Wednesday, October 30, 2013

News You Can't Use: Dell Users Get Claws Out Over Laptops that Stink of Cat Pee

Technology and that stank: they've got more in common than you might expect. I will now write the rest of this pointless introductory paragraph in the same awful punny style as the above headline. There's a new CAT-astrophe with a product that's far from PURR-fect. Consumers are hissing. Will it be fixed or end up in capitalism's litter box?

Owners of a certain model of Dell laptop have been subjected to very unpleasant “cat urine” odours emanating from their new machines.

Dude, you're getting something that smells like cat piss! Awesome!

The powerful odour is “not at all health hazard” and seems to have been caused by a “manufacturing process that has now been changed,” according to SteveB, a senior technical consultant for Dell posting on the company’s support forums.

Now that a guy that doesn't even have a last name has spoken I am completely satisfied. It's not like your average Dell user would have a thriving social life anyway, so just accept the fact you're carrying around a low quality product that calls to mind an emission from a feline bladder.

Dell was first made aware of the issue in June 2013 when a Dell user called “three west” first posted about the smell of a new Dell Latitude E6430u saying “the machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box. It is truly awful! It seems to be coming from the keyboard”

"SteveB" seems downright legitimate compared to our code-named whistle blower. Are there any adults left in America?

Additional Halloween-themed joke: "We've traced the's coming from inside your keyboard...get out of there!"

Dell first suggested cleaning the keyboard and air vents around the laptop to cure the smell, but as more and more users complained of the same stench being emitted from the laptop from different countries and regions, it soon became clear that it wasn’t users to blame but the actual laptop.

When ignoring/marginalizing the problem failed, they were forced to actually do something.

Also I could clearly tell that wasn't my own foulness. That's a mix of rotten cheese, spilled beer and some vomitus. No kitty wee-wee though, no sir.

Dude, I've got something to cover up that odor.

“Well .. here I am Sunday doing some work on the couch and my wife says ,"What stinks like cat pee?". I said ... I think its this laptop ... she puts her nose up to the keyboard and BAM! It really stinks,” said gambit29.

What really happened: "I just woke up after sleeping for three days, finally took off my completely soiled X-Men pajamas and realized that only reduced the cloud of vile stench that follows me everywhere somewhat. There was no woman, of course."

The smell was narrowed down to an issue with manufacturing, which was apparently resolved in October, meaning that new machines running off the production line were cured of the cat-pee smell.

The new models randomly detonate, but we're still blaming that on the users and won't admit the error for another few months.

Unfortunately, not all of Dell’s replacement machines were free from odour as one user complained: “I just received my 5th replacement 6430u yesterday and the smell is still there”

I feel a song coming on...
Red Bull bottles and brand new Dells
Monitor you're in my way
There's too much manufacturing process issues and too much excuses
Look what's going on inside the keyboard

Ooh, that smell
Can't you smell that smell?
Ooh, that smell
The smell of cat piss surrounds you

“If you order an E6430u now, it will not have the issue,” SteveB added.

Please keep wasting your money on our inferior products.

Komment Korner

I've smelt that smell a bit on some electronics too. Thought it was my imagination.

It's PC gone mad.

No way. It might lure a tom or two into your garden seeking to scare off what smells like sexual competition.

Did they buy the laptop from the CATalog?

Shill Section  

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Posts from the Underground" Now Available

My second novel "Posts from the Underground" in now out in both Kindle and Paperback format right here. You can read a free excerpt below. "Posts from the Underground" is a wild ride into an invisible world, finally providing an unlooked for and amazing answer to the age-old question of "who are these people?"

A fascist on disability. A cold steel and sex appeal musclehead. A college senior who believes trolling should really mean something. They’re making Posts From the Underground.

The trolling had been successfully accomplished and yet the pleasure obtained fell short of even the imitation Twinkie that Erik Kramer had just consumed with a single ravenous snapping of jaws and clapping of chins. Granted, there was pleasure, but with everything that had happened recently a large part of his being was now numb to it. The latest New Bremen murder was all over the news and there was talk beginning that a serial killer or something wicked sexy like that might be operating in the otherwise practically comatose pocket paradise.

The police had been back at his door. The dead man, a hard-drinking, wife-hitting, factory-working, shit-kicking, conspiracy-loving overall fuck-up had expired from multiple stab wounds less than a block from where the hit-and-run voyeur had entered into eternity and the department was now operating under the assumption that this was not simple coincidence but indicative of some sort of larger pattern. In a city where there hadn’t been a murder in three decades suddenly having two red pins in the precinct map, practically right on top of each other, was luridly suggestive and small minds were running in overdrive. Facing a situation reminiscent of something the moron box might vomit out on a Thursday night even the wisest of us can fall into folly, let alone someone who needed three tries to pass a police examination.

The questions had been flying and it was clear right from Jump Street that the computer poseur was no longer considered some sort of heroic body-finder but rather was now perhaps the only suspect in a crime wave that was threatening to drown everything good and decent in a sea of spilled blood. Somehow it made it a lot less fun and even the fact that he would make a very unattractive and inadequate prison bride was cold comfort.

