I Toast, therefore I Am (Unoriginal)

Here’s something I have been wondering about toasters. Does anybody anywhere actually turn the browning knob even halfway up? I have never turned the knob more than maybe a quarter of the way. I have a feeling that if I were to turn it all the way up, something dreadful would happen, like I would be transported to a parallel universe, or my toaster would go into meltdown or something. So, if nobody uses their toaster at full power, why do the manufacturers make them that way? It’s like having a car that can drive at 200 mph. You know you’re never going to get a chance to drive it that fast, so it’s sort of a waste of potential.

Good Night; Sleep Slanted.

Does anybody out there have an idea of when standard bed sizes came about? I’m wondering if it was back in the days when it was rare to see anybody over 5-foot-6. I guess queen- and king-sized mattresses are supposed to be 80 inches long (I’m going to go measure mine to see if it’s really that long), but you lose some inches at the top, unless you sleep all the way up on your pillow. Then at the bottom, if you tuck your sheets in, you lose more inches, unless you want your feet pinned down by the sheets. So even I, at a mere 5-11, have to sleep sort of diagonally across the bed in order to stretch out fully.

I know, I know, there are “California-size” mattresses that give you a few extra inches. But they really need to be made more widely available.

Am I the only one who has noticed this?

Police Beat

A few nights ago I was awakened by what sounded like small explosions outside. There were police cars down the street, and I wondered if there was shooting. A few days later we found out that the police were trying to arrest someone who had multiple warrants out on them, so they broke the door down and threw in stun grenades, and then went in and got him.
So I suppose that was better than shooting, and it's not like that guy had been living here for very long, but it still makes me want to stay behind locked doors.
Does anybody out there have any interesting stories about a brush with the law?

Sniff-Yarg!

It’s been a couple of months since I posted something to make everyone think I’m a jerk, so here’s my question today: Have you ever noticed that sometimes Mexican food (or the inauthentic stuff you get around here, anyway) smells like B.O.? It’s really disturbing to me when someone walks in and I have to give myself a smell check to make sure I remembered deodorant that day. No wonder I don’t care for that kind of food. I can’t imagine anybody would want to eat something that reminds them of ninth grade gym class.

Oh, and by the way, lest you think I’m being unfair here, there is one particular ingredient in a lot of Korean food that smells like a dumpster on a hot summer day. And I spent two years there eating it. So I’m not playing favorites here.

Guilt or Fatigue: Choose Wisely

I’m usually pretty tired by the end of the week. I wake up at a fixed time on Sunday through Friday, but my bedtime can vary greatly. So it’s natural that I’d want to sleep in on Saturday. I find, however, that when I do I feel lazy and it seems like half my day is gone. But when I get up at a reasonable time, I am tired but feel more productive. So should I choose productivity at the cost of sleep, or vice versa?

Breaker Breaker

I usually listen to my ipod in the car, through the radio with one of those little transmitters. The funny thing is that even in a place like Salt Lake with a relatively small population as cities go, there is only one frequency I can use that isn’t already cluttered with other stuff.

Last night I was driving home from the grocery store, and as a car pulled up behind me at a light my reception went out so I was listening to dead air. As I pulled away from the light it came back, and as the same car pulled up behind me again it happened again. I tried turning mine off to see if I could hear what the guy was listening to, but I couldn’t hear it. I just thought it was funny that we were both using transmitters, and they were both apparently tuned to the same frequency. Unless he was back there microwaving a burrito or something, anyway.

Bubblegum, Bubblegum, in a Dish...

I’m not a very decisive person. I can usually see both sides of an issue, and sometimes it makes it really hard for me to make a decision. An I’m not just talking about big ethical dilemmas here. I often can’t decide what shirt to put on. So I’d like to think that I’m just a thoughtful, deliberate person, but deep down I suspect it’s something far less profound.

So how do you make decisions? Do you carefully weigh the pros and cons, the risks and potential benefits? Or do you go by your gut feelings? Do your decision-making methods differ if it’s a life-altering decision?

Once a Kid...

Have you ever watched two young children playing in a room? The room can be filled with toys, but eventually one child will pick up a toy, and the other one will suddenly realize that of all the toys in the room, that’s the one that he wants. Then, as soon as one of them wins the ensuing conflict, they both lose interest in that toy anyway.

That’s not an original sentiment. Anyone who has been around children is aware that they do that. But I bet you thought adults had grown out of it. What about the first guy on the block to buy a big expensive car? Well, guy #2 has to go out and buy an even bigger, more expensive car. This one-upping continues until people can’t afford the houses they built, and a mortgage crisis ensues.

