Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Spontaneous Human Combustion Rocks USU Salt Lake Center

MURRAY—Citizens across the globe are still in shock today after yesterday’s news that beloved son, brother, cousin and legal counsel Joshua met with the infinite.

Joshua Twentysomething was working at his office job at the Utah State University Salt Lake Center when, according to advisor Steve Geyer, “he just kind of went, poof!”

Circumstances surrounding his death are still in question. Geyer’s official testimony indicates that while showing him photos recently shot on a hike up Waterfall Canyon in Ogden, he simply slipped off into thin air. However, due to an expanding list of mortal enemies and a laundry list of well-known substance addictions, rumors of foul play have not been summarily dismissed.

“Sure, Josh had enemies,” said friend and colleague Lloyd Frandsen, “but you’re not really living if you’re not stepping on toes.”

Other co-workers were less inclined to provide information.

“Did he work here?” asked Sandy Miller, another USU advisor. “Oh, he was that guy across the room that’s always on the Internet! Sure, someone might have killed him.”

Josh was only 10 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by his parents, Alan and Karen, his sister Katie, and numerous other family and friends. He is preceded in death by his two brothers, Joshua Adolescent and Joshua Teenage, both of whom expired at the young age of ten.

“Josh was a great brother,” says sister Katie, “but he had an almost inhuman addiction to Red Iguana salsa. I’ll bet that stuff just ate him from the inside. I lost a whole quarter in that stuff once.”

Joshua was born in Octoberth, in Freeport, Illinois. At the time of his death, he was employed as an adjunct instructor for Utah State University. Joshua loved to write, and made regular postings to his blog, The Wounded Mosquito, which managed to develop a loyal cult following some have estimated at five members.

During his short ten years, Josh managed to earn two college degrees and accumulate four and a half years of college teaching experience. He also won a recent salsa contest.

“The only thing I want to know is how we’re going to divide up his Jazz tickets,” said night manager Troy Shoop. “That jerk got Cleveland in our office draft. I want my Bron-Bron time! I want to be a witness!”

A viewing has been scheduled for this weekend at the Red Iguana on South Temple and 8th West in Salt Lake City between 6-10pm. In lieu of a body, guests will be invited to pay their respects to a life-sized stuffed dummy named Patsy that Joshua left in his parent’s shed several years ago. Chips and salsa will be complimentary.

On a brighter note, the family also reported the birth of the newest member of the family, Joshua Thirtysomething, a bright young boy weighing 175 lbs, 4 oz.

“We’re going to miss our son a lot,” said Karen, matriarch of the family. “But you know, he left a lot of crap in our basement that he never bothered to clean up. Maybe this new kid won’t be such a pack rat.”

Star Trek meets Monty Python


When I saw this my jaw dropped. Unbelievable. Whoever is responsible for this is a genius.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hey, thanks for coming down to see us today...

Last week I was informed that I would be on a committee to review applicants for a new position at the office. Just in case, I thought I should write up a few interview questions:

