Friday, February 29, 2008

HA! Tricked ya into learning, ya lazy brain!

I seem to better retain a topic after I have jotted my own notes.

Is this because I wrote it down, or I'm seeing it in my own handwriting, thus personalizing it?

It would be an interesting test to have textbooks and instruction manuals customized into your own handwriting... There are web sites like this one who will turn your handwriting into a font for a nominal fee. Once you have the font on your PC, all you have to do is apply the font as your default.

Would your attention span for reading be increased by even a small percentage by having the text in your own handwriting? Or would this trick work only briefly, and then the bonus would diminish as your mind realized it was being bamboozled?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Because I'm still 12 years old

A TV Commercial for Aciphex (a proton pump inhibitor) plays.

"Ha ha, their pill sounds like Ass Effects. Is it a suppository? Do sparks and colored light come out when you toot? Hee hee hee!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A dream I never had

I'm walking around the block, enjoying the last few days of 75 degree weather, the low humidity...

A tour bus cruises softly by: "And this is Mike Kurilko. 10 years before he makes it big as the inventor of mumblemumble..."

As the small fireworks of a dozen cameras flash, all I can think is: "TEN years?"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Overheard at the gas station

"You sound just like Edie Brickell."

"Is that a compliment?"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Real Life Conversation #35

God, I love Excel. Look at this breakdown - Peak, In-Network, Out-of-Network...

Okaaayy... Very nice and all, but what does it tell us?

If cell phone minutes can be quantified as units of love, you're her favorite.

(Pleased) Really? Hmn - or I'm the most troubled and in need of help.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I was THIS CLOSE to an iPod Touch

I've been having issues with my first generation iPod Nano recently...
Well, one issue.

I was playing the I Am America (And So Can You!) audiobook, and there was something decidedly wrong with the audio... it was all speedy and hurky-jerky. It plays fine in iTunes, plays fine on my first generation iPod Shuffle, but not on the Nano.

Since I always find it difficult to justify replacing a gizmo while what I have is functioning just fine, I was thrilled. YAY! My Nano is broken!

But no - it turns out there is an option in the Audiobook menu, allowing you to set it to Fast play. This is probably something I set years ago, and forgot about. Greeeaaat, my Nano is working perfectly... I'm soooo haaapppyyy...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Overheard at work

"I don't think you realize - he's flummoxed by your breasts. He'll be a lot calmer if you just call him, rather than leaning over his desk."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Problem in chair

Subconscious: and then some wicked scary shit goes down and then he heads into the kitchen where more freaky stuff be happening and he runs outside screaming

Conscious: All right, and then what?

Subconscious: well its night time in a scary downtown ghetto type place and there are bums and stuff huddled around burning trash cans and they leer covetously at his coat

Conscious: Uh huh... He remembered to put on his coat as he was running outside screaming?

Subconscious: and then he wanders into a field of grain and the sun is coming up and its beautiful and he meets a girl

Conscious: Wait, what happened to the city? And a girl? Why is it always a girl?

Subconscious: girls are nice i like girls

Conscious: Let me guess, she's a pretty brunette

Subconscious: holy shit how did you know

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pin to Start Menu

What year was this picture taken? Are you sure? 10 points to the first person to get it right (without cheating).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Giggles make the medicine go down

I make constant fun of everything (I will be making silent internal fun of you, myself, the flowers, and the grieving family while attending your funeral) and then expect everyone to believe me when I drop the jokes and say "Seriously".

This can be a problem.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Wordly Wordy Word

Have you guys heard of Open Office?

Open Office @ Wikipedia
Download page from their main website

It's a free suite of office programs, like Microsoft Word and Excel and suchlike, only instead of dropping $500 freaking dollars, you could spend ZERO dollars.

To be sure, not every feature is duplicated, but there's almost everything you could need in Open Office. I downloaded and installed it last night and was very impressed with how robust it is - for free, no less.

This might make me re-think the whole "you get what you pay for" thing. What's next, perpetual energy machines?

You know how when you first open a blank document to try a word-processing program for the first time, you type some random shit, just to see how it formats? I think this is fun, it would be neat to create a book made up entirely of these snippets, from people around the world. (Key logger software on all Best Buy PCs!)

There might be an interesting psychoanalytic component of these sorts of snippets, as they are not made for anyone to read, not meant to be saved, and so are free of the usual mental constraints on creative output.

