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Metapost: Josh wants your funny stories!

Sorry for the non-comics related metapost here, everybody, but: I’m writing a feature about superstitions IT workers (defined broadly … programmers, sysadmins, architects, tech support, etc.) and their superstitions. I know techies have a reputation for being a rationalist bunch but I’ll bet some of you rub a lucky rabbit’s foot before an OS upgrade or knock wood every time you commit code into Subversion. I’d love to hear about anything slightly irrational that you take to your tech job — charms, muttered incantations, lucky socks, you name it. Feel free to email me at if you’re interested in sharing.

141 responses to “Metapost: Josh wants your funny stories!”

  1. willethompson
    October 9th, 2008 at 4:13 pm [Reply]

    I’ve heard that some IT technical writers wear their lucky boxer shorts to photo shoots.

  2. Pete Warden
    October 9th, 2008 at 4:20 pm [Reply]

    Hey, I should have recognized your name on the HARO list!

    Not so much a funny story, but part of my job was testing graphics cards, which mean pulling them in and out of machines all day. It was very fiddly, and the widely accepted rule was that any given card wouldn’t work unless you’d cut yourself at least once trying to wedge it in, they all needed a blood sacrifice.

    Kind of like Pluggers.

  3. Pustulio
    October 9th, 2008 at 4:22 pm [Reply]

    It’s bad luck to be superstitious.

  4. One-eyed Wolfdog
    October 9th, 2008 at 4:36 pm [Reply]

    I used to pray the lab attendant wouldn’t come around when I was swiping RAM out of the machines at school.

  5. Dingo
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:03 pm [Reply]

    I tend to do things twice, believing that the first incarnation was a fluke. I figure if Elizabeth Taylor could get 63 takes per scene on Cleopatra, I should get to do two takes on how to install an OLED Button Panel into a slot machine.

    Let’s go to the roadhouse! *

    * – Obscure reference I expect no one to get. But, then again, on this site…

  6. Shermy Glamrocker
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:06 pm [Reply]

    Every time I hear IT is going to install an “improvement,” I crap my pants.

  7. Mason Cody
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:16 pm [Reply]

    *cough* sex the night before. So that way when things fail you can still turn to the other techies and go. “meh. Still got some last night.” It’s a bonus because they’ll beat you up and you’ll be knocked out while they have to work overtime.

  8. Al of the Christian Single Jungle Patrol
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:22 pm [Reply]

    I personally never label a CD or DVD before burning it. It seems just plain arrogant.

  9. Al of the Christian Single Jungle Patrol
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:26 pm [Reply]

    Oh, and I always power up the box after repairs before putting in the case screws. Again, that arrogance thing.

  10. Mushuweasel
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:26 pm [Reply]

    Never never ever, but never go on vacation. And don’t let any coworkers go on vacation, either. The servers know when you’re understaffed, and will do their damnedest to make everyone else pay for your gallivanting.

  11. Li’l Bunnë FooFoo
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:32 pm [Reply]

    On the subject of vacation, I do actually make sure that my boss and the people on my team know how to find me while I’m on vacation. It’s a Murphy’s Law kind of thing: if they can’t reach me, that’s when something terrible will happen, so I make sure they can reach me, so nothing terrible happens.

    Plus, I trust them to call me only if the roof is on fire.

    If I think of anything more interesting than that, Josh, I’ll send it via email.

  12. Seismic-2
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:40 pm [Reply]

    I’m a Plugger, so let me date myself: I always used to duplicate all my card decks, in case I dropped one on the floor and the cards got out of order.

  13. Vincent Gable
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:43 pm [Reply]

    Here is one such collection of quirks and superstitions:

  14. rotts
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:48 pm [Reply]


    That’s “superstitious” workers, not “superstitions” workers.

    A tip of the typo (not Hatlo) hat, nonetheless.

  15. Poteet
    October 9th, 2008 at 5:50 pm [Reply]

    I never ever look into storm sewers, I dribble a little water out of the faucet before turning it on full-force to make sure it’s water and not blood, and once I broke an old Coke bottle and…oh. You mean IT as in Information Technology. Not IT as in Pennywise. Never mind. *slinks away*

  16. Lisa
    October 9th, 2008 at 6:15 pm [Reply]

    {Let’s go to the roadhouse! *

    * – Obscure reference I expect no one to get. But, then again, on this site…}

    Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

    So, what did I win?? :o}

  17. monsieurjohn
    October 9th, 2008 at 6:28 pm [Reply]

    i’m no techie by trade, but i’m a firm believer in the magic of unplugging everything and plugging it back in. i’ve fixed dozens of problems that way.

  18. Toronto
    October 9th, 2008 at 6:29 pm [Reply]

    Sesmic – did you draw a diagonal line with a marker across the 12-edge, too?

    Al @ 8 and 9: I never thought of those as superstitions, just practical. Of course, when you don’t do them, the CD *will* be a coaster and/or the server won’t boot.

  19. Cheese-n-Pear
    October 9th, 2008 at 6:47 pm [Reply]

    Does still calling “sync” multiple times before a “shutdown” count? Does anyone apart from Unix admins even consider that funny?

  20. danzig
    October 9th, 2008 at 7:00 pm [Reply]

    I’m not an IT guy. I am an industrial electrician (a fancy tiltle that means “fuse changer”). Every time we get a download from corporate you can count on problems. The funny thing is that the IT guy in another state assumes that the problems that we are having is a spontaneous ribbon cable failure after his download. Yes, I actually had to change some daisy chain ribbon cables because he thought that they went bad during the download. It could have not possibly have had anything to do with his software. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice guy and he does good work. It just seems to me that software guys can NEVER blame their own work. It has to be something that happened with the hardware and it is just a coincidence that it happened during a download.

    P.S. Love CC.

  21. AppleGirl
    October 9th, 2008 at 7:19 pm [Reply]

    I don’t have any supertitions regarding my customers. It’s a given that those who do not back up their data will have hard drive failure.

    My own superstitions are that if I purchase any computer or expensive peripheral during Mercury Retrograde, it will be a poorly behaved device.

  22. Uncle Lumpy
    October 9th, 2008 at 7:22 pm [Reply]

    I put extra JCL in the deck, just for luck.

  23. Islamorada Girl
    October 9th, 2008 at 7:32 pm [Reply]

    I keep a religious medal taped to my computer. I’m not even Catholic.

  24. Brick Bradford
    October 9th, 2008 at 7:33 pm [Reply]

    My computer savvy is not much higher than Toby Camerons’ so I’m not sure I qualify as a techie, but I never say anything positive about a computer printer. Whenever I’ve said anything so banal as “it’s working well” of one of the little hellbeasts they get me. Oh, how they get me.

  25. Pendragon
    October 9th, 2008 at 7:46 pm [Reply]

    Here’s another vote for Merc Retro. Thanks, AppleGirl!

    Also, don’t say bad things about a device. They know…

  26. Pastor Z
    October 9th, 2008 at 8:12 pm [Reply]

    I avoid Macs.

  27. Uncle Lumpy
    October 9th, 2008 at 8:35 pm [Reply]

    #23 I-Girl –

    Which saint? Isadore of Seville is the patron saint of computers. Medals available here.

  28. Seismic-2
    October 9th, 2008 at 8:47 pm [Reply]

    #18: Toronto – “Seismic – did you draw a diagonal line with a marker across the 12-edge, too?”

