"There’s no link between diabetes and diet.
That’s a white myth, Ken, like Larry Bird or Colorado."
-Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock

Monday, March 31, 2008

Go Kansas/No Country for Crappy Endings

As reported a few days ago, I am part of an office NCAA Basketball pool, and I was bragging at the time that I was slightly smarter than a sick monkey with a fistfull of darts. Unfortunately, it turns out that I might actually be dumber than a sick monkey with a fistfull of darts; the good news is that it may be financially lucrative to be incedibly bad at picking sports brackets.

As of this morning, I am officially in last place in my office pool, and as long as UNC doesn't win the show, I will hold that spot. There is a quiet dignity to such a spot, as in this pool, the ultimate loser get the $10 entry fee returned... it is like a Yankee Swap in that way, except that the NCAA Basketball pool almost never results in me winding up with a framed naked picture of the Skipper from Gilligan's Island, whereas that is exactly what happened at my last Yankee Swap.

Okay, I will admit that I sometimes am guilty of embellishing the truth ever so slightly to make a story flow better or be funnier. In this case, the Skipper was actually wearing tube socks and tennis shoes, which somehow made the resulting almost-nudity even worse. And no, there was no Red Hot Chili Peppers tube sock fig leaf thing going on here... the Skipper's little buddy was right out there in the open.

So anyway, if things go well, I will be getting my $10 back. Unfortunately, the NIT pool is not operating under the same rules this year, which is a shame, as I'm in dead last in that pool too.

In other news, I finally watched "No Country for Old Men". Apparently I am some sort of communist, as I seem to be the only person in America not fully enamored with this half-finished crock. Roger Ebert gave it four stars, and said it was "a masterful evocation of time, place, character, moral choices, immoral certainties, human nature and fate". While I liked some parts of it pretty well, it fell way short in a bunch of ways, not the least being that the movie was exactly 20 minutes too short.

Warning: If you haven't see the movie yet, I'm about to totally ruin a few parts, but in a totally generical manner that won't give any clues until you watch the movie. (That's right, I just said generical.)

#1) Netflix identified the movie as being 2 hours and 22 minutes long. Seeing as I fell asleep the first 3 nights I watched it, I was determined to finish on night 4, and was wondering how they could wrap the movie up in 20 minutes when all of a sudden the screen went black and words started rolling. Bullshit. Either Netflix or the Coen Brothers owe me 20 miunutes, and it better be good.

#2) The way that the guy did the thing to the people? The non-standard way that left those other guys wondering? The thing that was really hinted at being a crucial factor or a significant part of the deal, that Tommy Lee Jones sorta figured out but maybe he didn't, that turned out to be nothing? Yeah, Bullshit.

#3) The way that the main guy, no, not him, the other one, how he did for first 2/3rds of the movie but the he didn't, not at all, because he was dead in a hotel room (whoops, slipped a little on that ), that was Bullshit too.

#4) The way that the other guy not from Bullshit #3 was all of a sudden that guy and not that OTHER guy, that was Bullshit tambien. (bullshit in several languages is serious bullshit).
#5) What happened to the heroin? And as long as I'm asking, what happened to the heroine? Bullshit. Though it is neat to have the opportunity to ask the same question of the same movie.

On the other hands, there were a few sweet shootouts, and the bad guys was pretty freaking badass. In conclusion, though, I would strongly recommend that you go rent "Fargo", and when anyone asks how you liked that other piece of crap, just keep repeating how great Steve Buscemi was in it...

Friday, March 28, 2008

No Bandanas Allowed!

So I walk into the gym yesterday afternoon, and immediately notice a new sign... I am a sign reader by nature, and always notice signs. I notice the Easter menu at the Cumberland County Fairground Cafe which includes "Rost Pork", I notice the Brunswick Maine Dunkin' Donuts "Coustomer Parking Only" sign, and I definitely notice signs at the gym, which invariable include "ect." at the end of lists.

