Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Four Questions is allowed to put Baby in a corner

Q. What is Dave wearing?
A. Dave is wearing a green plaid short-sleeve button-down shirt and a pair of khaki cargo shorts. He is also wearing his Crocs, which were recently inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Squeakiest Footwear.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?
A. Dave feels alert, productive, and upbeat.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?
A. Dave wishes he knew why twice this week he has awoken bright eyed, bushy tailed, eager to hit the grindstone, and full of clichés. He recently stopped taking the prescription drugs Procrastinateitoll and Idlex. Dave doesn't recall why he was prescribed these things in the first place.

Q. Has Dave seen "Dirty Dancing"?
A. Dave has never seen "Dirty Dancing." This means that he knows he should not put Baby in a corner, although he doesn't know why he doesn't do this.

For the first time in his life, Dave now feels inclined to watch "Dirty Dancing." Here are his reasons:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Four Questions calls for an immediate end to anarchy in the UK

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing a burgundy polo shirt and khaki pants. He's also wearing his iPod nano, which has been pulling double duty as a pedometer recently.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is in a cautiously upbeat mood.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Dave is catching up with two of his favorite people, Miss Cherizon and Michael "Stop Your Lies" Fechter, over the next few days. He's also starting graduate school at the end of the month. So he has lots of good things to look forward to.

Q. What did Dave think of the new Smurfs movie?

A. Dave did not smurf the new Smurfs movie. But if Dave had smurfed the Smurfs movie, he would have smurfed up his smurfcorn all over the floor in disgust.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Four Questions have long legs and burgundy lips, and are dancin' down on the Sunset Strip

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing shorts and a dark blue polo shirt, as it's a work-from-home day. Which, of course, means it's a work-from-Starbucks day.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is in an circumspective mood.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Dave's holiday weekend begins tonight, but he has a lot of work to complete -- and a lot of travel to conduct -- before the fun begins. So he's trying to stay focused.

Q. What does Dave want for his birthday?

A. Dave wants world peace. If world peace is not available at this time, Dave would like Tiger Beat magazine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and the Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing a professional-grade dress shirt as he sips on his industrial-grade iced coffee:

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is in an industrious mood.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Dave is very busy at work, and trying to get a lot of things finished before leaving for vacation. He can't tell you what he's working on, though. He's sworn to secrecy.

Q. Has Dave created any interesting tables that summarize right wing hypocrisy recently?

A. In fact, Dave put together the following table yesterday:

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Four Questions doesn't have a problem with focus -- oh, look, kittens!

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave invites you to peer through his computer screen and take a look:

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is in a way-to-go-New-York-and-my-nephew-just-turned-four-and-we're-heading-out-for-a-great-holiday-weekend sort of mood. But he's keeping it all inside. As you can clearly see in the photo.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Are you asking what factors are involved in a way-to-go-New-York-and-my-nephew-just-turned-four-and-we're-heading-out-for-a-great-holiday-weekend mood? It's kind of easy to figure out.

Q. What did Dave think of "Cars 2"?

A. Dave finds it a little disconcerting that the cars, which are both sentient beings and modes of transportation, will rely on other sentient modes of travel to get around. What does it mean when Mater is inside an airplane? Does the airplane feel like it has been violated? And what about trains? Is that the Cars universe equivalent of "The Human Centipede"? None of these important issues were addressed in the G-rated film.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Four Questions are robots in disguise

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Uncle Dave is hanging out with his two nephews. One person is wearing a blue short-sleeve shirt and a pair of tan shorts. Another person is wearing a blue New Zealand Rugby tee shirt and plaid shorts. The third person is wearing an adorable pair of teddy bear jammies, and sucking on a blue pacifier. Can you guess what Dave is wearing? That's right! The pajamas!

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave thinks, therefore he is ... being sued by the Descartes estate.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Dave is getting ready for Ryland's birthday party. There will be cake!

Q. What is Dave buying Ryland for his birthday?

A. Dave got Ryland a cappuccino maker and a drum set. Dave wants to be sure he never has to buy any more presents for his nephews again.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tongue-tied, short of breath, don't even try -- You're not naive, you must be strong for the Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Inspired by the meat dress that Lady GaGa wore to some event last year (was it the MTV Video Music Awards or the Annual Conference of the National Association of Junior Leagues?), David is wearing a three-piece suit made entirely out of pancakes. The outfit is mostly a sartorial success. Dave, however, wishes he had made the underpants out of syrup.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave wishes he were in a subjunctive mood.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Although Dave is a man, lives in an area best known for service and tourism industry, and prefers to avoid conflict or mediate difficult situations, he is very disappointed that no one has yet told him today that he's a "steeltown girl on a Friday night, looking for the fight of her life." He can only assume that this is because it is Thursday.