They kept asking the same thing over and over, questions about where he was on the night of interest. “In a fucking basement pretending to believe views that I actually don’t in order to provoke a response from various online communities including virulent racists” was not the answer they wanted, apparently. They just kept hammering away, every word dipped in rich creamy disdain, the same sort Kramer had feasted on in happier times. Yeah, it was quite a statistical anomaly that the lair of his extended adolescence had suddenly become Grand Central Station for violent passages into the afterlife. Yeah, sometimes being exposed to an amateur human dissection experiment conducted with an automobile was indeed capable of damaging a person’s psychological health. Yeah, he was a weird fuck. It was all shaping up into a nice little package. When your best alibi is a time stamp on a post calling for Aryans to exterminate all Canadians and annex their lands on a site called New Wehrmacht Reporting it’s understandable that you might end up as a person of at least medium interest.

Still, when all was said and done and all the good/bad officer psychodramas concluded there was no actual evidence to link him to either crime. Simply not owning an automobile made his actual participation in the auto-erotic fender massage unlikely and the other crime involved the difficult anaerobic routine of several repetitions worth of knife in-out, an activity that would be difficult for someone with his considerable carriage and poor cardiovascular conditioning.

Then they left. All the usual bits about not leaving town and keep it in your pants and so forth were offered during the retreat back to donut land or whatever. It wasn’t like there was anywhere to go. Unless he had another very understanding close relative somewhere else, but this was not the case to the best of his knowledge.

Back to the internet. The latest thread was already on the third page, quite an achievement for a forum that probably had less than twenty active posters. Erik sighed and tried to force his fingers to type something that would create more outrage, but writer’s block descended heavily.

In a few weeks he’d be back in school. Senior year of college, last call for irresponsible naval gazing and lotus lunch and then what? Some fucking cubicle somewhere? Loading toner into a printer, but failing over and over until it becomes a struggle worthy of Greek mythology? Kissing some old reptile’s ass to get ahead? All of the above, probably, and it was all uncertain and alien. Nothing he’d done or was doing was providing anything even resembling actual preparation for any of that. Instead he was regressing, descending back to the sand box, to dirt eating, to pointing a finger and laughing. Just be sure to point that finger right away, before you get singled out yourself.

The phone was ringing again. Ah, to be wanted. The adoring public wanted to hear about his latest misadventures. Who am I to deny it?

Leaving a half-finished post accusing other faceless net abusers of being insufficiently dedicated to worldwide revolution he went to grab the call. He’d soon wish he hadn’t, but that’s doing things in the real world for you.


Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book.

His first novel The Foolchild Invention is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mirror Image: The Darkness of Man by C. Michael Powers

Title: Mirror Images: The Darkness of Man
Author: C. Michael Powers
Genre: Psychotic Thriller/Horror
Length: 260 pages
Release Date: May 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0615766065
Imprint: Grimoire A love story mixed with maniacs and monsters.

Book Description:

Gabe Cutter, an average paper pusher, has his life ripped out from under him when his reflection in the mirror switches places with him, hell bent on destroying the life Gabe knows, and killing his cheating fiance’. Now, stuck on the other side of the mirror, Gabe must join together with a band of stranded survivors and find a way to get back to his world before his reflection destroys it. Along the way he battles his way through maniacs, monsters, and ultimately his own heart, as he realizes that the woman he’s been trying to save...wasn’t worth the price of admission.

What people are saying...

"A delightfully intriguing story, "Mirror Image" captured my attention at the very beginning with its superb reader's hook, and maintained my interest and intrigue throughout. Author C. Michael Powers deftly explores the inner personality and integrity (or lack of same) in his multitude of characters. He also cleverly illustrates how a chance encounter, or a wish slipping from the tongue without thought, can lead to danger, trouble, even fatality. Very fast-paced action and plotting keep this paranormal urban fantasy rolling on. Think of a boulder rolling downhill in an avalanche and you will get some idea of the pacing and implacability of this story."

- Mallory Anne (Amazon)

About the Author:

C. Michael Powers (Christopher Powers) started writing at the age of 16 when his dad and younger brother were out fishing, and he was left alone, with only his thoughts, his sleeping grandfather, and an old typewriter. Since then he hasn't been able to stop. Recently, he has focused his attention on contemporary fantasy; dark, action packed stories, the kind he’d like to read himself. Now, living in his wife's beautiful country of Panama, with she and their four kids, he's finally finding time to write. Living in Panama has given him the opportunity to write freelance about retirement locations all over the isthmus, and has even given him some time to work on his true passion...fiction.
Where to find C. Michael Powers:

My author website is:

My profile at GMTA, where you can also find other great writers, and maybe even submit your book to GMTA is at:


Hey everybody,

My name's C. Michael Powers, and I'm the author of Mirror Images Book 1: The Darkness of Man. Today, I'm going to be spending some time with two of the characters from my book, Lisa and Ivy. So that you understand the role these two play, it's probably a good idea that I fill you in on what this story is about.

