Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Amazing, But True

So, I was watching ESPN explain the NFL playoff scenarios and I discovered that if the Chargers win or tie against the Broncos, the Pittsburgh Steelers lose to the Browns, the Jets win by 21 or more against the Dolphins, the Bills win against the Patriots, and the Texans win against the Colts, I will host a home wildcard game the following weekend.

Explanation: I'm very excited at the possibility of hosting my first playoff game. Sure, I'll have to put both leaves in the dining room table and some furniture is going to have to slide around, but I'm pretty sure I can make it work.

I hope you'll root for me this year. I'm still disappointed about losing out to Denver last season.

Jeremy's Status Message commences its long winter's nap starting today around 5pm. We'll be back with a vengeance in the new year. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy New Year, and have a festive Festivus!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brisket and Latkes and Presents, Oh My!

Merry Christmahanukkwanzikkah!

Explanation: I celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah with my family yesterday in one combined day of fun. Yes, we ate brisket (Woo-hoo!) and latkes (Woo-hoo!) and opened Christmas presents (Woo-hoo!) in the same day! Furthermore, having spent only $2 on my Christmas tree, I managed to further combine my Christian and Jewish roots.

As an added bonus, I got to be the first person in the family to give LEGOs to my nephew. We put together a dump truck and he has now officially been indoctrinated into the LEGO addiction club. It's always a joy to recruit a new member.

My niece really enjoyed her gift as well. We got her a little broom and a play vacuum. This gift might appear to enforce certain stereotypes, but we were told that she likes to play clean-up at home, so it was a safe gift. Plus, as an empowered little woman, she might smack your shins with her new broom if you make fun of her for it.

Sadly, I did not have the aluminum pole up yet for our Festivus celebration. You can only squeeze so many holidays into one day!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree - I only paid $2 for thee.

Source: Oh Christmas Tree, of course.

Explanation: Continuing on my recent theme* of Christmas carols, today I sing the praises of our Christmas tree. While we were up in the air as to whether or not to buy a tree this year, Sarah and I finally relented to the Christmas spirit** and ventured forth to buy one last night. Last night seemed like a really good idea, seeing as there was only a week until Christmas and the weather for the next few days is supposed to be pretty nasty. So, we hit the road.

Our usual place was already closed for the night, so we flipped a coin and decided to head to Lowe's first and then Home Depot on the way back if Lowe's didn't pan out. Lowe's looked like their tree selection had been struck by a tornado. There were only 6 or so left, and most looked like 6-foot scraggly versions of Charlie Brown's tree. But, I was drawn in by a big sign that said, "Seasonal Clearance: $2.00 each." I can't say no to the chance of getting a tree for $2, so I bounded out of the car to survey the sorry selection.

As I expected, most of the trees looked somehow plagued, but there was one tree that caught my eye. It was a little short, but very full and healthy. And frankly, we don't need a giant tree this year, so I went in and paid for it.

I don't care if it has a "bad side" or isn't quite perfect. Our Christmas tree cost us $2.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a cheap tree!

*"Theme" is a registere trademark of Jeremy's Sametime Status and Miracle Posting, Inc.
**"Christmas spirit" is a registered trademark of the Holy Ghost and Holy Trinity Enterprises, Unlimited.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Want My Pudding!

NOW BRING US SOME FIGGY PUDDING!

Source: From We Wish You a Merry Christmas, this may be the Christmas carol line that could most appropriately be ended with "Damn it!"

Explanation: No explanation. We've just been waiting here for our figgy pudding since last Christmas, yet nobody brought it. It isn't like we commanded it or anything... oh wait - we did: "Bring us some figgy pudding! NOW bring us some figgy pudding. NOW BRING US SOME FIGGY PUDDING!" We sang it to you over and over again. How did you not get the message? Well, this year we don't care if you don't know what's in figgy pudding. We don't care if you don't know how to make it. Bring us some! WE WANT OUR DAMN FIGGY PUDDING!!! You've got one week until Christmas, and if we don't get our pudding, we're gonna send eight tiny reindeer over to your place to shove your stocking where the Christmas lights don't shine.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You'll have to forgive me. I went to Toys 'R' Us last night and I am now officially in the holiday spirit. Maybe tonight I'll swing by Best Buy and Walmart and complete the trifecta of holiday craziness.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Carol of the Idiot Clerk

Hark we're at Sears,
Christmas is near,
It's Monday night,
Clerk's not too bright.

We'd like to buy,
From your supply,
Chair's not displayed,
Can you please aid?

She goes online,
Boggles my mind,
We tried before,
But she ignores.

She has no clue,
What she should do?
I'm getting mean:
NOT A TOUCH SCREEN!

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Gift cards to spend,
Night never ends,
It just goes on, She's a moron.
MOR-ON. MOR-ON. MOR-ON.

Source: Carol of the Bells

Explanation: So, I've sat on this for a while, thinking I'd cool off a bit, and yet it still irks me. Here's the tale in it's entirety:

Sarah and I have a lot of money in gift cards for Sears. This came about because my credit card rewards program hsa slowly been reducing the number of retailers for which they offer the optimal points-to-card-value ratio. I thought it would be smart to accumulate a lot of points at Sears and then use it toward a new household appliance. So, I started accumulating.

Anyway, after a failed attempt at capitalizing on the Black Friday spectacular sales (which included, among other things, a computer issue resulting in an inability for Sears to accept gift cards), we decided to scrap the appliance idea and use the points for other things we need. Well, Sarah found a glider (rocking chair) for the baby's room that she really liked and it turned out Sears carried the same chair. In her quick survey of the web site, she did not see a way to pay with gift cards, however, so we decided it would be easiest to just go to the store. We were planning on picking it up there anyway, so the trip wasn't really anything extra. Plus, the sales associates should know the process better than us.

We went there on a Monday evening, right after the Thanksgiving weekend. The store was empty of customers, but full of customer service folks. We first asked a gentleman at the central customer service desk about buying the glider, but he told us to go upstairs to the department that was selling it. So up we went.

Upstairs, the nearest clerk was a young lady who was working at a Land's End counter next to the baby stuff. We explained that the glider was not on the showroom floor, but their web site indicated that they did have it in stock at the store. We also explained that we wanted to pay for the item with gift cards. She immediately took some initiative and hopped on the computer nearest her counter.

After about a minute and a half of confused web-browsing, she ascertained that she was on a Land's End computer and she needed to be on a Sears computer. While I clearly saw four tabs on the top of the web page, one for Land's End, and one for Sears, I figured she knew what she was talking about and followed her halfway across the store.

When we got to the next computer, it was a "Sears" computer... with the same four tabs across the top. I didn't have the heart to explain to her that both machines were looking at the same web site, but at this point, I lost all faith in her ability to help us. The next ten to four hundred minutes (it seemed like the latter) were spent watching her try to navigate the site. Now, while my wife didn't see how to pay with gift cards, both of us had verified that the item was listed as "in stock" at this store. So, we spent a long time watching this clerk, who was having difficulty with the brand new modern technology that they call the "mouse", try to walk through footsteps we had already taken. At one point, she decided to use the touch screen interface instead, and pushed a button on the screen. One problem - the computer was not a touch screen. As a professional computer scientist, this was perhaps the most excruciating experience of my life.

Eventually, she ascertained that she wasn't going to be able to accomplish anything using the computer and decided to seek out additional help. She was holding the piece of paper on which we had written the item and model number and proclaimed that she was heading down to the merchandise pickup desk to see if they could help. She then went walking off (with our paper) to go downstairs to the desk. Meanwhile, my pregnant wife was in the restroom, so I was stuck waiting at the computer kiosk looking like I just got hit by a freight train of stupidity.

When Sarah returned, we went downstairs to find our helpless clerk with a gentleman from the merchandise pickup area. He was clearly not comfortable with the retail aspects of the operation, but to his credit he quickly determined that she was an idiot and volunteered to help us. He then confiscated the paper from her and took us back upstairs. She got the hint as we all ran away from her and went back to the Land's End desk.

After a few minutes with the merchandise pickup guy trying to use their computer system, he handed us off to an appliance salesperson who was competent and managed to perform the transaction for us. Gift cards taken, glider ready, we shopped for about ten more minutes and then headed back to merchandise pickup to get our glider.