Q. Why doesn't Dave take things seriously?

A. Dave is taking things seriously.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Here's the Four Questions, over ice, with a shot of espresso, two splenda, and soy milk

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing his striped Rugby World Cup 2012 shirt. He purchased it last year in New Zealand, about a week after the Canterbury earthquake that miraculously killed no one and caused little damage. When he and Britt returned to the US after that trip, they said the aftershocks in Christchurch felt like standing on a boat in choppy water. They described the experience as cool and exciting. They were mortified six months later when one of those aftershocks killed hundreds of people and destroyed homes, businesses, landmarks, and infrastructure. Dave felt guilty that he had spoken so boastfully about the previous earthquake. He felt like who, six months ago, gone on and on about how he had just made sizable donations to a bright, energetic, young political candidate, and now realized that the candidate in question is Idi Amin.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave wants to be in an upbeat mood.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Dave woke up early this morning, and went to Starbucks, as he did yesterday. However, despite the plentiful supply of coffee, Dave doesn't feel fully awake. Dave blames Starbucks for playing the slow folksy coffeehouse music it usually plays at 7 or 8 p.m., instead of something with a bit more uptempo.

Q. What do Dave, Britt, and Douglas Adams have in common this year?

A. Britt and Dave celebrate their third anniversary this year. If you take the digits that make up the date of their anniversary, and multiply the positive integers, you get 42.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. Four Questions time, qradruply so.

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is sashaying down the runway in a French blue long-sleeve wrinkle-resistant classic Oxford cloth shirt with a button-down collar from L.L. Bean. This versatile dress shirt is also available in white, conventional blue, pink, and a shade of orange that L.L. Bean calls "sun." It sells for $34.50. Like generations of Simanoffs before him, Dave refuses to fasten the secondary, useless, auxiliary cuff buttons. They are stupid buttons and, anyway, people will enjoy a flash of Dave's sexy forearm skin. Completing Dave's ensemble: chinos, a brown belt, brown shoes, and a vintage 2008 security badge and work ID on a retractable belt clip.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is in an upbeat mood.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Dave woke up early this morning, and instead of staying in bed, he decided to come to Starbucks to get a jump on today's work. He feels vital and productive. Also, Dave is about one-fourth of the way through a venti iced Red Eye at Starbucks, which may be making him a bit more hummingbird-esque than usual.

Q. What is Dave reading?

A. Dave has started reading "Heart of Darkness." He vaguely recalls reading the Cliff's Notes in high school. Dave has just completed the first of the three sections. He thinks this Kurtz fellow sounds great. He can't wait to meet him.

Friday, March 04, 2011

On seeing Derek Jeter at Starbucks, and thinking about Michael

Cross-posted on the Mike Simanoff Memorial Blog

Derek Jeter hangs out at my Starbucks.

It's not my Starbucks, of course. I don't own it. Derek Jeter probably thinks of it as his Starbucks too. But, just like me, he lives nearby and comes here from time to time. As he's the shortstop for the New York Yankees, and I am not, it is safe to assume that he lives in a bigger house in a better neighborhood than I do. But Starbucks is the great social equalizer of our time. Rich and poor, professional athlete and couch potato, Mac users and PC users — we all congregate at Starbucks.

This isn't a blog post about Starbucks, though. It's a blog post about Jeter and my brother, Michael, who died in 2006.

Michael liked many things. High on the list were the New York Yankees and fantasy baseball. He was known for his prowess with baseball statistics, and even maintained his own website discussing the finer points of analytics. What some people did with fastballs, Michael could do with Excel sheets.

Time has a way of stealing your memories. This doesn't happen violently: time is not a mugger, and you can't fight back against it. One day, something happens and you are shocked to realize that you've forgotten about some of the things — characteristics, events, times — pertaining to the people you love.

Seeing Jeter made me think about how much Michael loved baseball. It reminded me that Michael loved the numbers behind baseball, and that he would build new teams and play entire seasons using nothing but existing information.

Before I knew it, I was standing in front of Jeter. Here's what I think I said:

"I hate to bother you, as I know people must come up to you all the time and pester you. I just wanted to tell you my brother was a huge Yankees fan, and if he were here right now, he'd be staring at you but too shy to say hello. My brother was also a huge fantasy baseball fan. What you did made him very happy. When I saw you, it made me think about him when he was happy. So, thank you."

This probably came out as:

"Awww, gee, mister baseball guy. Hi. Ramble, ramble, ramble. Bye now."

Jeter was very gracious, and said thanks. And since this encounter, he hasn't filed any kind of legal document requiring me to stay a prescribed distance away from him, so I probably didn't say anything too awkward or stupid.

I'm grateful for the experience — not because I said hi to Jeter, but because it brought back memories of Michael.

