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December 31, 2011

Wishes for the New Year

I would like to extend warm wishes to all that read this message.  Whether you come to my blog via a search engine or if you are connected to me via Facebook, Google+, LinkedIN, or Twitter, I appreciate all of you.  Whether you are one of my friends or co-workers that I see in person often, a Facebook friend that I haven't seen in person in 20 years, or a Twitter follower that I've yet to meet in person, you have all added value to my daily life.

May the year 2012 be an amazing one for all of you!

May 20, 2011

Coffee!

As many of you know, I haven't been getting much sleep lately due to Grant and Miles' sometimes erratic sleeping patterns.  I've been avoiding dozing off at random times by drinking a healthy amount of coffee.  Up until this week I thought I was just propping my eyes open, but now I know that I am helping the health of my prostate.  Hooray!

Link:

April 29, 2011

Academic Pedigree

As some of you may know, I finished my undergraduate work at California State University, Chico. I truly loved going to school there and will always have an affection for the town.

Needless to say, Chico is not an ivy league institution. Started as a normal school in the late 1800's, it trained thousands of teachers that went on to make California an amazing place. There are a few minor celebrities that graduated from the hallowed halls. Folks like Ed Rollins, Ken Grossman, and Bill Wattenburg are names that I usually associate with the great wildcat tradition. Even local celebrities such as ABC 7's Michael Finney are proud Chico Alums.


(Photo Courtesy of NewBirth on Flickr)

I did a bit of research on other famous graduates a while back... and my mind was blown. The guy that pretty much bought all the time on Channel 26 for several years was a Chico Alum! None other than Dr. Gene Scott. *POW* Stanford may get to lay the claim to his doctorate, but he received both his bachelor and master's degrees from the institution known as Chico State College.

Yes, this is the same Gene Scott that put this giant neon sign in the Los Angeles skyline.


(Photo Courtesy of Thomas Hawk on Flickr)

Say what you will about his religious message, life choices, and all that stuff, but this guy had charisma and was entertaining.  I'm sure that Jim Jones had charisma too, but that is irrelevant, as he did not attend or graduate from the highest rated university in California that is north of Sacramento and south of Redding and east of I-5.  

Link:

April 23, 2011

The land down under

I've been to Australia a few times and have quite an affection for the country.  The people are friendly and the sun shines bright.  One of the ubiquitous things about Australia (or at least the parts I have traveled to) is the availability and love of VB, or Victoria Bitter.  In the United States you can get a few Australian beers, with Fosters being the prime example, but I had never seen VB until recently...

Two of my favorite Aussies. 

It turns out that a place called Cellar360 in San Francisco imports VB in limited quantities to the delight of  Australian Ex-pats and Austral-o-philes.  No, they don't ship.  No, they don't always have it in stock.  Yes, it is a bit spendy for beer (around $41 USD for a "slab" or a case of 24 "stubbies").   While they promote something called the VB Club, in which you reserve your beer in advance, you can always call to see if they have some in stock.   

a quarter slab 

One of the more amusing things about VB is that it isn't a bitter, but a lager.

Cheers, mate!

Links:

March 19, 2011

Cat + Sweater

Cats on the internet are funny.  Add a sweater and the hilarity ensues. 

Here is my cat Oprah wearing a sweater. Guffaw.

 

I took this photo using a Powershovel Blackbird, Fly camera.

February 28, 2011

Experiments with houshold chemicals

Over the last year I have been messing around with different types of film to see how they react.  I've played with Redscale film, which is regular color negative film that is flipped backwards in the 35mm canister,  so that the opposite side of the film is exposed.  You can get some really striking effects if you expose it right.  I have also experimented with Cross processing, in which you take slide film that is supposed to be processed as E-6 slide, but instead you process it in C-41 chemicals.  For that you get some really neat colors that pop out at you.  You can do the reverse, but it isn't as dramatic. 

 

(Photo Courtesy of ffunyman on Flickr)

I started reading on some of the Flickr forums about people who are "film destroyers", in which they use household chemicals to change the film emulsions to obtain interesting effects.  Some people also use heat to expedite the film aging process.  My first attempt was to bake some expired film for about a minute in the oven.  I followed instructions I found online, but the film canister became warped and unusable.  My second attempt at this was to drop a cheap color 35mm canister into a pyrex container with boiling water for a minute.  That film snapped half way through exposing it and I ended up with a fully ruined roll.  So I devised a plan to try messing with a four pack of cheap 35mm ISO 400 film that was purchased at Rite-Aid.  

With this four pack I tried four different substances to change the emulsion characteristics.

I got some interesting results.  I'm not sure if I will do it again soon, but it is worth the effort to experiment if you like to try new things with film.  You get interesting and random distortions, rainbow effects and very confused photolab operators at the drugstore.  For the time being I think my experiments might go as far as getting some Revolog film to play with (BTW that stuff looks AWESOME), as I'll have way less time on my hands with a new baby arriving next week.

Below are a few of the most interesting ones:

 

 

 

 

Be careful when messing around with household chemicals.  Some people use various forms of Chlorine Bleach and other caustic chemicals, so be safe when you are playing mad scientist!

Links:

 

October 28, 2010

Kiwis

My wife's OBGYN doctor is from New Zealand, and every time I hear her accent I am reminded of this scene from Flight of the Conchords' television show.  Random, but funny.

 

 

Links:

June 25, 2010

Electronics Class

When I was in High School, we were lucky enough to have the ability to take two years of Electronics as electives.  I think they have some sort of robotics program or something now, but back in the day it was pretty basic.  You learned the basic skills like soldering, etching circuit boards and learning how to use a multimeter and oscilloscope.  Often times we received donated equipment and components from local high-tech firms like Measurex, HP and Apple.  Beyond that, there were several life lessons that were not intended.