So, after a 15 minute trip turned into an hour and a half, we watched a large man FINALLY wheel out our glider... and realized that it wouldn't fit in our car. He tried for a few minutes to squeeze it in at different angles, but to no avail. So, we used a lifeline, phoned a friend, and went to borrow his truck. As we pulled up to the friend's house, it started to rain. Sometimes it's nice when the weather matches your mood. Anyway, with the borrowed truck, the move was a cinch, and we were totally done with everything in about two and a half hours.

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas. Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas. Gift cards to spend, night never ends, it just goes on, she's a moron. MOR-ON. MOR-ON. MOR-ON.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hospital Packing List

Boiled water: check. Towels: check. Overnight bag: check. Telephone number for buffalo wing delivery place near the hospital: check.

Explanation: So now that the first shower is over and we have quite a bit of baby stuff, it's time to move on to other important details. I know Sarah's due date isn't until February 7, but it's about time that I start preparing for our emergency drive to the hospital. If any of you readers out there have any suggestions, please let me know. This is my list so far:

  • Cell number of our doctor
  • Change of clothes for Sarah
  • Number of buffalo wing delivery place near hospital
  • Baby's "coming home" outfit
  • 2-4 burping cloths for baby
  • 2-4 buffalo wing cloths for father
  • Wipes (for father and daughter)
  • Salt and Pepa CD featuring delivery music ("Push it")
  • Book of baby names for last minute cram session
  • Surgical catcher's mitt for doctor
  • Volleyball sneakers (hey - you never know)
  • 137 Diapers
  • Burpie, Boppy, Boopie, and Binkie (I don't know what they are, but I'm told they're very important)
  • Camera

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm Confused, But Clean

We have baby stuff!

Explanation: We had our first baby shower yesterday. That's right, an entire afternoon of showering. I am as clean as I've been in I don't know how long. And on top of that, we have all sorts of baby stuff! I define it as baby stuff, because in many cases, all I'm really sure of is that it's for the baby.

In an effort to take my very pregnant wife off center stage, I agreed to open many of the gifts. This unfortunately led to me opening several packages and saying, "Oh boy! It's a... (reading package...) boppy!" I have no idea what a boppy is. I barely know what a burpcloth is. OK, I have an idea, but I don't really want to think any further than that. Speaking of which, when you call them "burpies" or "poopies" or "peepees", they may sound really cute, but I know they're really disgusting. You're not fooling anyone.

We also now have numerous cute little pink outfits including my little girl's first valentine's outfit, with "Be Mine" written in a heart on the butt. If I catch any little boys reading that, they'd better look out. I have to say that I am very much looking forward to seeing all of her tiny little outfits lined up in her closet.*

And finally, I am now in possession of the cute little outfit which I wore home from the hospital. I have already been warned not to wear it back to the hospital. Frankly, I'm not sure if it'll fit. Embarassingly, I've put on a few extra pounds since then.

*And don't you worry - she already has Hokie gear!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Friday Challenge!

F to the R to the E to the E to the C to the R to the E-D-I-T...

Source: This is the song for freecreditreport.com that they play at the end of the ESPN College Football podcasts I listened to this season.

Explanation: Some songs are what you might call "sticky" in that once they infiltrate your brain, they do not leave for a long, long time. The group doing the commercials for freecreditreport.com has apparently mastered this art.

The challenge is simple. Listen to this song just once. I dare ya.



I believe this isn't the entire song. The whole thing is at the end of the ESPN College Football podcasts, but I couldn't find it on YouTube. If you want to hear more by this fine group, here are a few more of their commercials:



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is It Friday Yet?

TGIF. What? Oh... Crud.

Explanation: Some weeks I have a very good grip on what day it is, while others I just don't have any idea. This week, following the long weekend, I have been utterly confused. You know it's going to be a long week when on Monday you think it's Friday. And on Tuesday? Felt like Friday. On Wednesday, I finally came a little closer to reality, although the whole day I felt like today would be Friday. And now, here it is! Friday! What? It's not? Oh crap.

Special Mouse Update: Kudos to my new No View No Touch mouse traps! The new trap closest to the mouse buffet (a.k.a. my old snap traps) has captured a mouse! Or, at least that's what it says. Based on my limited understanding of its construction, it has snapped shut and indicates that there is something obstructing it from closing all the way to the "Accidentally Triggered" indication. It says that it's occupied. The one problem with these "Don't See, Don't Touch" traps is that you can't tell what you've caught. It could be a mouse. It could be a giant spider. It could be a pygmy rhinoceros. You just can't tell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Mousecapades Continue

The web page I found for a "catapult mouse trap" turned out to be a big letdown.

Explanation: As you probably know by now, I am having an issue with a rodent (or rodents) in my garage. After hearing a scratching in our wall on Monday night, I decided it was time to head out to Target and get some new ammunition. I bought some newfangled twist traps that appear to have a pretty low risk of being dragged off by our supermice.

After making my purchase, I decided to see what the internet had to say about the traps. I googled for "twist mouse trap" and found a VERY interesting looking article entitled "Catapult Mouse Trap Offers New Twist on Old Design". I was quite excited about the prospect of launching mice across my garage into walls, but when I read the article I realized that it should have been called a "Mouse Trap Catapult" and not a "Catapult Mouse Trap". That was quite a letdown.

Of course, that web page prompted me to search the web, where sure enough I did find a mouse catapult.

Special Blog Bonus: Other interesting mouse traps out there include this infrared mouse trap, which seems like a great idea, except for its Achilles heel. Even cooler is Rentokil's RADAR mousetrap, which uses infrared to catch the mouse, carbon dioxide to gas it to death and then sends the owner a text message telling them to dispose of the carcass. Honestly, I'd like a mousetrap that kills the mouse and THEN catapults the carcass into the woods behind my house... but that's just me.

Special Mouse Update: This morning, I found all of the bait missing on my snap traps with one of them triggered but mouseless. None of the new traps caught anything. Without bait in the snap traps, I'm hoping tonight is the night that the new traps prove their worth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bowling Season

How exactly did Virginia Tech get into the Orange Bowl?

Explanation: This weekend, Virginia Tech won the ACC Championship game and therefore earned their ticket to the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 1st. And there I was, in front of the television, wondering how on earth this happened.

There have been many a season when I watched every Virginia Tech football game and rooted the team on, knowing that it was their year and with a few lucky breaks they could get to a BCS bowl game. I sat on the edge of my seat, jumped and cheered, got punched repeatedly in the stomach, and sometimes, in the luckiest of years, Tech made it to a big game.

This year, I just didn't have that kind of energy. It's not that I don't like the team, it's that this was a rebuilding year. The team lost way too much talent to actually compete this year. I knew that. I had very low expectations. Except a funny thing kept happening. As much as my team stunk, other teams managed to keep us in the hunt. Going into a big game at Miami, Tech held their fate in their own hands. Win out and get to the big game. They responded as they have all year, losing the game by the slimmest of margins, 16-14, because the offense just couldn't do anything late in the game. Miami was then kind enough to go out and lose the next week, sending the ACC into complete chaos. If Tech won out, they would (at the very worst) win a 4-way tiebreak. And Tech managed to win out, eeking out wins over Duke (14-3) and UVA (17-14). Go tiebreak!

Anyway, as I mentioned, Tech somehow managed to beat Boston College handily in the fourth game the two teams have played in the past 2 years and now they advance to the Orange Bowl to play Cincinnati - the only BCS team I think they have a chance at beating. This stinks. Now I have hope again.

We'll see how I'm doing on January 2nd.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Hard Work Being a Future Dad

My crib has two right sides.

Explanation: It's official - when I say "my crib" I no longer mean my house. I mean the crib we now have for our daughter.

We were pleasantly surprised when the store called us to say that our crib had arrived this weekend while a relative with a large vehicle was conveniently in town. The crib came in a very large (but not terribly heavy) box which my wife and I managed to get up our stairs. The "team lift" image on the box does not take her pregnant belly into account. Of course, I think they omitted the pregnant belly for legal reasons. I should emphasize that the crib box was not terribly heavy and that my wife was never in any danger at any time. Actually, scratch that. I'm just going to say that a large Scandinavian strongman was in town and he helped me get the crib up the steps. That'll keep the lawyers off my back.

After setting aside a good chunk of time for assembly, I got cracking. Since the crib was made in Vietnam for a Taiwanese company (run "locally" in Canada) it was extremely well packed. I spent a solid half hour just getting the box and packing out of the way. Little bits of styrofoam were all over the place, thanks to the miracle of static electricity. Luckily, I have the world's greatest vaccuum, which took care of the styrofoam in no time.

