Friday, August 31, 2007

Florida - Realizations

My sister and Brother-in-Law are visiting from Cleveland, Ohio. During their drive from Ohio to Florida, they've come to realize that:

A) Florida is still largely empty
B) There are far more cows and horses than orange trees.
C) Far more evergreen trees than palm trees
D) Sonic rocks!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sunshine State, My Ass

My sister is arriving today, visiting Florida from Ohio. She was dismayed to discover that it will rain, storm, and otherwise enmoisten the state for her entire visit. Welcome to my world.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Name That Yarn Contest - Results!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Here to announce the winner of the first ever's Name That Yarn Contest, is Bakodasha McDywbs, a deleted character from the never written Space Opera 4263 - Doomed Scourge of Yargos.

(Bakodasha floats onstage in evil green hoverboots, her wiry tentacles flexing with barely-restrained fury)

"Ahem. Hem. Damn it, how does this. Oh. And the winner is... Kato, for his entry Long Way Home. His prize - deep satisfaction tinged with a glickspok of glee."

Thunderous applause across a double dozen star systems unites the galaxy in song, 200 billion creatures inexplicably joining in a spontaneous remix of I'd Like to Buy the Universe a Coke.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Real Life Conversation # 26

(gestures to his sandwich) Want a taste?

No thanks. I don't really care for your meat.


Uh, that is - uh, your salami.


Ahem: I don't enjoy the flavor of this variety of Oscar Meyer luncheon meat. Damn.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Credi-Bull #15

Credi-Bull - a news item that might be fact, or might be fiction.

When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night."..Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play

Pious geeks in Lothburn, Ohio have turned to computers to transmit their worship. Using what they call the "Lost Text Prayer Method", they transmit their hopes, dreams, and well-wishings via PC keyboards.

Clicking their mouse on a blank portion of screen, these techies type their Hail Mary's into the ether that is WiFi. Nothing can be seen of what they type... At least, not by mortals.

"Prayer is prayer, no matter the medium," declares Arthur Small, the leader of the group.

Real or Fake?
(Vote in the 'comments' section, answer to be revealed there on Tuesday).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mebbe a good cuff or two

In my fun and exciting search for a different job, I keep coming across a job posting for an Early Intervention Coordinator.

Every time I see it, I imagine that in this job you'd spend your time in public places, making judicious use of a belt, so punks don't become assholes.

Yep, middle age is here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Naming, Naming, Naming

The #2 rule in Real Estate.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm just itching for a dip!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Did you guys ever play with rub-on transfers growing up?

I think it was the very early 80's... You had a preprinted background scene, and then something like wax paper with colorful art of little characters, equipment, explosions, and so on.

You'd find your desired background location, and then rub a pencil on the opposite side of the art, transferring it to the background.

Hee hee! This guy is sneaking up on that guy! Oops, this guy is about to slip and fall off the cliff! Wow, this guy went flying from the explosion, he's in pieces!

I remember playing with a The Empire Strikes Back .version, and having a grand old time. Do they still make these sorts of toys? I haven't seen them, and I tried Googling it, but mebbe I'm using the wrong terms.

is the closest thing I can find.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Streaming internet radio

Crummy songs = infinite
# of skips allowed per hour = too damned few

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Contest

So, let's say a friend is making sweet sweet love to his good lady wife, and out of nowhere he comes up with a brilliant new technique, revolutionizing sweet sweet love for all time.

Once the bliss of afterglow fades, it turns into a WHERE DID YOU LEARN THAT interrogation. Hours of bright lights, yelling, stale coffee, cigarette smoke, brass knuckles, yikes. This is a place where Good Cop / Bad Cop are names tattooed on fists.

Held without bail. Eeep!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Commiserate with us

Cindy has Jury Duty today, first time ever.

She does her damnedest to avoid interacting in any kind of bureaucratic process, if just on the slight chance a sudden bout of Tourette's will seize her, loud cries of "CONTEMPT!" will follow, and she'll end up in the pokey.

It's about 50/50. Wish her luck.

Friday, August 17, 2007


If I tell you I'm going to do something, I damned well do it.
(on time and under budget, natch)

If I tell myself I'm going to do something, I give up before it's done.

Maybe I should stop talking to myself and just talk to y'all.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Name That Yarn Contest!

Have you entered the FictionInteractive Name That Yarn Contest. yet?

We've got a bunch of entries for the title of the story - soon I'll choose the best one. The winner gets a credit on the web site and bragging rights for all eternity.