This new sign was an update to the old Gym Rules sign. The gym has always prohibited certain attire; no boots or jeans are allowed in the workout area, as the boots track in mud and the jean rivets rip the vinyl seats. They also prohibit cursing (poor manners), yelling (duh), chalk (messy), and cell phones(please, do shut your trap you yappy bitch. If you can hold a full conversation while on an exercise bike/treadmill/ellipical machine, chances are you're either an Olympic athlete or you're not trying hard enough, and by the looks of you, I'm guessing the latter. Remember, Chatty von TalksTooMuch, spandex is a priveledge, not a right.) Anyway, the new rules include these two gems:
  1. No bandanas.
  2. No hats with skeletons on them.

There was no further clarification, no discussion, and not even any threatened punishment for such nefarious wardrobe infractions. These new rules brought to mind a few obvious questions... for one, bandanas, or does it apply to all bandanas? Is the bandana ban only for head-worn kerchiefs? For instance, what if you are part of this jaunty crew? (thanks to Tree for enriching my life with this picture... read more about this absurd photo over at The Canyon Treehouse.)

Are you no longer allowed to wear a bandana on your ankle if you are the token ethnic dude in the golf-rock boyband? If a busload of old Russian grandmas wearing babushkas show up eager to pump some iron, will they be turned away? And what if for some reason you decide to dress like a cowboy at the gym? The authenticity of your outfit will already be significantly diminished by the rules against boots or jeans, but a cowboy without a bandana is like a... um, a hat without a skeleton.

Which brings me to Rule #2... can I still wear shirts with skeletons? Pants with Skeletons? Socks with skeletons? Thongs with skeletons? Bandanas with skeletons? Oh, wait, Rule #1, I forgot. What about hats with just skulls, or other collections of bones, but not complete skeletons? Are those still Kosher? What if my hat has a skeleton wearing a bandana? Is that like double secret probation? What if I walk in wearing any of these fine duds?

Will I be arrested, just scorned, or (gasp) not allowed to buy really expensive smoothies from Vince?
I did a quick internet images search for "skeleton hat", and came across this:
I must say, after seeing this hat, I have to agree with the new rule. I know that my physical fitness would surely be impaired by a hat like this, so it really is in everyone's best interest to not wear skeleton hats.
Oh, and please wipe down the machines, treadmills, equipment ect. when you are done. Thanks you , the mgmt.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dang Hood Done Popped Up

I've had a few inquiries as to whether my hood actually popped up Dukes of Hazzard-style at 50 miles per hour. Yup. It sure did. This is what a hood might look like after such an event:

Strangely enough, it doesn't line up quite right ever since.

Those of you with an eye for the finer things in life might have noticed the sweet maroon interior. That's right, sports fans, sweet maroon velvet, sweet maroon velour, sweet maroon carpet, sweet maroon plastic, and sweet maroon corduroy as far as the eyes can see. Wood-grain details? You better believe it. Radio with AM and FM? You betcha, and throw in a cassette deck for good measure.

Emergency brake light on all the time? You bet it is? Why? Because that is how I roll. Also because I snapped the e-brake line a few months back and the pedal just hasn't been the same ever since.

This sweet rig also offers power windows, one power door lock, and cruise control. I've never used the cruise control, because using cruise control on a 20 year old truck with a faulty electrical system ranks right up there near the top of the old Sketchometer... certainly an 8, maybe as high as 9.5 depending on the traffic and road conditions. I thik the big bundle of wires that aren't connected to anything under the hood might have somethinng to do with the electrical system not quite meeting current CATNEYA* standards, but what do I look like, a freaking electrician?

*CATNEYA is the Carmaker's Alliance To Not Electrocute Your Ass, a fine upstanding consumer safety group dedicated to making cars that aren't prone to delivering large doses of electricity whenever a user touches a certain metal part, typically a door handle or body panel.

Today's blog is brought to you by the letters FU & IRS

I successfully finished high school.
That should be all it takes to be able to do taxes each year.
That was my battle-cry as I launched into this year's tax season. And seeing as how I have roughly 8 years of post-high school education and have been working in a high-tech industry in the 15 years since high school, I also decided that I should be able to just do the paper version easily enough. Why should I spend the $45 on some dumb tax program when the paper version is free? So I picked up the papers down at the Post Office, and sure enough, a cursory review of the paper forms made it perfectly clear that I can't even fake my way through that nightmare.