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  2. Where do you see me in five years?
  3. What am I thinking?
  4. Are you a sock-sock-shoe-shoe guy, or a sock-shoe-sock-shoe guy?
  5. Have you ever peed with no hands?
  6. If I asked you to perform the same task twice in the same day, would you tell me? How about if I asked you five times? How about if I asked you five times?
  7. Tell me your life story in thirty seconds. Ready, go!
  8. If I got in a fist-fight with another employee at our monthly staff meeting, would you try to break it up, or would you have my back?
  9. I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Have you ever dressed up in women’s clothing?
  10. How do you feel when I pour this fish-chum in your lap?
  11. Do you now, or have you ever owned an album by Neil Diamond?
  12. What is the best solution to the immigration problem?
  13. Did Saddam have weapons of mass-destruction?
  14. A student runs into your office on fire. Do you try to help them, or do you page the TA’s, since they are responsible for classroom management?
  15. How do you feel about inter-office dating? Do you find me attractive?
  16. Suppose you get a call every day for three weeks asking for a person that doesn’t work in our office. Suppose you tell them every time they call that that person doesn’t work here, and they need to take our phone number off their list. At what point do you stop being polite, and when you cross that line, do you A) Just hang up on them, B) Swear at them, C) Pretend to be the person they are looking for?
  17. Suppose a center regular tries to establish an unofficial residence at an available desk in your office, and proceeds to kick back and make calls and do random tasks even though you have no professional connection to them whatsoever. What do you say when they try to get you to take messages for them?
  18. Is it ethical to spend more than ten minutes trying to roll a stress ball down a hallway, through the student break room, across another hallway, and into the office of your staff accountant in one throw?
  19. When the plant lady comes in to water our foliage and she asks you for the master key so she can get into the director’s office, do you wait by his door until she finishes or do you let her do her thing unsupervised, cause no one would want to steal a bunch of books about business theory anyway?
  20. You are going to lunch with the student advisor, the night manager, and the director. The student advisor is driving, so do you give the director shotgun? Even if the night manager has been sending you e-mails threatening to stick you with a letter opener if you don’t stay at least ten feet away from him at all times?
  21. One of your coworkers is a test-tube baby, and thus has no true birthday. How do you choose to celebrate around the office?
  22. You suspect that one of your co-workers is lighting doobies on his smoke breaks, but you also notice that your supervisor seems to be a big fan of Bob Marley. How do you address the issue?
  23. One of the TA’s confesses that they are a secret plant from the University of Utah sent to research and sabotage the Alternative Route to Licensure Program. Do you blow the whistle, or use the info to blackmail the spy into getting you season tickets to U of U athletic events?
  24. The copy machine has been making a suspicious ticking noise for the past ten minutes, but you don’t know if you’re just suffering the after-effects of the rock festival you called in sick to attend yesterday. Do you call attention to the noise, and potentially save the center from certain terrorist annihilation, or do you keep your mouth shut and make a mental note to bring earplugs to next year’s festival?
  25. Six months from now, while using the restroom, you overhear a conversation that informs you that you are in stiff head-to-head competition with one other co-worker for a major promotion. Twenty minutes later, that same co-worker calls you from a vacant lot in Springville, Utah, incoherent and asking you to cover for them until they can find their clothes and make it in to the office. What do you do?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Time to get the "Eye of the Tiger"!


The time has come to repair our nation’s image at home and abroad. For too long we have slaved under the unjust weight of critical oppression, but at last we have a solution: we change our National Anthem to Survivor’s immortal classic, “Eye of the Tiger”.

Who better to turn to than Sylvester Stallone when we need to repair our national image? Who better to trust with the pulse of America than the man who single-handedly won the support of millions of Americans with “Rocky III”, “Rocky IV”, and “Over the Top”? “Eye of the Tiger” was the greatest of all the great Rocky songs, and will be the key to restoring America’s place atop international approval polls.

So-called “purists” may call this idea heretical, but do we really want to listen to those that would have us roll around in wagons and burn witches? How can we hold our heads high on the world stage when we sing a national anthem written by a guy named Francis? Our insistence on using the Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events has given us Roseanne Barr and Carl Lewis. This cannot continue.

“Eye of the Tiger” is a superior rock anthem because it features more electric guitars and drums. All of my friends think “Eye of the Tiger” is a much more inspirational song, and I have no doubt most Americans feel the same way. Remember, it was only after “Eye of the Tiger” that Communism was defeated in Eastern Europe!

We should also heed the example of another American hero: David Hasselhoff. Europeans will never embrace us until we go with what we know, and what we know is that David Hasselhoff can move Germans in a way Francis Scott Key never will. He already moved the world with “Baywatch”. Now tell me: who is more likely to do a cover of “Eye of the Tiger” for the European market, Francis or the Hoff? Clinging to stodgy tradition is clearly not the way to go in this case. We must embrace the juggernaut that is our popular culture, and satisfy the needs of our people. You can’t tell me that if “Eye of the Tiger” went up against “The Star-Spangled Banner” on “American Idol” that “Tiger” wouldn’t wipe the floor with the Banner. Plus it would fit with today’s all-important retro trend.

