Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good Idea!

Michelle had an idea for a 'Chuckle Button' that could be added to blog templates. Many people read blogs every day and think "That post was cute, but I really have no comment to leave."

Well how about a chuckle button? Granted, there are things like Digg, but who wants to create an account and log in?

There may be something like this already - is it the 'Like' button? Don't you have to be logged in for that to work as well?

No accounts, no logging in, I say!

You could click the chuckle button and the chuckle counter would increment, and the writer would know that somewhere, there was one more person who enjoyed their silly little words.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'll need a small business loan...

How cool is this? I would love to run a business that allowed me to surround myself with cats all day. Cats, dogs, most mammals really.

Monday, June 28, 2010


My wife Michelle (also known as Cindy... it seems to depend on her mood - they're her first and middle names) has finally decided to come back into the blogging world - sniffle! I'm so happy!

While my posts tend to be offhand little quips, hers are well thought out and carefully composed. You can find her new blog here.

Go! Read! Comment!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Well Isn't That Wizard?"

(You have to imagine Catherine Tate as Donna Noble saying the title for it to be funny.)

Here's a cute little experiment you can do at home. Except it's not an experiment at all. A trick? A stunt? An amusement.

Take a fairly tight and springy rubber band and wind it back and forth around something (like a half-empty bag of frozen veggies). Allow the rubber band to freeze.

I have no idea how long it takes to freeze, sorry.

Once the rubber band is frozen, take the rubber band off the veggie bag and drop the band onto the counter.

And watch as the rubber band flops around like a living worm for a few moments as it thaws and pulls itself back into its resting state. Good times! I'm easily amused.

I wonder if this would work with a bungee cord as well. Might work as a prop in a low budget 'Attack of the Worms' film...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun With a Whiteboard

Check out this very interesting series of artist-enhanced lecture videos from a company called RSA. They're worth watching.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Tagline!

Earlier this year I set the blog tagline "Time To Grow Up".

That was just a few weeks before my wife was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, and we had to face up to things like Long Term Disability, COBRA woes, pneumonia, no job, no money, no vacation, no no no.

I'm not a superstitious person, but hey, why not a more uplifting tagline? Why the fuck not, indeed?

So! "Fun Fun Happy Good News Time of Much Joy and Celebration, Skipping, Dancing, and Puppies for All."


Monday, June 21, 2010


Per yesterday's post about getting my butt in gear and getting our pictures organized, I finally downloaded Picasa, (a free photo program from Google) and set it loose on the entire PC, scanning every nook and cranny for pics.

Picasa has a feature that will recognize faces. Imagine how surprised I was when a ghostly child showed up in 103 pictures. Little Timmy Jones, one of my third grade schoolmates who was killed in a completely accidental and totally not my fault way.

Okay, I admit that this didn't actually happen, but it would be damn freaky if it did.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This will do

All right, spent a few hours fiddling with the template this morning and I have the blog in a decent condition.

I don't now if there will ever be quite enough control for my taste - I feel the need to be able to tweak every little element.

The fact that apostrophes and quotes are interpreted just fine by some of the 'gadgets' and interpreted as garbage by others (like 'Recent Comments') is truly vexing. Am I the only one troubled by stuff like that? Should I accept that formatting online will never be perfect?

I have a placeholder Flickr thing going, only about ten pics total in my photostream. I really need to go through the PC and categorize all of our pics, delete duplicates, etc.

I also need to call my folks - it's my Mom's Birthday and of course it's Father's Day as well.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Design

Yeah, I'm in the middle of loving and hating the new Blogger template design tools. At first review, the new template code looks a lot more difficult to tweak than the old code.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening, right? For us this is a busy night!

Friday, June 18, 2010

3 Things

Guilty Pleasures:

1) Toasty warm towel from the dryer every morning

2) Cherries (ON SALE FOR) $3.00 per pound

3) iTunes

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A little friendly sex

As usual, I enjoyed the recent 'Stuff Mom Never Told You' podcast from How Stuff Works.

Have you checked it out yet? Good stuff. Last week's episode was titled 'Can men and women really be friends?' Of course, 'When Harry Met Sally' came up several times during the discussion.

I'm not a math person, but the platonic pals question seems like something you could reduce to a formula.

1) How much time do the pals spend together in a given day/week/month? Call this 'T'

2) Do they share 'Real Stuff' - feelings, hopes, dreams, good news, bad news? Or share only 'Superficial Stuff' like chatting about music and other entertainment? Call this 'S'

3) Do they drink alcohol or do other drugs? Call this 'D'

4) Are they in committed relationships with other people? Call this 'C'

5) Do they find one another at least somewhat attractive? Call this 'A'

6) Do they have prowess/experience with sex, have had casual sex several times in the past? Call this 'P'

If T = 15 hours or more per month
If S = Real Stuff
If D = Yes
If C = No
If A = Yes
If P = Yes
Then sex will happen at some point.

If the above conditions are met, it seems it's just a matter of time before the two of them are in the necessary emotional state at the right time, at the right level of inebriation, with the right opportunity and locale to have sex. Not that drugs are a necessary component, but it would be a factor in taking the edge off the 'Gosh, I couldn't have sex with my pal!' concern, making eventual intimacy more likely. People find a lot of solace in friendship, and physical intimacy is a great source of solace, making it almost inevitable given enough time.

This situation never happened to me, because the 'A' attribute was always lacking on my end (you'll only find a more asymmetrical face in something by Picasso) and I was never into 'D'. And I was clumsy and inexperienced while single - I'd give myself a P minus. All that said, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Aimee Bender is a writer who writes the way I would love to. There's nothing forced, nothing to prove, the prose is not trying too hard or trying at all. If it's clever, it's because there was cleverness in the moment, with no bold black pen strokes on some outline that said "plug in something clever here".

