Showing posts from October, 2008


What could set the tone for Halloween better than finding a dead mouse in your drawer first thing in the morning?

Pink vs. Blue

Before I begin, let’s all take a deep breath.Okay, are you ready?Let me start by saying that I’m glad so many people are active in raising awareness of diseases. This tends to happen when someone we know is afflicted with the disease, so it’s natural. Runs/walks for the cure for ________ are great.There is, however, one aspect of this increased visibility of disease that bothers me, and that’s the trendiness of certain causes. The best example of this is breast cancer.Now, don’t get me wrong. Breast cancer is a horrible disease, and it kills a lot of women (around 25,000 in the U.S. in 2004, which is the most recent statistic I could find). I would be overjoyed to hear there is a 100% effective treatment for it. But you know what killed 25,000 men in the U.S. in 2004? Prostate cancer.Here’s a fun experiment. Go to your local grocery store and count the number of pink ribbons you see on products. Then count the number of blue ribbons you see.A comparative search using s…

Dangerous Habit

I have a dangerous habit that, to quote Count Rugen, is going to get me into trouble someday. When I see someone who is driving like a complete idiot, I will position myself so as to keep them from doing whatever stupid thing they’re trying to do, like zoom around me only to make an immediate turn, or tailgate someone else. What I always fail to consider at the time is that their driving pattern may be indicative of mental instability, and one of these days someone’s going to pull a gun on me.What dangerous habits do you have? Standing on a rolling chair to hang a picture? Eating meat that’s been out of the fridge for days?

My Own Personal Ice Age

Whoever built the building I work in was apparently—hmm, how can I put this delicately?—a steaming pile of monkey droppings, at least when it came to the HVAC system. We have been having temperature problems all year, and the company has been trying to get it fixed for months.I have 4 a/c vents in the vicinity of my cubicle (and none in the rest of the room), and this week they’re all working overtime. It will be frigid for an hour, then they’ll turn off for 20 minutes, then they’ll turn back on again. My theory is that there is a group of biologists, climatologists, and anthropologists studying my reaction to the constant warming/cooling cycle. I hope they’re able to learn something useful.

What would it be okay to get kicked out of?

Moron club


Crafts store

Museum of earwax sculpture


Snake handlers' meeting

I'm Even Clever in My Dreams

Last night I dreamed that I came up with a clever idea for a blog post, so I wrote it down in the dream. But when I woke up, I couldn’t remember it. Oh well, at least I got to post about having the idea…

Stick Around

When I was a cub scout, I stuck these on the ceiling beams in my parents' basement. So they've been there for about 20 years, which I think is pretty impressive.

[Bonus points will be awarded to whoever can identify the movie from which I took the title of this post (although there are probably a bunch, there's one in particular I'm thinking of. Half credit if you get the answer by googling it.)

And the Oscar Goes to...

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

(... if there was an award for the movie with the worst hair ever. Seriously, go watch it again. Every character looks truly horrible.)


(I thought I'd balance yesterday's post)


Toaster ovens





In N Out


Hybrid cars

Diet Coke



(It had been a while since I potentially offended any of you. So, who wants to argue, and what do you want to add?)

Happy Strike-Day

Last Friday was Sam's third birthday. Now that he's finally getting old enough to understand what that is, we decided to actually go out and do something. He loves bowling on the Wii, so we thought he'd enjoy bowling for real.
He was pretty intimidated at first, but once he got the hang of it we couldn't keep him out of the lane (and the older "serious bowler" gentleman next to us was none too pleased).

I need to start carrying a real camera around for these things.

Oh Come, All Ye Whiners

There seems to be an innate desire in all of us, to some extent, to complain about things. Some people seem to complain non-stop, while others rarely say anything negative. I would like to see some hard data regarding stress levels and complaining. Does it increase our stress by making us focus on it more, or does it have a therapeutic effect on our physical and mental state? And, more importantly, can I list “whining” as a hobby when I am filling out a form that asks?