If we don’t make this adjustment, the world will continue to hate us and view us as a sad relic of the past, just like Al Davis. Kim Jung Il will have no choice but to blow us away with that nuke of his, and by the time that happens, we will be caught with our knickers down because we will be bopping around in our powdered wigs trying to get the blacksmith to fix all our wood-burning stoves.

You still may be hesitant to leave behind such an American icon as our out-dated anthem. Well let me tell you about the time the lead singer of Survivor saved my life. One time last year I was walking down the street listening to “Eye of the Tiger” on my iPod, and while I was in the middle of my air-guitar solo, I almost stepped in front of an ice cream truck. But this guy reached out at the last second and tapped me on the shoulder before I stepped off the curb. The guy was the lead singer from Survivor! I could tell because he had on a Survivor T-Shirt from their world tour in Africa. He was just pushing a shopping cart around picking up garbage, doing his patriotic duty to keep America clean. And when he turned around, I saw that his jeans had big holes in the butt, so you could see this huge tattoo of the American flag on his cheeks. I ask you, who else but a true patriot would tattoo Old Glory on his buttocks? Complete with all fifty stars and thirteen stripes, eh?

If we want America to survive, we have to go with Survivor.

Monday, October 16, 2006

An Open Letter to my Ex-Credit Card Company

Dear DMBA,

I am writing this letter to formally request that you terminate account # XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX. I have met another credit card company that is much better at meeting my needs, and no longer need your services.

I do not wish to be rude, but after nearly twelve years together, I feel I should explain my reasons for terminating our relationship. In fact, it is the longevity of our relationship that makes some of your recent policies so frustrating to me.

Here, then, is a list of the reasons I have left you. I list them not to be vindictive, but in the hope that such feedback will help you to better adapt your services for your future relationships.

  1. I find it irritating that after twelve years of loyal service, I have found my interest rate steadily rising, not falling, over the last six months. While I may have a variable-rate policy, my credit record with your company should more than allow for some sort of benefit.
  2. I find it even more irritating that you insist on charging me $15 every time I try to make a payment by phone in order to come in under my deadline. Every other company I do business with allows these kinds of services at no charge.
  3. On the few occasions I have had to make a late payment (never more than a week, mind you), I have been served with a $40 late charge. There has never been a grace period, and $40 is usually more than the minimum payment on my balance.
  4. Speaking of my balance, it seems strange to me that my interest rate would continue to rise when my balance remains such a small fraction of my limit. Now, I do appreciate having a generous limit—enough to pick up a BMW if I were a more frivolous spender—but wouldn’t that in turn suggest that I have been a reliable customer, deserving of a lower rate?
  5. It also disturbs me to find that while my interest rate continues to climb, my bill due date continues to move earlier and earlier in the month. With all of my monthly bills and obligations, it would be nice to rely on the same date each month, thereby ensuring that I get my bill mailed to you on time. But when you factor in your heavy fine toll, this circumstance makes it look as if you are deliberately trying to increase your revenue through late fees.
  6. This is a small complaint, but nevertheless one you should heed: I have come to expect a number of throw-away ads to be enclosed with my bill, but the perforated ad slips that are attached to the return envelope DRIVE ME CRAZY. Please do your customers a favor and discontinue them. If they want to redeem the coupon and get their free clock radio/throw pillow/commemorative Iwo Jima dinner plate, they will mail in the other slip stuck in the envelope.

While transferring my account to my new company, I paid off my balance to MBNA in slight excess in order to compensate for finance charges, and I should have a small credit on my account of about eighteen dollars. I assume you will send me a check for this balance along with my notice of account termination.

Again, I hope this letter proves useful to your customer service department in altering your future policies. For the most part, my time with DMBA was very workable, but the culmination of policies like those listed above leave me no choice but to find greener pastures. Please do not try to get me to re-commit to future membership; I’ve found that in these situations, it’s better to give the other party plenty of space.

