My Story

Internet Grandeur:
The Story of

Part 1
Written by Omar Lutfey


The following accounts which make up this book tell the tale of a website known to the world as It’s about a man who believed that for better or worse, it was his job to show the world his unique brand of witty banter through the Internet.

The purpose of this book is to provide a unique inside perspective to the events that led to the rise of the web site. The story is told through excerpts from the website itself, electronic mail written by people who are either directly or indirectly involved with the production of this web site, and text of Instant Message exchanges. This information was monitored and archived for the purpose of protecting proprietary information and establishing original ownership of all concepts created for the newfunny website.

I have no doubt a fair amount of confusion will be created when people start reading this story. Is this a completely accurate account, or is everything a work of fiction? Did “event X” actually occur, or was it created as a literary technique to enhance the overall story? Sometimes the concept of truth is a little more slippery than we would like to admit. The answer is yes. And no.

To complicate matters, these accounts were originally placed on the newfunny site on a weekly basis before the end of the story was known and before the complete set was published in the more traditional paperback book format.

How much truth is there in the last statement? On the surface it seems like a rather straightforward declarative statement. Much of the content of this book is being written as the events related to the web site are still taking place. During the writing of this book, it was at times necessary to extrapolate events and report on the most likely (or perhaps favorable) outcome. Elements of the past, present, and future have been combined to provide the most complete story possible.

When reading this, don’t be too fixated on “if” things have actually happened. It may be true or it may be something made up. There is also a possibility it was made it up, but by the time you get around to buying the book, the event in question did happen. The legal department of the publishing company has advised me to clearly remind everyone reading this book that nothing actually happened and I made the whole thing up. While you may be thinking of me as a twenty-seven year old computer geek who happened to be the creator of, the reality of the situation is this entire story was written by a husky Scandinavian woman named Helga who was involuntarily confined to a mental institution back in 1964. I’m just a fictional persona first brought to life in words with a magic marker on the walls of a large padded room.

The multiple lawsuits filed to retain the rights to this story after Helga’s somewhat mysterious death delayed the publication for several decades. Modern science has developed two explanations for the accuracy of predicting and describing the future state of technology in this story. The first theory is that Helga’s overactive imagination was specially adapted to foresee the direction of existing technologies. The other theory involves a small army of time traveling aliens that spoke to her during afternoon television sessions about what the world was going to be like thirty years down the road. Which one was it? The world may never know.

Or was that part of a dream I had the other night after I ate leftover tuna fish and pepperoni pizza right before going to sleep? I keep forgetting. Just to be fair, I will provide one paragraph of factual information to get the ball rolling. While I am far from perfect, I firmly believe the following statements are correct.

My name is Omar Lutfey and I run a website called If you feel the need to stalk me or look at the website I keep mentioning, you can look either part up on the Internet. I am really, truly, honestly, not making that part up.

That turned out to be a rather short paragraph. The truth behind everything else in this book is up to the reader to decide. Believe what you want-reality is overrated anyway.

I would like to end the introduction with one of my favorite television quotes. Like so many aspects of life, the most appropriate insight can be expressed through a quote from Star Trek. In this situation, a passage from the “Deep Space Nine” series comes to mind. Dr. Bashir, the Star Fleet doctor assigned to the Deep Space Nine (one of the good guys) is sitting at the local bar talking with Garak, a Cardasian who lives on the station and has a rather shady past. After hearing a series of larger than life accounts from Garak, the young doctor questions that which he is being told. This passage should set the tone for the rest of the book.

Bashir: So of the stories you told me, which ones were true?
Garak: My dear doctor, all of them were true.
Bashir: What about the lies?
Garak: Especially the lies.

Chapter 1

Omar: Hey
Kerry: What’s up?
Omar: I’ve decided that I’m going to quit my job and start a new web site.
Kerry: Have you been drinking? It’s only two in the afternoon.
Omar: Does it count if its at a company sponsored activity?
Kerry: I’m not sure. I guess it depends on who catches you and what you were doing at the time.
Omar: Actually, I think it’s more of a sugar high from the cake. They had a keg of Fat Tire there too, but I don’t see beer and cake playing well together in my stomach. Marketing put together a fully catered celebration to mark the release of a new product here at the office. You know how that goes.
Kerry: Yeah, too bad I left Rave Software for a better job. There is a definite lack of beer and cake where I am now. And they don’t even have a foosball table.
Omar: So anyway, I was sitting in the break room eating a wonderfully delightful piece of frosted strawberry cake when I had a vision. I’m going to start up a web site for people who think they are funny.
Kerry: I’m not even going to ask.
Omar: Each year I write a Christmas letter talking about what I’ve been up to. I figure that is a good starting point.
Kerry: OK, I’ll admit your last Christmas letter didn’t totally suck.
Omar: Would it kill you to admit I have talent?
Kerry: To be honest, I’m just not willing to take the chance.
Omar: I am tired of the man trying to keep me down– this is my way of breaking free.
Kerry: I didn’t know the man targeted twenty-seven year old white male computer geeks. I guess I’ve learned something new today.
Omar: The man chases us all, my friend. He can take many deceptive forms.
Kerry: Well, I’ve got some work to do. I have to add some functionality to the code base by the end of the day. It’s not like the good old days of technical support where you can work on things whenever it is convenient.
Omar: Sounds like you have a tiny sliver of regret for leaving here. I know you miss all my witty banter when we shared a cubicle.
Kerry: Yeah, it’s pretty rough having my own office here. Send me an e-mail when you set up your initial public offering on your new web site.
Omar: Later.
Kerry: Bye.

Chapter 2

To: Karen
From: Omar
Subject: I’m sure you will love this

Hey there,

Sorry I’ve been blowing you off so much lately. I’d like to say I’ve been too busy at work to respond to your e-mail messages, but I think you probably know better. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that when I do write back it always involves stories of screwing around at work. It’s kind of amusing how I don’t seem to recall many stories about working really hard to fix customers’ problems. I suspect I repress those memories for some reason. Only the power of deep hypnosis can bring them back.

I’m not sure if this counts as a “screwing around at work” story since it technically happened away from the office, but our entire technical support department went to Toys-R-Us today at lunch. Our manager decided that we all needed toy guns to help alleviate the stress and tension that has been building up lately in our office. Seeing 15 grown adults running around the isles of the toy store seemed to make the staff a little uneasy. They probably thought we were high on crack or something.

Technical support is now by far the most heavily armed division in our office building. Most of the equipment is of the Nerf gun variety that shoots foam projectiles at the target. One of the guns shoots out foam missiles that whistle as they approach their target. This turns out to be a very useful form of intimidation. Less intimidating, however, is the post attack negotiations where the attacker kindly and politely asks for the return of the ammunition.

I decided on a lovely gun and sword combination based on the abundance of flashing light and annoying sounds produced when the trigger is pulled. For some unknown reason, the sword vibrates. So I soon reclassified it as my “anal probe of death.” This weapon is quite effective at creating fear in anyone who would dare oppose me. It seems a lot of people would rather have their head cut off or be stabbed in the chest than have to deal with the anal probe of death. My tactics backfired, so to speak, when one of my opponents became a little too interested in the details of my attack plans.

And I get paid for this! That’s the part that always amazes me.

Well, I have to get going. It seems some of my coworkers have banded together and are preparing an ambush on my cubicle in the very near future. I have no choice but to pull out the anal probe of death.

Talk to you later,
Omar (AKA your favorite brother)

Chapter 3

Brian: Hey there
Omar: What’s up?
Brian: Not much– I talked to Janet about Brian’s Christmas party. She is going to be out of town that night, but I think I’ll be there.
Omar: Cool– from what Brian was saying it’s going to be a pretty big event. Brian, Angie, and Phil are all inviting people. I guess they are all getting along pretty well since they moved in together.
Brian: I’m really upset that I wasn’t there to help them move last week. Sounds like that was the REAL party.
Omar: You know that big blue couch that Brian bought when he was still with Julie? I was the first one to ever suggest that we take it apart before moving it. We turned it over and there were four bolts on the bottom holding the two end pieces to the middle section. Unscrewing the bolts made things a lot easier because we could carry it down the stairs in three different pieces. But I guess when you buy a vibrating couch, you have to expect it to be heavy. I couldn’t believe how much stuff they had in that storage unit-I suspect that Angie burgled a small library or book store and hid the loot with all their personal belongings in the storage unit.
Brian: Good job on the couch. That’s one of those intangible benefits of graduating from college. Impressive spatial and deductive reasoning skills.
Omar: I knew there was a reason why I stuck around CSU. I know it wasn’t for the abundance of attractive women in the Computer Science department.
Brian: Hey, I forgot about Angie. How did your big date go with her last weekend? Did she like the motorcycle?
Omar: As far as the date goes-things went pretty good, we drove up Left Hand Canyon which is just north of Boulder. It was kind of cold by the time we got up into the mountains, but there were some amazing views of the leaves changing color. She has experience driving motorcycles from growing up in Nebraska. That made things a lot easier. The most important thing the passenger on a motorcycle needs to do is lean into the turns. She was great at leaning, so going up and down the windy mountain roads was a lot more fun.
Brian: Sweet– are you going out again?
Omar: I don’t know– I called her on Thursday to see if she wanted to go out on Saturday. She said maybe, but then when Saturday rolled around she decided that she wanted to go to the art museum instead. I guess I’m a somewhat low priority.
Brian: You should have gone and “met” her at the art museum. Women like it when guys follow them around like that. And if she seems suspicious, you can just pretend like she never mentioned it on the phone. It’s just crazy enough to work.
Omar: I thought we hit it off, but I’ve never been really good at figuring out what women are thinking. Did you know that she speaks Italian? She likes to talk about the architecture in Italy and things that happened to her when she went over there last summer. The fact she is so passionate about it is pretty cool.
Brian: Maybe your motorcycle wasn’t cool enough. Did you try talking to her in an Italian accent? If you had done that, she would have had no choice but to fall in love with you.
Omar: Yeah, that’s it– if only I shelled out the extra money for the Harley things would be different.
Omar: Hey, I registered a domain name for my new web site
Brian: Lovely– so are you a dot com millionaire yet? Don’t forget to order the Ferrari-they have a waiting list you know.
Omar: I spent the past couple of days looking for good domain names that weren’t taken yet. I’m still working on the paperwork for the initial public offering, so I’ll have to put the luxury automobiles on hold for now.
Brian: So what else are you going to put on it besides your Christmas letters?
Omar: I’ve been thinking about that. I have a vision for the site as a place for up-and-coming comedy writers.
Brian: Sounds kind of vague. Don’t they already have sites that put up jokes and strange pictures?
Omar: True, there are a bunch of web sites that already put up jokes. I don’t think I would be doing anything new if I did that. I was thinking more along the lines of developing a small number of people who write funny commentaries on a somewhat regular basis
Brian: Except you might have trouble finding people who want to put that much effort into a web site that nobody knows about.
Omar: True– I’ve been thinking of writing a weekly story about things going on in my life. Hopefully that will help bring people to my site. If I can do that I should be able to convince people to submit their own works.
Omar: If that part works, I could expand the site into amusing flash animation and sketch comedy. I haven’t worked with flash all that much, but I have a great idea for a continuing series-it would be “South Park” meets “Hometime”. Robin and Dean would be animated characters. In each episode they find a new construction related method for killing off Dean. What do you think?
Brian: Sounds like you are working pretty hard at your current job. Besides, how are you going to pay for all that work?
Omar: I don’t really want to bother with that right away. I pay 8 dollars a month to have someone host the site. If can get enough traffic on my site, artists will beg me to put their stuff on it. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic there, but I think you get my point.
Brian: Sounds like you have it all planned out. Except the Angie part.
Omar: I talked to her online the other night. She did the whole “let’s just be friends” routine. So I don’t think it’s a case of me being overly pessimistic about women this time. It’s not that big of a deal-I would have liked for more to have developed, but at least this way nothing strange happened. We went out once, nothing happened, and now we can still be friends. I have enough weird stories about the women I’ve dated. At least this one doesn’t end with me making an ass of myself or her running off to join the peace corps.
Brian: Not a good sign. But maybe it’s a good thing– do you really want to go out with a woman who is living with one of your best friends?
Omar: I had this idea of seeing if she wanted to go backpack around Europe over the summer. Neither of us have anything really tying us down right now. If we planned it out now we could put all our stuff in storage and fly over there in March or April. I’m just going to keep that part on the back burner for now.
Brian: Probably a good idea– it kind of has a “more than friends” ring to it.
Omar: well, I’m going to get back to work. I want to get the first version of my web site up and running before I leave work today.
Brian: LOL– it’s good to see you are maintaining your focus at work. You could point all the customers you are supposed to be helping to your new web site. They can be amused while you are busy not solving their problems.
Omar: I could put a little blurb at the end of every e-mail I send out. I’m sure my manager would love that.
Omar: I’m out of here.
Brian: Later.

Chapter 4

Kerry: Hey.
Omar: Hey.
Kerry: How is life in the world of C++ technical support treating you?
Omar: It’s lovely, as usual. I’m helping train a new woman who started last week. Today I went over the 5 responses that answer 90 percent of all the questions.
Kerry: Fun fun. My favorite was always “its not a bug. It’s a feature.”
Omar: Yeah, that and “don’t use our product for that part” is always a crowd pleaser. Except I don’t think sales really likes it when we use that line with customers.
Kerry: That probably makes it harder for them to go back and grovel for more money next time around.
Omar: I can live with that. I’m not on a commission here.
Kerry: True
Omar: Hey, I registered a domain name for my future web site. It took me several hours of brainstorming and searching online, but I finally came up with a good name.
Kerry: You are still going through with that? I figured that you would lose interest after a week or so and move onto your next idea that would change the world.
Omar: No, I’m pretty committed to this one. The name of my new web site is “”. I registered the name and paid the fee last night.
Kerry: Not bad, I suppose. I read online that the last of the one word domain names were registered a few months ago.
Omar: Yeah, I wanted “”, but it was long gone. And I don’t really feel like shelling out money to buy a domain name from someone. Even mediocre domain names that people have registered are selling for a few thousand dollars. I’m pretty happy with it though. It’s short and has the .com extension, so I’m sure people will mistake it for a real web site.
Kerry: That has been known to happen on occasion.
Omar: I just hope it happens to me. I just want the world to know how funny I am. Is that so wrong?
Kerry: I’m not sure about that. Hey, you need to write about Jana on your web site. That woman has to be pretty high on your list of funny experiences in life.
Omar: Wow, I hadn’t thought of that. I forgot how psychotic she was.
Kerry: Yeah, she needed her medication adjusted.
Omar: I even shared a cubical with her until she got fired. I think I’ve been repressing that memory until now. I don’t like to take joy in the misfortune of others, but I was so happy when I didn’t have to deal with her anymore.
Kerry: Well, when you stand up and scream “FUCK QUAKE” during a department meeting in a paranoid frenzy, you pretty much know your days are numbered. I don’t know why she had such a problem with everyone else playing network games during their lunch break.
Omar: Yeah, I never quite figured that one out either. I think she was frustrated because everyone else was getting the hang of doing technical support faster than she was. I remember her going around saying she wasn’t a “hot shot” programmer like some of us. She also had that obsession about noises. She would always get on my case because I would lean back on my chair and it would squeak on occasion. Remember when she complained that Glenn’s CD drive was spinning too loud?
Kerry: And that computer was two cubicles away from her. What a nut case.
Omar: I’ll remember to write about her sometime. I’ve almost finished with the design of the site. I’ve also found a place to host the site that doesn’t charge too much. I should have everything up and running in a couple of weeks. It kind of depends on how busy I am at work. A lot of the design is getting done when there aren’t a lot of issues in the technical support queue.
Kerry: So what else are you going to have on the site besides your Christmas letters? Or have you thought that far ahead yet?
Omar: I’m still working on that. I’m going to write more about things in my life. I’m hoping that I can find other writers who will contribute to my site. I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who likes to write.
Kerry: Probably not.
Omar: Well, I’ve got to go-my phone is ringing. I suspect it’s a customer. Gail has been getting on our case to get back to customers as quickly as possible. So I’ll talk to you later.
Kerry: Have fun. Bye.

Chapter 5

To: Omar
From: Angie
Subject: Moving day


Hey, thanks for helping Brian, Phil, and I move into the new apartment. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there, but I wasn’t able to get the day off work.

Are you coming to our Christmas party? I’m so excited about it. I’ve already started making cookies and other preparations. The apartment looks like a war zone right now, but I’m sure that several hours of intense effort will get the place cleaned up. Brian and Phil are in charge of the beverages, so you know there will be plenty of alcohol there. If you have any specific nonalcoholic drinks you want, you should tell them ahead of time. I just hope they don’t get totally drunk and embarrass me at the party. Brian seems to hold his liquor pretty well, but I’m not sure what Phil is like when he drinks.

You don’t seem to be much of a drinker-I hope you don’t feel out of place at the party. We are going to have a bunch of games set up like Pictionary and Taboo, so I’ll bet you will kick the asses of all the drunkards! And there should be some cute single women coming. Hopefully you can find that someone special-you deserve to find someone that will make you happy πŸ™‚


Chapter 6

To: Everyone
From: Omar
Subject: is ready for business!!!

I’ve been talking about this a lot for the past couple of weeks, and now my work of art is finished. If you open a web browser and look up “” you can see what has been occupying all my time lately.

The general idea is that this site is going to be a place where people can read all of my writing. Right now I have several years’ worth of Christmas letters up on the site dating back to 1996. I’m sure that you have read a lot of these before, but now they are all in the same place. At least this way I’m not as likely to lose them.

I’m also planning on writing a new story each week to add to the content of the site. Hopefully this will also keep people coming back to the site on a somewhat regular basis. The idea is that I will write about general things that happen in my social life. I’m working on a story right now about my squishy ball. That should be done later on this week.

I hope everyone gets a kick out of what I’ve done so far. Make sure to tell all your friends about the site. I want to be famous some day πŸ™‚


Chapter 7

Web Story: 1995 Christmas letter

Dear friend,

Another year has passed before us and I am taking time out of my busy schedule to personally write you this letter explaining to you what is going on in my life. Please do not infer that just because I am constantly referring to you in the generic second person and not including any personal information about you that this is one of those tacky one-size-fits-all impersonal letters that are being mass mailed to everyone I know instead of taking the time to write individual letters. I would like to think that you know me well enough to realize that I am above that type of behavior.

Anyway, I guess that this part of the letter should be devoted to my accomplishments over the past year. I have managed to stay in school for another year. If you do not already know, I am currently a senior attending Colorado State University. I am currently working toward degrees in both Computer Science and Mathematics. I am, however, considering staying in college for an extra semester to get a minor in Viking Cuisine. My counselor, who coincidentally lives in the Viking homeland, is always telling me that I should expand my dining horizons.

During the school year I am employed as a tutor for the beginning level computer science students. Earning a wage that is comparable to that of migrant farm workers, I give helpful advice and words of encouragement to students who have not mastered all of the ins and outs of C++. Most of the time the problems are simple– a missed semicolon or a misspelled word, but there was one guy this last semester who would always sit at the computer closest to my desk just so he could turn around every five minutes and say “Its not working” and expect me to correct every single problem in his program until it was completed. In retrospect, it probably would have been considerably less strenuous for everyone involved if I just sat at his terminal and wrote his entire program for him. That way I would have fewer visions of impaling him with a computer monitor and he would not have to suffer the strain of repeatedly turning his head around to talk to me. Needless to say (although I am saying it anyway) this young man was quickly labeled “The dumb guy.” In the end the other tutors and I decided that taking a big permanent magic marker and writing something to that effect on his forehead, while being completely accurate, would have probably gotten us into some kind of trouble.

In other news, I am putting the four weeks of winter vacation to good use. I went to the dentist last week and in addition to having no cavities, I also received, at no additional cost, a dinosaur toothbrush. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I got home and opened up the box that I realized that the actual toothbrush was designed for the mouths of three year olds and didn’t really fit my brushing needs. I have decided to keep it in its original box and hold onto it as a collectors’ item. Not all toothbrushes go up in value, but I have a good feeling about this one.

I guess that I could talk about the other members of my family now. My sister Karen was in town for the holidays. We spent most of our time together coming up with excuses to not walk the dog. My other sister Barf, who does not actually exist and is a figment of my imagination, is currently in counseling. She is depressed because nobody is paying any attention to her. My dog Cal is doing fine. He has learned through continued positive reinforcement that if he whines enough when someone is in the kitchen, he will eventually wind up with a doggie biscuit. My parents are doing typical parent activities such as working, paying for me to go through college, and detonating small explosive devices in the back yard.

Getting back to my sister Karen, she is attending school somewhere in one of those “I” states, but I always seem to get them all mixed up. She is a graduate student in the area of sociology which means that I have no idea what is going on in her academic life. She is going out with some guy named Jeremy, who is also a sociology graduate student. I don’t know much about him except that he plays a lot of computer games which means that he automatically gets my approval. Karen recently received her Masters Degree and is now working toward her Ph.D. thingie. While she was here last week she told me that she and this Jeremy guy got married in a super-secret ancient Indian ceremony. It involved, among other things, that Jeremy spend three days and three nights naked in the woods with only a small plastic spoon that he had to use to hunt down the largest moose in the entire state. This is sort of a secret, so if you see my parents, please do not mention the wedding.

I also have a girlfriend who is named Karen. She is working at Longs pharmacy where she got promoted to the position of technician. She spends her days being nice to all of the customers and pretending she cares about their medical problems. “Young lady, you just wouldn’t believe how good this here medicine is when it comes to getting rid of them pesky little heartworms!!!” “You’re right sir, excuse me if I get nauseated at the mere thought of that, have a nice day.”

Karen has also spent the last two years letting her hair grow out. It is now all the way down to her knees. I keep on telling her that she should get it cut, but she refuses to listen to my pleading. She said something about getting into the “Guinness Book of World Records” if she can just grow it out another thirty-two feet. I guess that we can all root for her to make it.

Getting back to me, I am planning to graduate on May 10th ish 1996. Everyone is welcome to come and see it provided that I in no way incur any financial responsibility and that you leave when I grow tired of your company. Hope to see you there.

I really cannot think of anything else to say, so hope that I can see/hear from you a lot next year. To all my Christian, Jewish, and very tall friends, have a happy 1996!

Omar Lutfey

PS: You will be happy to know that my spell checker now has the word “heartworms” added to its database.

Chapter 8

Web Story: 1996 Christmas letter

The earth and the sun have once again completed another round of their cosmic tag team, no holds barred wrestling match which means it is time for the second annual publication of my Christmas letter. My goal for this year is to have at least three people (including myself) read this letter. I am sure that there are some people who are skeptical about this letter reaching such a vast audience. To you naysayers out there I would like to proudly introduce my new ally– exponential growth. In much the same way rabbits procreate and chain letters clog your mailbox, this plan revolves around my ability to harness this largely unexplored force of nature. After you read this, pass it on to two of your friends and then give $100 to the Mission Impossible guy who is outside posing as a garbage collector. Here is how the conversation will go:

IMF agent (a.k.a. “Garbage man”): “How much for the women?”
You: “My spleen is fine, thank you”
IMF agent “What the hell are you talking about? Just give me the damn money!”
(You give him the money and then he kills you)

Believe it or not, I managed to graduate from college. I received degrees in both Computer Science and Mathematics. When I tell people that I have a CS degree the usual response is “You won’t have any problem finding a good job.” And when I tell people that I have a degree in general Mathematics they say “So you’re going to grad school.” I guess getting the math part is like being on the game show “Jeopardy” and knowing the Final Jeopardy question only to realize that the guy next to you has three times as much money as you do.

I have very mixed feelings about graduating college. On one hand I don’t miss the “cultural anthropology” class I was required to take or the “Oh, but he does a lot of research” professors that are forced to teach classes. On the other hand, I liked being able to watch television until my eyes hurt and spend most of my time on campus with 10,000 women, most of whom were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five.

It wasn’t long after graduation that my parents expressed an interest in my time management skills. (“Get your ass of the couch and find a job or we will put you up for adoption”) After pounding the pavement for a while (until I got to my car) I drove to a building often referred to as “McDonalds.” I told them about my situation and they were very interested in giving me one of those legendary high paying cushy cashier jobs with my own personal secretary and limousine driver. This didn’t last very long, however, due to the fact that I have a very rare neurological disorder that I only found out about after my training. It seems that whenever I try and say “would you like fries with that?” my vocal chords take over and produce wildly inappropriate phases like “There are squirrels in my pants. Hee hee hee,” “I did it. I did it. I shot JR!”, and “Have you ever showered with Rush Limbaugh? It’s not as bad as people say.”

After the whole McDonalds episode, I ended up at a company called “Saxe Inc.” It is run by a guy named, strangely enough, Andrew Saxe. He spends half of his time in Denver and the other half in New York city. It turns out that he loves the legendary brown cloud found in Denver, but he just can’t tear himself away from the more traditional forms of pollution found in New York City. Talk about the best of both worlds.

Saxe Inc. is a very liberal company. So liberal, in fact, that all the employees are gay transvestites running around with pitchforks. No, wait a minute. I am thinking of the classic cult film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” To the best of my knowledge, nobody at Saxe Inc. is a gay transvestite, and we only run around with pitchforks when there aren’t any of our clients in the building.

Saxe Inc. is a somewhat liberal company. Everyone is allowed to run around in shorts and T-shirts. The only rule is that you can’t run with scissors. We also have a place to play ping pong when we get frustrated and feel like hitting stuff. Just to make it perfect, we also have a cappuccino machine. The front of the machine shows a picture of some great looking cappuccino with perfect looking whip cream with just the right amount of evenly distributed sprinkles. Unfortunately, when I went to get some cappuccino I realized that the machine is not equipped to dispense either whip cream or sprinkles. In an angry fit of rage I ripped the machine out of the wall, raised it up over my head, yelled “Where are the fucking sprinkles?”, and proceeded to throw the entire apparatus at a prospective client. He didn’t die or anything, but I don’t know if he is retaining our services. My lawyer advised my not to disclose the terms of the settlement.

As a software developer, I spent some time working on a project to answer the question “What is the meaning of life?” After several months, I came up with an elegant and efficient solution for producing an answer to the question that has eluded philosophers, theologians, and Douglas Adams, author of the book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” for thousands of years. I started running the program only to discover to my dismay that the answer to the question “What is the meaning of life” cannot be answered by sitting inside a sterile office building at a desk with stale fluorescent lights and a 486 computer. It turns out I need a Pentium.

The other night I went out to an Avalanche game with some people I know, including a nose pierced, ex-stripper, bisexual Satan worshiper. No kidding. If I ever have kids I hope they never find out about this and use it to their advantage by saying stuff like “Come on Dad, I just want to go out and get drunk with this 24 year old guy I met at the bowling alley, it’s not like I’m going out with a nose pierced, ex-stripper, bisexual Satan worshiper or anything.” To be honest, we all had a reasonably good time and I can add her to the extensive list of women that I am too chicken to ever ask out.

Another highlight of this year was the condominium that I purchased in October. It came with two bedrooms, one bath, a huge loft, and a years supply of Spam. The biggest problem that I have right now is that I bought a couch that is too large to fit up the stairway. OOPS. All of my appliances are twenty years old and I say a prayer each night hoping that they don’t all die at once. It is a strange feeling to have a thirty year mortgage to think about. Saying that it will take thirty years to pay it off makes it seem like a huge deal. I just think of it as 358 more payments. Assuming that the postage rate for first class mail doesn’t go up in the next thirty years (hahahaha) I will be spending $114.56 on stamps alone. Sorry, I guess that the math-geek part of me is coming out.

While cleaning out all of my old college stuff, I came across a paper that I had written during my first year at CSU for a mathematics course. It started like this:

I can honestly say that I feel more complete as a human being now that I have written this paper. All my life I knew that there was some calling in my life that had remained, up until now, unanswered. Who knew that my calling would be to write a recursive algorithm for generating a lexicographical set of permutations from the set {1,2,3,…,N}? The Lord works in mysterious ways. Who am I to disagree with powers that I can hardly fathom?

Who says that science and religion can’t just get along? The best part of this paper, in my opinion, is the following passage:

After I finished the algorithm, I went home and showed it to my mother. I could go on about how my mother is an algorithm analysis expert and pulls in the big bucks at Hewlett Packard, but I will refrain from doing so because of the fact that it would be an outright lie. She is actually a registered nurse who really has absolutely no understanding of the world of computers, but she thought that it was wonderful and found space to display it on the refrigerator.

I am sure you will be happy to know that I received an “A” for my efforts.

I think that I have said enough for this year, so (insert clichΓ© end of the year saying here) and remember folks– you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

Chapter 9

Web Story: 1997 Christmas letter

Well folks, it’s that time of year again– the days are getting shorter, annoying Christmas music is playing at the mall, the political forces that run our nation are gearing up for the next presidential election, and, of course, it’s time to publish my third annual Christmas letter. This brings up the question of whether I should even try to construct a letter that surpasses the high standard that I set for myself when writing the first two Christmas letters. Consider the world of movies for a moment. By the time they get to making a third movie in a series it pretty much just sucks. I am sure they meant well when they made “Superman 3”, but putting Christopher Reeves, Richard Prior, and a wacky evil computer together isn’t something to be proud of. Even “Return of the Jedi” wasn’t as good as its predecessors. Oh no, they built ANOTHER Death Star for the good guys to blow up at the very end. On the other hand, I listened to the School House Rock CD (which I own, of course) and learned that three is a magic number. I don’t think they would have made a number magical if there was an inherent problem with it. In conclusion (of the introduction), I know the risks but I am none the less going to give it a shot. If you are not completely satisfied with this product, just send any unused portion to the address provided for a full refund.

In case you didn’t already know, I left my job at Saxe, Inc. Among other things, the thought of developing software to help companies send out more junk mail slowly wore down my will to live. After a while I would wake up in the morning and stare at the ceiling thinking the world would be a better place if I just called in sick for the day. Even the lure of the cappuccino machine and the ping pong table (see last year’s Christmas letter) wasn’t enough to convince me to stay. My departure was civil and professional, considering the fact that several of the upper level managers were (and to the best of my knowledge still are) minions of Satan.

One of the last things that I did before leaving Saxe was use up all of my vacation time on a road trip to see the Indianapolis 500. My friend Tina and I drove a total of 2,048 miles to watch thirty-three men drive around a big loop 200 times. Of course not all of them made it all the way through to finish the race. I don’t have exact numbers, but quite a few of the racers stopped themselves by smashing into the outside walls, a few just ran into each other, and then there was one guy who was driving along minding his own business when his car just caught on fire. I felt bad for the guy, but then a bunch of people came along and extinguished him.

The sheer magnitude of the Indianapolis 500 is impressive. Hundreds of thousands of people converge to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway one day a year to see the big race. The planning required to pull something like this off is extensive– roads are blocked off, businesses are closed down, and special busses are brought in to move the masses more efficiently. Every effort is made to ensure the audience enjoys the race. Having taken all of this into consideration, I don’t understand why they built one of the world’s largest racing facilities in a climate that on average receives more precipitation during the last weekend in May than the entire Amazon Basin gets all year. I guess I am still a little bitter about the fact that we were forced to go to the race track three different days before the race track was dry enough to get the race finished.

I really should have had a new job lined up BEFORE I left my old job at Saxe, but then it would have been a lot harder to take the entire summer off. After a few weeks of doing no productive work, I realized my summer needed a little more structure. Applying the theory that there cannot be light without darkness, good without evil, and “tastes great” without “less filling” to my otherwise unproductive summer free time, I decided to go back to school to start working toward my Masters Degree. After a rather flimsy search, I decided to take a graduate level mathematics class at the University of Colorado at Denver. It was rough, but twice a week all summer I got up, shaved, showered, and made my way to downtown Denver in time for my 4 PM class– even if it was raining. A lesser person might have just stayed home and watched that old episode of “The A Team” where George Peppard and company save the defenseless workers from the evil bad guy while narrowly eluding the military forces that are relentlessly pursuing them for the crime they didn’t commit. You know the one. Anyway, I got through summer school with only minor bruises and am planning on receiving my Masters degree sometime in the next 8 to 10 years.

All good things must come to an end, and my “summer of unemployment” was no exception. After evaluating my bank account, I begrudgingly realized that an “autumn of unemployment” was not a financial option. I started sending my resume out to companies and eventually was hired at company called Rave Software. Rave’s current focus involves brokering brides of the Philippines to wealthy but socially underdeveloped gentlemen. Of course it’s all a front to hide the fact they are really developing, marketing, and supporting digital dynamic reusable hierarchical multi-platform modularized procedural language libraries.

I am currently working in the Technical Support division of Rave Software. We have constructed an international array of computers connected through a highly evolved network of PPP, ISDN, and T1 telecommunication lines that allow for the fast, efficient, and reliable movement of information allowing us to seamlessly communicate in our ever increasing global community. Does this investment in time and money improve our relationship with our customers? I don’t know, but it runs Quake really well.

One of the more interesting aspects of this job, besides, of course, playing Quake, involves the notion that part of our responsibility involves helping the customers so they don’t have to call us in the first place. To achieve this goal we are constantly reporting bugs in our software, finding problems with our documentation, and publishing helpful hints on the Internet. The more successful we become at this venture the more people get fired due to a decrease in the number of customer calls. But, since most of us in technical support were just recently hired, we are only performing our jobs at a level where our wages are garnished.

With the possible exception of leaving a bunch of store bought tortillas in my refrigerator for an entire year just to see what would happen (they shattered when I tried to move them), I believe that my crowning accomplishment of the year would have to be the day that I completed all the levels on the “Duke Nukem 3D” CD that I bought for my computer in January. Anyone can get through a few levels and then give up, but I had what it takes to get through all 30 levels (and one of the secret levels that I am not allowed to talk about) without getting burned out. Sure, I could have stopped half way through and gone outside or read a book, but that would have been a cop out. I stuck by my guns– knowing that I made it down a path where so few see any value whatsoever.

I am sending this letter by E-mail as much as possible in an effort to promote living environmentally friendly lifestyles. Remember to recycle folks, because if you don’t all of us will have to live with the garbage until the sun runs out of fuel and collapses on itself with the resulting explosion enveloping the planet Earth as we know it– instantaneously converting countless generations of accomplishments back into the basic building blocks of matter from which we were created. And that’s a long time.

That about wraps things up here. If you ever question how to live your life, just remember what everyone tells John Cusack in the movie “Better Off Dead”– “Go that way really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.”

