Sunday, May 29, 2011

Women's College World Series of Softball

I just returned home from Vegas with a little extra cash in my wallet thanks to the Heat winning the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

Unfortunately, I discovered that the sports books in Vegas don't offer the option of betting on women's college softball. For three weekends a year I find myself inexplicably watching college girls play the Regionals, Super Regionals and the Women's College World Series of softball. I was hoping to be able to add the interest that comes with having money on the line to my time spent watching women's softball.

This year, I like the ladies of Arizona State University to win it all because they have ten players with batting averages over .300 and I'm all about the hits (ba-dum-phss):

Ironic that even with an inflatable one in the background 
hers is still the most severe duckface in the photo

That's right keep smiling and tell them it was a softball accident

Who needs eye shadow?

With the NBA season almost over and their games only taking place once every few days and the MLB season having settled into the monotony that comes with playing 162 games in a season, the post-season of women's college softball fills a void in my need to watch people risk injury to their bodies for my entertainment.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Design Me a Way to Solve My Problems

Wheel It Home:

These little combination vice clamps and plastic wheels look to be an ingenious way of transporting an item that is too large or awkward to carry by yourself over long distances.

At $39 these seems like a good value to me.  Unfortunately, they ship from Israel, which adds and extra $25 for a total of $64 for one set of two with a carrying bag that both fit inside.  Still, I'm tempted.

I May Stop Paying My Taxes:

The Centers for Disease Control have found a new way to waste the taxpayer's money, behold the zombie preparedness post:

I wish this were a joke but the full blog post is really here on the CDC's site.

Rapture My Ass:

No signs of earthquakes yet you crazy Christians.  I hope none of your friends or family let you live down the shame of believing that you would be zapped away to some invisible kingdom in the sky.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nice Use of Materials

Materials in Design:

Lenticular lens, those plastic things that show you one image if you tilt them to the right and another if you tilt them to the left, have been used in a new way by some folks at Tokyo University.  They have built a prototype lenticular lens sidewalk, which they hope will encourage people to stay on their side of the sidewalk or other walkways by subtlety guiding them to the right no matter which way they are walking.  Skip to 0:50 on this video to see the prototype in action:

I have a tendency to follow bright and shinny things, so I think this would work for me.

My plan is more forceful.  I envision a world in which the GPS functionality of a cell phone is combined with a mild electric shock.  If you want your cellphone to keep its battery charged up for talking and browsing the internet instead of discharging 25,000 volts through the skin next to your pockets or through your hand, don't walk along the wrong side, the left side, of any walkway.  We drive down the right side of the street, we should all walk that way too. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


It Would Suck to Have Your Online Account Compromised:

I'm going to assume that you're smart enough not to use any of the following or anything similar as your passwords.
  • Your partner, child, or pet's name, possibly followed by a 0 or 1 (because they're always making you use a number, aren't they?)
  • The last 4 digits of your social security number.
  • 123 or 1234 or 123456.
  • "password"
  • Your city, or college, football team name.
  • Date of birth – yours, your partner's or your child's.
  • "god"
  • "letmein"
  • "money"
  • "love"   
Still, you might try these first if you ever want to gain access to password protected areas...

A decent article on internet security and passwords is here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Entertainment List Entries

These sites have made me laugh in the past: - These are hit and miss but those with 80%+ ratings are often genuinely funny - Wainy Days is worth watching.  It's vulgar and intentionally silly but has some famous actors doing cameo roles and the writing is intelligent - I find it hard to pull my eyeballs away from their humorous posts - Usually I just watch the show when it comes on TV, so there is no point in visiting this site.  Still, the site usually has good clips.

Shopping for Baseball Tickets:
I'm not a huge fan of Major League Baseball.  The fact that the Yankees payroll is three times that of my team, the San Diego Padres, means that they can never compete on a level playing field.  I believe that MLB needs to adopt the NFL's model of providing a league wide salary cap, which would allow all the teams to have a chance of winning the World Series.  

