Monday, January 31, 2011

price of freedom of speech

You may have noticed that I have deleted the links to my other blogs from this site. I have done the same on those other blogs – severing the connection that would let somebody easily discover my writings. I decided to do this bit of paranoid-based cleaning of my blogs after hearing a few comments at work. They came from those not quite at the top of the management feeding chain but close enough that I thought I should take heed.

It seems they had come across postings from one of my other coworkers that portrayed the company in a less-than-favorable light. Imagine that. The discussion was about what action upper management should consider: reprimand, firing, torture by Justin Bieber. At the moment, I guess they're waiting on word from lawyers as to what legal recourse the company can take.

It's not like I name my company in my post. But if they happen across an entry and have half a brain (which probably means 10 of them will have to read the same post), they might be able to recognize that I've been lampooning them. Yes, I've done this on my own time and with my own resources. But then, so has the other guy who, at this moment, describing his blog out of fear of losing his job.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Today, FDA lost its court battle against the makers of electronic cigarettes and can no longer regulate these devices as a drug delivery system. Invented in China, these cigarettes provide a metered dosage of nicotine or vaporized flavored smoke ... unless the battery shorts out and provides a metered shock to your lips. I understand you get quite a charge out of the menthol flavor. (I'm just kidding. But if you did get a random shock in the kisser every time you inhale, I'm pretty sure you would give up smoking ... or kissing.)

While the electronic cigarette is a novel concept, that's just something you won't find in the cigar world. Cigar smoking isn't so much about the nicotine rush as it is about the impression of fearless confidence --- like that of a successful business tycoon building a global empire or of the world leader running with the big dogs of history. Would you prefer Winston Churchill calmly puffing on Rocky Patel cigars or your local council member frantically changing batteries of metal straws of vapor? Yes, it was a trick question. I much prefer a former politician to one who is office – they are less likely to have the FDA take you to court over your smoking habits.

Monday, January 24, 2011

a single raindrop

Usually I love technology. I've been its biggest proponent ever since I was a wee lad and discovered the miracle of bread been changed into toast by shiny metallic box. But lately, technology has let me down with little disappointments here and unexpected failures there. I turn on my computer and discovered that what worked great yesterday, suddenly stopped working today for no obvious reason.

Today, there was a little glitch in a circuit board that I had designed and had been working great. For some mysterious reason, my creation died and suddenly I felt an overwhelming urge to just escape into the mountains where the most advanced technological gadget is a rocking chair and I can converse easily with the other cabin furniture.

It's silly that something that minor would suddenly make me feel so incredibly incompetent. Of course, it's not a single raindrop that is responsible for the flood. And it's not each infuriating incident that makes me feel overwhelmed.

I've read an article about the onset of being burned out. I think maybe I'm overdue for a major vacation…

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Politics as usual


Of course, which president (with the possible exception of Reagan) kept even half of their campaign promises?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

questions, questions

With all the important, crucial, life-changing questions that I could have been asked, I had to get "are diet pills effective?" No one asked me about who is going to win the Super Bowl (hopefully, the team with the most points). No one asked about my forecast for gasoline prices at the pump few weeks (more than a dollar). No one asked me to resolve the age-old debate between "taste great" versus "less filling" (who cares? Focus on what matters - drink).

So, are diet pills effective? After years of studying reports and opinions and charts (some of which could be construed as being remotely related to diet pills), I'm left with a few questions of my own. For example, exactly how many bottles of diet pills does it take to fill you up? I mean, those pills are small. It seems that it would take several handfuls before you could begin to think of pushing yourself away from the table. Fortunately, they aren't as small as a cholesterol pills that I had to take. Those pills were so small that I had the first wrap them in bacon and cheese to make them big enough to swallow. Even then, they still did nothing for my cholesterol levels.

Right now the best answer I can give me be in my other post on the subject.

RIP Fat Daddy's

For the past 20 years, I took family and friends to a great family-style pool hall with the best wings and burgers that money could buy. We would go to Fat Daddy's whenever possible to have a few laughs, play a little pool, and have a hearty tuck-in with some great food and drink. But it has been a year since last time I had a chance to visit this favorite establishment of mine.