Chapter 10

Web Story: Six Months in Amsterdam

Now that I think about it, the title sounds like a good title for a song. It would be kind of like “One Night in Bangkok” but with less of a techno beat and more references to sex and drugs. In case you didn’t already know, I spent the first half of 1999 living and working in Holland. Here is my trip report.

Technically, it’s illegal to buy and smoke marijuana in Holland. Of course it’s also possible that you will sleep walk into the nearby woods in the middle of the night only to be awakened by the sound of your leg setting off a bear trap, but most reasonable people don’t stay up at night worrying about getting caught. You can also go into special “herb” stores and get whatever other goodies that you feel the need to put into your body. Is this the best way to run a society? I really don’t know, but my experience has been that the number of people on the street that you don’t want to have anything to do with is comparable to any other large city I have ever visited. It’s way better than New York City.

The other “selling point” of Holland is the legalized prostitution. If you go into the Red Light District you can shop around for women conveniently displayed behind the glass windows of their “shops.” Provided you have the money and you don’t have any visible open sores or other odd physical defects, you can have the woman of your dreams in convenient fifteen minute increments. Is this the best way to run a society? Once again, I really don’t know, but it doesn’t appear to be destroying the city. As one of my friends who came over to visit from Colorado said, “They still have pimps in Holland, but it’s more of a desk job.”

Holland is chalk full of first rate public transportation. Based on my experiences and some information that I pretty much just made up, here is my advice on how to build a city without having to depend on automobiles: First of all, start building the city in the middle ages when people are too busy with things like neighboring armies, crusades, and the plague to ponder ideas like the internal combustion engine, traffic flow patterns, and the needs of the middle class. Combine this with a series of interlocking canals and you have a city that just isn’t very friendly to automobiles.

There is actually a law in Holland that forbids the construction of parking spaces in the city limits. OK, OK, they don’t REALLY have laws in Holland, but it is almost impossible to find a parking spot in Amsterdam. The only vehicles that you see on the roads are taxi drivers and tour busses. Since their job is to just drive around all day it really isn’t a problem. Occasionally a lost tourist from a neighboring country will accidentally drive into town. The desperate search for a parking space ends when their fuel supply runs out and they are forced to stop in the middle of the road. When this happens, the angry taxi drivers and tour bus operators stuck behind the vehicle work together to push the car out of the street and into the closest canal.

As difficult as it is to get around Amsterdam with a car, it’s quite simple to get around with the public transportation. Intercity trains, subways, trams, and busses all work together to get you where you need to go. After a long day at work it is a lot less stressful to get on the train than to have to drive an automobile. I think it has something to do with the fact that you don’t have to actually drive the train. They have people for that.

While the trains in Holland are, on the whole, pretty safe, every now and then you will see things that make you wish you had waited for the next train. The most disgusting thing I saw on the trains was a guy who picked up a crumpled Heineken beer can from the floor in an attempt to extract the last precious drops of alcohol that the previous owner missed. There were also the two women on the train late one night who were shooting up heroin. The really strange thing was that nobody else on the train seemed to care.

Whenever I hear the phrase “stick it where the sun don’t shine,” I always picture Holland in the winter months. Between the extreme northern latitude and constant cloud cover, the sun doesn’t make much of an appearance until the spring. Combine this with cold temperatures and a fairly constant drizzle of rain and you have a nation that doesn’t receive many tourists for half the year. The popular joke for the Dutch to say to foreigners goes something like, “Of course we have summer in Holland. Last year it was on a Thursday.”

One of the most difficult aspects of my trip involved the language barrier. While the majority of the natives speak English, you never know when you will come across someone who can’t speak your language. Of course there are times when body language is more than enough to communicate information. A lovely example of this phenomenon occurred after a rather odd series of events put me in a unique situation with a young woman at a local restaurant. Our nonverbal conversation, insofar as it can be expressed in words, went something like this:

Me: “I know that I am in the women’s bathroom in a busy McDonald’s restaurant. I’ll leave now”

Her: “I don’t know why you are in the women’s bathroom in this busy McDonald’s restaurant, but I’ll let you save whatever small amount of dignity you have left at this moment in time by not screaming or otherwise drawing attention to the situation. I hope the rest of your day goes better than this.”

Here is an interesting concept that is worth mentioning: in Europe, they play music videos on MTV. Sure, they play commercials and they have occasional news updates, but it’s mostly just videos. It seems like the producers of MTV in Europe realized that constantly broadcasting footage of a bunch of twenty-year-old college dropouts driving around the world in a Winnebago just isn’t very entertaining.

I generally don’t keep track of any kind of vital statistics about myself beyond the usual, “my heart is beating,” “I’m hungry,” and “I’m currently standing in the women’s bathroom in a busy McDonalds restaurant,” but the past six months have seen some rather significant changes in my lifestyle. Here are some of the more interesting numbers that I came up with.

Taco Bell franchises I found in Holland: 0
House plants I killed: 1
Different countries in Europe I visited: 6
Number of fruit stickers I put on the phone in the apartment for no particular reason: 10
Most consecutive days I was forced to wear long pants: 89
Most consecutive days I didn’t eat at an American franchise fast food establishment: 121
Days I didn’t see a “Saturn” brand automobile: 183
Days I preserved the natural ecological balance of the back yard of the company apartment: 183
(or, the number of times I mowed the lawn) 0

I can honestly say that I enjoyed these six months in Amsterdam. For someone who hasn’t spent much time outside of Colorado, I have come to realize that there is a whole different world out there where people aren’t very tan, don’t wear sandals, and don’t have much interest in who killed JonBenet Ramsey. Sure, they get the words “soccer” and “football” mixed up most of the time and have adopted darts as their new national pastime just because a Dutch guy won the world darts competition last year, but these are small problems that can be easily overlooked. To quote the most commonly spoken phrase on any American talk show, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Chapter 11

Web Story: Christmas Letter 1999

Assuming that I am not going to get hit by a meteorite or trampled to death in some freak Y2K riot, I have made it through another year to write my fifth Christmas letter. I’m quite impressed with my ability to stick with the program for five years now. I can’t really think of anything else off the top of my head that has involved such a level of commitment. I left my “Tamaguchi” in a restaurant a day after it hatched, college only took four years, and my longest romantic relationship was wrapped up in a little more than three years. What does all this mean? Not a thing. Now that I think about it, I took care of my dog for more than a decade, and I have stood by the Denver Broncos for even longer than that. Heck, I’m still waiting for that Haley’s comet thing to come back again. Perhaps my level of commitment is not as underdeveloped as I first imagined.

In any case, it’s been a rather eventful year for me. As you may or may not know, I spent the first six months of the year working and playing in various parts of Europe. I wrote a letter about that way back in June, so feel free to read “Six Months in Amsterdam” if you haven’t done so already.

Getting back to Boulder was an interesting affair. For some reason that I don’t quite understand, it takes roughly 5 times longer to fly from Europe to the US than the other way around. I think it has something to do with the fact that the pilots have to convert all of their calculations from the metric system back to our way of doing things. I walked by the cockpit during the flight where one of the crew members was asking “Now how many gallons are there in a kilogram? I always get that mixed up.” Regardless of the reason, I have to say that I have never had the chance to watch four complete movies in an uninterrupted 16 hour period. It really wouldn’t have been so bad, except that United Airlines picks out all the movies they show during the flight from the “Goober Bin” at the local video store. You would think that with all the money they spend on in flight video equipment they could find something more interesting to show than sappy B movies and old episodes of “Home Improvement.”

Coming back to Boulder was a mixed blessing. I can’t really say that I like one city over the other, so I made two top ten lists about what I miss and don’t miss now that I am back in Boulder.

Top 10 reasons for coming back:

10. I’m afraid of the Euro.
9. Electrical outlets are all weird.
8. Company apartment has temperamental hot water heater.
7. No 24-hour supermarkets in Holland
6. I hated the “revolving door of death” at the Amsterdam office.
5. You think parking is bad in Boulder!
4. Cricket is just too hard to figure out.
3. I like seeing the sun every now and then.
2. No Taco Bell in Holland.
1. Poor news coverage of the ongoing Ramsey investigation.

Top 10 reasons for staying in Amsterdam:

10. I was just starting to get the hang of snooker.
9. Everyone sounds so smart on those BBC channels.
8. Chocolate eggs with the toys inside.
7. Eurodisney!
6. Nobody cares when you urinate in the canals.
5. Color coated money and coins that are actually worth something.
4. The novelty condom shops.
3. Numerous bars within walking distance of the apartment.
2. The Chunnel.
1. Public Transportation that doesn’t suck!!!

After watching various Initial Public Offerings increase the value of a select few individuals by a couple of billion dollars (give or take a few hundred million), I’ve decided to form my own company with the intention of taking it public in the future. In order to capitalize on both the current Internet craze and the recent success of Martha Stewart’s IPO, my new company is going to center around a web site devoted to food recipes that focus primarily on the wants and needs of men. Feel free to check it out at My personal favorite recipe: Box o’ Cheeze Its.

Well, every year I comment on my increasingly pathetic attempts at working toward my Master’s degree. I am proud to announce that this year I spent an all-time low three weeks attending classes. While still living and working in Amsterdam, I went through all of the trouble of applying to the Graduate Business program at CU. I started my Financial Accounting and Numerical Analysis night classes in late August. By early September I realized that neither subjects are very interesting in my own little world. I also discovered that as a reward for throwing in the towel quickly, the University gives back most of your money when you drop your classes in the first couple of weeks. At this rate, the only hope that I have of actually finishing a Masters degree is if scientists develop a computer chip that I can plug into my brain with all the relevant knowledge that I would have otherwise gained from sitting in class for two years.

December has been a pretty busy for me as I have been feverishly preparing for any and all Y2K issues that might arise at the end of the year. While most people are checking flashlight batteries and chopping firewood, I am busy watching a lot of TV. I don’t know what the future will hold in the brave new world of the upcoming millennium, but I want to start it off with the reassuring feeling that I have committed every episode of “Charles In Charge” to memory. OK, in all honesty, I have bought into the hype just a little bit by going to the grocery store and buying an extra box of “Cheeze Its.”

I’ve decided to start a new tradition of bestowing “Web Site of the Year” to the corner of the Internet that has arbitrarily provided me with the most laughs over the past year. This award goes to One section, called “The Lying Game” asks a new question every day and the top 10 most entertaining, insightful, or otherwise unique answers are posted the next day. It took me awhile to get the hang of it, but in the past couple of weeks I have gotten five or six of my entries published the next day. I am not exactly sure why, but I’ve developed a knack for making fun of Sony’s latest high tech toy, the “Robotic Dog.” Here are some of the questions along with my winning entries:

Q: What features are part of Sony’s new Robotic Dog?
A: Docking procedure no longer requires human leg.

Q: What are some of the merchandise spin-offs from “Toy Story 2?”
A: “Toy Story 3” trailer: It’s Buzz Lightyear vs. Sony’s Robotic Dog.

Q: What’s the most appropriate holiday gift to get for your boss?
A: That Sony Robotic Dog, set to “Evil.”

Q: In the Year 3000, what will be remembered about New Year’s 2000?
A: Who would have imagined those Sony Robotic Dogs were going to evolve and enslave the human race?

Of course there is a lot more to me than an endless string of Robotic Dog jokes. For example, here is the very first Lying Game Entry of mine that was published:

Q: What is the plot of the new film, “Charlie’s Angels: The Movie?”
A: Instead of working for the mysterious man on speaker phone, the Angels start a new job investigating questions submitted to the “Ask Jeeves” web site.

That pretty much wraps things up for this year. All that is left to do is to wait and see how life is going to be different now that the year odometer is making the big flip. I’ve done extensive testing and I am cautiously optimistic that my lava lamp and drinking bird are both going to operate correctly come January 1st. I don’t think anything bad is going to happen, but if it does I’ll be able to relax a little bit knowing that even though I didn’t send out my Christmas letter until after December 25th, all of my friends will have gotten at least one good laugh before the world comes to an end.

Chapter 12

Web Story: Christmas 2000

Welcome to the sixth year of the increasingly inaccurately named “Christmas Letter Trilogy.” The world seemed to have survived the whole Y2K scare without too much pillaging and plundering. Or at least there wasn’t any more than last year (adjusted for inflation). Despite the fact I didn’t get to spend six months in Europe this year and I didn’t have any awkward experiences in the women’s bathroom of any fast food establishments, I did manage to keep myself busy enough to write a witty and amusing end-of-the-year letter. My name is Omar Lutfey, and these are my stories.

I started off the year Dr. Evil style by giving the command to fire the (make quotation mark gesture with your fingers) “laser” on my eyes in an attempt to improve my less-than-perfect vision. The entire procedure took 15 minutes for both eyes and I was awake and alert the whole time. Overall I would say the procedure was roughly as uncomfortable as sitting through an entire episode of ‘Threes Company’ where, because of some wacky misunderstanding, Jack, Janet, and Mr. Furley think that Chrissy is pregnant. I was quite amused by the smell produced as the laser sculpted my eyes. I kept thinking how little pieces of my eye were vaporized and then sucked into my nasal cavity. Then I realized the entire operating staff was probably having the same experience. At that exact moment in time I stopped worrying about my personal safety or how my eyesight was going to be the next day, and focused exclusively on the fact a room full of people I will most likely never see again were calmly sitting there breathing in little pieces of my eye. In retrospect, my state of mind may have been affected by the fact the doctors had me hopped up on Valium.

The new year is all about making changes, and at the beginning of the year 2000 I changed my work hours at my job to four ten-hour days a week. Dispensing technical advice for C++ libraries ten hours a day isn’t the best way to spend time, but having a three day weekend every week was pretty damn cool. I had every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday free from any job-related responsibilities. I quickly discovered that going skiing during the week is preferable to the weekends. The traffic on I-70 is 80 percent less likely to get you killed, you can actually park close to where you want to ski, and you can go into the ski lodge and leisurely enjoy a 14 dollar greasy hamburger without the weekend levels of noise and commotion. I am by no stretch of the imagination a good skier, but there were a lot fewer people around to see me perform the ever embarrassing “mogul wedgie.”

In February I decided to use some of my extra free time by helping out at Habitat For Humanity. As a nonprofit organization, Habitat builds affordable, quality houses for families in need. I’ve picked up many new skills helping out– everything from building foundations to installing drywall. I’m not sure it’s going to help me out in the world of computer programming, but I think they are good general skills to have under my belt. Some people have told me volunteering my time at Habitat is a good way to meet women. I won’t disagree with that statement, but I have also taken a liking to the various power tools they let me use during the construction process. Oh yeah, and helping out poor people– that’s good too.

I’m really good at putting things off a lot longer than I probably should at times, so this year I decided to get a jump on my mid-life crisis and learn how to ride a motorcycle. A coworker of mine and I decided to sign up for a motorcycle training class in April. I called up and discovered there was only one open position left in the next session. Being the kind and helpful friend I am, I told Scott that motorcycles are too dangerous, and I signed myself up for the last spot as to protect him from any temptation of taking the class. Ironically, a few months later he took a friend’s motorcycle out for a spin and crashed it into someone’s front yard. Scott is fine, the lawn he crashed into survived, but the motorcycle wasn’t really happy about the whole incident.

I learned quite a bit about motorcycles during the weekend training class. We started Friday night by learning what all the knobs, levers, switches, and pedals do on a motorcycle and worked our way up to actually riding them around on the driving range Saturday and Sunday. We practiced just about every combination of how to stop, start, turn, and accelerate. I was one of the few students taking the class that had never ridden a motorcycle. I never got the cone weave down as well as I wanted, but I managed to get through the class without hitting anyone else or tipping the bike over, and for that I received my motorcycle license.

Once I could legally drive a motorcycle in the state of Colorado, the next step was to go out and buy a motorcycle. For me, this was by far the most annoying part of the entire process. I’m not very good at shopping in general (my wardrobe is strikingly similar to what it was in high school), and my total motorcycle experience started two weekends ago when I spent hours riding the same motorcycle around a small training course. I started by looking around at different motorcycle shops to see what they had to offer. That didn’t turn up anything that I liked that also happened to be in my price range, so I turned to the classified section of the newspaper. I eventually found a motorcycle that I liked and could afford– a dark blue 1993 Honda Nighthawk 750. After driving my motorcycle a few thousand miles since April I have become very comfortable with its abilities and limitations. If I ever encounter a police officer who wants to pull me over, I won’t have any reservations about eluding him in a high speed chase through residential neighborhoods.

October 31 was the last day I worked at Rave Software. I had been working in the Technical Support Department for 3 1/2 years, and I decided that it was time for a change in my life. I’m going to miss working with everyone in my department and all the good times we had over the years. I can’t possibly list every cool aspect of my job, but I’ll never forget the foosball table, arsenal of Nerf guns, and occasional boxing matches with the phone coordinators. Of course I can’t leave out our annual Gashos/Haunted House fun activity. Each year in October we would go to the Gashos of Japan (a Japanese restaurant where they cook the food right in front of you), get really drunk on saki and plum wine, and then go to a local haunted house. If you are wondering why I left such a fun work environment, I discovered that some of the people in the company received their positions by selling their souls to the Devil and go about their daily business as nothing more than minions of Satan.

I decided to celebrate my last day at Rave Software by going out that night and getting a four point speeding ticket. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. The cop clocked me going 57 in a 45. To make matters worse, he didn’t even give me a chance to beg and grovel my way out of the ticket. I was telling a friend I had met online about what happened, and it turned out that she knew the officer who issued me the ticket. When I went into the courthouse to defend my driving skills, the clerk at the main desk informed me that the district attorney has offered me a zero point plea bargain. How cool is that? I accepted the offer and got out of there before they had a chance to change their minds. I never thought anything useful would ever come about from meeting women over the Internet, but I stand corrected. Thank you, Jenny πŸ™‚

Where am I going to go from here? What will the true new millennium hold for me? If you know the answers to these questions, please e-mail me so I can get on with my life. I’m thinking of getting out of the computer industry all together and following my dream of dying my hair blue and forming a comedic guitar duo that sings funny songs for spare change out on the Pearl Street Mall when the weather is nice. I’m not sure exactly what kind of 401K plan that would provide, but I’ve already written a few songs such as “Taco Bell– Village of the Damned” and “Tupperware Death Party” that I believe will help me earn a name for myself in the cut throat world of street performing.

Well, I guess I’ve rambled on enough for this year. I wish only the best for everyone in 2001. Everyone, that is, except for Jar Jar Binks– I wish only bad and evil things for that computer generated monstrosity. I fantasize about him being pummeled to death in the next Star Wars movie by the Ewoks after some wacky misunderstanding during his gratuitous vacation scene on the third moon of Endor. But that’s just me. Thank you for coming, have a good night, and drive safely.

Chapter 13

Web Story: Squishy Ball

Being a comedy writer is not always easy. Being a comedy writer that nobody has ever heard of doesn’t make the situation any better. Or at least I suspect this is the case. I’m sure all writers have to deal with mental blocks that keep the words from being transferred from the brain to the keyboard from time to time. Sometimes it becomes necessary to “fall back” on countless readers who willingly send in funny local newspaper stories involving strange occurrences involving toilets, animals, and possibly explosions put together in some rather humorous combination. This method, however, can only be used if you are an established comedy writer with an internationally syndicated newspaper column where countless readers are aware of the fact that you write comedy for a living.

One of the most common approaches to humor is to make fun of a physical condition of a complete stranger. Try using the phrase “severe rectal itch” without it being funny. Not counting the last sentence. A typical example goes something like this: “My wife thought she had a SEVERE RECTAL ITCH, but it turns out she just wants to have kids.” This type of comedy is, in my humble opinion, not particularly suited to my style of writing. First of all, I don’t have a wife. And if I did, with my luck I would be the one with severe rectal itch. Readers would be scratching their heads wondering if our kids would have the ailment, and how that is supposed to be funny.

I think this style is better suited to standup comedians. While the aforementioned phrase used in the printed word does maintain some of its intended qualities, the heart of the joke lays in the physical interpretation of the medical condition. Just imagine a young man in a dark comedy club running around on stage pretending to be his pregnant wife who happens to be suffering from severe rectal itch. Now there is a five minute comedy routine that anyone would enjoy. Well, maybe not his wife.

So where does a guy like me turn to when the proverbial comedy well runs dry? Generally speaking, I go and play with my toys. On either side of my computer I have a lava lamp. When the words aren’t coming out, I’ll turn them on and start reminiscing about the 1970s. Of course I was no older than 5 years old during that decade, so I can’t say I understood too many of the political and sociological changes that shook our nation. Elvis died before I had a chance to sing “Heartbreak Hotel” in the shower. Saturday Night Live was making fun of Jimmy Carter’s career as a nuclear scientist before I was allowed to stay up that late. But I digress.

Lava lamps do their share to provide me with visual stimulation, but it’s kind of a one way process. Sure, they can be turned on and off. Although they get hot, it is also possible to shake them up to see what happens. But when all is said and done, the lava lamps are just made to be watched.

Interactivity is the key for a toy to hold my interest. That is why I love my squishy ball so. It fits wonderfully in the palm of my hand. Inside the green stretchy rubber exterior is some type of fluid with hundreds of little tiny purple and blue beads that float about at will. I sit on my couch and play with it when I need inspiration. I squish one side of the ball and lots of the beads go squirting off to the other side. One of my favorite things to do is to squish the ball in half and try and get all the beads on one side, and all the fluid on the other. It’s quite a difficult task. And the worst part is that the fluid inside is somewhat opaque, so I can never be one hundred percent sure I have achieved my goal. But that is totally beside the point. I can’t explain how, but it inspires me to write.

Many of my friends who have seen my squishy ball notice it has a definite resemblance to a breast implant. That is why I now keep it carefully hidden from casual observers in the back of my desk drawer. While I’m not opposed to breast implants in extreme cases such as mastectomies and severe rectal itch, I don’t want my squishy ball being surgically placed in the chest of a woman. Even if the recipient host were to somehow agree to quietly sit in my apartment and let me play with it whenever I wanted, I’m sure with my luck the “women-ness” would rub off on the squishy ball. It would only be a matter of time before the squishy ball would say to me, “Let’s just be friends, OK?”

A lot of people wonder how much of what I write is the truth. I include myself in this group. I’m not saying I always tell the truth, but I would never lie about my toys. That is why I felt it necessary to dedicate this story to severe rect. I mean Mr. Squishy Ball.

Chapter 14

Omar: Hey
Brian: What’s going on?
Omar: Not too much. I’m about to leave work. This week has seen an abnormally large number of annoying customers for me. I’m going to stop by my apartment, take a quick shower, and then head down to Angie’s place for the party. I think I’ll probably get there around 8:30 or 9.
Brian: That’s cool. I’ll probably get there a little bit later. It turns out that Janet is in town after all, but she just wants to go out to dinner because she is getting up early in the morning for a bike race. She said to have the party go on without her.
Omar: It looks like it might snow tonight. I think I might take up Brian’s offer to sleep on their couch. I don’t like the idea of driving back up to Boulder in a blizzard at 3 in the morning.
Brian: Not a bad idea, I suppose. Maybe you can sleep on the vibrating couch. You should call that one before someone else does.
Omar: I was trying to decide if I should bring anything. I know that they are cooking dinner there, so I don’t know what would be appropriate. That and I don’t really feel like cooking anything.
Brian: Just bring some Oreos.
Omar: I was thinking along the lines of Cheeze Its.
Brian: I think either one would be fine.
Omar: Cool, I’m out of here. See you at the party.
Brian: I’m sure it will be interesting. See you tonight.

Chapter 15

To: Brian
From: Angie
Subject: Party

Now I know why Omar doesn’t drink very often.


Chapter 16

To: Angie
From: Brian
Subject: RE: Party

I was quite amused watching Omar at the party. He didn’t drink all that much for how sick he got after the party died down. I thought he was going to be fine after he crashed on the couch, but I guess not.

After a few drinks he started going on about the anatomy of all my ex girlfriends. I didn’t really appreciate that, but watching him with the ladies made up for it. I don’t think Omar will be drinking much for a while.

Oh yeah-thanks for hosting the party. I don’t think I’ll forget it any time soon. And I don’t think we will ever let Omar live it down.


Chapter 17

Web Story: Angie’s Christmas Party

If you happen to be familiar with my annual Christmas letter you may be scratching your head thinking “But Omar, it’s not anywhere near the end of the year– how can you already be posting your Christmas letter?” I decided that publishing my Christmas letter only once a year is not consistent with my idiom of working on “Internet Time.” I’m not exactly sure how to define “Internet Time,” but for the purposes of this letter it is me being up at 3 in the morning in my boxers and a T-shirt surfing the web because I got tired of watching infomercials on the television.

What do women want? This question has plagued mankind since God kicked us out of the Garden of Eden (which I believed contained no menstrual cycles, beauty magazine quizzes, or clothes that made Eve look fat). When contemplating what women want, I prefer to approach the problem from a different perspective. It is possible to list all the things that men could possibly do, take out the things that woman don’t want, and what is left, by the process of deduction, is what women want. While creating a list of all possible actions mankind can take is well beyond my attention span, I am willing to add a few items to the “don’t do” list.

First of all, women like compliments. There are, however, some important issues to consider when telling a woman “I love you.” Fellow men out there, I cannot stress this enough: only say this to a wife or established girlfriend. In general, a woman you have met for lunch once or twice and exchanged a few E-mail messages with does not meet these criterion. If you are invited to a party, it is generally considered bad taste to repeatedly yell out to the woman hosting the party “Angie, I love you. I know you don’t love me back, but that’s OK.” For whatever reason you may think it’s a good idea at the time (i.e. EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION), it will ultimately do more damage than good.

Secondly, trying to hit on women after excessive alcohol consumption is generally not a good idea. For example, you may think that going around at a party after downing a few drinks telling women you have never met they have a nice tail and a blouse full of goodies is an example of your witty banter, but in reality they usually just smile politely, leave the room for some reason or another, and strangely enough you never see them again.

And last of all, it is a good idea to stay after the party has died down and help clean up the mess. It is a bad idea to stay after the party has died down and repeatedly throw up in the sink before you pass out on the couch until the next afternoon. No further explanation is needed for this point.

I really can’t continue until I confess something here. I didn’t just use my overactive imagination to create three random activities women don’t like. I attended Angie’s Christmas party, got drunk, professed my unrequited love to her, told several other women they had nice tails and blouses full of goodies, threw up several times (for history’s sake, I remember it being once in the sink, and three times in the toilet), and passed out on their couch. Around eleven in the morning, on what I think was my last trip to bow down to the porcelain God, I looked down at my boxer shorts and bare legs and commented to Angie, “I’m not wearing any pants” in a somewhat matter-of-fact tone of voice. It was well past noon when I finally thought I could make it home without blowing chunks in my car.

I can’t say that I’m really proud of what I did, but I have to admit that it’s pretty amusing despite the fact that I am the ass in the story. In general I like to write stories where other people look stupid– it makes me feel better about my shortcomings in life. While I could have altered the facts of the story to make me look better, I don’t think it would have made for a funny story. Since I put (slightly) more importance on being funny than being truthful, I recorded the events as accurately as my impaired brain recalled them.

For reasons that I greatly appreciate yet do not totally comprehend, Angie doesn’t seem to hate me. I suspect it is analogous to the episode of “Cops” where the guy in the beat up old pickup truck gets caught with the prostitute only to realize SHE was really a HE while handcuffed in the back seat of the patrol car. Sure, you can send him down to the station to be booked, but in all reality everything that happened before the police and television crew arrived will torture his soul a lot longer than any consequences of legal proceedings. As far as Angie goes, I think it is safe to assume that her name will not come up in future letters any time soon. If I manage to get invited to next year’s party, I think I’ll be the designated driver.

And, just in case you are wondering, I took that line from the movie “Hot Shots.” The actual quote is “Not playing to win is like sleeping with your sister. Sure she’s a great piece of tail with a blouse full of goodies, but it’s just illegal.”

Chapter 18

Web Story: Do Pennies Make Our Lives Better?

Until last week I considered myself neutral on the entire penny issue. A recently published report sponsored by Americans for Common Cents (a pro-penny group backed by zinc companies) documents the effects if the Federal government were to take pennies out of circulation. Some of these negative consequences includes an effective 600 million dollar “rounding tax”, erosion of consumer confidence, and increase in the national deficit.

I believe this report should be viewed with extreme skepticism. Aside from the copper coating, pennies consist of 98% zinc. I will admit upfront that I have no previous experience with the zinc industry or how it operates, but I think it is reasonable to believe they make a fair number of dollars producing all those pretty pennies for the US Treasury Department. Every time a penny is lost down between the couch cushions, dropped down a wishing well, or carefully placed in the path of an oncoming locomotive, the zinc industry is there to help produce a brand new one. That doesn’t even include pennies that just get worn out by getting jiggled around in pockets and purses on a daily basis. If pennies were to be taken out of circulation, I don’t think the zinc industry would be very happy.

After reading about how important the zinc industry thinks pennies are to the survival of this country, I started thinking about how pennies fit into my life. Every night I take the change out of my pockets and put it into a jar that sits on my nightstand. Once the jar gets filled up I take it to my bank and put the money into my checking account. The jar goes home and the whole process starts again. If I lived in a world without pennies, I think it would take a little longer to fill up the jar, but the process itself would remain unchanged.

I thought about this long and hard, and I have been unable to envision how pennies make my life any easier. Parking meters and vending machines don’t like pennies. Parking meters swallow my pennies, but don’t allow me to leave my car parked any longer. I guess it’s not worth their time to give them back. Vending machines generally spit the pennies out into the coin return slot. I suppose I would not be too happy if I was waiting behind someone who needed to insert 125 coins before the king-sized Snickers bar dropped out of the machine.

Can our great nation survive without pennies? How can we fairly conduct commerce without the proper tools to pay the exact goods and services? The answer is that we do it all the time without even realizing it. Do you ever stop at a gas station and worry about how you are going to pay for gasoline that costs $1.59 and 9/10ths of a penny per gallon? Do you ever wonder how the gas station can charge 9/10ths of a penny for a gallon of gasoline? Of course not– the gas station just rounds it to the nearest penny when they calculate the total price. Sure, they could set the price at $1.60, but then it doesn’t seem like quite as much of a bargain.

Pennies used to be produced entirely of copper, but in the 1980’s the composition was changed when the cost of producing a penny out of copper exceeded the value of the coin itself. According to Americans for Common Cents, it costs taxpayers 0.72 cents to produce a penny. What are we going to do when, as it did once before, pennies are too expensive to produce? How about pennies with holes in the middle? Or better yet, we could get rid of the metal all together and declare that any scrap of paper with the hand written phrase “This piece of paper is worth one cent” is legal tender up to four cents. At least that way we could all sleep easier knowing that we don’t have to pay 600 million dollars in these so-called rounding taxes.

A sign that pennies aren’t valued in our society anymore can be seen in those little trays near the cash registers of most gas stations. A lot of people believe it’s easier to give pennies to a total stranger than slide them back into a purse or pocket. Do people leave their pennies in the tray because they believe in karma, or is it easier than having the coins stick around in their pockets until laundry day? Personally, I think it’s a little from column A and a little from column B. Either way, it doesn’t speak well for the value of a penny.

In all honesty, I don’t know which course of action is the best for our nation. I’m sure that either way the sun will still rise each morning, another wildly successful boy band will rocket out from total obscurity, and people will find something else to annoy them in their every day lives. Perhaps somewhere down the road I’ll write another article that starts “What’s the deal with nickels? Why are they larger than dimes? Do they REALLY make our lives any easier….”

Chapter 19

Web Story: Time On My Hands

People covet that which is new and shiny. This universal truth has been demonstrated once again in the south suburbs of Denver, Colorado on Tuesday when hundreds of people waited for hours in the freezing early morning fog as the first Krispy Kreme store opened. I find this entertaining not because people camped out the night before the grand opening or that the wait to buy doughnuts was still an hour-and-a-half at eight o’clock in the evening. The really amusing part of this story was traffic was so heavy around the doughnut shop that it clogged up the highways in the area the entire day.

A lot of people tell me that I have too much time on my hands. While I don’t disagree with that statement, I feel it is my duty to point out that I was not one of the thousands of people who stopped at Krispy Kreme on Tuesday. I would also like to point out there are many, many bakeries in the Denver area that bake doughnuts every day that can be visited without cashing in a sick day.

The story got me thinking about what kind of things I do to waste time. A lot of people seem to think that running the web site is clear proof that I have too much time on my hands. While I can’t totally disagree with that statement, I’m not the kind of guy who wastes time with a single activity. No– I like to think I am very diversified in this part of my life. To prove my point (and waste a little time in the process), I thought I would talk about one of my more memorable recent time killers.

Before I go into the details here, I would like to emphasize the point that not everyone who uses a vacuum to clean their patio has a mental illness. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. First of all, my patio is on the first floor and has a four foot high concrete barrier in lieu of a decorative railing. The concrete compliments the thorny bushes that block out 95 percent of the sunlight that attempts to get through. These architectural cues were borrowed from the beach front structures the Germans used to defend their positions in Normandy.

In addition to being a strategic location to mount heavy artillery, my porch is also a great place for dust and leaves to collect. If left unattended for a few years, the area would completely fill up with dirt and develop it’s own thriving ecosystem. While I’m generally all for allowing man and nature to peacefully coexist, I also would like to get back my damage deposit when I move out of my apartment. So every now and then I go out and clean up the area.

The leaves and random pieces of trash that visit my porch don’t really put up much of a fight when clean up time approaches. The real problem is the fine dirt– it doesn’t really sweep up very well since the area is not very large. The fact that the floor of the porch sits several feet below the ground means there isn’t anywhere to sweep the dirt. That was when I decided to bring out the vacuum cleaner.

Anyone who has known me for any length of time probably wouldn’t describe me as a “clean freak”. The whole point of vacuuming my patio was to get it clean with the least amount of effort. In all honesty, I didn’t think that using a vacuum cleaner was going to work very well. In fact it turned out to be a lot less effort than the half-assed approach I was initially going to use. Getting the porch cleaner than initially planned was just an added bonus to the entire situation.

I would like to encourage everyone who reads this to make sure to spend some time each day doing something that isn’t productive. You don’t have to look far to find such activities. Play a few games of “Minesweeper” on your computer. Think about what the sequel to “The Matrix” is going to be like. Sit around and imagine what Al Gore is doing today instead of running the country. And, if you are one of the many, many people who are wasting time waiting in line at Krispy Kreme, pick me up a half-dozen glazed doughnuts and a pint of milk.