That said, what does it mean that my little snippet starts out cute and ends with a wahh wahh wahhh (wah as heard in want, with the sound of something going comedically awry)..((Is there a word for that, the opposite of serendipity?)) of a friendly Average Joe getting smack-down comeuppance from an unfeeling government representative?

Here's the snippet of random shit from my Open Office typey-typey:

I was walking down the street one day when I saw a little girl crying in the park. Her balloon had been snatched by a gust of wind and caught in a tree. I decided to help her out, so I offered to climb the tree and retrieve her balloon.

She explained that she wasn't crying because the balloon had gotten away, but because it had been trapped by the tree. I offered instead to help the balloon get free. The girl became very excited at this idea, and pleaded with me to do so.

I climbed the tree and set the balloon free, only to receive a fine from a passing policeman – apparently balloon liberation is a form of littering.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don't Hate Me Cause I'm Beautiful...

We've finally received a few PCs running Vista on the work floor, and I had the opportunity to spend some time clicking around. Only just now - hey, it's only been out a year - who cares if we have a few hundred customers using it?

It's uncomfortable and awkward getting to know a new OS - It's like coming home from a 3rd shift in the ER, trying to creep quietly around the darkened house, only to discover your good lady wife has rearranged all the furniture - you trip over the couch, break a lamp, and now the baby won't stop crying.

For example, there is no 'Add/Remove Programs' in the Vista control panel! WTF! Why take something perfectly intuitive and change it to 'Programs and Features'?

It IS pretty though...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Daydream Believer? Come on now...

Mike as the hero, who vanquishes the villain and wins the day, prize, and girl?
Whaaaa? Who was in charge of casting on this?

And these production values, what's with the hazy smoke and wavery camera effect? Give me break.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Results Are Incontrovertible

I have developed a fool-proof method to determine whether a person believes in Fate or in Free Will.

(Yes, one or the other, not both.)

Let's imagine you're heading out to your car, and it starts raining. Pouring. Coming down in sheets. Do you run for the car, or just keep walking?

If you run in the rain - you believe in Free Will.
If you walk in the rain - you believe in Fate.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Boring. Don't Read.

I have about a 40 mile commute every day, and while I try to keep my speed under control, sometimes I succumb to human weakness and allow my car to get up to 80.

(Coincidentally, 80mph is where my car is happiest, like a horse finally allowed to run.)

I keep the periods of 80mph to a minimum though, as the Highway Patrol are out in force along my commute route, and I see several speeders pulled over every day. Since I don't want to get a ticket (better things to spend my money on) I keep my speed to 75 and have yet to be pulled over - the speed limit is 70.

But I sometimes allow myself brief stints at 80, and I always wonder during these times just how much sooner I'm getting to work because of these bursts of speed. Well, the only way to know is to calculate it... (Now, feel free to correct my math, because I do all my counting on my fingers. I'm one of those guys who has to get naked to count up to 21)

Commute is 42 miles total

5.8 miles of street driving
36.2 miles of highway driving

75 miles per hour is:
18.75 miles every 15 minutes
6.25 miles in 5 minutes
1.25 miles per minute

80 miles per hour is:
19.95 miles every 15 minutes
6.65 miles in 5 minutes
1.33 miles per minute

If I ran the entire freeway portion of
36.2 miles @ 75mph = 28.96 minutes
36.2 miles @ 80mph = 27.21 minutes

Comes out to 1.75 minutes, and that's running the entire 36.2 miles at 80mph. So are those brief bursts to 80 getting me to work any faster? No more than catching one more traffic light green would.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A question for JC

When you met the infamous unnamed woman at the well, were you hitting on her?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I'm just that good. Modest too.


1) Killed a spider
2) Bragged re: same

Daily Manly Duty accomplished.
How DO I manage it?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fun With Stickers

As all my truly loyal fans know, putting stickers on cars is a questionable idea -
(Classic Post 1)
(Classic Post 2)

Well here's another reason - you put the sticker on your car, and like everything else around us, the details eventually blend in to the background. How often do you crouch down to proofread your My Kid Is An Honor Student At Whogivesadamn Elementary .sticker?

Survey says: "Never!" Ding ding ding!

What if some diabolical vandal, some knave, some jerk with a computer and too much free time decided to edit your sticker? Would you notice? Probably not.

Example: Mr. Ron Paul, that is Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a Republican United States Congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, a physician, and a 2008 U.S. presidential candidate.

His photo: (What a nice man he seems)
His bumper sticker:

Here's an innocuous little sticker I just created, completely legal to carry on your person and even onto a 747 bound for Seattle.

