Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's your 're-enjoy' level?

I've seen a lot of references recently on Twitter to "rewatch" - where you view from start to finish a great classic tv series - such as Farscape, Firefly, Star Trek: TOS, and so on.

I'm conflicted about rewatching. I've probably seen every episode of the first ten years of The Simpsons at least ten or twenty times. At a certain point, I decided that I was 'done' with The Simpsons, and watch it very rarely now. I'd rather move on to something new, something that might have a different perspective, teach me something different or at the very least doesn't contain dialogue I can quote verbatim throughout an episode.

There's a certain safe-at-homeness to rewatching. We're in our comfort zone, and we know we're not going to be disappointed. There can be a certain nostalgia to rewatching as well - I can appreciate that.

During a rewatch, we know what's going to happen, and we don't really need to pay much attention to what's going on. We can miss five or ten minutes and we still understand the plot - at this point, whatever you're watching has become background noise and part of me wonders what's the point?

Wouldn't music be better background noise? At least I could do some writing or something else creative to music. If I have a TV show playing, it's so I can watch it. I was not one of those teenagers who could do homework with MTV running in the background - I'm sure many people can be very productive while they watch TV, but I'm not one of them.

The same thing goes for re-reads of books. I love the Harry Potter books, and have read them all, but the idea of re-reading the whole series doesn't really appeal. It's a huge time commitment, and while yes the books are great... I could be reading something new.

That's not to say I don't re-read books, I do. Waiting a year and re-reading a book I really enjoyed is fun on multiple levels - I've forgotten just enough to enjoy the little details, and maybe I'll discover something new I missed the first time.

It feels as if we gain very little from re-enjoying the same book/TV show/movie over and over - a smart balance seems to be 80% new 20% re-enjoy. Currently, my level is probably 20% new, 80% old, which is depressing - most of what I'm watching isn't necessarily good, it's just a re-run or re-watch. And with Hulu and Netflix streaming, free books from the library - there's really no excuse.

Just think about all the great stuff you could be first-enjoying during your ninth rewatch of something. Maybe something you love even more than Harry Potter.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Key Pocket Horror

For a while, I had three pairs of jeans, which was ok except for the fact that I wear jeans to work every day. Multiple wears and washes per week meant they wore out pretty quickly (wait, it was actually several years).

A couple of months ago, I found jeans on sale at Wal-Mart for $9.99 - score! Since I'm not concerned with the brand name on the label, ten dollar jeans for sitting at a desk on the phones all day works for me.

Except... After I cut the tags off, I discovered to my horrified dismay there is no key-pocket in these $9.99 jeans. I was shocked. It never occurred to me that jeans would or could be made without a key pocket - doesn't everyone have and need keys?

Don't get me wrong, I hate keys and look forward to their obsolescence with an extreme level of glee. They're jangly, clinky, clanky, constantly threaten to scratch my cell phone, cumbersome (especially with the bulky, necessary car remote) but while I still need to have keys, my pants need to accommodate this key need. (Chuckle)

And don't get me started on those belt-loop rings, where the keys dangle free as if all the world is a floppy jangling nude beach.

I decided that even though we don't own a sewing machine, and my sewing skills rate right up there with that of a third grader, if I was careful I should be able to sew on a key pocket of my own in each pair of jeans.

I cannibalized the old denim of my about to be discarded worn-out jeans for material, and set to laborious, cross-eyed work. Key pockets! Yay!

But no. Within a few hours of the first use, a key had wiggled its way between the stitches and was thrusting its determined head out of the key pocket like an enthusiastic sperm. NO! Bad key! Get out of the phone pocket! Go lie down!

So I sat down and spent several hours (I shit you not) carefully stitching a tightly woven barrier of overlapping stitches, like bricks in a wall, the best possible, most damn secure key pocket ever crafted by the hands of someone with all thumbs.

And a couple of hours after use: NO! BAD Key! And my phone is pregnant. The wedding is in March. So let this be a lesson to you - some jeans do not have key pockets - check before you buy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Do Not Disturb

Knock Knock.

Who's there?

Angel of Death.

Angel of Death who?

Angel of Death who is here to kill your first born son.


Seriously. Open the door.

Okay, okay. But my son isn't here. He's on a business trip in Antioch for the annual olives pricing summit.

Well fuck me, the archangel's gonna be pissed.

You could maybe kill my daughter instead?

No, that wouldn't do - I gotta bring the heads back for proof.

She IS a bit manly.

How old is she?


And she still lives at home? Not married?

Yes. No.

Sounds good. Let's do this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Savory Samplings"

A few years ago, I invented a totally new diet. You get to enjoy all your favorite foods, but you don't gain any weight. I may have posted about this topic at some point, but if so I can't find it.