 

(Photo Courtesy of Ravi Gaddipati on Flickr)

I learned several key things from my classmates that still ring true today:

  • Shorting a line cord does not always blow the breaker.  Non-functioning breaker = BAD. 
  • If you fabricate an enclosure out of sheet metal and the circuit board runs on 110VAC, there is a reason to use nylon spacers between the base of the board and your case.  (Or you receive a quick lesson in impromtu arc welding)
  • It is not a good idea to discharge a 1/4 farad capacitor using human skin as a conductor.
  • Use as much safety equipment as you can, because often times the safety interlocks become broken or are disabled over the years.  (You know about this one Jerry)
  • As long as the paralysis doesn't last more than one period, everything is cool.
  • Sometimes teachers just don't want to remember how to pronounce your name, because it causes them endless amusement. 

June 16, 2010

Changing our weather one flight at a time

DiscoveryNews has an interesting article on the subject of commercial airliners minutely changing weather patterns.  In some cases snow and rain was caused by flying through clouds in certain types of conditions.  The hole punch clouds that can occur when this happens are even cited as "evidence" of UFO landings.

The part I thought was the most interesting was this excerpt:

"Still, Heymsfield and colleagues write in a new study in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society that on average, 7.8 percent of Earth is covered in clouds ripe for "plane seeding." Heymsfield notes that precipitation from this effect isn't likely to alter global weather patterns, it may have a local effect."

 

(Photo Courtesy of The Shade on Flickr)

 

Link:

June 15, 2010

Filtering the Vuvuzela

For those of you that are stuck in a cave somewhere, you might not have been introduced to the maddening vuvuzela horn that is being used by rabid fans in the 2010 FIFA World Cup(This is soccer to all the Americans). German fan and engineer Tobias Herre came up with a solution to digitally filter out the vuvuzela sounds from his TV.  By filtering out the B flat note using a channel EQ to build a notch filter around 233Hz, 466Hz, 932Hz and 1864Hz in real time, he is able to hear the game without the maddening vuvuzela sounds.  You can search on Youtube for the sound of ten thousand vuvuzelas going at once, but some people describe it as a bee hive inside your head.

 

(Photo Courtesy of Coca Cola South Africa on Flickr)

Links:

June 07, 2010

So true...

I was reading this article today on why Twitter is doomed and all that, and ran across this comic embedded in it. 

This made me laugh, so I figured that I would share.

 

 

April 27, 2010

Bloop?

I am always a fan of NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website, as they always find a way to see the beauty in science. The picture below is the visualization of a sound collected from undersea microphones in 1997.  The sound, otherwise known as "The Bloop", could have been generated by a living creature that is several times the size of blue whale, or just the result of an iceberg breaking loose.  There is so much about the world around us (and below us) that is still unknown!

bloop! NASA

Cached Audio Link Here

Links:

March 10, 2010

Garbage In, Garbage Out

With the economy being in the toilet these days, I have several friends and acquaintances who are looking for work due to one reason or another.  In the past I had suggested indeed.com to several folks due to the large group of job sites that it aggregates data from.  For that function, it seems to work quite well.  The thing that I found more interesting is the Free Salary Search that indeed.com promotes.  I'll sum up my results with a few images.  I put in some nonsense data to see what comes back and was quite amused. 

Indeed Silly Search #1
Indeed Silly Search #1 

And for the Grand Finale..  

 With the data and graphs it is clearly evident: Pimps earn 93% more than Playas.Indeed.com Silly Search #2

 

Links:

March 06, 2010

The wonders of Japanese engineering

Before we get started, this post has nothing to do with Toyota braking issue recalls.  My last three personal vehicles have been Toyota.  I don't think any one company or country has a monopoly on automobiles that are deathtraps, especially now in the age of outsourcing and globalization.  It isn't that long ago that people were burning to death with exploding gas tanks in Ford Pintos, rolling over in Suzuki Samurais, or having their Ford vehicles with Firestone tires blow out and causing massive accidents.  Anyways...

(Photo Courtesy of Giovanni Spina on Flickr)

Last weekend we made the trip to Costco to purchase some groceries and pick up a new cordless phone for the house.  The last unit we had was purchased sometime in the 2003/2004 time frame after then-puppy Hazel had brutally destroyed one of the handsets from our VTech cordless and Duke had chewed most of the plastic off another handset.  The last phone was another Costco purchase and was chosen because it was inexpensive and the model that they had in the store that week.  That Panasonic phone set endured countless handling atrocities such as having the handsets dropped hundreds of times on concrete, tile and laminate flooring.  While the handsets avoided the dog chew toy treatment that the last phone endured, they had been carried or munched on to some extent.  The final nail in the coffin for this fine example of Panasonic engineering happened to come from our cat Oprah.  As a cat with diabetes, she sometimes communicates her displeasure through the fine art of urination.  So we ended up buying a similar Panasonic model at Costco for $60 USD.  Note to Panasonic test engineers: Make sure your phone circuitry passes the cat urine test.  (Yahoo! Babel Fish tells me that it is this in Japanese: あなたの電話回路部品のパスを猫の尿検査確かめなさい ).  We are more than happy to provide Oprah as a "consultant" for a small fee.

February 24, 2010

Tracking Flatulence

I have been tracking the web traffic associated with my domain spectrox.com recently and was amused.  I was hoping that the bulk of the traffic would be associated with my blog (this site) and associated files, but that was not the case.  Back in 1994 I came across a text file that discussed the chemical composition of flatus (a fart for the uninitiated) in detail.  I moved that text file over to an html file and put it online in 1996 and didn't think much of it.  It turns out that this is a very popular search term.  You never know what people will want to search for on the internet.  Below is the picture from the Google Analytics site attached to this link. 

 Flatulence Google Analytics

Link:

February 07, 2010

Best. Homepage. Ever.

Eugene Hsu, if I had a job for you, I would hire you on the spot. Bask in the glory of my adoration. 

 Eugene Hsu

Links:

January 10, 2010

What time is it?

You have got to love performance art when it is so functional.  This clock by Maarten Baas, is hand drawn for every hour and minute of the day.  The cycle was recorded once and then played out forever through this clock with a LCD display in it.  Take a look...



Links:

http://www.maartenbaas.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW5PByaR2EQ

December 21, 2009

Radiskull... has it been a decade?