Once all the pieces were out, I surveyed my instructions. Step 1: attach the right side of the crib to the back of the crib. The back was easy to find, although it took me some time to figure out which side was the top and which was the inside. Next I grabbed the right side of the crib and loosely connected them.

Step 2: attach the left side of the crib to the back of the crib. At this point, I noticed a problem. My crib came with two right sides. This stunk, as I was all sorts of excited about finishing up the crib on Sunday. I pondered numerous ways in which I could alter the construction to make it work, but the only way I could pull it off was to add three or four dimensions to the blueprints to make the crib Escher-like. I concluded that calling customer service might be a better move. I called them up this morning and we should have the new part within a week.

On the bright side, one of the assembly parts for the crib is called a "rubber bumper." Since we have two and they go on a crib, I believe these technically are "rubber baby bumpers." I always wondered what rubber baby bumpers looked like. Now I know.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Beware of the Amish!

Be warned! The Amish have unleashed their diabolical plan!

Explanation: Ten days ago, my wife received a gift of "Amish Friendship Bread" from a friend. I know it was ten days ago, because the gift wasn't actually bread - it was a ziplocked bag of a disgusting milky white substance along with ten days of instructions on how to make the bread. Frankly, it's my belief that such a disgusting looking gift would only be acceptable from a friend, but that's just my opinion.

Anyway, the Amish Friendship Bread works like this. Most of the days you just work the mixture around in the bag (i.e. keep yourself busy while waiting). On one day in the middle you're supposed to add stuff to the mix - flour and milk and things like that. After ten days, you do two things. First, you create "starter bags" using your mixture and other ingredients and distribute them to several of your friends. Then you use the rest of the mixture to make bread for yourself. It was said in the instructions that only the Amish know how to make an original starter bag, but I would wager that (had I cared) it would have been pretty easy to calculate what exactly goes into a starter, given that only a percentage of the original remains with each passing.

Regardless, the whole process essentially amounts to Amish chain mail, only instead of mail, they use food. Eat one, and pass several on. If you don't pass them on, you have to eat them all, which is incentive to get rid of the extra.

It is my theory that this is all a diabolical plan unleashed by the Amish to destroy the outside world by killing them all with poison-laced bread. Actually, forget the theory - this is fact. I bet not even a single Amish person will refute this post. Not one! They're out to get us, I tell you! Beware!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not Yet Rated

This status message has not yet been rated.

Explanation: Today's status message may not be suitable for mature adults. Be advised that these status messages often contain strong hexadecimal content and brief binary. Those over 17 may not be admitted without a child.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Wussification of Jeremy

My garage has made me soft.

Explanation: This morning I had to walk from a heated house to a cold car in 20 degree weather. I used to do this every single day. I'd walk to the car, turn it on, and scrape the frost off of the windshield. It wasn't that big a deal. As long as I was wearing the right clothing, I got a little chilly and then warmed up pretty quickly afterward.

But now I'm soft.

I have a garage. I walk from my house into the garage. I usually gripe about the fact that the garage is 50 degrees while the rest of the house is in the sixties. I get into my frostless car and complain that the seat warmers take a few minutes to take effect. Because the car hasn't cooled down to 20 degrees, it only takes a minute or two to warm up, and yet I still complain about that. And God forbid I have to wear gloves at any point during that process.

Yep. I'm soft.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Deer vs. Schoolbus

I don't mind stopping for the deer, but I hate stopping for the schoolbuses. As a result, I think we should let the deer take our children to school.

Explanation: On my way into work this morning, I got stuck behind one of those schoolbuses that seems to stop every 100 feet to pick up a child. I screamed and cursed at the societal changes that have created children incapable of walking more than ten feet from their front door. Later, I found myself stopping on a back road (with no buses) because a deer was on the side of the road and I was afraid to hit it. No anger, no screaming, just a peaceful moment where I watched the deer scurry into the woods before I continued on my way.

Therefore, I propose that we do away with schoolbuses and let the deer escort our children to school. Sure, it's not the most practical of plans, but it would sure make my commute more peaceful.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's LEGO Advent!

Today is the first day of LEGO Advent!

Explanation: It's official! Today is the first day of LEGO Advent. This means I can crack open Day 1 of my LEGO Castle Advent Calendar.

For those of you who don't know, LEGO Advent celebrates the 24 days before LEGO Jesus was born with small individually wrapped LEGO toys. In my case, they are LEGO Castle toys, symbolic of the... umm... protective... ummm... OK, fine, so they're just 24 toys to keep me occupied until Christmas. There is no deep spiritual meaning to LEGO Advent. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a minifig to assemble.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Think I Hear Crickets Chirping

If a status message is posted and there's nobody there to read it, is it really a status message?

Explanation: Nobody is in today. My status is half-hearted. You'll have to excuse me. If you're looking for something to occupy your time today, I suggest you ponder the sound of one status message clapping.

Have a happy Turkey Day! I'll be back on Monday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anxious Father-To-Be

When your pregnant wife tells you to run downstairs and boil some water, it can be traumatic, even if it's just for making tortellini.

Explanation: I don't quite know why one has to go boil water as soon as a baby delivery is imminent. Perhaps newborns are most comfortable laying in a bed of al dente pasta? Maybe a nice hot cup of tea is a good way to cap off childbirth? Maybe the task is merely a way to get queasy fathers out of the room so the real work can get underway. Regardless, when I hear "go boil some water" I panic. And last night, I panicked. Sure, I knew we were having pasta for dinner, but I'm always on alert.

Don't even start me on the night I had to "go get some towels" out of the clothes dryer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Once Again, The Answer Is...

Nothing says 20 degree fun like running through a sprinkler at 7:00 in the morning.

Explanation: At this point, you're probably wondering what kind of idiot I am to run through a sprinkler at 7:00 in the morning. Actually, if you know me, you might not be asking that question at all.

Last night, I heard a noise in the house. It sounded like a knocking noise, it was very consistent, and I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. After walking around the house a bit and listening, I concluded (uncertainly) that it was coming from the boiler. I felt a bit better having come to a conclusion, but that didn't stop the knocking sound, and I knew the sound wasn't the norm in our house.

As I was getting ready for bed last night, I decided the knocking sound was more like our water system than anything the heating system could generate. Before I fell asleep, I had a small panic attack that I'd wake up to a giant puddle of water somewhere, or worse.

When I woke up, however, I had forgotten the whole ordeal. Our house is always a bit louder in the morning, what with my wife and I getting ready for work and the heating system catching up from a long night of rest. When I came downstairs, though, I noticed two things immediately. First, I saw the front lawn was white. I know it's already been cold this year, but this is the first morning I've actually seen frost. Second, I saw that there was steam coming up from two of the front windows in our house. Naturally, I made no connection between the two.

Knowing it was really cold out, I inspected the windows to see if there was any air leaking from our nice hot house to the cold outside. There was not.

I couldn't let this go. My next theory was that there was a vent from our crawl space under the window (which has a heating duct next to it). So, I ventured outside into the frigid weather to inspect the outside of the house. There I found my answer.

There was a spray of water coming out from somewhere just below the window. It took my mind a few minutes to wrap around how all of the facts were suddenly tied together. We have a spigot on the front of the house with a small hose connection to a splitter, which has two hoses connected to it. Because the spigot is buried behind our bushes, I left the spigot on during the summer and just used the valves on the splitter to turn the hose on and off. It was a great idea for the summer, but not so great in the winter. Last night the water in the connecting hose froze, causing the hose to explode, leaving a wide open spigot to launch water all over the place.

So there I found myself, at 7:00 in the morning, crawling behind icy bushes through a spray of water in 20 degree weather to turn the spigot off. The answer, as always, is "Jeremy, you're an idiot."

Guess I need a new hose now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Morning Bacon

Early to bacon and early to bacon makes a man bacon, bacon, and bacon.

Explanation: Today my wife has parent teacher conferences. When her school does conferences, they start at 10am and go forever - I expect her home around 7pm. The day is usually exhausting for her, but being seven months pregnant, I think today will be particularly rough. So, as a special treat for her, I satisfied her craving for French toast this morning. And, because I'm an extra special wonderful husband, I also made...

BACON!!!

Aren't I just the best? Anyway, I have enough leftover bacon to have a hot bacon, turkey, and muenster sandwich, which takes me back to my favorite meal in the Virginia Tech cafeteria: the Smokey Gobbler. Of course, the Gobbler was on a crossaint, but it's close enough.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm just going to sit here and giggle at the possibility of a 6'7" 330 pound offensive lineman (a parent of one of her students) sitting in one of those little third grade chairs as she talks to him. I sat in one the other day and I looked ridiculous. Maybe he'll just stand...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Joys of Mouse Hunting

I just don't think I have what it takes to be an exterminator.

