Archive for the ‘Cheap shots & faux humor’ Category.

Luddite’s Progress

I don’t consider myself a “blinking 1200 person“, but sometimes I just get worn out from the frequency that some new technical device finds its way into the house and condescends to, or gibbers at, me through the pages of its always-helpful owner’s manual as I try to discover how to use it.

No, I’m not a complete idiot.  I don’t resort to the manual first.  I resort to the manual after I have tried inserting the batteries in both directions and pressed every button individually and in all the possible combinations (except “reset” if they’ve been kind enough to label it as such).  I realize that some designer spent weeks in focus groups in order to settle on a set of graphic icons to label each button with, and sent the product into production certain that even a chimpanzee would have no doubt about their meanings.  It’s just that a) I usually can’t see them without a magnifying glass in front of my reading glasses, and b) I have no clue what to do with them because each one looks like an ecstatic amoeba doing different things with a c*alis erection, a sort of one-celled onanistic Tantra.

So, I shamefacedly open the manual, knowing that it was never intended by its authors to be read by the gadget’s users - it contains as little information as possible, perhaps to give nothing easy away to product liability attorneys.  The space on each page that could have been used to provide steady, soothing guidance (necessary because anyone who’s gotten so far as to open the manual is consumed in cardiac-endangering rage) is instead dedicated to repeating a useless English phrase in every language in this rainbow world of ours.  A 50-page manual of this ilk might be able to convey 10 simple steps, but by the time you ferret out the next English instruction, you’ve forgotten the last one.

To add to the fun, I’ve usually decided to learn to use said device about 10 minutes before I need to head out the door for some activity to which it is absolutely essential.

With that prologue in mind, consider my dilemma regarding a Garmin GPS training device that my mom gave me for Christmas.  I just never got around to taking it out of the box.  I guess I was subliminally avoiding making the effort to learn to use it.  She would call and ask how I liked it sometimes, and I’d say something evasive, and I’m sure she thought she’d screwed up and gotten the wrong thing.  I’d be out kayaking sometimes, however, and someone with me would pull out his GPS and talk about our route and how far we’d gone, and I’d think how cool it would be if I had mine along.  If I wasn’t too lazy and stupid to use it.

Finally last weekend I got sick of kicking the box while walking through my office, and I took it out and set about making it work.  Once I thought I had it, I set out on a bike ride down the Burke Gilman Trail to test it out.  As I rode along, I was equal parts excited to see the result when I got back, and sort of paranoid about being watched and how poorly someone would regard my average speed.  Provided it was even working.

When I got back, I uploaded the trip, and was fascinated with the data it provided.  Here’s what it looked like .  Click on the “larger map” or “Google Earth” link to see more detail.  One flaw - it seems to think that I decided early in the return trip to simply levitate and fly home a la crow.  I think there are parts of the trail that are obscured from the satellites, and the device presumes that you’d proceed as quickly as you could rather than meandering.

High winds on Saturday got some blowdown going on here in the Puget Sound region, and made the trail a little more interesting.

I can’t wait to take this thing out on my kayak.  But, before I do, I think I should learn to use the VHF radio I bought at REI a couple weeks ago, so I can hear the voices of the container-ship crew that runs me over on Puget Sound.

Ohio’s Electoral Votes

Are in the bag:

The fear is that some dyslexic drum major will try to dot the “m”.  “M” should never appear in an OSUMB formation in the first place!

Honey, I’ve Lost My Keys

Do you think you could give me a lift?

While you’re at it, do you think you could bring $30 grand?


I’m blogging from the 540 bus crossing 520.  Just thought I’d mention that.

I’ve been meaning to re-initiate my prior practice of biking to the University District, throwing my bike on the front of a bus and riding over to my client’s in Redmond, but I always seem to be pairing my trips over there with other stops that obviate either bike garb or biking itself.

The reason I have to use the bus at all is because there is no bike lane on the 520 bridge, as there is on the I-90 bridge 5 miles to the south.  And, yes, I could turn it into a 50-mile round-trip commute by riding an excellent bike trail that goes around the north end of Lake Washington, but I’m too lazy.  No, I’m not sure I could do it without more specific bike training.

The big advantage of doing this is in the evenings, when the 520 bridge backs up and sometimes subjects me to an hour’s commute.  The bus is not immune from all traffic jams - that’s the downside of surface-level mass transit as opposed to dedicated rail - but it does get to use a commuter lane on the approach to the bridge.

Later that same day…

Thankfully, transit Darwinism isn’t always fatal, although there were several opportunities.  Last fall when I was doing this commute, the 540 bus rolled to within a block of my Redmond client.  Over the winter, however, they apparently changed the route, and imagine my surprise when they announced Kirkland as the last stop.  7 miles and one good hill climb from my client’s.

Since I’m quite unfamiliar with the streets over here on the east side, I was in some trouble.  But the biggest shock was having to climb the hill out of Kirkland.  Finally made it, sweating unattractively.

Now, I’m on my way home on a different bus route, one that stops at the Microsoft campus, and guess what?  It (the bus) has wi-fi.  I’m goinig to press “post” now and you, lucky readers, won’t have to wait until I get home for this exciting missive.


I’m home from my work week in Milwaukee, after mildly adventurous travel experiences. They had a storm system pass through southeastern Wisconsin during the hours leading up to my departure flight, moving southwest to northeast and passing the Milwaukee airport just before my flight was to depart. Inbound aircraft were delayed, yada, yada, and my scheduled flight looked like it was sliding close to missing my 9:30 connection to Seattle in Minneapolis (the last one of the day). A helpful agent got me reassigned to an earlier flight to Minneapolis, which would not have been available without the aforementioned delays, and printed me two new boarding passes, which included my original first-class seat on the Seattle flight.

