• Category Archives Me
  • The Joke about the Head

    A married couple found that they were going to have a child. They waited the nine months, going through the trials and tribulations that come with a developing womb. The day finally came, and they rushed to the hospital.

    After a number of hours waiting, the doctor comes out to see the expectant father with a troubled face…

    “Mr. Smith, we need to talk. While the birth went fine, there has been a problem… a… deformity… with your son.” The doctor then proceeded to lead Mr. Smith into the recovery room where his wife was waiting, a puzzled look on her face as well since her new-born son had not been immediately placed in her arms.

    “A son! Oh, if he is missing a finger or something, it doesn’t matter! I will still love him and cherish him! We both will!” said Mr. Smith.

    A pained look flashed across the Doctor’s face. “I am afraid it is a bit more serious than that. We have your son in Intensive Care for the moment while we examine him more thoroughly. He does seem to be quite healthy, let me reassure you, but we still want to be absolutely sure.”

    “I don’t care so long as he is healthy” said Mr. Smith. “If he is missing an arm or a leg, it doesn’t matter! We will make it work!”

    “It is more serious than that, I am sorry to say.” As he said this, a nurse walked into the room carrying a swaddled bundle of blue. The Smith’s faces lit up, as they were finally going to see their newborn son for the first time. The swaddling was placed in Mrs. Smith’s hands as the Doctor said, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I am sorry to inform you that you are the new parents of a head.”

    Now, we won’t go into the medical improbability of this amazing feat, nor will we go into the uproar this caused within the medical community. Instead, we will just focus on the family. The Smith’s raised their head, named Brunswick (the Smith’s were big bowling fans as well), in a quiet community for a number of years.

    One day, when Brunswick was six years old, lying on his pillow getting ready to go to sleep, his father came to tuck him in. He asked, “Daddy, how can I get a body and legs and arms?”

    His father, eyes misting, replied, “Well, if you pray really hard, maybe… just maybe… God will reward you with a body and legs and arms.”

    Brunswick nodded (don’t ask how) and his father left the room. That night, Brunswick prayed hard. He prayed long. He prayed himself into exhaustion, and fell asleep.

    In the morning, he woke up, his little bed crushed beneath him as he all of a sudden had a body and legs and arms. He leaped up (again, don’t ask how he knew how to even stand) and cried out to his parents, “Mommy! Daddy! I have a body! I have arms and legs!”
    He proceeded to run around the house, quite naked, shouting this out to his parents. They awoke, wondering what the heck was happening.

    Brunswick was so excited that he ran out the front door (still naked), out into the street, and proceeded to get run over by a truck.

    The moral of the story is this: He should have stopped while he was ahead.

  • Sir Edward Chilton

    So, this morning as I was sitting in a staff meeting at work, I looked over at a bookshelf in the room and found a giant book called “The Blue Book” from 1976. Basically this was one of those “Who’s Who” books that they used to publish every year (and still are, I suppose, though why is beyond me.)

    I opened it up to see just what kind of content it actually had in it, and the page that I happened to open it up to just happened to be the one with Sir Edward Chilton’s biography in it. This was kind of surprising to me, or at least serendipitous, because I have read an awful lot of history concerning the Battle of Britain. I remember Chilton’s name popping up in at least one or two books that I read as a kid (either it was in The Dam Busters or Reach for the Sky by Paul Brickhill.)

    Just wanted to relate that little moment to the world.

    Actually, there was another moment during the same meeting where someone spoke the word invalid, which got me thinking about a story my mom told me of when she went on vacation in Ireland. Apparently she had to to go the bathroom, and when she went inside, there was a stall with a sign on it stating “invalid”. She puzzled over this, wondering what was wrong with the stall, and used a different one. Only after she had left the bathroom did she realize the other meaning (and pronunciation) of the word “invalid“.

  • Dreams

    OK… had some odd dreams last night. The last one I had is actually a pretty quick one… I dreamed that my mother, for the life of her, had never seen a FedEx truck. She insisted on it, even after I pulled up pictures of what one looked like on the Internet to show her what one looked like.

    The second is much more in depth. I dreamed that I was looking at Cape Canaveral via satellite imagery, zooming in on stuff, when suddenly I was there on my feet looking at special test aircraft and stuff, with my father next to me. We are standing there, looking at some of the old aircraft that are sitting around, when a T-38 with special flight package installed on it is launched and starts shooting special missiles, which was really cool. Eventually the aircraft runs out of fuel and drifts down into the ocean, so my father and I hop into a small boat and go out to pick the guy up. There was some stuff at the end about getting caught or something, but that wasn’t really the main gist of the dream, I don’t think.

