Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Places where I'd rather not live

In New York, this serves as hospitality...

Places where I'd rather not sit

Ya know, I had a whole five paragraph missive on the aesthetic shortcomings of this poor chair in my office. In the interest of brevity, I can summarize it thusly:


Places where I'd rather not eat

Uhm... I'll just have a salad, thanks.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 16,238

Today is the 16,238th day that I have graced the surface of Planet Earth. I know this because I put my birthday into Wolfram|Alpha, the new knowledge engine from Mathematica-Guy Stephen Wolfram. (I'll forgive A New Kind of Science.) It's not a search engine. Instead of returning web links, it creates a page of information about the topic you typed in. Give it 'The meaning of life" and it returns "42", so it's on the right track, but when I asked about Dec 12th, 1964, it returned:

Notable events for December 12, 1964:

(no known major notable events)

Obviously there are still some kinks in the system.

So if I had a 9 oz. yoo-hoo for every day I've been alive, I'd have 1,141 gallons of cold, chocolaty refreshment. That's equivalent to the amount of pure olive oil produced in California in 1889. The digestive implications of 1,141 gallons of either would strike fear into the lower GI tract of even a young man, let alone a geezer of 16,238.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ode to Spring

Oh Butterfly, Oh Butterfly
How you flit, and how you fly
From far away so pleasing to the eye
When I get up in your face

Friday, February 27, 2009

Overheard today

"I don't have to work tomorrow. I'm just going to sit on the couch with the wiener dogs and just be happy."

Now, there's a guy who's got it figured out.

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

Today I face the fact that all of my motivations are external. I'm sitting in the auto dealership having my car "serviced", though I suspect I'm the one being "serviced" in a metaphorically awkward way, if ya know what I mean. (Don't worry if you can't quite parse that last bit, that's why RobotsandEggs is a family blog.) I'm here watching the tumbleweeds blow through the showroom because my dashboard showed me a yellow wrench icon to tell me it was time for an oil change, transmission filter, and other crap I could probably do myself if I invested in the right tools and had the time and a paved driveway. Turns out I'd rather sign over my credit card so I can drink a Coke* and give You People something to read. So it's a win-win situation.

So back to my motivations. My car told me it wanted a diaper change, so here I am. My laptop wanted an anti-virus update, so that's downloading as we speak, as is a windows update. Since that doesn't totally choke the dealership's courtesy wi-fi, my browser told me it's feeling old and wants to be replaced by a younger version, so Firefox 3.something is downloading as well. Like a a Watcher from the Highlander TV series, I am here to "observe and record, but never interfere". Maybe I'll get a cool tattoo on the inside of my wrist. A temporary tattoo, needles make me yincy.

Firefox wants to restart and install itself. I hear and obey. Depending on how it goes, I may or may not be back. Wish me luck.

...and back. Nice and smooth, just like an automatic update should be.

So back to my motivations. My email is another powerful source of impetus. Not the spam (shudder), but I get plenty of new ideas, suggestion, requests, and assigned tasks for work through email. I should be using Thunderbird instead of Outlook, but Mozilla hasn't told me to switch, and when I asked Microsoft, they said to hold off until Bill finishes wiping out malaria, so I'll drop that into 2010's tickler file and move on.

I lie awake some nights wondering what would happen to me if I didn't have a job, a car, and a computer to guide me through my day. Realize, of course, that the influence of these pale in comparison to my wife, daughter, and cat, but life without the latter three would be too grim to contemplate for long. I suppose I would revert to satisfying the primal needs all humans have, but I just can't see being wrapped in a bearskin, hunched over a fire at the mouth of a cave gnawing on the roasted haunch of a beast I slew with a big stick or a rock. All but the roasted haunch part kind of clash with my sense of self. Besides, if you try any outdoor burning in The People's Republic of Carrboro, they'll haul you in for Environmental Assault before the match hits the ground.

So back to my motivations. How long could I go without initiating any action on my own? Would anyone notice? Heck, would *I* notice? If I took just one day, and did nothing but what I was told, suggested, or asked to do, what would be the result? Now here's a thought that frightens me: Would my life be better or worse? In the interests of science, I've gotta try it. It's too good an idea not to.

*First Coke in two weeks. I gave it up in interest of my calorie defecit**, but the vending machine was out of water so I took it as a message from The Almighty that I could have a pass for being good to my car.

** My next blog post will be about consumption, coming soon to an interweb near you.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Queens are good people

So last December I sent a Christmas card to Queen Elizabeth II. She's still working hard at 82, and I thought she'd like to know that those of us on this side of the pond were thinking of her. Yesterday I received a nice little note from Sandringham House, where Her Majesty spends the holidays. Royal Post, Air Mail no less, with her own initials on the post mark.

