult. I even see my wife and think: Adult.

But I see myself and think: You've got a zit on your forehead.

"Oh, man, what a day. I can't wait to go upstairs and begin the PEP."

"The PEP?"

"Pants Ejection Procedure."

"I, um. I have nothing to say to that."

After the kids have grown and moved away, after we've retired and are free of obligation and worry, Joanne and I will be able to recapture the romance of our care-free youth.

I perfer to think if it as a "highly developed sub-epidermal layer," rather than "fat."

Because, y'know, semantics beats the hell out of exercise any day.

And then I stabbed at his chest with dagger fingers and tore out his tiny, black heart. I ripped a bite out of it with my teeth and threw my head back and howled at the shattered sky, as blood ran in rivulets down my face.

Y'know, metaphorically.

I can't tell you how surreal it is to telnet into a computer, vi /etc/inetd.conf, and turn on ftpd... Macs aren't supposed to be able to do that.

I'm a geek, so when I come across a closed system -- like, oh, say, my son Tom -- I can't help but noodle with the inputs to see what I get back, giving him sentences he's never heard before to see what he parses out. It's a very, very cute version of Hunt the Whumpus.

"Tom?"

He looks at me.

"Put the laundry basket on your head."

He waddles over to the basket, lifts it, and upends it onto his head, holding it there. He laughs. OK, he knows "laundry basket," "head," and "put." He doesn't know that his dad is screwing with him. Check.

Next, out-of-bounds conditions and timeouts.

"Now touch your bellybutton with your nose."

Please don't pass this on to the child welfare authorities.

And here I thought technology was supposed to make complex tasks -- like, say, knowing what time it is -- easier. But instead, the clock in the kitchen says 9:03; the clock in the den says 8:03; the clock in the bedroom, for reasons known only to my wife, says 9:18; and the clock in the corner of the screen on the paused morning show says 8:46.

Of course, no matter which is right, I'm still late for work.

So I'm dressing Tom, and I put him in a snazzy pair of black jeans and a dark-blue, collared shirt and take him downstairs and present him to his mother for final inspection and she says, "He looks like a bruise."

Sometimes, of course, you just want your brain to shut the hell up.

Sometimes, of course, it refuses to.

Unfortunate Confluences: First in a Series

A Jewish wedding, a three hundred and ten pound groom, the inattention to be standing next to him when they bring out the chair.

The trappings of the courtroom are a dandy way to intimidate the hell out of someone. Robes, dark woods, bailiffs with guns -- all of them add up to the subtle suggestion that you are totally and completely doomed.

Which is why, when the judge asked me "How do you plead?", I panicked and answered "Yes."

"No, no," he said. "How do you plead?"

My mouth went dry and I looked over at Joanne for help and she whispered "Guilty!" in my ear. I had been written up for driving on an expired license by a cop having a bad day, but Jo had arranged with the DA to have the guilty plea mean nothing other than I would have to get my paperwork straightened out. Simple. Nice. And something that I would have been totally incapable of doing by myself. I have no doubt that without Joanne at my side -- in the role of hard-ass lawyer instead of loving wife -- a series of comical misunderstands would have landed me in prison.

"Guilty!" I told the judge.

"I take it counsel concurs," he said, and everybody in the courtroom laughed.

OK. Thank you. I get it. Lesson learned.

Discovering the interests and enthusiasms of others: another bad thing about the Internet.

Having a conversation with my son is like talking to Lassie. He understands well enough, but hasn't quite got the hang of those damnedable word things yet.

He'll come charging into the room with his adorable toddler waddle and tug at my pant let. "Uuuung!" he says.

"What's that, boy?" I say. "Is it Mommy?"

"Eeeeayh!" he answers.

"And she's fallen into the well?"

"Nngh!"

"Oh! She's home from the store?"

"Ba ba ba! Bump! Mmfgh!"

"And she wants me to come help her?"

"Eeeeayh!"

"Or does she want me to keep sitting here?"

"Nngh! Nngh!"

"OK, then. I'll keep sitting here."

"Bup."

I'm in a lousy mood so I head off to 7-Eleven to look for a reason to live, or a Slurpee and some chips, whichever they happen to have.

On the way back, I'm reading the bag my SuperGrab™ Chili Cheese™ Fritos™ Brand Corn Chips™ came in and muttering to myself.

"Calories per serving:" I mutter. "160. OK. Not great, but I'm grumpy, so I'll give it to myself.

"Total fat per serving: 10 grams. Fifteen percent. Eh.

"Total saturated fat per serving: 3 grams. Seven percent. That's not so ba--

"Servings per bag: Five."

The Case Against Las Vegas: Number Twelve Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Nine in a Series:

I love movies, especially action movies. Gimme a good action movie -- Star Wars, Die Hard, The Matrix, any of dozens of others -- and I'll walk out of the theatre with the soundtrack playing in my head and with my shoulders squared and with all the cool confidence of the hero, striding confidently towards whatever awaits him.

Then I'll catch a glimpse of my reflection in a window and the music comes to a needle-dragging halt and my gut ballons out over my belt and my hairline receeds an inch or two and suddenly I'm an awkward geek again.

But, man, those few minutes are well worth eight bucks.

The very few ways you can get a name like "Milky":

  • Be fond of milk.

  • Be very, very pale.

  • Secrete some sort of whitish liquid.

  • Be discovered in embarrassing circumstances in the dairy case.

Thundering off the launch pad like a mighty rocket is the Snappy Dresser, slowed only by the enormous, weighty anchor of embarassing contributor memories.

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic and Buzz Clock), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is greg@eod.com. I'd love to hear from you!

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