I was recently reading an article about the changes in the delivery of animated/video content on the internet before Youtube and other video sharing sites became so popular.  It started to make me think about some of the original Flash video sharing sites, like Atom Films, where I originally found Joe Spark's creation: Radiskull & Devil Doll.

Radiskull & Devil Doll 

While there have been tons of technological advances in the delivery of flash and video stuff, Joe Spark's content still amuses me.  A levitating skull drinking piping hot coffee... that is golden.

December 10, 2009

Next stop... the 80's

Every 42 years a movie comes out that has incredible insights to the human condition.  That movie is probably coming soon, but until then, you have to check out Buster Jones.  It has everything that one could want in a movie: Afros, mustaches, and tons of Martial Arts.  You will be entertained and maybe learn a little bit about yourself.

Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself:

 

 

Yo Jeff!

September 06, 2009

Bureaucracy for fun and profit

Who doesn't enjoy tomfoolery in the workplace on occasion.  For official looking memos and standard forms, check out the Bureau of Communication website.  It is sort of like Mad Libs for Bureaucratic Communications.  They have a lot of great wacky forms.  Hours of fun.

 

 

Link:


September 05, 2009

not so lolcat

We've had a pretty awful year in regards to our pets getting sick and dying.  Yesterday we found out that our cat Oprah has diabetes.  While that is awful, it is way better than a diagnosis of something far less treatable.  Sometimes the only way to deal with this crap is through humor.  So I give you the fine musical stylings of Wilford Brimley

August 13, 2009

The comfort of hard plastic

While my youthful days of bare minimum travel are over, I still get a kick out of what people will do to save a buck.  Donna McSherry started the site Sleeping in Airports, which is a user updated website that gives you tips on the best places to crash when you are traveling on a budget.  Even if you are not traveling around the world on a pocket full of change, you might find some of the descriptions extremely amusing.

 

(Photo Courtesy of Holiday-Extras on Flickr)

An example of the crazy reviews that I liked:

Nong Kai - Thai-Lao border - January, 2009
Sleeping at the Thai-Lao border

 

"I slept at Nong Kai, at the Thai-Lao border in March, 2001. The bus from Bangkok drops you off about 2 am, and it takes a while for the border to open. It is quite deserted, there are benches and tables to sleep on. My friends and I had a great sleep, and we were woken up in the morning by the bells from a nearby Buddhist temple (quite a nice alarm clock!). When the border guards arrived, we realized we had crossed the border in the night and slept the Laotion side! We had to pay an overtime fee but they let us walk back across the border and go through properly." Contributed by Aileen Nowlan" (Added 18 JAN 03)

 

Good times!

Link:

August 03, 2009

Sign generation was never so fun

As many people know, I find downtown San Francisco very amusingFrank Chu, the perpetual protester is a big part of the fun.  A while back, Jef Poskanzer designed a web page that would take a creative commons licensed Frank Chu photo from Flickr and superimpose your own words on his 12 Galaxies protest sign.  Genius.  Now, even if you are 3000 miles away, you can be part of the fun.  While you are at the ACME site, you might also try out some of the other great image manipulation pages including: Labelmaker, License Plate Maker and Heart Maker.

 

 Links:

 

May 11, 2009

NOT a pocket camera

When you think of photography and cameras these days, most people think about nifty little digital cameras that pop into your pocket. The funny thing about physics and optics, is that it can scale quite easily to a larger format.  Shaun Irving decided to scale the size of a camera up that of a large box truck.  Being incredibly experimental photographer he bought a truck on eBay, he converted the truck into a large mobile camera.  That is the funny thing about art.  Sometimes it is so impractical that it draws you in.  He is not creative when it comes to naming a project, as it is called: CAMERATRUCK.  To the point, but not exciting.  On the other hand, the pictures are amazing and simply huge.  The average size of his works are 7 feet by 3.5 feet.

Box Truck 

(Photo Courtesy of The Joy Of The Mundane on Flickr)

 

Links:

May 10, 2009

The not-so-dead pool

I found this guy floating in my pool on Mother's day. He didn't move for the first ten minutes, so I figured that I better scoop him out before he got sucked into the filter, but it turned out he was alive. For a suburban house, we have a freaking jungle in our back yard.

April 18, 2009

Ye Olde LOLcat

Pointed out by an astute poster, this relic is one of the oldest LOLcats on file.

 

Source:

April 01, 2009

Magnetic Dreams

 

At a previous job, I had a co-worker that had some issues with insomnia.  This guy is an incredibly gifted engineer and musician.  He spent many a sleepless night thinking about what would stimulate his brain to create the correct harmonics to trigger a sound sleep.  The end product of his research was a coil that encircled the bed that was supposed to trigger certain sleep states through the manipulation of magnetic fields and such.  We didn't know what to think about it, but were very happy when he started sleeping soundly.

Magnetic 

(Photo Courtesy of Bistrosavage on Flickr)

Recently I came across this article in the New Scientist in regards to brain activity during sleep and irregular dreams due to geomagnetic field spikes.  Maybe Steve's reverse guitar pickup brain wave dream inducer was way ahead of it's time!

Link:

March 18, 2009

Video/Audio Mashup

Recently the website THRU YOU has gotten a lot of press.  I am hardly the first to write about it, so I figured I'd share it with folks that have been in a cave for the last three months.  This DJ out of Israel with the nom de guerre Kutiman put together a bunch of songs using clips from Youtube.  This sounds like it would turn out bad, but the songs are actually really quite good and the video mix is really amusing.

February 19, 2009

Fun with cats

The world famous "Kitty Go Round" is actually located at our home. Mr. F is demonstrating how fun this home office/amusement park for felines really is. These are the things that we do to amuse out infant and get him to stop crying. This time, mission accomplished!

December 31, 2008

A Facebook Intervention

I was recently logged in to Facebook, reconnecting with old chums and such, and the same advertisement kept coming up over and over.  Is Facebook trying to tell me I have a gambling problem?  OMG, I totally lost like $20 on the penny slots last time I was in Vegas, I must have a problem.  I even hit the thumbs down targeted advertising thingy and it still comes up.  While this isn't in the same realm as the "Tivo Thinks I'm Gay" issue, but it is still perplexing nonetheless.  I'm giving up Keno cold turkey until I can resolve this.