I guess when you're (deep breath now) "Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Mercy, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem." you get to have your own post mark. How cool is that?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Celebrity Status

Have you noticed that celebrities just don't try any more? Time was, a celebrity felt some responsibility to maintain an image and give us regular schlubs someone to look up to. The true stars of old would revel in their fame and the reflect the spotlight back to their adoring fans a hundred times more brightly.

Now they hop in and out of black SUVs wearing baseball hats and sunglasses. Unshaven guys (and girls), no makeup, no haircut, they don't even tuck their shirts in for Pete's sake! They get paid umpteen bajillion dollars to pretend to be somebody else, and when they finally get a chance to be themselves they dress down to the Headin-out-to-Walmart-for-a-six-pack-and-some-Pringles level. I mean, Natalie Portman could walk through that door right now, and she'd be just another skank-ass bitch in sweat pants.* I want more from my celebrities.

Heck, if I was famous, you'd never hear the end of it. If I was Viggo Mortenson I'd never take the freakin' sword off. Lord Aragorn, Elindel's Heir and King of Gondor, always gets a table, bro.

Can you imagine how much fun James Earl Jones must have with his answering machine? He can make Darth Vader say anything he wants. "It is as I have forseen. Leave a message after the tone. I will return your call. The circle will be complete."

Liberace had it right. Live the dream.

I guess we can add celebrity glamor to the list of things the internet has killed, just after the ability to get away with lying about trivia (damn Wikipedia!).

*Nat, babe. You know I'm kidding.

Soup Bowl!

So what's the deal with this weekend? Something big is going on, there are snacks everywhere, and all these humongous guys are running around on the TV hollering "Soup Bowl! Soup Bowl!".

They're all jacked up about making the soup bowl, going to the soup bowl, or how they're going to win the soup bowl. Now during State Fair season our local potters, who are famous for their competitiveness, have been known to get a little rowdy, though I don't think it's ever come to blows. But these guys on TV act like they're gonna tear each others heads off over a soup bowl. I'm sorry, not "a" soup bowl, but "The" Soup Bowl.

At the grocery store they have a huge pyramid of chips and beer, like The Lost Temple of Solomon's Snacks to promote The Soup Bowl. Everywhere people are planning Soup Bowl menus, hosting Soup Bowl parties, or deciding which sports bar to celebrate The Soup Bowl in.
But for all the rigmarole, the hype, the hyperbole, the hoopla, I still haven't seen, heard of, or in other other way perceived a single, solitary, can, ladle, or drop of actual soup. Well I aim to fix that at my house. My Soup Bowl party is gonna be BYOS (Bring Your Own Spoon).

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What's wrong with the United States

Panhandles. Panhandles are an embarrassment to cartographers everywhere. Panhandles say "Here's a compromise that didn't work." They're a tribute to the petty needs of the stubborn few triumphing over common sense.

Texas and Oklahoma each have panhandles that border the other. Of course they don't get along.

I'll forgive Idaho's panhandle. Nobody there cares anyway.

Florida's panhandle is another matter altogether. If it wasn't for Mobile, Alabama would be landlocked. In fact, Mobile shamefully sits smack dab in the middle of what one could argue is the Alabama panhandle. All I'm saying is that if the Governor of Alabama were to mobilize the National Guard and march south to the Gulf of Mexico, I'd gladly look the other way. Florida should share the Gulf Coast. It's not like they're using it.

West Virginia has two panhandles. Having lived up there amongst them, all I can say is: Evolution can do mean things to people.

The attached map (which you may click to enlarge) shows my humble proposal to set things right. I've taken the liberty to address a few issues in addition to panhandles, as noted below:

1) Alabama gets full access to the sea, and helps mitigate Florida's exposure to natural disasters.
2) Oklahoma gets the Texas panhandle. Texas gets punished for having the larger of the two panhandles.
3) West Virginia cedes both panhandles. Maybe Ohio and Maryland can do something with them.
4) Michigan's upper peninsula/panhandle is absorbed by Wisconsin. It's just more tidy that way.
5) California is split into 5 states: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Northern, Central, and Southern California. The world's 7th largest economy shouldn't be concentrated in one state.
6) New England is consolidated into one state. They're still over-represented in congress.

What about Alaska's panhandles? No can do. Russia and Canada get nothing.

The above changes would serve to erase the stain of panhandles from our nation's geography. They would lead to a more orderly union, and we wouldn't even have to change the flag.