Here's the story - A woman is on her way to work in her luxury car when she's carjacked at a turnpike tollbooth and has to fight off the assailants, who are trying to force her to drive home so they can molest it and pilfer her. Wait, no... Well, you get the idea.

Here are all the entries so far - think you can do better? Prove it!

Sunny - Driving the OTHER Miss Daisy

Paulius - PollyAnna Jones and the Turnpike of Doom
Paulius - Carrie Trotter : The Prius of Fear

Blandwagon - The Phantom Tollbooth... of Death!

Kato - Tragedy on the Turnpike
Kato - Gasoline Dreams
Kato - Death Drives Stick
Kato - Wrong Turn
Kato - One-Way Street
Kato - No Entry
Kato - The Long Way Home
Kato - Route 187
Kato - Ride or Die
Kato - One Last Errand
Kato - Oil Change of Death
Kato - The Wheels of Fate

SQ - Can't Buy My Love with a Token
SQ - Jettas are for Everyone
SQ - Meet Slinky, Sly Szlovak
SQ - Zombie Robot Monkey Pirates on the South-bound Turnpike (of Doom)
SQ - Code Name: Hum Bird 3
SQ - Home is a Three Letter Word
SQ - Tickle Me Turnpike

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Real Life Conversation # 25

Hey, beekeeping would be a good way to make money.


Many farms need to hire beekeepers, to have dedicated hives for their crops.

Why can't wild bees handle it?

Bees are getting more rare. Some say Sylar is killing them.


No!..Cellular...As in, phones. Jeez.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Truly Escapist Entertainment

Have you guys read any of Jasper Fford's books?

Great, fun stuff - it's set in a world where literary crimes (in the 'real' world as well as within books themselves) have their own police divisions, skilled people can pop into a the pages of a story, interact with its characters, solve crimes, correct errors, barter and trade (AA batteries and nylons are prime items), and even help bored characters exchange into other novels - for the - er, novelty of it.

It's all silly and quippy and fun, especially if you're up on your classics and your history, and can spot what's awry. I highly recommend these books, if you're in the mood for a change of pace. Start withThe Eyre Affair. Go!

Monday, August 13, 2007

What's up with that?

The commercials for Progressive insurance have been grating my nerves lately. They're still flogging the same horse they have been for years - "Gosh, I was just amazed that they gave me the rates of OTHER car insurance companies! Wow! That's amazing!"

It is a cool feature, but where have these people been for the past 10 years, that they're just now learning about this feature?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Because My Blog Has A "Pardon Our Dust" Sign Up During Renovations

Guest Post by Cindy

I've been told, usually by baby-happy couples and/or relatives, that having a pet is a great way to prepare for having a baby. Apparently the puppy I had as a teenager does not count as a trial-run, but rather an exercise in feeding, cleaning, disciplining..... oh, wait.

Lina was a grown cat at adoption, so the opportunities to practice the fine art of parenting were few. However, after staying up late partying (or reading, whichever you think more likely) last night and falling asleep around 2 am, it was to our groggy disbelief that the cat decided 6 am was time to rise and shine and open her can of beef feast in gravy. Now. Right Now. Immediately if not sooner. What the hell, can't you hear me meowing, feel me climbing around on your stomach and scratching your ankles? GETUPANDFEEDMEYOULOUSYEXCUSEFORAHUMAN

My lack of a set schedule has not adjusted hers apparently. So the cat is fed and all is right with the world. Except we can't fall back asleep. The room is too hot, the pillows too scratchy, the other person's breathing too loud, the numbers on the alarm clock too bright. Ok, you take the couch, I'll keep the hot and scratchy bed with the extra leg room. And still, nothing.

6:25 am - counting sheep, but losing track as Duke herds them into cryptic messages about secret recipes for margaritas - the company is branching out.
6:45 am - playing with the picture-in-picture between Dawson's Creek and The Weather Channel. Pacey says it's going to be a hot one in Capeside!
7:10 am - tip-toeing into the kitchen, past a lucky sleeping someone, to get a bottle of water, only to trip over the cat who thinks she can convince me her empty bowl was never filled this morning, clearly I am mistaken, meow?
7:25 am - turning on the treadmill and the turbo-fan, because a morning walk is good for you, but not if you pass out from heat exhaustion. Inside your apartment. Before breakfast.
7:50 am - wondering if 45 seconds at a 7.5 incline is worth bragging about? Deciding no, not if your speed was a 1.7
8:02 am - eating a cinnamon streusel muffin, because hey, I did an incline of 7.5
8:30 am - reading blogs and (gasp!) writing a post.
9:45 am - yawning, searching for automatic feeders online, 'cause damn.