Tivo thinks I'm gay, and Facebook thinks I am a gamble-holic 

 

 

December 29, 2008

Getting Educated

During the past few weeks we have stepped up the preparations for the new baby.  My Mother-in-law threw a great baby shower and many family and friends have helped us out.  In the spirit of preparation we have also taken taken several childbirth classes from the local hospital.  Between these classes and all of the programs we have watched on TLC and Discovery Health, I think barring a two headed child, I am ready for anything.  The one thing I've drawn from this whole process is that you have have to inject a little bit of humor.  The book below (Safe Baby Handling Tips) was given to us by family friends at our shower...  It is a good and amusing read.

Baby Handling Book cover 

 

 

December 05, 2008

Grrr, just fix the servers already...

It seems that Yahoo has been having trouble with their mail service this afternoon and evening!

There goes the five nines!  Good luck, chaps! 

Yahoo's Mail Server banner - reboot me! 

Keywords: Yahoo, Fail!, Epic Fail.

November 23, 2008

Elvis the Robo-cat

This video is fairly old, but it always amazes me.  This guy's cat was injured in an accident with a car, so instead of putting it down, he built it a robotic platform to move around. I guess sometimes it pays to be a mad scientist. 

Link:

November 21, 2008

Goodbye Ted

In the coming months we are going to bid a farewell to Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens. Whether you lean to the left or right, Ted will always be remembered as the guy who described the Internet as a "Series of Tubes", thus confusing the elderly and computer illiterate to a greater extent.  Ted, you stand with The Great Internet Creator and beard aficionado, you know, Al Gore as one of the top Internet Meme creators.  Hats off to you!

 Ted Stevens ruling the internet from his electronic tube throne

November 20, 2008

Graffiti as art and social commentary

Depending on where you are located, you may or may not be exposed to graffiti on a daily basis.  In some areas it can be absent, while in others it is the work if idle youth and in other areas it designates street gang territories.  There is another category beyond this that walks the fine line between art and vandalism.  I was aware of Shepard Fairey and his Andre the Giant styled stencils that cover many surfaces in metropolitan areas, but I did not learn about Banksy until a few years ago, due to all the links to his work from Digg.  This artist keeps a low profile and operates under his moniker, which helps not getting prosecuted.  Banksy has some amazing pieces, which must have been an amazing feat to install without getting caught.  The images are witty, the ideas are edgy and while you may not agree with the method, it will still make you stop and think.  The internet is flush with pictures of his work, but here are a few that you might find interesting.

(Photo Courtesy of caruba on Flickr)

 

 

(Photo Courtesy of herrner on Flickr)

 

 

(Photo Courtesy of artbymags on Flickr)

 

 

(Photo Courtesy of funkypancake on Flickr)

 

Links:

 

 

 

October 17, 2008

Spelling Errors

When I was in my first year of college I was working part time at a defense firm that would end up shaping my career.  When you are young and new to a group, you take things at face value and assume that intelligence is at play.  At least I did.  Anyways...

One of the contracts the firm was working on had to do with a software package called costumer.  I took it at face value, but wondered if it was some secretive government codeword, or some elaborate project name to mask the identity of the end user.  About six months into my employment I asked about the program name and learned the humorous truth.  A young programmer was told to generate an executable file for their customer.  Being literal, yet spelling impaired, the programmer generated costumer.exe.  Once it was delivered, it was set in stone.  It wasn't a spelling error, but a well thought out program name. 

 

(Photo courtesy of locket479 on Flickr)

I wouldn't be suprised one bit if the legacy of this lives on.  I recently ran into a current version of software that was generated at that firm (which is defunct now), that is still in use today after almost two decades.  I wonder if they see the sad jokes are still built into the source code [i.e. using the variable willy, so that you can free(willy)].

October 07, 2008

Real Estate

 

(Photo Courtesy of etrusia_uk on Flickr)

Recently I was reading through the old paperwork associated with the Deed to our house and land under it.  We live in an area that was turned into a subdivision after WWII and built in the early 1960's.  The legalese is amusing.  We are forbidden from having these items on our property:

  • A Basement
  • Livestock (Fowl, Goats, Sheep, etc.)
  • A House of Ill Repute.

 I think I can live with the fact that we can't put a brothel for ducks in our basement.

October 01, 2008

Mr. F has found a home

For those who have been following the Mr. F saga, we have finally found him a home.  That home is with our loving family.  Unfortunately we did not find a home that would be able to take care of this plump dumpling of a cat in the luxury he is used to, so we've decided to keep him here at Rancho Relaxo. 

We've had to make some ADA compliant accomodations in our home to deal with a cat of this girth.  The first to go was the pet door to our garage (where the cat boxes are located). A quick trip to Home Depot to replace the size small pet door with a medium dog door did the trick.  The issue here is to have a big door, but not too big.  Dogs love the faux almond roca that cats produce.  Nuff said. 

Mr. F has been on a diet and has lost some weight (down to 21lbs!!!) since he came to our simple home and is beginning to fit in with the other residents.  He is an interesting feline.  He is cross eyed.  He is lovable.  He can be a demon sometimes, resembling the character "Stuart" played by Michael McDonald on MadTV.  However, Mr. F does not talk about funny feelings in his goo goo.

 

September 04, 2008

Make Millions: Tom Vu style!

If you grew up watching TV in the 1980's, you'll remember infomercial sensation Tom Vu.  His whole deal was buying distressed properties and turning them around for a profit.  This guy had big brass ones and perfected the William Hung act before he was even born. 

While Tom is now a professional poker player, he will always be remembered as the guy that said:

"Do you think these girls like me? NO, they like my money!"


Tom Vu on Money


Tom Vu with his babes

God Bless you Tom Vu!

August 29, 2008

A microbrewed fruity beer in a can?

