Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's all in the name?

I was three days with no Internet last week. It was rough, I'm not gonna lie. I know men have probably overcome more, but few if any have worked harder in relation to their normal productivity output. I spent about fifteen hours trying to diagnose and fix the problem with my router, which is quite possibly the most time I've spent on any one thing ever, by about fourteen hours.

During this ordeal, I became familiar with terms and ideas previously foreign to me. Things like "Ethernet bridging," "MAC cloning" and "reading instruction manuals."

It was largely an exercise in frustration, often verbally disparaging myself because I couldn't figure the thing out. But alas, sometime around 8 o'clock Friday night, everything seemed to be working as normal again. It's a good thing, too, because my fantasy baseball draft was this afternoon.

Ah yes, it's that time of the year again: the smell of freshly cut grass, the crack of the bat, grown men adjusting their cups on national TV. And Bone spending an inordinate amount of time trying to come up with the perfect name for his fantasy baseball team.

With finishes of 4th, 3rd, and 4th by my fantasy team the past three seasons, it occurs to me that I may be better at naming a team than actually drafting and managing a team. For example, last year's team, Rolen On The River, finished a disappointing 4th place. However, during last year's draft, I did receive a couple of compliments on my team name.

But this is a new year. Rolen On The River has been retired to the Bone Hall Of Names. I now hereby do present to you the six finalists for this year's team name. First, we'll look at the five runners-up.

Everybody Loves Ramón - This was one of the first ideas I came up with, but eventually decided it was kinda lame. Besides, I never really liked that show.

Dusty's Spring Field - Admittedly a bit of a reach. Even though baseball technically starts in spring, it's considered more the sport of summer.

Going Going Gomes - Not bad, but kind of obvious.

This Is How Aroldis - I like this one a lot. Plus, I have a Bama shirt that says "This Is How I Roll." Maybe next year.

Edinson's Many Interventions - I really like this one, too. Though it refers to a player who served a 50-game suspension for a banned substance last year, which seems a bit edgy for me. Also, like Between Bill Buckner's Legs a year ago, it exceeds Yahoo's 20-character limit, so it was a no-go anyway.

A quick reminder: Runners-up this year are eligible to be considered again the following season. For while I would like to come up with five creative new names each season, I'm fast running out of Reds players. So your input is welcome.

And now it's time to present this year's winner. After several days of pondering, and having consulted with my email and instant messaging inner circle, I have reached a decision. With a tip of the cap to The Godfather, I give you your 2011 Bone fantasy baseball team name:

Votto Bing!

(pause for applause)

Will this inspire my typically under-achieving team to a first-place finish? Well, if history tells us anything, the answer is no. But if just one of the other nine managers in my league looks with envy at my team name and says to himself, "I wish I'd thought of that," then this will have been a successful season.

"We got a great pitcher, what's his name, well we can't even spell it. We don't worry about the pennant much., we just like to see the boys hit it deep. There's nothing like the view from the cheap seats..."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

...And the pursuit of cotton twill

One of my lifelong pursuits -- I have about eight or nine of them -- is to make the Late Show With David Letterman weekly online top ten contest.

Here's how it works: Each week, they post a new category. Anyone is free to enter. Their "judges" then choose the ten "best" submissions to make the online top ten list. Winners get a free Late Show t-shirt and have their joke published on the website.

For the past two or three years, I have been trying to win this top ten contest. Oh sure, not every week. That type of dedication and persistence would be so unlike me. I probably enter about once every month. OK, every two months. That's not the point, though it probably should be.

In this time, my entries have run the gamut of the comedy hierarchy. Yet they have all had one thing in common: they have all not been selected.

I will admit there have been a couple that seemed side-splittingly hilarious to me at the time, but now -- eh, not so much. For example: "Top Ten Things Dumb Guys Think WikiLeaks Is." Bone's entry: "Another one of them Palin kids."

But there have also been entries whose failure to make the list continue to befuddle me even to this very day, and will until the day I die. To wit: "Top Ten Little Known Facts About Santa Claus." My response: "Doesn't believe in HIMSELF."

Come on! That's gold, Jerry! GOLD!

I was so sure that one would make it that I'd already started shopping for plaid shorts to match the soon-to-be-mine Late Show t-shirt. Are you telling me there were ten better entries than that? "Thinks it's funny to answer misdirected fan mail for Carlos Santana?" Please. That's a horrific insult to comedy itself. I'm beginning to wonder if David Letterman is reading my entries at all.

My latest failed foray into cyber comedy was last week in the category "Signs Your Neighbor Has March Madness." My entry: "Named his kids Bracket and Gumbel." Decent, I thought, only to wake up Saturday morning and find myself disappointed yet again.

All I want is for my first name, last initial, and hometown to appear on the Late Show website beside my joke, my (as I'm sure you will agree by now, well-deserved) Late Show t-shirt, and for Letterman himself to write me a letter saying something to the effect of "you really should have pursued a career in comedy, and it's the world's loss that you didn't." His words, not mine.

Until then, the pursuit continues. Intermittently, of course.

Don't want to get burned out.