Best,

Josh

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Official Wounded Mosquito NBA Preview

Your source for second-rate hearsay journalism…

Atlanta Hawks: Does anyone know who owns these guys now? Do they even have any players? Do you think Michael Vick’s little brother could get a tryout at the point as a personal favor?
Prediction: At halftime of their March 3rd head-to-head matchup with the Knicks, Isiah Thomas trades Renaldo Balkman and 15 million dollars to the Hawks for twelve boxes of smores-flavored granola bars and a weekend stay at a day spa in some town in Mississippi.

Boston Celtics: Is Red Auerbach still alive? Is Robert Parrish still available? Are there really twelve jersey numbers that haven’t been retired by this team?
Prediction: The Patriots go in the tank cause they don’t have Vinatieri to bail out their butts with cheap field goals.

Chicago Bulls: Dennis Rodman insulted my people, and Michael Jordan stole two NBA titles from the Jazz by telepathically causing Karl Malone to miss his free throws and then pushing off of Byron Russell the next season. Karma is real: just ask the Zen Master.
Prediction: Ben Wallace dies in a tragic plane crash with John Mayer and The Big Bopper.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Current marketing campaign for LeBron: the “I am a witness” thing. Yeah, I was a witness. I witnessed The Drive, I witnessed The Fumble, and I witnessed Art Modell steal one of sport’s most beloved franchises and win a Super Bowl with it under the guidance of a guy who may or may not have stabbed two people to death that same weekend.
Prediction: 2nd Round, with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss after a shot by a fellow who in the right light looks just like Michael Jordan.

Charlotte Bobcats: How many bobcats are there in Charlotte? Does any NBA mascot/logo make any sense anymore? Oh well, I think Charlotte has a really good rebounder. Oh, wait...that’s Orlando. Charlotte drafted the other guy.
Prediction: Team leaves Charlotte at end of season…again.

Dallas Mavericks: My old roommate looks just like Dirk.
Prediction: Mark Cuban is abducted by aliens, and somehow profits 2.3 billion dollars off the experience.

David Hasselhoff: The days of “Baywatch” fame are long gone, but Hasselhoff is still a solid perimeter player with serious upside. Plus he may have the potential to become Dirk’s toughest defender.
Prediction: The guy became an icon hanging out with a talking car, entertaining Germans, and building the greatest international TV hit of all time by splicing together shots of lifeguards running on the beach in slow-motion. How could we possibly know what is going to happen next?

Denver Nuggets: I really, really, really hate those baby blue uniforms. I really, really, really hate the fact that Andre Miller blew us off three years ago and signed with these guys instead of the Jazz. And I really, really, really refuse to say anything good about a team that plays in the same town as the Broncos.
Prediction: John Elway roasts in the fires of Hell.

Detroit Pistons: These guys were great, and then they lost the guy with the killer ‘fro. Sounds like the folks are gonna have to listen to their Smokey Robinson records this winter if they want to stay warm.
Prediction: 0-82, good for fifth place in the Eastern Conference Standings.

Golden State Warriors: Back in 1988, I braced myself for the first ever run to the finals by my beloved Jazz. Then they got swept by Don Nelson’s Warriors in the first round. In spite of this, I find Nellie to be an oddly appealing figure, almost Santa-like.
Prediction: Nah, screw him—Warriors won’t break .500.

Harlem Globetrotters: The outlook is pensive after some marginal free agent signings and a weak draft, but the Globetrotters should still manage to put together a decent season, since they play the Washington Generals 75 times.
Prediction: One appearance on “The Simpsons”, two on “Oprah”, and their own reality television show on FOX as a mid-season replacement.

Houston Rockettes: If Tracy McGrady can coax some more wins out of the Rockets, he might avoid becoming the Dominique Wilkins of his generation. If Jeff Van Gundy grows a moustache and picks up a nice new toupee, he might stand a chance at becoming the Gomez Addams of his.
Prediction: Yao Ming grows five inches, and his scoring average dips to 11.3 points per game.

Indiana Pacers:
Larry Bird can rest assured that Stephen Jackson is committed to doing his darnedest to fill the Ron Artest void.
Prediction: Bird brings back the nasty moustache and curly mullet-thing by mid-season, thus erasing that meddling Adam Morrisson from existence completely.

Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe just changed his jersey number from 8 to 24 so he can show people he’s on his game 24 hours a day. Or maybe that’s his commercials.
Prediction: You hate Mamba because he’s arrogant. You hate Mamba because he’s rich. You hate Mamba because he has hundreds of fans that live in your home state and come to your home facility and cheer for the opposing team in pansy yellow jerseys.

Memphis Grizzlies: Kirilenko may have gotten the pimp daddy press last year thanks to his wife, but Pau Gasol’s got the swingin’ beard to put him on top of the “foreign dude” list this season.
Prediction: Grizzlies go in the tank after Kirilenko brings back the Mohawk.

Miami Heat: In spite of winning his fourth ring, no one really believes Shaq’s crew was the best team in the league last year. That might have made Shaq mad back in the day, but this year he’ll probably blow it off and buy a private island somewhere in the Manhattan area.
Prediction: 2nd round loss to someone that isn’t as good as Wade.

Milwaukee Bucks: I went to the University of Utah, but even I had trouble putting the name Bogut up there with Kareem, Wilt, and Russell. My vote is they try to get that sausage race thing going at halftime.
Prediction: -75 with the wind chill, flurries but no real snow.

Minnesota Timberwolves: It’s just wrong for Kevin McHale to be heavily involved in a team other than the Celtics, just like it’s wrong that Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid ever split up. Kevin Garnett suffers from both of these trials on a daily basis.
Prediction: With his children on the brink of starvation, Latrell Sprewell returns to Minnesota in time to boost them to a 24-58 record.

New Jersey Nets: I read this article that said New Jersey had one of the highest average salaries in the United States. All the more reason for Toronto to send assassins for Vince Carter’s head.
Prediction: .500 season until All-Star break, when Jason Kidd decides to go Jim Brown and pursue an acting career.

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Saints: Sorry folks, but Reggie Bush doesn’t play basketball.
Prediction: Chris Paul makes the All-Star team, the rest of the team leaves in the first round.

New York Knicks: As unbelievable a ride as it’s been, kids, it’s just about to get even better. The Knicks still have Marbury and Francis in the same backcourt, and Isiah just took over as Head Coach.
Prediction: On a cold night in February, the cast of “Spamalot” takes the court in place of the team, and no one notices.

Orlando Magic: People used to think JJ Redick was just another jerk from Duke. But now with a DUI on his rap sheet, he’s got the street cred he needs to be a leader in the NBA.
Prediction: Florida is sold back to the Spanish in November, and Dwight Howard averages 56 rebounds a game in the European leagues.

Philadelphia Sixers: It must be interesting to be Allen Iverson these days. You’ve spent your entire career being the feisty, short underdog punk for one team, and after they spend the summer trying to trade you, you’re back with them for another season.
Prediction: Iverson averages 79 points and 133 attempts per game, Philly goes 15-67.

Phoenix Suns: See Detroit Pistons. You lose iconic hair, you go down the tubes.
Prediction: 38-44, and Arizona residents continue to use rocks for their front lawns.

Portland Trailblazers: Years ago these guys were the overpaid bad boys of the NBA. Years before that they had the classiest non-bad boy backcourt in the league. Years before that, Lewis and Clark hit the Pacific, and had nowhere else to go.
Prediction: 20-life with a possibility of parole.

Sacramento Kings: Last year he went AWOL to promote a rap album and shaved his recording label into his head. The year before that he led the greatest sports riot of all time, unless you count every weekend in Oakland between September and December. All I know is that Ron Artest aims to please.
Prediction: By early December, Artest shows up at midcourt naked brandishing a pair of M-16’s while the stadium PA plays “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.

San Antonio Spurs: As impartial as he seems to be, one would expect Tim Duncan to have walked away from the sport Barry Sanders-like already, not to pursue an acting career, not to pursue a baseball career, just to pretty much do nothing. But he’s still around.
Prediction: Tony Parker hooks up with Jessica Alba in early January, propelling the Spurs to an 80-2 record, and a nation holds its breath in anticipation of another boring finals.

