Thursday, July 31, 2008

Breaking News: Hawkwatch 2008

It's Hawkwatch, 2008!

Explanation: We interrupt our mystery status week to bring you this exciting news update:

This morning as I looked out my window to see if it had rained last night, I saw this on my driveway:


Given the coloring, I thought it was my neighbors' cat, who often hunts on my property. I've never seen the cat resting like that, though. After looking a little closer, though, I realized that it wasn't the cat.


Yes, it's my hawk. I call it "my" hawk because I know it lives in the woods behind my house and I often see it hunting as I gaze longingly out the window during work. I love this hawk. It's majestic and glorious, and (perhaps more importantly) along with the neighbors' cat, it pretty much eliminates any rodent problem the woods might present.

It appears the hawk has an injured wing. As my wife backed her car down the driveway (thankfully on the non-hawk side) it rose to its feet and appears quite capable of walking, and perhaps thrashing neighborhood pets as well. It does not, however, appear capable of flying. I put some water out for it, which prompted it to waddle off in the other direction. It is now resting lazily under a tree in my front yard.

I have made numerous phone calls this morning and will continue making them until somebody actually answers. I'll keep you updated on this breaking news.

Oh, and for those of you who are concerned about my theme week, have no fear - it will continue tomorrow.

Update, 10:50am: After finding several people to contact for raptor rehabilitation, I figured I should make sure the bird was still around before I tried calling again. Apparently, my feathered friend wandered his way back into the woods, because he's nowhere to be seen outside. Oh well. I hope his wing gets better. So ends the excitement of Hawkwatch 2008. We thank everyone who called/emailed with their thoughts and prayers.

Update, 11:12am: Hawkwatch is back on, people!!! The hawk has been located, I repeat, the hawk has been located. I have left a message at one of the local rehabilitation places and hopefully they will call me while I still know where the bird is. For those of you who called/emailed with your thoughts and prayers, get back to work! Think and prey harder!

Update, 11:14am: I just realized that I used "prey" instead of "pray". See, I was thinking "bird of prey" when I typed it and I got all confused... yeah, that's it.

Update, 8:24am, Friday: Zippy (as I have named him) is lost. I last saw him wandering about the woods behind the house. Hopefully I'll see him again soon. Also, I should mention that Zippy is a fully grown red-tailed hawk. You can't see exactly how big he is in the photos above, but he's probably about 20 inches tall. So, even without wings, I think Zippy could take down a yippy neighborhood dog or two. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Would You Like Snow With That?

Yes, I'd like a Big Mac, a large fries, and a Diet Coke... in Missouri, please.

Source: This, too, is from the book I'm reading, which I will reveal on Friday.

Explanation: In an effort to improve service, a McDonald's franchise owner in Colorado created a call center to handle his drive-through orders. Anyone who pulls up to one of his numerous franchises to place an order is actually talking to an order taker in his call center, who relays the order via computer back to the franchise where the order was placed. Having highly trained professionals handle orders trims the average order time by more than 30 seconds, and puts his franchise among the fastest in the country. Seeing his success, other McDonald's franchises have started paying to use his call center as well. So, if you pull up to McDonald's just off U.S. Interstate 55 near Cape Girardeau, Missouri, you will actually place your order through the Colorado Springs call center. Scary, huh?

Not So True, But Interesting Factoid: In honor of this innovation, all of my Sametime responses today will actually be processed through a computer lab in Bangalore.

Sadly, This Factoid Is True: A not-so-stable friend of my college roommate worked at McDonald's during high school. Somebody placed an order for a Big Mac, a large fries, and a Diet Coke, and he went off on them: "You're getting a Big Mac and enough fries to feed three people. That's like 1500 calories! You think a Diet Coke is going to help you???" After some more colorful ranting, the customer responded that she was diabetic and could not drink regular Coke, at which point the enraged employee gave up and cooled off in the walk-in freezer for a while.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mystery Week: Outsourcing is Cool (As Long As It Isn't Your Job)

I think I'm going to hire an outsourced administrative assistant.