    You betcha, by golly!!!

  29. ihateaphids
    October 9th, 2008 at 8:48 pm [Reply]

    An IT guy at my old company never did anything unless you first played a game of foosbol in the rec room.

    Actually, I don’t recall interacting with him ever except for playing foosball…perhaps his policy also applied to foosbol, thus leading to a viscous endless circle.

  30. Seismic-2
    October 9th, 2008 at 9:01 pm [Reply]

    #27 – Uncle Lumpy: Isadore of Seville? And here all the time I had assumed it was Countess Ada Lovelace (namesake of the apparently not retiring today veteran programmer Ada, from “On the Fastrack”). Now I know why my code never compiles the first time through – I’ve been wasting my prayers, addressing them to Lord Byron’s daughter instead of to a real saint. I wonder whether IBM will refund all the sacrificial offerings that I used to leave inside the cabinet of the tape drive?

  31. Islamorada Girl
    October 9th, 2008 at 9:16 pm [Reply]

    Unca Lumpy: One side has the Blessed Mother, the other side what looks like St. Martin de Porres. A friend brought it back from Paris.
    It just sort of ended up on the computer, and has been transferred to each succeeding computer since then.

    And Siesmic2, you could try Allegra, Byron’s other daughter, who died aged 9 of TB.

  32. GF
    October 9th, 2008 at 9:39 pm [Reply]

    I don’t know if this is a quirk or superstition or whatever, but whenever I set the time on a system I make add the hour and minute and use that as the seconds entry. So, at 9:14 I would enter 9:14:23. If the total is over 60 I wrap (12:58 is 12:59:10).

    Pathetic, I know, but I always do it.

  33. commodorejohn
    October 9th, 2008 at 9:55 pm [Reply]

    I always surround my expressions with parentheses, even when operator precedence makes it superfluous. I’ve just been burned too many times by screwing up the order of precedence in my head (I remember the arithmetic precedence just fine, but all the other operators are harder to remember.)

    On the subject of operators, does anybody know a saint to pray to or some other ritual so that I can stop forgetting that & and && in C do not work the same?

  34. willethompson
    October 9th, 2008 at 9:59 pm [Reply]

    I have Thompson’s Law of Technology Purchase:

    Any computer component, which, as a trailing edge user, I finally decide to buy, will decrease in price 70% the moment the transaction is completed, or expressed in mathematical terms, T x Th(purchase) = T(0.3)/purchase + 0.024 $/sec (dollar/seconds).

  35. Skullturf Q. Beavispants
    October 9th, 2008 at 10:26 pm [Reply]

    I don’t know if this counts, but when I compose a final exam or a midterm, I save the file using a filename like “chipmunk” or “muffin” or “Lesley”, because I’m paranoid that somehow some hacker will steal it if I call it “math252final08″.

  36. Jana C.H.
    October 9th, 2008 at 10:37 pm [Reply]

    I don’t know about patron saints, but the god of computers is Thoth, the Egyptian scribe god. And the god of the internet is Hermes, god of communication, commerce, and theft.

    A few years back, my old computer converted to Buddhism. It refused to accept attachments on any e-mails. I got a Buddha-with-computer figure (sorry, can’t find a picture on the web) to sit on my monitor, and the computer eventually became less enlightened.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith James Boswell: Practice forms a man to anything.

  37. Jym
    October 9th, 2008 at 10:43 pm [Reply]

    =v= Luann: We discover today that this is another Very Special Luann storyline (sponsored by Nike). Toni has obviously had breast-reduction surgery, perhaps because of the incessant sexism she has to put up with.

  38. Sister Sestina
    October 9th, 2008 at 11:25 pm [Reply]

    I thought old Izzy was patron saint of the Internet, not computers in general. Which I always thought appropriate because though his “Etymologiae” was voluminous, the actual etymologies in it were almost always wrong.

  39. Seismic-2
    October 9th, 2008 at 11:46 pm [Reply]

    #19 – Cheese-n-Pear: “Does still calling “sync” multiple times before a “shutdown” count?”

    I always “sync” 5 times before a halt. My superstition is that if you don’t sync, you’re sunk.

    #33 – Commodorejohn – “On the subject of operators, does anybody know a saint to pray to or some other ritual so that I can stop forgetting that & and && in C do not work the same?”

    My superstition is that you will type “=” when you mean “==”, if you code on a day that ends in “y”.

  40. Ron Rotten
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:17 am [Reply]

    Back when I worked in the TEC department of Auburn University, we had a superstition that if you were ever left alone in the dungeon (a.k.a. our office) everything would go wrong at once.

    Also, it wasn’t so much a superstition as a reality. At one point it was bad enough that a few of us started leaving together, and then whoever was staying would walk back inside, presumably ‘fooling’ the room into thinking we’d just arrived.

    On a much more entertaining note, my last day of that job did involve me telling a completely tech-tarded professor who insisted on doing her class via all-powerpoint presentations that her projector’s “thermal induction coils” had overheated, and that she would need to cool them manually by submerging it in a basin of cool water (after removing the plug, of course). Unfortunately, the boss got wind of my shenanigans and before I could remove another from the gene pool he had wrested the phone away and explained to her the actual situation (the professor was repeatedly toggling the on-off switch wondering why the projector wouldn’t start. God bless us, everyone.)

  41. Ron Rotten
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:22 am [Reply]

    In addition,

    #33 — I really should cut back on the C++ — whenever I see a solitary ampersand, esp. in literature, I think reference.

    Sometimes I don’t catch it until a few paragraphs later, at which point I’ve already completely perverted the relationships between the characters, and possibly even the very nature of the book itself.

  42. Farley's Revenge
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:45 am [Reply]

    Luann: Oh, for pity’s sake. Toni was practically doing a lap dance and Brad just stood there, holding his thumb on the camera button and fantasizing while shooting photo after photo of a scantily clad female.

    On the other hand, he was probably just doing what he normally does in the privacy of his own room but with his own equipment.

    Arlo&Janis: It’s not often a comic references, even vaguely, elder sex. Well done.

  43. Jane the Mostly Lurker
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:56 am [Reply]

    # 42 Farley’s Revenge – I really don’t want to even think about Brad’s own equipment. Pass the bleach, please.

    9CL – Where on this planet can you find a hotel with a) a snooty well-educated clerk, b) a beautiful old-fashioned four-poster bed, c) a room large enough to include a pair of overstuffed armchairs, AND d) a mirror mounted on the ceiling over the bed? Apparently, in the same part of the world where you’ll find a 19-year-old who says “bivouac.”

  44. Lisa
    October 10th, 2008 at 1:26 am [Reply]

    {Arlo&Janis: It’s not often a comic references, even vaguely, elder sex. Well done.}

    Not to mention the fact that Arlo wants to see his mother in law half dressed. Kinky…….

    43- I think I knew the word bivouac when I was 19…. ;o}

  45. BlueNight
    October 10th, 2008 at 1:31 am [Reply]

    When I burn multiple CDs and put them in the little baggie (so they don’t get separated from the paperwork), they HAVE to go in in the order they were burned.

    If two CDs, they go back to back, the first burned facing forward. (The baggies have front and back, differentiated by a bit of plastic across the top.) If three CDs, the first faces out, the second is behind it facing the same way, and the third facing out the back. If four CDs, the first three go in identically to three CDs, and then the fourth is stuck behind the third, also facing out the back, but obscured by the third.