Explanation: About a month and a half ago, we discovered that we had a mouse in our house. Being the man of the house, I was charged with the responsibility of removing the perpetrator. Since my wife is pregnant and I do actually have a family* to protect from the nasties of rodent disease, I headed out to the store to pick up the latest and greatest in mouse murdering appliances.

I have had a pet mouse**. They're cute little buggers. I really don't want to kill them, so much as remove them from my house. If one does die, I certainly don't want it to suffer any terrible pain before its undoing.

Well, it turns out that killing a mouse isn't as easy as the trap package would like you to believe. Where I thought I was "baiting" the traps, it turns out that I was actually just providing numerous peanut butter offerings to the new master of the house. For several days the mouse was eating and eating. I even found a humane trap on the internet, made from an old soda bottle, which I assembled, much to my wife's amusement. No dice. It was not until I devised a cunning array of four side-by-side snap traps with bait only on the middle traps that I finally managed to catch the little guy. My brief forensic analysis of the scene leads me to believe that a trap actually caught his foot first, and then in the ensuing panic, a second trap fractured his spine and killed him.

In a brief moment of insight, I did not dispose of the extra traps. I just left them out in the garage, all consolidated into a cardboard box lid - a nice little tray of mousie terror. Well, last week I discovered that one of the traps had been triggered (with nothing in it) and realized that another invader was treating my humane trap as a mousie buffet. This being unacceptable, I corked my humane trap and instead provided a new offering of peanut butter, which the invader enjoyed for a night or two.

Well, this morning I discovered something unpleasant. One of the mousetraps was triggered last night, but nothing was in it. Another was still armed. And the third trap? I have no idea where it is. The only explanation I have is that it again got a mousie leg, only this time the mouse wasn't lucky enough to be done in by a second trap. Now there is a mouse dragging a trap somewhere in my garage.

I think I need to get a cat.


*Until February, my family happens to be contained in one convenient package. So what?

**In high school, a friend and I bought a pregnant mouse at the pet store so we could observe the birth process and report on it for class. Several weeks later, with no babies in sight, we learned that there really wasn't much difference between a pregnant female mouse and a really fat male mouse.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

It's officially the holiday season. My LEGO Christmas catalog has arrived.

Explanation: OK, so technically, this one is the "Late Holiday 2008" catalog. I have already received the "Holiday 2008" catalog. Still, this one just feels more special.

Of course, noticeably omitted from the catalog are the two items I'm most interested in - the LEGO Medieval Market Village, due out in 2009, and the LEGO Castle Advent Calendar, which is not available in the United States. Luckily, I happen to have obtained a set anyway. Still, I can't wait for the Medieval Market Village to come out. Then, I can finally achieve my dream of owning LEGO cows!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rochambeauchamro

Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock

Source: I got this from The Big Bang Theory last night. When I looked it up, I discovered that it (sadly) was not original material. Somebody had already invented this game.

Explanation: When two people who know each other well play Rock-Paper-Scissors, three quarters of the games between those people end in a tie. To expedite the important decisions being made by such games, an advance was made which added two new symbols: Lizard and Spock. The rules are "simple":

Scissors cuts Paper, as usual.
Paper covers Rock, as usual.
Rock crushes Lizard.
Lizard poisons Spock.
Spock smashes Scissors.
Scissors decapitate Lizard.
Lizard eats Paper.
Paper disproves Spock.
Spock vaporizes Rock.
Rock crushes Scissors, as usual.

Here's a diagram with arrows from the winning symbols to the losing symbols:


I have dubbed this version of the game "Rochambeauchamro", which is much easier to say than "Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock." You can thank me later.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Post v1.0

If at first you don't succeed, call it Version 1.0.

Explanation: If it doesn't succeed again, call it version 2.0. If it fails miserably on a global scale, call it Vista.

Speaking of Failing Miserably: I am attempting to upgrade Norton Internet Security today. If I seem frustrated, irritable, or distant, or if my internet connection goes down, hangs, or spontaneously combusts, it is almost certainly the fault of Norton. As I've learned in the past, it's important to start these installations early in the day, because they might take several hours. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oops.

Dear Kimberly,

I am sorry that I inadvertently sent the SWAT team to Kayla's slumber party and made you cry. I am sorry about the nightmares. It will never happen again.

Adrian Monk

Source: From Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy.

Explanation: Today's post comes courtesy of the typical police show, where the police consultant is learning how to use a computer and somehow sends an FBI-headed SWAT team to a little girl's slumber party in search of a serial killer. No big deal - just your run of the mill episode.

Special Blog Bonus: And, speaking of typical, here's Far Side on safari:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hi Ho the Merri-O!

The hills are alive with the sound of chicken.

Source: This is a lyric from the 2 Skinnee J's song Meadowblaster. At the end of the song, before the last chorus of "the J's in the dell", the band just keeps repeating "the hills are alive with the sound of chicken." I'm not totally sure what that means, but I'm thinking the chickens are about to rebel...

Explanation: I don't think I could possibly explain this song. Instead, I'll just give you the lyrics:

The J's in the dell
The J's in the dell
Hi ho the merrio the J's in the dell
Old Skinnee J had a farm E-I-O
Planted breeds of the seeds and I heed to watch them grow
Frrom knee high to sky high body and in spirit
Here a rhyme there a rhyme everywhere a lyric
Our delivery is candid with band-aid adhesion
Made it through the changes weathered all the seasons
Now it is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer 2 Skinnee is the magic number
And I wonder awake from your slumber
The blindfold around your mind and soul is torn asunder
So you wake up to greet the day
It's the dawn in the house of J

Well I'm an international harvester so here's a harbinger of things to come
Emerge the one Special J that's prehensile
I've been wrestled from my nestle on the vessel of the wind swept plain
To obtain my weight in grain
It's the cycle of the seasons and here we go again
We how rows with our flows as we sows all we knows
Into grooves and furrows using bulls and burroughs
Storing all we've grown in a mile high silo
Laying claim to our domain with our deeds and titles
I kneel to idols to grow my pastures faster
That's how it is with the old meadowblaster

Reaping props like crops and sowing rhymes like seeds
We're springing like the chicken and we're stinging like bees
Wee wee wee like the piggy heading all the way home
It's the leaders of the sheep and like the cheese I stand alone
And I get down like the rain on the plain for sure
So God damn this you're not in Kansas anymore
Do you dare go where a scarecrow will slay a witch
And the hills are alive with the sound of chickens

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pet Peeve: Acronym Misuse

[Actual work status omitted. Bonus internet status provided instead]

Today's status message is written in HTML language for the WWW web.

Explanation: It just drives me batty when people misuse acronyms. This happens all the time at work, but I don't want to post anything internal on the internet, so I'll just complain about "ATM machines" instead. An acronym should be able to be expanded into a string of words and still make sense in the context in which it was used. For example, "I got money out of the ATM machine" would expand to "I got money out of the automated teller machine machine." People do this all the time. You don't say "I'm from the USA America." You don't say "I'm making a PB&J jelly sandwich." Why would you say "ATM machine?" Jeez. Think before you speak, people!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check out this TV vision show on the CNN network about how a Navy SEAL land went MIA action in the USSR republics because his SCUBA apparatus malfunctioned during a SAR rescue mission.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anaesthesia Sure is Fun

No important decisions today - doctor's orders.

Source: My doctor said I can't make any important decisions today, and since I consider my status to be pretty important, I'm just going to leave it at that. I'll be back tomorrow when I can decide on something funny to say.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh the Joys of Aging

All I ask for in this world is a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice each morning. Take that away from me and I get very cranky.

Explanation: I have what could be officially described as a "diagnostic procedure" on Tuesday. I've put an awful lot of thought into this and my decision was to spare my readers (and coworkers) the details. It is not terribly scary, nor is it or my illness life-threatening. It is, however, particularly annoying that I have to endure it. And frankly, if I wasn't the one undergoing the procedure, I would find the whole situation particularly amusing.

As I have learned in the past, particularly with dental work, the part about medical procedures that frustrates me the most is not the procedure itself, but the procedure's effect and requirements on my diet. With that being said, I am on a liquid diet today. My breakfast was a glass of water and a cup of tea. Yep, that's some hearty eats there. I also just made some Jello, which should be ready in a few hours to provide a particularly unsatisfying lunch.

