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January 19, 2004

Incredibly funny review of a horrible game

Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing Review for PC at GameSpot

January 25, 2004

Curiosities of the weekend

So, this weekend I heard two radio programs which caught my attention..."Studio 360":http://www.wnyc.org/studio360/ and "This American Life":http://www.thislife.org/

Continue reading "Curiosities of the weekend" »

February 6, 2004

As seen in the Onion...

Don't want to forget this! *Hasbro Pledges Additional 30 Marbles For Hippo-Hunger Relief* _PAWTUCKET, RI_ - With global famine worsening, Hasbro pledged an additional 30 white marbles Monday to hippo-hunger relief efforts. "To see those starving, starving hippos just lying there, not knowing if they will ever get another chance to click and clack for life-giving marbles - it's too much for anyone to bear," Hasbro spokeswoman Lisa Reiderer said. "We cannot stand idly by while these sweet plastic creatures slowly die. It is up to all of us to get the most marbles for our hippos."

March 17, 2004

Ban DHMO NOW!

Ban DHMO NOW!

May 5, 2004

Today is Cinco de Mayo

In honor of Mexican Independence Day, we bring you the following bit of little-known history.

In 1912, the Hellman’s Mayonnaise Company was shipping 12,000 jars of its product from England to Vera Cruz, Mexico. The first leg of the journey was in the cargo hold of the Titanic.

Obviously, the shipment never made it. The Mexican people were devastated by the loss - so much so that they declared a national day of mourning, which is still observed today. It is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.

(Courtesy of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Calendar / Workman Publishing)

July 27, 2004

Snack Food Conspiracies

As part of pulling the all-nighter on the project on Sunday night, I purchased the last bag of Bugles from CUB for my snacking pleasure.

Yesterday, we got to talking about the practice of putting them on your fingertips and pretending you were a witch or some other pointy-fingered character. Funny thing is, it is nearly impossible to do this now. Did all of our fingers become that much bigger, or have Bugles become smaller/flatter?

As another aside on Bugles, you may try going to the link above. As of this writing, it redirects to itself for some strange reason.

I believe this is incontrovertible proof of a Bugles conspiracy, possibly rising to the highest levels of the snack food world government! Beware snackers of the world!

August 4, 2004

Retro-Encabulator

I can’t wait to get one of these…I bet it will increase the battery life of my iPod by 200%, increase my gas mileage by 300% and wash all my dishes for me in half the time!

Tell me about the Retro-Encabulator

(Courtesy of eBaum’s World)

Continue reading "Retro-Encabulator" »

August 10, 2004

Cuddle Parties

So, I guess the new fad on the coast is going to “Cuddle Parties”. Now, I guess I’m down with this, but there is one part of the story which struck me as really odd. See if you can spot it from the Reuters article below:

Cuddling Strangers Latest Craze for Singles
Mon Aug 9, 2004 09:59 AM ET

By Herbert Lash
http://www.reuters.com/printerFriendlyPopup.jhtml?type=ourWorldNews&storyID=5912350

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It’s not about sex and all about the touchy-feely experience of snuggling up to perfect strangers wearing pajamas.

The grab fests are called cuddle parties, and since they started in New York in February, hundreds of people have paid $30 each to touch and embrace others in intimate gatherings.

Everyone needs to be cuddled, especially in lonely New York, say creators Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski who say it’s a good way to meet new and interesting people.

But the rules are clear. The PJs stay on the whole time and participants are reminded of Rule No. 7: “No dry humping!”

In case things get too steamy, a small chime is kept on hand. Before the cuddling begins, the chime is struck several times so everyone gets the message.

“We’ve never used it,” said Mihalko, who said sexual arousal does occur, and that participants shouldn’t be turned off or scared by erections. “They happen.”

The idea for cuddle parties loosely came about after Mihalko, a 14-year masseur, began giving massages to other masseurs who never got the chance to receive them.

Signs that people need to be touched were brought home one day when Mihalko said he noticed a woman bawling from the emotional release that a massage provided her at an outdoor stand in midtown Manhattan.

“It started out as a joke,” said Baczynski. “Now we talk about cuddling all the time. It’s just been amazing.”

MOOOOO!

Curiosity is a big driver for people who attend cuddle parties, and it is a better way to meet people than going to a bar, getting drunk and spending the night with someone just because of the need for some affection, she said.

A cuddle party is really about communication and not therapy, say the organizers.

Before any touching begins, participants gather in a circle to hear the rules and voice any questions or concerns. The first rule is that the event is not clothing optional, pajamas must stay on and sex is not permitted.

Participants team up into pairs and to ensure the boundaries of what is permissible are clear, they practice saying “no” to the question, “May I kiss you?”

An introduction to cuddling ensues, first by hugging three people. People then get in a circle on their hands and knees, rub shoulders and moo like cows. After a bit of swaying, everyone falls to their side, which puts them into an easy cuddling position.

Cuddle parties are intended for people who are emotionally sound. People in therapy or who are seeing a mental health professional are asked to consult their doctor before signing up for a party and to tell organizers of their situation.

‘PLAYING THE DOZENS’

One group on an overcast Sunday drew a mix of mostly single people in their 30s and a smattering of older people.

A repeat customer who called herself a born-again Christian said it was good to cuddle up to another person, albeit a perfect stranger, after a hectic week.

“I felt good. I had a particularly stressful week,” said the woman, who did not wish to be named.

Friends had warned her that the parties would be nothing more than thinly disguised preludes to sex, but she dismissed those worries as alarmist and unfounded, saying, “It’s not about sex.”

Like others, the chance to meet someone was a consideration in attending a cuddle party.

“People in a way are looking for a connection,” said Fernando. “It’s weird, but not unusual.”