    And of course the labels must be applied to the CDs in the same order; first label printed on first CD.

    Otherwise… it doesn’t feel right. Maybe I should get checked for OCD.

  46. Mr. O'Malley
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:06 am [Reply]

    33. commodorejohn. I’ve seen code written by Muslim programmers where they put a comment praising Allah at the beginning of each module.

    You could burn incense to the spirits of Alan Turing and John Backus. Or Ganesh, the elephant-headed god of good beginnings. Or perhaps leave out a saucer of milk for the code brownies.

    Perhaps this is apropos:

  47. Trilobite
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:10 am [Reply]

    I didn’t have a lot of superstitions when I was doing tech support, but one in particular leaps to mind:

    If a customer ever said “That was the first thing I tried and it didn’t work” or some similar phrase when I asked them to try something, then getting them to try it again specifically for me while I was on the phone with them would work 4 times out of 5. (Although it is a well-known phenomenon that software likes to mess with people in front of tech support, I’m pretty sure that this was because the customers were lying about trying stuff and not because the software would only cooperate when I was watching it. But who can say for sure?)

    Other than that, I was convinced that the phone system was both brilliant and deeply malicious: it knew when my shift was about to end and would route the most byzantine, time-intensive calls to me during the last five minutes before I could log out and go home.

  48. Jack Parsons
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:24 am [Reply]

    I wash my hands and wash my hands and the blood never comes off.

  49. Dingo
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:33 am [Reply]

    #16 Lisa: You fill me with hope! Yes, that was a line from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Gawd, I love this site.

  50. QUACK! AAAH...
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:03 am [Reply]

    fsck -fy. Way too often. Wastes time, but I can’t help myself. (Apologies to Windows folks for the obscure reference.)

  51. Dingo
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:07 am [Reply]

    So, I saw this image and the first thing I did after laughing was to try and imagine the Mark Trail caption that one of you would come up with. I have no idea if this is an ad for vacuum cleaners or cigarettes for cats.

    Suck it up (NSFW – really)

  52. covaithe
    October 10th, 2008 at 4:12 am [Reply]

    #33 commodorejohn: recent versions of C++ have “and”, “or” and “not” as keywords for their respective boolean operations. (In Microsoft compilers you have to #include ) You can get much the same effect in C with a little preprocessor abuse:

    #define and &&
    #define or ||

    As far as IT superstition, well, I used to have a photo that I would hang a copy of near every computer I worked with. It was an ad I cut out of some long-forgotten magazine, showing an elderly computer with the monitor smashed in by a sledgehammer. The caption read “Presenting a somewhat more elegant approach to dealing with your computer frustrations.” On the back of the page were details about some Symantec product, but the front had no further explanation. I hoped that putting the photo nearby would remind computers what was in store for them if they ever frustrated me too badly.

    Sadly, I worked a string of jobs where I didn’t have any handy surfaces near my computers to hang things on, so I fell out of the habit. Hmm, maybe that’s why my current computer is running slowly…

  53. Alfred E. Neuman
    October 10th, 2008 at 4:46 am [Reply]

    #26 Pastor Z— I’ve always used a Mac. They easy to use, their software always works, and they are perfectly reliabetaoin shrdlu.

  54. Ooten Aboot
    October 10th, 2008 at 5:55 am [Reply]

    Every computer and peripheral I’ve owned since the Kaypro II in 1985 has behaved strangely under the full moon. Not every full moon brings trouble, but practically every weird incident happens at a full moon.

    The only thing that seems to help is to emulate Robert Redford in A Bridge Too Far and Martin Sheen in The Execution of Private Slovik. I’d explain, but the full moon is approaching – it might be bad luck.

  55. Mark
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:24 am [Reply]

    “Have you tried reinstalling the product?”

  56. John C Fremont
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:29 am [Reply]

    When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way. (No, no, no.)


  57. Talking Squirrel
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:58 am [Reply]

    51 Dingo: “…I have no idea if this is an ad for vacuum cleaners or cigarettes for cats.”

    I’ve seen that one. It’s an ad for ORgazzym, the new OS for home appliance embedded chips. Mark Trail still prefers the ol’ knothole in the cow-barn wall.

  58. InkAllergy
    October 10th, 2008 at 7:08 am [Reply]

    During my days as a programmer, I used to repeatedly walk in a big circle while the compile what taking place. I would visualize walking through the code trying to see if calls, loops, routines, memory allocations, etc. were properly completed, closed or error trapped. The company owner was huge on finding and stamping out memory leaks, so that was always a big worry of mine. It got to the point where I had to walk that circle during a compile or I would feel really off for the entire day (sometimes a week). People knew by my physical actions at what stage I was in during the programming process. If I was wearing a hole in the carpet on the programming floor while mumbling to myself about algorithms, a major compile was taking place. If I was chewing gum and saying rude things to my computer, then I was still programming.

  59. poppinjay
    October 10th, 2008 at 7:33 am [Reply]

    I slaughter 42 nuns before I fire up Adobe Audition.

    Fortunately for the nuns, that’s only about every three days.

  60. Mercy, normally a lurker
    October 10th, 2008 at 7:51 am [Reply]

    I currently work at an internet helpdesk where it is considered horrible luck on a slow day to say anything about the fact that it is slow. The irony gods will hear us and immediately break something, usually a large something, and since we’re not slow very often we like to keep the slow days when they occasionally show up, and I’m sure this holds true in many jobs where slow days are few and far between.

    There is also a long standing belief that certain cubicles were cursed to bring really strange, odd calls from customers. This curse, when the original employee under it would leave, would then move to the next person who used that cubicle. If they changed cubicles, the curse would follow them (as long as they were still in our department) and if they left, the last cubicle they sat in would hold the curse for the next person.

    Yes, I originally had one of those supposedly cursed cubicles, and yes I get more than my fair share of the weird and strange, so much so that even my bosses have commented on the fact that I always seem to be getting these odd calls.

  61. Karen
    October 10th, 2008 at 7:59 am [Reply]

    It’s not really a superstition, but:

    When I was a grad student in the English department, I had an assistantship as a lab assistant in the computer writing lab. This was ironic, since I knew/know next to nothing about computers, but I did know more than the students, who would often put their disks in backward and then be extremely puzzled as to why they didn’t work.

    My main response to “my computer isn’t working”–no matter the issue–was, “Well, let’s turn that puppy off, reboot it, and see what happens.”

    Nine times out of ten, that worked. After watching a Stargate:Atlantis episode in which Joe Flanagan’s character (Shepard) suggests the exact same technique to fix an ailing alien ship (or some damn thing), my husband and I refer to my clever technique as “The Shepard Maneuver.”

  62. CanuckDownSouth
    October 10th, 2008 at 8:25 am [Reply]

    38-sestina Like so much else, more information about saint patronage can be found on the internet … Isidore is for the internet, but also computer users and computer programmers in general.

    I know it’s probably just in keeping with Violet’s character, but to me My Cage today looks like a jab at a certain overblown-materialism-with-no-emotion wedding that was splatted on the comics page this past summer.

