Saturday, October 30, 2010

When is the best time to buy a lottery ticket?

When you can drive on the wrong side of i-95, cause a few accidents, have your little trip video taped, return home safe and sound, and have the police saying that they can't find you ...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Put A Cork In It

“You need to diet,” he said to her. “Why?” she asked, “What color is it now?” “No!” he responded gruffly. “Not dye it. Diet!” “Nonsense,” she retorted, “I’m a fit as two women half my age.” “You're the size of two women half your age,” he muttered under his breath.

“Oh, I'll just go buy a couple of bottles of diet pills,” she said slimly. “That's not necessary,” he told her. “Out of all of the best diet pills for women, I have the perfect one. And all you'll need is just one!” “Really?” she asked inquisitively. “What is it?”

As proud as any man could be without giving any forethought to the consequences of his actions, he stood in front of her and arrogantly held out a 4 inch round cork stopper. “Ta-da!” He shouted. She looked at him as if he had lost his mind, which he had. “I can't use that!” she exclaimed. “Not only will I not be able to eat but I won't build to talk as well!” Not knowing when to keep his month shut, he boosted, “I told you it was perfect!”

And that's when the fight began …

tastes like ...

For lunch today we tried a new restaurant that has alligator on the menu. Actually, there are words "alligator bites" on the menu. To have an actual alligator on the menu would be silly and not conducive for business.

When we first read "alligator bites", we thought perhaps restaurant was just trying to be obvious. But there was no other similar phrases listed, such as "fish swim", "dogs bark", or "cook spits". So being the adventurous guys that we are, we ordered a couple of servings of this reptilian delicacy. I have to admit – the alligator was rather tasty. It tasted like, well, … chicken.

This brings me to the main point of this post. When the first caveman ate chicken for the first time, what did he compare it to?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's sooooo worth it!

You know the old saying: the reason divorces cost so much is because they are worth it. The one thing that saying doesn't address is that the cost will linger for years and years and years.

It's been five years since my divorce became official. One of the conditions was that I would give half the value of our home to my ex and she would take her name off the property. So I took out a hefty loan to pay her and she, well, I'm still waiting on her to sign the quit claim.

I asked her about it last week. Turns out that she wants part of the money I earned from working two and three jobs to pay for our divorce. Can you say greedy? It's funny to think that at one time I put her on a pedestal. I'm thinking now that I had the order reversed.

I'm sure I could her to fulfill her obligation by paying her off. But it's not like I could take a payday advance to make this happen. After all, those payday advances are just that – an advance that you pay off on your next payday. The way things are going with her, this extortion will last years. And yet, you know what? It's still worth it!

Shhhhh, I'm hiding

As I sprinted upstairs to my office, I passed by a fellow engineer. He greeted me with, "I hope I'm as spry as you are when I'm your age." Okay, I will give you that I am almost twice his age but still… What kind of comment is that to make? I almost hit him upside his youthful noggin with my gallon sized bottle of Geritol.

Between you and me, that did make my day. I understood what he meant. Most of the guys and gals who are nearing or have surpassed the half-century mark will stand at the bottom of the stairs and call up to us instead of making the Herculean effort to walk up a few steps. And fortunately, most of those people are in upper management. So if we don't want to talk to them, we sit very, very still in our chairs until they go away. I guess being spry has its advantages.

One of These Days ... yeah, right....

When I was younger, I had these ridiculous notions that, after I turned 50, I would be able to sit back and begin to enjoy the fruits of all of my hard labor. So much for those foolish thoughts. I'm not sure where I made the wrong turn but I find myself working harder than ever now. If I'm not spending long hours frantically running on the treadmill called work, I’m spend time and money tending to this one's needs and that one's needs. If I'm not rushing to write code and reports to meet an impossible deadline, I'm spending hours racking my brain to come up with creative ways to put links like and keywords dealing with weight pills and body lotion into posts to get a few dollars to pay the bills. The important areas in my life, like eating and sleeping, have somehow become secondary. I get to them as I can and sometimes ending up making do with the condition that they come in.

Let's face it. I am becoming what I had hoped I’d never to be – a curmudgeon. Any moment now, I'm going to step on my Internet porch and start shouting, "Hey you kids! Get off my blog!" I think I have a good idea now of why Henry Thoreau moved out into the middle of tiny log cable in the woods by himself.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ouch! Hey, no pimples!