Chapter 20

Subject: Web Site Partnership Offer

Dear Mr. Lutfey,

This message is in regard to the web site located at According to our records you are the registered owner of the aforementioned domain name. If this information is incorrect, please disregard this message.

As you probably already know, Yahoo is currently the most popular search engine on the Internet. Every day our site registers over 3 million hits from people interested in the moderated directory list maintained by our company. The most successful initial public offering in this country has put Yahoo in a position of considerable economic clout. With a market cap of 10 billion dollars (and rising every day), Yahoo will be able to direct the growth of the Internet to meet the future needs of our massive customer base.

While we take pride in our past accomplishments, we are also looking at the future of the Internet. We realize that sitting back and enjoying our past achievements will compromise the future profitability of Yahoo. We are pleased to announce a new pilot program here at Yahoo called “Content Investment Strategy.”
Content Investment Strategy, or CIS for short, sits at the heart of our plan to expand Yahoo from a simple search engine into an entire destination portal that meets all the general needs for everyone who is surfing the Internet. The strength of our web site is the fact that the directory listing is categorized and moderated to provide the most objective and useful information possible. While other search engines use automated processes that are subject to manipulation by crafty web designers, Yahoo invests considerable time and effort to ensure the highest possible quality.

The first step in the CIS process is to identify current and future areas of interest on the Internet. This includes a wide variety of functionality, including static informational content (information found in an encyclopedia, for example), electronic commerce, and Internet games. This list is by no means static– categories are being added to the list on a continuous basis as the Internet evolves.

As these general areas are identified, we look for web sites which fulfill these needs and work to establish partnerships to help maintain the focus of the sites. This provides Yahoo with a system of reviewing and maintaining web sites for expanding customer base. Once a site is accepted into the program, it receives a prominent location on the web site and is marketed within the Yahoo site through banner ads and other promotional devices. As long as the site adheres to the rules laid out in the CIS program, it will remain eligible for these benefits. We realize the Internet is constantly changing, but we hope the CIS program can provide a stable environment.

In addition to the extensive marketing benefits of this program, we provide a generous benefit package for the owners of CIS web sites. Here are the highlights of the benefits:

For the duration of the contract, we will provide the following compensation:

As the manager of the site, you will receive a salary of $50,000 per year.

You will be provided with all the server space to host the site at no charge.

A budget for reasonable office space and related computer equipment will be provided

Stock options based on the number of visits to the web site through the Yahoo web site.

As you build up traffic on your web site, you may make requests for additional funds to increase your staff. Requests are geared toward increasing the content of the CIS web sites.

All CIS sites are assigned a general CIS manager. This manager will be responsible for allocating funds and supervising the general content of individual CIS sites. The main reasons for contacting the CIS manager will be to request budget alterations and inform him or her of large content changes to the member site. Any other questions regarding the CIS program or Yahoo in general should go through the manager.

Yahoo is generally not interested in censoring or otherwise altering the content of CIS web sites. While we reserve the right to remove sites from the CIS program without notice, the general manager of CIS will notify sites if he or she feels the content is not in line with the goals of Yahoo and declare a 60 day probationary period for the owner of the web site to modify the content. Yahoo in no way benefits when sites are taken out of the CIS program, so we want to actively work with CIS web sites to ensure they maintain the focus and goals of the site. Only in extreme cases (such as wildly inappropriate and offensive material being displayed) will sites be removed from the program without a probationary warning period.

We have examined the site at and believe it would be a good candidate for the CIS program. The general concept of providing a platform for comedy writers who are not established has the benefit of constantly updated content and the potential for a large audience base. We also feel that the marketing benefits of the CIS program would allow your site to grow at an accelerated rate based on the exponential increase in traffic. We would like to add your web site to the CIS program under the category of:


If you are interested in pursuing this offer, please e-mail me or get me on the telephone so we can discuss the matter in more detail. Your response to this offer will be reviewed at our next content assessment meeting on January 6, 2000. I’m sure your schedule is pretty busy with the holidays around the corner, so don’t feel as though you need to make a decision right away. As long as I get a response before the meeting I can plan accordingly.

Thank you,
Bob Yager
CIS Director

Chapter 21

To: Brain, Karen, Mom, Angie
From: Omar
Subject: You won’t believe this!

Hey everyone,

I can’t believe this, but I got an e-mail from Yahoo. Basically they want to finance my newfunny site. I know it sounds strange, but I’m not making this up. The idea is that they pay me to maintain the web sites and expand the content, and in return they get to include the site as part of their “web portal.” I guess they want to build a variety of sites so that people who visit the web site view it as more than just a directory listing.

How cool is that? I’m really excited about this. I really believe this is my chance to establish myself as a writer. I’ve attached the e-mail from Yahoo. Please do me a favor by reading it over and telling me what you think of the idea.


Chapter 22

To: Omar
From: Mom
Subject: RE: You won’t believe this!


I read your e-mail, but I’m kind of confused. Does this mean you are going to quit your job at Rave Software? You have been there for almost 4 years now and things seem pretty stable in your life. Are you sure you want to give that up? What if this other company decides to change their mind at the last minute? Are they going to offer health insurance?

You know I worry about you, but you should do what you believe is best for you. If it were me, I would stick with the more stable position. I was reading in the paper about how the dot com companies are overvalued in the stock market. Is this company going to be around a year from now? I don’t want to see you jump ship and then be stuck without a job.

I’m sure that if your father was still around he would want you to take the chance. I think you inherited his free spirit when he died.

Keep me informed, and remember you are always welcome to come down to Denver if you want me to cook you a decent meal or do your laundry.

I’m off to ride my bike downtown, but I expect I will get back around two in the afternoon.


Chapter 23

To: Omar
From: Brian
Subject: RE: You won’t believe this!

I thought you were making the whole thing up at first, but then I looked up on the Yahoo web site and it’s all there. It doesn’t sound like something I would be very interested in pursuing, but you seem to like to write about strange things. Do you think that you can keep writing about new things every week? Won’t you run out of things to talk about after a while?

It looks like it pays about the same as what you are doing now, so at least you can be assured you aren’t going to go broke. There is a danger they could pull the plug on the project whenever they want. But I suppose they are investing a lot of time and effort up front with the office space and all, so you would probably have to piss them off pretty bad before they kick you out.

I think you should go for it. At least this way you won’t have to deal with irate C++ computer programmers all day long. That’s worth a lot.


Chapter 24

To: Omar
From: Karen
Subject: RE: You won’t believe this!

Wow, mom called me and totally flipped out. She doesn’t want you to quit your job at all. She kept on going on about how dad always wanted to fly off and start his own x-ray company. You made her cry– I hope you are happy. And I was the one who had to deal with her on the phone for an hour last night.

I don’t know why you asked everyone for their opinion. I can tell by the tone of your last e-mail that you have already decided to do it. You have never been one for moderation or objective deliberation– I don’t know why you would start now.

But I do hope this works out for you. You realize that if someone is going to be paying you to do this you better start proofreading your work A LOT better than you have done in the past. I would seriously suggest you hire a proofreader as one of your first official acts of business. Being your sister I am unable to give you direct praise for your work, so I’ll just say this: You better not freak mom out too much. You know that when she gets upset about things you do she calls me and wants to know. You live 45 miles away from mom, and I live 2000 miles away. So don’t go sending her e-mail messages about shit like this. Call her and explain what’s going on or go talk to her in person. I’ll bet that will do a lot to keep her relatively calm.

Well, I’ve got to go and see if my car will start today. The high so far today has been negative twenty. As long as I start it up at least once a day it seems to work OK. I guess this is the price I have to pay for taking a job in Minnesota.

Talk to you later,

Chapter 25

To: Omar
From: Angie
Subject: RE: You won’t believe this!

That is SOOO cool. I am totally jealous. So are you going to be working from your house, or are you going to be able to afford an office? I’m sure that you aren’t going to miss working in tech support. You haven’t seemed like a happy camper there for a while now. I say go for it! When is another chance like this going to come up for you? Besides, I’m sure you could always go back and work at technical support if this didn’t work out for you.

Anyway, I’ve got to get going. My boss gave me a big report that has to be done by Friday, and I’m going to try and make it back to Nebraska this weekend so I can visit my brothers before things get too hectic with Christmas activities.


Chapter 26

To: Bob
From: Omar
Subject: web site proposal

Dear Mr. Yager,

I have received your e-mail regarding the inclusion of into Yahoo’s CIS program. I would like to officially accept your offer. I am excited to become a part of the Yahoo company.

What is the next step in the process? Is there some paperwork I need to sign before we get started? Are we going to meet in person?


Chapter 27

To: Omar
From: Bob
Subject: newfunny website

Dear Mr. Lutfey,

I am happy you accepted our offer to join the Yahoo team.

I will send you all the paperwork to begin the process. This should be a fairly straight forward process. If you have any questions about the contract you can call me and I will do what I can to clear things up for you.

As far as meeting in person goes, I don’t think that is necessary at this point in time. I don’t have more information than what I have already provided you, and I will be the only person you will be likely to be communicating with here at Yahoo. While I am not against you coming to the Yahoo main office, I would suggest that at this time you be focusing on your web site.

Once you sign and return the contract, I will expect an initial report on the status of your web site. As it is right now, the site is somewhat sparse. Given that you are being allocated additional financial resources, I would like to see your plan for updating the content of the site. Ideally this should be done on at least a weekly if not daily basis. I also like to see plans that include a variety of content updates. For example, having a smaller section that gets updated every day along with a more complex section that gets updated twice a month will keep people interested in the site. Finally, you seem to currently be focusing on your writing on the site. Expanding into other types of media would be a good idea.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask me.


Chapter 28

To: Bob
From: Omar
Subject: Getting Started

Dear Bob,

I received all the paperwork in the mail the other day. I didn’t have any issues with any of the contract, so I signed it and Fed Expressed it back to you. I think you should have it by Thursday.

Here is the proposal report for the web site based on the advice you gave me in your previous e-mail.

Here is an overview of the site as it stand right now.

Currently, the site consists of writing I’ve done in the past, mostly relating to firsthand account of my life. For the most part, this has been achieved through the use of a “Christmas Letter” style of writing. The one exception involves the six month business trip I took to Amsterdam. These stories explain the highlights of my life from a humorous perspective.

I plan on expanding the site using three different types of media– traditional writing, Flash animation, and Video. Here is a break down of my plans for each area.

Traditional writing:

This section will contain stories of three different types. The first type will be personal stories about my life. These existing Christmas letters I already have written will be part of this category. I will be writing them on a more frequent basis, but the style and content will be the same. Whenever something interesting happens to me, I’ll write a story about it.

The second type of writing will be centered around a commentary approach. These works will include some type of social commentary while still maintaining a humorous tone. This will be focused on a national level of interest, so that anyone from the United States will be able to identify with the topic. Occasionally topics of local and international interest will be written to provide variety. One example that I am working on right now involves the politics of taking pennies out of circulation. It’s not exactly front page news, but everyone in the country would have a small interest in getting rid of these coins.

The last section will involve a fictional character that is closely involved with the web site. I have named him Ertok and he is an Evil Alien Overlord. He was sent to assess the world defensive capabilities and report back to his superiors. Ertok has taken over the web site and oversees all the operations. I believe this will help attract all the Star Trek geeks out on the web. You would be surprised how many of them are out there.

All three of these sections would be written by me. I think that in addition to running the other areas of the web site (under Ertok’s command, of course), I would be able to write one or two new 800 word stories a week and still maintain the same quality of my previous work.

Flash Animation:

This would be a completely new section. If you aren’t familiar with Flash animation, it is basically a way of putting customized cartoon style animation on a web site. An example of this would be the cartoon on Comedy Central called “South Park.” The idea here is to hire a director of flash animation. His job would be to put together a cartoon series. I believe we can recruit local talent from the numerous hi tech vocational and arts schools in the area. Since many of these students would be eager to show off their work, we should be able to get their assistance without having to spend a lot of money.


The idea for this section would be to create a sketch comedy series similar to that of “Kids in the Hall” or “Saturday Night Live.” After purchasing a digital video camera, we will write scripts and create them with the help of newfunny employees and members of local thespian groups. There will be a one-time cost for the camera, and a modest cost for props and other miscellaneous items.

Another aspect to the site that I plan on implementing involves getting people who look at the web site to contribute ideas for the Flash animation and Video sections. If it works out, there will be two benefits. First of all, we can reduce the creative demands on the newfunny staff. This will allow everyone to focus on maintaining the quality of the site. The second, less obvious benefit, is to make the people who are looking at the site feel as though they are involved. This will keep traffic on the web site up as people visit the site to see if we used their ideas.

The logistical side of my proposal is rather modest. I plan on renting a small office. Given the nature of the site, I considered having everyone work out of their houses and meet somewhere each week to talk about what needs to be done, but I dismissed that idea because I think it would keep everyone from forming into a cohesive team. A lot of the work that will be done involves a deeply creative element and spending time together should help inspire everyone.

I plan on hiring three full time people, in addition to myself. The first is going to be a general manager. The duty of the general manager will be to oversee all office operations, answer phone calls, and generally make sure everything is running smoothly. The next employee will be the Flash manager. While I have worked with Flash in the past, I feel hiring someone to oversee this part of the web site will be more productive for everyone involved. Finally, I’m going to hire a video director. This position will involve coming up with scripts for the sketch comedy and monitoring the filming and editing of the whole process.

If there are any areas on which you feel I should focus, please let me know and I can change the details of the plan.

I hope this meets with your expectations of me and my web site. I must admit that I’ve never done anything like this before, but I am positive that I can make this site something you and the Yahoo corporation will be proud of. If there are any problems, please let me know right away so I can fix them as soon as possible.

Thank you,
Omar Lutfey

Internet Grandeur:
The Story of
Part 2
Written by Omar Lutfey

Chapter 1

To: Bob
From: Omar
Subject: Monthly status report


I’ve spent the better part of this week setting up shop. First I got in touch with the Yahoo accounting office to get all the paperwork straightened out. Everything there went smoothly, although I have to say that they didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor over there.

My next task was to find a suitable office space for this operation. While Boulder is a great town to live in, finding affordable office real estate is a challenge. Between the nearby foothills and the vast areas of land devoted to open space, there is not a lot of land to develop for business use. However, after a substantial search I was able to find a suitable location. I signed a lease for a 2000 square foot office that overlooks the Pearl Street Mall. It has a small kitchen and enough room for at least five or six people to work on the web site. I signed a six month lease with an option to stay another six months. It used to be occupied by another dot com company that recently went out of business. Hopefully newfunny will stay around longer.

I hired an office manager. Her name is Katie and she lives in the Boulder area. She will be responsible for running the office, keeping the financial paperwork in order, and assist with the video production on occasion. Her job is to make sure everything runs smoothly so I can focus on the web site itself.

I have also started the process of hiring for the Flash animation director and Video director. These jobs require more specialized skills, so the hiring process will be a bit more involved. I hope to have these positions filled by the end of next week. By the end of the month there should be content on the site from these areas.

Unless something spectacular comes up, I’ll plan on giving you updates once a month or when any special needs arise. Is that a good time frame for you? I’m sure the minute details aren’t of much interest to you, but if you need more information just let me know. I don’t want you to feel like you are out of the loop.

Omar Lutfey

Chapter 2

Web Story: Introduction Letter

Thanks for subscribing to the newsletter. I created this site as a moderated showcase for the talents of up-and-coming comedy writers. So if you like to write and believe that you are the next Dave Berry or Douglas Adams, please feel free to submit your work. If you can’t write, but like to read what other people write when they are trying to be funny, please enjoy this site. If you can’t read or write and for some strange reason have e-mail, have someone read the newsletter out loud every issue. is the first web site to officially acknowledge being run by Evil Alien Overlords in an attempt to distract humanity from their future invasion and enslavement plans. My name is Omar and I host the site and shamelessly bow down to our future masters in a “Locutus Of Borg” capacity. I am controlled by one of the Evil Alien Overlords via a XR-2300 neural interface. Everyone else has the less painful option of submitting material through the web site [ERTOK: we can’t go around equipping every humanoid with an XR-2300 BEFORE the mass landing of the replicator vessels, now can we? HA HA HA]

Oh yes, I forgot to mention Ertok the Evil Alien Overlord who oversees this web site. He has a keen– if somewhat twisted– interest in humanity and occasionally likes to add his own thoughts to the web site. It is in my best interest to indulge Ertok since he has led me to believe that one of the features of the XR-2300 is the ability to make my head explode.

Chapter 3

To: Katie
From: Omar
Subject: Flash Director Resume


Here is a resume that came in this afternoon. Her name is Jenny and I believe she would be qualified for the Flash director position. I would really like to get her in the office for an interview. Please contact her references and if everything checks out see if you can get her in to the office for an interview as soon as possible.


Chapter 4

To: Samantha
From: Katie
Subject: It’s been a strange month


Boy, it’s been a strange past couple of months. Sorry I haven’t written to you in so long. Here are the highlights of my life since I talked to you last.

I’m not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I decided to move in with Mark. My previous roommate decided to spend all of the rent money on booze. So she just sits around the house all day drinking whiskey and picking up guys on the Internet. She must not have been paying any other bills because her car was repossessed and the credit card companies keep calling and wanting to speak to her. I needed a place to go before the eviction process was completed.

I know Mark and I have only been seeing each other for two months, but he offered to let me stay at the house he was renting in Boulder for as long as I needed. Mark is pretty quirky, but I think overall he is a kind, considerate man. I’ve only lived in Colorado a few months, and I don’t know a lot of people yet. If I was still in Kansas City, this wouldn’t have ever happened since I know a dozen friends who would take me in for a few weeks.

So I reluctantly took Mark up on his offer. I threw all my stuff into the back of my pickup truck when my roommate went to get some more liquor. I didn’t want her around while I was moving out. I could just see her claiming stuff is hers just so she could take it to the pawn shop to get some more cash. It’s a good thing she doesn’t have a car. I don’t know if I would have made it without the extra time it takes her to walk. I drove away right as she turned the corner. While it was definitely the most dramatic move of my life, at least I’m out of there for good.

Things with Mark went really well in the beginning. His lives in a small house in Boulder, so things were pretty tight with us both living there. It’s a good thing I don’t have any of my own furniture to lug around. The biggest problem I had revolved around his pets. He has two cats and two dogs. They run around the house as a single pack. They aren’t vicious or anything, but the experience was quite intimidating at first.

The only bad experience with “the pack” happened in the first week I was living there. It was one of those lazy Saturday mornings where neither of us had anything to do until later on that night. We were getting kind of, ummm, busy in the bed when all the animals decided to come play with us. Not a pretty sight, I must say. So now we make sure to securely close the bedroom door when we want some privacy.

Things started getting strange a few weeks later when he brought home the monkey. And, no, I’m not talking about a cute stuffed animal or a euphemism for one of his body parts. This was a real live monkey. Mark wouldn’t say exactly where he got it from, but I’m pretty sure that it involves one of his Green Peace friends. They probably broke into one of those places where they test perfume on animals. Of course they didn’t think about getting him back to Africa or wherever he came from. No, they just gave him to Mark to look after.

So we decided to name the monkey “Chappy”. It took a while, but he started to get along with the rest of the pack. I’m not sure why, but Chappy has this very annoying habit of throwing his own feces at the other animals when he wants attention. Well, the dogs would have none of that. They bit into Chappy a few times before chasing him up the aspen tree in the back yard. Chappy learned his lesson-now he only does it to the oldest cat who doesn’t put up much of a fight.

We were all getting used to living with each other when out of the blue Mark says he has to leave town. He says that a friend needs his help for a month, maybe two. He absolutely wouldn’t tell me where he was going or why. Something about it being for my own protection. It’s probably going to be more activities with Green Peace. He did leave me enough money to pay the bills for the next couple of months, but we ended up having this huge fight as he was walking out the door. Mark was going on about how I need to respect his boundaries. I think leaving me to be the zoo keeper for an indefinite amount of time is asking a bit too much of me.

Chappy saw the whole thing and took it pretty hard. I think he is depressed now, if it’s even possible for monkeys to get that way. Most of the time he sits around in the back yard halfheartedly throwing his feces at nobody in particular. I can just see him thinking, “Why do I even bother? I’m just trying to have a little fun, but everyone seems to hate me around here.” I think poor Chappy thinks it was his fault that Mark left. The monkey hardly ever masturbates in front of the other animals anymore. The fact that I’ve made such an observation is a testament to how weird my life is right now.

On a more positive note, I did manage to get a job in Boulder. I am now working for a guy who is creating this funny web site. Yahoo is sponsoring the whole deal. It’s just the two of us in the office right now, but hopefully there will be about a half a dozen in the next couple of weeks. The guy running the show is named Omar. He seems like a nice guy. His focus is on writing. I guess he thinks he is going to be the next Dave Barry. I’ve read some of the stuff he has written so far, and it is somewhat amusing.

He doesn’t seem to know anything about running a business, so he just dumps everything off on me. Right now I hardly have much to do, but I think things will pick up pretty soon. We have a small office on Pearl Street. Omar took the office that looks onto the Pearl Street mall. I have a nice view of the ally. Overall it’s a nice setup. I don’t know if the whole business will be around in six months, but it’s a job for right now. And it gets me away from my depressed monkey, so I’m pretty happy.

Well, I better get back to work. I have to talk to some headhunters and get a bunch of interviews set up for later on in the week.

Katie Office Manager

Chapter 5

Web Story: Thoughts on the Competition

While there are a lot of people in the world I consider to be my role models, I would like to devote some time and effort to recognize my favorite newspaper columnist. As a reward for writing many, many stories about toilets (including, but not limited to, things that bite you when you are sitting on one, how toilets are tested, and reasons to be sitting on one for the cover of a book) Dave Barry received the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. After an extensive search of the Internet and my own personal files, it appears that I have NOT been presented a similar award. I do recall, however, that in 1988 I began my literary career by spending a majority of time in my ninth grade algebra class writing “MATH SUCKS!” as large as I possibly could on my folder while the teacher was lecturing. Back then my writing style was rather terse.

Here is a little background information for everyone not up to date on newspaper humor. Dave Barry writes a weekly syndicated column and is employed by the Miami Herald. Which means Dave and I have a lot in common-especially when you remove the words “syndicated”, “Miami Herald”, and “employed” from the previous sentence.

One thing I know for sure is that Mr. Barry didn’t achieve this level of fame and fortune by just sitting on his ass all day long. Oh, wait, I think he does. Either way, I’ve been interested in learning more about how to become a humor columnist. While I’ve read all his writing, I would like to get a more personalized perspective on how Dave goes about writing a weekly column.

The only logical solution to my dilemma is to become a stalker. I could hide in the bushes near his house and observe him with the aid of several high priced pieces of military grade electronic surveillance equipment. I can just imagine what insights I could achieve:

July 3, 1999 2:05 AM: Selling one of my kidneys for these night vision goggles has really paid off. After hearing some continuous high pitch sound I believe to be either a state of the art security system or an infant who soiled him or her self, the subject went into auxiliary bedroom number one to reset the state of the system, made a short trip to the bathroom, wandered downstairs, and somewhat mindlessly sat down in front of his computer. Finally, I get to see the subject in his natural environment free of outside influences and distractions. The hunter becomes the hunted. Or is it the other way around?

July 3, 1999 2:11 AM: I’ve lost the subject. In addition it appears that I have gone blind due to a genetically engineered strain of glaucoma that has disrupted the normal operations of my optical nerves in a matter of seconds. This may very well jeopardize the entire mission.

July 3, 1999 2:15 AM: After further analysis, the cause of the problem appears to be a dead battery in the night vision goggles. Note to self-make an appointment with family optician for annual glaucoma test.

July 3, 1999 2:16 AM: Stalking operations continue as I am able to observe the subject through the reflected light of the computer monitor. It appears the subject is playing the card game known as solitaire. Subject is either unwilling or unable to move the red seven on to the black eight. Such a move would allow the exposure of an additional card. What is he waiting for? Move the seven, for the love of God, MOVE THE SEVEN!!!

July 3, 1999 2:20 AM: Observations prematurely halted for the night. In all the excitement I lost my balance and fell on top of a very thorny bush. The noise created by said incident distracted the subject, thereby making any further observations for the night useless.

The biggest problem with celebrities becoming popular enough to have deranged stalkers is the reporting by the media is always biased towards the stalkee. The report mentions tangential points such as mental illness, missed medications, and one-sided illusions of matrimony. The stalker never gets to tell his or her side of the story. I plan on eliminating this fundamental form of discrimination. Once my stalking begins, not only will I publish all of my written notes on my web site, but I will also web enable all of my surveillance equipment so I can provide a live Internet broadcast of my activities. I know there are a lot of people out there who would like to become a stalker, but lack the financial resources and ability to get off the couch to realize their dreams.

Is this a plan of action that will advance my writing career? I’m not really sure. Could it land me in jail? Quite possibly. But one way or another, I’m going to find the source of all his toilet stories.

Chapter 6

To: Kristen
From: Omar
Subject: Proof reading

Hey Kristen,

Well, I’ve been busy setting up this whole shindig website/office deal. I’m still having a hard time believing this is all actually happening. The first thing I did was to find a suitable office. After that, I hired an office manager. I absolutely hate having to deal with paperwork, so she is in charge of payroll, purchasing supplies, and everything else I don’t want to deal with.

I really appreciate the fact that you volunteered to proof read my stories when I was just starting out before the offer from Yahoo. I know how I tend to miss a lot of errors in my writing. I’ve gotten a lot better with the spelling, but when I accidentally type the wrong word it’s kind of hard to notice. I guess I read it and then know what I’m thinking, so I do not see the error. Having you as a proofreader in the beginning was wonderful.

Now that I have money to spend, I would like to officially offer you a position in the company. I had Katie look up the going rate for proofreaders in the area. Depending on experience, the general range is 20-30 dollars an hour. Given the situation and your past contributions I’ve decided to pay you on the high end. Your duties would be exactly what they were before this whole thing started-read over my weekly stories and check for grammatical and spelling errors. Since you live in Denver and wouldn’t be a full time employee I think that having you work from home would be reasonable. I know you are busy working at the library and going to school, so I don’t want to place any more demands on your time. If you have some free time, you are welcome to come up to Boulder and check out the office. I’m sure we could arrange for a business lunch.

If you accept my offer I’ll have Katie get in touch with you about getting all the paper work settled. You can also charge for the time you spent proofreading the previous stories. If you have any other expenses related to your work, just talk to Katie and I’m sure we can get it approved.

If you don’t accept this offer I’ll make up something in my weekly stories about librarian proofreader crack whore psychopath. And I’ll make her lazy.

No, I’m just kidding about that last part. I’ve already put her into the story.
If you have any questions feel free to give me a call.


Chapter 7

To: Omar
From: Kristen
Subject: Proofreading


Thanks for the offer. While the idea of working for you is kind of strange, I’ll gladly accept your offer. I would read your stories even if I wasn’t proofreading them, so it’s not a big effort on my part. The extra money will be come in handy-they don’t pay librarians all that much.

Sorry I don’t have more time to chat. I might be in Boulder in two weeks for some official library business. If time permits, I’ll stop by your office and see how things are going.


Chapter 8

Web Story: Problems on the Hill

The unusually cold winter this season has given Boulder a few months of calm from the recurring problem of wildly inappropriate behavior up on the Hill. As a mix of retail, housing, and Greek organizations, the area west of the CU Boulder campus known as the Hill has become a real black eye for both the University of Colorado and the city of Boulder. While several approaches have been used to bring the occasional riot under control, the problem does not seem to be going away. While I don’t claim to have all the answers (or even to know what all the questions are for that matter), I have observed various conditions in the area that seem to aggravate the younger residents of Boulder and may be part of why this situation on the Hill is far from being resolved.

Anyone that has been on the CU Boulder campus for more than three seconds has more than likely encountered a parking Nazi hard at work writing tickets for illegally parked cars. I’m not sure exactly how they do this, but just pulling into a metered spot when you know you don’t have any change in your car attracts their attention. I suspect the CU Parking Department has formed an alliance with the National Security Agency to use high level military satellites and state-of-the-art computer algorithms to monitor each car that enters the campus. I think the rules such as, “don’t take up three handicapped parking spaces if you are on your way to participate in a sporting event” and, “No matter how late you are for class, please don’t abandon your car in the middle of busy intersections” should be strictly enforced. The parking situation on campus isn’t going to get any better by ticketing every single car that has gone over the meter. It gives the general impression that the University is more interested in parking revenue than providing students with an education. This, in turn, adds to the general frustration level in the area.

Another issue in the Boulder area at the moment involves closing down local raves. If you are not familiar with the concept, it’s a place where young people go on the weekends to listen and dance to music all night long. The organizers of these events work with local law enforcement officials to keep the situation under control. People are searched for drugs and weapons before going in and undercover officers patrol the event to discourage drug use. In the wake of some highly publicized incidents in the metro area involving teenagers and Ecstasy, the city of Boulder is considering using “nuisance laws” to shut down local raves. Eliminating this relatively controlled environment by classifying these young people as a nuisance is going to lead to more negative energy in the town. While sitting in an abandoned warehouse listening to alternative rave music until the sun comes up may not be everyone’s idea of fun, as far as I understand it does not involve vandalizing storefronts, lighting things on fire, or dispensing tear gas canisters.

In general, I like to think of myself as being on the side of the police. Sure, I’ve received an occasional speeding ticket, but I don’t hold a grudge when I knew all along that I was going twenty miles an hour over the speed limit as I flew by the police car parked in the convenience store parking lot. My view changed a little bit after attending a CU verses CSU football game at Mile High Stadium two years ago and watching police officers in full riot gear deploy pepper spray from behind a chain link fence at people who were sitting in their seats after the game had ended. I’m not sure what the commanding officer at the game was thinking, but if you put fourty or so fully armed police officers around the field at the end of a college football game you are going to have a whole bunch of curious people waiting around to see what happens. I can understand the desire to keep students from pouring on to the field, but the overt display of police force aggravated the situation more than it helped.

So the next time an unruly group of people gather up on the Hill looking for trouble, consider the big picture. Some part of the group is saying, “I believe the CU Parking Department is over zealous with their enforcement of parking regulations”. The next couch or dumpster that is lit on fire in the street is a statement of, “Thanks for trying to shut down the raves.” And when a drunken, unruly mob starts throwing empty beer bottles at the responding riot police officers they are saying, “This is for Mile High Stadium– where we were unfairly brutalized and beaten up by the CSU football team two years in a row!”

Chapter 9

To: Katie
From: Omar
Subject: Recruiting writers


Now that you have gotten through the initial phase of setting up the office, I’m going to be expanding your responsibilities.

I want you to recruit people to help out with the web site. As you already know, we are going to be hiring a director for the Flash animation and the video sections of the web site. While the employees at are going to be coming up with a lot of the creative idea for these sections, I want to have the people who read the site and the general public be encouraged to contribute to the content.

To facilitate this process, the web site is going to be enhanced to include a contribution section. This will allow anyone who visits the web site to send in their ideas. These suggestions can be for the writing section, the Flash animation, or the video sections. All of the writing ideas will be sent directly to me. For the moment, I’m going to be the only contributor on this section. All of the ideas that are strictly writing will be evaluated by me. The ideas for the Flash and video sections will be reviewed by the directors. The ideas they find suitable will be placed on a “future work” page.

If an individual or group of people is interested in producing the Flash animation story, they will contact the Flash director and discuss exactly what we would like to see and how much we would be willing to pay. People that are skilled in designing Flash animation are somewhat rare, so we will negotiate a modest payment if we accept their work. Since designing Flash animation is location independent, we will gladly work with anyone in the world provided the language barrier isn’t too much of a barrier to communication.

The policy on the video section is a little more restrictive. First of all, we are going to insist on filming all the content ourselves to maintain a consistent look and feel between different sketches. This means we need to generally limit ourselves to ideas that we can film in the state of Colorado. Sticking to the Front Range would be even better. Traveling out of town isn’t totally out of the question. If there is a good idea that revolves around a specific location, we will consider our options. I don’t think we will have much of a problem finding people to star in our video productions. We can pay them, but it won’t be nearly as much as the Flash animation will receive.

One of the main benefits for people helping us out is that they will be receiving quite a bit of recognition for their work. For each individual who contributes to the site we will provide recognition in the credits and a page where they can put up a picture of themselves along with anything else (within reason) they want to tell the world. I suspect this will appeal quite a bit to the actors on the video section. If any of them want to become full time actors, this could be their big break. Well, maybe not that big, but everyone has to start somewhere. Maybe we can send out free T-shirts too. People like free T-shirts. Well, I do– at least when they are the right size and not made of really thin cotton that you can see right through. But we can discuss T-shirts down the road a bit.

For the Flash animation, I would suggest posting messages to electronic news groups and finding web sites that cater to freelancing Flash developers. When possible, get yourself on mailing lists so you can get a better feel for how the entire process works.

For the video section, I think you would be better off contacting comedy clubs and local thespian groups. I suspect the local colleges and universities would be a great source for willing actors.

Do what you can right now, and report back to me by the end of next week with whatever progress you have made. I’ll create a “future work” page on the web site this afternoon and post a half dozen or so ideas I have. You can point people to that page to help them get an idea of what we would like to see.


Chapter 10

Katie: I checked out the resume you asked about.
Omar: Great! Did you set up an interview? I want to get that position filled as soon as possible.
Katie: Well, not exactly. There were some inconsistencies with Jenny’s resume.
Omar: Like what?
Katie: First of all, she claimed to be working for Disney doing Flash animation for the past five years. I called the personnel department at Disney and they have no record of her.
Omar: What about the list of web sites she listed as volunteering for? What did they have to say about Jenny?
Katie: Both of them recall the name. One of them described her as just beginning to learn how to write HTML code. The other one had this very amusing story about how she claimed to be the person Disney called in to fix the network when they had virus problems. This, in addition to being a master Flash developer. They said she has, and I quote, “severe illusions of grandeur.”
Omar: Shit-so was anything on her resume true?
Katie: Well the part about working at the mall selling jeans is partially true.
Omar: Dare I ask what part?
Katie: Well, her resume said she worked there from 1994 until 1996. She actually still works there.
Omar: Great. I guess we don’t have to worry about setting up an interview.
Katie: Yeah, I kind of figured that would be the case.
Omar: I’m glad you were so thorough in your investigation. I probably would have just trusted her and assumed she wasn’t lying through her teeth and brought her in for an interview.
Katie: Maybe you could make this into a story for the web site πŸ™‚
Omar: Not a bad idea! Well, the search for a Flash director continues. Thanks πŸ™‚

Chapter 11

To: Everyone
From: Angie
Subject: I’m pregnant!