    I’m clearly not over FOOB :-)

  63. Tweeks_Coffee
    October 10th, 2008 at 8:46 am [Reply]

    ‘Shaft: Christ, how long was this story? A week? A month? An eternity?
    DT: Maybe someone should tell Ole Braces there that he may not need braces if he’d stop clenching all the time.
    FC: So who just turned 7? I’m hoping it’s Jeffy and this is Jef Keane reliving his birthday memories where his brother angrily rants while Jef sat there silently wishing himself a happy birthday.
    GA: I swear to Christ, if this thing turns out to be another “bumpkin gets rich” tale I’m going to flip. Pretty soon this thing’ll devolve into Beverly Hillbillies in comic strip form.
    H&L: Damn, that cashier came out of nowhere. Was he ducked behind the counter?
    MT: THAT RACCOON IS FUCKING HUGE! I, for one, welcome our new raccoon overlords.
    MW: …Including Tobi’s insta-aging in the last panel. Time for a Botox refresher.
    SL: C’mon, tear into ‘em! You know you want to!
    S-M: Hey, Parker! No shirt, no shoes, no clocks!

  64. Brave Old World
    October 10th, 2008 at 8:55 am [Reply]

    I’m in architecture, though not the kind you probably mean…

    In CAD, the basic structures have to be drawn clockwise (around the grid origin), and Photoshop can never be opened just so, always by right-clicking on a picture file and telling it to open in Photoshop, even if I have no intention of working on that file.

    Oh yes, and I always have to have an odd number of pieces of bread. This is due to my father, who would always make me eat a piece of bread with cheese in between the sweet toppings, and I worked out I could have a higher ratio of jam if I ate an odd number.

    Since I also hate to waste either electricity or food, I’ve now got a wide toaster that will fit three of the smaller supermarket own brand slices of toast.

  65. Turing2008
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:13 am [Reply]

    I like to tell programming interns about how the name of the C++ programming language is an inside joke. Of course, they have already heard about that in their Introductory Computer Science class, but the have to listen ’cause I’m the boss.

  66. Gojira
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:16 am [Reply]

    This may be more OCD than superstition: As a network/server admin, I keep my PC at work on all the time, running network management apps. Whenever I reboot, the open apps have to line up in a certain order on the Windows taskbar: Outlook first, anti-virus app, anti-spam app, enterprise management app, network script app, then others, as needed. If an app crashes and disrupts the order, I’ll exit everything in order to re-create the arrangement. If it comes to it, I’ll even reboot again.

    It really throws me off when Outlook is in the wrong spot. (Yeah, I need help)

  67. kalki
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:19 am [Reply]

    Back in 1999, I knew a guy who was head of a department at Compaq who was so afraid of the Y2K potential that he kept 3 months of pay in cash in his wallet on him at all times leading up to Jan 1, 2000. He also had purchased some land in the middle of nowhere and had dug a water well. His plan was to go to his land in December 1999 and not leave it until he knew if everything was safe. This from a guy who was a middle executive of a major computer maker (at that time).

    You would have thought if anybody knew how bad things would be, it would be somebody who worked in the computer industry. The lesson is that even executives can be total crackpots.

  68. Hank
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:27 am [Reply]

    Life Imitates Rex Morgan:

    Two students in the Auburn Enlarged City School District have contracted MRSA, a type of bacteria that causes staph infections that are resistant to treatment with usual antibiotics, according to Superintendent J.D. Pabis.
    The two students attend Auburn High School and are both athletes, Pabis said. One student’s case was confirmed on Monday, the other on Tuesday.

    In response to the infection being identified in another central New York school last year, efforts started at Auburn schools to cleanse and disinfect district buildings and materials continued into this year, including daily sanitizing of nurses offices and locker rooms, athletic equipment and uniforms and objects such as doorknobs, Pabis said.

  69. Islamorada Girl
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:29 am [Reply]

    60: Mercy: When you are in a weirdo-attractig cubicle, take a clear glass, like a water tumbler, old vase or jar, put a teaspoon of salt in it and fill it with water. Place it in an obscure corner. It absorbs the weirdo magnet vibes. I learned this from a santeria I once worked with, and as strange as it sounds, it actually does repel the annoying and crazy vibes.

  70. Calico
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:39 am [Reply]

    #23, 27 – Yes, when we are having server problems at work, myself and one of my co-workers at the main office invoke the name of St. Isidore of Seville. His compilations of data/info were likely the first encyclopediac-type works in the world.

  71. Turing2008
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:43 am [Reply]

    Gojira #66: No, you are right. The applications, particularly the ones written by M$ will only operate well if they are in the correct order. Outlook first definitely. It barely functions as it is, so any stress due to improper taskbar placement will cause it to slow down and eventually bog down the whole machine.

  72. Brick Bradford
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:43 am [Reply]

    MT Sneaky looks like he’d enjoy ripping the flesh from her skull.

    A3G Oh fine, Morticia is going to blame it all on Luann, and the poor dumb thing is buying it.

    JP “Men can lose their minds over a woman like that”. But not Sam Driver.

    LuAnn Boy, Brad must have really developed some strength and endurance in that right hand over the years, huh? Serving him well today!

  73. Niall
    October 10th, 2008 at 9:55 am [Reply]

    Darnit, no time to read comments or make my own yet – but today is a Blessed Day of Comics; so much to snark about! GT alone is a goldminefield, making me go “what?!” aloud in my cubicle as I had to repress major giggles.

    I’m expecting large snarks from you all. (Does that mean I’m setting you all to get killed, as per A3G?)

  74. dull_old_man
    October 10th, 2008 at 10:15 am [Reply]

    Twenty years ago, the first IT support person I worked with told me she was a witch. She learned when she was a kid from watching “Dark Shadows.” She mostly had good spells, she said. I said I was not a good speller. She didn’t laugh, either.

    Whenever possible, she named a file she was creating “goodluck.” This worked for me, and I still do it when dealing with a cranky program. Of course, it doesn’t always work, and so you can find gl, gluck, goodl, and so on, all over my hard drive [all legal DOS names; at stressful times, I revert.]

  75. Artist formerly known as Ben
    October 10th, 2008 at 10:22 am [Reply]


    JP: “In fact some women lose their minds over a gal like that too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to the station for some alone time.”

    SSmith: Of course the dentist is just an old coot with a brokedown van and a flashlight, but the checkup counts.

    Archie: Another appearance by Upstage McBigrack. She’s shielding her assets this time, but she’s still got the same creepy ketamine smile.

    9CL: Amos, don’t make a big deal out of this. If the two of you don’t take the same bed, you’re the one sleeping on the floor using your rolled-up slacks as a pillow. In the unlikely event that something actually happens in said bed, that’s just gravy.

    BB: Hey Padre, God made the world in seven days. Don’t try blaming Him for your lack of punctuality.

    H&L: If Trixie wants to be treated as merchandise, she should just move over to Funky Winkerbean. Well, when she hits her teens at least.

    FC: “Now blow out your candles and shut the fuck up.” Grandma is my hero,

    S-M: Not as Spider-Man. Just as an ordinary citizen who scales walls in broad daylight. What can I say, really?

    BSt: He’s not swimming, so technically he’s in the clear.

    PBS: Bravissimo.

    S4th: Nona is filled with terror, knowing that she’s surrounded by psychotics who believe themselves to be comic strip characters.

    C-Shaft: We can’t tell what Crankshaft is thinking in the last panel, but I like to think it’s, “Mmm mmm mmm. Hate to see him go, but I love to watch him walk away.”