"You got your spell on me, baby, turnin' my heart into stone. I need you so bad,
magic woman, I can't leave you alone..."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Carrying a torch

What does Bone's title refer to today? Oh, well, let's see, it could be anything. It could refer to the Olympics. An old flame, maybe. Or perhaps his new blowtorch side business. All are stimulating possibilities. They're also all wrong.

Today's title refers to my latest foray into the world of technology. After three-and-a-half years, two roller balls and three batteries with my previous phone, I decided it was time to make a change. Tuesday morning's sticky roller ball episode was the last straw. So I went to the AT&T store.

I'm proud to announce you're looking at new owner of a Blackberry Torch. Oh sure, they tried to talk me into an iPhone, but I stood my ground. I played with the iPhone some, but I kept misspelling words. And if there's one thing I wouldn't be able to live with, it's that. Can you imagine me sending email after email with misspelled words? Me?!?! I think not.

Besides, as a dear friend of mine said, "You're an old man. You like the qwerty keyboard. You don't like change." To which I replied, "Exactly."

No newfangled touch-screen keyboard for me. I'll stick with my ol' trusty slide-out qwerty, thankyouverymuch. Anyway, I'm not so big on being on the cutting edge of technology. I'm much more comfortable back here in the meaty part of the curve -- not showing off, not lagging behind.

Every single iPhone person I've ever talked to has said something to the affect of, "I love my iPhone. I could never go back to anything else." It's almost like they're all trained to say the same thing. I don't want to be like that. Next thing you know, they'll be like those Harley riders, who only wave at the other Harley riders. Oh, like you're so special because you have a motorcycle, you can't be bothered to wave at the lowly car people. (Just kiddin' bikers... really.)

Without realizing it, we've become a society divided into classes based on our cellular profile. You have the iPhone people, aka the Glitterati, followed by the Blackberryists. I'm not sure what you call us. Stubborn, perhaps. I prefer loyal. Then there are the rebel non-mainstream smartphone people -- Droids, Androids and the like. These are your 21st Century hippies.

Next are the non-smartphone people, the upper middle class of our techno-age caste system, who think a phone should be used for things like, oh I don't know, making a call. They probably think those of us who treat our smartphones as another appendage need to get out of the technology beltway and remember what it's like to, oh I don't know, speak to someone in person. Weird, I know.

The next classification would be people like my Mom, who only recently figured out how to send a text message. If you never learned how to program a VCR, you're likely to find yourself in this class.

Lastly, we have those who don't own a cell phone at all. These Tibetan-monks-of-technology have to rely on someone stopping to help them if their car breaks down, stop for directions if they get lost, and never have to worry about overage charges, texter's thumb, or anyone calling them when they're on vacation.

My friend LJ falls in this class. Although I found out today that he just got a DVR, which has me questioning everything I thought I knew about everything.

Who knows why these phone-Mennonites do what they do. Maybe there are religious reasons. Perhaps they just enjoy depriving themselves of things. Or maybe, just maybe, there is something deeper. Something the rest of us cannot understand.

Ah, but who has time to worry about such things? I have a new phone and I'm kind of addicted to Word Mole already.

My name is Bone, and I carry a Torch. You can reach me by email, text, AIM, Google Talk, Facebook, Blackberry Messenger, and... probably a lot of other ways that I haven't yet and likely never will learn how to use.

Kind of odd for a wannabe-hermit, don't ya think?

"And I'd have given anything to have my own Pac-Man game at home. I used to have to get a ride down to the arcade. Now I've got it on my phone..."

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Not as fun as it sounds

My spring golf and social season has gotten underway. I know what you're thinking -- the toddler birthday party circuit, right?. No, that's the FALL social season. Try and keep up.

I've got a wedding to go to Saturday. This past weekend was the couple's coed shower. Not as fun as it sounds. But as this was my second coed shower, I knew what to expect, thus avoiding the initial disappointment of my first.

My question is, when did this happen? Showers used to be for girls only. Not having to attend them was one of the three main advantages to being a man. Along with cheaper haircuts and standing when we pee.

When did it change? How did guys let this happen? What, did they change it while we were watching sports on TV or napping? Hmm, yeah, that's entirely possible. Likely, even. In fact, now that I think about it, that's probably when all important decisions are made.

There seemed to be a highly disproportionate number of pregnant women at this shower. And as I apparently have a sixth sense about these things, I found myself wedged between a couple of them as I tried to enjoy my plate of snacky shower food. As they discussed due dates and such, I tried to join in the conversation, saying things like "That's the date of my fantasy baseball draft" and "Eww, that's gross." But no one took the bait.

And so I retreated to my carrot sticks and corn chips. As I sat there taking in the scene, it hit me: This is what people do. They get married, they have babies, then they host events to discuss the two. Of course! I don't know why it hadn't hit me before. That's it, I understand life. It was a true epiphanic moment.

Shortly thereafter I heard some talk about shower games, something to do with baby food in a diaper, and decided it was time for us to go.

All non-kidding aside, it wasn't horrible. I've gotta get the recipe for that veggie pizza. And it was kinda nice to take part in a social event and interact with the other humans.

For a little while.

"Doing the garden, digging the weeds. Who could ask for more? Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?"