I am by no means qualified to be a food or wine critic.  Throughout the 90's and most of this decade it has been a foregone conclusion that craft brewed beer should be sold in 12 or 22 ounce brown glass bottles.  When a brewer such as 21st Amendment puts beer in cans, people start to listen.  When they made a Watermelon Wheat beer, people look at each other in confusion and give it a try. When I read an article on the stuff in the local paper, I knew I had to track some of this stuff down.  From the description alone I can imagine it as something sold next to a self warming can of squid juice in a Tokyo train station vending machine.

 

After several weeks of looking I found a six pack for sale at the local Beverages & More location.  Simply amazing.  Not too sweet like some other fruity wheat beers on the market.  Just enough to balance the flavor and make it refreshing in the summer heat.  If you are camping, take some Watermelon Wheat along with some canned hamburgers, or not.. ;)

 

Links:

August 13, 2008

Clean and clear water

Over the past few years we have been drinking either bottled water or filtered water at home.  Recently there was a big media blitz about how great tap water is and that you are wasting money on bottled water.  A few weeks ago I changed out the carbon filter on my under sink water purifier.  The unit is rated at 750 gallons, of which I put much less than that through it. While our water is most likely clear of pathogens and stuff that will give me the runs, do I really need all of this sediment in my water?

Does this make you thirsty for tap water?

 

The filter on the left is new and the filter on the right is seven months old.

July 31, 2008

Tiny little homes

Living in a house that never has enough space has always had me daydreaming of adding a little cottage, studio, or "pool house" (minus the Kato).  I ran into the Tumbleweed homes a few years ago, that make these amazing little houses that are less than 100 square feet.  These tiny little houses can skirt many cities zoning regulations, as they are considered non-permanent structures since they are built on a trailer chassis. 

(Photo of Jay Shafer/Tumbleweed Home Courtesy of Telstar Logistics on Flickr)

Today I was reading an interesting article about a man named Tom Sepa, who lives in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco by a combination or choice and financial circumstances.  While the article was interesting, the comments led me to look up a design called the City Sleeper, which was designed by Donald MacDonald as a response to the homeless problem in the city.  This inexpensive structure which is built from 4x8 plywood sheets and other inexpensive building materials would be a wonderful structure to build out in the Sierra Foothills where you just needed a place to sleep and some protection from the elements.

 

(Photo and illustration courtesy of Donald MacDonald)

Links:

July 28, 2008

Google maps will get you anywhere

It has been shown that Google maps will get you from any two places on the earth.  On the Stealcode blog, they have an interesting post on how to get from New York to Paris.  The best line is:

"23. Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 mi 29 days 0 hours"

 

Link:

July 19, 2008

This guy always makes me laugh

Every once in a while when I feel down, I'll go to my bookmarks and find the video of the creepy laughing German midget.  Call me strange, but it always makes me smile.


July 18, 2008

Reality TV

My wife and I watch a lot of TV.  When we introduced the Tivo into our lives in 2004 we started watching entire TV series instead of just channel surfing to see what is on at the time.  Over the past few years we have enjoyed the likes of Beauty and the Geek, The Age of Love, and (ashamed to admit it) Farmer Wants a Wife.  I know everyone else is into Big Brother and American Idol, but I could never relate.  Except William Hung, that guy is a class act.

Recently we have been enthawled in the drama that is Jon & Kate Plus 8.  We can barely get our pets to do anything we say and this couple has eight children.  They get mad props for not going totally insane.  I have no idea how these folks deal with the children, the film crew and a normal work schedule.  You can really see into their souls through this show.  I swear that Jon looks like a happy guy most of the time, but there are few moments where Jon looks like he would like to pull his car into oncoming traffic.  While this is not life and death like Ice Road Truckers, sometimes it looks so close to it. 

July 17, 2008

Downtown San Francisco, always amusing.

If you get the chance to visit downtown San Francisco, you never know what you are going to see.  While there are panhandlers and sometimes the sidewalks reek of urine, you also have some really interesting folks that completely make up for it.  One of those folks is Frank Chu.  I would put Frank up there with Emperor Norton in regards to the people who represent the wacky soul of the city.

Where else would you find someone protesting the injustices of the 12 Galaxies shaking hands with a man dressed as a pirate with fake buttocks attached to his shorts?  Nowhere else...

(Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr)  

July 16, 2008

Freedom of speech is worth protecting

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last ten years, you have probably heard of Craig's List.  For some people it is a great place to find garage sales, for others they find apartments or jobs.  There are other parts of the site that are meant for adults, and will most likely find you catching a "social disease".  Beyond all this is the most amusing a maddening thing of all, the rants & raves section of Craig's List.  Here people write the most foul, disturbing and sometimes amazing content, all under the cloak of anonymity.  I'm a big fan of our Constitutional rights in the United States, but sometimes is can be saddening to see how people abuse our right of free speech with this kind of amazing content.

 

An example of the fine content available, with a search for the word "crap" returning 84 hits on postings in the last week.

 

 Out of those 84 hits, I picked one of the least offensive posts, one about a famous TV psychic.

If you weed out the racially, culturally, genderally, politically, and any other offensive "ally" word, you end up with some posts that are sometimes incredibly witty, insightful and amusing.  The best of these posts end up in what is called "The Best of Craig's List" where these can live on forever.

July 10, 2008

The only insulted party here is the monkey.

The wonderful thing about free speech in America is that everyone has the right to share their opinion, however uninformed or silly it may be. I took a snapshot of this billboard coming back down Highway 5 in Oregon after visiting my parents up there. 

 

 

 

July 09, 2008

Make your own online comics

Are your kids home from school this summer and driving you crazy?  Are you a big geek that never grew up and would like to design your own comic strip?  The site BitStrips may solve both of these problems.  They have a free interactive based comic strip building site that allows you to author and publish your miniature works of art.  I created a non-funny example to show what can be done even if you are devoid of the ability to generate humorous content.

 

 

Link:

June 18, 2008

Avant Garde Humor

Everyone has their guilty pleasures.  One of mine is Tom Green's movie Freddy Got Fingered
This movie is foul, rude, obscene and so many other adjectives.  Green overtly tries to push the limits way beyond what is comfortable.  How absurd the situations are make this spectacle transcends simple poop and weiner humor and takes it to a new level of pure art.  What Green is trying to express through his "art", I have no idea.   Does it take a Canadian for us to explain freedom of speech and expression to Americans?  Okay, I'm not really that serious...