Seattle Supersonics: There’s no ingredient for winning quite like playing out your last games before leaving town in front of an apathetic, coffee-chugging crowd that’s still bent that the grunge era is over.
Prediction: 20-62, and the Mariners lose another future All-Star

Toronto Raptors: Once I went to the Canadian side of Niagra Falls and ate at the Hard Rock CafĂ©. I was confused about whether to tip in Canadian dollars or American dollars, but when I asked about it, my waitress was offended. If that’s the kind of service you get in Canada, how good can their basketball teams be?
Prediction: Eastern Conference Finals, based entirely on Charlie Villenueva’s continuing rage after his draft day humiliation.

Utah Jazz: I spent $168 to go in with two co-workers for season tickets at the Delta Center up in the cheap seats this year. So Larry, your boys had better produce. And I’d better start finding some dates.
Prediction: Back in the playoffs for the first time in four years, then probably swept by Don Nelson’s fantasy team.

Washington Bullets: I was just in DC last weekend, and they’ve still got signs around town that give you directions to the MCI Center, even though it’s been renamed the Verizon Center. Can you hear me now?
Prediction: Republicans take a hit in November, but Demo’s fail to take charge because none of the new representatives can figure out how to get in from Dulles.

And finally…

Los Angeles Clippers: Sam Cassell is the corollary to the Pistons/Suns hair woes of 2007: preserving your shaved head by consequence preserves your alien-like mystique, and that little dance you do, while considered borderline obscene by most communities, seems to work for Billy Crystal.

Prediction: The secret love child of Kurt Rambis and Hulk Hogan leads the Clippers to the 2007 NBA title.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An Open Letter to Casting Directors Everywhere...

Dear (insert name of casting director),

I am pleased to introduce the newest addition to my impressive stable of actor/models:The Professor. He is a spectacular new prospect that is eager to bring a wealth of talent to your projects and a wealth of profits to your pockets.

You have undoubtedly already seen Josh in the critically-acclaimed “Church Ball”, which was recently released on DVD. Josh joined an all-star cast that featured Gary Coleman, Fred Willard, Ron Howard’s brother, and that guy with the moustache from the Wes Anderson movies that is related to Owen Wilson.

This riveting film deconstructs the enigma of church recreation league basketball. Josh is himself a longtime church basketball veteran, and his real-life experience is more than evident in his on-screen work.

Here are just two examples:

Exhibit A takes place early in the third act of the film. Here we see Josh in the lower-right corner of the frame, enthusiastically applauding the arrival of the home team. See the emotion he resonates through a triumphant upraised arm, signaling victory to his beloved squad!


Exhibit B comes a bit later on, after the Mud Lake squad takes the title. This time Josh demonstrates his versatility by appearing in the left side of the frame, joyously congratulating co-star Fred Willard, who is obscured by upraised hands. (Fred’s endorsement quote was unavailable at press time).

Aside from his film work, Josh is also a veteran of the stage. In 1994 he was named Actor of the Year for Viewmont High School. Josh is a meticulous artist and craftsman. He once wrote a 168-page screenplay about Kung Fu and brine shrimp, and his short film entry to the 2003 USU 5th Stake Road Show won “Best Acting”. Now is clearly the time to jump on this talent.

From the enclosed still frames you will notice that Josh is bald. But don’t let that fool you. Josh has made it quite clear to me that he has no intention of settling into mere character roles. In truth, he has received multiple compliments on the shape of his head, which could be described as “globe-like”. He boasts spectacular eyelashes and lips, and is eager to try his hand at romantic leads. He is most excited to work with Jessica Alba and the girl that plays Kate from “Lost”, but is also willing to work with Halle Berry. He has also suggested several of the Utah Jazz Dancers as up-and-coming talents.

I anticipate he will get very busy very fast after his recent star-making turn, so the sooner you call me the better. The time to cast Josh is now. In fact, it might be smart to have a couple of movies in mind instead of just one, cause I’m sure he’ll want to go after the more lucrative offers. A list of his favorite foods and preferred amenities is attached.

