Friday, May 26, 2006


I've had a super busy week at work, which is pretty rare for me. As a result, I haven't had the opportunity to do a whole lot with AYNtK. I'm sure you'll forgive me, though. You really have no choice, the fact being you can't quit me. I'm your brokeback blogger and we have something both forbidden and special.

Anyhow, I'm leaving work early today to visit Wrigley Field for a few hours. I'm told there's going to be a baseball game there, but the way the Cubs have looked so far this year, it figures to be batting practice for the Atlanta Braves. I shouldn't say that with Carlos Zambrano scheduled to take the mound, but it's hard to get excited about a team so deeply steeped in futility. Sad, really, considering how a couple of years ago they were on the brink of the World Series. Just another familiar page in the book of "How to Lose With and Without Grace." Mark, that is.

I really don't have a whole lot else to tell you this week. Nothing I feel comfortable sharing here, anyhow. No underwear stories. No bathroom jokes. No masturbatory feats of wonder. So in the absence of substance, I will share with you an e-mail I received from Dr. Barnyard Friend, long time buddy and professional manscaper. I enjoyed his summary of the state of the union, particularly since he hails from a Republican stronghold...

****** Dr. Barnyard Friend writes:

It does seem to be a low point in American history. Right now Americans seem to lack optimism. The nightly news is all bad, all the time, and I don't watch. In the late 90's, as much as certain segments of the population hated Clinton, people seemed to be much happier and have a more optimistic outlook on life. Maybe its because we're at war, but I think it's more than that. It just seems like everybody is pissed in general. To make it worse no one has come forth with a compelling plan to end our involvement in Iraq and make it all better in general.

On a more personal side, the policies of this admin have impacted my livelihood directly. The NIH, which funds most of the academic research, enjoyed annual increases in its budget n the 90's. Big increases. The last few years, these increases have tailed off and this year plateaued. B/C most grants are 3-5 years in duration and have an annual 3% hike built in, this year has been killer. Ongoing grants are not getting their full budgets renewed and people paid throught those grants have been down-sized. Fewer grants have been funded. Those that get funded have their budgets slashed. The NIH used to fund around 25% of the proposals it rec'd. Now its like 10%.

I realize that sacrifices have to be made to make sure that the war can be fought. But this is the pipeline that will come up with drugs to save lives and improve our quality of life.

Scientists will become more efficient, find other sources of funds, and the strong will survive. But when its your job on the line, it is hard to see it that way.

Have a good Friday.


Thanks, Barnyard. Keep up the fight. I want some of those drugs you are making. Not today, silly. But maybe next weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


The good news is, he's fucking guilty as charged. The bad news is that he's going to become an even less productive member of society, wasting away the final days of his life and costing us even MORE money than he already has. Bastard. Shouldn't he be sentenced to mowing lawns or something (with a push-blade mower) for the rest of his life?

There's a pretty big list of people who'd be happy to let him.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Don't you hate people who call but don't leave a message? Go ahead and let me know why you're calling. It's okay. Really.

But the problem for me may be the phone itself. I don't like phones. I never really have. It's in my genetic code. Don't ask my doctor about that, though - he would deny it. But I know. I am just not a phone person. A lot of people are phone people. Other people are e-mail people. Some people are Instant Message people. Some people are Text Message people. And a few people still prefer doing things the old-fashioned way, sending letters via the pony express. Not a lot of people - but some. I don't know how many. Four maybe. Enough questions already!

In my experience, and generally speaking, girls tend to be phone people and boys tend to be anything but phone people. I don't know exactly why this would be the case, but I don't know too many girls who would prefer an e-mail to a phone call. I do know a lot of guys who would rather have a 45 minute colonoscopy than a 45 minute conversation. This is not to say that all boys hate the phone, or that all girls love the phone. In fact, I know that Geri, for one, isn't a big fan of the phone - largely because she spends a good deal of her time on the phone for work. The last thing she wants some days is to sit on the phone after hours of sitting on the phone. And while I have a strong preference for e-mail, I do enjoy calls from close friends upon occasion.

I think if you polled communications preferences by gender you'd find a far higher percentage of women preferring the phone to e-mail, and more men preferring e-mail than women. But even while communucation preference may skew by gender, the important thing I like to keep in mind is that all people are different and if I need something from someone, it's to my advantage to communicate with them in the way they prefer. Likewise, if they want something from me, they know to e-mail...because I really only answer my phone for three people: Geri, my mom, and my sister.

Sadly, bridging the communications divide isn't always possible, especially when two hard-headed people refuse to compromise. For example, I have a friend who won't read or return e-mails. I don't know why he bothers having an account, but he has one. He fashions himself more of a phone guy - but he never answers his phone, either, and is averse to dialing out. So he's really more of a "leave me a message and maybe I'll show up" guy. To each their own, I suppose.

Unfortunately, there are people like me in the world who won't use the phone unless the building is burning down. And even then it's not until after the fire department doesn't respond to my e-mail. I can't help it...I'm a writer. I write all day long every day. It's my full time job. It's my hobby. It's my passion. I write, therefore I e-mail. Why would I call when I can express myself so much clearer in an e-mail?

Anyhow, I coordinate my social life via online communications. Cubs games, concerts, volleyball leagues, Whirlyball, poker games, camping trips - you name it. If I make plans to do something, it's via e-mail. But because my friend doesn't check his e-mail, he doesn't receive my invitations until it's too late. I haven't seen or heard from the guy for close to year now. We just don't keep in touch because I won't call and he won't write. I bet you have a few relationships like this.

Think about the people you know and how you are in contact with them.

People who e-mail you all the time, but never call.
People who call from time to time, but don't respond to e-mail.
People who don't answer their phone - it always goes to voicemail.
People who don't return e-mails, regardless of what you write.
People who love sending text messages instead of calling.
People who prefer chatting online to chatting on the phone.
People who reply to e-mails with two words: "Call me"
People who haven't heard from in years, but e-mail all the time.
People who only call you when they're drunk.
People who try to text message an entire phone conversation rather than call.
People who call but never leave a fucking message.
People who ignore text messages because they refuse to learn how to do it.

Some of these people are communicatively incompatible. And socially, all that means is some folks don't end up hanging out as often. But in the working world it means a problem with productivity.

I've seen people in the workplace trying to condition their clients and coworkers to communicate in the way they want to be communicated. People will respond to voice mails with e-mails, and to e-mails with voice mails. They'll ignore calls, waiting for an e-mail, and ignore e-mails hoping for a call. And this dance will go on for days, or weeks sometimes, until someone finally calls a meeting and everyone is forced to talk about shit out in the open. Why can't we all just agree to communicate the same way - with clicks and whistles.

Interesting how people are all so different, and how technology, for how convenient it has made communication, has also served to divide us. I know phone people are irritated by e-mail people like me, just like e-mail folks are frustrated by phone people. Why can't we all just get along? What a wonderful world it would be!

Personally, I'd almost always prefer to communicate face-to-face. But since this is so seldom possible, I'm forced to choose the technology I am most comfortable with. Before the Internet, the phone and post office were your only real options. Now there are so many other ways to stay in touch.

From now on I'm communicating with smoke signals only. If you want me for something, better start fanning those flames.


"Whatever happened to Ricki Lake?"