Thursday, December 29, 2005

Lame attempt at a post

I'm still in Southern Illinois with a slow internet connection, but those of you with a faster ISP you might try checking out the festivities in New York online this year. Who knows, maybe they'll have fewer commercials than on the TV.

And if I don't get in any more posts (I don't plan on it) Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 23, 2005


I won't be able to post much for the next week. Where I'm going, surfing the internet can be a very good way to catch up on your latest book or knit a pullover. I'll be back after New Year's Day.

Gift idea

Here's a gift idea for someone you'd like to hurt.

The "Flybar!"

It's capable of generating 1200 lbs of thrust, virtually garaunteeing that if that unwanted someone gets on this contraption, they'll either dissapear completly or end up waving from the back of an ambulance.

Cool huh?!


Said Aristotle unto Plato, "Have another sweet potato."
Then Plato unto Aristotle, "Thank you, I prefer the bottle."

And now for something completly different.

The last guest has just left and I'm taking a break from picking up the place to share just a few glimpses of the evening. Sadly, during the shank of the party when everyone was sitting at the table and in the living room socializing I wasn't thinking about the camera (too busy enjoying myself) So the shots skip straight from the food to the sleepy, slap happy phase of the party.

I had to document this, simply because I so rarely have this much food out at one time. I even made the cake from scratch.

That was taken before anyone arrived, from there we skipped to the sleepy/bored part of the party where Steve and Eva started messing around with cameras.

Then Bo and Anna got in on the act.

Somehow Eva and I got caught on camera while performing a favorite number from The Eagles. (What can I say, I was in the mood to hear "Desperado")

Our game of "catchphrase" broke up as D, Darwin, and Jess were captivated searching an Illinois map for previously unknown (to us) cities. Bo, looking slightly dejected over the demise of his party game, memorizes the catchphrase terms for future reference.

Shortly thereafter we all had to say our goodbyes. Thanks for coming everyone. And for those who didn't make it, hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Random thought

You know you've been traveling a little too much when you get Christmas card signed "your friends at the Holiday Inn"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Oh dear

I had heard that Sesame street had gone downhill just a bit, but I didn't think it was this bad.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Public Service Announcement

I've noticed that several of you are running Windows 2000 and I thought I should mention that if you haven't patched your copy of windows in the last few months you should go do that right now.

The latest virus to make the news is, as usual, reliant upon people who haven't updated in a while. So patch up now unless you want to meet Dasher.

Holiday parties aren't the only places to catch viruses!

Last one before Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2005

One way to lose your job

Apparently folks in Wisconsin are a bit loose with their money these days, and it's not just because of the holiday season.

Wise Forgetful old owl

I've heard of a partidge in a pear tree, but I've never heard of THIS before.

"Owl discovered in Christmas tree found with marijuana in system"
Aww, isn't that cute, they named him "Cheech."

(Scrappy, please tell me this kind of thing isn't commonplace down there.)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago!

OK, so I don't really care much about being in Chicago, but I do like being home. I had a lengthy drive yesterday from Canton Ohio back here which alternated between sunny blue skies and blinding snow.

Today it looks like I'll be pretty busy. I have to turn in the car, finish some holiday shopping, get food for Thursday (I have a bachelor's kitchen, there's hardly any food in it), and get the place looking presentable for guests.

Meanwhile, I'm sure most of the regulars from U of I have now finished finals, so congratulations on surviving another semester. Kick back and enjoy yourself this weekend!

Joke with an oblique reference to Christmas (3)

This guy goes into his dentist's office, because of pain in his mouth. After a brief examination, the dentist exclaims, "Holy Smoke! That plate I installed in your mouth about six months ago has nearly completely corroded! What on earth have you been eating?"

"Well... the only thing I can think of is this... my wife made me some asparagus about four months ago with this stuff on it... Hollandaise sauce she called it... and doctor, I'm talking' DELICIOUS! I've never tasted anything like it, and ever since then I've been putting it on everything...meat, fish, toast, vegetables... you name it!"

"That's probably it," replied the dentist. "Hollandaise sauce is made with lemon juice, which is acidic and highly corrosive. It seems as though I'll have to install a new plate, but made out of chrome this time."

"Why chrome?" the man asked.

"Well, everyone knows that there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Personal update

As it turns out, the snow in Chicago wasn't as bad as I (and many others) expected. Chances are I could have just taken the flight after a delay. But...being a bit jumpy about the weather, my boss and I got a car and charged across Indiana and Ohio, making a trip of about 350 miles.