Source: Yes, the source remains a mystery.

Explanation: In the book I'm reading, I discovered that there's a gentleman who created a company that will give you an Indian administrative assistant for $1500-$2000 a month. You may ask why on earth you'd want an administrative assistant in India instead of the United States, and I'll tell you why. India time is about a half day ahead of the United States. If you need a PowerPoint presentation created ASAP, you can make this request of your Indian administrative assistant as you leave for home in the evening. Your assistant is just starting his or her workday, and can spend the next 8 hours churning away on it while you eat dinner with your family, play with your kids, tuck them in and enjoy a nice quiet relaxing evening. When your assistant leaves for the day, he or she emails you your presentation and it's waiting for you first thing in the morning when you get in to work. Nobody has to put in any extra hours or anything! It's brilliant! I think I'm going to hire one.

Interesting Factoid: Outsourced telephone operators are taught that the letter T in American English is pronounced almost like a D, not nearly as crisp and sharp as the British pronounce it. To practice, they get to say exciting things like:

A bottle of bottled water held thirty little turtles. It didn't matter that each turtle had to rattle a metal ladle in order to get a little bit of noodles, a total turtle delicacy... The problem was that there were many turtle battles for less than oodles of noodles. Every time they thought about grappling with the haggler turtles their little turtle minds boggled and they only caught a little bit of noodles.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mystery Week: UPS

On any given day, 2% of the world's GDP is being transported by UPS.

Source: Ah, therein lies the mystery.

Explanation: I just got back from vacation, and on vacation I like to read. The book I'm currently reading is loaded with some interesting facts, just like the one above. So, this week I'm going to use some of those facts as my status. On Friday I'll reveal the source. Until then, feel free to wager a guess.

For those of you who don't like UPS, you probably don't want to read the next factoid. But don't worry, I won't mention the army of brown shorts again this week.

Another Interesting Factoid: If you own a Toshiba laptop and need it repaired under warranty, UPS will collect it, ship it to a workshop at its Louisville hub, repair it, and ship it back to you. Toshiba never even sees the machine - they train the UPS technicians and then UPS can perform their repairs for them. This is a side of UPS that I never knew existed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

Happy Birthday to me!

Explanation: That's right! Today is my birthday! And I'm at the beach. And I'm working a half day. So, I'm excited about my birthday, but not so much about the work part.

Maybe when I'm done with work, I'll watch 2*(16 Candles)+1. Or for something a little less wholesome, I'll catch Eddie Murphy in 6022.5*48 Hours. Or for something risquee, maybe 180.632*9 1/2 Weeks? Or, I can put down the calculator and go down to the ocean. Maybe that'll be my best course of action...

Since I'm still on vacation, regular posting will resume on Monday.

*Please send all gifts care of Jeremy at Thank you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vacation Day

I'm on vacation today. Be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


The early bird may get the worm, but the night owl gets to go out for waffles at 3:00 in the morning.

Explanation: No, I was not up until 3:00 in the morning last night (or recently, for that matter) nor did I have waffles this morning. I have had waffles recently, though. Sweet, sweet waffles. Wait, what was I talking about?

Oh, my point is this. Would you rather have a worm or waffles? I'm all for waffles.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It Wasn't So Grand

If a movie has a gimmick, and all you've heard about is the gimmick, it's probably not going to be a great movie.

Explanation: I saw The Grand last night, which was was a poker movie about a ten million dollar poker tournament where the winner takes all and second place wins nothing. The gimmick of the movie was that, from the final table on, the tournament was decided by real poker playing and not by the script.

Yes, that's right. The exciting conclusion of the movie was based on the poker expertise of actors. Movies need scripts, people. That's the difference between movies and reality television.

I first heard of this movie on ESPN's Poker Edge podcast, where Phil Gordon gave it the following praise:

Well, the early reviews have come in from the poker players that have seen the movie, and uh, I think most of them have agreed that the poker playing was actually uhhh... adequate... and... and good.