Schmuck of the day

Stopping at Starbucks to do a little writing before work, I encountered this car in the parking lot:

If you look and listen carefully, you'll notice the dogs trapped inside the car. The alarm would shut off after 15 seconds or so, and then the dogs jumping and barking inside the car would activate it again.

After I took this video, I turned around and walked toward Starbucks. Before I got in the door, I was asked, "Why'd you take a picture of my car for?" It was the owner, of course.

I wanted to say: "Because you're a schmuck who's inconsiderate to animals and humans. You've locked your dogs without any fresh air, and you're subjecting everyone around here to the melodious sound of your car alarm."

Instead, in my most aw-shucks-I-watch-arena-football-and-monster-truck-rallies accent, I said "the dogs kept setting off the alarm. It was funny."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Christchurch earthquake – where is the PwC office?

Britt and I went to New Zealand in September. I took photos of every PwC office building I saw1 — even posing, in true geek fashion, in front of the Dunedin office, as it's the southernmost PwC outpost in the world.2

On Friday, I sent the following message to my colleagues at work. The subject was "Christchurch earthquake – where is the PwC office?"

I'm sure everyone has seen the devastating pictures coming out of Christchurch by now. Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand's South Island, and the PwC is one of the tallest buildings in the middle of the central business district. If you're standing in Cathedral Square and Christchurch Cathedral is directly in front of you, the office is a few blocks to your left.

When I took this photo a few months ago, I deliberately stood back so that I could get the PwC logo in the shot. The large sculpture, called Chalice, is in the foreground. The prominent building is Christchurch Cathedral. And the tallest building in the background is the PwC office. The old fashioned logo, with the intertwined P, W, and C, is in the black rectangle on the top. It's hard to make out, but it's there. To take this photo, I had to squish up against the door of a Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks is everywhere.

I've used my incredible Microsoft Paint skills indicate the building in the picture below. I've also circled the portion of Christchurch Cathedral that has collapsed. According to the last report I read, there are still people inside the cathedral that rescue crews cannot reach.

The earthquake is a tragedy. I was about to write "an unbelievable tragedy," but it's hardly unbelievable. The actual Christchurch earthquake hit in August — a few days after Britt and I arrived. No one was killed, and damage was minimal, even though the magnitude was larger. This earthquake was technically an aftershock. Britt and I felt lots of little aftershocks in Christchurch. They felt a little bit like being on a giant boat in calm seas. I really can't imagine what this aftershock felt like. Nor can I imagine what people in Christchurch are going through now.


P.S. If you would like to help out, visit the New Zealand Red Cross.

1 This post partially explains why I photograph PwC buildings around the world.

2I have not confirmed that the Dunedin office is, indeed, the southernmost PwC office. It is entirely possible that we've set up a location in Antarctica to help penguins convert from local GAAP to IFRS.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I've had the time of my life, and I owe it all to the Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing a perfect replica of the Bob Mackie-designed dress Cher wore to the Oscars in 1988. There is nothing in Dave's firm's employee standards guide that explicitly prohibits this.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is 95 percent stressed out, but 5 percent of him feels that he's starting to get back in control of things.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. It has been a hard day's night, and Dave has been working like a dog. That doesn't make sense, does it.

Q. What does the world need now?

A. Dave originally thought that the world now needed love, sweet love. However, after much market research, Dave has concluded that the world needs more Justin Bieber music. Dave should have interviewer more people outside the female tween demographic.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

There's no questions like Four Questions like no questions I know

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing this:

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is in a productive mood.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Dave had a little bit of writer's block this morning, but he feels re-energized after having sushi for lunch and some caffeine.  

Q. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

A.Dave asks if it is an African or European woodchuck.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Four Questions doesn't jump to conclusions — it stands still, and the conclusions jump to it

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing a T-shirt from the Hard Rock Cafe in Cardiff and grey shorts from the sale rack at Target.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is in a relaxed state.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. Dave has been working hard all day, making progress on several projects and starting on two new pieces. He is now enjoying some time in front of the teevee, with the iPad in his lap.

Q. Where have all the cowboys gone?

A. Dave's extensive research shows that since 1974, 32 percent of cowboys moved to New York to take jobs in advertising sales, 23 percent have undergone gender assignment surgery and answer to the name Muffy, 56 percent have taken turns running the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and the remaining 7 percent are responsible for double-checking all percentages on the Internet to make sure they total 100 percent.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Four Questions are back in all their resplendent glory -- but for how long?

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing a blue button-down shirt, a blue sleeveless sweater, and a pair of chinos.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is in a gloomy mood.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?

A. It has been raining all day, and Dave has not seen the sun.

Q. Why has Dave not written a Four Questions for eight months and 13 days?

A. Why do you assume that Dave has not written a Four Questions since May 4, 2010? Perhaps Dave has written several Four Questions and just not shared them with you.