I was hoping for a "welcome to Tax Hell; please start by writing your name on line 1", but instead, it seemed to jump straight into deferred interet free annuities from 1098-INT with divested sheltered bracket yields. I read that line and immediately got a nosebleed. Upon further review, I didn't see the place to check off "$13.75 per paycheck left after mortgage and minimum payments on credit cards", nor did I see the "once rolled loose change and returned soda cans to avoid bouncing the mortgage payment" option, so I elected to bring the paper forms directly to my Vermont Castings filing cabinet, where I securely store all my important documents in a humidity-free 451° environment.

Step two was to swallow my pride and buy TurboTax. Rather than run down to the store and pick it up, I decided to downlad it. I tried first at Circuit City or Best Buy, where it turns out you have to pay extra for the priveledge of not getting a CD or shiny box... umm, no. I'd expect a discount for the virtual purchase, but no, they try to get a "convenience fee". In my mind, if online porn is cheaper than a real life Spitzer concubine, then downloaded software should also be cheaper than packaged software. Anyway, I bought it direct from TurboTax with no download fee, and I was ready to rock, assuming of course that "ready to rock" means "ready to spend a frustrating several hours in a mayhem of missing paperwork, boggling directions, and totally inadequate software".

Long story short is this: Wifey is a teacher, and CT teachers contribute to a private/state retirement plan instead of Social Security; TurboTax, however, doesn't like this plan, and would prefer that I just send an extra $3,000 off to the IRS.

Short story short is this: I cursed a lot and then quit.

I'm still undecided as to how to proceed... I don't see why I should need to spend $200 at H&R Block after spending the $45 and many hours doing it myself. I'm currently of the opinion that if they want my money so bad, they should come and take it from my cold dead hands, but I think that might result in me becoming someone's bitch in a federal lockup, or even worse, getting audited. Speaking of prison...

After that tax nightware, it was off to the dog pound to pick up FatHead Houdini 1 and Fathead Houdini 2 who dug under the fence again yesterday and got carted off to the big house in the back of of a black and white. That copper car had the SCMODS apparently (State & County Municipal Offending Dog System). After bailing them out, I walked them for a while, and then kept them in since I haven't yet fixed the hole in the fence. Sure enough, within 10 minutes of being home, they had peed a small pond-worth, dumped a 3-pound pile that stunk up the house instantly, and puked all over an Oriental rug. As I was cleaning the three excementory joys, one of them went into the office and bumped something off the desk, which caused a small avalance, thereby disrupting the Karmic balance and knocking a large framed photo off the shelf., which shattered all over the floor.

All in all, it was not an excellent way to spend a hookey day off from work.

On the upside, when I become old and cranky, I can grumpily tell young'uns about how when I was their age, I had to walk barefoot across broken glass in order to do my taxes each year. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Location, Location, Location

Today I shall offer you a glimpse of my professional world... you should feel very lucky that this blog is not produced in smell-o-vision or printed on scratch'n'sniff paper, as my current location is not without odorific dangers. My "office" is a pretty typical 6.5' x 9' cubicle with a wraparound desk surface. I have a computer with a crappy monitor. I have a calendar and a periodic table of the Elements. I have few pictures of my exceptionally cute kid and puppy. Other decorations include my NCAA bracket (12 out of 16 so far, just slightly better than average but not quite as good as a sick monkey with a fistfull of darts), an early map of northern Europe that has lots of neat sea monsters on it, and an early Japanese map that has a cool dragon print as the map border. I was thinking that the dragon border might make a cool tattoo, but I'm still trying to figure out what should be in the middle, because the only thing more absurd than a fat white suburbanite with a dragon tattoo is a fat white suburbanite with a dragon tattoo that surrounds an ancient Japanese map showing tidal wave imacted areas of Japan.