And Now For the "Good" News: Having looked online at my recent insurance claims, I know that the CAT scan I had a few weeks ago pushed me past my insurance deductible for 2008. While it means I have spent an awful lot out of pocket, that also means that tomorrow's procedure should be quite inexpensive. Free MRI's for everybody!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Time Keeps on Slippin'

"Time continues to skip forward randomly, details at 11." (time jump) "This is the news at 11. The mysterious and unexplained…" (time jump) "Turning to entertainment news: Teen singer 'Wendy' might just be the lates…" (time jump) "…won 3 Grammy's last nigh." (time jump) "…was found dead. In her bathtub."

Source: This is a news segment from the Time Keeps on Slippin' episode of Futurama.

Explanation: I TiVoed the Virginia Tech football game last night and started watching it this morning. (At this point I have only seen the first half, so please don't talk to me about it.) Something is flaky about my TiVo, or maybe my cable, because I kept missing little segments of the game. Even more annoyingly, the first incident happened when Maryland was attempting their first field goal. The snap was good. The hold was good. The kick was up... "...ever live without this product. It's amazing technology". I had no idea what happened. The kick was in the air and suddenly I was in a commercial. At first I thought this was an ESPN issue. Then it happened again. And again it was during a Maryland field goal attempt. Again the play started and I was suddenly in a commercial. The only way I knew the result was because the score was different when I got back from commercial. I was certain it was an ESPN issue until it happened during live play as well. At that point, I realized that I had completely missed 2 minutes of broadcast. Then I missed the last 3 minutes before halftime as well.

So, on the bright side, I expect to finish the rest of the game in about half of the normal time. Sure, I'll miss most of it, but at least I can still claim that I went cannon to cannon.

By the way, if you're wondering, "cannon to cannon" is my Virginia Tech football motto. Tech fires off a cannon at the start of the game and at the end of the game. (And for scores in between, but that's not pertinent to my motto.) I watch games cannon to cannon. Start to finish. If we are winning in a blowout, I go cannon to cannon and enjoy every moment of it. If we lose in a blowout, I still sit tight until the final cannon and endure the pain.

I believe the only exception I've ever made to this rule was when my parents came to join me at a VT vs. Akron game in October of 1995. It was absolutely pouring rain on a typically cold fall day in Blacksburg. We left after the third quarter, when Tech's band was substituted into the game for the third string players. Tech went on to win the game 77-27. I would have stayed for the whole thing, except I left in deference to my parents, who were a bit soggier than they were used to being. It only seemed appropriate, seeing as they were paying for me to be there in the first place.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Filling the Polictical Void

Isn't it about time for the 2012 primaries to start?

Explanation: By my calculations, the 2008 primaries (Democratic, in particular) lasted longer than Christmas season at a Hallmark store. Therefore, given the trend, shouldn't the primaries be starting right about now? I guess the Republicans should have a bit more urgency, given that the Democrats already seem to have a candidate. Where are the candidates? Where are the debates? Where are the town hall meetings? I don't know what to do!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Results Are In!

On this day 53 years ago, Dr. Emmett Brown conceived the flux capacitor.

Source: Of course, this is an important fact from Back to the Future. Plus, it's on Wikipedia so you know it's true.

Explanation: Yes, that's right. The secret to time travel arrived in the mind of the greatest inventor the world has ever seen when he slipped and hit his head on the sink while standing on the toilet to hang a clock. It just goes to show you that most brilliant thoughts do indeed come while in the bathroom.

Election Results: At this point you may be asking, "Seriously? A presidential election yesterday and you're talking about fictional inventions?" Well, you're right - there was a historic election yesterday, and here are the results:

Barack Obama: 4
John McCain: 0
Anyone but Bush: 1
Joe the Plumber: 1
Hillary: 1
Pat Buchanon: 134
Tina Fey: 3
Margin of Error: plus or minus 117%

Thank you all for voting. Your vote mattered and it really made a difference.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rock the Vote!

Was it wrong of me to take my political party up on their offer to drive me to the polls?

Explanation: I was originally unsure about registering for a political party, but since I have it has been wonderful. Yesterday they called me to remind me to vote today and they asked if I needed a ride! Sure, we have two perfectly functioning cars, but gas is expensive these days and I know these politicians have more money than they know what to do with. So, I'm getting chauffer service to vote today! I feel so special!*

Special Blog Bonus: Yes, it is finally election day, America's day of Democracy, when years and years of hard politicking culminate in one Senator (who doesn't really work as a Senator anymore) defeating another Senator (who doesn't really work as a Senator anymore) by a slim margin because elderly folks in Palm Beach County, Florida accidentally vote for Pat Buchanon. Today is the vision the framers of our great Union had in mind when they drafted our Constitution so many years ago.

In honor of today's day of voting, we at Jeremy's Status Message are taking the political pulse of America by having a poll of our own! Check it out on the right. Vote early and vote often!

*I did not actually take them up on the offer. Although, this does encourage a devious plan of registering for the other party and taking them up on any offer I can that drains their finances and keeps those who are truly in the party from getting the attention they deserve.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Expensive Restaurant Guy

I find it a little eerie how much celebrity chef Mario Batali resembles Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.



Explanation: I know he's one of the world's greatest chefs and all, but seriously, doesn't he look just like the Comic Book Guy?

"I shall return to my restaurant, where I dispense the entrees instead of absorbing them."

Special Blog Bonus: Here's a Comic Book Guy soundboard to keep you amused for a little while.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Working from home in the greatest Halloween costume ever.

Explanation: Three words: LEGO Mini Man


That's right! It's time for everybody's favorite holiday! The only day of the year children are allowed to walk from door to door demanding a candy payoff to prevent unfortunate toilet paper incidents involving the tree in your front yard. It's Halloween!

As I do on every Halloween,* I'm working from home dressed up in my Halloween costume. It's a little tough typing with these mini man hands, but I think I finally have the hang of it.

*And you can't prove otherwise

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bite-Size Baseball

I watched the entire baseball game last night! Go Phillies!

Explanation: Given that last night's Game 5 was potentially the deciding game of the World Series, and given that the Phillies are now my local team, I decided to sit down and watch the entire game. That's right - I, Jeremy, watched an entire baseball game phrom start to phinish. Now, admittedly, the phact that the start was in the middle of the sixth inning did help my cause, but I'm still really proud of myselph.

Now, I'll be the phirst to admit that baseball games are better in person when they have nine innings. Otherwise, there just wouldn't be enough opportunities to visit the concession stands. Or, in the case of most of the other patrons, there wouldn't be enough chances to drown yourselph in alcohol to the point where you make a phool of yourselph, much to my amusement. The televised baseball game, however, is ideally three to phour innings long. When TiVoed, that's an hour of excitement, tops. Perphect phor my busy schedule.

Now, iph you'll excuse me, I have to put the phinishing touches on my Phillie Phanatic Halloween costume and then go join the rioting in my street. Go Phillies!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Let's Get a Few Things Straight

Just a friendly reminder that Friday is Halloween, Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, and Tuesday is election day. Try not to get them confused and set democracy backward by trick-or-treating an hour late dressed as the scariest candidate.

Explanation: What's even more confusing is that I have to have blood taken and get my car inspected in the next two days. What happens if my costume fails inspection or I give blood to children at my front door? What if I drive my voting booth down to Motor Vehicles? What if my inspection sticker gets set behind? What if I vote for the candidate most likely to hit a vein on the first try? These are serious questions, and in this serious time, we need serious answers. That's why I'm casting my vote on Tuesday for the candidate who shows up at the correct time in the best Halloween costume. I hope you'll do the same.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Wet Series

On a miserable rainy day like this, all you really want to do is go outside and play a potentially deciding game of the World Series.

Explanation: Why would you play game five in the pouring rain??? Why???

There. That's my contribution to the blogosphere today. Stay tuned for another exciting post tomorrow here on Jeremy's Status Message.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beat the Rush! Fall Behind Now!

According to my TiVo, I left home at 4:45am today.

Explanation: No, I did not leave at 4:45am, nor did I watch any television this morning.* This weekend began the exciting period where the government's change in Daylight Saving Time screws up devices that were "smartly" programmed to change automatically based on the old standard.

Yesterday, my mom was telling me about how half the clocks in her house were suddenly an hour off and I laughed at it, only later realizing that my TiVo showed 12:00 and 3:00 NFL games yesterday. Luckily, it thought the games were at 12:00 and 3:00, so other than the bad time, it still functions correctly.