When an average Joe's reflection in the mirror switches places with him, he finds himself trapped in a strange mirror world, battling his way back to the other side so that he can stop his reflection from destroying the life he knows.

“Have you ever wondered why so many people in prison claim to be innocent? It’s ‘cause most of ‘em are,” Dozier whispered.

On the other side of the mirror, lies a horrific world where each of us has an image, our violent replica, capable of fulfilling our darkest desires, and only released into our world when we’re unable to follow through with an evil deed. Gabe Cutter, an average paper pusher, has his life ripped out from under him when his image switches places with him, hell bent on destroying the life Gabe knows, and killing his cheating fiance’. Now, stuck on the other side of the mirror, Gabe must join together with a band of stranded survivors and find a way to get back to his world before his image destroys it. Along the way he battles his way through maniacs, monsters, and ultimately his own heart, as he realizes that the woman he’s been trying to save...wasn’t worth the price of admission.

So, I've got Lisa sitting here on the couch in front of me, and I have Ivy, her image (or reflection) live via satellite from the dark side of the mirror. Let's get this interview started.

Me:  Ladies, you both look lovely. Lisa, thanks for being here. Ivy, thanks so much for joining us. I know things are a bit crazy in your world.

Ivy: Yeah, never a dull moment over here.

Lisa just smiles and scrunches up her face in her cute trademark nervous gesture.

Me: You've both been on a whirlwind adventure. Maybe adventure isn't the best world.

Lisa: Definitely not.

Me: Lisa, let me take you back to that day in the bathroom at your work. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened?

Lisa: Sure. God, this is embarrassing. I had a little crush on a coworker named Gabe.

Ivy: A little crush?

Lisa: Okay, a big crush. I'd known him for years, but he didn't seem the slightest bit interested in me.  We were just friends. He had a girlfriend, a fiancĂ© named Alley. She's a know.

Ivy: Bitch. Sweetheart, you gotta stop bein' so fuckin' weak. Shit, just say it. Alley was a lyin', cheatin', whore. Plain and simple.

Lisa laughs and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear.

Lisa: Yeah, she was all that. Gabe deserved better. And she knew I had a thing for Gabe, so one day she stopped me in the hallway and basically told me how I had no chance with him and, well, she made me feel this big (holding her fingers an inch apart). Like Ivy said, I was weak. I ran into the bathroom and started crying.

She shrugs her shoulders and scrunches up her face again.

Lisa: You know, it was just an emotional time for me. I liked him. He liked her.

Me: But then something happened. You went somewhere.

Ivy: Just fuckin' say it. I happened. She was weak, she wanted Gabe, and I was just the one to make it happen.

Lisa: Right, you, she pulled me into the mirror and switched places with me.

Me: Wow, and what was that like?

Ivy: Exhilarating.

Lisa: Scary. I was so confused and so scared. You can't imagine the feeling of suddenly falling through a mirror and into a strange world full of violence and mayhem and murder and sex in the streets. It was just...awful.

Ivy rolls her eyes and laughs.

Ivy: It's not that bad.

Me: And Ivy, what did you think when you crossed through the mirror.

Ivy: It was strange. I'd heard of it happening to other people, so I knew what was going on, but I wasn't prepared. Look, I'm as sexual as they come. I admit it. Images, your reflections, our very nature is your darkest desire. If you have the overwhelming urge to kill, your image is a murder. If you have the urge to rob and steal, your image is a robber. Well, Lisa's urge was to hook up with Gabe. She wanted to be a little loose, promiscuous maybe, so when I crossed through the mirror, my only thought was to find him, and fuck the shit out of him.

Lisa blushes. She covers her reddening face with her hands.

Lisa: Oh my God.

Ivy: So that's what I set out to do.

Me: And how did that turn out?

Ivy passes me a very sexy wink.

Ivy: How do you think?

I laugh. Ivy laughs. Lisa doesn't.

Me: But then Gabe and his image switched places too, and all hell broke loose.

Ivy: Yeah, that was bad.

Lisa: Horrible.

Ivy: I was the one who got dragged all over the place by that sick bastard. Cutter, Gabe's image, and I had a thing a long time ago, on my side of the mirror. He was sick then and if anything, he's gotten worse. He just wants to have sex and kill. And sometimes not even in that order.

Me: I know it was a bad experience, and I won't ask you to go into detail. We'll let the readers discover that themselves when they read the book, but just tell me, what's the best thing about the other side, for both of you? Lisa, is there anything good about the dark side?

She laughs under her breath and thinks on it for a long time.

Me: Okay, you take too long, I'll come back to you. Ivy, what's the best thing about our side of the mirror?

Ivy: Sex. You know me, C. Michael, sex is always the answer. What's best? Sex. What's worst? Sex. How's the weather? Sex.

Me: So sex is your answer.

Ivy: Well, I guess it's more than that. Men on your side aren't just throw-you-down-and-take-it kind of lovers. They're actually loving. I mean, most of the time, I just want it, however I can get it. You know what I mean girls?

She laughs and passes another wink.

Lisa: Nobody knows what you mean. You're crazy.