You chew up your favorite foods, then spit them out! All the enjoyment, very few of the calories. I was even going to market a line of special mugs to spit in - was gonna be great.

I was listening to a podcast recently about eating disorders and guess what - chewing and spitting is an eating disorder somewhere between bulimia and anorexia.

Good to know.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hmm... Possibilities

Here's a picture of a bathroom in Tampere Railway Station in Tampere, Finland.

The blue light is to discourage intravenous drug use by making it more difficult to find a vein. Crazy, no?

I wonder if there's a color of light that would discourage calories from my kitchen? Purple?

While we're at it, here's an interesting Wikipedia article on toilets.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A day at the office

Client/Position: Pan (God of Shepherds, Hunting, Music)
Regarding: Marketing Training
Results: Training session was held on-site.

Pan (He asked me to call him Andy - I declined) was interested in "Reaching out to the youth of today, getting them drunk and into the bushes for a little fun."

I explained that our program's primary features facilitated reaching out to clients interested in purchasing retail items online.

At this point he suggested I "loosen up" and offered me some wine and a pipe (NOT his flute). I terminated the session at this point.

Client is still in good standing with his account, but on-site training sessions are to be discouraged.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Credi-Bull #18

Credi-Bull - a story that might be fact, and 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!

Welcome to Hell - officially named New Castle, Colorado - a mining town founded in the late 1800's.

This town burns from below - with poisonous gases such as sulfur dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide steaming from cracks in the ground.

In early history, this place would have been feared as a portal into the underworld. This isn't a story from Greek myth, but a very real problem known as a 'coal seam fire'.

An exposed seam of coal can ignite for a variety of reasons, usually through human activity - industrial accidents such as an underground gas explosion or burning landfill trash. Some coal fires are thought to spontaneously ignite from brush fires or simply with the correct temperature conditions and coal type.

There are hundreds of coal seam fires around the world, with at least one hundred different fires burning right now across nine U.S. states, with no real way to extinguish them.

The oldest known subterranean coal fire is Australia's 'Burning Mountain', estimated by scientists to have been burning for 6,000 years - it was originally mistaken for a volcano.

Real or Fake?
Vote in the 'comments' section.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not Safe For Work

Michelle just sent me this link yesterday - how is it I found out through my wife, and not through one of the many sciencey-techy-fun websites I frequent?

If you have not had the pleasure, I present to to you 'F*** Me Ray Bradbury'. Pretty damned funny. Here's an article with Rachel Bloom, the writer and star of the video.

I was forced to watch Twilight - New Moon a couple of hours after this. I complained that if I had to watch such treacle, Bella could at the very least have boobs. Michelle pointed out that "You had boobs earlier, with the Ray Bradbury thing."

Fair enough.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I just updated Adobe Reader and whew, good thing too - my productivity has really been suffering lately! Oh wait, no it hasn't. Well, I haven't been very productive, but that's not because of Adobe Reader.

So ok, fine, I updated Adobe Reader. And let's take a look - yep, I have new desktop icon for Adobe Reader 9. DELETE. Yes, computer I'm really really sure I want to delete this useless shortcut.

Why would I ever need a shortcut for Adobe Reader? It opens automatically when needed. Same thing with QuickTime, why would I need a desktop shortcut? If I had the paid, professional versions of these programs, and I was creating content - then sure, maybe I want a shortcut. Otherwise, don't clutter my space, thank you.

This sort of thing why older folks using PC's have desktops crammed full with dozens of shortcuts - and not knowing what they can safely delete, they leave it all there - then they wonder why everything is so busy and confusing. It's not their fault, it's bad practices on the part of software designers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hey there, little fella!

Each of the pics I snapped of this tiny lizard came out a bit blurry thanks to his size and the fact that he's perched on the outside of the screen. The body alone is about an inch long, and he skittered around the patio window for a good twenty minutes, amusing the cat greatly.

Another thing I wanted to mention - for some reason with my iPhone4, the original orientation of pictures seem to be embedded into the file itself. So if a picture was taken 'upside down', then even if I rotate the image in Photoshop and save in a new orientation, when I import into Blogger, the picture is once again/still upside down.

The only way I've found to resolve this is to take a screenshot of the picture in the final orientation I want, paste into a new file, then save and import the new file. Any ideas, smart people of the internet?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Credi-Bull #17

Credi-Bull - a story that might be fact, and 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!

Marie Curie is well known in scientific circles - she won the Nobel Prize not once but twice, in Physics and Chemistry. She was the first woman to win the award. Along with her husband Pierre she discovered the elements 'Polonium' and 'Radium'. They also coined the term 'radioactivity'.

Not a lot was known about radioactivity in the early 1900's, so Marie worked closely with her radioactive test samples wearing no protective gear. She kept radioactive samples in her pocket and desk drawer, and was known to enjoy the blue-green glow the samples gave off.