Roger Ebert wrote this about the movie:

"This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels."

 Daddy can I have some sausages

 

To have that kind of reaction from a film luminary, Tom must be some sort of genius.  Maybe that might be stretching things, but he still makes me laugh.  I hope I can do something in my life that will garner such a spirited reaction.

If you enjoyed this movie, you might also enjoy a Colon Pal

June 12, 2008

Conspiracy theories and operational security

Earlier in the year I read the online article "Unmarked Planes & Hidden Geographies" by Trevor Paglen in the Vectors Journal at  USC.  Different from the normal Area 51 and Dreamland internet conspiracy theory hogwash, it was a truly interesting take on the usage of open source intelligence (or OSINT as they call it in the biz).

Since I was staying at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas a few weeks after I read this, I decided to see what I could do with a digital point and shoot camera.  With 16x zoom (4x optical and the rest digital) I couldn't make out the tail numbers, but it just shows that there are only a few thousand yards between secrets and slot machines in Las Vegas.

 

Link:

May 29, 2008

Highway Robbery

My employer is pretty decent overall.  But for two years or so they engaged in a practice that I am pissed off about, even to this day.  This is such a minor thing, but as I'll explain, it is big money...

 

In my understanding of California state employment law (IANAL), an employee can accrue or be granted vacation/paid time off, which is measured in hours.  These hours are owned by the employee, and in the case of termination, they must be paid out at the hourly rate of the employee (salary divided by 2080 hours) on the last day of employment.  A lawyer could state it better and I am just relying on some AEA employment law seminars I took as a manager several years ago.

So here's the rub, upon getting a raise, my employer would recalculate the amount of hours an employee had on the books by converting the hours to a dollar value (the old hourly rate), then taking that dollar value and dividing by the new hourly rate.  The better you did, the higher the raise, the less vacation you would get to keep.  I think this may have been a disincentive to keep vacation on the books, but the problem is that is isn't necessarily legal. 

I'll make a generic example.  Many of these numbers are based onn assumptions/guesses at and are just for visualization.

  • ($25.00/hour) * (120 hours of vacation) = $3000

If we assume a 5% raise yearly

  • ($3000) / ($26.26/hour) = 114.3 hours of vacation

So, the employee just lost 5.7 hours of vacation and the employee has lost $149.63 from what their vacation should be valued at in California.

Let's assume that there are 5000 employees in California and the above calulation is average

  • (5000 employees) * ($149.63) = $748,150

Wow, that is a quarter million dollars...  I wonder where that went...

The company has since stopped this policy and complies with employment law in California as far as I know.  The sad thing is that most likely the average hourly rates are probably higher and the amount of vacation time banked it most likely higher. 

This sort of reminds me of the Salami Slicing scheme used in Superman 3 and later referenced in the movie Office Space...  there goes my money once slice at a time. :)

 

Links:

 


May 19, 2008

Cooling off on a hot day

Other than getting called into work over the weekend, we were able to enjoy a bit of the almost triple digit heat with a swim.  In our family, the dogs swim as well, and they happen to enjoy it as a way to cool down.

 

Check it out in the Flickr Photo Set:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaron_anderer/sets/72157605131360552/

May 18, 2008

Something to be proud of

I am a lover or all things lolcat, so when I heard about this mural, my heart skipped a beat.  San Francisco finally has something to be proud of ;)

 

link here: http://laughingsquid.com/the-worlds-largest-lolcat-invisible-bike-mural/

the ichcb original: http://icanhascheezburger.com/2007/01/26/invisible-bike/ 

 

May 16, 2008

So easy, even a CAVEman could do it

I was talking with a friend about NIMBYism out in the various 'burbs that we live in.  While Not In My BackYard is a pretty common term, my friend sent me a link to an article that had more terms that I ever imagined.  Ric Stephens is an urban planner in Portland, Oregon that also happens to be a blogger.  His listing of terms is very amusing and  available here:

Here are my favorites:

  • CAVEman: Citizen against virtually everything.
  • BANANA: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything
  • DUDE: Developer Under Delusions of Entitlement

 

May 14, 2008

Blazin'

In the Internet world of humor memes, Denny "Blazin" Hazen stands alone.  He possesses the duality of being laughed at and with at the same time.  He was recently showcased at ROLFcon, but he's been blazin' the internet scene for years.  His rap stylings are in some ways amusing.

 

While Denny has had more than his 15 minutes of fame, I don't see this lad going away any time soon.  I don't know why I refer to him as a lad, as he's probably several years my senior, but using that word is somewhat comforting.  I'm going to type a few sentences here and most likely make no sense.  Blah Blah Blah.  Is anyone reading this?  Probably not.  Anyways...  Denny's music and antics have lightened the mood in the office during some stressful times.  His music is somewhat like Christian Rap, but without Jesus and quality, with all the humor remaining as a fortified super-concentrated nugget.

 

April 29, 2008

The generational divide online

I received an a forwarded email this morning from my grandmother with some goofy troll looking baby.  I tend to get a occasional emails from family that are amusing, and some that I've got to reply to with links to snopes.  Someone put together a site called Postcards From Yo Momma, which allows people to submit emails from their mothers and other family members that may be amusing.  Everyone has a different relationship with their parents, but some of these posts are golden, such as this one from the front page:

"In other news, your father asked me this morning if he could borrow my nasal irrigator.  I got very excited, thinking he was being pro-active in fighting the cold that’s got him sniffling non-stop already.  Turns out he just wanted to use the irrigator to inject jelly into the croissants he was baking.  I could write a f$%@ing book.

I’ve got to buckle down now and read this new script.