Ivy: So yeah, I kinda dig the loving nature of fucking that happens sometimes there. I mean most of the time I like my coffee black, but sometimes I like a little cream in it, you know, the softer version.

Me: Lisa, think of anything yet?

Lisa: No, there's not much good about the dark side. Gabe being there was the only great thing. And I met some really cool people, made some friends.

Me: So, without giving too much away, was there a love connection at all? I mean every story has to have a love story.

Ivy: No comment. Let my fucked up twin over there answer that one.

Me: Lisa?

She's looking down at her lap, then looks up at me and blushes. She does the face scrunching thing again, looking adorable.

Lisa: Maybe. Read the book and find out.

To find out more about Lisa, Ivy, Gabe, and his image, Cutter,  check out Mirror Images Book 1: The Darkness of Man, now available at Amazon, for Kindle and paperback at:

Check out my website at

Follow me on Facebook at:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

News You Can't Use: Lake Brantley High School Teacher Suspended for Taping Girl Up

Young people, am I right? Worst generation ever. Always with their phones and pinball games and crocodile shoes and all the rest. We sure could use another four to six year conventional world war to thin out their ranks a little. Failing that, maybe we can tape them up.

A Seminole County high school teacher has been suspended for taping a disruptive student's hands together and trying to tape her mouth shut, according to officials.

How he failed to get the mouth when the hands were already disabled is a troubling mystery. You'd think once the grabbers are out of the picture the finish would be a snap. Was the student moving her head a lot or something? These questions need answers.

Greg Sims, a science teacher at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, was suspended for five days without pay, according to a letter addressed October 8 from Superintendent Walt Griffin.  His suspension runs through early November.

Too bad he didn't tape the eyes or the obvious "blinded with science" joke could be made organically instead of incredibly awkwardly like I just did there. Enjoy your time away from the little monsters, Greg. I'm sure you'll get a hero's return with sympathetic students voluntarily taping themselves to things in a show of solidarity.

According to the letter, Sims "taped a student’s hands together, attempted to tape her mouth closed as a means of addressing her disturbing class and taped her book bag to a pole in the classroom."

Today's lesson: Your teacher goes insane after years of unsuccessfully trying to reach you little bastards.

"I have determined that your conduct in this situation does not conform to the Seminole County Public Schools Student Conduct and Discipline Code," Griffin wrote.  "This is unacceptable conduct on the part of a professional educator and represents misconduct in office."

After carefully consulting the fifty page section in the code of conduct on when and how you can use adhesive objects to control the future criminals I decided I'd rather keep my own plumb job, thanks.

"Now you're gonna take this duct tape and start wrapping it around your own head..."
The incident marks Sims' third suspension in his 25-year career, all three of which included embarrassing female students, Local 6 reported.

Doing one semi-bad thing every eight years or so (I can do math because binding and gagging students was allowed in my day...) is clearly proof of BAD PERSON.

Komment Korner  

Everybody go listen to The Wall again.

See what "Progressive" education looks like?

Give them tasers. Put the unruly little turds in restraint chairs like they have in jails.

Yeah, that's just what we need... MORE untrained nazi-style authoritarians, willing, able and EMPOWERED to do VIOLENCE with the approval of The State... and against CHILDREN!

Some "students" cannot breathe out of their mouth due to allergies, sinuses, etc. If their mouth were to get taped shut they would not be able to breathe.

Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Twistaplot #17 Ghost Riders of Goldspur

Last time an amazing space adventure was ruined by United Nations propaganda so I think it's time to go back to Twist-A-Plot, where terrible plotting and misplaced sarcasm do the ruining instead of the New World Order. Today's choice is perhaps the perfect antidote to that, featuring the Wild West, guns as a solution to problems, and improbable time-travel/untreated narcolepsy plot devices. Will this series finally produce an entry that doesn't earn my wrath? Well, you're not going to find out re-reading the opening paragraph over and over, which I assume all readers do unless I explicitly give permission to enter the main body of the review with a clever transition sentence. Let's saddle up!

Welcome to Twist-A-Plot World, where nothing can possibly go wrong.

Like many epic tales it begins with passive listening as a member of a tour group. I'm told that it's the Centennial of some rather nondescript wild west crime spree. Some outlaws came into town, robbed it, set everything on fire and left. Again, kind of blah. It's not like they shot someone for snoring too loud or used a stolen gatling gun to try to take over the Territory of Arizona or something. I'm so stoked about this that I'm all "Wow! One Whole Century!" Yes, kid, this is what passes for excitement before your body's internal chemistry suddenly changes and causes you to constantly think about breasts to the exclusion of everything else. 

Stay tuned for my complete review of the "Time Life Wild West" series, starting in 2038.

There's a legend that the outlaw Harley Brothers are condemned to ride the west forever until they are brought to justice, which is just enough of a supernatural foot-in-the-door for a sudden dust storm to transport me back to the very day of the incident! This is my big chance to stop the crime, destroy the city's future tourist industry in the process and maybe buy a few shares of Microsoft Telegraph and Gas Lighting.