Yesterday was the first time I've driven by it in a couple months. But it wasn't there --- just some dust, a few bricks and demolition equipment. After little research on the Internet, I learned they closed the doors on this excellent eatery just before Christmas. Apparently, a recently hired manager had not been enforcing rules on decorum. As a result, thug wannabes and those who don't understand the pants-belt concept began to frequent our now-deceased restaurant. The overly loud music, the even louder abusive language, and behavior that threatened the more- frequent patrons cause business to fall sharply. And so another great place bites the dust.

Which is the best diet pill? Please ....

First I wrestled with my weight. Well, I actually wrestled with controlling my weight. It would've looked rather silly to see my fat in wrestling leotards and me trying to pin his squishy form on to the mat. And that's certainly something that nobody needs to see (unless of course it's on YouTube).

But I'm through with that now. I moved on to greater challenges – such as wrestling to open diet pill bottles. It's bad enough you have to fight past the childproof cap. Once you get that removed (usually with the aid of a pair of large vise grips), you discover metallic foil that has been arc welded into place around the bottle opening. After you've weakened and finally broken through that evil covering with scissors, ice picks, and a series of battle axes, you come face-to-face with … the unending cotton ball that has engulfed every single pill in the bottle.

By now, you're probably wondering which diet pill is the best. That's an easy one to answer. It has to be the one that causes you the toughest workout to get it out of the bottle.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

De Tics and De Tox Of a Medical Clock

You probably know that taking drugs leads to nowhere. Yet, it's the scenic route on that trip to nowhere that keeps you traveling until you reach the unfortunate destination of mental and physical anguish. So you abused your mind and body to the point that you're ready to change your ways. Great! Part of the road to recovery is getting the poisons out of your system. Do you go the typical route and spend an hour a day for eight days with treatment? Or do you go through a rapid detox process and spend eight hours in one day cleaning out your mind and body? My recommendation? While laughter may be the best medicine (especially if you don't have medical insurance), I recommend that you don't use my blog for medical advice. Ever!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Universe still anger?

So there I was, driving home tonight, minding my own business, when suddenly, a suicidal suitcase size of ice and timber leapt into the air from a passing lumbar truck. "Wow! That's amazing!" I thought, followed by "That isn't going to ... HEY!" I swerved just in time for the wayward debris to crash into the passenger side of the windshield, launching fine shards of glass into the passenger ... who, fortunately, wasn't there. I stopped, partly to inspect the damage and mostly to rearrange a newly acquired load in my underwear. The truck kept driving. I'm home now but won't be on the road until the windshield gets replaced. Still, if I or the truck had been a few seconds faster or slower, this wouldn't have happened. The timing of it all just amazes me. Right time. Right place. If only the lottery would work this well for me...


I know I'm about to get some needling for the following but here goes ... Wouldn't you know it, I spend all day lumbering around at work, pining to get home. Then, when I finally leaf for greener pastures, all elm breaks loose as grabbed me by the old twigs and berries and squeezes. Maybe it's pay back for being knotty. I don't know. When that debris hit, I don't even remember if I screamed, cursed or what the timber in my voice was like.

Oh well, life's a birch, isn't it. Maybe I need to go through this two more times. After all, as they say "tree times is a charm."

I am glad I'm here and able to write this. Of course, you might be thinking differently after this post.

What's on your office walls?

You can tell where you rank on the company feeding chain by what is hanging on your office walls. Down near the bottom of the pay scale, just above peon, is the worker bee who resides in a cubicle. His limited wall space is adorned with a piece of copied paper that shows the promises of upcoming company holidays. Next to that will hang a calendar so that our intrepid cubicle prairie dog can keep track of the days when he had to work during those company holidays as well as his missed vacation. If there is space available, you'll also find various small pictures of this employee's family tacked into the gray cloth walls of his surroundings. While our cubicle dweller runs on his hamster wheel, he will wistfully glance at his family for the necessary motivation to keep on running.

At the top of the food chain, you have an upper management's office which could easily contain 10 cubicles if this manager would allow it. (And you know that's not going to happen without a doubling in pay and a new office.) You won't find pictures of his family on the wall. No, he keeps them in beautiful frames on his desk. That makes it much easier to turn the pictures facedown when he's about to do something unethical that may cause him to feel a little guilt. On his walls, you will find large replicas of famous artworks. This is to remind him as he runs on his hamster wheel that he too can achieve a multi-million-dollar lifestyle --- as soon as he can find a reason to layoff 10 cubicle workers.