  76. The Sparrow
    October 10th, 2008 at 10:46 am [Reply]

    I’m no IT professional, and I don’t know if this counts as a story of superstitious IT workers, but it’s gotten to the point where I have to complain. Okay, so the head of my lab’s IT service, so far as I can tell, spends more time forwarding pointless, absurd messages over the lab listserve than, oh I dunno, doing his job? Whatever that might be. Not a week goes by where we don’t get his thoughtful insights on organic produce, or bias in the media, or yet another news story on the dangers of drinking expired gerbil milk (okay, I made up that last one. But I bet he’d send such a thing anyway). And the thing is, I can’t block his mail because every so often, perhaps on those rare nights when the moon is full and in the house of Taurus, he sends emails that actually notify us of important upgrades to or problems with the servers, or which otherwise indicate that he is in fact doing something vaguely IT-related. *sigh* Once he sent us a notice about how his grandmother was dying, and then a few days later, another missive informing us of her death. On the one hand I felt bad for him, but what exactly was I supposed to do? I’m a godless heathen, so I don’t pray, and at the time I was many miles away from his place of residence and wasn’t really in a position to offer condolences. It just seemed somewhat awkward to me that he should forward this information to the entire lab staff, most of whom probably don’t know him from Adam.

    So yeah. Not sure where I was going with that. But, in the unlikely event that the IT professional in question should ever come upon this message, let it be known that I consider 90% of your spam to be a waste of the lab’s bandwidth. May all your important files contract disease. *gets off soapbox* Carry on.

  77. Angry Kem
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:06 am [Reply]

    Argh…which thread to post in? Confusion…reigns…

    …and The Lockhorns have been thrust back into the Middle Ages.

    9CL: Of course there is a mirror. Of course there is. I expect room service will be providing champagne and contraceptives later on.

    FC: I nearly medievalised this one…but I’ve done FC far too often. What the hell? How can you lament about growing up when you never will? It’s almost meta, in a profoundly stupid way.

    MW: Please just stop before I am driven to kill you both.

    GT: Please just stop before I am driven to kill you all.

  78. Lathem
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:16 am [Reply]

    I like to use antique tools that were made before the computer revolution, to ensure that they haven’t been tainted. I also keep a 16 oz ball peen hammer hanging on my pegboard above where I work on computers, just to really demonstrate to them who’s in control.

  79. Motorposus
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:29 am [Reply]

    #35 Skullturf Q. Beavispants – You probably have nothing to fear from the likes of me, but I’d find it hard to resist a file named “chipmunk” or “muffin”.

  80. wendy
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:32 am [Reply]

    Nice job on FOUND today!

  81. CanuckDownSouth
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:41 am [Reply]

    GT As most slow people are not athletes, if you’re only faster than most of them, doesn’t that make you a middling ordinary person in terms of speed? In other words, you admit that you’re a lousy athlete?

    This is a parody of teens who don’t think before they speak, right?

  82. Saluki
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:44 am [Reply]

    Maybe I’m just having a bad day but I’m thinking that the people who read Mary Worth unironically are the reason that the country is so screwed up these days.

  83. bats :[
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:45 am [Reply]

    51. Dingo: my guess is that it’s for fine calligraphic brushes, inks and other supplies.
    (But maybe I’m thinking this because I just watched “The Pillow Book.” Dang, does Ewan McGregor like to get naked on film…and I, for one, am so very, very glad that he does.)

  84. Gabacho
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:49 am [Reply]

    Maybe a Custom or a Superstition – at my first real job, I supervised the keypunch krew (yep, that’s how we spelled it.) on the midnight shift for an insurance company. A perfectly innocent, slightly gullible young woman with an amazingly expressive face was the object of this practical joke.

    We were able to turn keyboards on and off from the console so one time, my operator and I turned off her keyboard. When she complained, he told her, “Oh, it must be damp. Hold it up and blow on it.” She shrugged, did so with much concentration and lo, it worked.

    We did that several times until she figured it out.

    After that, whenever the big boss dropped in on us, one or two of the keypunch krew would stop work, make a complaint about non responsiveness, turn the keyboard upside down and blow on it.

    The big boss was convinced that this was a technical “glitch”, his favorite word, and brought it up with the vendor. For some reason, we thought that was funny.

  85. commodorejohn
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:53 am [Reply]

    #52 covaithe – Actually my problem is the other way around; any time I try to do bitwise operations, I invariably wind up using the boolean operator first, then spending about ten minutes trying to figure out why my code doesn’t work. Every. Damn. Time. It’s the Basic in my brain, I expect.

    9CL – So what I’m getting here is that Brussels = Brobdingnag.

    A3G – Watching Luann dimly try to comprehend the concept of “self-loathing” is going to be one of the most wonderful things ever printed in the funnies.

    AS – As usual, any potential humor in The Argyle Sweater is quashed by a caption explaining exactly what the joke is. Cripes.

    BS – Man, can there be a spin-off strip centering around Miella? She’s quickly becoming my favorite character.

    DT – With these progressively closer shots of Braces, I’m reasonably sure that next week’s strips will feature his plaque as minor characters.

    FC – Billy confronts his own mortality. And wins.

    GA – Holy crap, I think that’s Ian Cameron in a wide-brimmed hat, with Toby.

    GT – He’s getting that Lou Ferrigno look. If Marty makes any more cracks about the kid’s height, he’s probably going to find himself tossed into the sound booth.

    JP – Oh, she’s that kind of hot lady cop.

    Lockhorns – “But she takes seven of the clean things and birds.”

    Luann – Oh, this is just too easy.

    MT – It would not take much Photoshoppery to make Sneaky look like a total pervert.

    MW – Are they playing patty-cake?

    Momma – WHAT

    OBH – I guess Frank didn’t, you know, like his grandfather that much or anything.

    PBS – Oh please don’t let this be the end of this…

    Phantom – Has he just been standing in that spot all night?

    Pibgorn – Today, on Things That Look Both Nonsensical And Horrible When Considered Without Prior Context…


    SF – Well, looks like she’s not deaf after all. Unless her peripheral lip-reading is phenomenal.

    SM – Yeah, I’m sure that nobody will notice a guy climbing up the side of a building, Peter. (Actually, in a universe full of telepaths, planet-eating space entities, and guys who shoot lasers from their eyes, maybe that’s not worthy of note.)

    Zits – Connie Duncan is turning into Elly Patterson.

  86. Sequitur
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:53 am [Reply]

    Whenever I feel the need to tweek my computer, I grab myself by the back of the pants and pull upward. This modified wedgie brings me back to reality and keeps me from thinking I’m an IT person and makes me leave my computer alone.
    (Giving an IT person a wedgie is normal. They expect it and it spurs them on to doing what they have to do to destroy your computer.)

  87. almne
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:54 am [Reply]

    In the Navy we used to put little plastic army guys in electronic panels to keep things working. Supposedly there were ones in the reactor compartment that had been painted white so they were camoflagued from detection from inspectors.

  88. gh
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:54 am [Reply]


    I’ve been muttering and grumbling to myself as much as anyone over the downturn this strip has taken over the past several weeks, but it was the only one that actually made me laugh out loud today. How can you not adore Bucky’s thousand-yard stare as he contemplates killing all the animals in the world? He can barely see over the edge of the table!


    I’m not sure where Ian and Toby are headed with that dialog in panel two, but I fear it’s pitiable sex.