XXOO
MA"

Websites like this make you smile, especially when you get to see a snippet of the affection and/or annoyance that exists between mother and child.  It is the happy end of the voyeuristic spectrum, with the sad end being Post Secret

Link: http://postcardsfromyomomma.com/ 

April 16, 2008

Coffee Overload

Recently my wife purchased a Nespresso espresso machine for the house.  I was leery at first, but I am totally sold on it these days, due to the low cost and how clean the thing is.  The only downside is that you have to buy coffee in these little pod containers that are the size of a normal half and half container, but made of plastic and foil.  While these things are proprietary, it isn't going to last forever (or at least at the rate my special monkey goes through the caffeine), so I'm not too worried about being trapped into a standard.  I guess I'll never be a coffee purist, just a practical caffeine enthusiast. 

 

What got me thinking about the sweet dark elixir was this article in GizMag. OMG, a walk-in coffee machine!  That's almost like relaxing inside the udder of a cow waiting for some milk, in a less creepy way. 

 

 

April 11, 2008

Choose your advertisers wisely

I was online tonight and ran across a link to the winner of the Miss USA 2008 pageant.  I don't usually track these events, but due to the recent follies, I thought I'd check out the link.

 

What I found was somewhat amusing.  The lesson here is that you need to choose your advertisers wisely....  LOL

 LOL

 

April 06, 2008

R.I.P. Chuck Heston

Some may remember Charlton Heston as Moses, Ben-Hur or as a crazy gun lover.

 
In my eyes he will always be a protector of the human spirit.  For me, I will always remember him as George Taylor, Astronaut.

 

There were never more fitting words:

"I hate every ape I see
From chimpan-a to chimpan-zee
No, you'll never make a monkey out of me

Oh my God, I was wrong
It was Earth all along"

Rest In Peace, Chuck.  

Yahoo News Story Here.

March 25, 2008

Radioactive Cats

One of my co-workers came across pictures of my cat on the Internet.  I'm glad that someone else could get a laugh out of it.

Ely 

I found this amusing, as I put this in a public folder, but didn't plan on people blogging it.

On a not-so-amusing note, our third cat had to go through the Iodine-131 treatment for hyperthyroidism.  Ka-Ching $$$.  Oh, and BTW Ely will steal your soul.  And if you are wondering why this picture was made, it was to thank Dr. Charlotte Sugar for taking such good care of Ely while he was in quarantine.

:)

http://www.mwdaily.net/2007/11/ely-will-eat-your-soul.html

March 19, 2008

My father-in-law is a badass.

I'm lucky to have a great Father-in-law.  He also happens to be pretty badass.

Nothing like a nail from a compressor driven nail gun shooting through your finger to ruin your day.  After a few minutes with some pliers and some hydrogen peroxide he was back to work.   

Oh, and I forgot to mention that he eats broken glass, drinks gasoline, and picks his teeth with strike anywhere matches. 

March 07, 2008

100BaseFire

I'm sure many of you have seen the infamous Etherkiller on the web, as it was passed around eons ago.  I still am amused by people hooking live 110 Volt AC up to data circuits, as long as it isn't my equipment.

A quote from the site:

"It all started one day with this guy, the origional Etherkiller, developed with a few misc parts to warn new users that the IT department is not to be messed with. You too can make one at home, connect the transmit pins of the RJ-45 to HOT on 110VAC and the recieve pins to Common. Modify to suit case by varying pinout."

W00T! For the young ones, you might want to reference The Bastard Operator From Hell, to find out why some maladjusted lads enter the IT workforce in the first place.

March 03, 2008

Cat Shaving, Fun for the whole family

As summer approaches, it is time to think about cleaning and sharpening the clippers.  Clippers, you say?  Yes, it is almost time for the annual cat shaving.  Being that I have allergies, and Ely doesn't groom himself that well, we opt for the most direct route to hygeine...

 

 Here is the link.

No animals were harmed in the making of this video, or generally in our household.

Note: Hello to our friends at Microsoft Live Operations! 

March 01, 2008

Tiny little products to make travel fun

When I'm travelling, I try to go as light as possible.  It is hard to be a carry-on only type traveller in the United States these days with the liquid requirements, but with tiny little toiletries it is possible.  Sometimes I repackage my toiletries in smaller containers, but sometimes I get the tiny trial-size versions of the products that I love.  Minimus has built their whole business on this concept.  Instead of paying too much at the hotel or airport for an once to toothpaste, you can get a tiny amount of the brand you like for a reasonable price. 

 

While you can get in-flight power on most planes these days in Business or First class, most Airlines that I fly on do not have power available in coach.  In Flight Power makes this cool little gadget that pulls voltage off of the airplane's headphone jack at your seat.  With this you can charge your cell phone, PSP, iPod/mp3 player or whatever other low current device you'd like to use on the flight.


 

 

 

 

February 29, 2008

Best Business Card Ever

One of the things that I miss the most about the television show Arrested Development is the character Dr. Tobias Fünke, played by David Cross.  With this character's nevernude condition and painfully gay double entendre, there are a ton of running jokes.  The best of which has to do with his groundbreaking work as a Psycho Analyst/Therapist and the inappropriate custom portmanteau he creates to describe his work.

 

God bless these people if they actually make a movie. 

Continue reading "Best Business Card Ever" »

February 28, 2008

Flatulence. The Internet. Demographics.

I was recently looking through the logs to this web server, as I was bored at the time, and ran across the page that continues to get the most hits.  When I was a freshman in college I ran across a text file that described in detail the chemical reactions that cause flatulence.  Being amused with the serious treatment of something so silly, I converted it to html and put it on the web. 

If you want to check it out, here it is:

THE FACTS ABOUT FLATULENCE - by Margaret C. McDonald 

This leads me to believe that the theory that I came upon in sixth grade is actually a law.

FART = FUNNY 

Seriously, ask any man or boy in the key demographics of 1-18 and 18-35 and you will find this to be fact.  I am sure that there are rules, specific limiting factors, and other constraints to which this is true, but I'll leave that for the internet to figure out.

Attached is a fake graph of these demographics, which proves my point.  This is the internet, I don't need proof.  Trust my numbers, even if they are completely fabricated.  You will find a resurgence in flatus humor in retirement.