Who needs cable or satellite subscriptions when I have my trusty over-the-air reception. Couple of days ago, I got to watch extreme sports ... for free. Had I had to pay for this privilege, I would have missed highflying antics of the California skateboard competition. If you've ever wondered what happens to those goofy college dropouts, wonder no more. These pimply faced gents get to live their dreams as they ride on a piece of wood balanced on four-tiny wheels and free room and board at their parent’s homes.

I watched as one acrobatic daredevil plunge down the steep incline at neck breaking speeds. His momentum allowed him to race quickly up the other side, off the shiny quarterpipe and into the deep blueness of the California sky. There he paused, seemingly suspended forever in the air. Then slowly, gracefully, he returned back to the slick ramp to repeat a process that would have earned the envy of Sisyphus. Well, he might have repeated this process had his front wheels touched the inclined ramp and not the top of the horizontal platform. Sadly, because the laws of physics must be obeyed, his multicolored skateboard stopped instantly. However, our brave skateboarder didn't as he continued on his travels. He bounced face first down the smooth ramp and ricocheted sideways onto the adjacent though-not-as-smooth concrete walkway. Fortunately for him, the side of his face absorbed momentum of his movement. And while he didn't earn any points, he did earn the best acne treatment any young 20-something can ask for – road rash and skin grafts.

And to think I got to watch this all for free!

working out or just working

The former regime in charge of our company felt that the health of their employees was important especially if it meant keeping escalating healthcare costs down. So they sectioned off a corner of the plant and installed three showers along with several pieces of exercise equipment. They even went as far as hiring a workout instructor who came in at lunchtime and in the afternoons to provide classes.

Of course, all of that has changed. A couple months after the new company bought our business, they fired the workout instructor when they permanently laid off several workers. Now, there's only one or two people who still try to make a point to work out a couple of times during the week. Otherwise, the showers and the used gym equipment sit in the darkness and wait their turn to be permanently laid off. I should take advantage and get back into working out before I lose this resource as well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Habit is overcome by habit

I'm trying to get into shape. Well, at least one that's not as round. I'm just a 3-D guy trying to fit into a 2-D world. As you can imagine, it has been a struggle. So much so that the other day, I had to go to court over it … food court, that is. It's like regular court but more fun and much tastier.

Anyway, I've heard that habit is overcome by habit. And eating is a habit. So I thought I would overcome eating food by using hoodia diet pills - using not eating. I found if I take and put a pill between each finger including my thumb and do this for both hands, I would spend much the day trying to get the pills between each finger including my thumb on both hands. Finally, when I had successfully achieved this Cirque du Soleil feat, not only could I not pick up any food, I could no longer hold any utensils by which to eat the food. Now if I can make this a daily habit, eating won't be a problem, will it…

They're Alive! They're ALIVE, I tell you!!!

That brilliant, evil genius of the "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip, Stephan Pastis, has finally done it! He is taking his world-class characters and animated them for the world to see. Click on the image below to watch his zany results.

Warning! This is not for the faint of heart or those without a sense of humor!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Keeper of the Old Stuff

I have been working for my company for the past 20 years. Even though we go through periodic purges of antiquated equipment, there is still a lot of old stuff hiding away in an unused cubicles. Recently, the company has begun filling those convenient storage areas with newly hired people fresh out of college. "Fresh out of college" is management’s preferred employee --- someone who has some training yet can be paid as close to minimum wage as possible. "We'd love to pay you more but unfortunately you just don't have the experience yet. Don't worry. When you do, we'll find your cheaper replacement."

Last week, a new recruit was cleaning out one of the dungeons of despair, I mean, cubicle to make room for her new office. She picked up one of those "Velo binding" machines and looked at me as though I was the museum manager of ancient artifacts. I ended up explaining that, once upon a time, presentations weren't done with a high definition LCD screen in front of an bored audience. We actually had to print up booklets, assemble them with fancy bindings, and then hand them out so we could all turn the pages together while someone in the front of the room would read to us. It was considered a good meeting if the booklets were in color. It was considered a very good meeting if food was available. It was considered a great meeting if you didn't have to attend. In fact, at the end of the year, you would have a file cabinet full of written memorabilia so you could relive the hours that you wasted in meetings. Ah, good times, good times. Nowadays, you have only memories. And if you're lucky, they will file themselves in those irretrievable places in your mind. Ah, better times, better times...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who's afraid of The Dreaded Pirate, Monsieur Poopy Pants?