Anyway, moving on, we see a print of MacArthur's Universal Corrective Map of the World. MacArthur was an Australian cartographer that got tired of getting the geographic shaft (different than a geograophic or magnetic axis), so he reoriented the map with Australia at the top center. North up is an arbitrary society-enforced practice, not unlike Valentine's Day or the need to wear pants. All are total bullshit, says me. Speaking of things that don't quite make sense to most people is my Employee of the 3rd Quarter, 2007 plaque.

Here's where location becomes important... here's where life gets stinky. Moving further to the right, we se the entrance to my cubical. Thirty-six inches away (CT State Fire Code minimal hallway width) we see the entrance to the men's bathroom. It is a single seater, which means the door does not automatically shut.

Because I work at an engineering firm, I have some reasonably intelligent coworkers; a bunch of engineers, some surveyors, a few other scientists, all generally smart and technically adept (with a few notable exceptions). However, as a group, they seem to lack either the olfactory prowess or the common decency to understand that all which doth come from within is not always suitable for dispersion throughout the office, nor is it enjoyable to those within noseshot.

In other words, when these bastards unleash an unholy destructive explosion of such sheer bowel magnitude as to crack the floor tile, they rarely have the decency to keep the door shut and the light/fan on. The combination of door shut/fan on is essential for safe clearing of the airspace... I have learned the hard way that leaving the door shut without ventilative assistance is in fact far more dangerous than just leaving the door open. If you have ever seen Backdraft, you know what I'm talking about. The stench rolls and tumbles and gathers force as it sits behind closed door, waiting and gathering strength not unlike Voldemort in the magical book series "The Longest Fricking Movies Ever Made That Would Be Awesome If They Weren't Four Hours Long", now available on a three DVD set per movie. And as soon as that door opens and adds oxygen to the seething tumbling force, the ass-stench explodes with such force as to blow papers off my desk, smudge my glasses, and reduce my monitor resolution to 800x600. One time it even rebooted my computer, which then started up again in Safe Mode. It has definitely affected my eyesight, and I think I am probably sterile as a result as well.
Now at the risk of ruining your day and or maybe causing you to lose your lunch, I have to make one other comment: apparently these stinky bastards are incredibly environmentally conscious too, as the fear of wasting water must prevent them from considering the concept of a mid-explosion courtesy flush or a post-explosion auxilliary flush to finish the job. Well, it is back to work for me... I better get some things done before the post lunch series begins. I wish you all a pleasant day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Damn, yo, exact change required, bitch!

Two quick items:
1) As I was walking to the office storage room, I passed by a friend, and we exchanged our typical greeting. He asked me, "'wassup, yo?", and I responded, " 'tsall good mang!". He is from the sticks of eastern Connecticut and collects antique tractors, and is so white that he doesn't even tan. I tan occassionally, but am also pretty culturally sheltered when it comes to urban culture. I can't quite figure out how this greeting evolved, but it is interesting how mannerisms and phrases travel. For example, I was well known for the buzz phrase "that's hot" many years before Paris totally stole it. Ask anyone. Bitch...

2) The other day I made a quick stop at Home Depot to buy two PVC plumbing parts. The total was $2.23. I shook out my wallet, and out fell two dollar bills, a dime, two nickels, and three pennies. Damn, exact change.

The next day, after a trip to the ATM and another errand, I stopped at Subway... I reached for the debit card, but decided to check the cash reserves... crikey, another perfect amount.

A few days later, I picked up Chinese food for a few guys at work. One guy tried to hand me four pennies to cover the tax. I promptly threw the pennies backwards over my head into his office... the prick was trying to slough his loose change on me, not gonna happen. Anyway, I arrived at the restaurant, pulled out the wad of bills that folks had given me and the wad of bills and change from my wallet... and I was three cents short. Karmic ass-kicking, part 1.

And then, on the way back from the restaurant, my not-quite-shut truck hood popped up Dukes of Hazzard style at 50 mph on a busy road. It bent the hell out of the hood, too. Strange that a 20 year old truck would be prone to bending after a minor incident like that... karmic ass-kick, part 2.