Marie died of Aplastic Anemia in 1934 at age 67, a condition almost certainly linked to her years of exposure to radioactivity. Even now - more than seventy years after her death, Marie's work papers, cookbook, and other implements are still dangerously radioactive, and can't be handled without protective gear.

But what happened to Pierre? Details are murky, and espionage may have played a role. Pierre didn't have a chance to grow old with Marie or waste away from radiation exposure. Instead, the official cause of death states that Pierre died in 1906 at age 47 when he was run over by a horse-drawn carriage.

Real or Fake?
Vote in the 'comments' section.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do the kids still say WOOT?

We had a cardiologist appointment on Monday, and Michelle had an echocardiogram performed. We received the results on Tuesday afternoon.

One of the measurements taken in an echo is EF, ejection fraction - which is the fraction of blood that is pumped out of the ventricle with each beat - the average person's EF is around 58%.

In February, Michelle's EF was 15.
As of Monday's test results, her EF is now 30-35!

I'm very thankful for the prescriptions, Michelle's much improved eating habits, and all the exercise she's been very dedicated to on a daily basis. Keep up the great work Darlin!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Apple and Liquid Metal

Recent news stories announced Apple's licensing of a company and a substance called Liquid Metal. A Gizmodo story details the applications Apple might be planning with Liquid Metal.

This neat video (if you like sciencey stuff) shows the elasticity of Liquid Metal.

Sure, having sturdier frames for the iPhone would be nice, but let's face it, the frames are pretty sturdy as they are - it's an aluminum alloy. Could a sturdier frame really be the only reason to use Liquid Metal? I don't think so.

I have a prediction - are you ready? Two words: 'Transparent metal'. The glass is the most fragile part of the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch (I like 'iThing' as a collective term), and it's the component that really begs for innovation.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Golf Cart or Tiny Car?

One of these is a tiny car, and one of these is a golf cart. Or maybe they're both golf carts. Or maybe they're both tiny cars. Can you tell?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Shrine of Manly Beard Grooming


Those are extremely flammable jugs of kerosene balancing the weight of the mirror! Don't make me prove it!

Yeah, it's a Sunday morning ritual. It takes about an hour. I would never admit eyebrows are involved. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who cares if I am well-groomed, and sometimes I think that's okay.

But I do know one thing - no one was ever meant to see their own face at eight times magnification.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wavery dissolve into dream sequence...

I'm reading Sarah Vowell's 'The Wordy Shipmates' about the Puritans of the early 1600's Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Unsurprisingly, life for the Puritans is harsh and strict. Reading this has made me wish rules were more strictly enforced in our day and age.

If only I could be Ye Olde Mayor - those guys knew how to punish...

Dear Diary - Our most fair and just Lord Mayor MC of Etcher was forced to punish me this day, with thirty righteous lashes of the whip, when I neglected to wring out and properly store the scrubby-sponge on the scrubby-sponge drying tray. Instead, I left the scrubby-sponge in the sink, wet, soapy, and with bits of last night's spaghetti still clinging to it.

I have learned well the error of my ways, that a dank scrubby-sponge with bits of spaghetti still clinging to it is without doubt Satan's playground, and the cavorting demons of bacterial plague within the scrubby-sponge is like unto a teeny Gomorrah.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a Half is a fun blog where a girl named Allie does her damnedest to put herself down, while scrawling awful-yet-perfect pictures of the scenes she's describing. She makes me laugh, and her blog is well worth a visit. Check out one of her videos below.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Yeah, Doug - feel free to shake that damn thing like a crying baby. Over."

CNET News: KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--Spacewalker Douglas Wheelock, given permission to "shake violently" a stuck ammonia connector, used a healthy dose of elbow grease to finally get a troublesome coolant system quick-disconnect fitting to release Wednesday on the International Space Station...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For Posterity

Michelle is very funny, and makes me laugh all the time. It helps that we both feel free to be as silly as we like. I can't imagine living with a stuffy wife.

A few selected texts from yesterday:

Mike: Going to LJS for lunch. I think it's been a year since I went there. Mmwah!

Michelle: LJS?

Michelle: Long John Silver's? Hmm. Good luck. Enjoy!

Michelle: And yes, I looked it up.

Mike: Back at work. AC was broken at LJS, ugh. Loud guy was complaining about his child custody BS, ugh. Got gas. Tummy uncertain about near future. (Ugh)

Michelle: So... They've got a year to fix the AC then? As you exited, did you ring the bell and say "I'm out, bitches!"? That's what I imagined... Your car is happy about the gas I'm sure. Oh wait - maybe it's not the car we're talking about? You've got three bathrooms at work right? Tell tummy it's all good.

Mike: Gas for the car! And no, I'm keeping my discomfort on the DL.

