Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yes, we are really like that

Ok, so that is the last time I try to schedule posts... I promise. Apparently they would have shown up in 2012. Next time we will just go with "I'm out for a few weeks and will be back later. XOXOXOXOXOXO ~cbeck"


(image by and CC-BY-NC-2.5)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Critters: Living in the Fastlane

Paul tried to explain why he let The Purse Snatcher get away, but it all happened so fast

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Unless someone signals that they've figured this out, I think I'll just turn in for the night

Research Triangle, NC (TVN)-- A study published last week in the Journal of Genetic and Mechanical Engineering has experts everywhere questioning the very core of their scientific foundations. According to Dr. Harrison T. Bagsley, A renouned genetics researcher, the same process of evolution and adaptation found in mammals is also driving mutations in the automotive industry. Specifically, in our cars and trucks used for transportation.

"When I first discovered this, I couldn't believe it myself," Dr. Bagsley said, "But the statistics are undeniable." Dr. Bagsley, a down-to-earth scientist who prefers his friends call him Harry, went on to describe the meticulous process in which he personally surveyed over 1000 vehicles. "Each vehicle had the same new mutation - an appendage protruding from the left side of the steering column that moves up and down like a lever."

Dr. Bagsley urges the public to express caution around their transportation while scientists study this new automotive development. While many citizens have abandoned their vehicles, several more adventurous individuals have been performing their own experiments. "It moves up and down when you push on it!" One resident of Wake county exclaimed. Said another, "And John said when I moved it the car started winking these little yellow lights at me!" Local news stations across the country have confirmed hundreds of similar reports where vehicles are winking and blinking when careless car guardians begin playing with this new appendage.

Several behavioral psychologists have suggested these light signals may be used by the vehicles as a rudimentary form of communication. However, other experts believe this is simply an example of a stupid new life form expressing itself and playing fun new games. These cynics cite the repetitive nature of the blinking as well as the need for human involvement to initiate the blinking as evidence for the lack of higher intelligence in the vehicles. "What good would it do to drive down the road with lights on one half of your car blinking all day? Does that make any sense?" remarked one expert. Several others were left wondering what one could possibly hope to communicate with lights blinking in a pattern that never changes.

Until further developments, authorities caution everyone to not be careless. "We all remember what happened in Transformers, 'Revenge of the Fallen', don't we?" Said the director of the North Carolina Police department, adding, "Probably got some stupid 'concept car' to thank for all of this..." Although the directors of the North American International Auto Show were contacted, no one was available to comment on allegations.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Brief History of the Americas (As best as I can recall it)

On July 4th, Americans everywhere remember what is important in this country. That is, of course, the freedom to pay 5 dollars for a cup of burned coffee. Never mind that the coffee is sold to us from a company that was so sure we'd make them rich they figured their bucks would reach to the stars... what really matters is that we are not drinking tea.

See, the British were once horribly odd folks that liked to put milk in their tea. Apparently no one ever told them this was gross. Tea without milk was not an option for the poor colonies. Adding insult to injury, King George W. Bush insisted the 'Mericans smear Imperial Margerine(TM) on their English Muffins and even began putting thumb-tacks in the tea. As time passed, people got fed up (probably sometime after the middle ages when famine was less prevalent). A group of individuals emerged that decided they'd had enough and were going to do something. No one knows for sure who they were, but at least 4 of them were fathers... Anyway, one night they got together, dumped all the tea out into the ocean, and had a party. This apparently started the civil war between the French and the Indians, which ultimately lead to Custard's last stand-up comedy routine that bombed so bad Bill Cosby was given the Jello Pudding-Pop comercials...

Ok, I might have gotten some of those details mixed up, but there is a very good reason. Just recently we had the pleasure of experiencing the Fourth of July like Texans. This included spending about 5 minutes outside, then trucking it in to watch fireworks on the local news because, even at 10 PM, it was still 108 degrees F outside. Try to imagine the pleasure of recovering from heat stroke while being delighted by seizure-inducing flashes of light on your television screen - and you will begin to see why I was tempted to title this post "108 ways to get a headache"...

But Americans were not the only ones celebrating this weekend. Nope. Our very dear friends from Canada also had their very own day (I have it on good authority that Canadians do not consider themselves "Americans")*. Delighted to learn that our holiday weekend was shared with our northern neighbours, I set off to search ye olde archives for past lessons learned about the lovely nation of Canada that just might surprise you (i.e., I read an old friend's blog and looked at some pictures I took when I visited Niagara falls once). In no particular order:

1. Canadians do not travel by dogsled; unless you count that one drunk guy holding a dog leash in one hand while sitting on a trash can lid.

2. Every one there does not know my third cousin John living in Simcoe.

3. Houses are still used as general places of habitation rather than igloos.

4. Their currency is based on monopoly money.

5. A loonie is what they call a dollar rather than a relative.

6. The marijuana leaf was a close runner up as the national symbol.

7. Their baseball team could use some help, but they blame the US for its problems.

8. They blame the US for most other problems too.

9. But they still love us.

10. A paper cup of coffee is the real national symbol of Canada.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Technical How-To: Changing Oil

This weeks post is brought to you by the letters "L" and the number 0. Representing, respectively, the nature of my work (Lousy, lame, loathsome, loquaciousOk, that's not really an appropriate adjective, but I was running out of Ls and felt like 4 words was better than three) and the amount of time I have available to write this (0 hrs). So then, I will today leave you with a slightly edited version of something I lifted off the net years ago. It's posted all over the place, but my version is better! :)

Oil Change instructions for Women:

1) Pull up to Jiffy Lube when the mileage reaches 3000 miles since the last oil change.
2) Drink a cup of coffee.
3) 15 minutes later, write a check and leave with a properly maintained vehicle.