Tomorrow I'll be going to work for a while then hopefully driving BACK to Chicago. Oh yeah, there may be "some snow" on the way back too. Don't you love my timing?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Joke with an oblique reference to Christmas (2)

A group of chess enthusiasts had checked into a hotel, and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why", the asked as they moved off.

"Because," he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I shouldn't laugh

I'm planning to fly out of O'Hare tomorrow for a quick trip to Ohio. But what I'm EXPECTING is to get to O'Hare, wait for two hours being told that my flight is delayed, then get a rental and try to drive instead. If that's the case then I'll probably end up driving straight through the snowstorm again.

Oh well, I can still chuckle at the antics of other people trying to drive in the snow.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Open invitation

I've invited most of my friends in the Chicago area to a little get-together at my place on Thursday the 22nd. If I've forgotten anyone, or if you're just reading this and would like to join in, drop me a line.

Toys for the engineer or artist

As a little kid I always enjoyed playing with lego blocks. I would spend hours assembly what I considered to be mechanical masterpieces only to tear them apart again and build something else. I know many other engineers have had similar experiences as kids.

However, while I've always thought of legos as good for building cars, boats, planes and other similar such things. What I never thought about was using them in a slightly more err... artistic (?) manner.
Note: Badwidth overload?

Escher's Relativity! Go check it out!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Joke with an oblique reference to Christmas

"Whats the difference between a Shotshell and a Cartridge?"
A Shotshell goes in a Shotgun.....
A Cartridge goes in a peartree!! Duh (Willie from Incomplete hunter 3)

Just some good ol' boys

I thought I was being a bit silly when I posted this about the 4wd Lincoln on e-bay. But I've just noticed something that's even sillier (and a bit pathetic.)

Does anyone remember the family guy episode where they painted the station wagon to look like the General Lee? This is even better

Not one, but TWO cars that are almost laughable on their own, but are head shakingly sad when you slap the stars and bars on the roof.

I like the dodge charger as much as any red-blooded American male, and I can see how having a charger decked out in General Lee colors would be fun, but c'mon guys!! The wierdest thing, is that if I can run onto two of these cars while casually looking at e-bay, this can't be just an isolated thing.

I don't care how much you like the dukes, save some face and go get a dull paint job guys.

Tragedy has struck!

May we have a moment of silence please for those who have fallen.

What's for dinner?

Somehow I never have cared much for tofu. If this is true, then I have another reason not to like it.

Of course if the same thing can be said about all legumes and soy products I'm surprised it hasn't in some way impacted the population of many asian societies. Still...makes you wonder.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Crappy reception

I though this was a joke when I first heard it. It sounds like the kindof thing that used to be done to freshmen as a prank (Have you seen the blue goldfish yet?) But apparently it is serious.

A student in Ukraine reportedly had to be freed by rescuers on after dropping his mobile phone down a toilet and getting his arm stuck trying to retrieve it.

For some reason, they didn't say if he ever got the phone back.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

Here's one for everyone who is skidding around in the the snow trying to avoid other cars (or if you're in Chicago like me, trying to avoid 737s)

Some guy hit my fender the other day, and I said unto him 'Be fruitful, and multiply.' But not in those words.

Woody Allen

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tech support

When you call tech support for any computer related company you'll usually hear a message saying that your call is being recorded for "quality purposes." Here's an example why.

A lady called up and said she had been waiting for three days for her computer to “resume Windows” (pronounced “res-u-may Windows”).

Customer: “It’s been sayin’ res-u-may Windows for three days. Now what should I do?”
Tech Support: “Have you tried to reboot the computer?”
Customer: “Yeah, it keeps on res-u-may-in’.”
Tech Support: “When you reboot do you see the [company] logo?”
Customer: “Yeah, it’s always there on the TV screen.”