The weather passed on to the east, and I got to Minneapolis in plenty of time. At boarding time for Seattle, I presented my boarding pass to the gate agent, but it wouldn’t scan. He played with his screen for a bit, and said that I wasn’t checked in for the flight. They had given my precious seat 1D away, and there were no first-class seats left. Kind of a jolt, since the flight was full, but he found me an exit-row seat in coach, so I didn’t suffer unduly. I watched wistfully as libations were distributed in the front section, but got a good portion of my book (Another Country, James Baldwin) read, and also caught a few z-z-z-z’s.

I’ve developed a peculiar way of sleeping on airplanes. The central problem is that, when one is asleep, his head becomes an uncontrolled projectile, not unlike the old playground tetherballs. Because the seats on a plane only recline a couple of inches this head is hardly supported at all, and, full of blood, nervous tissue and whatever one has imbibed prior to departure, tends to lurch forward or, more problematically, cant sideways towards the shoulder of a neighbor where, 99% of the time, it is unwelcome. (This is also the point where an unfortunate amount of saliva has bestrewn the chin and cheeks, a possible explanation).

Window seats are not much of a problem - I just find a spot against the side of the fuselage to lean. Middle and aisle seats are more difficult, but I’ve found a way to sort of tuck my chin into the hollow behind my clavicle, where it tends to stay affixed. It’s sort of like a bird with a beak tucked under its wing. I wake with a little soreness in my neck, but surprisingly refreshed.

I know you can get those neck-ring pillows, and I’ve got one, but I already carry so much stuff that I’m unwilling to devote space in my backpack to it.

A chilly, rainy weekend, but a weekend nonetheless, yawns before me.

Mr. Gunwrench

This article will satisfy neither camp in the culture wars. While it seems to indicate that Darwin is losing influence (the guy lived), it also resoundingly refutes the concept of Intelligent Design. From today’s P-I:

SOUTHWORTH — A man trying to loosen a stubborn lug nut blasted the wheel with a 12-gauge shotgun, injuring himself badly in both legs, Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies said.

The 66-year-old man had been repairing the car for two weeks at his home northwest of Southworth and east of Port Orchard and had gotten all but one lug nut off the right rear wheel before getting frustrated Saturday, Deputy Scott Wilson said.

From about arm’s length the man fired the shotgun at the wheel and was “peppered” in both legs with 00 buckshot and other debris.

Wilson described the injuries as “severe but not life-threatening.”

From the Ex’s and Ho’s Category

Folks on my Ohio State newsgroups are aghast at this revelation yesterday that our 3rd string quarterback, who had all but ascended to the 2-deep and had gotten most of the backup playing time in our nailbiter against Northwestern Saturday, was arrested after offering an undercover officer $20 for sex.

It’s not that they’re surprised that a teenager might evince a sex drive - they’re dumbfounded, and I think their pride’s a little hurt, that a Buckeye quarterback feels a need to pay for sex. The archivists are bloodying their nails searching for a precedent. I remember once when I was a student at OSU and experiencing some of that special loneliness characterized by animal head ornamentation, two really hot women walked into the lobby of my dorm, picked up the house phone* and cold-called the 2nd-string quarterback, Ron Maciejowski. (the kid got to start once a year when Rex Kern would take the Wisconsin game off.) Completely ignoring yours truly, who was no doubt picturesquely pretending to study. Dagger to the heart, that.

Another surprise for me is the apparent Seattle/Columbus exchange rate. Around here, $50 is a cheap dinner for two, and I wouldn’t bet on the chances of a cheap dinner getting you laid.  Some on my OSU list were wondering if the deep discount might have been an NCAA violation if consummated.

The best reportage I’ve seen of the incident comes from the always-hilarious EDSBS (Every Day Should Be Saturday). They hit us where we live with the caption “I-O! H-O!”

* - The more perceptive of you will notice the absence of the terms “cell phone” or “texting” in this anecdote

Was The Traffic Unusually Light In Redmond This Morning?

A couple of us were startled a bit ago when we tried to dial up a familiar website and our browsers returned the following (Click to enlarge):

I wonder how much they’d pay me to get it back if I bought it. Our browsers may have some redirecting spyware going on; or, some poor miscreant at The Borg forgot to renew the domain name. Would suck to be him, methinks.

UPDATE: - While entertaining, this was ultimately a problem at my client’s ISP, and the Microsoft domain remains unsullied.

4th and Long Gone

President Bush, center, is presented with a Seattle Seahawks football jersey by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, right, and running back Mack Strong during a fundraiser for Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., and the Washington State Republican Party on Monday, Aug. 27, 2007, in Bellevue, Wash. (AP Photo/Ken Lambert, Pool) (Ken Lambert)


I don’t really follow the Seahawks that closely, but I’m thinking that this year, their opponent’s speedrusher is going to be my favorite player each week.

Open the Pod Bay Doors, Hal

Very uninspired lately and, especially this week, listless. As in, barely able to complete a sentence or remember all the words to “Daisy”. I have to leave for Milwaukee Saturday night, and have a mountain of work work to accomplish before I leave. When I come home, it will be September, and I’m kind of resenting being jilted by August, who’s spent the month out playing while I’m earning a living.

Tangentially related to that, the following came across my desk this morning:

Again, we deeply regret any inconvenience the errors in our scanning process have caused you, and we greatly appreciate your assistance in helping us resolve this matter. If you have any questions, you may call us at 1-800-829-0115.

Source: IRS Stakeholder Liaison’s Office

“Stakeholder”. Heh. When did the Vampire’s Guild establish diplomatic relations with Buffy?

(Actually, I’ve never had a problem with the IRS that wasn’t self-inflicted, and even then I find them courteous and helpful, as long as I am as well. That makes this post eminently qualified for the category below.)