You can download the whole podcast (all about the movie) here. The movie trailer is here.

Special Blog Bonus: Moving on to something cooler... Apparently this has been done before, but this is my first exposure to it. Behold, a LEGO Mindstorms Rubik's Cube solver:

Monday, July 21, 2008


Yeah! Yeah! 7/21!

Source: This is the chorus to the 2 Skinnee J's song (718). Well, sort of...

Explanation: I missed July 18th because I was at the shore, otherwise I would have been singing about 7/18. You may notice that I never warned you, my adoring public, that I was going on vacation. There's a very good reason for that. The reason is that I desperately needed a vacation. My apologies. Oh, and I had internet access while at the beach and I still didn't mention anything. Again, I needed a vacation. So, in case you haven't noticed, the moral of the story is as follows:

I needed a vacation.

*By the way, there is no 721 area code.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Well, the Lama Does Dilly-Dally

Some silly Sallies dilly-dally like the Lama.

Source: Wild Kingdom by the 2 Skinnee J's.

Explanation: Why am I posting Skinnees lyrics? Two reasons. First, I have an insane amount of stuff to do today and no time to come up with something better. Second, today is 7/16, which makes it two days until 7/18, which is the official date of all things Skinnee. So there you go. Need to hear something more creative? Ask Nihad why he's half Italian.

Special Blog Bonus: Here's a comic for you to make up for my lack of creativity:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jeremy's Diner

I am sitting in the morning at the diner on the corner. I am waiting at the counter for the man to pour the coffee. And he fills it only halfway, and before I even argue he is looking out the window at somebody coming in.

Source: This is the beginning of Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega, which I consider to be one of the catchiest (and therefore most annoying) songs of all time.

Explanation: If you read my status message and you got the tune in your head it will stick there and it won't leave and you will get kind of crazy. And with most songs, soon they leave you, and your head returns to normal, but with this one it just stays there, and so you go insane.

Da da daada da da daada da da daada da da daada
Da da daada da da daada da da daada da da daada

At this point I don't even need to type with the rhythm - everything you read from now on will sound like this freakin' song. So have yourself a nice day and I am sorry for the trouble, but it might help if you find somebody and you pass it on.

Da da daada da da daada da da daada da da daada
Da da daada da da daada da da daada da da daada

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lemmings Get a Bad Rap

You know, nobody ever mentions lemmings in a positive light.

Explanation: This weekend I heard a speaker reference lemmings, and guess what? He was referring to how they plunge off cliffs to their deaths in the icy ocean. I was not surprised. Nobody ever mentions the positive aspects of being a lemming. In fact, I don't even know anything positive about lemmings. I'm sure there are just some good-natured downright personable lemmings out there who are totally unappreciated because of the belief that they are stupid enough to commit mass suicide into the icy deep. Be nice to lemmings!

Special Blog Bonus: I could somehow tie this to lemmings, but I'm not going to bother. Check out this Lego concorde:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fill In the Blank

From the archives:

Fill in the Blank. "Seeing Jessica Simpson and Willie Nelson act in the same scene is like __________________________."

Explanation: Let's just say that The Dukes of Hazzard was a very scary movie, thanks to the acting talents of Miss Simpson and Mr. Nelson.

Friday, July 11, 2008

He Had His Own Bible, Too

Who controls the British crown? Who keeps the metric system down? We do, we do! Who keeps Atlantis off the maps? Who keeps the Martians under wraps? We do, We do! Who holds back the electric car? Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star? We do, we do! Who robs cavefish of their sight? Who rigs every Oscar night? We do, We Do, We do!

Source: This is the Stonecutters' song from the Simpsons.

Explanation: As I was flipping through the channels this morning, I stumbled across the fine piece of cinema that is Police Academy IV. Like any sane movie viewer, I started to ponder why exactly Steve Guttenberg was a star in that film. Then I remembered this song.