That gives me an idea. Do you think I could set up a booth where, for an hourly fee, I would listen to people complain about anything they wanted to? I bet people would pay for that sort of service. I would listen and nod concernedly, and offer empathy. Think Lucy’s psychiatrist booth from Peanuts. What do you think?

Duck and Cover

Nature is going to get you pretty much wherever you live, and for a long time I've wanted to compare geographic areas where certain natural disasters are likely to occur. So, based on maps I found at government websites and the Red Cross, here's a reasonably accurate representation of the risks you run when you choose a place to live. I couldn't find any decent maps showing extreme heat in the summer or extreme cold in the winter, but those combined cover pretty much the whole country, so keep that in mind as you look at this.

Now and Later

You know how kids will put up with long-term, potential pain in order to escape temporary but sure pain? Okay, that was a terribly unclear question. Imagine a kid gets a splinter in his finger. He will put up with that pain, which would go on for days or weeks, rather than have you dig it out with a needle, which would hurt for just a minute but prevent infection. Or they would rather not get a shot, although it would keep them from getting sick.Well, as adults we can see how immature they’re being. Of course it makes sense to endure a little discomfort now in order to prevent future troubles. Then we go and purchase an adjustable-rate mortgage and a car we can barely make the payments on, because we’re so going to get that promotion. And then we don’t floss.

Toe Jam

Some years ago I broke one of my toes (the one next to the pinky toe, if you must know), and since it healed I have been able to pop it at will. Sometimes when I’m bored I just sit there popping it and my other toes, which seem easily poppable as well.What strange things does your body do?

Boring Political Post

A lot of people have been watching the televised debated between the candidates for president and vice president. Sometimes I feel guilty for not watching and seeking to educate myself more about the candidates, but then I realized something: There is no correlation between what a candidate says before election and what he or she will actually do in office. In fact, we should probably elect the loser of the debates, because that person is obviously not skilled enough at lying, which would make their administration a little more transparent. Either that, or we should force them to take lie detector tests.

An Experience I Am Not Anxious to Repeat

I live in a duplex. Our neighbor isn’t home much, but he does smoke, and in the winter the smoke comes through our heating ducts, which makes us sick. Eventually (fast forward through the long, boring explanation) we figured out that the problem may be that the attic is not divided, so I resolved to put up a sheet of plastic up there to keep the smoke out. So I did that last weekend, and it was not an experience I am anxious to repeat. I had to lie lengthwise on 2-inch beams, holding the plastic with one hand and the staple gun in the other. The ceiling is less than 5 feet at the peak, and at the edges it’s a 20-degree angle (I had to review some high-school trigonometry to figure out that angle—I hope you appreciate it), so even lying down I couldn’t reach all the way to the edge. But the worst part was the dust. Oh, and the fiberglass bits in my eye. I had a long scarf wrapped multiple times around my head, and I was still blowing dust out of my nose for the next 24 hours.

A Story

Once upon a time, my wife had a cell phone.

Eventually, the phone stopped working.

So I decided to get her a new phone (and one for me, too).

Phones are expensive.

But Verizon Wireless lets you upgrade every two years for free.

So I ordered her a phone on their website, but it didn’t work.

So I called and placed the order with a friendly customer service agent.

Then I found out that they were sending the order to the wrong address (which I had double-checked when I sent the order).

After 7 emails and a 40-minute phone call, they are sending the phones by overnight shipping, at no charge.

The end.

Today's Depressing Statistic


That's how much of the money I have paid into my 401(k) over the last year has been lost. I knew I should have gone for the mattress-stuffing-equity plan.

Surprises that are never good

Anything involving your bank Anything involving your insurance companyAnything involving your dentistGetting called to your boss’s office unexpectedlyTraffic reportsBreaking news


Fill in the blanks:One _________ short of a _________.The winner gets a selection of paper clip sculptures made by me!

There's a Christmas-tree-topping star, an elegant pen holder, and a collapsible cube. Get yours before the Louvre calls!

