This year I’m dressing up as an unloved cog in the corporate machine.

Still no love on the NYC photos. Yes, i’m lazy. I haven’t even finished unpacking, and you should see what a wreck my house is right now. Don’t get me started on the towering pile of unread mail that just yesterday reached critical mass and formed a conscious democratic order, elected union representatives, filed for incorporation, turned a smacking quarterly profit, and was promptly purchased for liquidation by Kirk Kerkorian in a hostile takeover. If only the pile of laundry was so highly motivated.

At work today i swindled Brian and Joseph into accompanying me on the short trek to seahawks stadium where, per a nasty rumor circulated via my email newsletter from Sturtevant’s, some sort of ski swap / expo / free-stuff-giving-away event was taking place. With the promises of free lift tickets, gratuitous stickers and scantily-clad women in ski boots and fuzzy hats fresh on my lips, we found ourselves at the entrance, our eager expressions quickly sullied by the stern, mannish woman demanding to see our tickets. Tickets?? We don’t need no stinkin’ tickets! Oh, apparently we do… and they’re 10 bucks. 10 bucks to be showered with propaganda by every winter sports company with the wherewithal to rent a folding table. 10 bucks to look at all the same gear that will grace every retail display all winter, priced slightly higher than elsewhere and then discounted back to MSRP to create an impression of savings. 10 bucks to “test drive” all the goodies we won’t have the money to buy. 10 bucks to elbow our way through the herds of abercrombie-clad, petouli-smelling ski yuppies for a chance to hit on the semi-pro snow bunnies who would rather be at Blackcomb than here, pretending we’re funny. Yeah… probably not worth 10 bucks. We passed, and met Tyler for bacon cheeseburgers instead. Bacon never turns you away for lack of a ticket. Bacon’s good like that.

Apparently monday is halloween or something. As i recall, i accepted an evite from Dave nigh on three fortnights ago, so i have a party to attend saturday night, and as such will need to un-retire some clothing from my sordid past and drum up some hideous costume. Other than saturday night, i expect a weekend chock full of car-fixing (having two just means they both break at the same time) and – if weather permits – throwing my camera in the air in a mediocre attempt at internet fame.

The holiday-on-the-horizon also means a guaranteed day of zero productivity at work on monday, as shrieking children covered in masks and plastic capes ransack the halls of our otherwise saturnine building in search of – what else? – free candy. Lest anyone accuse us of being another byzantine workplace, i’m sure the company will be writing off that day’s productivity entirely as employees traipse around in pimp hats and inflatable sumo suits (Seriously. One just walked down the hall in a pre-halloween demo) battling with the children for first dibs on the good candy. All in good fun, i’m sure, just so long as no one arrives dressed as hairy, grown-up, anime Super Mario Brothers. Don’t click on that link, i mean it. It’s pure evil. Blame Jason Cross – he found it.

And now i must depart all ye lads and lasses, so retire to your studies while i brave friday-night-before-halloween traffic. Here’s hoping all those vampires and Chewbaccas cut big enough eye holes to see the road.

Welcome to the slightly-off-kilter idea farm

Just when you think everything that can be invented has been invented ( and featured on its own late-night blue-screen-800-number commercial, followed by a stint in the As-Seen-On-Tv store ) you run across a chair made out of boxing gloves or a toilet paper roller modeled after a fishing reel (which i actually really like, and would totally install in a cabin or lake house… you know, me and all my investment properties). There are some creative weirdos out there.

Some of these new ideas are practical and useful, so much so that once they become as ubiquitous as kleenex or disposable silverware you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. I think magnetic tape is totally headed this direction.

Then there are those items you won’t really know you need until it’s too late, and you’ll find yourself wishing you would have invested in them earlier. Like the pint lock, to protect your precious half-eaten Ben & Jerry’s from a scavenging houseguest.

I have to wonder about the inventor of the wake N bacon… just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should, ya know? As much as i love waking up to the smell of breakfast cooking – a pleasantry only awarded me when i’m visting Mom and Dad – i don’t think i’d want my breakfast cooking *unattended* unless it was in Doc’s automated kitchen from Back to the Future.

And what wacko-invention roundup would be complete without one that’s not even an invention at all, just a regurgitation of a 20-year-old idea with slight improvements and just enough nostalgia to make some corporation that’s probably already rich, a little bit richer? Today that niche is filled by the return of Teddy Ruxpin, who in addition to being powered by CD’s or a microdrive or a USB key inserted in his left nostril instead of ye olde cassette deck of yore, will no doubt be reincarnated “in da hizzouse” with gangsta-speak and imbibed with mad hiphop dancing skillz. Et tu, Teddy?