A man named Dwayne H., who described himself as introverted, said he thought the parties would help him relax before strangers and help him express his feelings.

“I have a problem showing emotion,” he said.

Yes, that’s right. You have to get in a circle on your hands and knees and moo like cows!

Can someone tell me what in the heck acting like a cow has to do with cuddling?

August 20, 2004

Diebold Voting Machine Help Desk Call

Someone who has access to a time machine sent back a Diebold help desk call recorded on Election Day, November 2nd, 2004.

Listen to it here.

For those of you who haven’t been clued in, Diebold sells electronic voting machines. There have been a number of questions raised as to how securely and accurately they count votes because of backdoors in the software, the lack of a paper trail for recounts, changes to the software in the middle of voting without getting it certified by authorities, etc. While other companies making electronic voting machines have had many of the same issues raised in regards to their products, Diebold has been picked out in particular because of comments made by the CEO of Diebold that he is “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”

My grandpa and I still don’t understand what’s wrong with the optical scanning systems the State of Minnesota uses in many locations. Quick tabulation, ease of use, paper trails, seems like everything you’d need to avoid the “hanging chad” debacle of the 2000 election cycle.

September 14, 2004

Twinkie Rebuild: Day 6.2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Twinkie Test Successful

Spring Lake Park, Minnesota (PRSOURCE) September 14, 2004 - Tonight, with little fanfare, an ignition test was performed on Twinkie, Damon Durand’s 1968 VW Campmobile. This was a major milestone for the TwERP.

Durand Engineers, with tactical assistance provided by Kelly Industries and Pamela Logistics, have spent many weekend man-hours rebuilding Twinkie’s engine over the past 3 months. Due to parts being sourced from around the nation for such a grand effort, delays were encountered and project schedules had to be pushed back.

A few weeks ago, a no-go condition was raised by the engineering project team due to a malfunctioning fuel pump. Curtis Durand, the Lead Consulting Engineer for the TwERP, led the effort in testing both the primary and backup units but found faults in both which could not be remedied. Luckily, due to the TwERP engineering team’s early design decision to use as many off-the-shelf parts as possible, a third unit was obtained and put into service. Component testing was performed on the new fuel pump and the no-go condition was removed, allowing the project to move forward once more.

Tonight after dinner, Lead Mechanics Engineer and Pilot Damon Durand entered the command compartment and strapped into the pilot’s seat. Lead Consulting Engineer Curtis Durand supervised the engine itself, while a representative from Pamela Logistics was on-hand to supervise safety systems.

Pilot Damon Durand inserted the key into the ignition and turned it to the start position, which engaged the starter motor and began the engine boot sequence. Simultaneously, a throttle up maneuver was made with his foot via the accelerator pedal, per established cold start procedures.

After a rough timing adjustment by the Lead Consulting Engineer, the engine turned over. Quickly thereafter, the pilot moved the key back into the “run” position, which disengaged the starter motor, and a self-sustaining idle condition was obtained. The engine test continued for approximately one minute. Samples were taken of the engine exhaust during the test by a HAND, but there was no oil burning detected by any sensor.

This marks a major milestone achieved by the TwERP. After work is completed on the intake air cleaner system, the TwERP team’s efforts will be completed.

Twinkie’s launch, subject to a possible safety inspection delay, is currently scheduled for September 18, 2004. Another launch window is also available the following day, September 19, 2004, with two more windows the following weekend.

More information on the Twinkie Engine Rebuild Project(TwERP) can be obtained by visiting the project’s webpage.

###

Contact:
Damon Durand
Durand Engineers
twerp@durands.com

September 22, 2004

English Usage?

Some of you have checked out my Dating Application. For those who haven’t, now’s a great time to give it a try. (Not that I’m looking, mind you, but it is still a fun 5 minute distraction from the real world!)

While I certainly do not consider myself an American English expert, there are a few pet peeves of mine which involve proper usage of our beloved language. I put the first one in the previously-mentioned dating application, “funner”, but I’m thinking of adding two more.

First off, the phrase “these ones” is just not right, people! For example,
“What about these ones over here?”
is not proper! You can certainly say,
“What about this one over here?”
or,
“What about these over here?”
if you’d like, but combining the two is just not a good idea.

Secondly, why do people continue to use “good” as an adverb? For example,
“You really nailed that down good!”
Since you’re describing how you nailed it down, you’ll need an adverb. (As we all learned on Schoolhouse Rock) “Well” is the adverb I think you’re looking for in this case!
“You really nailed that down well!”

Both of these errors in usage make my hair stand on end whenever I hear them said. (or, even worse, when I say them!)

September 29, 2004

"Don't Vote"

Tonight I’m driving up to my parents’ house for dinner, and I see this billboard just north of downtown Minneapolis on Interstate 94. Had I not been in a rush to get up there for dinner I would have stopped and grabbed a picture of this billboard and inspected it for some kind of “Paid for…” notice. It read, in a very patriotic red, white and blue:

Don’t Vote

A particularly good billboard. The largest voting block in the nation remains the portion of the electorate which doesn’t vote. Maybe some reverse psychology will work on them. Certainly all the signs reminding/asking them to vote don’t do the trick!

October 8, 2004

Another Dilbert Hits Close To Home (Or Work, Rather!)

Dilbert from October 8th, 2004

October 11, 2004

Do Elephants Laugh?

OK, so now I’ve moved back towards the other way. Only I know why.

For this brief bit while I’m on this side of the pendulum’s swing, the question which came to mind was about laughing.

Do we know why we laugh? I mean, people laugh when they are nervous, when they are happy, when something funny happens…I’ve even seen people laugh when they cry.

I’ve personally seen monkeys and other species laugh. Dolphins seem to laugh, although I don’t know if this is a trained behaviour or a natural one.