*I actually left home for Poughkeepsie at 5:45am this morning. If you see me yawning today, it's not because you're boring me. Well, maybe it is, but at least I have a really good excuse.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thank You, Firewall

Nothing is worse than canceling 10 hour computer process which hung halfway through only to discover a firewall window in the background asking if it was OK for said program to access the internet.

Explanation: I was backing up my hard drive yesterday with the intent of starting when I finished work and letting it run overnight. Before I went to bed, I noticed that it was hung, so I went ahead and hit "Cancel". Immediately after canceling, I noticed the Norton window in the background.* The reason the program hung was because it couldn't get through my stupid security software. One click of "Allow" and it would have been back in business. Curse you Norton!!!

From the irony department, I should also note that my Norton Internet Security license expired a couple of weeks ago and Norton has been telling me every day that my machine is unprotected against new threats. Luckily, it's still protected from the older, yet still extremely dangerous process of backing up my files. I feel so much safer knowing this.

For those of you who enjoyed my last Norton upgrade, have no fear - another upgrade is coming very soon.

*By the way, it took a half hour for the cancel to take effect, too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Birthdays Today

Happy Birthday to Al Capone and Amy Winehouse!

Source: My subconcious. As far as I know, today is neither of their birthdays.

Explanation: Last night I had a dream where I was in a group headed for a coworker's birthday party. We came to where the party was supposed to be, only to find two large signs, one that said "Amy Winehouse Birthday Party" and one that said "Al Capone Birthday Party". Behind the signs were roads that curved around to the respective party locations. We knew our party was in the same area as the other two, but didn't know which road to pick. At that moment, I woke up very confused.

So, in preparation for election day, I ask you, my loyal readership, to choose the lesser of two evils: Which road do you pick? Al Capone or Amy Winehouse, and why?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Go Monkeys Go!

Today's status is courtesy of an infinite number of monkeys, each with a typewtrier.

Explanation: Due to the huge stock market slump, I've reallocated my investments from stocks into an infinite army of monkeys. They're expensive to feed and you don't even want to know what my garage looks like right now, but they come up with brilliant status messages. Sure, given more time, my monkey army could have gotten the last word spelled right, but I'm on a timeline here. Plus, I have to set them forth on my more ambitious plan of creating the Infinite Monkeys reality show. It's like Survivor but with smarter characters and more poo-flinging action!


Interesting Fact: It only took seven of my monkeys 12 minutes to duplicate the most recent James Patterson novel.

Special Blog Bonus: Guess I'm not the only one to consider this subject matter...


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today's Status is Just Ducky

A duck walks into a bar and asks the bartender, “Has my brother been in here?”
The bartender responds, “What does he look like?”

Explanation: A duck. He looks like a duck. Need a better duck joke? How about this one:

So this guy walks into the doctor's office with this big white duck on his head.

The doctor looks up and says, "Yes, sir, can I help you?"

And the duck says,

"Yeah, can you get this guy off my butt?"


OK, just for good measure, here's a duck comic from See Mike Draw:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hokie Hokie Hokie... Sigh

How can a team with no running game and no passing game score 23 points?

Explanation: I sat down in front of the Virginia Tech game at Boston College this weekend with minimal expectations. Regardless of Tech's 5-1 record, this is a rebuilding year. I don't know how good Boston College is, but I know Tech has a history of tough games against them, especially in Chestnut Hill.

I've spent many years watching my Hokies play, and I am generally pretty emotionally vested in their games... but not this year. On Boston College's first passing play of the game, Tech intercepted the ball and ran it back for a touchdown. Then B.C. fumbled the ensuing kickoff return. With 13:00 to go in the first quarter, the Tech offense took the field for the first time on the B.C. 30 yard line with a 7-0 lead. In past seasons, I would have been jumping up and down and cheering and laughing and loving life. This season, however, I just sat there on the couch, knowing that this game was far from over. The inept Tech offense took the field, went three and out, and settled for a field goal to make the score 10-0.

As the game went on, the pain continued. Tech has no passing game. The passing highlight of the day was a bomb to a wide open freshman receiver (they're all freshmen) that went through his hands and bounced off his face. The running game was nonexistant. Our best play is where Tyrod Taylor drops back to pass and then scrambles because none of the receivers is open. Our second best play is where Taylor drops back and then throws a bullet to a place where there isn't a receiver. Sure, it doesn't gain any yardage, but it doesn't lose any either.

B.C., meanwhile, continued to show signs of life on offense. They ran back a punt for a touchdown, partially blocked a punt, and had a few big passing plays. Tech, on the other hand, couldn't do anything on offense. The defense scored another touchdown, and generated enough field position for the offense to kick two more field goals. That's right. The defense scored 14 and the offense managed 9. If the special teams managed to score (or avoid giving up a score) Tech might have won.

With the score at 28-23 in Boston College's favor, Tech got the ball back with over a minute left. Was I on the edge of my seat? No. Was I excited? No. I just sat there, quietly curious as to what on earth we could possibly do with the ball. The answer? Run four plays without getting a first down. Game over. Go team!

Also, you might have missed it during ESPN's coverage, but former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan was in attendance at the game.


I'm not totally sure, but I think ESPN cut to him between every play. Even Jessica Simpson doesn't get this kind of attention when she goes to Cowboys games.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Glow-In-The-Dark Jeremy

Today, in theory, I should be exposed to about one quarter of the radiation that the average Hiroshima survivor was exposed to.

Source: This is according to Wikipedia, which is on the internet, so you know it's true.

Explanation: I'm going to make a long story short here, but I've had some abdominal pain lately and my doctor wants me to get a CT scan. Having never gotten one before, but excited that I can now complete the X-Ray/MRI/CT trifecta, I looked it up online, only to discover that it involves exposing me to gross amounts of radiation. While I'm excited at the prospect of having a solution to this pain, I'm now a wee bit worried about glowing in the dark. Sure, not as much as this guy, but still.

Special Blog Bonus: In other body imaging news, Jason Freeny's website has the anatomy of a LEGO minifig, as well as a few other similar items, including a clever 3D rendering of the anatomy of a balloon animal.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

GA: Germophobes Anonymous

Maybe reading two consecutive books about pandemics wasn't the best idea I've ever had.

Explanation: I just finished Chuck Pahlaniuk's Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey which, among other things, involves a rabies epidemic. By the end of the book, I was completely aware of every possible way I could contract rabies in my day-to-day life. When I finished the book, I decided to pick up Stephen King's The Stand. While I knew that The Stand involved most of humanity dying out, I had forgotten that it was due to a government-created flu. Every time a person in the book has the sniffles, they and everyone they've come into contact with are dead within a couple of days. As a result, I am now hyper-sensitive to sniffles, coughs, sneezes, wheezes, and everything else you might see in a NyQuil commercial.



If you sneeze and I pause for a moment, I apologize. I'm just envisioning the end of civilization as we know it.

Special Blog Bonus: This has nothing to do with anything, but a friend emailed me this video of a couple's first dance at their wedding. I wish I could say I was this creative.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Fun of a Fall Mow

Enjoying my pretty lawn while it lasts.

Explanation: After about three weeks of not mowing, I finally got the mower outside and did the lawn last night. Now that the sprinkler issue has been resolved, the ground was pretty dry, so that helped, but I had a lot of growth in the backyard and a lot of leaves in the front yard.

I'm sure I've complained about this before (and I'm sure you homeowners already know this) but there are two things I particularly hate about mowing the lawn this time of year.

First is the amount of volume the leaves add to the mower bag. On a normal summer mow, I empty a full bag twice and then empty the bag again when I'm done just so it doesn't stink up my garage. Yesterday I emptied the bag at least ten times. It was ridiculous. Mow down, mow back, mow down, mow back, empty the bag. And repeat. Sometimes I couldn't even get four trips in. The mulch pile behind my house went from being 2 feet high to being 5 feet high. I'm glad the grass isn't growing as fast these days, because I'd hate to do this more than once every other week.

My second issue is the more upsetting part - there are still leaves on the trees. Last year I mowed the front lawn and all of the leaves were gone and it looked so pretty... until the next morning when you couldn't tell that it had been mowed at all. This year fall isn't that far along, but the trees out there are just mocking me. I know my pretty lawn isn't going to last. It cheapens the whole mowing experience.

Anyway, my lawn is pretty right now and will remain so for at least fifteen more minutes, so enjoy it while it lasts!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Columbus Rocks!

Happy Day-After the Federal Holiday Everyone Forgets!