I'm allowed to take "I don't know what to do!" as an option and this results in meeting local Hard Man "Darby" who wants me to send a message to a "stage." Instead I ask him what century it is, because that's a nice and reasonable thing to ask. I consider this deep and immersive role-playing, since it seems the kind of person who would yell things out during a tourist trap speech might also have issues with ordinary human interaction.

Here's the answer I expected.

Instead of the anticipated "You some kind a mo-ron?" someone yells "cut" and you can probably guess where this is going. It's some sort of television show about "legends and how they affect the mind" that might have worked in the eighties before the idea wizards in charge figured out the average electronic toilet viewer just wants to point and laugh at rural America and not think too hard. The "dust storm" was just a lame special effect, everyone else was "herded" off the street and for some reason they allowed me to blunder into their shooting. 

I get one final bit of social awkwardness, lamenting my "dumb" behavior, while the director is all "could have been worse kid, much worse."

 "Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!"

In the interest of fairness I can't really review this one based off of the short run I had. The story at least seemed to promise action and I didn't have to flip a coin or answer any personal questions to make a decision, which for this series represents progress. On the other hand I got a modified "It was all a dream!" ending. We'll call it a wash.

Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

News You Can't Use: Plaza Hotel Files Suit, Calls Citi Bike Rack ‘Eyesore’

Let's talk about rich person problems. Things like having a poor person make contact with your shadow or finding out you might have to pay a few dollars in taxes, even after making large charitable donations to yourself. Worst of all might be bike racks. For some reason people are deciding to take their ten-speeds to New York Hotels and the adult version of Richie Rich doesn't like having to look at it briefly. Something must be done and clearly the best answer is more new laws.

The Plaza Hotel, a place where you can park your Rolls Royce at the curb and perhaps ask for Grey Poupon on your hot dog. But, is the Plaza any place for a Citi Bike rack?

The rich, am I right? All Rolls Royces and giant bags full of nickels dangling around their necks and tacos of the finest possible quality. But hello, what's this? A bike rack put up by an odious banking concern? I do believe it is. Biggins, call up the elected officials I own, it's time to get rid of it.

“To put them here is a distraction from this wonderful hotel,” Ruth Halperin told CBS 2′s Dick Brennan.

"Don't think. Feel! It's like a bike rack in front of a hotel. You were focused on the bike rack and missed out on all the hotel-related glory."

The hotel agreed and has filed a lawsuit that called the racks “an eyesore” and “unnecessary when there are other alternatives.”

Alternatives like driving all the morlocks back underground.

“Shift it to the side, move it right there around the corner. At least away from that entrance,” he said.

Is it just me or does that quote sound like lyrics to a rap song? "Aw yeah, shift it to tha side/I be ready to take that ride/Move dat thang 'round da corner," etc.

I also like the implied exasperation. At least away from the entrance. For the love of god. I'm not an unreasonable man. You have the power to stop this outrage.

"Someone put a bike rack in front of my Park Place hotel!"

However, bicyclists want the hotel to pump the brakes.

Enjoy awful puns? Have weird, stereotypical views about most of humanity? Willing to work cheap? Then you, too, can be an internet reporter!

“The city doesn’t belong to rich people it belongs to everyone,” Stephan Alber said.

That sounds like communist talk to me.

“While we haven’t seen the papers yet, we are confident that the installation was proper,” the statement said.

"I am full of totally baseless confidence. Doesn't that make you feel better?"

“They’ve got to protect their business, and at the same time, people want to take their bikes out in the city, so I think it will resolve itself,” Mike Vittorio said.

Because the best solution for any problem is sitting back and saying "it'll fix itself." 

Komment Korner

No wonder the Normal-American Community would rather live in our cars than within 1,000 miles of that democRat dump.

which is why we are still number one in the world and not playing a banjo in the sticks

Seem's discriminatory to only provide 2 wheel bikes. What about some 3 wheel bikes for the "balance" challenged?

Send the concierge out with a pipe cutter like Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, cutting down parking meters...

Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

DotTeeVee: Komputer Kindergarten

You've got a desk covered with office supplies, an alarm clock for some reason and a giant typewriter. You fear change and instinctively hate anyone even slightly different from you. So far, no problem. But then the so-called "computer" had to come along and you're faced with a choice of either making that big leap forward or becoming irrelevant. What better solution to this problem than a patronizing how-to video over-flowing with similes and constant reminders not to panic.

Yes, it's time to meet the "Komputer Tutor" Kim Kommando. Well at least we now know what she's wearing under all that bright red.

This showcase, featuring things we found in a storage locker, can be yours if the price is right!

Miss Kommando welcomes us to "Komputer Kindergarten" and then immediately laments the bad old days of relying on things like clocks, tape and "don't forget the white out!" All of these products have, of course, been rendered obsolete by computers and no longer exist, so I apologize if that last sentence made no sense. 

We meet the computer and the case that covers it. Kim tells us that this outer shell shouldn't be an issue. But I wanted to see the little mechanical hamsters that turn the wheels that power this miracle device! Anyway, "what is it anyway?" The general gist is it resembles a TeeVee, isn't a TeeVee, but has a lot in common with the TeeVee. This is getting way too complicated. Can we go back to talking about erasers and tape and other non-electronics as our go-to analogy? 