I’ve heard reports of elephants mourning their dead. Do they laugh, too?

Investigations forthcoming…

October 12, 2004

"Square" Chinese Chicken

Many of you have heard me rant about the lack of quality Chinese-style food near my apartment. There were a large number of great establishments which could be found in downtown and uptown when I worked down there. There was also Dragon Pearl out in Hudson where I used to live. Once in a while I really get in the mood for some good ol’ Chinese food. I’m no connoisseur; but I don’t want something as “Americanized” as Leeann Chin or the buffets which serve jello and some strawberry/banana concoction right next to the chicken fried rice.

Picture of chow mein Close-up of square chicken

As an example of my pain, I submit to you a picture I snapped of the top of a freshly opened container of chow mein from a local establishment. NOTICE THE SQUARE STRIPS OF CHICKEN Where do they get such perfectly formed strips of chicken?

Judging from the consistency of the pieces (and the little air bubbles in the chicken-like substance itself) I suspect they puree the chicken in some central factory and then pour it into molds. From there the molds, filled with gelatinous chicken, are cooked at a temperature which would kill any harmful bacteria. After removing the now cooked chicken from the molds, it is weighed, bagged, and then distributed to area Chinese-style restaurants. Because it uses all the icky parts of the chicken (the stuff that’s one grade above hot dog filling) they can get it really cheap and they don’t have to worry about all the mess from dealing with live (or still-in-one-piece) chickens.

Similar mass-produced ingredients such as sweet n’ sour sauce, fried rice, egg rolls, etc. are handled in much the same way. (You think it just happens that all of these restaurants make their eggrolls the exact same way, perfect in shape and filling every time?)

October 26, 2004

Watch-ing Spam

Total Spam Blocked
Apr 20048796
May 20049110
June 20049102
July 20047682
Aug 20048626
Sept 20047495

We do quite a bit of spam filtering here at Thingamabox.

Even with blocking all of those messages, we continue to get spam in our inboxes daily.

For the last few weeks, almost every piece of spam I’ve received has involved somebody trying to sell me fake Rolex watches! Lay off already! I’ve already got the fake Rolex my Grandmother brought back for me from Mexico years ago. I don’t need two!

[Updated 7:30pm]

I finally got around to reading my daily news, and noticed the Register just happened to run a story on this Rolex/Spam phenomena here.

October 28, 2004

Pity the Morons

…or Today’s Honorary AssBeaver1:

About a week ago I followed a very, very poor driver about 2 miles back to my house. The driver pulled through an intersection from a “Left Turn Only” lane. He was completely oblivious to his error and the fact that he was cutting off everyone who was in the proper lane. Then the driver proceeded to drive up the big hill at a turtle’s speed (the car could easily have taken it much quicker), make a right turn without signaling at the top, signal AFTER the left turn in front of the apartment complex and then spend 2 minutes while I remained stopped behind him - the whole time spent digging for his garage access card or something. Finally, he pulls in (I follow after being a good boy and sliding my access card in to restart the garage door timer) and I have to wait a bit more while he pulls into his parking spot, then pulls back out, then back in to realign.

I dismissed him as being distracted, a moron, or both. I didn’t think it would really matter.

So, tonight I pull into my parking garage after returning from the Durand Family Board Meeting. As I turn the final corner, here the guy’s car is parked in the middle of the driveway. I pause for a moment, looking for the driver to once again be realigning his car and noticed no one was sitting in the car.

I pull my Beetle off to the side, ponder what to do next. I go back out and look, there is no way I’m gonna get my car around his and down to my assigned spot. I look inside, see the flashing red light indicating the alarm is set (It is a Jetta, VW uses the same components in many of their vehicles) and I notice the parking brake isn’t set and the car is in neutral.

Yes. This man parked his car, hopped out, set the alarm and walked away as it rolled back into the driveway. From the looks of the positioning of the concrete pylons, I’m guessing it bumped against one of the pylons as it rolled out in the middle of the thoroughfare, then came to rest right in the middle.

I thought about pulling my car back out into the parking lot and parking it there for the night. ‘course, that would mean I’d have to carry in all my stuff in the drizzle. Never mind the fact that there were 4-5 other spots empty past the car where I’m used to seeing parked vehicles, meaning others would be inconvenienced as well.

I decide we shall not all suffer because of the acts of a single moron.

I gave the car a test push and it rolled easily enough. The wheels were aligned perfectly to roll right back into the assigned spot just fine. I knew it would just roll back out if I left it unblocked, so I knew I had to find a block for the wheels.

I went walking down to my parking spot, looking for something I could use to block one of the rear tires (better make it big so the guy will notice he’s blocked in) and found one of those tubes of sand. (They were in my parking spot when I moved in…no one’s ever claimed them, so I just leave them forever in the community property area) I pull the tube of sand down the 120 feet or so to his assigned spot and line it up so I can slide it quickly underneath the rear passenger tire.

I give the car a push up and back into the parking spot, move to the side and push the bag of sand behind the wheel. After making sure the car came to a complete stop, I hop back in my Beetle and drive down to my spot.

I consider the ineptitude this guy has displayed on not only this but the previous occasion and decide I better leave a note - else he think someone put the bag of sand there as a decoration. I find a scratch piece of paper; leave him a note written in absolutely most simplistic language I could manage. I wish it were possible to express myself monosyllabically, since I have a feeling this would be the moron’s preferred vocabulary, but I figure if he can’t read it he can ask someone to help him:

“You forgot to set your brakes on your car. Found it rolled out in the middle of the garage, blocking traffic. Rolled it back into the parking spot, put a bag of sand behind the rear passenger wheel.”

I thought about adding in a comment about his intelligence, but decided against it. Prbly should have added that this was his second strike in my eyes, but I have a feeling he’s got a lot of strikes built against him already.