Of course, a career in retail is still .the #1 form of birth control in my opinion.
Hungry cat, #2.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Most of you will remember my intrepid better half, Cindy of Vicarious Living.

Thanks to my frequent pestering and your kind words in missing her, she's posting again!

She's a lot busier than I am, so I don't know how often she'll be posting, but yay, there's new Vicarious Living! She'll be guest-posting on Etch-A-Sketch Attention Span from time to time as well!


Don't forget to submit your entries for

It certainly seems that Kato is in the lead... But will he be victorious? Will you just LET him win?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

2 Might Enter! 1 Will Win!

I'm working on my cheesy choose-your-own adventure project again. It's silly, but I'm having fun with it.

Here's where the competition comes in -

FictionInteractive's Name That Yarn Contest!

You guys submit candidates for the title of the story, and I'll choose the best one. The winner gets a credit on the web site and bragging rights for all eternity. Me? I get a good title - cause let's face it, you folks are a lot cleverererer than I am.

Here's the story, a simple and straightforward plot - A woman is on her way to work in her luxury car when she's carjacked at a turnpike tollbooth and has to fight off the assailants, who are trying to force her to drive home so they can molest it and pilfer her. Wait, no... Well, you get the idea.

All right! Hit me with your entries. Extra points for wit, cleverness and frolicsome pertness.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Keep Your Cell Phone Humming Happily

I lost a bet, and had to write an essay. Hey, now it's a post!


Most of us have no idea how a cell phone works – and unless they start acting up, we don’t give them a second thought. Once a cell phone starts misbehaving – watch out! It’s a hunk of junk, and clearly we were gypped by that sinister cell phone company!

Any electronic device can have issues – either problems with the basic design, a shipment of faulty circuits from a manufacturer, or even flawed software. Actually, most problems with most of the high-tech gizmos you own are caused by...You!

Modern cell phones are very much like mini computers – they do everything from telling time, taking pictures, playing games and music, even internet – and oh yeah, they make phone calls too.

There are a few very simple steps you can take to make sure your cell phone stays happy and healthy. First of all, be kind to your phone. Treat it as if it’s a fragile living thing. Leaving a phone on your car’s dash all day in the hot sun or leaving it in the car overnight to suffer through sub-zero temperatures are a sure way to shorten its lifespan.

Taking your phone with you to the kitchen, sauna, swimming pool or bathroom is a bad idea – sure, it might be fun to play a few hands of digital poker while you’re soaking in the tub, but the chances of dropping it into the soapy water or accidentally knocking it into toilet are too great. Even a high-priority call can wait during your call of nature – in any case, would you really want to answer the phone while so… preoccupied? As expensive as replacing a cell phone at full retail can be, think about this -would you carry a $300 bill (if they existed) around in your hand into wet and dirty areas?

A coworker told the group that she'd destroyed two phones in one year by dropping them into her tea. We recommended she invest in a sippy cup.

Take good care of your battery – it might be small, but it packs a lot of power. Never remove the battery while you’re charging – you could damage the phone itself. Also, don’t make or receive phone calls while charging – it can short circuit the phone, cause an electric shock or a fire. Many people wait until their battery is completely empty before recharging – this was necessary with older models, but the cells phones of today can be charged at any battery level without shortening the battery life.

One of the simplest things you can do to keep your cell phone happy is to turn it off. How many electric devices do you own that you never turn off? In the ‘your cell phone as a computer’ vein, you need to reboot it regularly. The phone runs on a battery – but more importantly, it runs on software.

Software tells the cell phone what its phone number is, where the nearby cellular towers are, which tower it’s currently using, and what the phone’s hardware capabilities and limitations are.

Hardware is the plastic and metal, buttons and battery. The software is hundreds of lines of computer code that tell the phone how to work. The hardware doesn’t change, but what might surprise you is that the software can and does change – your cellular provider (Cingular, Sprint, Verizon, etc) can transmit software updates to your phone at any time, sometimes several times a week.

However, if you never turn your phone off, the software update never gets put into use. The phone can’t fully upgrade its programming while you’re using it – that would be like trying to change a hot light bulb while it’s turned on. You could try, but why risk it?

Cell phone providers are constantly the process of upgrading their technology – new innovations and pressure from the competition means continuous improvement of the cellular network (hardware and software). So if your phone never has a chance to update, it falls behind bit by bit, like a kid missing day after day of school.

One day soon you’ll be too far out of date. Even with a strong signal, the phone can try to connect to the network – and fail! For the last few weeks, the class has been learning French, but you’ve been playing hooky. You show up just in time for the final test in French – bad dream? Bad day.