The writing is so true, it feels that writing it must have been effortless. Surely. Someone did not work and toil over this, it simply is, and is wonderful.

I enjoy writing, but I never manage to finish anything for a variety of reasons, mostly quality concerns. I do QA for a living - perhaps as a result, my standards are impossible? Distraction with new, 'better' ideas are also a problem.

There's typically elements of the fantastic in Aimee's work, and these elements are easy to accept because they're never over the top, even when they should be. Unbelievable stuff is happening to ordinary people, and they know it's unbelievable but there it is. It's real, so the people add this new experience to their world view. An important part of what makes the fantastic elements work in Aimee's writing is that the story is not about the unbelievable stuff, it's about the people.

Here's a snippet from 'The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake'(Aimee typically doesn't put dialogue in quotes, that's not an omission on my part - I like it, but I don't know if I could get away with it. Or maybe that's part of my problem - there's nothing to 'get away with' just do it. Also, I love all the commas:

She ran the sponge along the side of the sink, to clear it of leftover debris. She did not face me, but I could feel the vibration of tears, a kind of pain hive, rustling inside her. As she resettled the knives and forks in their dishwasher cup. As she squeezed the sponge dry. After a few minutes, she looked up, to watch out the kitchen window.

Sometimes, she said, mostly to herself, I feel I do not know my children.

I stood next to her, as if just listening in. Close. She said it out the window. To the flower boxes, in front of us, full of pansies and daffodils, bowing in at dusk. Where she had directed all her pleas and questions to her missing son, over the past few years. It was a fleeting statement, one I didn't think she'd hold on to; after all, she had birthed us alone, diapered and fed us, helped us with homework, hugged and kissed us, poured her love into us. That she might not actually know us seemed the humblest thing a mother could admit. She wiped her hands on a dish towel, already moving back into the regular world, where such a thought was ridiculous, nonsensical, but I had heard it, standing there, and it was the first thing she'd said in a very long time that I could take in whole.

I leaned over, and kissed her cheek.

From both of us, I said.

I like the writing because it feels so real. I just finished 'The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake' but I'm planning on re-reading it shortly (and my other Aimee Bender books), trying to absorb that wonderful, effortless realness. It tastes peaceful.

Link to Aimee Bender books @ Powells
Aimee's web site

Friday, June 11, 2010

Real Life Conversation #53

Would you rub my shoulder? The right one, yeah.

Like this?

Good, yeah. Harder. And my arm too.


Ow, yeah. Good. Ow. I don't know what I did to hurt my arm.

Hmm, who have you been shlepping?

Who? Who have I been carrying around one-armed?

Oh. Um, who have you been shtupping?

With my arm?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Undead Critters are the Best Part

Especially the harmonica-playing fox. If it is a fox. Check it out, this is one of the best tire commercials I've ever seen.

Lord help me, this blog is turning into a YouTube channel for commercials.

There have been a lot of quirky, interesting commercials coming out lately. Is it because advertisers are trying to compete with DVR's by making commercials we actually want to watch? Or are the advertisers now the same age as I am, and so we enjoy the same approaches?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

She's 23 Years OId. It's fine, really.

So I have a crush on Amy Pond, the latest companion on Doctor Who. It's fine. It's her attitude that I like best; she's sparky. For some reason, I like her most when she's peeved or freaked out.

In this last pic, the Doctor has just handed Amy an apple that she herself cut a smiley face on when she was 9 years old. That would indeed be freaky...

I was really excited about this new season, as you might have read here - but so far this year has not been up to my expectations, which to be fair are pretty high. Amy Pond is probably the best thing about the new season.

Matt Smith has been doing a fine job as the Doctor - I think it's the writing that's not up to snuff. Weeping Angels breaking people's necks? Come on.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Best Diaper Commercial in History

I don't want to ruin any part of this. Just click here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Three Beeps Too Many

We bought a new microwave a few months ago, after I dropped the glass plate of the last unit, and it shattered into a million tiny shards. The old unit was over ten years old, and did not have a model number or any other information. I tried three or four different glass plates in it, but none of them fit.

So! New Microwave! It's a pretty little unit made by Emerson, with a snazzy red color scheme. It works well, does its job.

But the BEEPING! Good Lord, the BEEPING. When it's finished cooking something, it beeps not once, not twice, but way too many freaking times. It must have something to prove... What is going through its little brain?

BEEP (They might wonder if they really heard me BEEP, better BEEP again)

BEEP BEEP (Hello? Well they still might not hear me, better BEEP again)

BEEP BEEP BEEP (Anyone there? I'm so damn lonely. Perhaps they're in the other room, folding laundry. Better BEEP again)

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP (I like this sound! I think I'll just keep it up! Maybe I can turn it into a song)

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP (Ha! That'll teach 'em! Fuckers! I loved that shelf at Wal-Mart and this place sucks!)

That's right folks, FIVE VERY LOUD BEEPS. I don't think I'm alone here, but that's too damn many BEEPS. I've never been so motivated to learn how to hack an electronic item. I'd even be happy with zero BEEPS. If there was a speaker, I would tape over it or cut the wires. Yeesh!

But there isn't a speaker, so I'm stuck hovering by the damn microwave, ready to stop it the split second before it reaches '0'. And god forbid I get distracted and the damn thing goes off. It seems to BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP even louder, as if in wicked glee. I've actually sprinted across the apartment, trying to make it in time, only to be denied.


5 BEEPS, Emerson? Really? Seriously now. Was there no focus group testing?