1 JManDoo and I decided that all poor drivers would henceforth be referred to as assbeavers. We even registered the domain AssBeavers.com, thinking we’d establish a clearing house for reporting assbeavers you may encounter on the road. You can identify an assbeaver by the following behaviors (this IS not meant to be a complete list!):

  • Driving really slow in the left-hand lane
  • Pacing cars in other lanes - hindering any attempts to pass
  • Incorrect use of turn signals/indicators
  • Over-compensating for weather-related road conditions
  • Generally being a poor driver

October 31, 2004

Morning Woods

No lucid dreaming this morning - I woke up with a splitting headache. Must have been dehydrated or something.

Anyway, one of the most wonderful aspects of living in the particular apartment I do is my two sliding glass doors look out to a large wood. During the summer, the entire windowscape is filled with green leaves - as winter approaches the leaves change color, fall down and expose all the barren branches.

You might expect the beauty to disappear at this point until the snow visits us and everything turns white. While certainly the snow is a welcome relief from all the brown, the fun part of this time of year is watching Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel collecting everything they need for the upcoming winter months.

See, Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel live in the tree hollow right outside my apartment. I only see them in the summer when they make the trek down the tree trunk to visit the ground. However, in the fall, winter and early spring I see them jumping from tree branch to tree branch performing their daily chores (and hopefully playing a little at the same time).

This morning Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel were busy collecting leaves for their drey (another name for their nest) when they got a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Blue Jay, also frequent visitors to the trees outside my apartment windows. There was a bit of bickering back and forth - doubtlessly Mr. Blue Jay prbly forgot to bring the hot dish Mrs. Blue Jay made as a gift for Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel. Poor Mr. Blue Jay. They quickly left and Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel went back to their day.

November 1, 2004

I'm A Republican?

So, I laughed quite a bit earlier in the year when I got an “autographed” picture of the shrub and his wife in the mail unsolicited. It was a “gift” I was told, as a token of appreciation for my support of his campaign. Then, in the very next breath I was asked to donate money back to them as a pledge of support.

Now, consider that I do find some situations where I support Republicans. I supported Arnie Carlson for Minnesota Govenor years ago because I felt he was the best candidate, even tho he was running as a Republican. (Well, at the time, he was an “Independant Republican”, just like his challenger was a “Democratic Farmer/Labor” party candidate)

But in no way shape or form could I ever support Bush no matter who was running against him. I find his policies awful, his decision making lacking, his sense of morality flawed and his choice of bedfellows downright scary.

Anyone who “knows” me knows this. So I couldn’t help but chuckle that the letter was written as if I were Bush’s best friend.

I thought about sending the postage paid response back with a brick, but in the end just threw it away.

So, somehow I got sorted in some big database as being a Republican supporter. I’ve decided that it was just based on where I lived - an upscale luxery apartment complex in the western part of Bloomington.

But a curious thing happened over lunch today. My phone rang, I didn’t recognize the number so my rule is I don’t pick it up. I check the voice mail afterwards and low and behold it is some volunteer calling me to remind me to go out and vote for Bush/Cheney tomorrow.

I never give out my cell phone. If anything, my work number goes down on the slip so that I don’t get annoying telemarketers calling me.

And they called me by my name. So I know they aren’t just randomly calling.

Somehow, I got on a list of Republican supporters. They’ve got my name, my address and my unlisted, unshared cell phone number. How crazy is that? Do I tell ‘em next time they call, or do I just let them waste their money trying to contact me?

OK...I'm Not A Republican!

OK, I just got my second phone call today from the “Vote for Bush” folks.

The previous call, mentioned here came from 651-785-6244. This most recent call came from 651-785-3082.

They didn’t use my name this time…but how many times are they gonna call me? It is obvious it is the same call center. Don’t they realize they’ve already called me?

I’m thinking of changing my outgoing message.

Current Message

Hi, you haven’t reached Damon Durand at 612-xxx-xxxx. If you leave your name, number and a brief message, I’ll get back to you as soon as it is humanly possible. Thank you, and have a great day!

Proposed Message

Hi, you haven’t reached Damon Durand at 612-xxx-xxxx. If you’re calling me on behalf of the Bush campaign, this is on purpose. If you’re not, feel free to leave your name, number and a brief message. I’ll get back to you as soon as I exercise my right to vote. Thank you, and have a great day!

November 4, 2004

An Old Story

Reading the end of this entry on iwilldare.com reminded me of a story I remember from my childhood.

It was one of those really long trips in the car you always seem to remember taking in your childhood. Not quite sure where we were going, but my parents were struggling to keep us occupied in the absence of natural light sources.

Mom: Why don’t we try and play a game?
My Sister and/or I: What game?
Mom: The quiet game.
My Sisyer and/or I: How do we play that?
Mom: Well, we see who can stay quiet the longest.
My Sister: OK.
**GAME BEGINS**
**I THINK TO MYSELF…”This isn’t fun at all!”**
Me: Whoops, I lost! Darn!
**EVERYONE ERUPTS INTO LAUGHTER ‘CEPT MY MOM**

November 5, 2004

JManDoo's Joke

While we were out at lunch today, JManDoo offered up this great joke. I believe that this joke may be the best humor litmus test of all time:

A woman’s pet duck falls ill, and she brings it in to her local veterinarian.

“Doctor,” the woman exclaims, “my pet duck has fallen ill. Can you take a look at him?”

The doctor immediately takes the duck back to the examination room. A few minutes later the doctor emerges and says,

“Ma’am, your duck is dead.”

The woman is crushed. She doesn’t believe this is possible.

“I brought my duck in and he was only ill. I cannot believe he’s dead! Surely, doctor, there is something you can do!”