Turning your phone off for just thirty seconds at least a couple of times a week (once a day is best) will allow it to refresh its program, stay current and connected.

Taking care of your phone by keeping it warm, dry and up to date means that it will be more likely to be happily humming along and working when you need it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Oh Billy Mays, is there nothing you can't do?

Monday, August 06, 2007

What's an IKEA Hiring Event like?

I suspect it will involve lingonberries...
Tune in tonight!


All right! Now for the details. A few weeks ago, I was scheduled to attend an IKEA hiring event on 8/6/07. I searched online, but wasn't able to find out any details. What to expect? Math tests? Word problems? Something metric? FRACTIONS?

The whole thing was actually very laid back. It took about 4 hours. Here's a blow by blow, for anyone who might be curious in the future:

1) You come in the office door and get in line.

2) A gal at a table checks your name off a list.

3) A guy asks which department you're applying for and gives you a 8.5 x 11 piece of colored paper (purple was for my dept, Logistics - there were 4 or 5 other colors as well).

4) You're given an application, and allowed to find your own seat in a 20x30 room with 9 tables, one of these holds a laptop and projector.

5) You use a marker to put your name on the colored paper and make a little tent out of it.

6) You fill out the application, which is only 2 pages worth of fields, and the rest is disclosures about drug and ethics.

7) The application takes about 15 minutes to fill out, but they allow 30. It's good to make a point to chat with your tablemates, as your level and manner of interaction is constantly being gauged.

8) Soda and water are offered, there are tables up front with 4 or 5 different cookies, and there are several types of Swedish candy on your tables.

9) A short Powerpoint presentation about the company, its origins and etc.

10) Next, all the job applicants (45 of us) each stood up and introduced ourselves.

11) 10 minute break

12) Break up into teams, do fun activity for about 20 mins (no math or anything else challenging) - remember that your level and manner of interaction is constantly being gauged.

13) Present results of activity.

14) Break into new, larger teams for a construction activity (wood, rope, tape, foam, wire, string) for 30 minutes. Remember that your level and manner of interaction is constantly being gauged.

15) Present your finished construction - and prove its strength.

16) More IKEA overview - 10 mins worth

17) Q&A period for about 15/20 minutes.

18) The managers call out their applicants, some who were interviewed immediately - others (like myself) get appointments for the near future.

No allen wrenches.

Everyone was very friendly, upbeat, and laid back. The store location (Orlando) will have lockers for all workers, showers and changing rooms (to encourage biking to work). I could (and have) done much worse than work for IKEA - I'm really stoked about the chance to work for such an interesting company - in Los Angeles, we used to go to IKEA when we had to get out of the house - and it's hard to get out of there spending less than $100!

My interview is for tomorrow morning, wish me luck!

Friday, August 03, 2007

not a real knot

It's very weird - I can't tie a knot consciously.

Say I'm about to throw sweatpants into the washer, and I want to tie the waist-ropes together. Can't do it. My fingers fumble. Same thing happens if I try to tie shoes if they're not on my feet.

If I pull the article of clothing on, I have no problem tying the knot on the first try - I allow the knot to tie itself, somehow. But when I focus on it, it doesn't happen - because it's not a valid knot-tying situation? I know it's a simulation?

Is that a reason all my creative projects fizzle out, because I'm not committed enough? I know it's just for fun, and so I allow myself to be distracted? Or is it a Brain Crack phenomenon (as described by Kato and Paulius)?

I thought not taking myself too seriously meant that I would stay grounded, avoiding Pompous Ass Syndrome. It might be limiting my creativity too.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Real Life Conversation # 24

Damn it!


What the heck did you make my car insurance online password?

Did you look at the password hint?

Yeah it said "There is only one bear".

Right, so...

I don't know! Is it a Highlander reference?

Blink. No, it's (censored), you silly.

Ohhh, right right. I remember now.

I'm never going to be able to vanish mysteriously and expect you to piece together the clues to find the treasure, kill the henchmen and save me in the nick of time, am I?

Nope. Love you though.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Here are a few side effects of a real drug used to treat Restless Leg Syndrome:

...Some patients taking Ropinirole have shown urges to behave in a way unusual for them. Examples are an unusual urge to gamble or increased sexual urges...

When I heard the 'gambling' bit of the commercial, I was sure I'd misheard, but no.

The drug's name is "Requip" which sounds more like something you'd take when you're born Snappy-Comeback Challenged - "Do your coworkers zap you with zingers, leaving you fumbling for a reply, only to think of a great quip hours too late? Try Requip!"