Special Blog Bonus: Mr. Jellyfish can thank the Stonecutters for this as well:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

DON'T Leave the Light On For Me

While a nice gesture, sometimes leaving the light on for somebody is a horrible mistake.

Explanation: Last night, due to circumstances I will refrain from ranting about (for now), I unexpectedly had to return to the cabin my family is camping in for another night. Having been at work until pretty late, I wasn't going to return until after 10, so my parents were kind enough to leave the porch light on for me. It is a screened in porch, and the front door was shut, so it wasn't really any different than somebody would do at home... except for one minor detail: the cabin is in the woods. Furthermore, the cabin was the only source of light within a radius of at least a hundred yards.

When I got to the porch screen door, I saw (no joke) hundreds of moths circling the light. It was like there was a cloud of bugs in the porch. Apparently the screening on the porch wasn't moth-proof. I had to run through this cloud to reach inside and turn off the porch light, slamming the door immediately, leaving myself on a dark porch with all the bugs. On the way out to the car again, I spent some quality time making sure that there were no moths in my mouth, nose, and ears. Even worse, I had to go back through the porch again with my second load of stuff. Needless to say, I won't mind sleeping in my own house tonight, far, far from nature.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stinky Winkles

From the archives:

If you have a deaf dog named Periwinkle, you can call her "Stinky Winkles" without any fear of offending her.

Explanation: As I said, Peri and I spent a lot of time alone together. I talked to her quite a bit. She didn't hear much. This led to me coming up with numerous nicknames for her. "Stinky Winkles" was one of my favorites (her breath wasn't so pleasant). Also popular were "Stinkles," "Stinklebopper," "Stinklesaurus Rex," "P-Diddy Puff Stuff," and numerous others that I can't recall right now.

In case you were wondering, stuffed animals are also good gifts for the dog who sleeps all the time. Can you find the real dog in this picture?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Deaf + Old = Impossible to Wake

From the archives:


Source: I'm paraphrasing the Baha Men, if you didn't know.

Explanation: As you know, I work from home. When Sarah was off at work, that would leave me and Peri alone in the house. You have to remember that Peri was both deaf and old, which made it very difficult to wake her. So, several times she was so deeply asleep we suspected that she might have died. Even worse, when we did make a noise loud enough to wake her, she'd practically have a heart attack because she was so startled. It was a tough life for an old dog.

So, naturally, at lunchtime, when it was time to let the dog out, I would walk through the house singing "WHO WOKE THE DOG UP?" as loudly as possible. That usually did the trick. If you never witnessed it, here's a photo of Peri in a rare moment of consciousness:

That pawprint pillow was another item Sarah gave the dog in hopes that she might like it. Imagine it, buying a pillow for a dog who slept 23 hours a day. She liked it. I was shocked.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Oh the Humanity!

From the archives:

A new house and a 14 year-old dog with digestive woes. Who thought this was a good idea?

Explanation: Sweet sweet Periwinkle never went in the house. Ever. She was so well trained. Unfortunately, sometimes the food didn't go through her in the right direction. Now would be a good time to mention that our entire house was carpeted in a very light easy to stain beige color. Resolve became a very important item on our shopping lists.

Yes, apparently she woke up once in a while to wreak havoc on our carpets.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Excitement of Dog Ownership

From the archives:

New and improved! Now with deaf-dog action!

Explanation: When my wife and I got married and moved into our new house together, we had an immeediate addition to our family: Periwinkle. She was just an adorable old lady and I was very excited to have her in the house. Of course, I didn't know her little quirks at that point. Really, could this dog possibly be difficult?

My wife picked up this dog bed for Peri when shopping one day in hopes that she might like it. Peri apparently was never big into dog beds. So, Sarah laid the bed in a corner downstairs to see what the dog would think. I think the dog had spent an entire week straight sleeping in the bed when we decided that cutting the tags off wouldn't be a problem. Luckily she would change positions once in a while so we knew she was still with us.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ah, Summer Vacations

From the archives:

Let's see. There was a cabin, a lot of rain, some really annoying horseflies, a trip to the CIA, a little volleyball, a dog funeral, seventeen family dinners, a piece of a Danish musical instrument, a strongman competition, celery, fireworks, Liz was late, my toenail was ripped off, a parade, a pool, more dominoes than I could ever imagine, my Intranet password expired, and now I'm back at work.

