Friday, January 25, 2008

Weekend Edition

The L&TM5K News In Brief

No Doubt You Are Already Working on the New Oregon Flag

What, you're not? Well, there's time. Remember, all the rules are here.

Michael5000 Employment Update

Some of you know that I interviewed for a promotion at work on Tuesday, and had kind of expected to hear back about it by Friday. That I didn't is not necessarily a good sign. If I did get the nod, I would have the privilege of grappling with interesting new professional challenges and opportunities. However, my blogging life would likely suffer in the long run. Life is full of trade-offs, so we'll just have to wait and see how this goes down.

This Does Not Constitute a Review-for-Airplay Scandal

The current episode of the Fillup Munkee Show (reviewed in "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Boo and Her Monkey," Jan. 11) features music by me! Michael5000! I'm so excited! (Insiders should be imagining this paragraph being spoken in a Fillup Munkee voice, by the way.)

This is my first, um, soundtrack appearance, and it's very fun and a great honor to be a part the Fillup Munkee experience. I'm glad my silly little song ("She Seems to Think") got a chance to come out and play.

And Now, This Message from the People of Estonia

Regarding Estonia's award for "Best Flag (Tricolor)," ("Flag Criticism: michael5000's Turn," Jan. 14), the Estonian Consul in Seattle had this to say to the L&TM5K:

Thank you for sharing your appreciation of our beloved flag and bestowing this designation of award upon it.

We have been very proud of our flag since the time 90 years ago next month that it first flew officially over our Republic. We appreciate knowing that others too share in its fondness.
Pure class, I thought. The L&TM5K is not exactly your major media outlet, after all. You have to appreciate a country that is willing to talk to its fans.

Two Vignettes

I. Work Vignette #2

(Note: This vignette has been slightly modified from Reality to more accurately depict Truth.)

I'm at work, conducting the initial evaluation of three newly arrived refugees. They are guys from a country which shall remain nameless, a popular tourist destination that has a reputation as a place where the men are not adverse to, shall we say, an amorous adventure.

The first two tell me that they can speak a little English, so I ask the interpreter not to say anything for a moment, and ask a routine series of questions:

M5K: What is your name?
Refugee: My name is {name}.

M5K: Where are you from?
Refugee: I am from {country}.

M5K: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Refugee: Yes, I have two brothers and one sister.

M5K: How old are they?
Refugee: 25, 28, and 32.

M5K: What city in {country} are you from?
Refugee: What? Oh, I am from the city {city}.

M5K: How many people live in that city?
Refugee: I... don't understand.

So, this is pretty good. These guys have some handy survival English skills, for refugees only three days in country.

So now we get to the third guy. He is a handsome guy with an outgoing personality, full of charm and confidence and energy. Like the others, he tells me that he can speak some English, so again I ask the interpreter to hold off:

M5K: What is your name?
Refugee: My name {name}.

M5K: Where are you from?
Refugee: (blank stare)

M5K: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Refugee: (blank stare)

At this point, I have the interpreter join in again, and say "you know, it really doesn't seem like you can speak any English." But, he is insistent. "I do!" he says with absolute confidence, in his own language. "I really do know some English!"

"OK," I say, through the interpreter. "Just say something in English, then."

A tiny trace of something that might be embarrassment, or might not, flickers across his face as he pauses for maybe half a second. Then, very earnestly, he gives us his best line of English:

"Baby! Please, don't go!"


II: "Vignette of the Day 1/12/08--Tanning" by occasional L&TM5K commenter Allie.
[This is, as far as I can recall, the first guest content to have been featured on L&TM5K. Allie originally published this great vignette on her FaceBook page, but since I couldn't link to it without her having to change her privacy settings, she has graciously allowed me to republish it here.]

My mother, for those of you who don't know, is a teacher of Math. Because teachers are paid so very well, my mother makes up the difference by tutoring various youngsters from the community. This morning, a young woman was sitting at our kitchen table, painstakingly going over her Geometry work. I don't know her well, but she seems nice enough, but in a very bubbly, cheerleader "like-oh-my-God-where-is-my-brain" sort of way. In a pause in all that shape-analyzing action, my mother engages her in some small talk:

"So," my mother asks, "do you have your dress for the prom?"

"Oh yes," the girl replies, "that's all set, it's so like, totally gorgeous, but oh my God, I so have to go tanning. Michelle, like, look at my face, just look at it!"

There is a pause, where I guess my mother has simply shrugged her shoulders. "I've never been tanning," she replies.

"I know it's totally bad for you, and I mean, I probably already have skin cancer 'cause I like never wear SPF or anything, but I don't care."

My mother, with what I will guess is a bewildered look on her face says, "but honey, why do you do that?" At this point I can see the girl's face, wearing a look of utter disbelief. She might have just asked her why she bothers breathing on a daily basis.