There-I said it. I’m due at the end of September. As you all know, Tim and I have been seeing a lot of each other lately, and well, I’m sure you can put the rest of the pieces together. This kind of caught us by surprise, but we are both very excited (and nervous) about what the future holds for us.

I just thought I would let everyone know at the same time through e-mail. I know it’s kind of impersonal, but at least this way everyone gets to find out at the same time. Feel free to call me and I can tell you about it in more detail.

Well, I’ve got to run to the store to pick up some pickles and ice cream. I’m just kidding. Tim gets to handle the shopping now-I’m too busy gestating!

Love you all,

Chapter 12

Omar: Did you get that e-mail from Angie?
Brian: Yeah. Pretty unexpected.
Omar: I’ll say. I noticed she hung out a lot with Tim, but I didn’t realize it was that serious.
Brian: And I thought Angie was still a virgin. Guess I didn’t get that one right.
Omar: Well, I was pretty sure she was too.
Brian: And that makes your evening at the Christmas party that much better.
Omar: I was thinking about that– if she is due at the end of September, she might have already been pregnant that night. What a lovely footnote to the evening.
Brian: Well, at least you didn’t know she was pregnant at the party. I’m sure you could have embarrassed yourself even more with that information.
Omar: Up until yesterday I wouldn’t have thought it to be possible. But I’m sure I could have said something that would have gotten me thrown off the balcony.
Brian: At least they only live on the second floor.
Omar: I don’t think I’m ever going to drink in front of Angie again. Or any other women that I lust after.
Brian: You know, I think that is probably a very good idea. Well, I’m off to lunch. Talk to you later.
Omar: Bye

Chapter 13

Web Story: Interview With Ertok

A lot of newfunny readers are curious to learn more about Ertok. For those of you who are new to the site, Ertok is an Evil Alien Overlord that oversees my work on the newfunny web site. The Evil Alien Overlords are planning to enslave the human race and create a planetary network of mining slave camps. Here are some questions I asked Ertok during a recent interview:

O: So what part of the Galaxy are you from?
E: We come from a planet known in your scientific community as BETA-MX-1974. For those less technically inclined humanoids, our home world is on a planet that orbits a star which, from this point in the time/space continuum of the galaxy, looks like an ear of a little bunny rabbit. Or the front headlight of a 1984 Pontiac Fiero, depending on your sociological upbringing.

O: How are you able to speak English so well?
E: You might suspect we have a complex computer system that provides real time bi-directional language translation or that we insert some mythical cold blooded sea dwelling life form into our aurial chamber. One of our long range listening posts detected patterned electromagnetic waves radiating from your planet. We were quickly able to decipher them into their respective audio and video signals. Once the invasion force was dispatched from the home world we assimilated your culture through what you refer to as television and radio. While not perfect, our understanding of your language should be adequate for our needs. For example, we still haven’t decoded what your television signals refer to as the, “ancient Chinese Secret”. But from what we do know, we consider this to be of minimal strategic military importance.

O: So why have you chosen me to be the spokesman for your Invasion Force?
E: Well, we examined several factors when choosing a candidate. First of all, you posses the computer skills needed to convey our message to a large audience through your planetary digital packet distribution system. We also noted your wildly overactive imagination will most likely cause disbelief when conveying this message.

O: I’m a little bit confused now. So you want me to tell the world about your plans, but you don’t want anyone to believe what I’m saying. What purpose does that serve?
E: One thing we learned about your culture is that humans seem to enjoy the idea of irony. This way, after all humanoids are toiling away in the mining camps, we can post a big sign saying “We told you our plans, but nobody took it seriously. Now you and countless generations of your offspring will pay for this insolence. Oh, and please wear eye protection when operating heavy machinery.”

O: Being your cooperative spokesman by devoting my time and energy to your cause, will I be allowed to have a cushy administrative position in your new world order?
E: No.

O: Do I get anything for my efforts?
E: Yes-we have noticed you are trying to solve a mathematical problem your race refers to as the Non Polynomial Complete Set Theory Conjecture. (Our species calls it the “Traveling Mining Camp Equipment Sales Humanoid” problem). We plan on giving you the mathematical proof, which is small enough to fit in the margin of a single piece of paper, right as we assign you to the most dangerous mining camp.

O: We are almost out of time, so would you like to say anything to all the faithful newfunny readers?
E: If any humanoids are curious, your future will be similar to the movie “Superman 2”. Except instead of three escaped convicts from planet Krypton, there will be several thousand of us, and there will be no Superman. To paraphrase your human expression: “May the more advanced life form bring cruelty and mining camps along with their victory”. Ertok out.

Well, hopefully this interview will help keep you informed about Ertok and the Evil Alien Overlords. If you have any more questions, please send them to the “Letters to the Editor” section of the newfunny web site.

Chapter 14

To: Bob
From: Omar
Subject: Status Report


Here is the progress that has been made on the web site since I last reported to you at the beginning of the month.

The most important accomplishment is I hired a young man to fill the Flash animation director position. His name is Tim Sanders and has quite an impressive background working with Flash. With the help of Katie we did an extensive check of his past accomplishments and references. In addition, I conducted a moderately intense project for Tim to complete during the interview to test his practical skills using the Flash design tools. While I am not an expert in this area, I was impressed with his proficiency. I believe that he is qualified for the position. I believe in doing a complete and thorough investigation on potential employees before hiring them. It’s a lot of work up front, but making sure we get quality people on our team is better in the long run.

The first assignment I have given Tim is to create the first Flash animation for the newfunny web site. Eventually we are going to recruit Flash developers from local art colleges to help speed up the process of getting quality animation on the web site on a regular basis. But, for the first animation, I want to make sure Tim knows what I want from him in terms of quality and style. I have provided him with a loose script of the sketch. I expect to have this animation on the site by the end of the month.

I’ve also been continuing with the weekly story. I’ve written one story about how I admire Dave Barry. If you don’t know him, he writes a nationally syndicated column for the “Miami Herald”. The other story is a little more serious (relatively speaking, of course) and talks about why people are rioting near the CU campus. I think the key to these stories being a success is to maximize the variety of the topics.

The next major item on my “to do” list is to hire a manager for the video section of the site. Katie is in the process of screening individuals so that I can evaluate the more serious candidates. I am also going to have Tim help me decide who we should hire for this position.

That sums up the major happenings for this month. If you have any questions, as always, feel free to call or send me an e-mail.

Omar Lutfey

Chapter 15

Tim: Hey
Katie: What’s going on? Are you getting all situated?
Tim: Yeah, I really dig this office. I have a question for you.
Katie: What’s that? I can order any office supplies for you through the catalog.
Tim: No, I was wondering what the deal is with the woman who proofreads for the site.
Katie: As I understand it, Kristen is only proofreading Omar’s weekly story. I don’t think she will have much to do with the Flash animation.
Tim: So why doesn’t she work in the office? We have plenty of cubical space.
Katie: First of all, I can’t imagine that it would take all that long to proofread Omar’s stories. They are only 800 words or so each week. Secondly, Kristen lives in Denver and has another job.
Tim: Couldn’t you find anyone to do the work in the Boulder area?
Katie: I didn’t do a normal search to find her. Omar just gave me her name and told me to pay her for whatever hours she says she works. From what I understand, she proofread Omar’s stories for free before this whole Yahoo offer came along. I think he is just returning the favor, so to speak.
Tim: Interesting. Is she cute?
Katie: She only stopped in the office once. I don’t find other women attractive, but I would say she is pretty good looking. She has a nice figure, but it doesn’t look like she gets out in the sun very much. I think she would look better if she grew her hair out a little bit, but that’s just me.
Tim: Short hair? Do you think she is a lesbian?
Katie: Well, in the five minutes I spoke to her we didn’t bring up sexual preferences. I’ll try and remember next time I see her to ask about that area of her life.
Tim: So do you think Omar has a thing for her?
Katie: I don’t know what the deal is there. He doesn’t seem to talk about her much. He did seem kind of nervous the day she stopped by the office.
Tim: Maybe that’s his way of hitting on her.
Katie: I suppose. I could see Omar finding her attractive in some ways. The only thing is that Omar is pretty laid back and Kristen is quite a busy body. She works full time at the library down in Denver and is working on getting a Master’s degree at night. That just doesn’t seem like Omar’s style.
Tim: I think something is going on. What other vibes did you get from Kristen when you talked?
Katie: She seems friendly, but kind of defensive. We only talked for a few minutes, but she seems like someone who doesn’t like to talk about herself a lot. That’s about all I know.
Tim: Well, I guess I’ll have to keep my eyes open. Well, I have to get back to work.
Katie: OK.

Chapter 16

Web Story: Taco Bell

It’s not uncommon for a young man, overflowing with exuberant lust and apprehension, to write a love song to a woman who has captured his heart. It is very uncommon for a young man to do the same for an international fast food establishment.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For the sake of continuity, I’ll start at the beginning.

My love affair with Taco Bell started back in high school. I know I annoyed a lot of my lunch time friends by wanting to go to Taco Bell for lunch every single day. Sometimes the urge to get my hands on a fifty-nine cent bean burrito was so strong that I would totally forget the fact that I was supposed to be in Mr. Eggert’s second period algebra class. To cover my tracks, I never turned in my math homework and often times got in arguments with the teacher and said mean things about him outside of class. To this day, my parents never discovered the true reason behind my insolent behavior.

The relationship only got stronger when I went off to college. And, no, I’m not talking about my high school algebra teacher. Taco Bell franchises were located on both sides of the CSU campus. The pinnacle of my love for Taco Bell occurred when my girlfriend at the time moved into an apartment that was directly across the street from the Bell. I would ride my bicycle over to her place, get enough tacos and burritos for the both of us, and walk up the stairs to her apartment. It was an entire evening of fun for six dollars. If I only realized at the time how perfect my life was back then, I wouldn’t have let it change so drastically. *Sigh*.

Well, back to the story. I finished up with college and my girlfriend and I went on to get a job in my slice of the real world. I was molded into a computer geek which gave me the financial resources to eat fast food at will. In retrospect, I suspect I started to take it for granted. Taco Bell was always there for me and I no longer had to sacrifice anything to enjoy it. But gone too was the anticipation of another reunion. The fire burned less brightly.

Everything changed in 1999 when the company I worked for at the time decided to send me to work in Amsterdam for six months. I moved everything I owned into storage and got on an airplane with nothing more than a backpack and two suitcases. When I got there I quickly discovered some shocking facts about world travel. The weather in other parts of the world is not comparable to Colorado, the customs officials don’t care what you bring into Holland, and, most importantly, Taco Bell is not keeping up with other fast food establishments in their plans for world occupation. During the worst of my withdrawal period, I wrote the following song expressing my feelings:

“Taco Bell, Village of the Damned”

Here is the story that I’ve got to tell
About my favorite place to go and eat– its called Taco Bell

One day I got on a plane and flew across the sea
Unaware of the fate awaiting me
You see they have BK and they have Mickey Dee’s,
But Taco Bell has still yet to be.

So now I’m a long way from home and I just don’t see
That plastic tacky bell calling out to me

Taco Bell, you’re my water in sand
Taco Bell, the franchise promised land
Taco Bell, you’re my favorite one night stand
Taco Bell, the village of the damned

And so I just can’t sleep at night
Knowing that I’m a world away from that
drive through open twenty-four hour culinary delight

Despite the obvious pain of being away from something so near and dear to my heart, I survived my trip to Holland and came back to Colorado with a deeper and more mature understanding of my relationship with Taco Bell. We started off young and giddy-wanting to be together every day and talking to each other until all hours of the night about anything and everything that came to mind. Things cooled down a bit after that, and the shock of moving half way around the world from her put everything in perspective. These days I take comfort in knowing that when I’m having a bad day I can invite her over, make a big bowl of popcorn, and watch a movie on the couch with my arm around her. We have known each other for so long that we don’t need words to communicate. Taco Bell will always be there for me.

Chapter 17

To: Betty
From: Tim
Subject: Lunch conversation

Hi Betty,

I just thought I would take a minute and tell you what’s going on with me. I’m really getting settled in with my new job. I was just about to give up looking for a decent Flash animation position when just popped up out of nowhere. There are only three employees at the moment. Besides myself there is Omar, who is in charge of the whole shebang, and Katie. Her official title is office manager, but Omar and I get to dump a lot of crappy assignments in her lap. But I have to admit she is pretty good at taking it all in stride.

Omar has this thing about someone being in the office all the time to answer the phones. I don’t really understand why it’s such an issue. I think it has something to do with the fact he used to work in technical support where they got in trouble when customers got put into voice mail. I suppose I see the point, but at this stage it doesn’t really matter all that much. Like the other day I think we got four phone calls all day.

One of the ramifications of this is that we can’t all go to lunch at the same time. Which I guess isn’t really a big deal since we all sit in the same office fourty hours a week. The first day I started working Omar stayed behind so that Katie and I could go eat. I think he wanted us to “bond”. So Katie and I went off to the Falafel King for lunch. They make really great gyros.

Katie and I had a pretty good time talking. She is about 5’4″ with a good figure and shoulder-length brown hair. I would guess she weighs in at 150. Personally, I think she could lose a little weight, but that is just me.

I explained the premise for the Flash animation I’m working on right now. The title is “Gods Playing Poker”. It’s a takeoff on the picture that Omar hung up in the office with several dogs sitting around a table playing cards. The animation opens with a bunch of different gods agreeing to get together for a friendly game of poker.

So I’m sitting there explaining this to Katie, and all the sudden she gives me the most intriguing look I’ve ever seen on a woman’s face. It was like she was saying, “It’s all so clear to me now.” I think she is starting to appreciate what we are going to do with this web site. Just knowing that I can help someone to see the big picture makes me feel like it’s all worth it.

After that, Katie started going on about this depressed monkey that her boyfriend dumped on her. I didn’t say anything to her, but I kept thinking to myself that nobody wants to sit around and hear her go on about how much her life sucks outside of work. We all have shit do deal with, and dwelling on it all the time isn’t going to make anything better.

Well, that was the most exciting part of my day. I spent the rest of the day working on the Flash animation. If you want to see it, I think it will be up on the web site in about a week or so.


Chapter 18

To: Sam
From: Katie
Subject: First annoying person in the company

Hey Sam,

I’ve only been at this job for three weeks now, and Omar has already hired a guy I don’t really like. Tim started the other day and is in charge of the Flash animation section. He is very professional when other people are around or when we are communicating through e-mail, but he gets kind of weird when it is just the two of us in the office.

Like the other day Omar sent Tim and I out to lunch. Omar was really nice and told me to take money out of petty cash for Tim and I to get something to eat. I think Omar isn’t really used to being in charge of people in a professional environment, so I think he likes to be alone in the office at lunch. He is very outgoing when he is dealing with the web site, but I’m willing to bet he is really a submissive person in the rest of his life. Which I guess is fine. The few times he has told me to do something in person he seemed just a little bit hesitant. I’m not exactly sure why, but he seems somewhat distant from me on a personal level.

So Tim and I went off to the Falafel King for lunch. They make really great gyros. The weather was wonderful and we even managed to get a seat outside so we could enjoy the warm afternoon sunshine. Tim starts going off about how he is a great Flash developer and how Omar was lucky to get him. He explains this sketch that he is working on that is a take off on the drawing “Dogs Playing Poker”. He was going on about how it was his idea and how funny it is going to be when it’s finished. Which is a big load of crap-Omar explained that idea to me during my first interview. But I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with Tim, so I just let it slide.

So the whole time he is sitting there explaining this to me he would not take his eyes off my chest. Finally I leaned back, folded my arms and gave him the biggest crusty I could muster up. I was trying to use mental telepathy to say, “stop looking at my chest, you bastard!” I hope he got the picture that I don’t want him constantly “appreciating” my body.

That was kind of an awkward moment for the both of us. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I told him about the situation with Chappy. I think he thought I was just making it up to be funny. Whatever.

I’m pretty sure I don’t like Tim, but I’m hoping that we can at least work together without getting on each other’s nerves. I don’t think I’ll be going out to lunch with him anytime soon.

Mark still hasn’t come back, so I really need the steady income. And I had to take Chappy to the vet. Do you know how hard it is to find a vet that will examine a monkey? He has some kind of cold, and the vet mentioned that Chappy seemed kind of depressed. And that cost me 200 bucks. Now the monkey has to take antibiotics for the next two weeks.

Well, I hope your life isn’t as exciting as mine πŸ™‚

Chapter 19

Web Story: The Real Santa Claus

Even with the help of my overactive imagination, I could not have even remotely predicted what was going to happen to me one Saturday night last December. Sitting on Santa’s lap, even as at the age of twenty-seven, is not a totally uncommon activity when attending the neighbor’s Christmas party. Things got weird for me, however, when “Santa” turned out to be my high school math teacher.

Before I go any further here, I need to rewind my life thirteen years to provide background information about some of the people involved in the story. With varying degrees of success, I had four different teachers attempt to fill my brain with the theorems, concepts, and procedures of a standard high school mathematics curriculum. To the best of my knowledge, I have only seen one of them dressed up as Santa Claus.

After sprinkling references about Mr. Eggert (my ninth grade algebra teacher) throughout recent stories, it was really just a matter of time before I devoted an entire story to the man who derived enormous amounts of joy and happiness to making my life as a high school freshman a living hell. I sometimes feel guilty just mentioning his name. It’s not because he was a mean, smelly, cigar smoking, bitter man who went out of his way to telephone my parents during the middle of dinner to discuss my attitude problem. In reality, he is just too easy of a target. Not everyone who sponsors their school’s chess team has a room full of emotional baggage upstairs, but Mr. Eggert is not someone to disprove this popular notion. I somehow managed to survive my entire freshman year with Mr. Eggert. I learned a lot in his class, and most of it was only tangentially related to mathematics.

My situation started to look better during my sophomore year of high school. My previous mathematics teacher was replaced with a much less evil model. Looking back on the situation, I suspect Mr. Ridgely, my tenth grade geometry teacher, conspired to play “good cop” to Mr. Eggert’s “bad smelling cop”. He was a very enthusiastic and helpful teacher. To top it off, he never called my parents during dinner time. Despite the fact that a large percentage of the entire world was plotting against me during my years as a teenager, I can honestly say that he probably wasn’t conspiring to destroy my life. Or, if he was, he did a very nice job of concealing his intentions.

Fast forward twelve and a half years to last December. My mother and I were invited to a Christmas party hosted by some of our old neighbors. Well, they aren’t really all that old– they just aren’t our neighbors anymore. In addition to visiting with a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a while, someone brought a plate of frozen miniature chocolate eclairs I found to be quite tasty. I started seeing everything in a different perspective. I spent my entire life up to that moment in time thinking that eclairs could only be one size and temperature. Why not make the pastries smaller? Why not serve them below room temperature? Then I applied the same thinking to humanity in general. I unearthed some universal truths about humanity. However, this story is about Santa Claus. The truths about chocolate eclairs will be written at a later date.

Guess who comes knocking on the door after everyone finished eating? If you answered “Jehovah’s Witnesses” you would be absolutely wrong, even though that would make for an interesting plot twist. No, Santa Claus himself joined the party with his big sack of presents for everyone at the party. I guess that means nobody fell into the “naughty” category for the year. Either that or the newly implemented web site was malfunctioning and reporting a “nice” status for all individuals.

Santa sat down in the middle of the living room and pulled presents out one at a time. Everyone, including myself, sat on Santa’s lap when their name was called. For some reason, my mom seemed especially entertained when it was my turn. He gave me a calendar, so I suppose I wasn’t quite as nice as I could have been. I was really hoping for something that exploded or in some way was designed to catch on fire.

Guess who Santa Claus turned out to be? “A Jehovah’s Witness” is still not the correct answer. You can also rule out Mr. Eggert since it involved being kind and generous to little kids. Also the smell of stale cigar smoke would have scared away many of the smaller children. Santa was my geometry teacher, Mr. Ridgely. Sitting on his lap without realizing it at the time embarrassed me at first. But after a few minutes I decided that it was, like many aspects of my life, too strange to be anything but funny.

No matter where you see him– at the mall with little kids on his lap, next to a Salvation Army donation bucket, or at the liquor store loading up on cigarettes and whisky- I think it is human nature to assume that you don’t personally know the true Santa Claus. So if “Santa” comes around next year and I’ve been nice enough to receive a present, I’ll at least know why his lap seems so familiar.

Chapter 20

Web Story: Thoughts on “Star Trek: Voyager”

With the exception of Dick Clark helping America ring in each new year, all good things must come to an end. The “Star Trek: Voyager” series is no exception to this rule. You may love it, you may hate it, but either way, the last episode will air in a few weeks. Will the crew make it back to Earth? Here at we have a been blessed with a very interesting piece of “inside information”. Unfortunately, it has absolutely nothing to do with Star Trek, so I will have to save that for another story.

Before I go any further, I have to stop and make a special dedication. I like to think of my sister as one of the biggest fans of Star Trek fans in the entire charted galaxy. Wait a minute, I’m thinking of me. My sister hates the whole concept of Star Trek so much that she once spit in the face of Patrick Stewart when he was passing by in the airport terminal. OK, I just made that part up (he only looked quite a bit like the guy who plays Jean Luc Picard), but I can say without any doubt that she has her own “prime directive” to cause bodily harm to any one who thinks its cool to wear a Klingon forehead apparatus in public. So, Karen, if you are reading this, I hope you get a tingle in your spine similar to when Data first activated his emotion chip.

In all honesty, I have to admit to aggravating the situation with my sister by forcing Star Trek information upon her every chance I get. When we were younger, I would often times run around with a banana clip over my eyes pretending to be Geordi La Forge from the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” series. My most shining moment in this aspect of my life was calling up my sister at two in the morning to tell her I just got home from the opening night of the latest Star Trek feature film. I can only imagine the look on her face as I woke her up out of a good night sleep by screaming “STAR TREK– INSURRECTION!!!” into the phone receiver.

I would now like to spend some time hypothesizing about how the Voyager series is going to end. I can assure you that I have no advance knowledge of the actual ending for the series. The whole point of the newfunny stories isn’t to report “facts”, but rather to make the results of my overactive imagination appear to be true. Having said that, here are some official alternate endings for the series:

California Style Ending:

After miscalculating the amount of dilithium needed to get the ship back to the Alpha quadrant, the captain initiates rolling blackouts for the duration of the journey. The shortage of power creates a series of unique predicaments the crew must address. One episode will involve the more elderly crew members on several decks suffering from heat exhaustion after their air conditioners stop running in the middle of a hot summer afternoon. The finale will focus on a no-holds-barred banana cream pie fight between Captain Janeway and First officer Chakotay over who was supposed to fill up on dilithium crystals on their last away mission.

Monty Python Ending:

After some ingenious manipulation of the space/time continuum, the crew manages to get out of the Delta quadrant and back to their own section of the galaxy. Sprits are high as earth becomes visible on the long range sensors. After three days at maximum warp the crew reaches Earth and makes their final landing preparations. A massive celebration is planned at Star Fleet Headquarters for Voyager. Just before the ship sets down a large cartoon foot comes out of nowhere and crushes the ship into a twisted pulp. Roll credits.

Scooby Doo Ending:

B`Elanna Torres and Tom Paris look into the cause of energy surges that consistently disrupt the daily operation of the ship with creepy sounds and unexplained visual phenomena. The young pair eventually gets to the bottom of the case after a series of subtle clues, trap doors, and Scooby Snacks lead them to the culprit. The cause of the “ghosts”, if you will, turned out to be nothing more than a series of computer commands programmed in by the unscrupulous ship’s captain who planned on getting a good deal on a high mileage haunted galaxy class cruiser upon their triumphant return to Earth.

Chapter 21

Tim: Hey Omar
Omar: What’s going on? Are you getting comfortable with everything? Do you like your office?
Tim: Yeah, it’s great. I’m kind of getting into a groove now.
Omar: Cool.
Tim: So what’s the deal with Kristen?
Omar: She proofreads the weekly column I write.
Tim: Yeah, I know that, but why didn’t you hire someone in Boulder? It seems like it would be a lot easier from a logistical point of view.
Omar: Well, I’ve known Kristen for a while now. We met online about two years ago, and we became pretty good friends. She has been proofreading my stories from the beginning.
Tim: So is she married?
Omar: As far as I know she is single.
Tim: So are you interested in her?
Omar: What do you mean?
Tim: You know what I mean. Are you trying to hit on her?
Omar: To be honest, I’ve only met her two times so far. We mostly just talk online.
Tim: I hear she is pretty cute though.
Omar: Yeah, I won’t disagree with that, but we live in totally different worlds. She devotes her life to her work at the library. When she isn’t doing that she is going to school to get her Masters degree so she can get promoted at her job. That doesn’t leave time for much else.
Tim: Yeah, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right?
Omar: Well, yes and no. Sometimes when we talk online I feel this incredible bond between us. But other times I’m just amazed at how different our personalities are. And she doesn’t seem to want to meet in person all that much. Getting her to agree to meet the first time was like pulling teeth. I thought we had a good time together, but after that she didn’t seem very interested in going out again. I asked if she wanted to get together for lunch one day and she said she was going to watch game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Tim: Well, I wouldn’t read much into that. That game was pretty intense. The home team was battling for the grand prize in the final game of the series.
Omar: I know-but this was when they rebroadcast the game the next weekend. She was at the game when they played at the Pepsi Center. So that kind of showed where I am on her list of priorities. I wouldn’t have minded if things had gone better, but it’s not worth getting upset about.
Tim: That really blows.
Omar: In some ways, but I look at it this way: if you are in a situation where you aren’t going to win, do what you can to minimize your losses. I don’t want to lose her as a friend.
Tim: Yeah, that’s one way of looking at it. Not really my style, but that’s cool.
Omar: And I’m still embarrassed about what happened at Angie’s Christmas party. On one hand it was kind of amusing, but I don’t want to make a habit of being a drunken jerk. All my other friends want to get me drunk again because they enjoyed watching me that night. And besides, I’m not really looking for a relationship right now.
Tim: You are a guy Omar– you are always looking at what’s out there. Maybe some of your girlie friends might buy that, but I know better.
Omar: Well, if the woman of my dreams stops by the office I’ll talk to her. πŸ™‚
Tim: What do you think of Katie?
Omar: I’m doing everything I can to repress any thoughts on that matter. I want to keep her as an office manager. I hate dealing with paperwork, and she does a great job of keeping everything in order.
Tim: Do you think she is cute though?
Omar: Yeah, except she started wearing baggy clothes lately. Up until about a week ago she would wear those snug fitting tops that would show off her figure quite nicely. I wonder what caused her to change.
Tim: Who knows with women? Maybe she is having her period and is depressed about retaining water.
Omar: It’s not a big deal. As long as she does her job I’m happy. Well, I have to get back to work. I’m trying to decide what I should write for this week’s story.
Tim: Cool. Good luck.

Chapter 22

Web Story: Easter Time

The time has come once again to talk about my favorite social event which, on occasion, is celebrated in April. I’m not talking about the World Wrestling Federation coming to town, the Denver Nuggets announcing a trade of their best players in exchange for a handful of magical beans, or the Internal Revenue Service deciding to audit everyone who wrote nasty comments on their checks to pay income taxes. The event of which I speak is Easter.

To be honest, when I started writing this, I was a little bit fuzzy about the actual date of this holiday. After doing a little research on the World Wide Web, I discovered more often than not Easter falls on a Sunday. While that might be enough information for the casual Easter enthusiast, I like to go the extra mile for all the hard core Easter fanatics reading this story. After giving my research assistant the chore of waiting in line so I could eat some fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts, I discovered Easter is observed on the first Sunday after the last XFL playoff game before the Denver Nuggets have been statistically eliminated from the playoffs.

To be completely accurate, that formula only approximates the exact date of Easter. The actual equation involves the seventy-two characters representing the true name of God, several artifacts from the Ark of the Covenant (as seen in the first “Indiana Jones” motion picture), and the combination of Bill Gates luggage. Several universities in the world offer graduate degrees in creating computer models for the occurrence of Easter. The National Security Administration is said to have its own set of satellites devoted entirely to future Easter prediction.

I’ve been getting a lot of fan mail asking how I celebrate mainstream Christian holidays. To be honest, I don’t actually get fan mail quite yet, but I believe this is a plot by “The Man” who, despite the fact that I am a white male, is trying to keep me down by removing any mail from my box that might improve my self esteem. Supposing that I was getting my fan mail, I would respond to all the loyal readers out there by saying that to me Easter is about getting up early in the morning, putting on a shirt with buttons all the way up the front and pants that have a crease in them, and eating a lot of candy all day long. If you replace the word “morning” to “afternoon” and change the clothes to “gray sweats with multiple salsa stains on the tummy”, it sounds like any other day.

The highlight of my Easter was the traditional Easter egg hunt. A lot of people think that at twenty-seven years of age I am a little too old to be participating in an activity designed for small children. I say that is exactly why I should be in it. Being two feet taller and a hundred pounds heavier than the competition can be quite an advantage. The biggest problem is that some of them are considerably faster than me. To compensate for this advantage, I bitch slapped a few of them right before the race began to establish myself as the alpha male for the rest of the day. For the kids too young to understand the ramifications of gratuitous violence I sat each one of them down on my knee and carefully explained that if you take eggs from the Easter Bunny he will follow you home, steal all your favorite toys, and chew on your eyeballs when you fall asleep.

Needless to say, my Easter basket was quite full of colored eggs when I went home that evening. This got me thinking about what kind of lessons we are teaching to kids today. When I was growing up, I would hear my parents tell me on a regular basis not to play with my food. Then some random Sunday comes along in the middle of the spring and not only do we color the eggs, but then we go outside, hide the eggs, search for them, and finally watch what happens as we bet our younger brother Donnie that he couldn’t shove three hard boiled eggs in his mouth at the same time.

Along the same lines, I am not sure what goes on in children’s minds when we give them bunny shaped chocolate and teach them to slowly torture the animal by biting off the ears. As if hunting down all the bunny’s eggs in the form of social entertainment wasn’t torture enough for the poor animal. I think it’s fair to place at least some of our society’s ills on the contradictory signals that we are sending children on this holiday.

The bottom line is that Easter is a very complex holiday that covers many of the fundamental ideas that form the foundation of our society. Fortunately, we have boiled it down to the essentials of getting together and eating candy until everyone is too sick to move. It’s just easier that way.