It's like your brain is a soda, but not a soda, but gets treated like a soda.

We're told we'll be needing a "printer." Sadly we don't get highlights of paper-jams and flashing lights and "the printer couldn't find itself!" and all the other disasters typical of that device. I guess if we delved into that it would be a ten hour video ending with K.K. laying into the printer with a fire ax and renouncing all technology forever, so it's probably just as well.

We talk about discs and how it's similar to a VCR. Kids, ask your parents.

They can store several paragraphs worth of text!

Then we are actually shown a VCR, to really hammer the point home. She stops just short of "you know, that box you tape NFL games on without express written consent, thus committing a felony?" But what if I hit the wrong button? "Does it blow up?" Maybe? What happens to a VCR deferred? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load? Or does it explode?

Back to the disks. Which one goes in what slot? How do you slide it in? We're told it's easy, but I've got plenty of embarrassing stories I could tell that challenge that assertion.

I reckon sticking farr crackas in mah sex box was a bad eye-dee-ah.

We talk about something called "Windows" which I'm sure is yet another dated reference with no current relevance. "Everything's in pictures!" That's certainly preferable to those terrifying "words." Time to set the clock on the computer. Why? If we don't the computer will think Jimmy Carter is still in office and we'll be forced to relive that waking nightmare. To keep history's greatest monster in the past where he belongs, follow these instructions...

She makes a mistake, but nothing blows up. See? Totally safe. We're then told what "press any key" means, which would have been really useful for 300 lb. Homer Simpson. Later, we'll set up one of those dippy drinking birds.

"Help me Kim Kommando!"

More analogues! Waiter, adding machine, house-cleaning, filing cabinet it's all that and more! Time to use a mouse. With her hand twitching in a manner that suggests the methadone isn't working she tries with limited success to get that perfect finger spread. We learn to point, click, drag and rage quit. Really. She declares a hand of Solitaire unwinnable and ends the game early. Miss Kommando must do a lot of on-line gaming, that's all I'm gonna say about this.

You know I'm gonna lose/And Solitaire's for fools/But that's the way I like it baby

Now to free us from the cruel shackles of the typewriter forever. Guess what, it can be replaced with a program on your computer! You probably already guessed the name. Yes, it's called "Write." The amazing thing is I just installed "Write13" and it might be the best iteration of this long-running and well-loved application so far.

It's just like a typewriter, but better! No bells going off, no smudges, you can lose hours of work if the power goes off or a file corrupts, etc. The "hourglass" is explained. It's the computer's way of telling you "Hey, I'm workin'!" I never really imagined my computer having the voice and personality of a teamster, but I certainly will from now on.

"Hey, the file can't be found, ok? Fuggitaboutit." 

We wrap it up with unearned praise and "look at all you learned!" which assumes a lot. The typical viewer of this is probably by this point naked, battered and bloodied, covered in wires and packing peanuts, pointing the remains of the mouse at the broken monitor and clicking wildly. Yup, great job! "Nothing even blew up!" Set your parameters for success low enough and you'll always win.

Komment Korner 

She's actually real and has an active youtube channel o.o /user/kimkomandoshow

U can tyoe with ur computer... I didnrt know that, despite the buttons have letters on them o_O roftol

This lady is right, I typed this comment and..........NOTHING EVEN BLEW UP!!

Does her last name mean what I think it does?

Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

News You Can't Use: Are Anti-Bullying Programs Having An Opposite Effect?

The best way to solve a problem is with "programs," assuming meetings are off the table as an option. To make the program super-powerful and a guaranteed success, involve the government. This is how we ended drug abuse, irresponsible sex and how we're currently defeating "bullying." Soon the meek will literally inherit the earth.

A lot of schools spend countless hours trying to stop bullying. But some question if they are sending the right message.

Well, it's easier than teaching fractions or something. Lowest common denominators? Nah, let's watch an hour-long video with some of your favorite fading celebrities explaining that the toilet is for your waste, not your classmate's heads.

It started as a simple look at bullying. University of Texas at Arlington criminologist Seokjin Jeong analyzed data collected from 7,000 students from all 50 states.

Leave it to "data" to ruin all the comforting feel-goods.

He thought the results would be predictable and would show that anti-bullying programs curb bullying. Instead — he found the opposite.

Cue "Price is Right" loser horns.

The study concluded that students at schools with anti-bullying programs might actually be more likely to become a victim of bullying. It also found that students at schools with no bullying programs were less likely to become victims.

Obviously we're simply not throwing enough money at the problem.

The student videos used in many campaigns show examples of bullying and how to intervene. But Jeong says they may actually teach students different bullying techniques — and even educate about new ways to bully through social media and texting.

"And now that you know what a Rear Admiral is...don't do it."

Of course we get our obligatory lame reference to "social media" because digitized pictures of food on undersized screens is such an exciting new frontier.

