Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tom Banerjek will not use the restroom at work for #2

Everyone who works at The Agency has his or her own personal quirks. Stan Manley is highly anxious in nearly every conceivable social or interactive situation. Bambi St. James basically seems annoyed and/or irritable even when she’s actually trying to be nice, which isn’t very often. Monica Salters will only drink coffee from purple mugs. Vicki Furlong does, in fact, lack even the most basic levels of social grace and tact—she is, for all intents and purposes, blunt to a fault. Zooey Feeney is incredibly nice to everyone she works with—including Travis McEvoy—which her coworkers hypothesize stems from a strong desire to never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings or rock the boat or create any kind of social dissonance whatsoever. Travis McEvoy mysteriously can’t pronounce Darrell’s Sweeney’s first name properly; instead, he sort of monosyllablizes it as “Drrl,” which everyone who isn’t Darrell actually finds pretty amusing and says is basically Travis’s one redeeming social quality. Darrell himself always seems to bring leftovers for lunch that makes the office refrigerator smell bad, but always bad in different ways.[1] Rachel Bauman keeps stockpiles of expired, individually wrapped food items in her desk. Kathy Adkins is often inappropriately sweet, syrupy sweet,[2] even in situations where numerous other emotions would be much better suited. Xiang Liu and Dharini Mohapatra literally compete over just about everything imaginable[3] and somehow still manage to stay both friendly and professional w/r/t each other at all times. Todd “Fuzzy” Lomeier unfailingly smells like old hotdog water.

Tom Banerjek steadfastly refuses to evacuate his bowels at work.

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A sort-of-excerpt from “The New Thing”

“Brick and mortar” is perhaps not the best way to describe the actual building that serves as HQ for the Furlong & Company’s[1] offices. The building itself is ostensibly a large aluminum cuboid structure with very only a few windows peppered across its four rectangular sides. The front side, which faces west, is adorned with blue awnings that display the company’s name—FURLONG AND COMPANY—in a white sans serif’d font in all caps, nondescript. The aluminum building’s roof is pancake-flat, which proves problematic to clear after heavy Nebraska snows.

However, the aluminum siding on all four sides, despite being mostly low maintenance, prove to be the building’s most problematic structural feature as it wreaks all kinds of wireless havoc on cellular signals within the building itself, a circumstance most of The Agency’s employees are forced to grapple with on a daily basis. E.g. when someone’s phone rings, coworkers watch on as that person hurriedly makes a bee-line for an exterior wall—preferably one with one of The Agency’s few windows—in hopes of reclaiming a lost bar or two of signal strength, only then to flusteredly inform their caller that the call is cutting out and they’ll (i.e. The Agency employee will) have to call the caller back from an interior office landline, which, while dramatically improving audible conversation quality and ease, can also completely irk a cellular-only client if they are low on minutes for the month. Various avenues have been explored to improve cellular usability within The Agency’s HQ, but the Furlong and Company’s building simply remains a solutionless vortex of cellular unreliability.

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Truly fantastic titles for books and stories

…in my personal opinion, of course.

Titling your work can be really difficult, but from the various approaches the following authors took, it can also be (seemingly, anyway) kind of fun. Here are a few I personally like… a lot!

1) A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace

2) “Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby,” Donald Barthelme

3) Inconceivable Wilson, J. A. Tyler

4) They Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, Robert Boswell

5) The Book of Ten Nights and a Night: Eleven Stories, John Barth

6) The Best American Nonrequired Reading series

7) Songs of the Doomed, Hunter S. Thompson

8 ) The Raw Shark Texts, Steven Hall

9) The Quantity Theory of Insanity, Will Self

10) Civilwarland in Bad Decline, George Saunders

11) Welcome to the Monkey House, Kurt Vonnegut

12) Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever, Justin Taylor

13) The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami

14) Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs

15) Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, David Lipsky

–Note: these were all just off the top of my head. Please feel free to submit titles you particularly like for their irreverence or whatever tickles your own personal fancy!

Two Quotes, with respect to recent international developments

UPDATE: Rather than just remove the post, I thought I’d add an addendum:

Out of Osama’s Death, a Fake Quotation Is Born

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
(- attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr., real author unknown)

(via Kyle Minor, HTML Giant editor): “Happy that bin Laden was caught. Sad that he is not alive to face justice. Conflicted about the idea of public mass celebration of someone’s death. Grieving for the lost lives on 9/11. Grieving, too, for atrocities that followed on either side. Worried about the future, which doesn’t seem more secure, here or abroad. Hoping that human beings can find a way to coexist more peacefully.”

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