Still, I like to attend 1-5 games a season so finding the best deals on tickets is a help to me.  Recently, I came across a piece that recommends ticket price seat aggregators and, both of which pull information from a wide range of ticket sale sites to present a picture of what seats are available at what price from all the various ticket brokers out there.  There is a good video that is just over one minute long, which breaks down the process for using these aggregrators here

I really wish I could man the controls of one of these:
This form of entertainment doesn't exist yet but I think it should. The Air Force doesn't really need to pay people to pilot their unmanned drones. I bet there are hundreds of thousands of people, gamers especially, that would love the chance to use a joystick on an Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to launch a missile attack from a Predator drone against targets in Western Pakistan.
Can you get some more missiles and bombs on that thing?

A good friend of mine works on improving the design of the Reaper and the Predator, actually trying to put more ordinance on the Predator shown above.  I hope that whoever was in charge of naming those two drones will get to name the next armed drone (the unarmed Global Hawk doesn't count) and if it's anywhere near as good as the first two it will definitely become part of the name of my yet to be formed band.  

Book Things:
As a senior in high school I had a really sharp English teacher who was on top of his game. In fact, the guy had won Teacher of the Year at a large high school with 3,300 students twice in a row before he took himself out of the running so that the other teachers would have a chance. In short, this guy really knows his stuff when it comes to literature. One day in class this teacher recommended that anyone interested in reading a book that was both deep with meaning and would be a real page turner should buy a copy of The Magus by John Fowles. Unfortunately, there was no way he would be able to teach it in class.

Disclaimer: Of course, your mileage may vary in terms of enjoyment of any of the items above.

TL;DR: I list several items on my entertainment list. If you're looking to be entertained, I would suggest you start at the top with the websites I suggest.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Involuntary Flashmob

It's time:

Assuming I've adjusted for the difference in time zones correctly, it's time to click here.  Be sure to select Camera 2.  Hilarity to ensue.

Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of coverage about this leading up to this moment so this might not be all that epic.

Also, I'm aware of the irony in that there is a voluntary stay-at-home flash mob of people gathering in front of their computer screens at this moment to view Times Square remotely.  I'm OK with being part of that.

UPDATE: The website seems to be down at the moment- sad making.  If this happens to you, try reloading the page at the link above several times to get it to work raise your clenched fists and curse the heavens.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sausage Party!

Breakfast of Champions: The inexpensive tube of sausage you can buy at any grocery store can be cut hamburger wise, packaging and all, into circular patties to be cooked in a skillet.  Do remember to remove the packaging before placing the patties into the skillet.
This plus eggs over easy and toast is truly the breakfast of champions

Also, be sure to wash your hands and clean the knife and whatever surface you used to cut the tube of sausage into patties on well because raw sausage is filled with all kinds of disgusting germs and such.

Me when I first discovered this use for these tubes of sausage:
Correct number of fingers: check.  
Correct proportions: not so much.

With Google, Car Drives You:

Apparently, when you have tons of cash and a bunch of the most intelligent people on the planet working for your company, you work to make the technology imagined in science fiction a reality.  At least that seems to be what Google is doing because according to the beginning of this article from the New York Times Google is lobbying the state of Nevada to allow self-driving cars to travel on the roads.

I'm all for the idea as long as two conditions are met:  One, the car must not look like those from the surprisingly good JCVD movie, Time Cop:

Primer is the color of the future

Two, Google must do hours and hours of of testing on this self-driven car on some out of the way, testing facility or track miles and miles away from anyone that could possibly be injured or killed if there is a glitch with the prototype.  As we all know from Hollywood, robots tend to have a few minor glitches to work out when they are first created:

I read on a little further in the article to find out what specially designed, top-secret test track Google's engineers had devised to find that last year Google said that:
"it had test-driven robotic hybrid vehicles more than 140,000 miles on California roads — including Highway 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco."
Holy balls, I lived in Los Angeles last year!  