Next, the result of the innocuous little sticker's application to the original sticker...

And now, instead of announcing to the world their adoration for a conservative, constitutionalist libertarian, they're telling all and sundry of their love for drag queens. Fun With Stickers, indeed.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Damn it, why did I promise them donuts?

About to be late for morning department meeting, unless there is a fortuitous fluctuation of the timestream, just enough to get me there on time but not enough to rend the space/time continuum in twain. But real quick-like...

Have you heard of the recent series of 'mysterious' severing of multiple undersea telecommunications cables?..News

If I were a suspicious man, I'd say someone (likely an evil government bent on world domination - my money is on the U.S.) had a handy little ROV with a big pair of snippers on one end.

I'd say we ran a series of supercomputer simulations to predict the outcome of the loss of each cable, then cut them one at a time to correct any errors in our simulation. See, when the day comes that we decide to cut these cables again, we have to be sure our overseas embassy's or military networks aren't effected. It's what I would do.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bad Habit

Occasionally when I get excited by something (being an idea-person, not an actions-person, the very concept of something cool and interesting gets me all revved up) I can feel the tingle of electricity about me, and since I watch too much fantastical television, I fancifully discharge this by throwing an imaginary lightning bolt or fireball.

I put my hands together, then theatrically rotate them apart as if willing the energetic synthesis to grow between them. Then I fire the energy towards the most distant wall.

Harmless if deluded fun? Maybe.

But what happens on that fateful day when a real fireball, fully and frighteningly imbued with real life no-bullshit fiery ballness goes flying from my fingertips, igniting the curtains and bringing my humble abode down around my ankles?

Before the government could drag me kicking and screaming into a brightly lit room and its cold, cold examination table, the local authorities would have me in jail for the willful intent to throw energetic bolts in a district zoned for domestic housing.

Looks like I have one more New Year's Resolution, one I should have learned as a kid - don't play ball in the house.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Real Life Conversation #34

How did it go?

He did an amazing job!

Great, very cool.

Yeah! Now John doesn't have to live in his dad's shed any more!, why was he living in his dad's shed? He's a grown man.

Shadow. His dad's shadow!

Monday, February 04, 2008

From the AT&T website

"Shop phones today"?

Well, hell - if I have options, why don't I shop the phones of tomorrow? How about an iPhone3?

Someone was paid to come up with "Shop phones today"... Probably a committee, now that I think about it. What if I'm not quite ready? Where's the "Shop phones next week" link?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Holy Shit! Lost Time! Woo!

Only cool and fascinating people experience lost time - mentalists, ufo abductees, amnesiacs, and folks with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Well add me to this elite list, because Brother, I Done Lost Me Some Time.

I'm in the process of considering possibly changing my wireless provider - as for now, I have BrandX and it works decently, but AT&T seems to have a stronger signal in the areas I actually need my phone to work. Could simply be a 'grass is always greener' thing.

I've been spending a bunch of time at the BrandX website, calculating who I call the most, minutes-wise (Cindy) who I call next most (Mom) and so on... (Yes, I call Mommy once a week, want to make something of it?)

I even had an Excel sheet running, calculating and breaking down call statistics so I know the best plan to go to when I change to AT&T. The mobile-to-mobile would mean the minutes spent calling Cindy would not count against my package minutes, greatly reducing how many I would need.

Rollover minutes would mean less need for a buffer, for those months some shit be going down, and I needs to rap with my posse more than usual.

So have my Excel sheet humming away - I'm adding drop-down lists, which populates pivot tables, which displays a spiffy deduction tally broken down by five different criteria... when I notice something.

I have 48 minutes of usage per month that are unaccounted for. 48 MINUTES! Good Lord. What am I doing during this time? Do I have some secret (even to me) phone sex fetish? Am I a sleeper agent for some freaky cell of kumquat-juggling mimes? I mean, damn, that's 12 minutes of usage per week.

First I double-checked that all of my formulas were being calculated correctly - all was correct. Then I double-checked how the tables were processing the data - all was correct. Next, I went back to manually crunch the numbers I was being provided from BrandX.

Aha! The BrandX bills have changed recently to a much more simplistic form, and guess what - it wasn't displaying my calls to myself - to voicemail, that is. Referring back to my old bills that provided the call details, the calls to voicemail averaged about 1.71 minutes of usage per day, and was the source of my 48 minutes of lost time per month. Ah well. There's always the chance of a brain tumor in later life...