Jeong said students with ill intentions “…are able to learn, there are new techniques [and gain] new skills.” He says students might see examples in videos and then want to try it.

It's time to get ill. Note: this finding might not prove as strong for the planned "Yo, Math Be Dope" video series. "Bro, can't wait to try out those order of operations skills I just learned!"

He got his inspiration from a "How to Be a Safe Truck Driver" video.

According to Jeong, some programs even teach students how to bully without leaving evidence behind.

"Be sure to sand-paper off your fingerprints before you give that wet willy."

A lot of schools spend countless hours trying to stop bullying.' "There has just been a massive deterioration" in the competitiveness of the generations following the boomers, said Michael Porter , head of the Harvard's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness.

But our President said we were still a "Triple A" nation, no matter what so-called "facts" say. This is probably just like that.

Komment Korner   
Just look what this monster Obama as created for us in the last five and half years, nothing but madness and stupidity and misery.

I was bullied until I punche they kids teeth through his lip. Never got bullied again.

Kids aren't stupid. Even they don't like big brother putting his hobnailed jackboot on their throats.

Tell kids to not do something is only going to want them to do it more.

Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure #4: Space and Beyond

Last time I was finally able to track down an edition of a mass market paperback intended for children for less than $1000.00, American, and was rewarded with cold war adventure. This time out I'm still filling in the single-digit offerings, turning to the second R.A. Montgomery book. If his previous outings have taught me anything, it's to expect poorly applied nepotism, wimpy and impractical vehicles and lots of horrible death. How can you go wrong?

 Rejected title: "Intergalactic Sugar Gliders"

The introduction is short, but loaded with details that seem absolutely pregnant with possibility, but are presented with "oh well" banality. It's the far future and I was born on a star ship (presumably a goofy looking and under-performing one) to parents from two different galaxies. These galaxies are apparently less than exotic, their homeworlds resembling a planet called "earth" more than anything. The not-quite-right nepotism kicks in when I'm informed that I'm turning 18 and because I was born in the void of space I can choose my planet of "citizenship." Apparently every inhabited planet now has only one nation, different galaxies regularly interact, up to and including doing the wild thing in deep space and faster-than-light travel is common. This is a lot to swallow all at once.

I should also point out that during the review of "Your Code Name is Jonah" I speculated that was the only book in this series where you play an adult and I'm immediately proven wrong. Oh well, even the Superb Owl winner lost in the regular season.

I get a choice between two planets and naturally pick the one that is three times the size of earth (looking forward to being pinned to the ground by the gravity), has a dying sun and "history full of trouble." Honestly, who wouldn't choose that planet, especially when the other choice is menaced by "Black Holes" and "Super Novas" and maybe whatever other "space" concept the author could find after skimming the entry in World Book Encyclopedia.

   The 1980s version of the internet.

Now the wussy vehicle is unveiled, a one-man "spacepod" that looks like something Fisher Price would reject as too fanciful. Anyway, I leave the "Mother Ship" and promptly things begin to go wrong. Oh no, a nebula! Man, that "World Book" snark really was right on the money. I hope I live long enough to see the "asteroid belt" or "Planet Pluto" or whatever other crazy general knowledge menace pops up next.

Taking a page from some space film that's probably too obscure for any of you to recognize I "trust my instincts" and try to make my way through, despite now being hammered by a meteor shower! The book suggests I "radio for help" which considering the vastness of the stellar ocean seems fairly pointless, so instead I deploy two of my strongest virtues: "waiting and hoping." Surely my awesome hoping powers will save me from a Universe determined to destroy my dorky glider analogue.

   This cover suggest a story that's righteous as all hell in a blatant bit of false advertising.

I hit the "advance" button and instead of getting next week's paycheck now I'm flung into a "transit zone" which is a "space highway" cluttered with traffic. This author really didn't understand the whole "universe is vast and mostly empty" concept that often gets forgotten in the race to discuss the more sexy topics like meteorites and red shift. 

So I join a caravan. It's like this nonsense should have been in By Balloon to Sahara but they ran out of room while developing that whole awful "salt aliens" sub-plot and it was held over to the next book where it was inserted in such a seamless fashion. Just change "camels" to "star ships" and you're basically done.

Are you allowed to smoke in one of those?

I fall in with an alien woman of the non-sexy variety who is running "black hole dust" to some backwater called "Earth" where the population thinks it has anti-aging properties. We both get a good laugh about that one, and can only shake our heads at the shallowness of the people she plans on ripping off for a profit. I arrive, and my main impression is the "tall ugly buildings." Thousands of years of literature, art, science, philosophy and cuckold pornography and this is the impression we make on visitors. The Earth tourism and development people are really dropping the ball.

I decide to stay. The author hammers home how much Earth sucks (wars, genocides, rape of the natural world, riddled with racial prejudice, ignorant, judgmental and that guy over there shoved me) but since I'm going to stay I have to find some sort of silver lining and I do in something called the "United Nations."

Yeah, really.

Of all the diverse achievements of humanity the only one that rates mention is an ill-conceived N.W.O. tyrant enabling and shoe-pounding assembly. If that was really all we've ever done that had any value I would welcome the disintegrator rays from the galactic community.