And then there are those of us in-between the two extremes. As an engineer, I get to do the work of 5 people. Thus, I have an office is about the size of two cubicles, which is convenient for my often-used sleeping bag. I have pictures of my family in very plain frames sitting on my desk -- so I can remember what they look like. On my walls, I have several technical posters gleaned over the years from free trade publications. But it would be nice to have something a little more classy hanging vertically in my workspace (besides the upside-down water bottle and a noose). Lately, as I dash about on my hamster wheel, the words of the famous Cinderella song runs through my head, "Someday my art prints will come."

Sunday, January 09, 2011

What did I do?

Ok, what is going now? Last week, I bought a power inverter to run my laptop while traveling in the car and a memory module to upgrade my computer.

The power inverter died after 30 minutes of operation. So I returned it.

I couldn't install the RAM module because Acer wants more money before they'll tell me how to upgrade MY laptop. So I returned the RAM.

For the past couple of days, my wireless network connects whenever it feels like working. Nothing has changed. No viruses have been found through extension scans.

Today, my wireless connection lasted long enough for me to receive several porn spam e-mails asking me if I wanted to be spanked. Have I done something wrong to the universe?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Skip The Acer Laptop across a pond

I've recently learned why my Acer Aspire 7736Z-4088 was so cheap. I'm recording my technical adventures here. You might want to reconsider buying that Acer ...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

My Future Prediction (part 1)

Some people believe that their clothes dryer eats one sock during each load of wet clothing. Others believe that pairs of socks have marital-type disputes with each other, causing one of them to leave and never be seen or heard from again.

I believe in the opposite. Socks do not turn up missing. Rather, they magically increase by one each time you put them together as a wet group into the dryer. I don't know how they do this. That's why the process is called magical.

I believe the same thing happens with baby clothes. While my daughter was pregnant, friends and family gave her boxes and boxes of shirts and pants and onesies for infants. A majority of the apparel had only been worn once or even not at all. By the time her newborn son reached his first birthday, many of those baby items were still in pristine condition. This worked out great because we learned that my girlfriend's daughter became pregnant shortly after. So we sent her the mountains of infant-wear. Between what we sent and what my stepdaughter's friends and family gave her, I understand that she had to buy another house for the storage space.

I can't think of anything more cost-effective than this process of giving hand-me-downs to those who need them. Yet, in spite of the avalanche of baby wear, this did not deter the moms and the sisters and the female friends from buying yet more clothing to bestow upon expecting mothers. I don't know if it is a female trait that causes them to be motivated by the cuteness factor of the frock. Or perhaps it's that maternal instinct that causes lapses in memory about the tonnage of clothes already acquired. But in any case, I think the baby clothing industry may be in for an apocalyptic bubble bursting.

[continued in "My Future Predictions (Part 2)"]

My Future Prediction (part 2)

[continued from "My Future Predictions (Part 1)"]

Consider all these baby clothes being given to each mother-to-be. From what I've noticed lately, it seems that these clothes are magically increasing their numbers at astounding rate. Pretty much in the same fashion as socks magically multiply in the dryer. Couple this growth with the declining birthrate in the United States. Pretty soon, each baby will have enough outfits to last until he or she graduates from college – provided he or she can still fit into onesies. Obviously, it's going to take several generations before the infant accouterments will show enough wear to warrant replacement.

Not a problem. I'm sure the baby clothing industry is already working on a plan to keep demand for their products at an all-time high. All they have to do is focus on the opposite end of the population spectrum – that's right, senior citizens.

First of all, everyone knows how seniors love pets, especially small ones. Not only are the little animals cute and easier to handle, but you can both eat from the same tin of cat or dog food. And as guaranteed retirement funds become un-guaranteed and more scarce than honest politicians, our aging baby boomers will have to cut back on necessities like heat. What better way to keep a precious pet warm than to dress it up in a baby's 3T Barney the dinosaur T-shirt.

Not only can seniors dress their favorite dog or cat as an infant, but we all know how the older you get, the short you become. What may have fit your grandson, may now hug your shrinking octogenarian body. What was once the cute attire of a bald, drooling, diaper-wearing child will be the functional attire for a bald, drooling, diaper-wearing adult.

Only the low next few years will tell for sure what will happen with this ever advancing sea of infant clothing. I think I'm going to start picking out my outfits now and be a trendsetter.