A Disturbing Revelation

Generally, I really hate cats. I hate their aloof attitude, their general scorn for people, and they way they treat people as servants. I also hate that they make my lungs swell shut and my sinuses bleed, but I think these factors are only minor contributors. I also dislike cat people in general because they tend to share a lot of characteristics listed above. I believe that this world is generally populated by cat people and dog people. There may be a few genuine "animal lovers", but I am pretty sure that these folks are really just open-minded dog people. No matter how hard people try, dog people just don't mix well with cat people.

Anyway, I also tend to hate IM-speak, the ridiculous phrase-ology that people use while IM'ing or texting, things like LOL for "laugh out loud" or ROTF, "rolling on the floor", or ROLFMAO, "rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off". These aren't terrible, but some IM-speak is just gratingly obnoxious.

My feelings about cats and IM-speak have become conflicted lately, as a friend told me about the lolcats phenomenon. Wikipedia, take it away: "A Lolcat is an image combining a photograph of an animal, most frequently a cat, with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption in broken English referred to as Kitty Pidgin, or lolspeak."
Most of these funny images are of cats in unusual poses or with funny phrases, and much as I actively dislike cats and baby-talk/IM-speak, I find a lot of these lolcats to be snort-soda-out-your-nose funny. One of the first was the "I can haz cheezburger?" lolcat, with other popular themes involving monorail animals and the ceiling kitty that watches you do things. Several of these have inspired their own websites, including http://icanhascheezburger.com/ (BAD LINK FIXED, sorry) which has roughly a thousand of these images, and is growing by the day at roughly the same rate as gas prices. A lot of these are really good once you accept the fact that you have to read the text in your head as if you were congratulating a baby on an extra full diaper.

I think the shark one is particularly awesome. That's all for now...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Weekend at ManCamp

Picture, if you will, a place, a place that represents almost everything that being a man is all about. Think about everything that Maxim would be about if they weren't a bunch of cologne wearing high fashion pretty boys with $1000 watches. Think 40 acres of Maine forest, a big old house with about a dozen bedrooms, a couple of big dogs, a couple of big horses, and a fully stocked woodshop. Think having a near-constant cramp in your ribs from laughing so hard. Think bigscreen HDTV with a gnarly sound system, a Playstation 2, a Playstation 3, and a Wii. Think a 70's vintage motocross motorcycle named Killer because it has no brakes. Think potato cannons, paintball guns, turkey fryers, motorcycles (with brakes), and model rockets that deploy almost catchable eggs with a cash prize to the first person that either catches the egg or breaks a bone during an attempt. Most importantly, think about the kind of friends that you'd give a kidney to in a heartbeat without hesitation, even though you know they'd probably do something gross with it. That is sort of what ManCamp is all about.

Anyway, this visit’s adventures included hauling firewood through waist deep snow behind a monstrous draft horse, hauling gallons of maple sap to the maple syrup still, and hauling major ass in this sweet offroad racing game on the PS3. The horse is freaking huge, but he is generally pretty well mannered, and very rarely stomps people into mushy wet spots. They feed him steak, meatballs, and human growth hormone which is why he is so big. The guy you can barely see behind him is about 6'9" and 450 pounds, if that gives you any idea of the scale. This should give you some idea of the snow that remains in coastal southern Maine. In open area, it may only be a foot or so, but in the woods, it reaches three or four feet... In some spots you can almost walk on the surface, but then the next step you plunge in to knee deep or deeper. Given the ease with which Ike the Horse pulled that sled, I am pretty sure the HGH is working.

It was a great escape, even with a three and a half hour drive on each end, including a solid hour and a half dealing with Masshole drivers. I arrived home with the feeling that I’d been gone for days, when I’d really only been in state for about 40 hours total. I was eager to return to the bathroom renovation projects I had abandoned last week and to see my family again, and actually wasn't dreading the Monday morning return to work.

It is too hard to convey all that ManCamp represents, so instead, let me end today’s blog with one piece of road trip advice… it is best not to keep your pee-jug in the same cup holder as your drink. This is especially true if you happen to be drinking a tasty beverage in the same kind of bottle as your pee-jug. I was engrossed in the Howard Stern Show on satellite radio, and had the jug in hand with the top off when some unseen force guided my eyes downwards. ‘Twas not Diet Pepsi staring back at me, my friends. ‘Twas pee.