The doctor reluctantly lifts a dog up onto the examination table. The dog sniffs around the duck, nuzzles against it a little, licks it a bit. After a minute or two of this, the doctor picks up the dog and puts him back down onto the ground.

“No, ma’am, your duck is dead.”

Still considering this impossible, the woman again pleads with the doctor to do anything he can to save her duck.

The doctor picks up a cat this time - places the cat onto the examination table. The cat nuzzles against the duck a little, licks his head, paws at it a little. The duck doesn’t move.

“Ma’am, I don’t know what else to say. Your duck is dead.”

Finally, the woman relents…”What do I owe you?” she asks the doctor.

The doctor takes out a slip of paper, scribbles on it furiously, hands it over to the woman.

“150 dollars for you to tell me my duck is dead? How can you get away charging so much?”

The doctor responds, “Well, if you hadn’t made me do the lab test and the cat scan…”

JManDoo and I both find this joke incredibly funny. Do you?

November 12, 2004

Phrases of the Day

Last Friday, the phrase of the day was, “Lemony Snickets”

Monday it was “Lab Work”

I’m pleased to announce the phrase of the day today is “Binomial Nomenclature”

Spread it far and wide. Announce it from the rooftops. Celebrate its wonderfulness.

November 18, 2004

What Geek Decade Am I?

I haven’t done a meme in a while, but this one I picked up from Neil seemed like a lot of fun.

Along with 8055 out of the 46473 people who took the quiz, I’m a:

90's geek. Cool, confident, and very powerful, you're the sexiest geek ever! Buckle in, your decade is one hell of a ride.

November 29, 2004

Does This Count As A Career Goal?

Someday I want to have a job with power like they do in all the old movies featuring the military or senior business professionals.

I want to be able to reach over, pick up the phone and instantly be able to utter, “Get me the President!”.

‘course, the “President” part of the statement could be changed to almost anything…the important thing is that my time is SO important that there is someone constantly listening for me to pick up the phone and request to be connected to someone.

I wonder if this was merely a dramatic device or if it was reflective of the state of affairs at the time. Were there really people who had so little time on their hands that their secretary was listening for them to utter a connection request with no notice at all?

Regardless, I want this kind of job!

December 4, 2004

The Return of Significant Others

Earlier today, the Tivo picked up the entire premier season of Significant Others on Bravo. I guess Bravo decided to re-air the episodes today since the premier of the second season is tomorrow night. I caught most of the first season episodes back in March, after the Tivo picked it up the second episode as a “suggestion” for me. I fell in love and setup my season pass to catch all the rest.

Basically, the show starts with each of the 3-4 couples featured in the show in a therapy session. The session is filmed as tho you’re the therapist, looking at the couple and listening to them babble. Each couple sets up one or more issues for the episode and then we’re off to live it. In the main event, we’re presented with snippets from each couple’s life together where the issues play themselves out to much hilarity. Finally, we return to a second therapy session, where we sometimes reach a conclusion over the issues at hand…or not.

From a production perspective, the show is shot in the “quick-cut” method so very popular in the modern shows of today. In both the therapy sequences and the “life” sequences, we hop from story to story, no more than a minute at a time. It definitely keeps the laughs up, and keeps you flirting with the disasters you quickly see approaching in all of these couple’s lives. According to the Bravo website, the show is improvised by the actors and actresses as it is filmed…although I have a feeling only the therapy sessions are improvised - the “real life” sequences seem scripted to match the improvised material from the therapy sessions.

This show was a $99 Special from the Slamdance Festival. NBC picked it up to pilot it for its prime-time line-up, but the show got pushed off to Bravo for airing. Doubtlessly, it was a bit too racy for prime-time…it deals with a LOT of adult themes. I’m glad it was picked up; this is certainly one of my favorite shows on TV right now.

December 7, 2004

AIBO? Ah...NO!

MONTHS ago, I got a postcard in the mail from Verisign, offering a copy of their brochure, “A Guide to Securing Your Web Site For Business”. I wasn’t all that interested in the guide; I almost threw away the postcard. Before I did so, I noticed another tidbit on the postcard…the first 125 people to respond to the offer got a free robot dog!

The instructions led me to this site; I entered the code they wanted, filled in my mailing address and clicked submit. This was, I repeat, MONTHS ago, if not almost a year ago.

Up until today, I had forgotten all about it. When I got back from lunch, I was greeted by a medium size box on my chair from Verisign. At first I considered that it may be a bomb…we had moved all of our SSL certs over to Thawte a few months ago. Maybe this was an attempt to scare us back into buying over-priced SSL certs.

I tentatively opened the box and found a copy of the guide AND MY FREE ROBOT DOG. He is a Biocybie Dog by Geospace. The blurb from the product catalog reads as follows:

Picture of the Biocybie Robot Dog“Say “HELLO” to BIOCYBIEDOG, the interactive robot dog from GEOSPACE®. He is animated and can see you, hear you and even feel your touch with his built-in interactive sensors! BIOCYBIEDOG will bark, pant, and whimper as well. He also moves forward, backward, and spins around. He performs over 15 commands and functions and interacts with other BIOCYBIEPETS. Includes infrared controller. Requires 9 AA batteries, not included. Ages 6 & Up. Case Pack: 12 Pieces. Package Dimensions: 15” × 7.75” × 8.75” Price: $35.00.”

While we were removing him from the package, we got a chance to admire the great workmanship that went into his design and production. One of the ears was loose, the battery covers were held in place with a twisting tab-like peg and his legs were completely hollow. Upon further inspection, we found two drive wheels on his underside, along with two free wheels hidden under his rear feet. The designers simply took a tank toy, replaced the tank shell with a plastic dog shell, added a motion sensor and shipped it.