You know what, I think I can figure out your position without asking.

This one really drowned in the typical R.A. Montgomery tropes. I guess the story deserves some credit for being imaginative, but being forced to portray Space Obama ruined everything.

Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

News You Can't Use: The Controversial U.S. Dating Site That Lets You PAY to Filter Out Fat and Ugly People

How can we find unconditional positive regard, companionship and ridiculous physical postures that release pleasant chemicals in the brain? If you're one of the vanishing number of well-adjusted and socially adept individuals you'll meet that special someone during the course of your day-to-day life, possibly using activities or common friends to achieve this. If you're one of the growing (haw haw, get it cuz FAT) number of people who imagines that staring into a tiny glowing screen will somehow solve all your problems, good news! For a reasonable fee you can set the world of online dating to "easy mode" eliminating fat-bodies and fugs!

Online dating is the best way for hopeful singletons to find love than in the modern world.

Singletons, El Oh El. When you're lonely the rest of the world just never stops piling on. If by "best" they mean, "worse than any conventional strategy, but better than dropping your pants at a bus station and screeching at random strangers" then I totally agree.

But one controversial dating site has taken the selection process to a whole new level by allowing its users to filter out members looking for romance according to their body type ... for a price.

Once we get our magic government back we can expect subsidies to pay for all your "no lard-o" needs. Until then, no pay, no play.

Popular U.S. dating site, lets online daters pay $4.95 (£3) to hide anyone who classes themselves 'curvy', 'skinny', 'thin', 'jacked' or 'used up' among other body types.

I don't even want to know what constitutes a "used up" body. I get a mental imagine of a salt vampire victim, completely drained of all vital essence. Feeling amorous yet?

"Must earn at least 100k/year, no short men, no games..."

'While it will probably be common knowledge to many internet dating aficionados, OkCupid’s premium search options are eyebrow-raising in an era of tolerance and political correctness,' writes journalist James Cook, who spotted the function.

In an era where we've declared war on reality, it's deeply troubling. The "used up" shaming has to stop.

It's fun to imagine that this James Cook is the direct descendant of Captain Cook. "Yeah, my famous ancestor explored much of the Pacific Ocean and discovered Hawaii and Australia, but I found a moderately offensive option on some web site. I feel we're about even in terms of accomplishments."

You can select people in a drop-down menu who have body types such as 'thin', 'skinny', 'overweight and 'curvy'.

So really you could just as easily use this option to eliminate thin people under the rationale that "only dogs dig on bones" but I guess that isn't shocking enough for a headline.

An anonymous OkCupid user added: 'I've been using OkCupid for just over a year now, and it's pretty disconcerting to think men have the ability to filter me out by my body type.

You know, just like they do in real life.

Seriously though, why is it disconcerting? Because a man you have nothing in common with won't bother you? I don't get this.

'However, the function is still placing a lot of trust in people's accurate description of themselves. I myself have been lucky that every guy I've met from the site has looked their pictures, but others I know have had some horrible surprises when they meet in person.

See, there's good shallow and bad shallow. Drop-down menus = bad. Seeing a picture and saying "pass" = good. This is so confusing. Apparently as long as you discriminate by hand and waste tons of time doing it that could be eliminated with, say, a drop-down menu, you're still a good person.

'Equally the search for "only five star" rated people will not always yield supermodel results, as people, or at least myself, occasionally rate people on the quality of their profile and how they answer the site's questions, rather than purely their aesthetics.

Stop doing that, you're wrecking it! I want my Super Model!

'Ultimately, what freaks me out the most is the kind of person that would pay to exercise that degree of control over their results. To me, that suggests that the weird and wonderful world of online dating might not be for you.'

I'm like, freaking out! What kind of monster would pay a small fee to increase the still extremely long odds of getting what they want? If you have a problem with bodies that suggest Picasso masterpieces more than the ideal human form online dating might not be for you, I guess.

Rowan Pelling added: 'OkCupid is clearly the Abercrombie & Fitch of dating sites, allowing curvy types to be screened out of supposed A-List members searches.

"And we all hate them, right? Right? Hey, come back here, I demand my outrage be validated!"

"All I can say is that you're pretty dumb and Z-list if you allow screening so prejudiced that some brainless body-fascist..."

"I can't believe some dumb jock who probably can't read and is morally wicked would have prejudices!"

I guess this is a perfect example of be careful what you wish for: do you really want to spend the rest of your life with an exercise bore who exists on seaweed smoothies?'

The grapes were probably sour anyway.

Full Story.

Komment Korner

Newsflash, people lie on their dating profiles!

Well let's just say the people superficial enough to use this feature might find themselves taking a longer time to find love.

I have been using OKCUPID.COM for many years.

Should I then be compelled to waste my time dealing with them on some dating website, because some self-righteous liberal prig thinks this is "unfair" or "offensive?" Sanity has gone out the window. Political correctness is a disease, a plague intended to silence opposition and oppress individual rights.

So, can fat and ugly people pay for this feature

Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.