Chapter 23

Katie: You around?
Sam: Yup.
Katie: Why can’t my life have any semblance of normalcy?
Sam: Hmm-I give up. Why?
Katie: I don’t know what it is with me-I try to be a normal person. I don’t have any thing weird pierced and I don’t sacrifice goats in my living room. Is living a regular life too much?
Sam: Regular is boring-what’s wrong with a little excitement every now and then?
Katie: I’ve gotten to know my next door neighbors over the past couple of weeks. Last Tuesday they asked if I wanted to go camping over the weekend. They are in their mid-twenties and fairly conservative. Sarah works for King Soopers as a checker and Adam does some kind of computer programming. They have been married for three years now.
Sam: Sounds like fun. And making new friends is a sign you are fitting into your new surroundings. Didn’t you feel like a third wheel though?
Katie: No, one of Adam’s friends he works with came with us. They invited Jack and I over for dinner last week and we all hit it off.
Sam: Romantic possibilities?
Katie: Nah, Jack is nice, but I just can’t see any romantic potential. He was trying to be funny the whole night.
Sam: Yeah, I’ve known guys like that. Maybe he was just nervous at dinner.
Katie: The weekend started out pretty well. On Saturday morning we all packed into Adam’s Ford Explorer and drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park. We found a place to camp for the night, set up the tent, and went off hiking the rest of the day.
Sam: That doesn’t sound too strange.
Katie: No, that was the normal part of the story. We get back to the campsite and cook dinner and hang out. That prepackaged camping food isn’t wonderful, but we were all pretty hungry. Then Jack brought out a bottle of peach schnapps.
Sam: Did Jack get drunk and start hitting on you?
Katie: I wish. Well, no, that wouldn’t have been good either. But it would have been a lot less stressful to deal with than the actual events of the evening.
Sam: Did Sarah get drunk and start hitting on you?
Katie: No, she does have a nice figure though πŸ™‚ Anyway, Sarah and I were kind of tired, so we passed on the booze went into the four person dome tent we set up earlier and got ready for bed. Adam and Jack stayed outside. After about twenty minutes, Jack decided that he wanted to sleep outside. At that moment I was not sure why he did it– I suspected he was afraid of getting sick inside the tent. So after Jack got his sleeping bag out, Adam got in the tent and crawled into his sleeping bag. I was pretty tired and very ready to get to sleep.
Sam: That’s understandable.
Katie: So after about five minutes of quiet, I head a noise from Adam’s sleeping bag. It really sounded like he was jerking off.
Sam: Oh, that’s horrible! Did you make him stop?
Katie: No, I thought it was strange, but I figured it would be easier to let it slide than to make a big deal out of it.
Sam: That’s still kind of beyond the normal bounds of acceptable behavior.
Katie: But wait, it gets even better. He just kept on getting louder and was flailing about. Sarah realized what he was doing and told him to stop-or at least go outside of the tent. But Adam was on another planet. He jumped out of his sleeping bag and stood up in the middle of tent. And yes, he was still playing with himself.
Sam: yikes.
Katie: Adam is a pretty hairy guy, so it kind of made me think of Chappy-just on a somewhat larger scale. Then Adam gets really quiet, looks down at his penis, and suddenly yells out “Come on Mr. Bugglesworth, we have got to warn the others.” He gets on an imaginary horse and starts galloping around in tiny circles.
Sam: I’m confused. What Adam trying to be funny or what?
Katie: No, because after about a minute of that he stopped and looked around the tent. His eyes rolled up into the sockets and his knees started shaking. He was about to tip over, and as a reflex he grabbed the top of the tent. Adam fell completely over and the poles that were holding up the tent snapped under the added weight.
Sam: Was he having a seizure or something? Or was it some sort of metal illness?
Katie: Sarah and I got out of the tent and dragged the now motionless naked man outside. We saw Jack sitting on a near by picnic table with his head in his hands mumbling that he was sorry.
Sam: Jack wasn’t even in the tent, right? What did he do wrong?
Katie: Well, it turned out that Jack for some reason had a hit of acid in his pocket. Jack was pulling out his car keys and the piece of paper it was on fell to the ground. The details after that get kind of blurred, but I suspect Jack said something like, “What ever you do, don’t lick that paper!” and Adam said, “What– like this?” They both had a moderate amount of alcohol in their bodies, so I’m sure it seemed funny at the time.
Sam: So that explains why Jack didn’t want to be in the tent. Given Adam’s “performance”, it seems like that was probably a good move on Jack’s part.
Katie: Adam really didn’t look good, so we drove back to town in the middle of the night to take him to the emergency room. Jack felt so bad he wouldn’t even get in the car. We left him there and high tailed it back to Boulder. I drove and Sarah stayed in the back seat with Adam to make sure he was doing all right. By the time we got down to the emergency room he was entering back into our reality. Although he did keep on telling me to drive faster because, “they’re after me lucky charms, you know.”
Sam: So did you get in trouble in the emergency room? Did they call the cops?
Katie: No, they just checked Adam out and explained what we should expect as the effects wore off. I was in Boulder, so I’m sure they had seen stuff like that before.
Sam: If you did something like that when you still were in Kansas you would have probably spent the night in jail.
Katie: Yeah-things are definitely different in Colorado. So we drove back to Adam and Sarah’s place and watched him closely the rest of the night. It was quite amusing, in a strange sort of way. Sarah and I would talk to Adam about the things he was seeing. Eventually Adam fell asleep on the living room floor just as it was starting to get light outside. Sarah and I each took a corner of the sectional couch. After all the excitement I just wasn’t in the mood to go home and deal with the animals.
Sam: Wow, that is a different way to spend your weekend. What happened to Jack?
Katie: Well, at about one o’clock in the afternoon I woke up and decided to go home and change clothes. On the porch was all of the stuff we left in the mountains neatly arranged. There was even a box with a brand new dome tent inside. I can only assume he got someone to bring him back into town.
Sam: He was responsible for the whole mess. It seems reasonable.
Katie: I suppose. I can’t say I’m happy with Jack, but it doesn’t seem like he did it on purpose. From now on I’ll have a formal drug check before camping with strangers.
Sam: Well, I’m going to have to make a road trip out to see you this summer. I feel so boring whenever I talk to you.
Katie: You know, I want a little more boring in my life right now. Of course you are welcome to visit. I have a guest bedroom you can use if you are willing to live in my zoo.
Sam: I’ll have to think about it. The only thing that bothers me is the monkey.
Katie: Yeah, watching him when he gets “excited” is strange at first, but I don’t even notice it anymore.
Sam: That should bother you. A lot.
Katie: Well, I don’t think I would really want to stop him. And besides, at least he is enjoying himself.
Sam: That’s one way to look at it. Another way to see the situation is that you are living with a depressed, exhibitionist, and most likely stolen animal whose previous caretaker has skipped town under mysterious circumstances.
Katie: I know it’s strange, but what do you suggest I do? If I hand Chappy over to the Humane Society they will probably give him back to rightful owners. I don’t know who that is, but I don’t want Chappy to be subjected to medical testing.
Sam: Isn’t there some kind of law against having a monkey in your house?
Katie: Not that I know of. Either that or the monkey police haven’t been tipped off about Chappy.
Sam: Well, I just hope it works out for you.
Katie: I’m sure it will. I have to get going. Omar wants me to find a bunch of people that are Flash animators who will work on our web site for free. I don’t know what Flash is, and I’ve never met a computer geek who wants to work for free. So I’m probably going to have my hands full for the rest of the afternoon.
Sam: OK, have fun.
Katie: Bye

Chapter 24

Web Story: Another Interview with Ertok

My career path to becoming a lounge singer has been somewhat uneventful this week, so I’ve decided to field some of the questions I’ve gotten from inquisitive readers who want to know more about Ertok. For those of you new to the site, Ertok is an Evil Alien Overlord who, among other things, oversees the operations here at

O: Do you like working with the Omar?
E: His performance so far has been acceptable. However, on the recently modified “Staff” page, Omar has associated me with one of the animated space aliens from the animated television show “The Simpsons”. On a superficial level, I comprehend the analogy, but on a deeper level it becomes clear that my personality more closely matches that of Kodos rather than that of Kang. I am currently considering punishment for this grievous error.

O: How many aliens are in the vicinity of planet Earth at this moment?
E: I am currently the only one. My responsibility is to scout out the planet and analyze your defensive capabilities before the main invasion force arrives. My involvement in this web site has minimal strategic value to the overall invasion plan, and is analogous to a small boy playing with and enjoying his pet ants with the aid of a primitive transparent optical refracting device.

O: You have implied that you don’t look like Kodos or Kang from The Simpsons. Do you resemble other aliens from popular movies or television shows?
E: In reality, I can emulate the look of any of the carbon based life forms that scurry about on your planet’s surface through a special device located on my space vessel. For example, I could exit my ship looking like any of your world leaders. Or Pauly Shore.

O: Is this entire interview a setup for a series of wacky adventures involving you and other members of the newfunny staff while you wait for the invasion force to arrive?
E: Did I mention that the XR-2300 neural interface I implanted in your head gives me the option of making your head explode?

O: I suppose we can skip that question and edit it out later.
E: I suspect that would be in your head’s best interest.

O: Speaking of the XR-2300, isn’t that a muffler bracket for the ’79 Pinto?
E: No, that’s the XR-2200. The 2300 is the lunar shuttle.

O: So, have you finished your assessment of our planets defenses? What did you conclude?
E: My research has concluded that your species is no match for us. The best chance you have to defend yourself is to annoy us to death with your gender homogenous adolescent music organizations. HA HA HA. [SNORT] [SNORT] [COUGH] [COUGH]. Edit out the snorting part too.

O: So how much time do we have until the invasion force arrives?
E: According to my calculations, they should have arrived several of your Earth days ago. I suspect the problem has to do with your archaic time system. Basing a calendar on small furry animals is not very efficient.

O: That sounds like yet another piece of information that might be relevant for future story lines involving evil alien overlords. Do you agree?
E: [pulls out a remote control device with a button on it labeled “blow up Omar’s head” and slowly runs his finger around it]

Well, look at the time! I would like to thank Ertok for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer all of these questions. If anyone has questions for Ertok, please feel free to sent them to If we use your question on the web site, you get a free T-shirt from the back of my closet that I never got around to giving to charity.

Chapter 25

Katie: Omar! Are you in your office?
Omar: Yeah, what’s going on?
Katie: Are you expecting any visitors in the office today?
Omar: No, those are the days I wear pants to work instead of shorts.
Katie: No, I’m being serious! There are two guys in dark black suits out here that are very interested in seeing you. And I suspect they aren’t fans of your writing.
Omar: How could anyone not find me funny?
Katie: They are FBI agents.
Omar: Oh… well, send them in, I suppose.

Chapter 26

To: Brian
From: Omar
Subject: Bad day at work

I’ve learned something new today. The FBI takes comments about stalking celebrities quite seriously. Remember that story I wrote about Dave Barry? Well, someone didn’t see the humor of me explaining how I’m going to follow him around to learn his secrets and contacted the authorities.

So I got to spend two hours in my office explaining to agents how I have no intentions of going to south Florida and stalking Dave Barry. In my wildest dreams I didn’t think anyone would have taken me seriously. I guess there is a first time for everything. They spent thirty minutes querying me about my knowledge of night vision goggles.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, they questioned Katie and Tim. I’m not sure what kind of questions they asked, but I’m sure both of them are smart enough to realize that something like this could shut down the whole office by the end of the day. Neither of them really know much about me, so I don’t imagine they would say anything incriminating.

I’ve come up with a series of non controversial topics for my weekly stories for the rest of the month. I’m going to write a series about how computers have evolved, and have another interview with Ertok the evil alien overlord. Hopefully that will help me keep a low profile. If Bob finds out that the FBI came into the office I just can’t see any positive results. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this whole thing quietly blows over.

I hope things are going well for you.


Chapter 27

Tim: So what about the FBI? That was a little bit of afternoon excitement, wouldn’t you say?
Katie: Yeah, I was quite surprised.
Tim: They even had the stereotypical dark suits and sunglasses on when they came in the office. I always thought that was shit that only happened in the movies.
Katie: Yep.
Tim: So what kind of questions did they ask you?
Katie: Very general questions. I’ve only known Omar for a few weeks now, so I didn’t have a lot to say. They kept asking me questions about any strange errands Omar had me run since I started.
Tim: What did you tell them?
Katie: Omar doesn’t have me run too many personal errands. He seems happy as long as all the paperwork is in order. He doesn’t really get personal with me very often.
Tim: Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. I can’t really figure that out. You are pretty good looking and for the most part single-it’s not like you would scare him off or anything.
Katie: Um, OK.
Tim: It sounds like they asked us both the same kind of questions. I haven’t known Omar too long, but I did what I could to paint him out to be a pretty solid guy. I said that if Omar had a good reason he would do shit like that, but since nobody is messing with him he is cool and laid back. If everyone acted afraid of the FBI it will only make them more suspicious. Personally, I think Omar was just trying to be funny. I mean, really, that’s what the web site is about-right?
Katie: Yes. I don’t think this will be a big issue. The agents were just doing their jobs. They will go back to their office and file a report that nobody will ever look at again.
Tim: I think it could go either way. It doesn’t take much for the FBI to get out of control. This office could be ground zero for David Koresh meets dot com.
Katie: You are being a little dramatic there.
Tim: Maybe we should get more food supplies for the kitchen..
Katie: Hey I have to go-the phone is ringing. I don’t want to keep them waiting. You know, in case it’s the CIA.
Tim: Good plan.

Chapter 28

Brian: Hey
Omar: What’s going on?
Brian: Not too much. Good job on getting the FBI to your office.
Omar: Don’t remind me. I’m trying to repress that memory.
Brian: So if they start asking me questions, should I bring up all those times you would drive up to Wyoming to buy illegal fireworks? I’ll bet they would find that information quite useful in their investigation.
Omar: That would be great.
Brian: And while I’m at it I could talk about your weird roommate our freshman year in college who got caught firing bottle rockets out the window at nearby pedestrians. That will help them see who the real Omar is.
Omar: Lovely. As far as I know they haven’t got hold of the people I report to at Yahoo. If they do, I’m sure it won’t be long before the shit hits the fan.
Brian: Give it time, my friend.
Omar: This FBI thing has given me doubts about this whole situation. Who am I to be running a company like this? I have no idea what’s going on. I’ve got the writing part down pretty well, but the rest of it I have no idea what I need to do. I’ve hardly done anything with Flash and I have no idea what to do for the video section.
Brian: I think the web site is looking pretty good so far. You are building up the content with your stories-that’s a good step. I’m sure the people you hired will help with the rest of it. Their jobs depend on the site doing well.
Omar: Yeah, I know that. It just seems like I’m setting up all this stuff now and hoping by some miracle that everything works out in the end. Am I running a pyramid scheme here?
Brian: Are a bunch of senior citizens losing their entire life savings?
Omar: No
Brian: Then it’s not a pyramid scheme. Besides, even if the whole web site and office were to disappear right now, what would it really matter? Sure, Yahoo spent a nice chunk of change getting this operation running, but they are worth billions of dollars. If they lose a few tens of thousands dollars on you (which I don’t think is going to happen anyway) it’s not going to put them out of business.
Omar: I suppose.
Brian: As you get more traffic on your site, people will start begging to help you out. Do you know how many wannabe actors there are in Denver alone? As long as you can keep the ideas flowing to the right people things will work themselves out.
Omar: I know what you are saying, and you are right. I guess this whole being in charge thing is a new role for me. Well I better get back to work-I have to go be funny.
Brian: I didn’t know you were funny.
Omar: πŸ™‚ later.
Brian: Bye

Chapter 29

To: Tim
From: Omar
Subject: Gods Playing Poker Script


Here is a loose script I’ve written for the “Gods Playing Poker” Flash animation. This is the first animation for the web site, so I want it to be perfect. After we get a few of these on the web site I’ll be giving you more control over the content, but bear with me on this one as I will be watching everything pretty closely. I’ve never written a script for something like this, so if there is anything you don’t understand make sure to ask me right away.


Close up of finger pressing doorbell.
Doorbell rings.
Door opens. The view is of the closed door from the outside. Thor is inside and opens the door.
Thor: Jesus Christ! You decided to come after all!
The view changes to inside looking out the door at Jesus Christ.
Jesus: Thor, my child, it is a pleasure to see you again.
Thor: I’m the God of Thunder-I’m not your child!
Jesus: I’m sorry Thor, you are right. I’ve been spending a lot of time around humans lately. Just this morning I produced my image in a tortilla in a small town in eastern Texas.
Thor: I’ve always admired you for that. You take time to make your presence known in so many subtle ways. I seem to have an uncontrollable urge to hit things with bolts of lightning to get my point across. But that’s just me. Patience has never been my strong point. Where are my manners, come on in and make yourself comfortable. The rest of the group will be here shortly.
Jesus: Thank you, and I brought a lovely bean dip I made from scratch this morning.
Thor: Oh no-bean dip and lightning bolts-not a good combination! HA HA HA!!!
Jesus smiles and goes inside.

Doorbell rings. Door opens.
Thor: Allah! I’m glad you finally decided to join us!
Allah: Normally I like to keep to myself, but I got your e-mail message and said, “Why not join them? We all are gods after all– why can’t we all get together for an evening of casual entertainment?”
Thor: Wonderful. Come on in-watch the step there. Jesus is in the living room. Feel free to make yourself a drink and enjoy some of the vegetable platter I set on the coffee table.
Allah: Thank you.

Doorbell rings. Door opens.
Thor: Zeus!!! The god of gods. How is life up at the summer cottage?
Zeus: It’s wonderful, as always. The weather is just perfect and I don’t have any annoying neighbors.
Thor: Great! Everyone else is here, so I guess we can get started.

New scene-the four Gods are sitting at a poker table. The style is just like the “Dogs Playing Poker” poster.

Thor: For the first game it’s going to be straight five card stud with nothing wild.
Thor deals out five cards to everyone. Nobody looks at their cards yet.
Zeus: I fold
Allah: I bet all my chips
Jesus: I fold
Thor: OK EVERYONE, LISTEN UP! This is going to be the most boring game of poker if everyone knows what is going to happen. YES, we are all gods, and yes, we can all be omnipresent if we choose to, but in the spirit of this game we should all refrain from using this power. Agreed?
Zeus lifts up can of beer and begins talking.
Zeus: Thor is right. We all need.
Suddenly Zeus gets hit with a lightning bolt.
Allah: Jesus Christ-why did you have to hit Zeus with a bolt of lightning?
Jesus: That wasn’t me. Personally, I suspect Thor was the instigator.
Allah: Of course it was Thor, you nimrod.
Thor: I’m sorry, I just got a little too excited. And Zeus raising his beer can provided a path for my built up electrical energy to be dispersed. I’ll try not to let it happen again. Are you OK, Zeus?
Zeus laughs heartily.
Zeus: It will talk a lot more than a few bolts of lightning to stop me from playing.

Zeus deals another hand of poker.
Thor and Allah quickly fold.
Zeus: Hey Jesus, how about we make this game a little more interesting?
Jesus: What do you propose?
Zeus: Instead of playing for chips, we play for people. The winner of this hand gets to have a little fun with one of the loser’s followers. Nothing lethal, but everything else is fair game.
Jesus: Zeus, that wouldn’t be very nice.
Zeus: Oh come on, don’t you ever get tired of being benevolent all the time? Or are you chicken?
Jesus: This may be the two cans of Red Bull I’ve just finished off talking, but you have yourself a deal.
Zeus: Show your cards, beer boy.
Allah: Red Bull isn’t beer, Zeus.
Zeus: Shut up-can’t you see we are trying to play a game here?

Jesus has a full house. Zeus has a straight flush.
Jesus: So who are you going to torment Zeus?
Zeus: Well, there is one of your followers I find particularly annoying. This guy really reminds me of that Job guy from the Bible. Except he lives in Silicon Valley, develops video games, and goes around obsessing about how Jesus does this and Jesus does that and how fricken wonderful you are. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus, I love you like a son, but this guy just needs to learn a little lesson. He kisses your ass and you make sure nothing bad happens to him.
Jesus: I’m going to need another beer. Probably two.
Allah: I already told you that it’s not beer.
Jesus: Allah, why do you have to take everything so literally?
Zeus: Shut up-both of you! Back to my winnings: first of all I’m going to give him a wicked case of acne.
Zeus slaps his hand on the table
Zeus: Next I’m going to make all of his high priced Internet stock worthless.
Jesus: I get the point. I’m a sissy. Now just stop.
Allah: This isn’t funny anymore Zeus.
Zeus: Hell, I’m just getting started. Now I’m going to disconnect the high speed Internet connection-he is going to have to dial up at 56k. Serves him right!
Jesus: I really mean it-enough Zeus!
Zeus: I know you will just switch everything back once I stop. You will probably even make him even better off than before we started.
Jesus: I am not going to. Well, I don’t . that’s not the point. You are making me angry!
The wind starts blowing and keeps getting stronger.
Allah: Jesus-this isn’t doing anyone any good.
Zeus: Stay out of this Allah. If you were a half way decent god you wouldn’t have your people blowing things up to make you happy.
Allah: Oh, the truth comes out now, huh? Well how about we let your followers live in the crappy desert for a thousand years and see how they turn out?
The ground starts shaking.
Jesus: You want to play chicken, Zeus?
Zeus: With you, patsey boy? Any day!!!
Jesus: I’m not afraid of you!
More shaking and wind.
Zeus: Let’s go all the way, bitch.
Jesus: I’m not backing down.
Zeus: Neither am I.
Incredible shaking and wind.
Massive zoom out to the entire universe. It is shaking violently. Suddenly everything collapses on itself and all is quiet and totally dark.
In quiet, apologetic tones fading out:
Zeus: I’m sorry.
Jesus: No, I get like this sometimes when I drink.
Thor: I might have helped with the destruction thing.
Allah: So are we going to do this again sometime?
Zeus: Of course-we can have it at my house next month. My wife makes those little tiny hot dogs with toothpicks in them..
Jesus: Great-I’ll be there.
Thor: I’m game..

Chapter 30

Kerry: Hey.
Kerry: Are you there?
Kerry: Omar?
Katie: Hi, Omar isn’t in right now. He had to leave for a meeting this afternoon. It looks like he forgot to sign off from the Instant Messenger Service.
Kerry: Oh, I just thought I would see how his web site is going.
Katie: My name is Katie and I am the office manager. I heard Omar’s computer making the Instant Message beeping noise, so I came in to his office to see if it was something important.
Kerry: I was just going to say “hi” to Omar. I used to work with Omar at his last job. I was just going to harass him about getting paid to play on the web-especially since that’s all he did when we worked together.
Katie: Things are going pretty well here. We are just in the process of hiring people for various positions. I think in a month or two the pace will pick up. So you used to work with Omar. Did you do technical support too?
Kerry: Yeah, we shared a cubical for quite a while.
Katie: Omar doesn’t say much about it. Did he do a good job there? I get the feeling he didn’t leave under the best of conditions. I’m just curious, you don’t have to answer if that is too personal.
Kerry: He did a good enough job doing technical support. His attitude changed when he got back from working in Amsterdam.
Katie: Like he was too good for technical support?
Kerry: Not exactly. He got an idea for a new product and he became obsessed.
Katie: That sounds like Omar.
Kerry: I thought it sounded like an OK idea. It took one of the C++ libraries that interfaced with various databases and let programmers output the results as tables and charts in HTML format.
Katie: That sounds pretty useful. Did it sell well?
Kerry: Well, the problem was that this happened in the middle of a major reorganization in the company. They just fired the CEO and a bunch of the Vice Presidents were on their way out. It was a terrible time for something new. While everyone was trying to keep from making waves Omar was busy doing cannonballs into the deep end of the pool. Basically he pushed the idea too hard and pissed off quite a few important people.
Katie: Do you think it was a good idea? Would it have made money?
Kerry: I don’t know-its possible. I know Omar believed it would save the company. I think if he would have waited a few months he might have done a little bit better. I know Omar was pretty bitter after that.
Katie: Wow, that explains a lot.
Kerry: After that, Omar’s spirit was crushed and he just did the minimum amount of work as far as helping customers. He spent a lot of time designing web sites at work. That is where he learned how to use Cold Fusion. I think it took him about two seconds to accept that offer from Yahoo.
Katie: Omar seems pretty happy with this job. He is very passionate about his writing and his ideas for the future of the site. But I think he isn’t very comfortable telling people what to do. Maybe after a while it will get easier.
Kerry: I don’t like saying nice things about Omar, especially to his face, but I do hope this works out for him.
Katie: I’ll tell Omar you were looking for him. Have a good day πŸ™‚
Kerry: OK, thanks.

Chapter 31

Web Story: How Computers Work Part 1

A lot of people in the world are curious about how computers work and would like to know more about the evolution of these machines in our modern society. I have no idea if any of these people actually visit my web site, but I’ve never been one to worry about such issues. This is just another example of something I let the marketing department worry about. (Note to self: Check to see if I have created a marketing department yet).

I’ve decided to adopt a more traditional approach to the method of delivery for this information. While most everyone wants to jump right into the “fun” stuff like receiving AOL for free, getting the 250 dollar Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe, and finding out how to get paid thousands of dollars a month for surfing the Internet, I am taking the approach of “starting from the beginning”. This will guarantee that any interest in the topic will be exhausted on largely irrelevant background information. This is the exact model used by my high school English department. I don’t really know why beginnings aren’t as exciting as the middle or the end, but I will do what I can to make the beginning as fun as the rest of the story.

Stay tuned for the EXCITING BEGINNING of the story!!!

The first computer ever used by mankind was small enough to fit inside a human nose. Surprisingly enough, this computer’s exterior dimensions are remarkably similar to the interior of the aforementioned orifice. I’m referring to, of course, one of the most common human appendages to be inserted in the nasal cavity-the finger. The twenty or so digits found on the hands and feet of an average person can be used for counting and keeping track of relatively small positive integers. Some notable exceptions include James Doohan (“Scotty” from the original Star Trek series) who can only go up to nineteen after losing a finger in World War II, and Marilyn Monroe who could, according to some sources, count up to twenty-one with the help of an extra toe on her left foot.

While not the most powerful of computers, fingers are still the most widely used computational machine in the world today. In addition to being quite user friendly and durable, fingers are located very conveniently at the ends of our hands and, if maintained properly, are pleasing to the eye and include a soft tactile sensation. Sure, you can’t very well set up a Linux e-mail server or load Microsoft office on your fingers, but fingers can’t be beat for elegance and simplicity.

It didn’t take long before people found a need to keep track of numbers bigger than twenty. The next logical step was to use small rocks to account for possessions. For example, if you were one of the first humans to domesticate livestock, you could have a pile of stones that represented how many live chickens you owned at the moment. When a new chick was born, you would add a stone to the pile. When a chicken was taken away, you would pick up a stone and throw it at your lousy neighbor who most likely stole it when you walked back to the cave for an afternoon nap.

One of the oldest examples of this technique can be found in the Middle East. After learning of this new system for counting things, an ancient Egyptian commanded a high ranking official to use this procedure to keep track of how many people lived in the Nile Valley. In an attempt to please the Pharaoh, the largest possible stones were cut into precise shapes and carefully piled on top of each other. After seeing the massive scale of the pyramid, the Pharaoh called the officer into a meeting at the royal chamber. The bulk of the meeting consisted of the Pharaoh pulling out his gold and blue striped question mark shaped stick and using it to attack the officer in a series of short but solid smacks to the head. The meeting ended with the Pharaoh deciding to use it as his final resting place to avoid ridicule from the rest of the known world.

While this information may not seem terribly useful, at this stage it is best to take a holistic view of the world. Everything in the universe has its place and is related to everything else is some way. While I like to ask questions such as “What do they put in Chicken McNuggets?” and “What happened to Marilyn Monroe’s extra toe?”, I am quite confident that eventually I’ll find the answers. The trick is realizing that all of the questions and answers aren’t all lined up all the time. Having said that, I hope everyone joins in next time when the revolutionary concept of the abacus explored in excessive and possibly historically inaccurate detail.

Chapter 32

Web Story: How Computers Work Part 2

Welcome back to part two of the continuing series that explains how computers work. Last time we covered fingers, toes, and piles of rocks. While the connection between these items and today’s computers may seem tenuous at best, the idea is to understand how these creatures evolved over time. I wasn’t all that long ago when computers were large, primitive, hairy animals who scurried about in the tropical climates of world feeding on native plants and sleeping eighteen hours of every day. Wait a minute, I was thinking of Marlon Brando.

The next important technological advance in the world involved numbers. One of the first numbering systems was invented by a fellow named Edgar Roman. The year was 999 and Edgar was busy preparing those miniature hot dogs for his Y1K party. While known to his friends as kind, generous, and generally agreeable to be around in social situations, Edgar was not blessed with an abundance of hand eye coordination. He managed to drop the whole box of toothpicks on to the floor while trying to get them out of the very top shelf of the kitchen cupboard.

Looking at all the toothpicks on the floor, Edgar realized that numbers can be represented as simple symbols such as I, V, X, M and so on. It would have been much, much easier to write “You are formally invited to Edgar’s house to ring in the ‘M’th year of our Lord” instead of having to count out exactly 1000 tiny tick marks on each and every invitation. After throwing the party, seeing if the apocalypse was really going to rip the known world in half, and dealing with a few issues relating to excessive alcohol consumption, Edgar sat down and created a formal definition of his numbering system. While originally named “Edgar’s Wacky Toothpick Numbers,” some of his more politically correct associates convinced him to change it to “Roman Numerals.”

There may be some confusion about why the Roman numeral for 1000 is the letter M, but the letter K is often times used to denote the same number. This deviation was created in the late 15th century when Samuel Gates Junior– a distant predecessor of William Gates– decided to create a completely new system of counting. After researching the legal ramifications of Roman numerals, he discovered that anyone could use the system without having to pay royalties to Edgar’s descendants. Seeing the potential for a proprietary counting system, an ever so slightly different system was developed and then licensed to companies interested in counting things. While the system was inferior to the original, it was used by enough of the population to create confusion for several centuries.

One important idea missing in Roman Numerals is the concept of zero. Many experts attribute this deficiency to the fact that it is quite difficult to bend toothpicks into a complete circle without breaking it. Another possibility is that the Romans were pragmatic about the whole situation and figured if there wasn’t anything there, why bother keeping track of it? For example, you can physically oppress the serfs until the aqueducts are completed, but if their pockets don’t contain any gold coins, then it’s all just wasted effort.

Many people think that the first personal digital assistants (PDAs) came into existence in the late 1990s. In reality, this technology has been around for many hundreds of years. The abacus was the first portable device that allowed the user to store and retrieve information. The basic design of the abacus originated in Asia and involved a series of rods with beads that could freely slide up and down the rod to keep track of numbers. While technically portable, these devices would malfunction if shaken or rotated too vigorously. When this happened, the device would turn completely blue and the message “an unknown error has occurred at location 57EE:009B” would magically appear. Ancient Chinese texts explain this mysterious event as a sign of the devil traveling to the earth with the intention of destroying the planet.

The invention of the abacus also marked the start of the playground bully. Some of the smarter and less physically skilled students would sit on the stairs of the steps of the school using the abacus they received for their birthday to try and answer the esoteric question, “how many roads must a boy travel down before he becomes a man?” The less intellectually inclined students feared that which they didn’t understand, and would often times start a game of kickball with the computing device. Which is really a shame, since the kick ball had already been invented.

Well, that wraps up another segments on computers. If you would like more information on the topics discussed today, please visit the nearest ancient Roman library and local abacus store.

Chapter 33

Web Story: How Computers Work Part 3

Part two of this series left off with the ancient computational tool known as the abacus. From there we fast forward through history to the nineteenth century. Sure, a lot of important things happened in that time frame, but none of it was really central to the advancement of the computer. Most of that time was spent fighting each other, fighting off the plague, and fighting over how much it should cost to paint the ceilings in prestigious religious establishments.

These events are part of what is known as the “Dark Ages.” Despite the fact that on average the amount of sunlight the planet received had not changed, the people on the planet were depressed, wore dark clothes and sunglasses all the time, and didn’t spend a lot of time learning the ways of the abacus. In more informal situations, many historians refer to the period of human development as the “pimply moody teenage years.” This situation did very little to stimulate the creative juices of the general population.

The next major advancement in the area of computational machinery came in the late 1800s in a rather unlikely form. No, I’m not talking about evil alien time traveling robot monkeys who ruthlessly scavenge the planet for shiny pieces of scrap metal. At the time of this writing the monkeys in question have only achieved limited success in building their time machine. The piece of equipment to which I’m referring relates to, of course, the textile industry.

At this point in time many nations of the world were busy building expansive factories and cutting down vast forest lands to keep the factories up and running. A few individuals focused their time and attention to making the world a better place to live. Despite the dark ages being over for the most part, being optimistic and proactive was not very fashionable at the time. Even so, some of these people voiced the opinion that cutting down the forests and building factories that polluted the air wasn’t very good for the planet. Oddly enough, these people tended to die in unfortunate industrial accidents such as falling into smoke stacks or having large trees fall on their house in the middle of the night.

A few slightly less radical individuals got together and decided the world might be a better place to live in if instead of producing endless quantities of drab colored fabric, the textile factories made blankets with images of cute little bunny rabbits woven into the cloth. After looking into the situation, they discovered it was quite simple to produce fabric made of a single color, and quite difficult to integrate mammals into the design.

To solve this problem, they designed a revolutionary new weaving loom that used a special series of cards with holes in various positions. The individual strings on the loom would be positioned based on whether there was a hole in the punch card at that location. A series of these cards allowed for intricate designs to be produced with little additional effort. The guy operating the machine does not need to know the exact details of why there are random looking holes in the punch cards. They just slide the “bunny rabbit” cards into the machine until enough fabric has been produced. Then they can quickly stop the machine and put in a different pattern, such as “evil monkey robots.”

For various reasons this device was never a wide spread commercial success. In addition to being bulky and expensive, whenever any of the two dozen delicate threads feeding into the machine broke, the blanket produced was totally solid with the exception of a message in the exact center that would read “an unknown error has occurred at location 57EE:009B” along with a special 1-800 number and web address to contact for further assistance. Since neither the telephone nor the Internet had been invented yet, the technical support department had quite a bit of free time to pursue other activities such as creating loom patterns that produced wildly inappropriate images of the high ranking political figures of their day.

While this may seem like a small technological advancement, this new design allowed for information to be stored on punch cards and used on different machines. The designers probably didn’t know it at the time, but a hundred years into the future this concept would be used as a fundamental component of modern day computers.

This completes another installment on how computers work. So tonight when you crawl into your bed with your special Mr. Honey Bunny blanket, you can sleep a little easier knowing how it came to be. And don’t worry too much about the evil alien robot monkeys. The odds of them suddenly materializing in your bedroom are rather slim. But on the off chance they do launch an offensive attack, don’t let them see that new sliver filling on your back molar.

Chapter 34

Web Story: How Computers Work Part 4

The year was 1946-the world was busy with its new, “Can’t we all just get along?” campaign, the United States military was busy building, among other things, the most technologically advanced computational devices the world had ever seen, and the weather seemed, in general, more pleasant than usual. The answer to the first questions is by in large, “No, we can’t all just get along.” The part about the weather turned out to be nothing more than a statistical anomaly. Which leaves the part about constructing computers unexplored. Put your thinking caps on as we prepare to examine this topic in an objective and historically accurate manner.

In order to make this machine sound more like a cute, furry animal and less like a cold blooded killing machine, the people who came up with the idea in the first place decided to call it “Eniac.” While this name sounds somewhat cute and furry, its meaning comes from an old Czechoslovakian phrase that roughly translates to “factory workers with steel shells who attempt to enslave humanity.” The United States built Eniac after identifying a need to calculate the trajectories for their long range thermonuclear weapons.

Once constructed, the military also discovered they could use Eniac to beat the Russians at their own game: tic-tac-toe. After months of tedious programming, the system consistently advised players to always go first and pick the center square. Future versions of Eniac were enhanced to play the game show variations of tic-tac-toe such as “Tic Tac Dough” and “Hollywood Squares.” Some of the general pointers for these games generated by Eniac included, “Caution: Wink Martindale is a robot” and, “Agreeing to appear on Hollywood Squares automatically makes you a loser.”

The heart of the Eniac consisted of thousands of small vacuum tubes that were used to store information while calculations were being performed. While bulky and unreliable compared to the technology available today, these vacuum tubes were a critical component for Eniac to function properly. When a vacuum tube malfunctioned, one of the operators had to locate and replace the tube with a fresh new one. This maintenance consumed quite a bit of the operators time and, by in large, kept them from their favorite activity involving day dreaming of a future where all enemies of the United States could be destroyed with a push of a button.

The process quickly became tiresome and the military eventually hired low paid foreigners to change out the malfunctioning tubes at night. In the meantime, the men and women who built Eniac could focus on the next objective of deciding on the color of the buttons that would be used to fire the missiles their computer was helping aim all around the world. In the end they chose red.

This system created somewhat of a security issue when the mathematicians and computational theorist came into work one day and noticed the 200 ton computer was missing. Naturally the cleaning staff was accused of walking off with the system after everyone else had gone home for the evening. These individuals continually proclaimed their innocence in their native language, which really didn’t do anything to help their cause. In fact, it made them look like raving lunatics-exactly the type of individuals who would steal a state of the art computer. Eventually they were cleared of any and all wrong doing after a complete audit of all the militaries computational devices located the lost piece of equipment. For reasons that have never been completely explained, Eniac was accidentally placed in a seldomly used supply closet.

One rather critical issue with the Eniac computer involved error handling. This system was constructed long before traditional computer screens with the ability to turn completely blue had been invented. To put this time frame into perspective, the top computer scientists of the day were just beginning to coin the phrase “an unknown error has occurred at location 57EE:009B.” Despite incredible advances in the field of computers, much of the behavior of the Eniac system is to this day not completely understood. For example, when an error occurred in a program, the system would calmly and confidently instruct the Navy to launch every long range missile at the five richest kings of Prussia.