There’s a thought to entertain us as we huddle shivering in our cardboard boxes in the coming depression.

By the way, my wife gets credit for coming up with this topic.

From Bad to Worse

A few weeks ago I was wondering about snowflakes. Apparently I was right about the water needing to crystallize around something. And guess what it usually is? Bacteria. That's right. According to the article, up to 85% of the time, snowflakes are formed around bacteria. Think about that the next time you catch snowflakes on your tongue!

A Tip for Aspiring Supervillains

My friends, it's time we standardize on an issue that is very near and dear to each of us. We all need to occasionally express in our writing the sentiment of maniacal laughter. Sometimes I see it "Bwa ha ha," but we all know it's really "Mwa ha ha." Nobody pronounces it with a B. Come on, people. Get your act together.

Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs, Oh my!

The other day I got some girl scout cookies I had ordered. On the box it has the words "courage," "confidence," and "character." I can't help but wonder how the girls develop those traits. Is it "the courage to ask your parents to do all the selling for you," "the confidence of knowing your mother will emotionally blackmail anyone you know who doesn't buy some," and "the character you build by learning to pawn off your responsibilities on others"?
Don't get me wrong. I love the cookies, and those certainly are important things to learn. Still, I don't think I've ever seen a girl scout selling cookies in person, with or without adult supervision.

Grr

Is it unusual for me to enjoy being in a bad mood on occasion? Sometimes it’s fun to just stare daggers at everyone around, maybe imagining the flesh melting from their bones like in Raiders of the Lost Ark or something. Am I unusually sadistic, or does everyone feel that way? Answer me, you worthless drooling cretins! I mean, uh, I guess I’d better go take a white pill.

Alarm

Look, politicians. Your TV, internet, print, and radio ads are invasive enough. The last thing I need is for you to be hanging around in my dreams at night. I don’t know how you did it last night, Bill and Hillary, but I demand that you cease all appropriation of my sleep. Just let me get back to my usual dreams of winning the Super Bowl with Batman.

Thanks.

Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have You Any Paper in Your Cassette?

Can I just say that I hate fax machines? They are always either out of paper or jammed, and they make that horrible modem noise. They are truly the black sheep of technology. You never know who’s going to read them, for one thing. It’s like sending an email to a whole group of people when only one person needs to read it.

I suppose what it all boils down to is that I sit right by the fax machine, and I have to listen to all the goofy noises it makes.

Changing Your Mind (and Probably Your Body)

Just about everybody has something about themselves that they'd like to change, except for those who have sufficiently self-medicated. I'm no exception to this. I do, however, have a sneaking suspicion that the things we would like to change about ourselves are totally different from the things others would change about us if given the chance. Yes, folks, that's just one more reason you don't want to be telepathic.

The Scalp Theory of the Universe

This morning I was thinking about the similarities between styling your hair and the union of classical physics and quantum mechanics. Now I know you’re thinking, “Duh. Of course those are analogous,” but I’ll explain anyway*.

Classical physics holds that gravity is the main force holding the universe together. It keeps the planets revolving around the sun and all that. But when you get down to the subatomic level, gravity doesn’t play as strong a role. So there is some debate as to exactly what forces govern the behavior of subatomic particles. Scientists are still trying to figure out the relationship between the behavior of these little things and the universe as a whole.

Now, I can put gel in my hair to style it, and it holds the general shape of my hair just fine. But it doesn’t keep little individual strands from straying as well as I would like, so I use a little hairspray to get rid of the frizz. Why can’t I find a hair product that will do it all?

Yeah, at this point I’d like to remind you that there are no refunds.


*Disclaimer: I don’t really know anything about this, but I do like to watch “Nova.” If I’m wrong, blame them.

Name-Doctoring

There seems to be a surprisingly large number of people who don’t care for their name. If you could choose any name for yourself (first, last, or both), what would it be? Try to think of something more original than Max Power. Personally, I’d go with the first name “Doctor.” That commands automatic respect. Imagine a 7-year-old sitting in school. His teacher is calling the roll on the first day and says, “Doctor Johnson.” Tell me that wouldn’t be great for your self-esteem.

My Obsession with Cars Continues

There’s an experiment I would really like to try. You’d have to start with two identical, brand-new cars. You’d have to drive them both in the same conditions for the same # of miles, which would be pretty hard. With one of the cars, you’d do absolutely everything you’re supposed to do for maintenance, including all the “recommendations” from any shop you go to. With the other car, you’d do what normal people do, which is nothing until something breaks. Then you’d see which car lasts longer.

It wouldn’t be a really valid test unless you had a large number of cars, but I would still like to know if spending the extra $xxx every time anybody looks at my car would be worth it.