    I’m pretty sure a pound of Great Value coffee at Wal-Mart is less than $5, so maybe this should be revised to “A Plugger doesn’t mind paying five bucks for coffee — because he’s too stupid to do any comparative shopping.”

  89. crossbuck
    October 10th, 2008 at 11:57 am [Reply]

    I don’t think I have any superstitions or obsessive routines when I program, but I do have an aversion to using consumer electronics in areas like photography. I’ve been burned too many times when a digicam died on me the day I really needed it. I always kept a film camera with me after the first one went, and since the last of my digitals died, I haven’t even bothered to replace it. I would almost consider it Luddite, except I hate spending $1K on a DSLR that isn’t even going to last 5 years (mine seem to crap out a month after the warranty has expired).

  90. Old Doc Yak
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:08 pm [Reply]

    A3G: Yeah Luann, it’s your frikkin fault Alan was a worthless junkie loser, you and your admiration and your high expectations! How dare you!

    Funky Winkerdeath: “You’ve never seen me when I’ve been up for 24 straight hours!” Or, for that matter, when you’ve been straight for 24 hours.

    Judge Parker: “With a woman like that, men can lose their minds!” We yaks have long noted that men don’t have much mind to start with. See, Sam Driver’s not affected, and he . . . oh.

  91. Artist formerly known as Ben
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:18 pm [Reply]

    Curtis: Is “mopped my mama’s kitchen floor” a sexual euphemism I don’t want to know about?

    HOTC: I like the way the “Dean puts away childish things” storyline has been going. And not just because it’s entirely Jonas-Brothers-free.

  92. Anson Pants
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:23 pm [Reply]

    Another UNIX example: I was admin of a long-gone flavor (Tektronix!) whose ed editor required you to write (save) twice. To this day I still do :w! twice before exiting vi.

  93. Al of the Christian Single Jungle Patrol
    October 10th, 2008 at 12:53 pm [Reply]

    67 — I knew people like that. They had everything you could possibly imagine stored in their y2k “compound” — everything, that is, except guns and ammo.

    My plan was to steal their stuff if/when the %^&* hit the fan.

  94. PeteMoss
    October 10th, 2008 at 1:10 pm [Reply]

    I’m generally superstitious about IT people and will do all I can to prevent them from crossing my path or sneezing near my chicken-salad sandwich. When I call the “help desk,” I always say a few, “Hail, Morty, Full of Grease!” before dialing. I’m sure they’re all hard working professionals and all, but I don’t like to associate too closely with those who dabble in the dark arts.

    On another note, exactly how tall is Jeff Ponczak?

  95. One-eyed Wolfdog
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:00 pm [Reply]

    Just estimating by comparison with other characters and landmarks and checking shadows vs. time of day I’d eyeball it at around 205-206 cm. Roughly, you know.

  96. TC
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:08 pm [Reply]

    Well, there’s the superstition that my printer is either evil and/or possessed by the spirit of a diabolic octopus.

    It gets free ink, glows at night, smells funny, and sounds like it’s crying for help when it prints.

  97. Li’l Bunnë FooFoo
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:10 pm [Reply]

    Angry Ken, re: 9CL
    I was thinking the same thing. I mean, can you order this kind of things form a hotel, for real? “Yes, I’d like one room, with a double bed. Please put a mirror on the ceiling. I’ll also need a hidden camera, three containers of Redi-Whip, and a chihuahua. Thanks!”

  98. gnome de blog
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:14 pm [Reply]

    A3G: LuAnn may be an idiot, but she’s not responsible for Alan fucking up his life. Don’t go there!
    Mark Trail: Raccoons are cute all right. They’re also nasty, smelly, mean, vermin-ridden and a general pain in the ass. Don’t ever feed one.
    <Mary Worth: *gag!*

  99. Li’l Bunnë FooFoo
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:16 pm [Reply]

    Gabacho – great story (@84)!

    It reminds me of something a friend did once. This was back in pre-Mac OSX days.

    You could install any program as an “extension”, so that it would launch automatically when the computer started up.

    “Shut down” was, for some reason, a program.

    So he set someone’s computer up to that the last extension to load was “Shut down”… start the computer up, it seems to be loading normally, and then it just stops and shuts down. Gremlins!

    But it gets better… when the guy said there was a problem and he couldn’t start the computer, they’d come by and start it, discretely holding down the key that let you start without extensions. Result: no shut down. No problems. “Gee I dunno, it looks fine to me. Why don’t you just work on it, and we’ll see if it does this again tomorrow.”

    In this way, fun can be had for an entire week.

    The moral of this story is, if you don’t like your company’s help desk, please keep in mind that maybe they don’t like you either.

  100. Li’l Bunnë FooFoo
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:23 pm [Reply]

    Angry Kem:
    Sorry I called you “Angry Ken” (@97). It was a typo.

  101. AmazingThor
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:26 pm [Reply]

    H&J: So Herb’s wife’s name is Sarah? I’m surprised he doesn’t just refer to her as non-male spousal unit.

    JP: Aha! The evil looking dog is the murderer! He was more jealous of Dixie than everyone.

    Luann: It’s not the shutter that’s been making those clicks…Hey-O!

    MT: When a stranger hurls a wild raccoon in my face, I don’t think “cute” so much as I do “rabies.”

    MW: “Why, if you couldn’t discuss the mistakes you’ve made

    PBS: That’s not his chin. It’s his nose. As in, he’s sniffing the cup. Ew.

    Shoe: Got a horrible pun but have absolutely no context to put it in? Just have it be an incomprehensible test question! I mean really, in what class do you have to define algebra? I took two years of algebra and never once heard a definition.

    Snuffy: Of course not. You have to have teeth before you can have a cavity.

    Zits: Is the dude in the last panel wearing a shock collar? Is it implying that his parents make him wear that or is he just taking his Goth look to the next level?

  102. AmazingThor
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:28 pm [Reply]

    #98 gnome de blog:
    A3G: Yeah, Alan specifically said that Margo was the reason his life was in ruins!

  103. Anonymous
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:29 pm [Reply]

    I program computers so you don’t have to.

  104. PeteMoss
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:41 pm [Reply]

    A3G – Alan was trying to live up to your expectations, striving to be the best darn dope dealer in NYC, damnit. But you, you never ever even noticed. Selfish dimwit!

  105. Al of the Christian Single Jungle Patrol
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:42 pm [Reply]

    97 — I’ve found that, in your better hotels with knowledgeable concierges, that anything is possible for the right price.

  106. Al of the Christian Single Jungle Patrol
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:46 pm [Reply]

    99 — I did something similar to somebody I didn’t like. I took a screenshot of his desktop, stored it in his profile as their background, then deleted all his icons and toolbars. He boots up, logs in, and discovers he can’t click on anything. Later, I come by, log in as myself, and everything works just fine.

    The guy got so frustrated that he just up and quit.

  107. boojum
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:48 pm [Reply]

    81. CanuckDownSouth –

    On the contrary, Two Hundred Six Centimeter Jeff Ponczac is being witty and self-effacing. Naturally, Marty Moon doesn’t get it.

    What you have to remember is that THSC Jeff is a heck of a guy. He shines on offense. He saves the day on defense. He plays through pain. And when he’s shy, he’s just adorable. He’s the Great Polish Hope.