Explanation: That's right, yesterday was Columbus Day - the day when all Americans go out to check their mail and leave their trash cans at the curb without remembering that it is actually a federal holiday.

People, you have to respect the importance of this holiday. On the second Monday of every October, we celebrate the good people of Columbus, Ohio, and their contributions to this great land of ours. We give thanks for their professional sports teams: the Columbus Crew, the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Ohio State Buckeyes. We hold picnics to share our love of Ohio's largest city with our families and dearest friends. We curse Drew Carey and all those other jerks who sing songs about how Cleveland Rocks. Columbus rules, Cleveland drools, people!

To everyone in my neighborhood with their trash out today (our trash gets delayed a day after federal holidays) shame on you! To everyone who checked their mail yesterday, shame on you! To everyone (me) who had to have a letter postmarked by October 13th and ended up driving to the Post Office distribution center by 4:30 so some guy in coveralls whom you had previously spoken to on the telephone could take it from you on the loading dock before the truck from the distribution center came, shame on you!

Columbus Day is an important federal holiday, just like Topeka Day, Carson City Day, and Boise Day. Respect the calendar, people!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weight Loss Made Simple

I lost five pounds in just under an hour and you can too!

Explanation: Trying to shed a few extra pounds? Diets not working? Don't have time to work out? I have the plan for you!

The secret lies in a special bacteria that your body thinks is toxic. Just eat a little bit of this bacteria on your favorite food product: pizza, wings, french fries - whatever. In just a few hours, it will start to work its magic.

You'll know when the magic starts to happen. You'll feel those pounds just fly off. There's no need for a manual, DVD, or anything. Your body will know exactly what to do. Just let the bacteria do its thing and in an hour or two, you'll be a leaner, meaner version of yourself.

Real Life Testimonial: I took my dose of the special bacteria on a sandwich on Saturday afternoon. I went to bed on Saturday night feeling perfectly normal. At about midnight, though, the bacteria went to work. My body jumped into action, and the pounds just started to fly off of me in every conceivable direction. By 1:00 AM, I was back in bed, 5 pounds leaner than before. It was easy! Don't fall for those infomercial gimmicks where you have to diet for months to see the same results. This is the real thing. Five pounds in one hour. And I haven't put the weight back on! In fact, the mere thought of food disgusts me! I may be even lighter! Act now!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Vacation Day

Vacation Day Today - Be Back on Monday

Special Blog Bonus: Who started the fight, the chicken or the egg?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Baby Names

So, Jeremy++ and Linus are out as names. You think my wife will go for Perl or Ada?

Explanation: For those of you who get this, I'm sorry. For those of you who don't, these are all baby names based on computer stuff. See, if I was a bigger computer nerd, I would have pushed for names like this. Of course, if I was a bigger computer nerd, chances are pretty good that I never would have encountered a woman to marry and have a family with in the first place. So there you go.

Special Blog Bonus: Here's a Far Side involving my worst nightmare: a safari and a coathanger. (OK, my worst nightmare actually involves a pack of hyenas as well, but let's not explore that too deeply.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nerd Squared

I'm still in court today, but I needed a new status message

"Yoda of Borg are we: Futile resistance is. Assimilate you, we will."


Source: I saw this in some guy's sig on (of course) a Linux forum. And no, the above photo is not my Photoshop handiwork.

Explanation: Anything that includes both Star Wars and Star Trek AND is funny has to be a status message. It just has to be. End of story.

Special Blog Bonus: In LEGO Borg/Yoda news:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Big Baby News!

In court today, but...

Check out my web site for the big news!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wanted: Registered Voters

Wanted: Registered voters to participate in elaborate psychological experiment.

Explanation: Phase I of the experiment will require participants to meet a series of rigid timelines under threat of harsh penalty, only to then have to wait cumulatively for several hours before anything of consequence happens. Interspersed between these waiting periods, participants will be assembled in the main laboratory where a subset of 14 will be "selected" for participation in an even more elaborate experiment. These select few will be elevated into a special box for all others to see. All participants in Phase I will receive $5 per day for their services.

The select 14 will then enter Phase II, where they will be regailed by the chief experimentor as heroes of democracy while simultaneously being subjected to even longer waiting periods between segments of the experiment. During such periods, participants will be herded into a small windowless holding pen with arbitrary climate control. During the non-waiting segments of the experiment, participants will enjoy an elaborate tale of true crime as presented by one orator, while another simultaneously professes an equally riveting, nearly identical tale of an innocent person in the wrong place at the wrong time. During particularly enthrawling moments of this presentation, participants will abruptly be shepherded back to their pen in an effort to convince them that they are missing the most important parts. Orators will often huddle with the chief experimentor, muttering clearly important things just out of earshot of the participants. To further infuriate participants, even though the only thing any of them have in common is their participation in this experiment, they will not under any circumstances be allowed to discuss the experiment. This requirement is essential. While Phase II participants are waiting in the holding pen, the chief experimentor will occasionally call out individual participants, ask them bizarre questions, and then tell them to return without discussing their conversation with the other participants, thus undermining the dynamic within the isolated group. Participants in Phase II wil be remitted $40 per day.

When the elaborate tale of true crime concludes, Phase III of the experiment commences. 12 of the 14 participants will be allowed to return voluntarily to their holding pen to finally discuss the experiment with each other. 2 participants, however, will be randomly selected to move to another, smaller, windowless holding pen also equipped with arbitrary climate control. These 2 participants will STILL not be allowed to discuss the experiment with each other, even though they know the other 12 are happily discussing it. Occasionally the chief experimentor will assemble all 14 participants in the main laboratory to answer questions from the 12, just to further remind the unfortunate 2 that they are still not talking about the experiment. All participants in Phase III will be payed $40 per day, regardless of whether they are part of the lucky 12 or the unfortunate 2.

Explanation, Part II: No court today, deliberations resume on Tuesday.

I have been selected as an alternate juror. Correction: I have been selected as the SECOND alternate juror. So, after spending six days listening to the entire court case and I am now required to sit with the first alternate juror in a small room while our 12 cohorts deliberate elsewhere. I am required to be in court, in spite of the fact that I am not actually participating in anything, nor is there even a remote chance that I will ever get the opportunity to participate in anything. On the bright side, I can bring my laptop and do work. As you can tell, I am thrilled about this.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Deliberation? Delightful.

Jury Deliberation starts today...

If liberation means setting people free, then deliberation clearly means locking people in a small room.

Source: Here's Larry David getting out of jury duty on Curb Your Enthusiasm
:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Trial Goes On

Jury Duty Today

Here's the courtroom scene from Woody Allen's Bananas (which I have never seen):

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jury Duty Continues

Jury duty today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Live Free or You've Gotta Be Kidding Me

Giant nuclear lizards.

Source: Once, many years ago, I was watching the movie Godzilla (or something similar) with my parents. After about an hour of watching this movie, my father (who worked in the airline industry for several years) jumped up to complain about how the outside of an airplane they showed did not match the plane cabin that the actors were in. That was the scene that drove him over the edge. I exclaimed "GIANT NUCLEAR LIZARDS!!!" to remind him that the entire premise of the movie was implausible, and once you suspend your disbelief over something like giant nuclear lizards, pretty much anything is possible.

Explanation: Yesterday, Sarah and I watched Live Free or Die Hard and during one of the final scenes, I looked up and proclaimed that we had exceeded my threshold for implausibility. Mind you, at this point, digital terrorists had already seized control of every traffic system in the country, set off the anthrax alarm in a government agency, hacked the New York Stock Exchange, and shut down power to the entire country. Oh, and let's not forget the gorgeous ninja computer hacker woman - oh, I totally remember her from my computer science classes in college.

I could go on to explain the exact scene which drove me over the edge, but I don't want to "ruin" the movie for anyone.

Friday, September 26, 2008

No Quiero Taco Bell

Curse you, Taco Bell!

Explanation: Yesterday I decided to splurge during my lunch break from the court case and went over to Taco Bell again. This particular Taco Bell has a three-step ordering process - first you order at the giant menu, then you pay at the first window, then you pick up your food at the second window.

I placed my order for a #1 Combo. That's a burrito and a taco. When I pulled up to the first window to pay, the woman asked me if I would like any sauce with my order. Well, I was getting one taco so I wanted one packet of hot sauce. Since it clearly didn't get through last time, I made a big deal of it this time. I said, "I only need one packet of hot sauce. Just one. Last time I got twenty and I'm sick of throwing them out." She laughed and leaned over to yell something to the person at the other window. I assume she was explaining my request, but I could not totally hear because the window shut. Next, I completed my payment and she gave me one of those random survey slips where I can call and have a chance at winning $1000. I've never gotten one of those from Taco Bell before.