Nonetheless, we were eager to get the dog powered up. We collected 9 AA batteries from the pager stash, slid them into him and powered him up. He sprang to life, barking and panting his way around the table. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a silly toy after all.

Oh, how wrong we were. The controls are so sensitive that it is impossible to make the dog move forward. (This would involve pushing both joystick controls forward, as if you were driving a tank!) Hit the button for him to bark, he’ll think about it. Hit the play button…or feed button and the robot dog will run around as if he was rabid. The only way for you to control him is through the infrared transmitter, which only seems to work after you’ve sent the command 3 or 4 times.

We went back to the website, in total disbelief that this dog would cost ANYONE $35 dollars. Upon re-reading the catalog entry, it became obvious…

“…Ages 6 & Up. Case Pack: 12 Pieces. Package Dimensions: 15” × 7.75” × 8.75” Price: $35.00.”

The $35 dollars is for 12 robot dogs! Of course! I can believe that this dog would sell for $3.

We’re currently debating what to do with this dog that cost more to ship to me than it did to produce. For a few moments, we thought we could turn him into a guard dog for the development office here at work…but upon testing the “guard dog” feature we found the motion sensor was really only a light sensor…and a poor one at that. You basically have to cover the hole in the plastic dog shell that the sensor is behind in order to get a response out of the guard dog.

December 9, 2004

Dilbert

My boss left this waiting for me on my desk when I got into work this morning:

Dilbert cartoon featuring ones and zeros

My boss loves to refer to any kind of development, engineering or programming as “those ones and zeros”. (Considering he’s got an accounting background…one wonders how many ones and zeros he works with on a daily basis?) He’ll utter, “Why don’t you go back to working with your ones and zeros?” if I stick my nose into some sales activity too far. He’ll walk into the development office and query, “How are the ones and zeros today?”

Now that I’m thinking about it…I wonder if he’s calling us zeros? Hrm…

New Data Center Rules

RULES AND REGULATIONS

  1. All food and beverages allowed
  2. No ear protection required
    1. This rule may be changed if a game of Lacrosse is in session or JManDoo is playing one of his WB TV show soundtracks
  3. Cell phone use allowed
  4. Because of the proximity of working areas and lack of ventilation in the data center, please practice proper personal grooming before entrance
  5. There is no number 5
  6. Only ones and zeros are allowed to be processed in this data center
  7. Due to the lack of a raised floor, all cables shall be managed using the �Ninja-spaghetti� style upon the work surfaces
  8. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200
  9. There are no cages to be opened, so don�t ask for the key
  10. If you walk your robot dog, be sure to clean up after it
  11. Robot dogs and all non-technical employees must be kept on a leash at all times
  12. This area has been designated as a fallout shelter
  13. In the event of an emergency, raise your hands above your head, run around screaming �Help me, help me!� and pray to your chosen deity
    1. If you have no chosen deity, feel free to borrow one from the provided deity cubby
  14. Any explosives or hazardous materials must be kept in your pockets
  15. Management bans guns on this premises � but we don�t care if you use them anywhere else
  16. At some point, you can get too many items on a list

ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY

Only authorized parties can access this data center, including but not limited to:

  • Booty Rap Dance Parties
  • Pool Parties
  • Development
  • Operations

Expressly unauthorized parties include:

  • Management
  • The Carrot Top Ragtime Band and 1-800-Collect Banjo Players
  • Boobahs

December 11, 2004

Are You a Lonely NeoCon?

If so, the LieGirls are waiting for your call.

Continue reading "Are You a Lonely NeoCon?" »

December 13, 2004

Direct from the Disappointment Department, Part II

Today’s “Mensa Puzzle Calendar” reads:

“Which of the scrambled words below is least like the others? The difference has nothing to do with syllables.
THOUGHT GNU BRIGHT BEGIN

First off, we thought, “Oh, cool, a bunch of one word anagrams!” We came up with GUN for GNU and BEING for BEGIN. But we were stumped on the other two…after a few minutes of pondering possibilities, “The Billpayer” peeked at the answer and announced, “They aren’t scrambled.”

That set us down the path of which word was least like the others…which came to us all rather quickly.

I think it is true that the calendar is getting easier during the month of December. Is this to motivate you to buy another calendar? “Wow, I’m rocking at this now, I must be getting smarter…I need to buy next year’s calendar!”

Meanwhile, the rest of us wallow in the simplicity which is the Mensa Puzzle Calendar’s December series of questions…

December 14, 2004

OK, So Maybe Boohbah Isn't 100% Evil

I’ve come across the only hint of goodness I’ve found so far to spawn from the evilness of Boohbah:

Boohbah is now code word for, Hightail it to the bedroom, weve got roughly 17 minutes.

January 7, 2005

Pity the Morons, Part II

I don’t play the lottery (it is a tax on people who didn’t pay attention in math class) but I’m thinking I might want to go out and pick up a ticket. I mean, what are the odds…

Back around the end of October, I found myself unable to drive my car to my assigned parking spot because there was a car blocking my route. I had to push the car back in to the spot, out of the driveway, and use a sandbag to block the driver’s rear wheel so that it wouldn’t roll back, blocking my way once more.

Well, a little more than 2 months later, I found myself doing it again. I was just returning home for the evening, turned the corner inside the garage and found my route blocked with a completely different car in a completely different spot. Upon inspection, I realized it was the same situation; they had forgotten to set their parking brake.

I marched down to the previous spot, found the original bag of sand and returned to the new spot, bag in hand. I pushed the car back in, slid the bag behind the wheel and scribbled a note for the careless driver.

This morning, as I was leaving for work, I noticed the bag had been moved just out of the way (potentially blocking the next parking spot over) and the car was gone. My guess: the driver was in just as much of a hurry this morning as they were last night!