Eniac represented a monumental investment in time and money for the United States. Fortunately, World War II was, for the most part, an “away” war that left our nations infrastructure intact. While most other countries in the world were busy rebuilding roads and buildings, we were able to get a head start on the computer craze. Eniac blazed the path for modern day computers. Most importantly, it started an entirely new belief that given enough time every sufficiently powerful computer will eventually do everything in its power once its operators have let their guards down to take over the planet and enslave humanity.

Chapter 35

Web Story: How Computers Work Part 5

After the concepts involved in the Eniac computer were proved to be a success, people started asking a lot of questions about the future of computational devices. “What else can it do?”, “Can it be made smaller than 200 tons?”, and “Does it come in blue?” were just a few of the many, many thoughts people had about the topic.

The 1950s and 1960s were quite exciting times for the development of computers. Successors to the Eniac system allowed researchers to gain valuable insights into mathematical and sociological functions of our world. For example, the companies who won large and profitable government contracts to build and maintain computer systems quickly learned to construct their systems with large panels of blinking lights. While a few of the lights actually corresponded to actual parameters related to the machinery such as “power”, “something is going on inside”, and “an unknown error has occurred at location at 57EE:009B”, most of the lights were designed to blink on and off in such a way that was aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

This functionality proved to be critical when top level defense department officials or members of congress stopped by to see the final results of their considerable expenditures. After a tour of the facilities, the gentlemen would light up their pipes, puff out their chests, and confidently spew out random pleasantries like “Good work men!”, “This is EXACTLY what we need to beat the Commies!”, and “I don’t know about you, Bob, but I think it needs more blue lights.” Eventually the contractors brought in interior decorators during the hardware design phase to coordinate the color schemes of the systems. Some of the individuals who programmed the computers started to develop software that did nothing more than make the lights blink in the most interesting sequence possible.

Eventually blinking light technology reached a limit and computer designers were forced to explore other avenues. An in depth investigation revealed that in addition to changes in light intensity, the human eye responds positively to periodic rotational motion. Armed with this knowledge, computers were enhanced with state-of-the-art tape drives. While containing little, if any, adhesive properties, these devices were used to store and retrieve information on a long and thin strip of material capable of holding a magnetic charge. The constant back-and-forth motion provided a convincing illusion of productivity. Often times the managers of these facilities would be giving tours of the computer facility while the rest of the office was busy in the break room building elaborate paper fortresses with rolls of scotch tape and reams of used continuous feed paper.

In addition to the blinking lights and reel-to-reel tape devices, each generation of computers was becoming smaller and more powerful than its predecessor. The development of the integrated circuit allowed designers to eliminate bulky vacuum tubes. These types of technological advancements allowed for the same amount of computational power to occupy a continually shrinking volume of space. This phenomena is often times referred to as the Carnie Wilson effect.

All of this visual stimulation associated with computing devices led the general public to assume that while computers were useful in some abstract manner, they would eventually become sentient and bent on destroying the human race. While it isn’t mathematically feasible to prove such an event will never happen, many popular films of the era encouraged this concept. One prime example is the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

After successfully sending its crew half way across the solar system, HAL, the talkative onboard computer system, decides to fling the crew into outer space one at a time just because he had nothing better to do. In all reality that is not how computers of the day would have worked. The worst thing that could have happened was the “fling yourself out the airlock one at a time” light would have lit up. Eventually the crew would have realized this was a computer error and not in the best interest of the mission. If this occurred before everyone followed the instructions one of the remaining crew members would have put a small piece of tape over the light and ignored it for the duration of the movie. I believe this would have all been clearly explained if a logistical error during the final editing process hadn’t caused extensive quantities of a completely different film to accidentally replace the intended ending of the movie.

While the 1950s and 1960s were a time of extensive change in the world of computers, the true power of these devices were just beginning to be discovered. Will these machines of our own creation, with their hypnotizing blinking lights and magnetic tape drives, indeed take over the world? The world may never know-unless, perhaps, you are Bill Gates.

Chapter 36

Web Story: How Computers Work Part 6

While there are many, many ways in which computers have been used to make the world a better place to live, the 1970s was witness to the scientifically verifiable best possible use of this emerging electronic technology. No, I’m not talking about the perfection of the Andy Gibb robot duplicate (which ranked 5th over all), but rather the birth of video games.

Up until this point in time, playing games generally involved social interaction and physical activity. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that people even bothered with this type of behavior. But this was a time in the history of America when people really were not too concerned with their own health or the general state of the planet. As evidence, many people smoked cigarettes and the Bee Gee’s music was allowed to propagate with little or no government intervention. We didn’t realize back then that the best way to preserve our bodies and minimize physical injury was to sit inside and dedicate large periods of time alone sitting in front of some type of computer controlled output device.

The first commercially successful video game system was named Pong. This simulation was an exact electronic replication of the game of tennis. The only minor components of the sport removed included: rackets, nets, gravity, wind resistance, the third dimension, and of course, Arthur Ashe. And the ball was square instead of spherical. Despite these limitations, the game of Pong was a tremendous success. This goes to show how a well-run marketing department can make or break the release of a new product. The lead computer programmer for the company described the game as, “two sticks that can move up and down bouncing a ball back and forth.” The packaging of the product in stores proclaimed the game of Pong to be, “Virtual reality fourth dimension alien space tennis with real lasers.”

The next major video game system to capture the hearts and minds of the American public was the Atari 2600. Unlike the game of Pong, this setup allowed for different game cartridges to be inserted into the main unit. When people grew tired of their existing game collection, they could just drive out to the nearest retail store and buy a few more.

This system also had the advantage of separating the hardware and the software components of the video game system. Which meant that any Tom, Dick, and Harry could get together in their garage and start making their own video game titles. When this phenomena occurs the results can revolutionize the world. But usually it meant they came out with a few very mediocre titles. While several impressive game titles ran on the Atari 2600, countless forgettable counterparts would sit next to them on the shelves of the store. Unfortunately, consumers had a hard time determining which of these games were worth buying as they all claimed to be some slight variation of “alien space tennis.”

The Atari 2600 era largely ended with the introduction of the Commodore 64. While not exclusively a video game system, this system included a keyboard and optional floppy disk drive. This meant that anyone who owned a Commodore 64 could write their own programs and distribute them on a floppy disk. Potential computer nerds didn’t even need to work from their garage anymore-code could be written from the comfort of their own living rooms without creating a big mess of wires, circuit boards, and duct tape. In addition to rampant unchecked piracy, this system also led to some of the most well designed video games the world has ever seen. I’ll always lovingly remember my Commodore 64, despite the fact that my mom threw it out when I was away in college.

The video game industry has been continually improving their systems to keep up with the demands of consumers. While these “consumers” do not have a centralized leader or clear command structure, intelligence reports indicate they demand games that are colorful, make interesting noises, and inspire them to remain motionless for indefinite periods of time even when it is nice enough to go outside and play. The computational resources needed to operate these games is quite impressive. One recent study reported that if all the processing power from all the computers running video games could be harnessed at once, the resulting system would be powerful enough to master the game of chess, sequence all the DNA of the human race, or locate Jimmy Hoffa. Since that isn’t going to ever happen you might as well go to the store and buy “Ultimate Alien Space Tennis 7.”

Chapter 37

Web Story: How Computers Work Part 7

The decade of the 1980s ushered in many new revolutionary changes that affected every person in this country not living in a shack in remote wilderness area of Montana. Some of these changes included witnessing the new found fame of the denim overall (and nothing else) clad rock group Dexy’s Midnight Runners, electing an actor to the office of President of the United States of America, and having a surprisingly large percentage of the world running around screaming, “Where’s the beef?”

While all of these events are important to the evolution of the planet, this decade was witness to one of the most critical single advancements in the computer industry. Without intending any disrespect to the Pac Man stand-up video game, the world was never the same after the introduction of the first Personal Computer.

While various computer systems were available to the general public before the “Personal Computer”, many potential customers were turned off by the disclaimer on the box stating “some assembly required.” For just about any other product in the known world this would mean getting out a Phillips head screw driver and an adjustable wrench. Assembling a computing system of the time required a soldering gun, a high precision metal lathe, and a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering.

IBM changed all of this with the introduction of its Personal Computer. The whole system was already assembled and loaded with the state of the art operating system known as DOS. All that a new user has to do is to take it out of the box, plug it in, and turn on the power switch. It couldn’t be any easier. Or at least that was the theory.

From the hardware perspective, the Personal Computer helped standardize computer parts. Since IBM didn’t want to be in the business of manufacturing every component that went into their systems, they helped create standards. This allowed different components to be swapped in a single system. For example, if you were running out of space on the hard drive, you could go to the computer store and buy a bigger drive. After taking off the case of the computer, you simply swap the old and new drives. After getting the case back on you turn on the power only to see a blank screen come up. The next step is to put the old drive back in, only to get the same blank screen when it boots up. Finally, you go to the nearest drinking establishment and order a double shot of whiskey as you come to realize the last six months of work is trapped inside an uncooperative computer component.

Pretty soon there were a few computer component manufactures that got this idea in their heads to build their own Personal Computers. Well, IBM had already seen this coming, and had taken steps to prevent this from happening. They built the Personal Computer around a single chip named BIOS that only IBM manufactured. Without this chip, all the other hardware was not able to talk to each other. In effect, you could not build a Personal Computer unless IBM let you.

This situation is quite similar to the safe guards put in place in the movie, “Jurassic Park” to keep the dinosaurs from reproducing. And we all know how well that worked out. With the exception of countless bad sequels, the exact same thing happened in the computer industry. One of IBM’s rival companies figured out the exact functionality of the BIOS chip and constructed their own version. This processes of reverse engineering opened up the electronic flood gates. Anyone and their dog could now build their own Personal Computer with only the basic understanding of what was happening inside the computer.

While IBM didn’t really seem happy about the entire situation, countless new computer companies were cheerfully popping up overnight. They didn’t all survive the test of time, but companies such as Dell and Compaq expanded and eventually came to dominate the industry. This created fierce competition in the industry. The costs of systems was constantly coming down while their speed and capacity was improving. This behavior benefited consumers by having any system they purchased be obsolete by the time they drove home and took it out of the box.

The development of the Personal Computer changed the way the world looked at electronic devices. For better or worse, everyone had to have a computer to get through their daily lives. Even when they made our lives more complicated it seemed like a good idea at the time to do everything on a computer. Well, that’s all for this week-I’m off to go finish my game of computer solitaire.

Chapter 38

To: Tim and Katie
From: Omar
Subject: Video manager candidate

I’m going to be interviewing a candidate for the position of Video manager next Monday. I would like to have both of you talk with him for a half an hour or so. I want to get opinions from the both of you.

The goal of this position is to oversee the production the video aspect of the web site. This includes coming up with scripts, finding actors, directing the filming, and editing the final results. I want to find someone who will get along with everyone and not be afraid to try new things.

The guy’s name is Tony. Feel free to ask him whatever questions you feel are appropriate. Afterwards tell me what you think.


Chapter 39

To: Omar
From: Tim
Subject: Video manager position


I hung out with Tony for a while, and he seems like an stand-up kind of guy. I saw some of the video work he has done in the past and I was impressed. He definitely has a passion for his work, and he seemed very excited about the position.

He has a very mellow personality. At first it really annoyed me, but after talking to him for a while I kind of got used to it. I think we should bring him on board.


Chapter 40

To: Omar
From: Katie
Subject: Video Guy


After talking to Tony at the interview the other day, I have to say I was quite impressed. The work he has done with video in the past is quite impressive. It totally looks like something that was done in a professional studio. I’m sure he would be more than qualified to make short sketches.

I also like the fact that Tony is very laid back in his attitude. I think this position will be somewhat stressful, but I got the impression that Tony is up for the challenge. I think his more calm and relaxed approach will balance out some of the other more intense personalities in the office. I also like the fact that he is happily married. He showed me pictures of his wife and kids. Having someone in the office with a normal relationship would be a nice change of pace.

So, having said all that, I think we should hire Tony.


Chapter 41

To: Bob
From: Omar
Subject: Status Report


Once again, I have been busy building up the staff and expanding the web site. I have just hired a video production manager this week. We have started to brain storm several ideas for new sketch comedy routines. We are in the process of recruiting actors and plan on starting to film next week. Well, its all digital, so I guess there isn’t any actual film involved. But you get the point.

The flash animation is coming along nicely. I had Tim create the entire segment from a rough script I gave him to make sure he was familiar with the entire process. This slowed the process down, but I am very happy with the results. “Gods Playing Poker”, Newfunny’s first animation, is now up on the web site. For future animation projects we are going to bring in additional Flash developers to speed up the process with Tim overseeing the day-to-day operations.

I’ve made an effort to keep the web site entertaining while trying not to offend too many people. But with comedy there is always going to be someone who doesn’t find things amusing. Have you received any feedback from any individuals or government agencies by any chance?

Well, that sums up the current progress. In the next couple of weeks we should start producing more content from the Flash animation and video groups in addition to the weekly story that I write.

Omar Lutfey

Internet Grandeur:
The Story of
Part 3
Written by Omar Lutfey
Chapter 1

Katie: I made all the arrangements for the Flash animation meeting tomorrow. I just want to double check to make sure everything is how you want it.
Omar: Great! What all have you done so far?
Katie: I sent out invitations last week to various computer groups explaining what the meeting is about.
Omar: So did you mention the pizza? How many people do you suspect will show up?
Katie: Yes, I mentioned the pizza. I got twenty RSVPs, but I suspect a few more will just show up. My guess is around thirty people.
Omar: Good. Don’t get cheap pizza either– that will make us look bad. Get it from Old Chicago’s. Whatever mix you feel is appropriate. As long as there aren’t little fish and pineapples on them I’m happy.
Katie: So noted.
Omar: Did we get the T-shirts I wanted in yet?
Katie: Huh?
Omar: White T-shirts with the logo on the front and back– ring any bells?
Katie: You never mentioned that to me. I can’t read your mind, you know. I’ll look into getting some made, but I don’t think they will be ready in time for the meeting on Wednesday.
Omar: Order at least a hundred shirts. And make them look cool too.
Katie: Anything else that needs to be done before the big meeting?
Omar: Take a few pictures during the meeting and when people are socializing. I don’t think anything exciting is going to happen, but we could put it up on the web site to stir up interest.
Katie: I can do that.
Omar: That’s all I can think of at the moment. Thanks.
Katie: No problem πŸ™‚

Chapter 2

To: Brian
From: Omar
Subject: Big meeting tomorrow

Hey there,

Tomorrow is a big day for me. I’ve invited a whole bunch of Flash animators to the office for lunch and an informal description of what I’m trying to do. If all goes well twenty to thirty people will show up. I don’t know how many of those will be there for the pizza, but I’m hoping to generate enough interest to get people to create animations for the site.

I’m still trying to figure out how to best handle the money aspect of the situation. I have budgeted ten thousand dollars for this part of the web site for the next three months. I have no idea if that is going to be enough to get the job done. One of the problems is that people have to spend a fair amount of time on an animation before I can look at it and decide if it’s good enough for the web site.

I’ve decided that the first time around I’m going to make it a flat out contest. I’m going to give everyone the “Gods Playing Poker” script I wrote and have them create an animation around it. The winner will get a few thousand dollars and a few honorable mentions will receive 500 dollars. Do you think that seems reasonable? Hopefully that will provide adequate motivation for people to work hard at it.

After we get a few animations and video sketches on the site I want to set it up so that anyone can send in a script. If I like it, we give the contributor some money (maybe a hundred dollars or so) and post it on the web site and solicit bids to make it into a Flash animation. Or if I think it would make a better video, we could advertise for actors for specific parts.

This whole thing depends on getting enough people interested in the web site. With the promotion through Yahoo we are getting several thousand hits a week, and the numbers seem to be growing. I’ll be a lot more comfortable when things stabilize around here, although when that is going to happen remains a mystery.

Talk to you later,

Chapter 3

To: newfunny-flash alias
From: Omar
Subject: Summary of meeting

I would first like to thank everyone who showed up for our Flash animation meeting at the office yesterday. I created the e-mail alias “newfunny-flash” to keep everyone interested in this aspect of our web site informed about up coming events and other related news.

Here is a summary of the meeting and where things are headed for the future.

Twenty-seven Flash animators attended this meeting. After everything was said and done, eight large pizzas and four cases of soda were consumed.

The first script for the web site was passed out to all interested parties. The goal is to make this into the best possible Flash animation. To achieve this goal, a contest is going to be set up. Anyone can submit an animation, working alone or in groups, that follows the script of “Gods Playing Poker.” This includes the Flash animation in addition to the voices used and any special effects deemed appropriate. The winning entry will receive a check for four thousand dollars. Depending on the quality of submissions, entries that do not win may receive an honorable mention award of one thousand dollars to recognize the time and effort that goes into creating a submission.

While working in groups is allowed and encouraged, each group must select a spokesperson to communicate with newfunny. All winnings will be issued in the form of a check written out to the spokesperson. It is the responsibility of the spokesperson to distribute all funds to the appropriate members of the group. Newfunny will not get involved in any internal affairs of a group. Basically, if you work in a group, make sure you agree how you are going to split up the money.

All entries for this contest must be received by noon on September 15. The winning entry will be posted on the web site on September 20. Newfunny retains the distribution rights for all winning entries. The individual or group that wins the contest may also provide biographical information that will accompany the animation on the web site.

In addition to this contest, we are also going to have an open submission policy for animation work. We are looking for short animation (a few minutes long at the most) that are generally entertaining and suitable for the newfunny web site. You are free to submit anything you want provided it is your own work. While this isn’t a children’s web site, excessive profanity, sexual content, and violence are not encouraged. Basically if it is original in concept and makes us laugh we will put it on the web site. Any open submissions used will be awarded eight hundred dollars.

These policies may change in the future. Please read all future e-mail messages carefully so you can keep up to date with our needs. If you have any questions about it, please feel free to e-mail us and we will do what we can to clear things up.

Thank you for your time. I hope to see you all again in the future.

Omar Lutfey

Chapter 4

Web Story: Groundhog Days

While I am generally happy with my apartment in Boulder, Colorado, I’ve never had an abundance of love for my patio area. In the past I’ve commented on how it directly faces one of the busiest roads in the city and does its best to not foster any type of a social environment. Sure, it’s a good place to keep my barbecue grill, but that’s about it. The other day, however, I found a completely new and unexpected use for this architectural monstrosity. For better or worse, I can use my patio to trap local wildlife.

This whole situation started, like so many of my stories, with me innocently sitting on my couch watching television. Right in the middle of a rerun of “Family Ties” I heard a strange scurrying noise near my patio. The fun part of living in an apartment involves putting up with everyone else’s noises. Over the past two years I have been able to completely tune out the normal noises of traffic, the lawn getting mowed, and the woman in the apartment above me hosting weekly square dancing competitions. Aside from my Thursday night dreams containing a higher percentage of serenading and “do-si-do”ing than during the rest of the week, these noises do not seem to have a large impact on my life.

But this sound did not register in my brain as one of the typical apartment sounds. I jumped to the conclusion that a small furry animal was scurrying around near my patio. I stood up and looked outside to see my initial guess was exactly correct. A ground hog was sitting on the concrete barrier of my patio. I’m not sure exactly what he found so interesting about my patio. For a few minutes we just stood there looking at each other. I was thinking to myself, “I hope he doesn’t fall off the concrete ledge and get trapped on my patio.” He was thinking, “I wonder what happened before the Big Bang? Was there just nothingness or did the cosmos exist… OOOOOOOO CRAPPPPPP!!!”

The next thing I knew the groundhog population of my patio had suddenly increased by one. I have no idea why he decided to make the four foot vertical plunge onto my patio, but it quickly became clear that he was not equipped to make a four foot vertical jump to escape. After recovering from the fall, he ran around in a big circle a few times and then decided the best course of action was to hide in the corner under my barbecue grill.

I like to think of myself as a pro-animal person. Especially the cute little furry ones. I briefly thought about keeping him as a pet. But then I remembered how they instinctively burrow tunnels for their homes. I looked around my apartment and decided I would probably be better off without having small mammals running around inside my upholstered furniture.

I wasn’t really sure what to do at this point. The one thing I was sure of was that the groundhog was either unable or unwilling to get out of my porch without some form of outside assistance. I didn’t have any little groundhog sized ladders I could set up to help the poor guy out. Instead I opened up my patio and front door a few inches. I moved my coffee table over to form a path way for the groundhog to get away through my front door.

I tried gesturing to the animal that it was in its best interest to follow the path I had just constructed. I don’t think I would make a very good professional mime– the groundhog just sat motionless under the grill, oblivious to my frantic pointing towards the door. I decided a more proactive approach was needed. So I moved the grill out from the corner of the porch and tossed a few rocks around him in the hopes of getting him in motion. After about five or six attempts, it became clear that 1) I throw like a girl and 2) the groundhog realized this and didn’t feel any particular reason to move out of the way from these incoming projectiles.

My attempts were finally successful when I went inside and got the broom out. I knew there was a reason why I bought it years ago. After a few gentle nudges with the broom, the animal finally went into motion. He quickly located the escape route I created for him and scurried out the front door. Problem solved. I’m not sure what exactly I have learned from this experience. I suppose the moral of this story is that groundhogs are not very smart. The odds of them suddenly progressing through an evolutionary advancement and enslaving humanity do not seem to be very good at this point.

Chapter 5

Web Story: Kinetics

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately documenting some of my strange activities and interests, so I thought I would change perspectives a little bit and shed light on odd habits of other people. And, no, this is not a story about my ex-girlfriend. Or my high school algebra teacher. While they are both unique in their own special ways, today I decided to focus on the entire town of Boulder. Ever since the situation comedy, “Mork and Mindy” became an international success, this city has developed a reputation as being a little less normal than all the neighboring cities. If you visit Boulder on the first Saturday in May you will see why.

No matter how you look at it, witnessing a group of people rowing across Boulder reservoir is just not normal. Especially when the craft is designed to look like an eight-foot tall jar of mayonnaise.

But really, what else would your craft look like when you are on team “Cinqo de Mayo”?

Welcome to the world of Kinetics. For the past twenty-one years, various teams have built human powered vehicles that can navigate over land and water to compete in the race. Being the first team to cross the finish line doesn’t guarantee an overall victory. In addition to completing the course as fast as possible, each team is judged on their theme. This requires a coordinated decoration of the craft and participants. The more entertaining the theme, the higher the overall score.

Just for the sake of comparison, building a craft and competing in the race requires roughly three to four orders of magnitudes more effort than, say, writing a song about Taco Bell.

When I see any of my neighbors leaving his or her apartment wearing little more than fishnet stockings and a football jersey I would usually be concerned. Even in the somewhat liberal town of Boulder, Colorado, this type of dress would be considered to be in bad taste. When it occurs on the day of the Kinetics race, however, the socially acceptable boundaries for behavior and appearance are suspended to accommodate the day’s activities.

Honestly, how else should one dress as part of the team “XXXFL”?

During the week my neighbor Kathleen is a quiet, predictable, twenty-nine year old woman who works a steady 8 to 5 job as a cubical drone. The kinetics race transformed her into something totally different. I’m not saying she grew an extra arm out of her stomach or was suddenly able to use her appendix to digest tree bark. The change was more emotional and psychological than physical. She became part of something bigger than her own accomplishments. Something that allows us to temporarily break the molds of acceptable behavior. Something that really isn’t very productive. And I have to respect that on many different levels.

So how did team XXXFL (motto: “WE will be back next year”) fare against Cinqo De Mayo (motto: “gone bad by lunch”)? I really have no idea. The entire judging process is complex and is largely built around bribing the judges. In a contest so strange, it is quite difficult to say who is the best.

I can’t write a story about Kinetics without a, “What is the world coming to?” tangent. The first time I attended Kinetics four years ago, I saw a large number of women who had constructed bathing suit tops out of small watermelons. The general idea is to find an appropriate sized piece of fruit (the produce manager at your local grocery store will be happy to help you measure the melons), cut it in half, scoop out the insides, and take some scrap cloth and make a bra out of it. This design is biodegradable, has considerable cooling properties (the water in the fruit removes excess body heat), and is generally quite pleasing to the eye.

So why am I complaining? From my causal observations, this tradition has been dying over the years. At this year’s race I didn’t see a single watermelon bra. The race officials have spent considerable time and effort protecting local wild life while doing absolutely nothing about the watermelon bra issue. I suggest that everyone write a strongly worded letter to your congressman (or woman) so we can make sure this piece of local tradition isn’t lost forever.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I think everyone in the entire world should be at the Kinetics race. Entire cities don’t go crazy all that often, so it is best not to pass up a chance to see it with your own eyes. It’s funny how a couple of adolescent boys role playing fantasy games in their parent’s basement are considered nerds while thousands of people doing pretty much the same thing at the reservoir is the basis for the entire town to celebrate. But who ever said life is fair? While Kinetics is never going to become part of our President’s revised energy program, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. And of course don’t forget to bring your watermelon bra– especially if you are a woman.

Chapter 6

Omar: Are you busy Katie?
Katie: What can I do for you, Omar?
Omar: I just want to make sure everything is set up for the Video group meeting tomorrow. The drill is the same as for the Flash animation meeting, except this one will have actors instead of computer geeks.
Katie: Everything is set. I contacted several local acting groups and posted messages online announcing our plans. I explained it as a version of “Saturday Night Live” for the Internet.
Omar: That’s pretty catchy. And it’s pretty accurate. Good thinking.
Katie: I was planning on ordering the same amount of pizza and soda that I had delivered for the Flash meeting. Anything else?
Omar: Sounds like, as usual, you are on top of things. Thanks.

Chapter 7

To: Betty
From: Tony
Subject: Today was a good day!

Hey honey,

I hope your business trip is going well. I really miss you when I go home at night, but I understand that you have to make certain sacrifices for your career. I’m looking forward to picking you up at the airport on Friday night.

Things are going pretty well at my new job. They are starting to build a video department from scratch for their web site, so I have quite a bit of leeway in what I do. My boss is named Omar. He is also in charge of the whole office. He seems pretty easy going overall, but he has a tendency to mask his true feelings with sarcasm. But he is giving me a lot of room to do my job without micro managing the situation. Aside from asking a lot of questions about how things work in video production he seems like a nice individual to work with.

We had our first meeting for the video segment of the web site. Anyone who is interested in being an actor or in some other way contributing to the process was invited to attend the meeting. We expected twenty or thirty people to show up. The office filled up with more than 200 people. It was an amazing turnout. Eventually we had to start turning away people because we couldn’t fit anyone else inside.

So it looks like we are going to have a large pool of talent to work with when creating the sketch comedy routines. I think we are going to select a group of tenor so people who will be main characters and then bring in other people as needed. We haven’t finalized the payment process, but most of the people who showed up are more interested in being noticed than anything else. I’m hoping this will be a chance to give some of them a big break. It wouldn’t hurt the web site’s popularity either if actors got started because of us.

The first sketch we are going to produce is called, “The Chat Room Bar.” The general idea is that it’s a bar where all the rules of talking with people online apply. We are still finalizing the script, but I think the premise is pretty original. We should start filming in about two weeks.

That about sums it up for me. I hope your trip is going well. I’ll see you on Friday.


Chapter 8

To: Omar
From: Scott
Subject: Germany

Hey Omar,

I’m going to Germany next month to visit my parents in Stuttgart. Things are pretty slow in my department at HP, so our manager is suggesting that this is a good time to use up vacation time.

Do you want to come with me? I figured we could spend part of the week with my parents and then take a trip to another part of the country. I kind of want to go see Berlin. I think it’s a few hours on the train from my parents’ place.

I don’t know how busy you are with your office web site thing, but if you can take a week off I think we could have a good time.

Give me a call sometime if you are interested.


Chapter 9

To: Scott
From: Omar
Subject: RE: Germany


Sounds like an interesting proposal. Things are pretty hectic at my office, but I suspect with the nature of what I’m trying to do things will never calm down. I’ll talk to the people I work with and see if I can be gone for a week without the entire office crumbling to the ground.

Actually, I’m sure that everyone wouldn’t mind having me be gone for a week. I don’t think I make the situation more stressful, but with the boss gone I’m sure my employees would be more relaxed and hopefully more productive. I’m still getting used to the idea of having employees. I guess technically we are all employed by Yahoo, but I have the final say in hiring and firing people.

I think I’m rambling on now. I’ll get back to you about Germany, but I think more than likely I’ll be able to go.


Chapter 10

Web Story: Fun And Games

While most people think of me as a mere computer geek, the truth is that my obsession with the less popular aspects of general amusement span the entire technological spectrum. I can entertain myself for indefinite amounts of time with the time honored tradition of poking at things with a stick. At the other extreme, anything that is shiny, contains a variety of colors, and makes funny sounds also captures my attention. This, of course, explains my life long obsession with Elton John.

I visit some of my friends on a regular basis and we will often times get together for an evening of Empire Builder– our favorite railroad board game. (It’s OK, Rail Baron– we love you too) The general idea is to build a network of railroad tracks across the board with different color crayons to connect various cities on the map. Once you have built up enough track, you earn money by acquiring and delivering different types of cargo (oil, wheat, steel, and so on) to different cities along your network of train tracks. A lot of things seem more amusing when it’s three in the morning and you have been drinking caffeinated beverages continuously for the past seven hours while staring at a bunch of crayon marks on a map of the United States. Having said that, our favorite type of cargo is oats because we get to use the phrase, “Hey everyone, I’m haulin’ oats”.

I thoroughly enjoy playing Empire Builder despite the fact I hardly ever win. I suspect my problem is I derive too much pleasure from building tracks just to get in the way of everyone else. They say that defense wins championships, but I suspect that particular philosophy is more applicable in the NFL. Another problem I have involves bringing out my anger from past experiences. I have a deep psychological need to build tracks into Pittsburgh after an embarrassing tactical error on my part in a previous game that allowed Brian to take control of the city. In the long run it didn’t really matter-there are more than two dozen cities on the map. I felt as though I let the city down in its moment of need. Kind of like when I was five and my mom would leave me in the checkout line at the store to pick up something she forgot to put in the cart and I had visions of the checkout guy taking me off to jail when they realized I didn’t have any money to pay for the groceries.

On the more “high tech” side of social activities, my friends and I are really into playing Laser Tag. I know that most people associate it with a bunch of sixteen year olds running around with nothing better to do on a Saturday night. While that described us rather accurately when we first discovered the game, it’s now ten years later; we drive better cars and have a more lenient curfew. The part about having better things to do on a Saturday night is really a matter of perspective. I enjoy playing Laser Tag more than I like taking part in excessive alcohol consumption while having to deal with abrupt changes in the directional flow of my upper digestive track.

While Laser Tag is a physical game that involves running around a large maze, one of the keys to getting a high score involves employing a good strategy. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is generally not the best way to go. Following basic rules like, “Don’t stand in the same place if you are getting hit every five seconds” and, “You can’t sneak up on people very well if you are yelling at one of your friends twenty feet away” can dramatically increase your score. Despite the use of the word “laser” in the name of the game, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a decent player. I’ve seen quite a few thirteen year olds girls with neon color hair and various metal objects in their nose get impressive rankings once the scores were tallied. Being skilled at Laser Tag and longing for various members of N’SYNC do not seem to be mutually exclusive.

Now you know insofar as can be described in eight hundred and twenty-four words what I like to do for fun. This story would’ve used more words if I wasn’t so lazy with the use of contractions, or fewer words if I eased up on the tangentially relevant anecdotes. If you are the type to stay awake at night wondering about my entertainment habits, you are going to have to think about something else tonight. I suggest going into your living room, turning the television to some random cable channel, and start thinking, “Now how have I managed to survive this long with a kitchen that doesn’t include a restaurant quality portable rotisserie cooker?”

Chapter 11

To: newfunny-flash, newfunny-video, newfunny-creative
From: Omar
Subject: welcome to

After meeting with various interested parties regarding the web site at, we have finalized the system for contributions. We now have three e-mail aliases that will be used to communicate. Anyone can sign up for any or all of these aliases through the web site. They are as follows:

Newfunny-creative: This alias will be used to make announcements and receive suggestions for scripts for potential Flash animation or video sketches. For example, if you have a script you would like us to consider, you can send an e-mail to this alias. A member of the newfunny staff will review the script and take appropriate action. From time to time we may post a message saying something to the effect of, “Write something funny with the premise of XYZ.”

Newfunny-video: This alias is to keep individuals who are interested in participating in the production of video segments up to date on our current production schedule. This will be used mainly for actors to apply for positions in upcoming sketches. For example, we would send out an e-mail saying, “For an upcoming sketch we need a middle-aged circus performer.” Anyone interested in auditioning for the part would follow the instructions in the e-mail.

Newfunny-flash: This segment is for individuals who are interesting in developing Flash animations from existing scripts developed from the newfunny-creative group. Information regarding payment policies and deadlines would be included in these e-mail messages.

These e-mail aliases are set up so that only employees of can send out messages to the entire group. If you reply to a message, it will be forwarded to the relevant employee and WILL NOT BE FORWARDED TO THE ENTIRE ALIAS. We want to make sure this remains a highly focused alias. We have set up pages on the web site to keep people informed of the status of individual projects.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an e-mail and I will do what I can to clarify the situation.

Thank you all for your time,

Omar Lutfey

Chapter 12

Web Story: Mom, I Want To Be A Lounge Singer

While laying on my couch the other day I experienced one of those, “What should I be doing with my life” moments. OK, to be honest, I was sleeping on my couch in the middle of the afternoon when some random noise woke me up and caused me to go through the usual questions of self examination such as, “Who am I?”, “Did I oversleep some important television show?”, “Why is there an empty bag of parmesan flavored goldfish resting on my stomach?”, and, “Are strange objects really flying out of the television set at me, or was I just dreaming that part?”

After a few moments of getting my bearings and being reasonably sure I wasn’t being attacked by any of the electronic equipment in my living room, I started thinking about what I’m doing with my life. I got myself through college and I have been a computer geek for the past five years, but I never felt like my destiny was to sit in a cubical debugging computer code while the glow of the florescent lights slowly sucked away my life force.

I do not posses the background in behavioral science to explain this aspect of my psyche, but in my travels around the world I’ve discovered a strange admiration of lounge singers. I can’t imagine they make a lot of money or have hoards of young women following them from show to show, but from my point of view it is a noble profession.