Divine Intervention saved me this afternoon, and kept me from the unspeakable. Miracles happen if you believe…

Friday, March 14, 2008

Almost Ran Myself Over...

Sorry folks, been a bit swamped with life in general as of late, so I do apologize in the delay since my last brain vomit of a post. Since then, I have tiled my bathroom floor, plumbed the shower, and fixed my hunk of shit truck again, which resulted in a second degree burn to a finger. I know that it is a second degree burn because wikipedia told me so, and wikipedia holds all the knowledge that this universe has to offer. It is basically eveything that Douglas Adams was envisioning when he described the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in his book called, wait, what was it, oh yes, that's right, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

If you haven't read it in a while, you should. I'm going through it again and it is simply great.

Speaking of burns, it turns out there are six degrees of burns, not just the three you hear about. Wikipedia describes sixth-degree burns as "the most severe form, are burn types in which almost all the muscle tissue in the area is destroyed, leaving almost nothing but charred bone. Often, sixth-degree burns are deadly."

Wow. Thanks for the clarification. Burns that leave nothing but charred bone may be fatal. Hmm... do you think? Is that why you don't see many charred skeletons down at the market on Sunday morning ?

Anyway, here's my piece of automotive advice for the week: If your hunk of crap truck won't start, it may be the starter relay... so pop the hood, and try arcing the positive and negative using a screwdriver... the spark may be enought to smack the relay back into working mode. Apparently the relay can get stuck in an "on" mode so it won't connect to allow the starter to kick. However, there are two very important caveats to that process:

1) make sure the ignition is not in "start up" mode... if it is, the truck may start and slowly run you over, which is a really embarassing way to die or get horribly injured.

2) after massive amounts of electricity run through the screwdriver, it will get hot. Hot enough to give a second degree burn (see above). Apparently this is the sort of thing that a fellow might forget just after being almost run over.

Stay tuned for next week's account of a weekend at ManCamp...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Line Snakers and Eye Shakers

You know how sometimes you're feeling extra good-natured, so you decide to hold the door to a store open for a fellow human being, even if they are far enough away that you could let the door slam and not lose sleep over it? And then they enter and proceed to get in line in front of you, and then they pull out their list of 7 different sandwiches that they have to order for all the people at their office? And you just needed a quick sammie, nothing fancy, an easy order, but now you have to wait for this whoremonger to finish the longest, most complicated lunch order in the history of the free world? That bugs me. These dumb bastards invariably fail to understand the basic protocol for ordering as well, and have apparently never been to such obscure restaurants as, oh, I don't know, Subway, or DunkinDonuts.
I've decided to have a little card printed up that I can pass out in such situations. It will read something like this:

Dear Friend,
I graciously just held the door open for you because I cherish you as a fellow human being, and I want to show that maybe there are some decent polite people left in this world. In doing so, however, I did not express or imply any suggestion that I am relinquishing my place in line. I own that space, and reserve the right to take that place. Until I smile graciously and say, "oh no, please go right ahead, I'm in no hurry", that spot is mine, and I will defend it as ferociously as the Lakota at Little Big Horn. Should you choose to ignore my sovereignty and recklessly snake my position in line, dear friend, I will have no recourse but to:
a) rabbit punch you in the kidneys until you pee yourself
b) beat you about the head with a loaf of Italian, Wheat, Honey Oat, or Italian Herbs & Cheese bread, bread, which happen to be the bread choices at Subway, you ignorant bitch, or
c) scowl menacingly while saying really horrible things about you and your sexual proclivities under my breath
Thank you for your cooperation,
The anonymous tall, dark, and exceeding handsome dude who is about to squash you like a rotten grape.

As long as I'm talking about significant pet peeves, let me get one other issues off my chest. We just switched to a new font at work, Adobe Jensen Pro. This font looks amazing in printer paper form, but on screen, it is just slightly less painful to the eyes than putting in your contacts just after chopping a fresh bushel of habaneros. It is one of those fancy fonts that displays differently at different zoom levels, and the appearance is really best on a new 2009 21" LCD high res display, but unfortunately I am stuck on a 17" Gateway monitor from 1996.