"The question is why don't you do it?"

"I don't want skin cancer!"

"But you'll be tan"

"But I would have skin cancer!"

"But you'd be tan!"


Happy Weekend, Y'all!


d said...

ok. it is true that d = gullible, but seriously? estonia wrote you?

if that's true, that. is. utterly. fantastic.

McGuff said...

Excitedly planning to comment on the Estonia consul's reply, d's observation brings us back to earth.

But the idea of a gracious reply from the Estonians was a nice touch. Not like you'd ever get anything like that from those hoity toity Lithuanians, what with their 14th century domination of central Europe and all.

And so back to mulling over Oregon flag designs......

Michael5000 said...

@gentlemen: I would not put words in a Baltic nation's mouth. I cut and pasted what you read from a short email sent 1/25/08 from the Estonian consul in Seattle.

Now of course, he was responding to an email of congratulations that I had sent him. It's hardly a meaningful award if you don't notify the winners.

Jessica said...

Great featured writer, I must say! Three cheers for Allie! Three cheers for Michael sharing the good vignettes!

McGuff said...

My deepest apologies. I actually searched for Estonian consulates and found only the embassy and a consulate in New York.

Upon your further claim, a more thorough search indeed shows a consulate in Seattle. I am quite sorry about this.

See what small, petty, fallen-of-our-thrones-long-ago-and-still-bitter people we Lithuanians are?

Chance said...

I didn't find that note from the Estonians hard to believe at all. I used to send embassies all sorts of silly notes, and they always wrote back. It's sort of their job. On the whole, the countries' representatives see any interaction with Americans as a step in the right direction.

I am intensely gratified that M5K took the step of actually notifying Estonia that it had won his contest; I never would have through of that.

Also, hilarious anecdotes. Maybe the second guy was a fan of Christopher Walken's "The Contintental."

Chance said...

(An example of the kind of notes I'm talking about: To Moldavia: "Are you a real country? You sound made up." Stiff but polite reply: "Moldova's glorious history begins in the Middle Ages...")

Bridget said...

Loved work vignette #2 - reminds me of the guys in Bali trying to hit on me/practice their English. My favorite line? "Do you like moosles?" It took me quite a while to realize that he was asking me if I liked "muscles", as in, men with big strong ones like he had. Sadly, I don't think my laughter was quite the response he was looking for . . .

Anonymous said...

I, too, am impressed by MMMMMM's follow-through in notifying Estonia's embassy of this esteemed honor. Chance's Moldovia slander also cracked me up. I feel all this could go one step further, but I'm not sure exactly where...

Like, has some official Oregon group been notified of your attempt to change their flag? How would Lithuania's embassy respond to notification of Estonia's victory???

fingerstothebone said...

So glad I dragged myself out of bed after 2 days to read the very nice note from Estonia! And the vignettes. Allie's mother should've informed the girl she would acquire wrinkles prematurely, probably much more effective.

fingerstothebone said...

And I can't help but notice that your very nice soundtrack has gone unnoticed among the hubbub of the missive from Estonia, etc.

Michael5000 said...

@J.S.: Hip Hip....

@Chance: Yeah, I was not surprised to hear back from the consul. Still waiting on the Kazakhs, Portugeuse, and New Mexicans, but I only sent my messages out a few days ago.

@Bridget: What, you don't like moosles? I thought ALL women liked moosles...

@ChuckDaddy: As I mentioned in laying out the original rules, Governer Kuligowski's office will be sent the winning new Oregon flag or flags for due consideration.

@fingers: It probably didn't help that the link to my song was broken, something I've fixed.

Isn't staying in bed for two days kind of decadent?

Karin said...

I like Mike.

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful that you contacted them and doubly so that they responded!

I missed the flag redesign and will check it out, but I think an Oregon resident would be better suited to design such a possibly iconic thing. Plus, I can't work my creative suite yet.

Fingers crossed about the promotion. And the first vignette made me laugh. Too routinely we have non-native speaking students enroll with no help at all. They only stay until they get full time jobs at local restaurants. I wis we served them better.

The second vignette sound too familiar!

Your music, real music is far better than the stuff I am cobbling together with Garageband. No soul in that stuff. Again, thank you for letting me use it!

gl. said...

i didn't know you were a musician, too! fillup monkey is lucky to know you. "outstanding!" as he might say.

Bridget said...

And actually, I did go over and listen to the song by watching the latest installment of the FillupMonkee show. Lovely! I think you should be interviewed on the show, frankly, except it appears to be filmed outside of Oregon . . .

Matt Maldre said...

As someone of Estonian heritage, I'm very happy that you awarded Estonia with this award. Estonians do love their flag dearly.