Seriously, tho, what are the odds inside of 2 months I end up rolling a car back into its spot twice!? Mind boggling, I tell you! Mind boggling!

January 11, 2005

New Female Tech Support Rates

While my existing rates remain unchanged for men, I have created a special new rate structure for women looking for help with their computer. I am your one-stop shop for all your computer setup, maintenance and installation needs. Contact me today!

Meet the IT Gigolo!
from Sync Magazine, Oct/Nov 2004

34-year-old systems engineer “Ray Digerati” enjoys fixing computers. And having sex. So he combined the two.

How long have you been a tech-support manwhore?
A few months. This really attractive friend was having trouble connecting to the Internet, and the idea popped into my head: “Wow, it would be nice if I could get sex for this.” I placed an ad on Craigslist that read, “WILL FIX COMPUTERS FOR SEXUAL FAVORS.” The response has been overwhelming.

This scam actually works?
Yeah. Most of the calls I get are for spyware removal and viruses. One girl didn’t even wait for me to finish the virus scan - she just grabbed me and gave me a b.j.

Do you have a set, you know, pay scale?
No, it’s up to their discretion. One girl didn’t want to have intercourse, so she offered a massage and then finished me off with her hand. It’s all about the time I spend. If I’m working for one or two hours, I’d like a hummer. An orgasm for every two hours of service is fair. If it’s something simple that I can fix in 15 minutes, I’d like to get a foot massage.

Do you see photos first? Ever rescind your offer once you saw the girl?
I’m pretty open-minded. I’m a stickler for hygiene, but I don’t discriminate.

This is sort of awkward, but my hard drive keeps crashing and…
No guys. I mean, I’ll help you out for money. But if you know any ladies who need help, I’m ready, willing and able.

January 23, 2005

Alton and My Chicken

A few weeks ago, I was possessed to go visit Alton Brown’s website. I didn’t really go up there looking for anything in particular…I think I had just finished watching an episode of Good Eats and thought I’d check it out. I noticed an AB on Tour link and clicked through. Low and behold, Alton was coming to Minneapolis to promote his book! I added it to my calendar…and thought I’d forget about it until shortly before.

However, even with the stress of the last two weeks, I’d often find myself looking forward to the book signing. I checked the website a few days later, noticed that an independent bookstore, Bound To Be Read had been added, decided that’s where I’d go.

Continue reading "Alton and My Chicken" »

March 7, 2005

Once Again, I'm The Last In Line

As I continue the struggle to emerge from the month-long hiatus from all things cultural, I came across this wonderful new Burger King TV commercial for their Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch chicken sandwich.

I can’t stop laughing. It has Hootie singin’ this promotional song about the new chicken sandwich to the tune of Harry McClintock’s goofy hobo song, “Big Rock Candy Mountain”. (Here’s a link to my favorite version, by Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers)

Quite catchy…and the sexual innuendo is subtle in a very obvious way. Watch it. Enjoy it.

March 9, 2005

The Egg Turner Mystery

I received a catalog in the mail yesterday from Agri Supply. “Why?” you might ask? I have no idea…but it was specifically addressed to me, here at my work address. I can assure you, I’ve never ordered any farm equipment, especially delivered here to work!

I’m not the only curious person here at my workplace; even Accounting Nicole stole a peek when she dropped off the mail. I paged through it a little bit upon first receipt…however, I was disappointed when I found nothing “unusual” in the catalog. Once I got past the initial disappointment, I started showing off my unusual gift (just on the basis of it being an agricultural catalog itself) to coworkers when they would stop by my desk.

I don’t remember who found it first, but one of my coworkers found a listing for an egg incubator and its accompanying “egg turner”. None of us even considered the need for turning eggs during incubation. The item might have soon been forgotten, had the “47 eggs” not stuck out of the item description.

Continue reading "The Egg Turner Mystery" »

March 19, 2005

Wow, What a Logjam!

The previous post sat in draft state since Monday, jamming up the portion of my brain responsible for blog updates. I knew I had to get it out there, and nothing else pending wasprocessed until I got that status toggled to “Publish”. So, an update on the previous week:

  • I found my digital camera. There was much rejoicing amongst fans around the world when I found my digital camera in a pile of holiday decorations here at home. I had thought it lost for the past few months while I searched hi and low for the elusive camera. You know they say you miss things the most when you don’t have them…well, over the past few months I’ve time and time again been bitten by the desire to snap a photo of something. Now that I’ve found the camera, of course, I expect all photo desires shall immediately cease.
  • The 2.6 GB bittorrent download of the free MP3 collection from artists appearing at the South by Southwest Music Festival finally completed. Get it while its hot, there are some great gems in there.
  • I got my premier issue of Make. I meant to sign up well before the initial issue hit the streets, but it wasn’t until it did that I finally got up the courage to sign up for a year. So far, I’m nothing but pleased. It is a tinkerer’s dream - tons of projects and neat tricks to keep the curious entertained.
  • Booked tickets to fly down to Dallas to help my Sister and Bro-In-Law move into their new home. I expect a lot of work…but I also expect a lot of Chick-fil-a!
  • Speaking of Chick-fil-a, if you examine the container from an 8-piece order of nuggets you’ll notice there are punch-out holes for “N”, “S” and “K”. While all participants of our visit to the U of M - Twin Cities campus (the only Minnesota Chick-fil-a location!) on Monday for lunch agreed that the “S” stood for “Strips” and “N” for “Nuggets”, JManDoo hypothesized that the “K” stood for “Knuggets”. (Neither the “K” nor the following “n” are silent, according to JManDoo). Research later revealed the “K” must have stood for “Kids”, since the kids meal at Chick-fil-a has a 4 or 6-piece nugget option. JManDoo is still sticking to his theory, tho.
  • My review was due yesterday at work…so I sent it in at precisely 11:59pm last night. Double-B (the boss) did say I had until midnight to send it in. I hope I’m not the only one who sees humor in it, tho!