Anyway, I get to the second window, they give me my food and drink, and I'm on my way. I glanced in the bag, but didn't see any sauce, which I thought meant that there was only a single packet hidden in there somewhere.

When I returned to the courthouse, I opened up my bag, and to my surprise, there were three Supreme tacos in there. That wasn't my order. Not only was that not my order, but for three tacos, I would want three packets of Hot Sauce, not just one. How many packets were in the bag? Zero.

I'm going to enjoy taking this survey.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jury Service, Day 3

Well now, la-ladies and g-g-gentlemen of the j-j-j-j-jury...



I am serving on a jury today... again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jury Service, Day 2

"You can't handle the truth!"



I'm continuing to serve on a jury today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And The Case Begins

You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!

Source: Al Pacino in And Justice For All.



Explanation: I'm serving on a jury, starting today.

Special Blog Bonus: I just found out that Choke is coming to theaters! As a fan of Chuck Palahniuk, I have to suggest you get out and see it. Or you could read the book. Whatever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stanley the Poker Monkey

I have successfully recreated a digital chess monkey in poker!

Explanation: For quite some time now, I've had a computer game called Chessmaster that features a large selection of computer players. The computer players range in skill from the Chessmaster himself (whom I could never ever even think about beating in a bajillion years) all the way down to little kids and finally to a monkey named Stanley who makes random legal moves.


In my quest to create a digital poker player, my intent is to create a table of capable digital players and then simulate thousands of games between the players to see which algorithm is stronger. The first step, however, is to create a digital player, and that first player was Stanley the monkey. In any given situation, Stanley randomly folds, checks, calls, or bets. While wildly unpredictable, he acts very quickly, giving me a great base opponent for my simulation. I have moved ahead quite a bit in the quality of my digital players, but no accomplishment was better than recreating the digital chess monkey in poker.

My next hurdle is enabling Stanley to sling his digital feces at you when he loses.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Run For the Border

And the eternal dance of the taco sauce continues...

Explanation: You think I'd learn, but I never do. I went to the Taco Bell drive-through the other day and ordered a #6 combo - that's two chalupas and a taco. I like the Baja chalupas as they are, because they have their own sauce on them, but I do like to add a little something to the taco. That little something is a single packet of Taco Bell Hot Sauce. That's it. That's all I need.

So, after I placed my order, the nice lady asked, "Would you like Hot, Mild, or Fire Sauce with that?" I responded the same way I always do: "Yes, I would like ONE packet of Hot Sauce." Then I drove through to pick up my order and sure enough, it contains 67 packets of Taco Bell Hot Sauce. Seriously. There was more volume occupied in my bag from taco sauce than there is from food. It's ridiculous. You think I would learn and just give up on the taco sauce, but I don't.

It's kind of like at Subway when I say "I would like a little lettuce and a LOT of tomato" and the person proceeds to slather on the lettuce and then gives me a whopping 3 slices of tomato. I think they're required to ask the question, but they aren't required to care about the response.

Anyway, should you ever visit my house and open up that one kitchen cabinet, and have millions of packets of Taco Bell Hot Sauce fall on your head, now you know why they're there. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm Just Bursting With Civic Pride

Heheh... duty.

Explanation: Well it took a number of years, but I had my first experience with jury duty yesterday. I was on call for the morning, but then I had to go in for the afternoon session. Here's a timeline of how it went down:

12:30 PM: I arrive at the courthouse parking lot and wolf down the Taco Bell value meal I bought on the way. At home I usually eat a meal every two to three hours, so I was pretty worried about surviving an entire afternoon without sustenance.

12:50 PM: I walk into the jury room, feeling bloated from my Mexican feast and clinging to my tub of Mountain Dew. The first thing I discover is that it's "Juror Appreciation Week" and they have a spread of free food and beverages for people on jury duty. At this point in time, the mere appearance of food makes me feel ill.

12:52 PM: After checking in, I take my seat in the front of the jurors' room where they have two televisions showing "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" There are also computers for jurors' use and a large number of books available. Of course, I brought a book, so I'm good.

1:00 PM: "Millionaire" ends and a daytime soap opera comes on. I'm suddenly very uncomfortable sitting that close to the television.

1:02 PM: Court Lady #1 puts in a DVD about how a courtroom works. Surprisingly, the acting is much better than in the soap opera she turned off.

1:10 PM: The video ends and Court Lady #2 spends five minutes taking attendance. There are 54 of us. Then we all proceed up to the 6th floor where the courtroom is.

1:15 PM: Outside the courtroom, there are about a hundred jurors, some from the previous session. We wait patiently. Some of us who may have just finished chugging our tub of Mountain Dew are relieved to discover that there are restrooms there.

1:20 PM: We are shepherded into an unused courtroom, where we are told we will wait for 20 minutes until the judge is ready for us.

1:30 PM: Whiny lady in front of me complains that she has to pick up her kids at school and there's no way she can be on a jury.

2:00 PM: We are told that the lawyers are still working with the previous group of jurors and it may be a while longer.

2:12 PM: Court Lady #3 pulls a copy of "My Cousin Vinny" out from the Clerk's desk and plays it for us on the large court monitor.

2:15 PM: Whiny lady in front of me complains again that she has to pick up her kids at school and there's no way she can be on a jury.

2:41 PM: Whiny lady in front of me complains again that she has to pick up her kids at school and there's no way she can be on a jury.

2:43 PM: Whiny lady in front of me makes a phone call where she tells someone else they have to pick up the kids.

3:10 PM: Whiny lady in front of me complains that she has to pick up her kids at school tomorrow and there's no way she can be on a jury.

3:30 PM: The judge will see us now. We proceed to the courtroom next door. It is amazing how many times you can tell a large group of people to "not leave any empty seats" before they realize that you are talking to them. I certainly hope isn't a jury of MY peers.

3:37:02 PM: "All rise for the Honorable So-and-So."

3:37:04 PM: "Please be seated."

3:37:05 PM: Major head rush accompanied by sudden leg cramps.

3:38 PM: The Honorable So-and-So explains the details of the case and introduces the lawyers and the defendant.

3:39 PM: The Honorable So-and-So says you should come up and talk to him if any of the following four conditions apply...

3:46 PM: It took so long to explain the four conditions, I had forgotten the first two by the time he was done. I remember desperately hoping that I would know a witness so I could be excused. No luck, though.

3:47 PM: A parade of people walk up to the bench one by one to tell the judge why they're too good for jury duty.

4:30 PM: We are dismissed for the day and have to return at 10:00 AM tomorrow.

And there you go. In conclusion, the justice system works and I've never been more proud to serve as a citizen of this wonderful country of ours.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bounce, Tigger! Bounce!

The wonderful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are wonderful things.

Source: This is, of course, the first line of the Tiggers song. Here's some more:

The wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is Tiggers are wonderful things!
Their tops are made out of rubber
Their bottoms are made out of springs!
They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is
I'm the only one!

Explanation: This weekend my neice received (among other things) a "Turbo Tail Tigger" for her second birthday. Turbo Tail Tigger is the closest an inanimate object can possibly be to AD/HD. It bounces up and down, singing the Tigger song:



Personally, I think Turbo Tail Tigger would fit in quite nicely at a 2 Skinnee J's concert. He's got the bounce down perfectly.

Special Blog Bonus: Sure, Turbo Tail Tigger might wear on you after a while, but at least it's not a screaming chicken:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Noooooo!

The one flaw with my TiVo has been exposed.

Explanation: I rarely watch Monday Night Football. Last night the Eagles were playing the Cowboys, so I made an exception. After the most exciting first half of football I've seen in a long time, it was way past my bedtime, so I set the TiVo to record the rest of the game (plus an hour, because sometimes these things run over). Then I went to bed, knowing I wouldn't miss a thing.

This morning, I woke up excitedly telling my wife about the first half of the game. I went flying downstairs to watch as much as I could of the exciting conclusion before work, only to find that my recording lasted a whopping 7 minutes. After pulling my jaw back from the floor and recovering from the shock, I realized that my internet connection had been down as well. I went outside to check things out.

Sure enough, when moving a car last night, the temporary cable line in my driveway managed to get pulled from my house right before I went to bed. The TiVo works great, but you need cable for it to work.

So, as far as I know, the Eagles won last night by 6 points. Go Philly!!!