Fifteen minutes later, I figured out that this woman thinks the logo I’m talking about is the monitor brand name on the frame of the monitor, and she has been “rebooting” by turning the monitor off and on again.
I finally got her to reboot properly (a miracle in itself), and then:

Customer: “It says, ‘Last try of hibernatin’ is no good, try again, mash yes or no.’”
Tech Support: “Is that exactly what it says?”
Customer: “Yeah, should I mash ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”
Tech Support: “Click on ‘yes,’ please.”
Customer: “I don’t know how to do that. Should I mash it?”
Tech Support: “Yes, [gritting teeth] mash ‘yes.’”
Customer: “Why does it keep on a-doin’ that? Tryin’ to hibernate and all — does it get tired if I use it too much?”
Tech Support: “Well, actually…if it keeps trying to hibernate, that must mean that it is way to cold in the room that you have it in. I suggest that you turn up the heater. That should help.”
Customer: “Really? What if that doesn’t work? Then what should I do?”
Tech Support: “Turn off the computer and–”
Customer: “By mashing the button right?”
Tech Support: “–uh, yeah, mash the button…then unplug it from the wall and wrap it in a few warm blankets for a few days. That always seems to help mine.”
Customer: “Thanks! You’ve been so helpful! I’ll go turn up the heat right now!”

Now I've fielded plenty of computer problems, but never felt mean enough to say anything like that. Of course usually the people who call me aren't that clueless (usually.) But if a person has to take too many of these calls in one day I can see where this might become necessary for one's own sanity.

Now if you'll pardon me, it's a bit cool in here and I need to go get the electric blanket for my computer.

Let it snow!

from "American Greetings"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Uhm, I said, kaboom. No, really.

Here's a look at what happens when careful planning (and a few sticks of dynamite) just isn't enough.

Sadly, this isn't the first mishap these guys have had. With service like that I wouldn't be surprised if they lost their license. Oh well. The demolition business is always boom and bust

Today's statement of the obvious

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Reminders of a great time

It looks like I'm pretty well unpacked and settled in. It's nice to be back, but I really did enjoy myself on this trip, especially in Australia. All that's left of the trip is some unexchanged money and some souveniers. And memories of course!

The good news is that I'm going back to Australia again very soon (from what I hear, it could be as soon as the first week of January!!)

Monday, December 05, 2005

The morning routine

What is a computer nerd?

A computer nerd powers on the computer, and while booting, runs through to the coffee pot and gets the coffee started. While the coffee is starting to brew, he runs back and begins the load of the editor/compiler/whatever.

He then dashes back to the coffee pot and replaces the pot with his mug (you can recognize his mug, the glaze has been etched off the inside), and fidgets or hits a few more keys while the mug is filling with that first, high-impact slug. He probably drinks the entire thing before beginning work, because it's hard to edit a file before the screen comes into focus.

Monday attitude

Back to work everyone.

(and I've got my Monday attitude set on high!)

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hats off.

OK everyone, you can take your foil hats off now. Some fellows at MIT went to the effort of explaining why they won't help protect you from government mind control devices. (with a touch of humor of course)

Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. .

The helmets amplify frequency bands that coincide with those allocated to the US government between 1.2 Ghz and 1.4 Ghz. . . It requires no stretch of the imagination to conclude that the current helmet craze is likely to have been propagated by the Government, possibly with the involvement of the FCC.

I really don't know who is more amusing, the people who wear these helmets or the guys at MIT investigating them.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Just when I thought I'd heard it all

There are inventions which improve the quality of life in society, and there are inventions which eliminate inconvenient parts of our lives. Then there are inventions that are highly amusing.

Siemens' domestic appliances division has come up with the ultimate invention for the lazy bachelor (or other domestically challenged individual) who happens to have $1700 dollars begging to be spent.

Introducing the "Dressman Shirt Iron!" This little beauty does anything an old fashioned iron could and more! (But not much more) It's fully adjustable to different shirt sizes, and has 12 different programmable options for different fabrics. I don't know why you need 12 different options as I can only think of about 4 major types of fabrics that are used in shirts.

The thing that really struck me about this, is that someone with my (limited) needlecraft skills and a little determination could easily buy some army surplus parachute material, build some kind of support stand, and hook it all up to a hairdryer. It wouldn't look as fancy, and wouldn't have the bells and whistles, but would do the same thing for 1/10th of the price.

Or we could all just go back to using those "old fashioned" things called ironing boards instead.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I don't know who is responsible for initially discovering polypropylene or who first thought to use it to make underwear, but they have won my eternal gratitude.

14 F??!! Now that's just silly!!

(I'll shut up about the weather in a couple weeks when I've adjusted.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

It takes an engineer to undertake the training of an engineer and not, as often happens, a theoretical engineer who is clever on a blackboard with mathematical formulae but useless as far as production is concerned.
- The Rev EB Evans
Letter to Frederick Handley Page