That’s not everything (my life isn’t THAT dull and boring!), but it is the stuff I found blogworthy over the past week.

April 11, 2005

Texas 2005: Movin' & Shakin'
Weird Sightings

I’m home sick today…got a nasty, late-season sore throat. While I mostly slept and enjoyed the comfort of my bed, comforter and the sound of rainfall outside, I did get a chance to off-load the pictures from my recent trip to Texas.

Amongst all the regular pictures of family, new lawnmowers, projects completed, there were three oddities I captured on film, which I present now for your amusement:

Picture of snack package
The first was on the package of the snack they passed out on the plane on our flight down to Texas. I read the warning…and imagined what a factory would look like that manufactured peanuts. Processed peanuts, sure…but manufacturing peanuts sounds just plain wrong!

Picture of Huggies box
Here we see something even curiouser…are we to assume that there are non-baby shaped Huggies available? Why in the heck would you not make your baby diapers “Baby Shaped”?

Picture of Toilet Seat Box
Finally, both my Sister and I got a chuckle out of this tagline on the boxes for her new toilet seats. “The Leader in Bathroom Seat Merchandising” I didn’t catch it in the picture, but the new toilet seats are made in the U.S.A. I’m so thankful we have an American company, with American workers, leading the bathroom seat merchandising sector. I don’t know what I’d do if we had a bathroom seat merchandising gap with the Russians, Japanese or French! Whew!

April 23, 2005

I Will Know I've Arrived When...

Someday I want to be in a position like the military generals were in old movies.

I want to be able to pick up the phone and shout out, without pause, the phrase “Get me the President!” and have it actually work.

Sure, right now I can do that at work…but all I hear back is dialtone.

I know for this to work there would have to be someone there, waiting for me to shout out the order, 24/7. Heck, I’d even take 8/5 availability.

When I have a job where that works, I’ll know I’ve arrived.

UPDATE: OK, so I know this is nearly a dupe of this post, but I just couldn’t help but mention it again!

May 19, 2005

Star Wars Funnies

Considering the current Star Wars theme around here as of late, which is likely to change after tonight’s inaugural WAKA Kickball Twin Cities game, I thought I’d take a moment to link to a few wonderful nuggets I’ve been introduced to in the lead-up to Episode 3’s release.

First, we have StoreWars. This is a wonderful spoof of the original Star Wars movies from the same group that brought us The Meatrix, both of which attempt to inform the viewer about organic and family farm issues.

Secondly, there is The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster. A blog written from Darth Vader’s point of view, set in the original movies once again. Quite humorous at times, other times quite informing.

Amazing what fans will put together when they really set their minds to it. Just like Troops from years ago, fan work is sometimes more entertaining than the original work.

August 11, 2005

Overheard

Yesterday in the office…

Worker #1: “I see on Slashdot there’s a story, “Games Should Be Like Female Orgasms”.”
Worker #2: “Games are a myth?”
Worker #3: “Aren’t games already a huge waste of time and effort?”

Worker A: (to Worker B) “I’ll get that to you in a minute.”
Worker B: (shouting) “55…50…45…40…”
Worker C: (interrupts) “You know, I don’t think the entire office wants to know how long you can last when trying to satisfy your woman”

August 23, 2005

This Just Handed To Me...

Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do Kihn Do

October 19, 2005

A Competitive Giant?

A quick aside/story related to the wedding reception I attended on Saturday.

Continue reading "A Competitive Giant?" »

January 18, 2007

If I Had A Million Dollars...

Well, I’d buy you a green dress (but not a real green dress, that’s cruel!)

I wouldn’t buy you this book, Hedge Funds For Dummies. I have to reiterate what Michael Gartenberg said so eloquently, “If you really are in the target market for this book, perhaps the hedge fund is not the best way for you to invest.”

January 30, 2007

Belated Holiday YouTube Action

Why didn’t I see this before Christmas?!?! Oh well, direct from the YouTube mothership…

“Charlie Brown Christmas - Performed by the Cast of Scrubs”

February 22, 2007

You Got A Better Answer?

I got an email today from Accounting Nicole, forwarded from her husband, that made me laugh out loud with delight.

I actually have considered answering this before during a particular difficult geometry test, which makes this one especially funny.

More below the fold…

Continue reading "You Got A Better Answer?" »

February 27, 2007

Expert Testimony of My Ninjahood

As I’ve mentioned before, I have mad ninja skills. Besides my mad ninja programming skills, I also am a master of disguise; an expert at keeping a calm, yet alert mind; and I make a mean lasagna. (You had no idea lasagna was so core to the ninja lifestyle, did you?)

I can now add one more highlight of my ninja skills. My ophthalmologist informed me this morning that I sleep with my eyes open. Now, what types of people are referred to as “sleeping with their eyes open?” Trained assassins, that’s who! We’re not talking some optometrist, or an optician, we’re talking a full-fledged board-certified 12-years-of-post-secondary-schooling ophthalmologist. This guy is an expert…and when dealing with experts, you should listen to what they have to say!

May 22, 2007

Gas Stations Need Proofreaders, Too!

On the way back from lunch on Tuesday, I forced my coworkers to sit in the car while I filled up with gas, so I didn’t have to do it after work. What did I find on the pump?

In Cash of Fire, Spill or Release

So, do they need proofreaders, or do they just need someone with half a brain who cares enough to check the stickers before they are placed upon every single pump? You’d think with today’s gas prices, they’d have enough profit margin to double-check these things before putting them up for everyone to see.

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