Explanation: Well, in honor of my vacation this week, I thought I'd bring back the wonderful memories of a vacation two years ago. Of course, our trip was cut short because our dog died, but that's beside the point. Actually, that kind of is the point. Since I'll be out of the office until next Thursday, I figured I'd bring back a few posts about everyone's favorite fifteen year old deaf Sheltie, Periwinkle. So, for the next few days, that's what you're going to get.

By the way, my toenail injury occurred during an intense game of Cranium. Not many people can say that, huh?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday Morning Live

From the archives:


Source: See, I'm ripping of the whole Saturday Night Live intro thing. I can do that because today is a holiday and I'm too lazy to come up with my own material. Of course, if I'm using an old "Live from New Jersey" message, is it really live? I have no idea. Don't think about it. Just go to a picnic today and try to enjoy some fireworks.

Hey - speaking of fireworks, my life insurance is active today! Just in time for me to do something stupid! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kick Some Alien Butt Toda... Tomorrow

From the archives:

In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. Mankind, that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interest. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression or persecution, but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live, to exist, and should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: ‘We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! TODAY WE CELEBRATE OUR INDEPE...' Wait... that's tomorrow... Never mind.

Source: This is paraphrased from the big motivational speech* in Independence Day. You know, right before they easily uploaded the computer virus onto the alien spacecraft. Now, if you'll excuse me, as a self-respecting software engineer, I have to go bang my head against the wall for a few minutes.

Explanation: For those of us who are actually in the office today, I thought that we could use a nice motivational speech. Yeah, I said "us." I'm in the office and rerunning an old status message. Maybe tomorrow I'll come up with a new one to make up for it. Maybe...

*I believe this speech was much more effective than the more traditional "Rah rah ree, kick 'em in the knee! Rah rah raft, upload a virus to their spacecraft!" cheer.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Fire Truck Stalks Its Prey

The fire truck can consume eight times its bodyweight.

Source: On Family Guy, this is a factoid Peter Griffin learned on a National Geographic special about firetrucks. The fire truck is a lone hunter which silently stalks its prey. Fire trucks launch into high-speed pursuit and take down their dinner using their deadly extension ladders. While feeding, they use their deep horns to ward off scavengers. This segment was so funny, I may spend most of Friday's Fourth of July parade giggling at the emergency vehicles.

Leaving it to YouTube to suck the funny (in this case the comedic timing) out of pretty much anything, here's the best clip I could find... at high speed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Whirling Minion of Overhead Evil

Curse you ceiling fan, and the house you rode in on!

Explanation: Our bedroom ceiling fan is possessed. Well, either that or there's a short in it that causes it to behave erratically. I prefer to just assume it's possessed. The fan has an overhead light and six speed settings in each of two directions. Only one speed (the top speed) works. In order to attain the top speed, you have to hold down the "Fan" button while it cycles (slowly) through the five non-working speeds. When you turn the fan on, the overhead light comes on automatically. When you push the "Light" button to turn the light off, sometimes the light goes off and sometimes it doesn't. This is an irritating feature at bedtime during a heat wave. The light is quite bright and is not something you want on in your bedroom all night.

Anyway, last night, after about five minutes of trying, I managed to get the fan on and the light off. We went to bed with a comfortable breeze in a comfortable room. Life was good.

Then, at 3:00 in the morning, the power flickered and the overhead light turned itself on. It is a bright light. On top of that, it was a very dark room. Furthermore, I was in the middle of a dream where I was using a microwave* and I awoke thinking the room was on fire. That got my heart racing a bit, and as a result I did not get back to sleep for quite some time. I'm a little bitter about that this morning.

*Don't ask, I've given up trying to understand my subconscious.