TL;DR: I suggest buying inexpensive sausage in a tube, cutting it into patties and frying it up the next time you're hungry.  Also, Google hatches a plan to allow people to perform Google searches while we drive.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Story Time

Gather 'Round Children, It's Story Time:

A child molester and a child are walking together into the woods. 

It's getting darker and darker as they walk deeper and deeper into the woods and they start hearing strange noises from all around them. With his little voice tinged with fear, the boy looks up and says, “Gee mister I sure am getting scared”.

The child molester looks down at the little boy and replies “You're scared? I have to walk out of here alone.”

-The film Blue Valentine includes this joke to good effect  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Old Dell Dimension

I'm happy to have purchased and installed an upgrade to the RAM for my secondary computing device- an old Dell tower from about 2002 or 2003.
That's right, it's got a CD writer, a DVD player and a 3.5"disc drive

Upgrading the RAM in my old Dell desktop computer has greatly increased the speed at which the machine responds to my input.  I started out with a measly 256 MB of RAM and bought a 512MB chip to boost the total to 768 MB.  Those extra 512 MB made a huge positive change in terms of how I can use the computer.

Before the upgrade, I would double click on something, switch over to my primary computer and glance back at my old computer in frustration several times before anything would happen.  Internet pages refused to load and when they did it took a long time and often random images on that page wouldn't load at all.  I couldn't get any YouTube video to load.  About the only thing the computer was good for was playing music making it an iPod roughly the size of a small suitcase that weighs somewhere around 40 lbs.

Please mind the extension cord, ladies.

 Before upgrading the RAM, I rarely turned on my old desktop tower computer.  When I did, I didn't expect much and was still often disappointed.

After the upgrade, the computer came out of dry dock and I could once again set sail on the internet's open waves.  When I double clicked, programs and documents opened right away.  YouTube videos now play just fine (albeit not in full-screen mode, grumble, grumble).

The Dell is still fairly old but now that I can use it at a reasonable speed I find myself doing the following:
  • Browsing the internet
  • Displaying Flickr slideshows to distract/ entertain me while doing something else
  • Playing downloaded movies and TV shows
  • Playing music and podcasts through iTunes
  • Trying out things in the Chrome App Store
  • Typing and saving Open Office Writer and Calc documents to a Dropbox account, which shares with my main computer
Pro-tip: Adding more RAM makes your computer function better. 

TL;DR: Eh, you didn't miss much.  Read the pro-tip and share what you use your backup/ secondary computer for, if you have one.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Build More Internet

My Goal for the Day:

Build More Internet!

If we don't support this internet thing, it might not make it.

What cool internet things have you created or been a part of creating lately?

If you don't have a good answer to this, get inspired and build something impressive today!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Know of a Wizard

For the Record, I am a Wizard:
For some time now I've seen people ask if I or someone else is "a wizard".  One man in particular seems to be interested in knowing this information:

I'm over here.  No, no, I'm not over there.  
Why won't you look at me when I'm talking to you?  
At least have the decency to use a question mark in the future.

I believe I have come up with an appropriate response:

First, there was Mr. Wizard.  Then there was Beakman's World. 
Now who will take up the torch of TV based science edutainment? 

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Sorta Literary Related:
This blog publishes the masochistic pursuits of a man named Bill.  The insulting comments left by authors for Bill at his request tend to be fairly raunchy as you can see from these samples:

Bill Maher knows that word too

Exclamation point!

Conan O'Brien News:
I think it's sad that Conan can't/ won't do the "In the Year 2000" bit anymore.  Conan said something about his former relationship with NBC being the problem with continuing to do the bit. 

The same thing happened when Craig Kilborn left the Daily Show and they had to stop doing the fantastic 5 Questions bit.

Anyway it's bizarre to me how the lawyers have drawn up walls around intellectual property in the TV world.