Apparently not the Marines! As our boys bravely rescued yet another vehicle that had been commandeered by Somali pirates, one of the pirates express his feelings by soiling his britches. This could explain why the these of the high sea have lately been wearing brown pants ... brown being the best camouflage for such an occasion.

Teens In The Fast Lane

Teens can be so cute when they get to age of driving an automobile. Their entire attitude undergoes a miraculous transformation when they believe they can be licensed to control several tons of metal, plastic and glass at high rates of speed. This is in stark contrast to the lack of control they seem to have over the tons of metal, plastic and glass that accumulate in their bedrooms. Apparently, the only difference is the presence of gasoline. And from the horrific sight of some teens’ bedrooms, I would be more than happy to chip in for a gallon or two of gas to get that fire started.

Regardless, there is something magical when you see a teenager's eyes fixate on those car keys. I say magical because when you dangle those car keys over their heads, they suddenly possess the speed and ambition not normally seen around times when dishes need to be washed or when homework needs to be done. Yes, those keys possess a magic that you won't find in any pixie dust or witch’s wand.

What about when that fateful day of the driving test arrives?  You can tell which teenagers have learned to stand on their own two feet – they're the ones who failed the test. But even if they passed the exam and the state foolishly grants them a license, you as a parent, as a responsible adult, as a gatekeeper of all that is precious and holy, still have the power to keep your hormonal raging child from becoming a road raging, driving fool. All it takes, my friend, is two words, two very simple yet extremely powerful words. When they come to you, whining in voices that make nails on a chalkboard a very welcomed sound and ask why can't they drive the car, all you have to say is "car insurance."

Thursday, October 07, 2010

My Review of Roku XD Player


Originally submitted at Roku

The new XD steps it up with 1080p HD video quality and extended-range wireless.

Bad Picture Quality

By Ron from North Carolina on 10/7/2010


1out of 5

Pros: Easy to set up, Easy to use

Cons: Poor picture quality, Inconsistent performance

Describe Yourself: Netflix fan, Power User, Early adopter, Technophile

At first, I thought I had a bad unit. The Roku-XD produced a strobing effect in the video. It reminded me of the old Macrovision copy protection feature used in playing VHS tapes. There were horizontal bands of brightest and darkest and seem to happen only during when there is sound. I used the composite video output to an old standard TV (no HDMI involved). If I adjust the brightness and contrast down enough, the strobing in the video is almost gone. Of course, the picture quality is very dark.

I must say that Roku's customer support is excellent! Within a week, I had a replacement unit. But, sadly, it has the same problem of strobing video.

I still have the unit I bought last year and it works very well. In fact, it has more video out options that Roku's newer models. I think Roku may have gone to a very cheap digital-to-analog conversion chip set.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

"Blogger In Draft"

If you've set up your blog through Google's, you get to play with advanced beta features from time to time. Today, I went to Blogger in Draft because I learned that it now has built-in traffic stats to check your blog. There is also a few extra features that you can play with (such as the redesigned 'preview' function). Handy so I'm passing this along to you ...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

duck! it's 3D TV

First there was the Internet and my geekness soared with the ease of researching any trivial matter and expanding my programming skills in the new world of HTML. Then TV shows began their slow start to become accessible to the masses through the Internet. But in the early days, you can only catch certain episodes at certain times when certain sites allowed you to be the certain viewers they were looking for. The only way you could save your shows for more convenient viewing was to invest in all sorts of elaborate servers and terabytes of storage complete with 1U lcd monitors. Basically you needed a set up that rivaled NASA's space center. But all of that is in the past. Now, you can satisfy your video addiction by watching anything at any time and saving it to pieces of plastic not bigger than your fingernail. If only the shows were worthy of your fingernail.

Anyway, the latest technological challenge for geeks everywhere is 3-D TV. While at a electronic trade show recently, I got a chance to preview what is coming out for this Christmas shopping season. In one large booth, just past the scantily clad models (who, sadly, were not female), stood a large wall covered in the latest 3-D HD television screens. These pricey toys showed off majestic scenery that flickered fast enough to tease the eye into wanting more. A salesman strolled up to me and asked my opinion. As I watched vibrant images of colorful fields with swaying wheat, barley and corn, I said it was a little grainy for high definition. They threw me out of the tradeshow…