Thank you,

Mike Dubek
Dubek Models and Talent

PS: My office line will be disconnected until Friday between 8am and 3pm.

In honor of YouTube's 1.6 billion score: two brilliant segments...

This little segment is from overseas...

This one is also from overseas...those guys is pretty funny.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Would you like to Super-Size that monitor?

Say what you want about “Godfather III”, Coppolla got one thing right: that moment when Michael Corleone realizes that in spite of all his efforts to legitimize the family business, only to find out that his ties to the mafia will never be severed. Michael clenches his fists and exclaims in vintage Pacino gusto, “every time I think I’m out, they PULL ME BACK IN.”

This is how I feel every time I try to make a purchase in the world of technology. Whether I’m shopping online, standing in CompUSA, or staring out over a brilliant sunset while weighing the value of the Canon S3 IS SuperZoom Digital Camera, I always have this little voice in my head, repeating the same phrase over and over:

“Can I value size that for you?”

Buying anything these days is just a variation on the world of fast food. You can never feel comfortable with what you want to buy, because you always know that if you can just eke out a little more cash, you can score a much better value. It’s the same with cars, cameras, and hamburgers.

It’s worst with computers. Buying a computer is like being a fair weather Cubs fan: you can never pick the right season to get on the bandwagon. You’re not even sure there will be a right season.

Somehow I’ve managed to use the same Mac desktop for the last six and a half years. If the dog-year-to-people-year ratio is seven to one, the computer-year-to-people-year ratio is seventy to one. That makes my G4 about 500 years old.

So now I’m looking for a new model to satisfy my insatiable techno-geek needs. This time around I need a DVD burner, some video editing software, more hard drive space, and enough expansion capacity to assure me the thing won’t be obsolete before I get out of the parking lot. I’ve at least got to make it to my own driveway.

Pretty much anything I buy new today is going to be a tremendous boost over what I’m currently running, so you’d think my decision would be easy. However, the usual questions still seem to crop up: is it expandable? Do I need the extended warranty? What if I decide to run two monitors? What if aliens land and threaten my life if I can’t provide them a DIMM card with at least 512MB of RAM?

One of my biggest hold-ups was price. Even if I could afford to throw $1500 at a new computer, I didn’t like the idea of doing it. I may not be dating Kate from “Lost” now, but what if I had to buy her an engagement ring? One big advantage this time around is that instead of using a school loan, I’ll be slapping down hard cash for this chunk of hardware. I just didn’t want the cash to outweigh the chunk.

For a while I thought I had my winner: the 1.83 Intel Duo Mac Mini, checking in around $850 with the requisite RAM upgrade. Sucker is barely bigger than the Sony Car Discman I had as a junior in high school, the technological fossil equivalent of a Stegosaurus these days. It’s just the entry-level Mac, but even with such small size, the Mini looked like the winner.

Then payday arrived, and I was faced with the reality of buying a computer with built-in limitations. A geek-crisis followed, and now I’m thinking of buying a refurbished 20-inch iMac with a lot more hard drive space, speed, and a pretty flat screen monitor for $1200 instead. It sounds kind of backwards, but I feel a lot more comfortable spending $1200 on the iMac than $900 on the Mini. It’s kind of like spending $90 on basketball shoes you know are going to be solid instead of $35 on shoes you never liked in the first place.

I made that purchase last February.

Of course, the iMac isn’t nearly as upgradable as the Mac flagship, the MacPro tower, even though the tower costs twice as much. Still, it’s reasonable to consider that down the road the tower will still prove useful even if the iMac is getting ready for the Centerville DI shelf. So maybe throwing an extra grand or two at the MacPro is really the smart way to go. But then again, the tower doesn’t come with a monitor, so I’d have to spend at least $700 to get a 20-inch flat screen. Even though they just lowered the price of the 30-inch cinema display to $2000…

Looks like Kate is gonna have to wait for that ring.

Every time I think I’m out…