 

 

February 27, 2008

Beep Boop Beep Boop, yeah that is music...

 

If you watch the television show Lost, you may have really dug how Charlie used the Beach Boys' song Good Vibrations to do some things that I won't spoil for you.  It turns out that there is a web site that has a listing of various DTMF songs for your listening pleasure.  If you are stuck in a phone booth, jail cell or cubicle without any form of entertainment, this might be something better than twiddling your thumbs.  Another version of the website is available here.

The best tip from the fist site is that you can play Funkytown with the sequence: 55754 45085

 

February 11, 2008

I have no idea what you're talking about...

In homage to the "I have no idea what you're talking about... so here's a bunny with a pancake on it's head" meme page starring Oolong the rabbit, I proudly give you...

 Oprah with a pancake on her head

 

 

(No cats were harmed in the pursuit of the perfect head/pancake combination.  Yes, that is steam coming off the pancake.  What is the point if it is not straight off the griddle.  Do not stare directly into the sun.  Do not taunt happy fun ball.) 

 

Update: Grampy's Cliche City has a great link with multiple photos 

February 10, 2008

Dog Party

This weekend we celebrated the 5th birthday of our dog Hazel.  We had a few friends over for cake for the two legged people, as well as cakes for the dogs, dog games, and a dog piñata.

 

My wife gets some sort of perverse pleasure out of dressing our pets.  Hazel didn't seem to mind the t-shirt, rubber tiara, and tu tu.  She actually seemed to like it.  All the dogs slept very well last night!

 

We used the Three Dog Bakery in Pleasanton, which was able to make us some wonderful Peanut Butter, Carob and Carrot flavored dog cakes.   

February 08, 2008

xmas.c

I haven't done any major C programming in several years.  One of the programs that I squirreled away for over ten years is this xmas.c program.  I used code2html to make stuff look much prettier.

The original text version is available here

-------8<-----CUT-HERE------8<------------------------ 

/* xmas.c
Merry X-mas Everyone */


#include <stdio.h>
main(t,_,a)
char *a;
{
return!0<t?t<3?main(-79,-13,a+main(-87,1-_,main(-86,0,a+1)+a)):
1,t<_?main(t+1,_,a):3,main(-94,-27+t,a)&&t==2?_<13?
main(2,_+1,"%s %d %d\n"):9:16:t<0?t<-72?main(_,t,
"@n'+,#'/*{}w+/w#cdnr/+,{}r/*de}+,/*{*+,/w{%+,/w#q#n+,/#{l,+,/n{n+,/+#n+,/#\
;#q#n+,/+k#;*+,/'r :'d*'3,}{w+K w'K:'+}e#';dq#'l \
q#'+d'K#!/+k#;q#'r}eKK#}w'r}eKK{nl]'/#;#q#n'){)#}w'){){nl]'/+#n';d}rw' i;# \
){nl]!/n{n#'; r{#w'r nc{nl]'/#{l,+'K {rw' iK{;[{nl]'/w#q#n'wk nw' \
iwk{KK{nl]!/w{%'l##w#' i; :{nl]'/*{q#'ld;r#n'}{nlwb!/*de}'c \
;;{nl'-{}rw]'/+,}##'*}#nc,',#nw]'/+kd'+e}+;#'rdq#w! nr'/ ') }+}{rl#'{n' ')# \
}'+}##(!!/")
:t<-50?_==*a?putchar(31[a]):main(-65,_,a+1):main((*a=='/')+t,_,a+1)
:0<t?main(2,2,"%s"):*a=='/'||main(0,main(-61,*a,
"!ek;dc i@bK'(q)-[w]*%n+r3#l,{}:\nuwloca-O;m .vpbks,fxntdCeghiry"),a+1);
}

/* Here's The Output


On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
a partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
five golden rings;
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
six geese a-laying, five golden rings;
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
seven swans a-swimming,
six geese a-laying, five golden rings;
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming,
six geese a-laying, five golden rings;
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming,
six geese a-laying, five golden rings;
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
ten lords a-leaping,
nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming,
six geese a-laying, five golden rings;
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping,
nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming,
six geese a-laying, five golden rings;
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping,
nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming,
six geese a-laying, five golden rings;
four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.


*/

syntax highlighted by Code2HTML, v. 0.9.1

February 06, 2008

FAIL!

Many people are already aquianted with Despair, Inc.'s de-motivational posters.  You may have seen them in some random geeks office or online.

cat 

They are now providing a much needed service of allowing you to create mini de-motiviational posters in JPEG from.  Their website is here: http://diy.despair.com/motivator.php 

Huzzah! 

Thank you to JD the cat for posing. 

Continue reading "FAIL!" »

January 31, 2008

Colon Pal, the future of plush toys

When my cousin became ill, his friends designed a plush colon stuffed toy to raise his spirits when he was in the hospital.  I find their creation very amusing. 

 

Colon Pal 

 

The Colon Pal is actually available for sale.  This design cooperative has done other amazing feats of design, including Brief Jerky.  Not what you want to wear camping, unless you are attending a Bohemian Club event.

January 30, 2008

Mountain Dew and expanded consciousness

Many people have asked me about my love of the soft drink Mountain Dew.  OK, it was really only my wife asking.  Everyone knows that Mountain Dew is a tasty green elixir that is up there with Slurm when it comes to how addictive it is.  When I was an undergraduate at Chico State, I often drank several cans or bottles of it to assist in my studying.  Yes, I actually put Chico State and studying in the same sentence.  I digress.  A few months after I finished my degree, I was working for a company called Signal Science in Santa Clara and ran an all nighter on a project I was behind on.  The attached picture is what I personally drank in a 12 hour period.  When I think about (1) the caloric intake in sugar alone (2) the damage to my kidney function, it makes me shudder.  These days I stick to the Diet Dew.

12 Hours of Mountain Dew Drinking

From the Pepsico website I calculate that over a 12 hour period that I consumed (32cans x 170 calories) 2040 calories in sugar.  The follies of youth.  During my college years I actually put together a website chronicling my love of the stuff, but unfortunately that host is now offline.