Money spent: Oil Change -$20.00, Coffee -$1.00, Total - $21.00.

Oil Change instructions for Men:

1) Wait until Saturday, drive to auto parts store and buy a case of oil, filter, kitty litter, hand cleaner and a scented tree, write a check for $50.00.
2) Stop by 7 - 11 and buy a case of beer, write a check for $20.00, drive home.
3) Open a beer and drink it.
4) Jack car up. Spend 30 minutes looking for jack stands.
5) Find jack stands under kid's pedal car.
6) In frustration, open another beer and drink it.
7) Place drain pan under engine.
8) Look for 9/16 box-end wrench.
9) Give up and use crescent wrench.
10) Unscrew drain plug.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Good Dads Have Sticky Fingers, Dirty Mouths, and Happy Bellys

Father's Day is a time for most to celebrate their fathers.  Or, if you happen to be a father, a time to sit back and soak up the free socks, ties, and strange gadgets that you might only use in the event of a nucular holocaust (for example; clean underpants).

Of course, it's also a time when the man of the house gets to choose the restaurant - entailing careful selection of the closest all-you-can-eat buffet serving alcohol during lunch hours (AKA, "The Jimmy Buffet").  After consuming four times the gross national product of the entire Caribbean, Fathers everywhere can sink back into their couch, mutter "Pull mah finger", and watch meaningless analysis of meaningless Baseball games on Sports Center.  (Seriously, just watch the umpires - even they don't care yet.)

I recently had the opportunity to celebrate Father's Day with the "In-Laws".  Even though that sounds like it would be great fodder for developing homicidal tendencies a few good laughs,  it was actually a pleasant experience.  And that's not all!  I discovered the best thing on this planet: Wrigley's Key-freakin-Lime Chewing Gum.  It is a little blast of pie heaven that cleans your teeth while you chew!  I'm pretty sure their motto is "We're like scrubbing bubbles for your mouth." Sure, the flavour only lasts through two and a half chews before turning into something that tastes like bland industrial cleaner... But those chews are totally worth it.  Now pull my finger!

title was blatantly stolen adapted from Melinda's Post

Monday, June 13, 2011

Evolution and the Technological Revolution

In the mid 1800’s, Charles Darwin invented natural selection. This was a process that allowed natural stuff to kill off those less adaptable to their environment. By less adaptable, of course, we mean dumb.

Later in the next century, and to compensate for the impending doom of the human species, Al Gore invented technology.  Technology’s purpose was initially to make it easier to order a pizza, but quickly became the most popular means available that allowed humans (that were slowly evolving into monkeys) to survive in today’s society.

Consider a recent evolution of technology: the self check-out line. Understand that there was nothing wrong with the original checkout process, in which a pretty blond-headed girl named Cynthia swiped my items past a scanner, and then told me how much money to give her. A nice young man then places these items in a bag, gives me a dirty look because I don't want him to carry them out, and then allows me to go on my way.

There are some, however, that find even such simple tasks difficult. The most common problem comes during the time one must decide if they would like to write a check, use credit, or count out twenty thousand pennies. Invariably, it's the later and all hell brakes loose when the cashier discovers a few Canadian pennies were snuck into the lot.

To aid those of us more adept at shopping (and in keeping with technological trends), self checkout  was created to put all of us on the same level. In case you didn’t know, self checkout is a process where you scan an item, place it in a bag yourself, then take it back out of the bag and try to scan it again. This is the general process of technology.

After a few tries, one becomes slightly perturbed and enters into an emotional state that might be described as "a nervous breakdown". The seemingly unscanned package of frozen bacon is inexplicably found leaving your hand and traveling across the supermarket at a rate that disproves both Einstein’s theory of relativity, and Murphy’s theory that pigs can’t fly. Said package of Bacon will naturally strike the forehead of the person holding up the line at register 5 (they just had to pick the one item in the store without a price tag). This is called natural selection.

Eventually, I ignore the electronic voice telling me to remove the unscanned item from the bag and then move on towards scanning the next item. This simple action trips an alarm that signals perhaps the most extraordinary motion ever seen from the attendant at the end of the self-checkout lines. To be concise, It moves. Slowly. It walks over to where I am, informs me that I am being less adaptable, and punches a few buttons. These events are repeated for each item I try to check out myself.

Meanwhile, the people behind me (unaware they are about to have the same problem) are now as mad as the people behind the old lady at register 15, who, consequently, is on penny number twelve thousand four hundred and seventy-six. Who also just lost count due to the alarm I set off and who will now die along with me at the hands of a soccer mom that is running late to pick up her kids, a herd of elephants, and all the refugees from a distant third world country in her SUV.  Some of whom turn out to be cannibals.We all know how that ends...  See?  Technology creates equalization for us all.