    All this will make it worse when we inevitably find that he, and not his hipster doofus friend, is actually the one with the heart condition. (The tests were of course mixed up.) I will bet you a shiny new quarter that he even dies nobly, on the field, in Goth Girl’s arms. And a new Milford rallying cry will be born: “Win One for the Sackodog.”

  108. PeteMoss
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:50 pm [Reply]

    FC – Damnit you old bag of bones, why the hell do I have to be seven? [Margo] you and your skinny, dried up ancient ass, I’m sick of you pushing this damn birthday shit on me every damn year, you old fart! I’m kickin’ every damn ass in this house until you make it stop, Granny, and I’m startin with this Jeffy punk. And don’t get me started on the whole Wash-ton Dee-See shit!

  109. PeteMoss
    October 10th, 2008 at 2:57 pm [Reply]

    Lockhorns – If there was a Noah, then I think we’re all descended from him, Leroy. Looks like you’ve doubled up on the bile, too. Enjoy your vacation!

  110. PeteMoss
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:01 pm [Reply]

    Luann – Ha ha, Brad’s going to go blind if he keeps “clicking” like that!

  111. gh
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:08 pm [Reply]

    #110 PeteMoss –

    Clicking? Sounds like he’s out of bullets.

    So to speak.

  112. Angry Kem
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:23 pm [Reply]

    No worries, LBF. Half the people online seem to think I’m a guy; why destroy the illusion?

    Re. Luann: Could I ask a question of the male snarkers here present? Do men really lose control of the abilities to speak and move when they are faced with the sight of a hot woman in a sports bra? Seriously: what is with the portrayal of slavering, stuttering male helplessness in the face of feminine hotness? I have never in my life witnessed a man rendered inarticulate by female beauty. Granted, I am personally unable to test the hypothesis, but I have known some eminently beautiful women, and reactions to them tend to be more along the lines of, “Hey, baby…wanna make out?” than “Uh…uh…uh…wow…hubba!” *breathes into paper bag*.

    Shy people? Sure. Shy people of both sexes are rendered inarticulate by most things (I know; I’m one of ‘em). But…you want to convince me that ordinarily extroverted guys are turned into puddles of whimpering goo when confronted with the possibility of breasts? For the love of Murphy, people…enough.

  113. gh
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:36 pm [Reply]

    #112 Angry Kem –

    Re Luann: Not to disagree with your main point (and I don’t), but isn’t Brad suppposed to be one of the shy ones? God forbid he should ever meet Dixie Julep. You’d have to squeegee him off the sidewalk.

  114. Muffaroo
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:40 pm [Reply]

    Josh – Not a superstition, but when I would get annoyed with the extreme slowness of the computer at work, I’d shout encouragement at it while turning an imaginary crank on the side of the monitor. And here’s a tip for people who, like me, always get put on a computer so as to be facing away from the door — I bought a little convex stick-on motorcycle mirror and affixed it to the monitor.

    Jana C.H. @36“Practice forms a man to anything.” “…For use can change the very stamp of Nature.” –Shakespeare

    Lisa @44 – Yes, but when you were 19, I’ll bet you knew better than to ever utter the word “bivouac” in front of anybody.

    Gabacho @84 – I once called my electronics teacher over to look at my transistor radio — which was built in spread-out fashion on a board — to see if he could explain why it wandered off the station when I put my finger near a resistor over on the far right. (answer: because I was stealthily moving the tuning dial over on the far left — I finally told him)

    commodorejohn @85 – re: 1BHappy – It seems entirely unlikely that Frank ever met his grandfather, unless… nah, let’s just leave it at “entirely unlikely.”

    gh @88 – If Ian and Toby knew themselves as we know them, that would be a mutual pity fuck.

    PeteMoss @94“…exactly how tall is Jeff Ponczak?” I keep telling you, he’s six feet tall.

    Al @106 – I did that to my office partner one time, but just as a short-term joke that he saw through fairly quickly.

  115. Muffaroo
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:44 pm [Reply]

    A3G – Haley’s going to explain everything in terms Lu Ann can comprehend. Turns out she’s this strip’s Magic Junkie.

    Archie – Hey, the chick in panel 2 got her head fixed!
    And Jughead’s other powers include making the S on his shirt come and go.

    Bizarro – That’s one memorable image, there. Time to paraphrase Butt-Head’s immortal line, “If I could move my hand that fast, I’d never leave the house.” “If I could bend my neck like that…”

    Cshaft“I don’t know if I got the heart Jefferson Jacks had… but I think maybe I’d like to find out.” Okay, off you go, then. Remember, the journey of ten miles starts with one step.

    DTracy“A nobody, YES!” “Therefore, I can waltz in, because nobody loves me… and you’re Nobody until somebody loves you. I have it all figured out!”

    FCircus“Why do people only get to stay the same age for a year!” And by “year,” we mean “half century.”

    FOOB 1.2 – I like how yelling at Hubby makes her squeeze the life out of the kid in her arms.

    Luann – Actually, Brad’s shutter goes “fap.”

    Phantom – “Yeah, he was ‘The Ghost-Who-Rides until he loaned us his horse.”

    Plugger – When he gets the coffee home, he transfers it into a big red can, so the other pluggers don’t think he’s a snob.

    RMMD – Say, when Rex smokes a pipe (panel 1), he’s J.R. “Bob” Dobbs!

    S-Man“I’ll be waiting… only NOT as Spider-Man!” “…I’ll be Peter Parker, clinging to the wall with no mask on. Cause I am SMART.”

  116. Angry Kem
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:51 pm [Reply]

    #113 gh: True. I guess seeing Brad freaking out just sent me off on a rant about the whole stupid motif. Plus…Brad’s shyness doesn’t cause him to go into full body spasm in situations not involving breasts…so why should that sports bra make his brain shut down?

  117. Cornwhacker
    October 10th, 2008 at 3:59 pm [Reply]

    More proof that Josh is everywhere:

    (I only skimmed the comments so maybe I missed mention of it, but come on! I can’t possibly be the only one who reads both Found‘s site and this one on a regular basis!)

  118. Spunde
    October 10th, 2008 at 4:11 pm [Reply]

    I used to do a dance (well, turn around in a circle) and sing a song (“da da DA da da da da DA DA”) whenever I had to install a tape in a notoriously fickle tape drive.

    Hey, it worked better than the curses.

  119. Anonymous
    October 10th, 2008 at 4:22 pm [Reply]

    Just wondering…are any D.C./Maryland/Virginia folks going to the Turkey Shoot Regatta this weekend? Sadly, I am dying to know what the fer real ‘n’ true Lenore Foster looks like!
    And if there’s a real Tweaks.

  120. boojum
    October 10th, 2008 at 4:34 pm [Reply]

    And if there’s really an orgy afterward, as bats:[ promised.

  121. Li’l Bunnë FooFoo
    October 10th, 2008 at 4:42 pm [Reply]

    Gojira@66, I confess I’ve done the same thing. Well, not so bad. On a PC, I like the have Outlook as the first tab. My old PC was having this problem where it would sometimes freeze, and then rearrange my programs. Made me crazy*. It would rearrange them in the order in which I’d last used them, so sometimes I would select Outlook, and then purposely trigger the freeze, so it would restack the programs with Outlook on the left.

    *Or maybe I was already crazy to begin with.

  122. messybessy
    October 10th, 2008 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    No. 29 The more viscous the harder it is to get around that endless circle.