On my crappy screen, the font is fuzzy, and the kerning is all wrong. In case you didn't spend the majority of your college career in a cartography lab, kerning is the spacing between characters in a font.
Most other fonts assign real estate based on the letter width... skinny letters like i and l are given narrow spots, while fatter letters get wider slots. Regardles, though, the spacing between letters is consistent... until you get fancy fonts which display crappy, in which case the spacing is crack-whore-esqe. Certain letters are smashed up together like 5 kids in the back seat of a Buick Country Squire on the way to the waterpak to all get wicked sunburns and mild cases of food poisoning from soggy tuna sandwiches that weren't kept quite cold enough. Other letters seem to float lonely and distant in the midst of crowded conditions. Take a look at this noonsense:

Look at how this word displays:
co mp le t e
What is so special about m and p that they have to get all snuggly in the middle of a word. It is like a consonant public display of affection. Totally inappropriate in mid-word.
Now think about a whole document that is , aside from being tremendously boring, is also
di spl a ye d in a f uck ed up m a nne r.

That is enough to drive me fucking ballistic. (Wow, two F-bombs in the space of two sentences. Dang, this is one edgy blog!) Not only is the general fuzziness of the font on screen maddening, even when displayed at ludicous sizes, but the font creator over at Adobe had to get all righteous and mess with the lower case t. Remember back to grade school printing lessons: there were short letters, there were tall letters, and there were short letters with hangy-downs. The only exception to that was the glorious t. Not too big, not too small, just right, Goldilocks-stylee. (Yup, I just said "stylee"; this here blog is edgy and hip.) It was tall like the others, but it also had that sweet crossbar which was often in the nebulous grey area between short and tall. You probably don't believe me, but check this out:
The t is like a last speedbump in a long string of low letters... except in this crappy new font, which squishes t down to small round letter proportions. Check it:
It is like t barely even exists. There are nice tall b, d, f, h, k, and l, but somehow t got the frickin shaft. That's bullshit, Adone Jensen Pro. Give t the respect it deserves. It is a shame, too, because this font is generally gorgeous. Don't make me call in the special forces on this one, because I know one mean mofo who will not stand for such injustice.

310 CMR Solid Waste Management Regulations

For today's entry, I will comment on the State of Massachusetts Solid Waste Management Regulations, heretofore referred to as 310 CMR 19.000 through 19.207. This is the 101 page document I have to review today for a landfill client in Massahola. I will take the time to comment on any and all interesting things I come across while reviewing this charming document:
1) ...

Yup, that's about it... 101 pages of joy later, and I openly weeping with boredom.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Google listing

by the way, my blog is now Google searchable... so if you do a Google search on some common term, like "Mitt-Bacon-HoleyCrotch Friday", there is a good chance that my blog will appear within the search results.

Oddly enough, my blog is the only site that seems to make reference to Mitt-Bacon-HoleyCrotch Friday... very strange; that really surprises me.

$3.77 Mystery Bag at Monty Hall's Yard Sale

So late last night I checked out one of my favorite online shopping deal sites, thingfling.com. The site sells one product at a time at a discounted rate... they buy a product, usually electronics of some sort, at closeout, and sell it until it is gone, then sell something else. Every once in a while, they sell a "mystery box"... a guaranteed $75 worth of random product for $25 shipped, for instance. Sometimes one major item is revealed, such that the deal is an "almost msytery box". Last night they were running a "mystery bag", shipped to your door for $3.77 including tax, delivery product cost, all that plus a product for $3.77.

Now I like surprises as much as the next guy, but it seems in my life, most of my surprises come in the form of "we got a call from the principal... guess what Junior did at school today?", or "guess what, the cat is pregnant again!" To have the opportunity to get a bona fide surprise delivered to my door for $3.77 is just plain irresistable.