I mentally traced this feeling back to a lounge singer I met when I was on a vacation in Hawaii. This guy’s job was to play music in the pool and bar area of the hotel from four until eight three times a week. The resort was on the west side of the island and the bar faced the beach. Any job that involves sitting near the beach in shorts and a T-shirt watching the sun set three times a week is OK in my book. Sure, he isn’t busy finding a cure for cancer and he probably isn’t contributing much to the Gross National Product, but I don’t think that really kept him awake at night.

I met another lounge singer role model when I spent six months living and working in Holland. Some of the people I worked with recommended this small hole-in-the-wall steak restaurant in the town of Haarlem. On the weekends they had a singer sitting behind the bar singing tunes in Dutch and English. I didn’t understand any of the songs in Dutch. For all I know he was singing the, “We drink Heineken and push annoying Americans into the icky canal water” song. That might explain why everyone would raise up their beers, look at me, and break into uncontrollable laughter as the more athletically inclined individuals threw me into the nearest canal.

I don’t want to come off as one of those “fancy lad know it all” types , but I know a lot of words to a lot of popular music. There are even some situations where I know ALL of the words to a given song. I also hypothesize that some of these might be the actual lyrics the original artist intended when they composed the song, although I haven’t done enough research to prove or disprove this theory. For example, I don’t think Jimmy Buffet ever used the phrase, “I’m heading down to the shore for another high colonic.” At least not in his songs.

Another skill I posses that I believe will help me become a successful lounge singer is my ability to sing. At the moment, I can only sing in the shower where nobody else can hear me. I pretend the shower head is a somewhat improperly placed microphone and the cartoon fish on my plastic shower curtain are people in the audience waiting to be entertained.

In order to be more relaxed when I’m performing I employ the classic technique of pretending that I’m naked. This doesn’t take too much imagination on my part since when I take a shower I have removed many of my clothes beforehand. Another issue is that most traditional microphones don’t have water shooting out of them. To get around this I tilt the shower head to one side and tilt my head the other way. A unique special effect I like to use involves singing as water is constantly shooting into my mouth. I believe that logistical considerations would keep me from incorporating this into any of my future lounge acts.

One potential problem I see on my way to becoming a lounge singer is the fact that I really don’t know how to play the piano. Even though I played trombone in high school, I don’t think this would directly benefit me as a lounge singer. One of the key elements in this line of work is the ability to play an instrument and sing at the same time. All my attempts to sing and play trombone simultaneously have failed. I have also learned that while waterproof, trombones do not seem to be designed to function in the shower.

While I’m not sure if I’ll ever become an actual lounge singer, I do like to entertain the thought when I’m stuck in traffic or trying to get my computer to submit to my will. It’s possible that my lack of talent may prove to be the biggest hurdle. And there is always “The Man” who is doing his best to keep me down. I may not be a lounge singer today, and depending on what is on television it might not happen tomorrow, but one of these days I’ll realize my dream-even if it means flying to Holland, beating the crap out of that lounge singer, and tossing his body into the nearest canal.

Chapter 13

To: Katie, Tony, Tim, Kristen
From: Omar
Subject: Business Trip

I am going to be out of the office the week of August 20.

In the interest of maintaining a variety of topics for my weekly web site story, I have decided to take a trip to Germany with a friend of mine to visit his parents. I will be writing about my experiences and posting them on the web site at various times during my trip.

As far as the office goes, things shouldn’t be too different. Tim will be the person to talk to if there are technical emergencies with the web site. All general inquiries can be handled by Katie and processed accordingly.

I’m sure things will go smoothly. As long as the office is still here along with a majority of its contents I’ll be happy. Everyone has a rather significant workload at the moment, so I hope there isn’t time get in trouble while I’m gone.


Chapter 14

To: Scott
From: Omar
Subject: Germany

We are going to Germany!

I talked it over with everyone at my office and me being gone for a week isn’t going to cause any undue hardships. I’m trying to decide if I can write it off as a business expense if I write a few stories about the trip for the web site. I’ll have to ask my office manager-slash-accountant if that is a legal expense before I go.

Give me a call later on tonight and we can work out all the details. I can’t imagine that we will be able to get any great deals on airplane tickets since it is the middle of summer, but it sounds like the airlines are having a few good deals given the softening economy.

Anyway, I hope things are going well with you.


Chapter 15

Web Story: Slowing Down In Boulder

It seems like you can’t take five minutes nowadays to lay in the grass and stare up at the cloud formations floating across the sky without something coming along trying to speed up the pace of life. Pagers and cell phones make sure we are constantly in touch with the rest of the world-whether we want to be or not. If it isn’t time to check e-mail over the phone then you better whip out the Palm Pilot for some fast paced day trading.

I remember a time when the world wasn’t in such a rush to get where it’s going. We would sit around that beat up old portable radio and learn about what animals the communists sent up into space and what dirty lyrics the FBI discovered in that “Mony Mony” song. Most of our spare time involved trying to figure out a way to get to Woodstock that summer. Wait a minute, I was born in 1974. I think it’s quite possible that I’m writing about false memories. But the pace of the world is getting faster-I’m sure about that. The city of Boulder, Colorado, however, is doing what it can to slow things down.

No, they aren’t chaining themselves to cell phone towers and requiring that all citizens wear sandals. Instead the city is focusing on ways to slow down the speed of traffic. Recently they have installed bright orange construction barrels in the middle of certain intersections with signs that say something like, “Stop for pedestrians in crosswalk.” I’m not taking the position of being against pedestrians. In fact there are times when I had to park my car a block or two away from where I was going and actually became a pedestrian myself.

I believe that people in cars have their own definition of what it means to yield to pedestrians. Some drivers come to a complete stop when they see someone that wants to cross at a cross walk. Other drivers purchased the front grill and headlight protection on their sport utility vehicles for the sole purpose of not having to slow down when encountering any indigenous mammal life forms. The other ninety-nine percent of the driving population seems to fall between these two terribly contrived extremes. My point here is that people’s driving habits aren’t going to change based on construction barrels placed in the middle of cross walks.

While I personally don’t like this new traffic control device, I have to admit that traffic does seem to slow down on that stretch of the road. Especially when the car in front of me slammed on its brakes when a cute little kitten jumped out from behind one of those barrels at just the wrong moment. OK, that was a cheap emotional ploy to win your sympathy. While I did just make up the part about the kitten, it brings up an important point about our automotive transportation network. When constructing intersections, the people who build roads generally try to keep the pavement clear of shrubbery, billboards, those little drive-through taco stands, and in general, anything that people can’t see through very well.

I thought about going to the intersection and chaining myself to one of the barrels, but I quickly realized that I would be stuck in the intersection until I was hit by a car or arrested by the police. If anyone in town drives half as bad as I do, I would probably get hit first. Also, the logistics of chaining myself to a large rubber barrel seemed more complex than, say, a tree or a cell phone tower. Moving the barrel out of the intersection and then chaining myself to it would be safer, but not quite as effective as a protest.

In the end I decided to use my unique mix of witty banter and irrelevant emotional appeals to prove my case. Speaking of which, the kitten narrowly escaped injury. The car in front of me stopped just in time to avoid contact. The driver was so relieved seeing that the kitten was OK that she didn’t see the golden retriever puppy that was hiding behind the barrel on the other side of the street. Skipping over some of the gory details, the puppy survived the ordeal. The only way of knowing he was ever in an accident is the little doggie wheelchair he has to use for the rest of his life.

Chapter 16

Kristen: Hey you!
Omar: Who, me?
Kristen: Yes– What’s this about you going off to Germany?
Omar: That’s right– I’m going to be there for ten days in August.
Kristen: Is this a business trip?
Omar: Well, sort of. I’m going to write about my trip. I’m not sure if I’m going to consider it a business expense. I’m afraid that might cause problems down the road.
Kristen: So why aren’t you taking me? You know how much I love to travel.
Omar: I think you could probably proofread my stories about Germany from Denver.
Kristen: *pouts* Kristen wants to go.
Omar: Well, I’m sure she does, but it’s not going to happen this time. Sorry.
Kristen: They never send me anywhere cool at my other job either. What’s up with that?
Omar: You work in a library-it doesn’t have to be all that mobile.
Kristen: I don’t care-I want to go somewhere.
Omar: Well, maybe you are ready to look for another job where you can make exotic travel one of your priorities. If you want to you can come up to Boulder and newfunny will pay us to go out on another business lunch. Have you ever been to Falafel King? They have great gyros.
Kristen: I’ll think about it.
Omar: I’ll bring you back some liederhosen. How does that sound?
Kristen: I’m not sure what that is-so it kind of scares me.
Omar: Well, let’s just say you will be able to model it off for me.
Kristen: Yikes-now I’m really scared. Well, I should get back to work.
Omar: Yes, the books need you!
Kristen: Woo hoo
Omar: Later.

Chapter 17

Web Story: Men And Women

I decided to spend some time talking about what I think is a very important problem in the world today. I’m sure a lot of people think this means more Laser Tag, evil alien overlords, or the decline of fondue. Don’t get me wrong-these are all ALL important, but the topic of the day (or, as they would say in France, “a la mode”), involves women who hate men because they are slobs. I know this sounds like ninety percent of the topics from the Jerry Springer talk show, but I would like to assure everyone that this letter will be done in a tasteful manner without any chair throwing or extensive segments bleeped out by the network censors.

Since there is a possibility this letter may be read by both genders, I really don’t have any choice to start out by saying that, yes, men are slobs. The degree to which any given man is a slob varies, but I think we can all agree that inside every man is a slob trying to express himself. I’d like to dedicate this to all the women out there. Maybe you can’t mold your man into Tom Cruise, Fabio, or John Ritter, but reading this might make you feel less likely to impale your significant other with a steak knife the next time you have to pick up his dirty underwear from the bathroom floor for the sixth day in a row.

Men often have difficulty operating a vacuum cleaner. At first you might suspect that much like household dogs, men are afraid of the strange noises produced while vacuuming. While it seems like a good theory, it doesn’t explain why men evade this chore by hanging out in their work shops all Saturday afternoon with various electric saws, drills, and sanders. A recent study reported that when asked to vacuum a carpeted area, over sixty percent of the men offered instead to spend the next three weekends installing hardwood floors.

So why are men so resistant to the vacuum cleaner? If they are anything like me, they feel tremendous guilt for never returning my girlfriend’s vacuum after we broke up. Now I can’t stop thinking of her every time I want clean carpets in my apartment. While I very rarely claim to be a licensed psychiatrist, I have come to realize the mental bond I have established between my ex and her vacuum. Symbolically, I keep her locked up in the closet-punishment for not wanting to frequent Taco Bell and the local video arcade on a regular basis.

And now a note to all the men who are reading this. I’m sure that some of you out there are married or have a girlfriend who on occasion does more than her fair share of the house work. Please keep in mind that their love for you is similar to those tablets you drop in the toilet bowl tank to make the water turn blue. You may think they are going to last forever, but every time you flush the toilet a little bit of her love goes down the drain. One day you will wake up, stumble to the bathroom, and realize the blue in the toilet bowl is gone.

My point here is that you can always go and buy more love in the detergent isle of your local grocery store. Wait, that doesn’t quite sound right. How about this: if you take a little time and plan ahead, you can keep everything in your bathroom and relationship running smoothly. Contrary to popular belief, helping clean up the dishes after a meal will not kill you. The odds of throwing out your back while putting dirty clothes into the hamper are quite small. A note to all the men reading this-please do not read this last analogy and assume the sum of your household responsibility is to drop the Tidy Bowl tablets into the toilet bowl tank. It is quite possible that your significant other will require more than that from you. For example, you might also have to be responsible for going to the store and buying the tablets.

With the possible exception of my mother, I’ll be one of the first people to admit I’m currently an unmotivated bachelor who enjoys the irony of watching ESPN while eating potato chips and repressing any fleeting thoughts about cleaning up my surroundings. Does this make me a bad person? Of course not. Is loving Taco Bell a crime? I really hope that isn’t the case. My point here is that while men are far from perfect, we are the only game in town. That is, of course until the day that scientists perfect animatronic male robots that don’t leave their underwear on the floor.

Chapter 18

To: Tony
From: Omar
Subject: Internet Bar Sketch


Here is the script I put together for the, “Internet Bar” sketch. Look it over and tell me what you think. This isn’t set in stone, so if there is anything you think we should do differently, feel free to talk to me about it.


Internet Bar Sketch

The scene opens with a wide shot of an average-looking bar. A dozen or so people are sitting around talking. A very typical bar scene.

Two guys walk through the bar. They are wearing nice pants, dress shirts, and ties. They sit down at two empty seats at the bar.

Andy: Bartender, can we get two beers, please?

Bartender: Coming right up.

Carl: I was hoping that we could have been on the 8 o’clock flight home. I can’t believe how picky those guys were about some of the fine points of our proposal for their web site.

Andy: Well, I think we came to an agreement where everyone was happy. I’m sure once we start designing the web site everyone will relax quite a bit.

Bartender brings over two beers. Andy and Carl start drinking them.

Carl looks at the woman sitting next to him. She doesn’t seem to be with anyone else. She is smoking a cigarette. Carl turns towards her.

Carl: Hi there, my name is Carl.

The woman totally ignores Carl and blows cigarette smoke into the air. This infuriates Carl. He leans over to Andy.

Carl: Did you see that? That bitch next to me won’t even acknowledge that I exist. What is it-too much effort to say “hi” back to me?

Andy: Yeah, I saw that. Maybe she doesn’t like the computer geek types.

Bartender: Excuse me, would you two gentlemen like some HELP?

Carl: Uhhh… I suppose. Is she deaf or something?

Bartender: No, not at all. You see fellows, you are in the Internet Bar. In here all the rules of talking to people through Instant Messenger apply. It is quite possible that the woman you contacted is busy doing something else at the moment. Maybe when she has some free time she will respond.

Andy: Are you crazy? She is just sitting there doing nothing! How hard is it to say hi?

Bartender: We don’t like troublemakers in here. If you can’t follow the rules you will be reported and asked to leave.

Just then the woman finishes her cigarette, puts it out in an ash tray, and turns toward Carl.

Woman: Hi Carl, my name is Jenny. How are you doing tonight? Sorry I didn’t respond sooner– I was out smoking a cigarette. So do you have a picture?

Carl: That’s OK, I’m kind of new here. I’m just in town for the night because… why do want to see a picture of me?

Woman: I just want to see what you look like. Hold on, I might have a picture of me you can see.

The woman pulls out her purse and starts looking through a series of pictures. The first one is exactly like what she looks like now, the next is an older picture of her when she was in better shape and sitting in a bikini next to the pool. The last one looks kind of like Brittany Spears. She pulls out the bikini picture and hands it to Carl.

Suddenly a young teenager bursts through the door and starts running around the bar yelling and screaming.

Teenager: Who wants to see naked pictures of Christine Aguilara? I’ve got all your favorite teen celebrities on my site. Come to my web site and see. It’s only 2.99 for the first week! It’s the best porn money can buy! If you aren’t happy….

Two bouncers came over and grabbed the kid from behind. They shove a towel in his mouth to shut him up. They quickly escort him to the door.

Woman (talking to Carl): This place may be a dump, but at least they have good security.

A bald middle-aged man sits down next to Andy.

Bald man: Hi there, my name is Erin.

Andy: I’m Andy. How are you doing?

Bald man: I’ve been busy getting drunk with all my Sorority friends.

Andy: What? You are a bald fourty-something old man sitting here in a cheap suit.

The bartender looks up at Andy. The bouncers come over and get ready to remove Andy from the bar. The bartender gestures for the bouncers to hold off for a minute.

Bartender: Listen buddy, you are new here, so I’m going to give you a second chance. If you can’t follow the rules for chatting online I’ll have to ask you to leave.

Andy: OK, I’m sorry. I won’t let it happen again. I promise.

The bartender smiles at Andy and the bouncers move back to the door. Andy uncomfortably turns to the bald man.

Andy: I was just kidding.

Bald man: Oh, that’s OK, I like to play games. Especially drinking games.

Andy: Well, I’m a little old for that. And anyway I’m married.

Bald man: I think older men are HOT. They really know what they are doing. And I don’t care that you are married.

Andy: Well, that’s great and all, but I’ve got to get going.

Bald man: Are you sure you don’t want to come over and get drunk with me and my girlfriends?

Andy: Uhh… maybe some other time. Bye.

Meanwhile, Carl is making small talk with the woman next to him. A man in walks in and sits next to the woman. He is wearing a greasy jumpsuit like one you would see at a factory. He is six feet tall, black, and very muscular. He turns and looks at the woman.

Black man: Hey baby! Remember me?

The woman, who didn’t notice the man come, is startled and quickly turns around.

Woman: Oh, God, how could I forget? You are amazing. WINK

Black Man: Thanks-you were pretty good yourself. So what are you up to tonight?

The woman looks over to Carl and sighs. She turns back to the black man.

Woman: Nothing. Want to get together? I’d love to see you again.

Black Man: Great. How about we meet at the same bar as last time?

Woman: I’ll be there in ten minutes. See you then.

The man walks out of the bar. The woman gets ready to leave. Before she gets up she turns to Carl.

Woman: It was nice meeting you, Carl, but I’m really tired. I think I’m going straight to bed tonight. Maybe we can talk some other night.

Carl: OK, have a good night.

The woman runs out the door. The bald man who was talking to Andy moved on to someone else. Andy turns to Carl.

Andy: This place is too strange.

Carl: Yeah, but I think it’s growing on me. I think I had a chance with that last woman. Did you see the picture of her in the bikini? She is good looking.

The camera slowly zooms away as the two are talking.

Carl: Maybe I should get a picture of myself to show people.

Andy: Why bother? Everyone can see you as it is.

Carl: You are missing the whole point.

Andy: And that is?

Carl: Sigh-it’s hard to explain.

Carl and Andy finish up their beers as the screen fades to black.

Chapter 19

Web Story: Another Dot Com

It seems like hardly a week goes by without the announcement of another dot com company going out of business. Cleaning up the mess from the latest round of failures seems to be a full time job. It will be tough living in a world where we can’t buy dog food online or pay our parking tickets while sitting at the computer. The world, which includes the Internet, will keep spinning around like it has for the past four billion years (or 2000 and some odd years, depending on which books you read).

As the main guy in charge of, I get a lot of inside information about up-and-coming web sites. And I’m not just talking about unsolicited e-mail I get on my AOL account to help me reduce my credit card debt and see “unofficial” pictures of teen-age pop singers. This week I got the inside scoop on a web site that will change the very fabric of our lives (sorry, cotton– you just didn’t keep up with the changing technology. It’s not like we didn’t warn you). That, or it will be out of business a year from now. Either way, it will be fun to watch.

I was allowed to learn more about this site provided I didn’t reveal certain specific details of the operation. The final decision about the name of the web site has yet to be determined, but since the site is still under construction, the point is moot. I can, however, provide a general overview of the new web site. The purpose of this site is to establish a complete record of everyone’s past personal relationships. This information is stored in a computer database and used to evaluate compatibility with potential future partners.

Suppose you are a young lady who meets a guy at, say, a professional arm wrestling competition. He seems nice enough, but you would like to know more about how things went in his previous relationships. You could just ask him, but he probably won’t give you a truly objective account of his past. With this web site, you can find out more about this young man– from the women (and/or men) that he dated before you were in the picture.

How does this work? To start out, each user fills out an extensive questionnaire to confirm his or her identity. This information is examined for accuracy and the individual is contacted through alternate means (telephone, mail, or singing telegram) to ensure authenticity. Once the background check is completed, the user is allowed to log into the system and enter personal information. Once this initial stage is complete, the user enters information regarding previous relationships in the form of a survey. This information is correlated with the record of the other person in order to create a personal history. The set of questions has not been finalized yet, but they are designed to paint a picture of that relationship. Finally, users are allowed to search the database to reveal information on future prospects.

The survey consists of a list of characteristics that could be used to describe how an individual acts while in a relationship. While some of the characteristics are more often applied to one specific gender, the same questions are asked for either sex. All of the questions in this section are of the true/false variety.

While preparing for an evening out
–>Asks if clothing makes them look fat
–>Asks if clothing is clean enough to wear in public

After having a few drinks, is likely to
–>Flirt with the bartender
–>Be unable to perform certain intimate activities later on in the evening
–>Talk excessively about previous failed relationship

Likes to go out to eat
–>at fancy restaurants
–>at reasonably priced, yet still nice restaurants
–>at Taco Bell
–>free samples at the grocery store

Likes to cuddle
–>in bed
–>on the beach
–>at Taco Bell
–>with your sister

During intimate activities, partner has been known to
–>Refuse to remove dirty socks
–>Talk about random events of the day
–>Talk about attractive coworker’s revealing outfits
–>Talk about, “Where this relationship is going?”
–>Talk about political and economic ramifications of NATO’s involvement in the former Yugoslavia
–>Pass gas

After intimate activities, partner prefers to
–>Wander aimlessly to the refrigerator
–>Go home
–>Fall asleep
–>Look at porn on the Internet

When the relationship ended, partner
–>Became overjoyed
–>Didn’t notice anything different
–>Needed a restraining order
–>Revealed his or her true gender
–>Started dating your sister

Will this site stand the test of Internet time? I can’t say for sure, but it does seem like a good way of finding out the truth about someone. I don’t think it will be too long before someone complains that their privacy is being invaded, but that is bound to happen one way or another. I’ll provide more information about the site when it’s made available to me. Until then, you will have to learn about your significant others the old fashioned way-through high tech night vision goggles and carefully concealed telephone wire tapping devices.

Chapter 20

To: Bob
From: Omar
Subject: Status Report


Here is an update about what is going on at the web site.

Things are really starting to fall into place. The first Flash video we put on the web site was very well received from our viewers. It was only three minutes and fifteen seconds long, but almost all of the feedback from the web site was positive. Most of the negative feedback came from people with objections to the religious content of the animation. Mixing Roman gods with Jesus Christ and Allah seemed inappropriate to some people. While I respect their opinions, I feel the skit was produced in good taste and was entertaining. A little controversy now and then can’t hurt things.

We have finalized the script for our first live action video sketch. The premise of the sketch involves a bar where all the rules of Internet chat apply. We plan on filming in the next week or so, and we should have it up on the web site a week or so after that.

I’ve been continuing to write a weekly story about what ever topics strike my fancy. This is the only part of the web site that doesn’t have an open submission policy. While we could accept writing from other people, I think it’s nice to have one section of the web site that is always written by the same person.

We have built up quite an impressive network of individuals to produce content on the site. We have more than two dozen Flash animators along with several hundred people interested in acting in the video segments. The plan right now is to pay cash for Flash animation work. Given the amount of time and effort needed to produce a single Flash animation I believe it is worth the investment. As we get more people interested in the program we can slowly lower the amount of money we spend in this area. I think most of the Flash animators are more interested in showing their talents than making a whole lot of money.

The costs of the video segments are going to be much more difficult to predict. The actors for each segment are going to receive a nominal amount of money for each sketch depending on their roles. The extra overhead involved will vary considerably between sketches. For example, our premiere video is going to take place in a bar and not involve any special costumes. I expect the costs for this skit will be relatively low. In the future we may spend more money for different locations and other expenses.

We are in the process of modifying the web site to maximize the amount of input from casual viewers on the site. In addition to having an open submission policy for Flash animation and video scripts, we are also going to set up contests where we provide a vague premise for a script and ask users to provide jokes and humorous ideas to help create a complete sketch. Any ideas that we use on the site will receive a nominal amount of money and a newfunny T-shirt. This will both encourage people to contribute (knowing that even a small contribution could win them something) and keep them coming back to the web site.

That pretty much sums up what is going on here. As always, feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions about the situation.

Omar Lutfey

Chapter 21

To: newfunny-creative
From: Omar
Subject: Contest Announcement

Greetings all newfunny contributors,

I am proud to announce a new contest for the newfunny web site. We are going to start a series of Flash animation. The premise is to take some of the various home improvement shows often times seen on public television channels such as, “Home Time”, “This Old House”, and, “The New Yankee Workshop” and portray them in the style of “South Park.”

The goal is to produce a series of five minute animations that parody these shows. While we (the employees at newfunny) came up with several good ideas for this segment, we decided to open it up for everyone. Here is the FAQ (frequently asked questions) for how the process works.

How does the process work?

Good Question. If you think you are funny and have an idea for “Home Time meets South Park” please visit the newfunny web site to submit your idea. This will be done just using plain text. We aren’t very picky about the format, just as long as we can understand the general idea. If we use your entry in an episode we will give you a cash prize, an official newfunny T-shirt, and credit as one of the writers.

How much money do we get?

The current prize is 100 US dollars for each complete episode we use.

What if we can’t think of enough funny material for a complete episode?

We will prorate any contributions that are not complete episodes. For example, if we used one minute of material from your contribution you would receive twenty dollars (1/5 of the total), the left sleeve and collar cut out from an official newfunny T-shirt, and your middle name in the credits as one of the writers.

Should we get bent out of shape if we don’t get credit? Does that mean you are trying to screw over the little man?

Well, that’s two questions, but the answer to both questions is NO. It is possible that someone else submitted a similar joke. In such cases the newfunny staff will award the money to the first submission received. For example, you aren’t the first person to think of having Norm Abrahms saying “oh my God, they killed Bob Vila. So for this episode, I’m going to build a nice cedar wood casket with decorative molding, customized brass candles, and a lovely dark synthetic stain finish.”

Any other helpful hints?

Try not to make the jokes too subtle. Most people in the world have seen, “South Park” and, “Home Time”, but not many people are intimately familiar with both series. But in general we are open to any ideas. The only way to know is to send in your ideas and see if we like them.

I hope this helps everyone. If you have any other questions, as always, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Omar Lutfey

Chapter 22

To: Katie, Tim, Tony
From: Omar
Subject: Omar is Out Of The Office until 8/27

Just thought I would remind everyone that I’ll be out of the office, state, and country for the next ten days. I’ve given instructions to everyone about what should happen while I’m gone. While I have gotten to trust and respect everyone that works here over the past couple of months, this web site is my baby, so I am a little nervous to let it start walking on its own. Of course without all of you it wouldn’t have grown into what it is now.

I think I’m babbling a bit now. My point is that I would be very upset if I came back from my vacation and, say, the building was on fire or someone had hacked into our web server and redirected the domain name to a site selling brides of the Philippines. Please take whatever steps necessary to prevent these or any similar problems from arising.


Chapter 23

Tim: Hey there Betty
Betty: How are you doing?
Tim: Not too bad. I’ve been spending a lot of time with people who think they can be Flash developers.
Betty: Sounds like a hoot.
Tim: Well, I’ll admit that some of them have a fair amount of talent, but a lot of people are totally clueless about how to use Flash. Their animations are jerky and they don’t understand how to properly use layers. It’s been driving me nuts.
Betty: Can’t you tell them to just go away? Tell them to come back when their skills are more refined?
Tim: We already did that to some degree. Omar and I sat down and evaluated everyone’s Flash ability. Omar did a nice job of telling those people to gain some more experience with the software and possibly take a class to learn more about the basic concepts of animation. My problem involves all the people who just barely made the cut asking me questions left and right as though I had “technical support” tattooed on my forehead.
Betty: I could see how that could get annoying. Is it taking up a lot of your time? If that is a problem you could talk to Omar and have him deal with those people.
Tim: I’m going to talk to him, but he is out of town for a week and a half, and I’m not about to call him while he is in Germany and look like a big sissy who can’t take care of things on his own.
Betty: That might make you look bad. I’m sure you can think of some other way to deal with the stress.
Tim: You must have read my mind. I went out the other day and bought a paint pellet gun. Nothing too drastic-it holds twenty shots and feels wonderful in my hands. I also got one of those targets that is a black outline of a person with a white background. I went into the office last night and taped the target to the back of my office door. I sat at my desk and pretended it was one of the people who was annoying me. Very satisfying.
Betty: That’s good you are venting, but is your office the best place for a paint pellet gun?
Tim: I keep it in a locked drawer, so nobody will find it. I also took down the target after I was done shooting it. I’m not ever going to shoot it when anyone else is around, but it does feel nice to hold it when I’m talking to someone annoying on the telephone.
Betty: It seems like it could get you in trouble. I don’t want to get into an argument, but you aren’t the most even-tempered person in the world. I wouldn’t want to see you point it at someone in a moment of anger.
Tim: I hear you, but I promise I won’t shoot anybody with it.
Betty: OK-I’m going to hold you to that. Well, I have to go. E-mail me when you have more animations on the web site. The first one cracked me up!
Tim: Thanks. See you later.

Chapter 24

To: Brian
From: Omar
Subject: I’m back

Hey there,

Well, I made it back from Germany in one piece. I’m a little jet lagged, but considering I flew one third of the way around the planet I think I’ve managed pretty well. They can only make sitting on your ass for ten hours in a row so much fun.

I went in to the office today, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything went smoothly while I was gone. Tim, the Flash manager, spent a lot of time working with the people who are submitting animations to the site. They finished two complete animations and are about halfway done with two more. Tony, the video manager, filmed the “Internet Bar” sketch and is almost done with the post production. I’m very impressed with his abilities. And Katie, the office manager, made sure nobody killed each other-not a simple task at times.

I’m happy that things went well while I was gone, but I guess there is a part of me that wished things hadn’t. I know that everyone is replaceable, but I wouldn’t have minded if everyone missed me a little bit.

Anyway, I wrote three stories about my trip. Nothing monumentally exciting happened while I was there, but it was interesting. I probably could have written a few more stories, but I didn’t want to obsess about it. I considered writing a story about, “The Museum of Interesting Things” in Munich. Unfortunately, I only found it mildly interesting at best. Maybe if I run out of ideas for my weekly story I’ll revisit that experience.

Well, that’s about sums things up for me for the moment. We should get together for game night or Laser Tag sometime. It’s been too long since I’ve played Risk. I don’t know how much longer I can repress my urge to take over the whole world in a single turn. Maybe one of these days it will actually work. Stranger things have happened.

Talk to you later,

Chapter 25

Web Story: Adventures In Europe

No matter how many times it happens to me, I’m never totally comfortable when I am stranded near a nuclear power plant and witness an explosion. I suspect this is a good thing. But, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself.

This story is the first of three documenting my recent trip to Germany. If you are anything like me, you may be wondering what exactly I was doing several thousand of miles away from my apartment in Boulder, Colorado. Like every other aspect of my life, it just happened.

The whole situation started when I decided to accompany Scott (a friend I have known since I was three years old) to visit his parents who recently moved to Stuttgart, Germany. After flying into the airport at Frankfurt we found our luggage and met up with Scott’s parents. We piled our stuff into the back of the used Volvo they purchased after arriving in the country and headed out on the Autobahn.

I’m not exactly sure what caused the car to overheat on the way back from the airport. I suspect it was either a larger than usual payload, extreme heat and humidity, or what the German people like to refer to as “fahrfegnugen.” Before this trip I had always assumed it to be a condiment for bratwurst. Whatever the reason, we pulled over at a rest stop to investigate the situation in more detail.

After coming to a complete stop and opening the hood of the car, the three males got out to troubleshoot the situation. A few minutes of quiet contemplation produced three completely different and largely contradictory explanations as to the cause of the overheating. It was either A) the radiator, B) the water pump, or C) the windshield wiper fluid. Always the optimist, I decided to choose the one component in the car which I knew the most about. Having run out of windshield wiper fluid in my own car before, I knew how to handle the situation. The fact that the situation shared no common symptoms with my previous experience in no way influenced my diagnosis of the situation.

My idea about the windshield wiper fluid being low turned out to be incorrect. After locating the reservoir, it quickly became apparent there was enough of this fluid for the car to operate. Adding to my extensive database of car repair knowledge, I now hypothesize that windshield wiper fluid is not directly related to the regulating the temperature of an automobile engine. At least for Volvos.

While I did learn something new, it wasn’t proving to be immediately useful in getting the car back in working order. After letting the engine cool down a little bit we slowly opened the radiator cap and noticed it seemed a bit low on whatever type of fluid it was suppose to contain. We ended up pouring a bottle of water I had filled up back at the airport into the radiator. We started the car back up and the temperature returned to an acceptable level. We cautiously got back on the highway.

After a few minutes, the temperature returned to its “too hot” reading on the dashboard. Lacking any actual numbers on the temperature gauge, I can only make an educated guess as to what constitutes an abnormally high engine temperature. Based on causal observations I believe the far left side of the gauge represents room temperature and the far right side represents the surface temperature of the sun.

So once again we pull off the highway. This time, however, we stopped right next to a nuclear power plant. This is when I remembered I recently purchased a membership in AAA. I whipped out my cell phone and called the 1-800 number. After explaining the situation with the vehicle overheating the woman on the other end of the line explained to me that AAA stands for something something of America, and that they did not have the resources to dispatch a tow truck to Germany.

After several additional calls to a more local automobile support group, we were able to get some assistance. A man in bright orange overalls filled the radiator full of water. He then shook one of the rubber hoses that ran from the radiator to some other part of the engine. I don’t think he should have done that. The hose burst open and steam and water came flying out in all directions. The guy wasn’t hurt, but the car seemed to be done moving under its own power for the day.

Eventually a tow truck arrived and took us all to the local Volvo shop. By then it was after 6 PM on Saturday. Being that we were in Europe the shop had already closed. The sign on the window said, “We will be open again in September-October at the latest.” We left the car at the dealership and took a series of taxis and trains to get the rest of the way back to Scott’s parent’s house.

The flight from Denver, Colorado to Frankfurt, Germany took roughly nine hours. Getting the rest of the way only took another six. We did all manage to get there without any other difficulties. I learned a lot on the trip, and I’ll never forget how to say in German that, “The automobile has exploded by the nuclear power plant.”

Chapter 26

Web Story: Berlin

August 20

I’m sitting on a train I am moderately convinced is heading towards Berlin. I think the uncertainty of getting on a train in another country where they don’t speak English makes the experience just a bit more exciting. I could just imagine getting off the train only to realize we somehow managed to end up in western Canada. In case you aren’t familiar with the events of my life, I’m in the middle of a ten day vacation trip in Germany with my longtime friend Scott.

Growing up in Colorado I have developed a resistance to using public transportation. One thing I’ve been noticing is that trains in Germany can go really fast. In addition to numerous messages in German, the electronic message board at the front of the passenger car would occasionally say how fast the train was moving. During the trip the speed of the train would reach 250 kilometers an hour. To put that into perspective for anyone not familiar with the metric system, that speed is 108 times faster than any form of public transportation moves in the state of Colorado.