The best (and worst) seasonal candy

The BestMellowcreme pumpkins—HalloweenCadbury eggs (and the chocolate mini eggs)—EasterChocolate rabbits—EasterMint chocolate M&Ms—ChristmasBoxes of chocolates—Valentine’s DayThe WorstThose weird peanut taffy things—HalloweenConversation hearts—Valentine’s Day (I still like them, but they somehow seem like terrible candy)Candy canes—Christmas
I have a feeling this list is far from complete. What is missing?

please enjoy the music while your party is reached

Do you know anyone with a cell phone that gives you the message “please enjoy the music while your party is reached” (and then proceeds to play a song) when you call it? I really, really hate that. Not only is it unlikely that the two of us share identical musical taste, but telephones don’t transmit the full range of the human voice (let alone hearing), so all you get is crappy, staticky mess. If it’s designed to keep people from wanting to talk to you, then my kudos go to whoever came up with the idea, because every time I get that message, I am sorely tempted to hang up and never call again.
I guess I get extra cranky when I'm tired.

Collision Course

I’ve never been particularly athletic, but this summer I started running on a reasonably consistent basis. As the summer has worn on, I have developed a sneaking suspicion that cyclists and runners don’t get along. I imagine the cyclists are thinking “Out of the way, slow-poke! Get yourself some wheels and travel like a civilized person!” And, in response, the runners are thinking “I don’t need some stinking bike that costs as much as a car to get my exercise! Nice helmet, poindexter!”Am I imagining things again?


I’ve never considered myself a collector of anything, probably because I don’t have the discipline to cut stamps off of envelopes. But a look in my coat closet reveals that I collect jackets.I think we all have some sartorial idiosyncrasies, be it sweaters to knot about our shoulders, silk scarves, or jackets. I personally think few things can compliment an outfit (not that I’m admitting to wearing “outfits”) as well as having the appropriate jacket. I need a jacket for every possible weather condition, from warm and rainy to cold and snowy, to just going out for a night on the town (it could happen someday, and I might as well be prepared).I’m running out of room in the closet, so I guess I’d better start getting rid of my parachute pants collection; it’s starting to look like they’ll never be back in style…

Parking, Metered

I have this fascination with obscure and insanely specific aspect of human nature. For example, in the morning it seems like the cars in the parking lot are all parked pretty well. Then, after everyone has come back from lunch, a lot of cars are having trouble staying in the lines. My theory is that people are always late coming back from lunch. But lots of people are late coming in the morning, too, so I don’t know if that makes any sense.

Recently Spotted around Town

A luxury car pulling in to a trailer park

A gas station with an electronic sign showing a price of $1.23 (and 4/10, too), while the rest of the signs were about $3.50

Mud Flap, Baby Mud Flap

There are a number of narrow streets in my neighborhood. On the street I mentioned in that other post, there is a house. This house was rented by a wonderful family who, after being robbed 4 times in two years, decided it was time to find someplace else. The house is now occupied by a number of people who may or may not be related in some way. All I know is that they have 5 nearly identical, enormous, lifted trucks. They look like this:

They also have a couple of cars in addition to those trucks, and sometimes there are 6 trucks. So at any time, at least three vehicles are parked on the narrow street with the concrete barriers on the other side. It's not wide enough for two cars to go by simultaneously. I predict that this winter at least one of those trucks will be hit by someone sliding on the ice.


Suppose you know someone who absolutely drives you crazy. You think every word that comes out of this individual’s mouth (Ha! I typed “moth…”) is utter garbage, and you honestly find it hard to refrain from punching this person, or at least screaming “shut up!” whenever they’re in the room.Suppose this person isn’t someone you ever really have to work with; it’s more someone you see occasionally at social functions. Do you just ignore the person and mentally yell “Serenity now!” whenever they’re around, do you try to get to know them better in the hope that you’ll come to be friends, or do you give in to the urge to commit physical violence and find peace in the ensuing 15 to 20 years away from society? Please note that I’m not asking what you should do, but rather what you actually do.