I wonder if that concept would work at yard sales... inevitably, you get people bargaining to try to get that $85 lamp for cheaper than the $3 you asked, so maybe the mystery box concept would work? "Hey there, lady wearing the 1993 Superbowl t-shirt with the leopard print sweatpants and the fuzzy pink slippers, I offer you this mystery box! It contains an item with a retail value of $119.95, lightly used, in full working order, It is yours for the one time low low price of .... $7.00!"

I guess the trick would be in getting all your yard sale visitors to dress up in silly costumes like the folks on Let's Make a Deal. I may incorporate that with my previous brilliant yard sale technique, the Drive-Thru Yard Sale. I live at the very end of an island cul-de-sac, so I just line my stuff up along the island and people drive on through, see what I have, and don't have to even get out of the car if they don't want to ... it saves me time, plus it appeals to both gluttony and sloth, and everyone knows that combining any two of the seven deadly sins equals yard sale success.

Sketchometer wrap up:
  • $3.77 mystery bag: -2... not sketchy, and pretty awesome.
  • lady wearing the 1993 Superbowl t-shirt with the leopard print sweatpants and the fuzzy pink slippers: 7.3 .... pretty sketchy since she knows where you live... probably only a 4 in regular circumstances.
  • Drive-Thru Yard Sales: 5, mostly for traffic related concerns.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My genetic lovechild meets the Lord of the Rings

so I tried to upload a funny animated image... it turns out that in Blogger, you cannot upload animated gifs directly from your computer and preserve the animation, you must use a third party image hosting site like the fine folks at Photobucket. So, I upload the gif, and there I am, staring back at me from some Vonage ad. Not only is some dude using my likeness without my permission, but he got caught with a dumb expression on his face too...

Okay, it isn't exactly me, but the disturbing part is that this dude is obviously some genetic lovechild of me and my buddy DLibby. While it is disturbing to know that I have a fully grown manchild love clone, it is more disturbing to know that he is hawking Vonage with a dumb look on his face. I had always hoped that any laboratory generated genetic half clones of me would do better for himself than that... maybe be a surgeon, astronaut, or a globetrotting adventurer...but isn't that every parents' dream?
So anyway, without further adieu, here's what led me on this whole little voyage of self-discovery... you might want to refresh to start it from the beginning.

I hope that was worth the wait... after the pain and turmoil and newly found parental responsibilities it unearthed, I know it was definitely NOT WORTH IT to me.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy Freaking March

There are just some days that start off rough. There are other weeks that start off rough. But when the start of the day, week, and month all start off rough, well then you know that it is a Monday.
Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday, and you're not feelin' real well, does anyone ever say to you, 'Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays'?

Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you'd get your ass kicked sayin' something like that, man.

Indeed. My little section of the universe is ripe for an ass-kicking.

In other news, Lowe's has started selling "Katrina cottages", small homes inspired by the need for permanent, affordable housing for folks affected by the hurricane. These homes arrive in kit form, everything included except HVAC and furniture, sort of a modern spin on Sears Craftsman style kit homes from the 20's. I'm guessing that the massive floodwater and looters are available separately.

Spurned by that, I started reading more about eco-friendly building, and came across an interesting article about the "Not So Big House" movement... basically, by utilizing spaces for multiple functions, you can create a bigger feeling house in a much smaller footprint. It sounded intriguing, until I read this part about size and budget: "But as a rule of thumb, a Not So Big House is approximately a third smaller than your original goal but about the same price as your original budget."

Um, no. Not gonna happen. If we're talking small, I want to live somewhere that is STUPID small, like bunk beds and lofted areas and the like... part of that appeal is to build a house for $25,000 or so and own it outright. If I'm going to have a monstrous mortgage payment, you can be damn sure that I'm going to have a big honking place...

The other thing I'm thinking about is the thought of having a small house, or maybe two small houses, but then a huge garage, and maybe a big utility building also. Like two 500 square foot living spaces with a 2000 square foot barn. That would be fine by me...
This blog entry hasn't been very funny, so I will leave you with this:
So these two cannibals are eating a clown.
One cannibal turns to the other and asks, "Does this taste funny to you?"