    Yep… some odd dreams. Still doesn’t beat the dream I had of me standing in the men’s bathroom, taking a piss in a urinal, when Queen Elizabeth II walks in a also goes to the bathroom, the entire time looking at me oddly as if I were the intruder. That dream still kind of throws me for a loop, making me wonder what I was thinking…

  • New sewing machine

    So, I just got a new sewing machine. Well, not that new. It looks to have been made in the mid-1950’s. It is a Singer Model 301A, painted haze gray. It came with the cabinet shown in the pictures, which turns out to be an original cabinet designed for this model of Singer sewing machine. The cabinet is the No. 74 Spinet Cabinet. The sewing machine is in working order, and I was able to get sew a straight line stitch on a piece of fabric for about three inches before the thread on the upper spool ran out. No big loss there, since it was an odd pink thread, but the spool it was threaded on is made of wood, so that is certainly not going anywhere.

    The operation of the machine is kind of interesting. Instead of having a foot-pedal to control the speed of the machine, it instead has a pressure plate for your right knee that you can move from side to side to regulate the speed. It looks like it is just a plate that pushes against a foot-pedal that is mounted inside of the cabinet, but I have not yet taken the time to try and move the pedal down to the floor to try it there. The light on the machine also works just fine, as does the stitch length adjustment.

    The hard part for this machine is going to be getting more bobbins for it. It had one in the machine, and no spares in the tool kit for the machine. Since it takes special 301 bobbins that are apparently no longer made, I will have to go on a bit of a hunt. I will see if I can find any locally at one of the local specialty stores, and if that fails there is always E-Bay.


  • Picky eaters

    So, one of the things that I do on a semi-regular basis is cook food for a semi-charitable organization (I say semi-charitable, because they have yet to file all of the paperwork necessary to become a true non-profit where they can give tax write-offs to people who donate. Don’t get me started on that… just… don’t)

    Anyway, when I cook for this group, it is usually for a group of between thirty and sixty people, depending on the event. There are usually decent facilities for me to produce the cooked food needed to feed these folks, and I do actually enjoy it.

    Unfortunately, when you are preparing meals for this many people, you do run into people who have allergies or objections to certain foods due to religious principles, etc. (You know, the vegetarians, those that have to remain Kosher, and various allergies… the biggest allergy that I have to typically deal with is gluten, though I did have a really odd one recently with garlic and vinegar…) I actually don’t have any problem with those things. Nor do I really have a problem with having to make the food somewhat bland in the first place, because a lot of people can’t handle the spiciness of food that I prefer. No big deal… I make food that everyone I am serving can handle, and then I make some special things that I warn them not to mess with. They understand, and no issues are had.

    So now we get to the crux of this post…. Picky Eaters

    This past weekend I had one kid (OK, he’s sixteen… whatever) who basically would not eat anything. Note that I said “would”, not “could”. There is a difference. This kid, when he saw the beef stew, rabbit stew (yes, two different stews… who gets to eat rabbit stew?), and vegetarian chili that I was serving, came up to me and stated that he does not eat stews.

    Does not eat stews

    Who the hell doesn’t eat stews? What kind of fucking limitation is that? I just stared at him for about a minute after he told me this drivel. Then I made a mistake…

    I tried to placate him by finding something that he would eat.

    Instead of just blasting away at his idiotic little bullshit about not being able to eat a fucking stew (note that it was not the ingredients in the stew that he was whining about, but the way that it was prepared) I went into the kitchen and figured out something that he could eat. I kick myself for doing this now, but at the time I was just stressed and not thinking clearly.

    Frankly, I don’t really blame this kid. He’s sixteen. He was apparently raised in a home that allows him to get away with being the pickiest eater I have ever met. I almost hold pity for this kid, because what the hell is he going to do once he enters the real world and he is at some luncheon with his boss, and when he looks at his menu there is nothing that he will eat on it? Is he going to whine and moan and complain about there not being anything on the menu to eat because the kids menu isn’t visible?