  123. Anson Pants
    October 10th, 2008 at 4:56 pm [Reply]

    Im not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.

  124. Poteet
    October 10th, 2008 at 5:05 pm [Reply]

    # 116 Angry Kem — This is why, per a much earlier CC question, I don’t find Brad hot, in or out of uniform. Once I know that someone has a personality that makes me grind my teeth, I can’t seem to mentally excise the personality and think “but his bod’s not bad.” Anyway, in Brad’s case, his head is as weird as his personality, and for me, the head is part of the bod. And in Brad’s case (she says snidely), a brain shutdown doesn’t seem like that much of a change.

    To do him justice, however, Brad doesn’t make me want to grab a machine gun and start firing. That reaction is currently reserved for GA.

  125. NoVan
    October 10th, 2008 at 5:12 pm [Reply]

    Today’s Mark Trail can go one of two ways. The woman can learn to love wildlife and reverse her plans to drain the beautiful, valuable swamp; or the racoon can bite the woman, causing a tragic rabies infection and criminal neglect proceedings. Unfortunately, today’s Mark Trail can go one of two ways.

  126. ihateaphids
    October 10th, 2008 at 5:15 pm [Reply]

    No. 122:
    Ha! bad typo!

  127. gnome de blog
    October 10th, 2008 at 5:17 pm [Reply]

    112 Angry Kem:
    I think the reaction of many – probably most – men in the face of “feminine hotness” was summed up by Charlie Brown in about 1958. As he related to Linus, after drumming up the courage to approach a girl he liked he said, “I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know what to do, so I hit her.”

    “Hey baby, wanna make out?” is the real-world version of hitting her.

    In Brad’s case, he feels so fortunate to walk in Toni’s shadow that he’s afraid to do anything for fear he’ll trip over his own feet, causing her to go away. Or worse – laugh at him and go away.

  128. dale
    October 10th, 2008 at 5:26 pm [Reply]

    There were times when I wanted to make copies of a deck in order to try some variations (not concerned about dropping the thing).
    The FEAR: The duplicator will eat my deck.

    When I’m sure I don’t need parentheses, I worry about whether the guy who wrote the compiler knows the rules.

  129. dimestore lipstick
    October 10th, 2008 at 5:52 pm [Reply]

    More a trick on procrastinating management than a superstition, really.

    Everytime I code and install a new workflow route into the test domain, I lie and say I’m doing it twenty-four hours before I actually plan to.

    This brings all the last minute requests for changes and tweaks out of the woodwork, so I can get them coded before the actual install, and only have to do it once.

  130. Angry Kem
    October 10th, 2008 at 5:55 pm [Reply]

    #127 gnome de blog: I don’t argue that many people–male and female–get tongue-tied when in the presence of people they like. However, Brad is in Toni’s presence a lot. He is losing control of his gross motor functions because he is seeing her in a bra. His reaction is simply one in a series of comic-strip and cartoon Reactions to Female Hotness involving slack jaws, drool, bugging eyes, steam emerging from ears, loss of motor control, inability to articulate any word besides “Yowza,” spinning heads, protruding tongues, little hearts replacing the pupils, physical collapse, and hyperventilation. I realise that these are all comic-strip shorthand for erections, but I am still of the belief that there are men in the world who can come face to face with beautiful women and not immediately succumb to their hormones and cease being able to function as rational human beings.

    Like Poteet, I have never been able to separate the personality from the body, as most male comic-strip characters are apparently able to do. Perhaps I am a freak of nature. Ah well.

  131. A Lemur
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:18 pm [Reply]

    Well, my particular superstition involves fooling the CND (Critical Need Detector) embedded in every computer. ‘Nothing important going on here, no sirree, this isn’t something that I need to have done by 5 or the company will collapse and a horde of angry employees will chase me with pitchforks and torches. No, no, no, just a simple compile of an unimportant program…’

    But they know, oh yes, they know.

  132. Ghost Who Sets Up Ambushes
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:20 pm [Reply]

    #58: InkAllergy – I too have gone in circles often enough to ear a deep furrow in the carpet, like the one in Scrooge McDuck’s “Worry Room”.

    #130: Angry Kem – I have to disagree. Guys like Brad come completely unglued in any potentially sexy situation. As Hot Lady Cop reminds us today in JP, “With a woman like that, men can lose their minds.” This applies to “normal” men like the decidely not-introverted Dewey Cheatham; in the case of males like Brad, they certainly lose their composure, then they lose all sense of coherence.

    Remember that the answer to the hypothetical question posed by Poe about Helen of Troy, “Can this be the face that launched a thousand ships?” is “Of course it is! What the hell do you expect from a bunch of horny servicemen overseas?” An irrational response, perhaps, but that’s the way guys are.

  133. The Insectoid who Shan't be Microwaved
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:23 pm [Reply]

    I’ve returned, to once again experiment with English contractions, and to mention that I still shan’t be microwaved.

    Also to ask, why is Sherman’s Lagoon crafting a storyline about the characters meeting characters from other comic strips, if artist Jim Toomey seemsn’t able or willing to actually draw said other characters? In today’s strip, that’sn’t what Verne from Ov’r’e Hedge looks like ‘tall! It makes the artist seem like he’s, to coin a family-friendly contraction, chicken’t.

  134. Seismic-2
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:23 pm [Reply]

    JP, Panel 3: “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair, I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair…”

  135. crossbuck
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:30 pm [Reply]

    92: At least you didn’t have to work on computers before there was a Unix version available from anyone but AT&T. The first decent non-AT&T Unix I got to work on was Ultrix (and calling that decent is a stretch). My first PC had a 300 baud shared dialup connection to the university’s CDC Cyber system. At least it was better than punching out a card deck or waiting for one of the Teleray terminals. The second-best computer on campus was a PDP 11/23 running a godforsaken OS that I don’t even remember the name of now. It took them about a year to install a couple of 11/70s, which made things a lot better.

  136. boojum
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:33 pm [Reply]

    JP, Panel 1: Sam Driver is Kryptonite to the ladies!

  137. Seismic-2
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:37 pm [Reply]

    #135 – Was the OS maybe RSX-11? The only way to debug that was via an exorcism.

  138. AhClem
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:45 pm [Reply]

    I keep a small abacus on the wall above my computer, “just in case”. I figure it will be less likely for the PC to turn into a molten heap of silicon if it knows I have a back-up plan. Of course, I have no idea how to use an abacus, but the computer doesn’t know that.

    Oh, wait, now it does. Damn.

  139. commodorejohn
    October 10th, 2008 at 6:58 pm [Reply]

    #130 Angry Kem – I’ve never understood that either. I mean, criminy, an erection is not that impairing. Distracting, yes, but they do not deprive a guy of basic motor and brain function. (Sex would be rather difficult if this were the case.)

  140. jamoche
    October 11th, 2008 at 11:05 pm [Reply]

    #33: So do I, because in Smalltalk it’s parsed purely left to right because those aren’t math operators, they’re message sends, and in Pascal when you combined math with boolean operations it wouldn’t do what you expected.

    There is a certain amount of logic in starting up applications in a certain order; back in the early days when Macs and PCs could only run one application at a time, some programmers had an unfortunate tendency to assume that they would always be loaded in the same spot in memory. There was one MS app for Macs (Excel, I think) that did that, so it would not run if it was the second program loaded.

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    February 10th, 2011 at 9:18 pm [Reply]

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