(Well I thought it was funny, anyway.)

Monday, August 09, 2010

A morning chuckle

Each picture below links to a different funny video - check them out!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

True Story

I went into the Publix rest room for a bit of private business. I was in there for all of five minutes, and the motion sensor light switch decided that the room was empty and turned the light off.

Great. Luckily I have a cell phone.

There was only one stall - the handicapped stall. So I stood up, washed my hands in the dark while still in the stall (I really like that about handicapped stalls - all stalls should have their own sink!), and then came out of the stall.

The light still did not come on until I was practically on top of the door. This here is a motion sensor that needs some adjusting, folks.

Also, they store a plethora of raincoats in this public bathroom for some reason. Perhaps in case of extreme potty emergencies - Florida is a retiree's paradise, after all.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Dear CVS Pharmacy

We were in CVS last night, I wandered a bit. Hey, cool - the store provides a magnifier on a string, kind of like pens at the bank.

So having a magnifier is somewhat thoughtful, but if I'm an older customer who forgot my glasses, am I going to be able to find the magnifier in all this clutter of day-glo green and bottles? I don't think so.

How about this? Add a nice red border to the magnifier, so it stands out. After all, if I need the magnification, the helpful tool provided should be very easy to find.

Get to work, CVS! Implement my idea!

Friday, August 06, 2010

She's also Violet in 'The Incredibles'

I've been enjoying 'Assassination Vacation', where Sarah Vowell makes pilgrimages to sites relevant to the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley.

She is knowledgeable with her subject matter, delivers just enough detail and has a good sense of humor about these trips. She is well grounded by the friends she 'drags along' (though I would happily volunteer for this sort of historical tourism).

It's a fun and interesting read - I already have another Vowell book, 'The Wordy Shipmates' (about the early U.S. colonists) requested from the library. I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Little Local Color

On an early-morning errand today, I was in a picture-taking mood.

When I ran my errand last week, this was a cute, blue mid-90's Toyota. Now it's scrap. The scorched speed limit sign is a nice touch (Sometimes I feel as if in my world, there is a prop-master prepping my sets).

It's creepy to see charred skeletons like this - makes me think of a Mad Max type world I hope we never see.

Yeah. Ocala Florida is 'The Horse Capital of the World'. All of the horse-related advertising makes a guy feel inadequate at times.

This is a horse-training track, with a nifty observation tower.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

This guy I know - Lids

This friend of mine has these $3 glass bowls that came with rubbery-plastic lids for storage, and he uses them for lunches.

Against the instructions on the package, he washes them in the dishwasher. The lids get dried and cracked, and he has to toss them.

He would like to buy more lids only, as the bowls are still just fine. But he can not buy more lids - they are not sold separately, not even from the manufacturer.

So what if he went to the store, and scoured the shelves of products for just the right item - something that will ring up as a 'Lid' when scanned at the register. He jots down the bar code number for the item. Let's say these lids are $1 each.

And then he goes home, prints four bar code labels, returns to the store, and stickers four lids. He drops the newly-labeled lids into his cart with the rest of his purchases, and the cashier rings up everything. New lids! WOOT!

How does this rate on your 'wrongness' scale? It's not stealing, since the lids are being paid for. The customer who buys the glass bowls won't get lids, but they know that before purchase - perhaps there's a customer who doesn't want lids. At worst, the store returns the lids to the manufacturer for replacement, which would be wasteful.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


What is wrong with this picture? I don't mind the five kinds of Christian doo-dads, I'm open-minded. But the 'Cigarette Pens' have got to go. (In California, (where everything is better) this would be illegal).

I wouldn't take most of this crap if you gave it to me - I would accept 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' DVD, thank you. I haven't seen it, but I've heard good things about the book.

Also, they had nowhere near a million books in there. Hmph.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mimi's Cafe

Mimi's has funky pagers. I can't be the only one who thinks they look like cheap tasers?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Grumble mumble... kids on my lawn...

I'm getting old, folks. I used to have four or five white hairs in my beard, and I would pluck them once a month or so. Over the past three months, a whole crop of white hairs have popped up.

The problem with plucking the white hairs is that I never manage to get the hair I want on the first try - my beard is pretty short, but somehow wily enough that I would almost always pull out a black hair or two before I would get the white hair I was going for.

I took a picture on my chin whiskers, then inverted the image to make the white hairs stand out. Good Lord, there are far more than I feared! I see at least fifty, and if I pulled two blacks for every white, I would pull a total of 150 hairs. That won't work for me. I don't see dying my beard - the flat black, dyed look seems so fake.

So it seems white-whiskerhood, here I come. At this rate, they'll all be calling me 'Grandpa' at work by December. I'll be able to get a Santa job at the mall without donning a fake beard. (Which is good, because I hate haggling.)