  • Whining about school

    So, a friend of mine just posted the following to his Facebook page:

    I can’t do this. When just walking onto campus fills me with a tight hatred, I don’t know how I can do another two semesters at a place that I loathe dearly. I’ve never felt like anything other than a wallet as a student, or a vague, distasteful necessity as an employee. Add on to that the ludicrous gen eds AND a surcharge for an online course (right. a surcharge so that a professor can stay at home in their PJs) to dissuade students from using it, considering you can’t even park on-campus… I honestly don’t think I can do this.

    My response is as follows:

    Adam, I don’t normally respond to whining like this, and frankly in doing so in this case I feel as if I am sitting on my front porch and telling the kids running around to get the hell off of my lawn, but sometimes things just have to be said:

    You need a good swift kick in the ass.

    You are two semesters away from getting the piece of paper that will help you (not entitle, mind you, but help you) in furthering your life in a large number of different ways. OK, we get it that there are a bunch of things that ruffle your feathers about campus… however, they also hold in their hands the means to an improvement in life, and all you have to do is spend some time here going through the motions. Yes, it sucks having to go through the stupid classes in order to get to something that is actually worthwhile, but you still have to do it.

    Two semesters is child’s play in terms of doing the scut work in order to get what you are after. Heck, you even know that by doing this scut work there is a defined achievement that you will get for doing said work! Entrepreneurs who go out into the world with a new business or whatever don’t even have that kind of guarantee dangling in front of them! Going to school and getting a degree is EASY compared to other things in life, because of those defined guarantees that are there.

    I know you have tried other things in life, some with success and others with failure. What I am saying is that at this point, with only two semesters to go, I feel it is a no-brainer to put up with the garbage for the quantifiable reward, particularly given the amount of work you have already put forth towards said reward which will partially be wasted if you never achieve it (obviously you don’t lose the education that you may have gleaned from the courses you have taken, but without that piece of paper in your hands the doors of the future are a hell of a lot harder to open.)

    Yes, I feel that an undergraduate degree is simply a piece of a paper, and realistically just a line item on my resume. I *think* I know where my degree is actually located… it is still in the paper tube it was sent in after my graduation (that I did not bother to attend). However, that simple line-item on my resume gets that resume through barriers that the multiple items in my work history do not do, so it is worth it despite my realistically not learning very much from the classes I took. I am now thinking about doing a graduate degree, not because I feel I will learn all that much from the courses, but because the additional line-item in the education section of my resume will be able to open more doors for me.

    Bottom line is this: Get off your ass, finish the degree, and then you are truly done with this place and you can spit on the front doorstep of Tigert Hall in defiance.

    Feel free to delete this response as you see fit… that is your prerogative, after all.

    It will be interesting to see if he responds to this.

  • NaNoWriMo 2012

    So, I tried to do the writing thing again this year… and failed miserably!

    I just couldn’t get going out of the gate. I got a whole 1500 words or so done, and then just couldn’t continue. I know that you need to be persistent… believe me, I know… I did it in 2011. It just wasn’t flowing for me this year.

    Ah well… perhaps next year. For now, I will just hold on to what I wrote this year and perhaps use it as a starter for next year or something.

  • Engineers might appreciate this story…

    A toothpaste factory had a problem because they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside.

    This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time.

    Small variations in the environment mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don’t get ticked off and buy another product instead. This being important, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem, as their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra effort.

    The project followed the usual process: project allocated third-parties selected, and six months (and $8 million) later they had a fantastic solution — on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time.

    They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and someone had to walk over and yank the defective box out , pressing another button when done to re-start the line.

    A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the projects amazing results ! No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints, and they were gaining a share on the market. “That’s some money well spent“ he says, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report.

    It turns out, the number of defects picked up by the scales was ” 0 ” after three weeks of production use. It should have been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report.
    He filed a notice against it, and after some investigation, the engineers come back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren’t picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

    Puzzled, the CEO travels down to the factory, and walks up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed. A few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing the empty boxes off of the belt and into a bin. “Oh, that,” says one of the workers ”one of the guys put it there cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang to remove the empty boxes.”

  • NanoWrimo

    So, I have decided to start doing NanoWrimo this month. What the heck… the worst that can happen is that I don’t finish or something. Meh.

    I have gotten a bit of an outline going, and I have a general concept in my head now of what I am sort of wanting to do, but don’t really have any solid goals yet. I will worry about that later. Basically, the first thing I did was grab a very basic outline of a plot summary concerning the mythic hero, and I will fill in the outline from there. The base words are there, I just need to go in for each plot point and define where I am going to go for each of those points. From there, I can then expand out into a real story and novel and see what happens.