After watching the German country side for an hour or so I eventually dozed off. I’m not exactly sure how my brain works, but my overactive imagination doesn’t seem to sleep when the rest of my body is recharging itself. I started dreaming about my apartment back in Boulder. I suppose I need to preface this by saying I’m not the best at keeping my apartment as clean as I possibly could. In my shower I have a circle of rust from a shaving cream can that has been there for, well, a lot longer than I really want to admit. It’s there, and I know it’s there, and it knows I know, but it doesn’t smell funny or seem to be growing, so I generally don’t spend much time worrying about it or attempting to get rid of it. But in my dream, the ring of rust penetrated all the way through the material of the tub and a perfect circle fell through to the floor as I was shampooing my hair. Mental note to self-clean shower upon returning to apartment.

Our hotel room, which Scott picked out, is quite clean and spacious. And it is right across the street from the “Erotik Museum.”

August 21

We started the day traveling to the east side of Berlin. Until 1989 this section of the city was controlled by Communist forces where the general population was forced to wear funny hats and dance the mamushka every night. We took the subway to one of the main squares in East Berlin to get a better idea of what life would have been like under such an oppressive regime. As we walked up the subway stairs one of the first things I saw was a man wearing brightly colored clothes, a large rainbow umbrella, and a strange mechanical contraption around his torso. Upon closer inspection, the equipment was a completely self-contained grill designed for cooking sausages. Say what you want about communism, but they are light years ahead of us in personal hot dog vending devices.

Despite several navigational errors on the local subway system, we are still in Berlin. Due to a massive misunderstanding in the scale of our map, we decided to walk the entire length of a park located in the center of the city. On the map the park was roughly the width of my thumb. In reality it is much, much bigger. By the time we got to the exact middle of the park we realized the magnitude of our miscalculation. Of course by then we didn’t have any choice but to walk the rest of the way out of the park.

August 22

After seeing a few more sights in the morning, we headed back to the station to catch the train back to Stuttgart. I’m not sure why, but the train stations in Germany have a noticeable lack of seats. I guess they decided the trains are so punctual that there isn’t any need to wait for a train-it’s just there when they say it is. Scott and I were sitting on the ground waiting for the train to arrive when what looked like a homeless man started talking to us in German. Being that I can’t even pretend to speak German, I just kind of nodded. When he realized I didn’t know German he got all annoyed and started saying things I can’t repeat here. Not because they were profane and inappropriate, but because we was yelling at me in German which we have already established is not my language of choice for optimal communication. After a few minutes he got bored and walked away, possibly to yell at someone else who doesn’t speak his language.

These are the highlights from Berlin. Stay tuned next week for the last part of my vacation involving a road trip to the countries of Austria, Switzerland, and, most important, Liechtenstein.

Chapter 27

Web Story: Road Trip

August 24

For the last two full days of our vacation, we decided to take a road trip with Scott’s parents. The original plan was to drive Scott’s parent’s Volvo, but the word from the repair shop was a cracked cylinder head caused the explosion on the trip home from the airport. While I’m admittedly no automotive mechanic, I think fairly highly of Volvos made in 1988 that have been driven 176,000 miles. But all good things must come to an end, and this was no exception. After a brief discussion, we all agreed the only logical course of action was to break into the local mortuary, steal two cadavers, situate the bodies in the front seat of the Volvo, and roll the vehicle on to the autobahn during the middle of the night.

While Scott and I were taking in the sights in Berlin, his father was busy trading in the Volvo for something else. After a series of intense negotiations he exchanged the car for a very nice cup of coffee to enjoy while looking for a new vehicle. He eventually agreed to buy another slightly less broken Volvo. I assumed we were going to take the car on our weekend excursion, but in Germany it takes roughly two weeks to buy a used car. I’m not sure what is involved in the whole process, but it starts with multiple signatures, continues with an extensive paperwork trail, and somewhere along the line requires a complete DNA sequencing analysis from all parties involved in the transaction.

Fortunately, Scott’s father was able to secure a rental car for the weekend. Given the extensive presence of the German automobile industry around Stuttgart, I was expecting to spend the next two days driving around in a Mercedes or BMW. But since the reservation was placed less than the customary thirty weeks in advance, we ended up with an Imbizu. Yes, it’s the best four-door compact diesel that Spain has ever designed and manufactured. Ever.

August 25

As much as it pains me to do so, I must admit that the Imbizu is doing a pretty good job of getting us around. It doesn’t do much to make me feel cool, but it does manage to get us around the steep mountain roads. To the best of my knowledge none of the cylinder heads have cracked. That is, of course, if diesel engines have any.

That is enough about cars. After spending the past eight days with Scott, I can’t help but to notice that he likes to walk a noticeable distance in front of everyone. At first I thought it was just me walking too slow, but now that we are with Scott’s parents I’ve decided he walks faster than everyone in the group. I’ve mentioned it a few times, but he still does it. I don’t really mind except for the fact he is out of earshot, so it makes any kind of conversation rather impractical. I’ve been entertaining myself by calling him “Scout” and envisioning him getting snared in a trap involving a net concealed under a bunch of leaves and attached to a nearby tree. Perhaps I’ve watched a few too many episodes of “Xena Warrior Princess.”

We have spent the day visiting various castles and their surrounding towns in Germany and Austria. While castles come in many shapes and sizes, the one thing they all seem to have in common is that they are all built on ground that is a lot higher than the rest of the area. The only exception to this rule seems to be the “White Castle” hamburger franchise which generally settles in the crappy part of town all across the Midwestern United States.

While getting to these structures requires a moderate amount of uphill hiking, seeing them close up is worth the effort. In one village in Austria, we walked up to the ruins of a 12th century defensive outpost. Despite the fact that many of the upper levels had collapsed, you can still see the general design of the building. I kept thinking this is what my apartment is going to look like a few years down the road.

August 26

Today we drove through Liechtenstein. Proportionally, I’ve already spent too much time writing about it. I’m not sure how they managed it, but this country is a four mile wide sliver of land sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland. The most notable quality of this country I’ve discovered is they charge you to stamp your passport.

We rather briefly drove through Switzerland, but most of the time was spent driving on a road next to a large lake. While visually stimulating, I don’t really feel as though I got to experience the true Swiss culture. I didn’t even see a single person drinking hot chocolate. So even though I can add it to the list of countries I’ve been to, I think sometime in the future I’ll come back to get a better look around.

August 27

Well, that wraps things up for my trip to Germany and neighboring countries. After spending ten days here I’m definitely ready to be back in Colorado. The public transportation isn’t as good and we don’t have quaint little villas in Colorado, but at least we never had to worry about evil oppressive forces occupying parts of our state. Unless, of course you count Colorado Springs.

Chapter 28

To: Todd
From: Omar
Subject: Newfunny web site

Hi Todd,

I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you. I’m not sure if you know this, but I left my job at Rave Software a while ago to pursue my newfunny web site. Someone at Yahoo decided it was amusing enough for them to finance. So, to make a long story short, I now have the money to do all the things I’ve been talking about for the past year or so.

In addition to having my writing on the site, I’ve been building sections that include Flash animation and sketch comedy video sections. I want to add a music video section to the site. I eventually want to make my “Taco Bell” lyrics into an actual song and eventually an animated video.

One idea we came up with would be to take a relatively unknown song and have a contest for our Flash staff and web site viewers to create an animation to go with the song. When we worked together, I remember the CD you finished with a song on it called, “Something Is Wrong With My Penis.” As I recall, the song was about a robot who was in a bicycling accident.

What I would like to do is to put the song on our web site. Anyone who is interested in the contest could download the song and create a Flash animation to accompany the music. After all the entries are received, there would be a judging period to select the animation that best conveys the meaning of the song.

Would you be interested in letting me use your song for this purpose? You will be recognized as the author and we will put a blurb about you on the web site along with a link to your web site. I think this would generate a lot of interest in the music CDs that you sell on your web site.

If you are interested, please get back to me and we can work out all the details.


Chapter 29

To: Omar
From: Todd
Subject: RE: Newfunny web site


I’m sorry to hear that you left Rave Software. I guess it was just time for you to move on with your life. It sounds like you landed a pretty ideal job. Getting Yahoo to sponsor your site was pretty slick. And I like what you have done so far with the site. It’s quite amusing.

As far as the song goes, I would be happy to allow you to put it on your site. Depending on how busy I am, I might even submit a video for the song. I always envisioned the a video for the song as a mix between, “School House Rock” and, “The Simpsons”, but with more dark shadows. Of course at the moment I’m right in the middle of recording my remake of the Police’s “Synchronicity” album. Anyway, I’ve attached the song as an MP3 file. I hope the contest generates lots of interest for your web site.

I’ll always remember how much trouble that song got me into when we were working at Rave Software. I sent out an invitation to my CD release party which contained a link to my web site. That page had a link to the CD song titles which contained the song, “Something Is Wrong With My Penis.” Someone complained to Human Resources about it and I had a lot of explaining to do. I’m sure you remember how I almost lost my job because of it.

Well, enough reminiscing about our glory days. I’ll keep an eye on the web site to see how it progresses.


Chapter 30

To: Bob
From: Omar
Subject: Status Report


Here is my monthly status report.

I have completed all the hiring for the time being. As far as I know everyone is settled into their positions. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I would be surprised if any of them decided to accept a job elsewhere.

We have ramped up our production of both the Flash animation and the video segments. I’ve stepped back a bit from the day-to-day operations to let Tim and Tony focus on their own groups. The interest in the newfunny viewers in contributing is steadily increasing. We are receiving scripts, animations, and inquiries for acting positions at a furious pace. I think our initial recruitment efforts and word of mouth have created the necessary levels of interest to maintain the creative edge we need to make this site a success.

We are almost to the point of being able to create a half hour of new material each week. I’ve been brainstorming about new ideas for expanding out reach. One idea is to make a weekly online “show” that can be streamed on the web site. I think this will hold viewers’ attention longer than our current approach. I haven’t come up with a name for it, but a good slogan might be something like, “Why wait for Saturday Night?” Since this involves a fair amount of bandwidth, I was thinking we could burn each week’s material onto a CD and send it out to viewers for a nominal fee.

Another idea I had was to produce an hour-long documentary about the web site and the people who make it happen each week. It would be relatively easy to do-we just need to find someone to follow us around with a camera and a key grip. Or whatever those guys are who hold the microphone out of the shot of the camera. On second hand we could just run around with tiny cordless microphones on the inside of our shirts when they are filming. Either way, the general concept is the same. I’m sure the people who look at the web site would appreciate a behind-the-scenes experience.

I also looked at the web logs for the past couple of months. I am pretty excited about the growth we are seeing. The chart for the past six months shows a steady increase in the number of hits the web site is getting with both individual pages loaded and unique user sessions. I’m sure you have seen this information too, since the web site is being hosted on your servers.

That sums up what is going on here in Boulder. If you have any questions, shoot me an e-mail. Or, if you are in town, stop by and I’ll give you a tour of the office.

Omar Lutfey

Chapter 31

Web Story: Making Boulder Safe

I’ve always had a healthy respect for Kathleen– the woman living in the apartment directly above me. In most respects she is an ideal neighbor. While we aren’t exactly the closest of friends, when we do run into each other we usually have a pleasant conversation about what is new and exciting in our lives. She even accepted my invitation to watch the game at my last Super Bowl party. Always concerned about making too much noise, she even asked me once if running her dishwasher after 10 PM was going to be too loud for me. Despite all this, I can’t seem to shake the notion that Kathleen spends her free time raising marsupials.

Even though my knowledge of biology is limited to reading National Geographic stories while sitting in the dentist’s office waiting room, I am almost positive that kangaroos are not indigenous to the state of Colorado. Sometimes after Kathleen leaves for work in the morning I hear the unmistakable sound of rhythmic thumping from her apartment that could only be produced by small mammals hopping around. At first I just chalked it up to my overactive imagination. All that changed a few weeks ago on a warm summer night when I was sitting out on my patio waiting for a friend to come over. Kathleen’s patio door must have been open because I couldn’t help but to hear what she was saying. In a playful baby voice she kept saying, “Who is my favorite kangaroo? You are-yes you are!” The last trace of doubt was removed when she replaced her old regular license plates on her car with a customized set with the letters “LVN ROOS”.

While I like to think of myself as a fairly liberal individual who doesn’t like to poke my nose into other people’s business, I just can’t sleep well at night knowing what is going on in Kathleen’s apartment. What could I do if the kangaroo in question gets bigger and crashes through the floor into my living room when I’m sitting on my couch? My apartment is messy enough as it is without the ceiling caving in and kangaroos hopping about wildly out of control. And that doesn’t even address the issue of my damage deposit.

Fortunately, the city of Boulder passed an ordinance to protect not only myself, but the countless other individuals in the area who live their lives in constant fear of exotic animal related mishaps. The Boulder City Council recently passed legislation that will help get all of the kangaroos out of the city once and for all. In addition to the aforementioned marsupials, the law also forbids individuals from owning bears, skunks, weasels, otters, badgers, venomous reptiles, raccoons, elephants, seals, sea lions, hyenas, anteaters, sloths, armadillos, mongooses, hippopotami, rhinoceri, giraffes, camels, zebras, monkeys, chimpanzees, alligators, and crocodiles.

It’s about time that the City Council members climbed down from their ivory tower and created legislation that helps out the regular Janes and Joes of the world. Just the other day I was watching some children playing on the large bronze animals in the center of the Pearl Street Mall when a hungry pack of hyenas came along and… well, lets just say it was not a pleasant situation. The owner of the hyenas didn’t realize the animals had chewed through the six foot high electrified barb wired fence until after the damage was done. And you really can’t fault the hyenas- their instincts tell them to gather in packs and chase down the slowest mammals in the immediate area. The parents of the mauled children and most of the witnesses came to the conclusion that despite the extensive effort made to contain these animals, the owner of the hyenas was largely to blame. Without any exotic pet ordinance to back them up, the police officer at the scene could only give the owner a fifty dollar fine for violating the city leash law.

Exotic animal maulings frequently go unreported in city of Boulder. Newspapers only have so much space to report the news each day. While the reports regarding the JonBenet Ramsey murder have slowed to a trickle, the reports detailing the mistakes made during the investigation keep flowing into the papers. And of course the public needs to know about the reports of people who are upset about people who criticized anything involving the investigation. Given the need for perpetual coverage of this still unresolved situation, the true cost of exotic animal ownership may never be known.

Chapter 32

To: Omar
From: Tony
Subject: Video seminar


I was thinking of having a seminar later on this week to prepare for the next video filming. The next sketch is going to involve a few more people than the last one, so I wanted to get everyone together before hand.

I want to try out some method acting techniques I’ve been reading about. Nothing too elaborate, but I think it will help this group of people feel more comfortable working together. It should go from 11 to 1. If you could say a few words at the beginning I would appreciate it. Is that OK with you?


Chapter 33

To: Tony
From: Omar
Subject: Meeting


That is fine. We aren’t expecting anyone to come visit the office that day, so feel free to conduct your seminar in the conference room.

I’m not really good at speaking in front of large groups of people, but I’ll show up at the beginning to say something. Motivate the troops, if you will πŸ™‚


Chapter 34

Omar: Hey there
Katie: What can I do for you?
Omar: Is anything exciting going to happen this afternoon?
Katie: Well, I can’t see into the future, but everyone’s schedule looks pretty clear. Tim and Tony are working on editing their latest projects and have told me to hold all non vital calls. I am not aware of anyone else coming into the office today. It looks like a relatively quiet afternoon.
Omar: And look at how nice it is outside.
Katie: My desk faces the elevator, so I wouldn’t really know. But it looked nice when I rode my bike to work this morning.
Omar: When we get big enough to have a receptionist and an office manager, you can have an window seat. I promise.
Katie: Hey, thanks.
Omar: Let me ask you a question: have I been grouchy and irritable lately?
Katie: Are you kidding? You are fine, especially compared to some of the other people in the office I have to deal with.
Omar: That’s not the right answer. Have I been grouchy and irritable lately from being stuck in my office too much?
Katie: Oh, umm, now that you mention it, I have been noticing a change of behavior lately. Maybe you need to spend some time outside.
Omar: You really think so?
Katie: Most definitely. I think you should cancel all your appointments and enjoy the afternoon outside.
Omar: But how will the office function without me?
Katie: Well, you have created such an efficient operation here that everyone would be able to adapt and keep the ball rolling.
Omar: All right then. I’m making an executive decision– cancel all my appointments. I’m going to take a mental health afternoon.
Katie: Yes sir! Do you think your mental health will be repaired by tomorrow, or should I plan for the worst?
Omar: No, I told Tony I would talk to the actors for his seminar. I have no idea what else he is planning. I suspect it will be one of those, “Now be a tree” kind of things. Whatever happens it should be interesting.
Katie: LOL. OK
Omar: I think I will hike up around Chitaqua Park and later on tonight I told some friends I would go play Laser Tag with them. Nothing too exciting, but it should be fun.
Katie: Well, don’t get into any trouble, but remember to relax– I hate seeing you so grouchy and irritable πŸ™‚
Omar: Thanks, I’ll see you tomorrow.
Katie: Bye.

Chapter 35

To: Omar
From: Katie
Subject: Monkey Problems


I’ve been having some problems with one of my pets. I’m not sure what is wrong with him, but I suspect Chappy has a bladder infection. I found a vet that specializes in primates, but her office is up near Fort Collins. I could either take half of a sick day and drive him up there in the morning, or I could take him after work.

Things have gotten pretty busy lately, so I was thinking it would be less disruptive to the flow of the office if I were to go after work. The only issue is that I was going to have a friend of mine drop Chappy off at the office in the afternoon. You see, I am going to ride my bike to work tomorrow because I let her borrow my car since hers is in the shop. But she has to work the dinner shift at four and the vet closes at 6-so I’ll have her pick up Chappy in my car, park by my office, bring the monkey and the keys to me, and she will ride my bike to her job. I’m sure this is all probably a lot more information than you really want to know. I don’t know why my life always has to be such a soap opera.

The bottom line here is that I’ll have Chappy in the office for a few hours in the afternoon. He is generally well behaved and is used to people being around. He will also be in a pet carrier, so he won’t be running around the office causing trouble. That would be a bad situation πŸ™‚

It’s totally up to you, but if I don’t hear from you I’ll just assume that my current arrangements will be acceptable.

I hope you had fun playing Laser Tag last night.


Chapter 36

Tony: Hey there-have you seen Omar today?
Katie: No, I was kind of wondering where he was myself. He isn’t really a morning person, but he is usually here by now. He took yesterday afternoon off, but he specifically mentioned being back for your meeting with the actors.
Tony: Yeah, he said he was going to say a few words for my group of actors today. The meeting is supposed to start in 30 minutes.
Katie: Well, I just tried calling his house– nobody answers.
Tony: I suppose that means he is on his way to the office.
Katie: That is possible. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Even if he comes in later you could have him talk at the end of your session.
Tony: That is very true. I’m sure it’s not a bid deal. Thanks for helping.
Katie: That’s my job. If you need anything else just holler.
Tony: Will do.

Chapter 37

To: Omar
From: Tony
Subject: What happened today


I’m very sorry about what happened today. I know I’ve only been around for a few weeks, but I was really beginning to feel like a part of the team. And I really started to believe your idea was going to be a big success. I’m sorry it had to end this way.

I didn’t see the whole thing, but here is what I saw as best as I can remember.

I came into work and spent most of the morning preparing for my meeting with the actors for the next sketch. I was mildly annoyed at you for not showing up like you said you were. I thought you got cold feet about talking to the group. But in retrospect, I know you were being physically prevented from getting to the office.

Back to the story. So I started things without you. Everything was going very smoothly. I started things out with some basic relaxation and visualization techniques. I was facing the group and everyone else was facing me and the door. We had just finished a relaxation technique where everyone closed their eyes and worked to regulate their breathing patterns. Then I told everyone to open their eyes and “become” the first thing they saw when they opened their eyes.

I have to admit that watching a screaming monkey run into the room caught me by surprise. Nobody quite knew how to react. Half the group thought this was a planned event and started imitating the monkey by running around screaming and spending an odd amount of time touching their genitalia area. I later found out the monkey had a bladder infection.

So this got the monkey even more worked up. He ended up grabbing the leg of one of the students. She was scratched up pretty good, but she didn’t seem to need urgent medical attention. The monkey ran out of the room and I didn’t see where he went.

So I went outside the conference room to see where he went. There were a few quiet children sitting by Katie’s desk, but Katie was nowhere to be found. Tim had no idea what I was talking about. I checked the hallway to see if anyone had any information regarding the monkey. Since nobody was in the hall, I started asking some of the other offices in the building if they knew what was going on. With the exception of a few bad “monkey business” jokes, nobody had any useful information.

When I got back, I saw someone laying in our receptionist area. He was about 45 years old and wearing a business suit. I hadn’t ever seen him before, but he had several deep scratches on his neck and face, a few larger bruises, and roughly two dozen bright yellow paint marks all over his body. And he was soaking wet from standing underneath the fire sprinkler that had been activated. He seemed to have a surprised look on his face. He turned to me and asked, “Is this how you greet all your guests?”

That’s all the information I can give you first hand. I’m sure Katie and Tim will be able to fill in the blanks. Once again, I’m sorry things had to end this way.


Chapter 38

To: Omar
From: Tim
Subject: What happened today


Damn, that was some weird shit that happened today. And not in a good way. Here is what I saw.

I was sitting in my office putting some final touches on the next Flash animation. I didn’t have any one else in my office that day.

I heard a bunch of screaming coming from the conference room, but I knew Tony was in there doing his “touchy feely” thing with the actors for the next video segment. So I didn’t really pay much attention to them. I stood up to close my door when this monkey ran by as I was closing the door. He was jumping on my chair and desk and kept touching himself.

Well, I guess at this point I need to confess that I had a paint pellet gun in my desk. I don’t know how the situation would have unfolded if I didn’t have the gun, but in all fairness I wasn’t the one who let a sick monkey run around in the office.

So I grabbed the gun and took aim on the monkey. I thought it would stun him so I could get him under control. I hit his tail with the first shot. That is when he ran out the office door. At that point I was ready to put the gun away and get back to work.

And I would have, if one of Tony’s actors hadn’t thought I had a real gun and jumped me. Anyone who knows anything about guns could recognize this was a fake. The barrel is a totally different shape and the handle is designed to hold pellets instead of bullets. But this was a good sized guy and he ended up knocking me over. We were both on the floor and he was trying to pry the gun out of my hands. Somewhere in the struggle the automatic mechanism was switched on. While trying to get the gun, he forced my finger against the trigger. I couldn’t stop the gun from shooting if I wanted. I didn’t see where the bullets went, but after the guy realized it was a paint pellet gun he stopped shooting.

I looked up and saw this guy in a business suit with the monkey climbing all over his head. He also had been hit with most of the paint balls during the struggle.

This unknown man was desperately trying to get the monkey off his head. Eventually the monkey grabbed onto the fire sprinkler on the ceiling. I’m not sure how those things work, but after a few seconds water started coming out. The man in the suit just stood there in disbelief.

After than I decided to go back in my office. I was not in the mood to socialize.

I know that saying about hindsight and all, but I really think things would have gone a little bit better if you weren’t in jail for all of this. But I guess that wasn’t something you had planned.

Well, it was fun working with you. I hope you can pick up the pieces and move on with your life.


Chapter 39

To: Omar
From: Katie
Subject: What happened today


I am so sorry about all of this. I know it doesn’t matter much now, but I take full responsibility for today’s incident.

Well, in case you don’t already know, here is what happened today at the office.

The afternoon was looking pretty quiet. Tony had a group of actors in the conference room and Tim was in his office doing work. The only twist was that one of the actors brought in two of his kids and asked if they could sit in the lobby. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to watch them, but the guy was kind of cute and said he would take me out to dinner sometime. The kids were quiet for the most part, so it wasn’t a big deal. I gave them some of the marketing toys which kept them quite entertained. The spinning plastic helicopter toy was a big hit.

My friend Kathy dropped off my car and brought Chappy into the office in the animal carrier. I set him on the floor by my desk. The kids were totally captivated by Chappy. I had a problem since I had to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t feel totally comfortable leaving the kids and Chappy alone. I thought about asking Tim to keep an eye on them, but I figured he would not want to have anything to do with small children and a sick monkey.

So I decided to ask the kids to watch Chappy while I was in the bathroom. In retrospect, that was a mistake.

I came back from the bathroom to see quite a scene in front of my desk. Tim and one of the actors were wrestling on the floor, Chappy was hanging on the ceiling, and an older man I’ve never seen before was standing there with a mess of blood, water, and paint all over himself. I have no idea why the fire sprinkler was going off.

And then you called. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have screamed out that you spent the night in jail. But I was trying to bring order to a rather chaotic situation.

I asked the children how Chappy got out, and they eventually confessed that they let him out of the cage. They said they were not able to watch Chappy very well from inside the cage, and they didn’t want to let me down. I can’t really fault their logic-they just took me too literally.

Once again I am incredibly sorry about what happened and if there is any way to make things up just tell me. I don’t have a lot of money, but I could probably hook you up with a lovely pet monkey. And his bladder infection is even going away πŸ™‚

Even though Chappy started everything, I have to question why Tim was going around shooting a paint pellet gun during the middle of the day. I always knew something was wrong with that boy since the first time we went out to lunch together. I guess my intuition was right. Too bad it took such a drastic event to prove the point.

Well, I guess this is good-bye.


Chapter 40

Web Story: Entertainment Of The Future

I have to admit up front that I have never written a story while being held against my will at the Boulder County Police Headquarters. Usually I sit home at my desk and mold the random thoughts running around in my head into a somewhat coherent and for the most part correctly-spelled piece of literature. On this occasion I was not afforded the meager luxuries of my small one bedroom apartment, but rather I scribbled my thoughts on the back of some legal documents with a small pencil the guards overlooked during the customary pat-down process. I suppose the guards didn’t view me as a traditional “psycho killer” type during the check in process. Either that or their apathy won over. What ever the reason, it gives me a chance to explain how I got here in the first place.

It all started rather innocently enough. After a few hours of one of our favorite Saturday night activities, my friends and I were talking about how we could improve the already wildly entertaining game of Laser Tag. The place where we usually play sports an impressive 8500 square foot multistory arena where up to forty people run around shooting each other for thirty minutes at a time. The next logical step would be to play it outdoors. Being regular customers, the manager let us take a few of the guns out in the parking lot to see how well it would work.

Playing laser tag in the parking lot was a blast. We would run around the buildings and take refuge behind the few cars that remained in the parking lot at two in the morning. If you aimed the gun carefully, you could hit someone that was standing still from about 200 yards away. The biggest problem was that after about thirty minutes of running around the parking lot we were all too out of breath to play anymore.

I suppose at this point in the story we could have all gone home, and the story would have ended there-and more importantly, without the need for police intervention. But that’s not what happened. After catching our breath on the curb of the parking lot, we created a slight variation of the game. We reasoned because we all like to play Laser Tag and we all like to drive our cars that, “Laser Car Tag” would be more entertaining than either activity by itself. We decided on boundaries for the game, picked teams, and each got into our own car.

The general idea was to chase down one of the cars from the other team and shoot the blinking lights on their gun in order to get points. With four cars and a rather large field of play it wasn’t very easy to find the other team, much less shoot the lights on their gun. We all drove around for twenty minutes without anyone getting hit. At that moment I realized my teammate Brian and I both had cell phones in our cars. I called him up and we set up a trap for the other team.

In case you were wondering, it’s not all that easy to drive a car with a standard transmission, talk on a cell phone, and aim a laser gun out the window trying to hit the other team all at the same time. Despite these difficulties, Brian and I were able to set up a trap where I got one of the other cars to chase me and Brian sneaked up from behind and hit one of their sensors. Victory was ours.

Sometimes in life you can win and lose at the same time. This was such an occasion.

While Brian was sneaking up on our prey, it turns out that there was a police car that was sneaking up behind all of us and witnessed the entire maneuver. He pulled all three of the cars over. In all honesty, I don’t think he appreciated our creative vision that night. While he didn’t specifically arrest us for playing laser car tag, he did mention some “laws” against going thirty-five miles an hour over the speed limit through the main street in Boulder, not stopping at red lights, and erratically changing lanes every three seconds. We presented what I thought was a convincing verbal argument that it’s the difference in speed that kills and since we were both going seventy miles an hour down 28th street, there was really no chance that we would hit each other. The officer seemed largely unconvinced and decided to give us the pleasure of spending the night in jail.

My first (and so far only) night in jail was not as bad as I imagined. Neither the guards or other prisoners deemed it necessary for me to receive any kind of “anal probe”, which I greatly appreciated. I spent four years in college living on dorm food, so what they gave us in jail really brought back memories. If all goes as planned tomorrow morning we will all get out on bail pending our court hearings.

Post Trial Comments:

The trial received much more publicity due to the accounts of that night and the corresponding video tape from the officer’s patrol car being the feature story on the television show “COPS” last week. As part of my plea bargain, I have agreed to provide a public service message on what has now become known as Xtreme Laser Tag.

Youth of America– playing Laser Tag while operating a car, motorcycle, mountain bike, or gyrocopter may seem like a whole lot of fun, but it’s actually a very dangerous sport. While there have been no documented deaths attributed to this activity in the United States, it is believed every year between 100 and 200 children in Mexico and other parts of South America die in Laser Tag related incidents. Remember– friends don’t let friends get really drunk at Christmas parties and… OOPS, that was a previous story. Just remember kids, officers have been authorized to use stun guns and other forms of violent-yet-non-lethal force to stop these now illegal Laser Tag games.

Well, that part is over. Now I can get this whole ugly mess behind me once I finish my 200 hours of community service in accordance with the terms of my parole.

Chapter 41

To: Omar
From Bob
Subject: What happened the other day


I was so impressed with your web site that I decided to stop by your office on a business trip to Denver. I thought we could go out to lunch and talk about your ideas for expanding your site.

However, after visiting your office yesterday I really have no choice but to withdraw the financial backing from Yahoo. I walked into your office to see small children, monkeys, and paint gun carrying men all running around without any adult supervision. This raised concerns about the quality of an office you were running.

I tried to keep an open mind about the situation. I figured we would have a good laugh about the whole thing after a few stiff drinks when we met for lunch. That was before I was attacked by the monkey, paint pellet gun, and fire sprinkler system. I must say– at that point in time, I was at a total loss for words.

Even at that point I was thinking I could give you a lecture about running an office and only give you an official warning. That idea went out the window when your secretary screamed out that you spent the night in jail after a serious infraction with the local police department.

I’m still confused about the whole thing, but the damage it too extensive to repair. I really enjoyed your web site and I saw the potential for it to grow in the ranks of the top tier high traffic sites. Unfortunately that is not going to happen with Yahoo.

I have sent an assessor to your office to determine and remove all of the equipment that was purchased through the office supply budget. You will be permitted to remove any personal items after the assessor has completed his work. All employees of newfunny are immediately fired and will be paid through this current pay period.

The use of Yahoo’s server space for the web site will be discontinued at the end of the week. Since you registered the domain name, you might want to find a new server to host your web site.

Even though we never met in person (largely because of the fact that you were in jail), I am sorry things had to end like this. I’m not sure if you are going to try and give it another go or not, but if you do, I wish you luck.

Bob Yager
CIS Director


That’s All Folks!

Well, the past couple of days has been very interesting. Except for the fact that it happened to me, it’s a pretty funny story. I am really not in the mood to go into details, but the bottom line is that the web site is no longer going to exist in its current form. If this were a television show instead of a web site, I would be saying that we are going “on hiatus.”

The web site will be moved to a server independent of the Yahoo corporation. The amount of content left on the site will depend largely on the amount of bandwidth I can personally afford to pay for on a monthly basis. All of the writing for the site will remain. I might be able to keep the Flash animation on the site, but the video segments are too large to fit on the scaled down server. I may update the site to document events of my life, but there are currently no plans for any other content updates.

I have set up an e-mail server, so any e-mail sent to will be received, however I am not making any guarantees about when it will actually be read. The entire work force of newfunny has been laid off and there is no funding at the moment to rebuild the company.

After the dust settled I did have brief discussions with most of the newfunny staff. Here is the current status for everyone, in order of appearance:

Angie: As I was busy putting my thoughts into the form of a book, Angie was busy being more and more pregnant each time I saw her. Eventually she gave birth to a baby boy. I’m not exactly sure what her future will hold, but I suspect that there will be fewer motorcycle rides and more dirty diapers for the foreseeable future.

Bob Yager: Bob is still working with the CIS department at the Yahoo corporation. He recently started seeing a therapist and no longer makes surprise visits to the web sites enrolled in the CIS program. After serious consideration, Bob threw away the business suit he wore during his brief visit to after the dry cleaners failed to eliminate the smell of wet monkey from the fabric.

Katie: After several phone calls, Katie was able to find a zoo who agreed to adopt Chappy. After finding homes for the rest of her ex-boyfriend’s pets, Katie decided to move back to Kansas City where her life would have a notable lack of excitement and exotic pets.

Kristen: Since Kristen only worked part time at, the impact on her life was rather minimal. She had been saving the money she made proofreading the web site and is planning on using all her accumulated vacation time from the library laying on the beach in Fiji hitting on local bartenders and doing her best to repress thoughts about the pros and cons of the Dewey decimal system.

Tim: I’m not sure about Tim’s plans. I have not heard from him since the day of “the incident.” I suspect it involves purchasing several very real firearms and finding a social group somewhere up in Montana that really understands what he is thinking.

Tony: As the only person who decided to stay in Boulder, Tony is pursuing several independent film projects. He also started writing a script for a documentary about A start date for the project has not been announced.

And of course, that leaves me. I guess I appeared in the book first, but for dramatic effect I put myself last.

Omar: My plans for the future are the least defined of the group. I’ve decided that I’ve been a computer geek for too long now. When my lease on my apartment in Boulder is finished I plan on moving all my stuff into storage. I’m going to take the modest amount of money I’ve made from the web site and buy a sturdy backpack and a one-way ticket to Europe. After that things get kind of fuzzy.

At this moment I have a fantasy about living in Romania. I would spend my afternoons playing chess with old men in the park. They would tell me stories about World War II and I would explain how I flirted with greatness on the Internet only to lose it all because of a depressed irritated monkey. The fact that we don’t understand each other doesn’t seem to matter. I slowly learn their language and eventually fall in love with a fiery young woman. We live on part of their family farm where I learn to be a blacksmith and glass blower. We would get married, have a few kids, grow old together, and live happily ever after.