30 April 2007

TV show props

Amazing what you find if you look closely...


Incidentally, try typing the following text into MS Word:


Then press enter. It'll automatically insert the text "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." You can change the numbers around. One represents the number of sentences per paragraph, and the other represents the number of paragraphs. Hours of non-stop entertainment.

25 April 2007

If Earth is too boring for you

Start celebrating! Apparently scientist have found a "potentially habitable planet." And it's only 120 trillion miles away (approx. 20 light years)! Start saving those frequent flier miles--you may be able to earn a free trip!

That planet's sun is called Gliese 581. Why don't we have a name for our sun? It seems unfair that we don't. We're just a really boring solar system. Our planets have great names like Pluto, and the planets have cool moon names like Io (which, incidentally, is the only natural satellite with acne). But we have no name for our sun... or moon, for that matter. Someone come up with a name!

I'll always love this next song. I discovered it while avoiding studying for a freshman year astronomy class.

21 April 2007

Cake decorating

My sister wants to be a cake decorator. If I'm lucky, when I get married she'll make me a fancy wedding cake. Perhaps I'll be very lucky, and she'll make one like this:

If you like that, you'll love some of the other Russian fancy cakes.

If you're not into cakes, the site also features Russian UFOs. Take your pick.

18 April 2007

For Nerds' Eyes Only

Sorry, non-nerds out there. You might not be able to comprehend the vast amount of humor in this posting. Maybe next time I'll say something about TV shows or something more widely understood by mainstream America. Maybe.

But today it's tech humor. Yaay!

Part 1: A Joke.

Years ago, when Apple first came out with their text-to-speech applications, two computer guys decided to use it to settle a score: the pronunciation of the name of a popular Unix text editor. The application is called vi. One guy said, "It's pronounced 'vye,' and rhymes with 'sky' or 'bye.'" The other guy disagreed, saying, "you just say Vee Eye -- it's just the names of the letters, it's not a word."

So into the talking computer application 'vi' went. And it said...


(get it? vi = roman numeral 6. oh, never mind.)

Part 2: Chaos Theory.

This picture demonstrates how not to set up your network. Yikes.

Part 3: Toys.

Specifically, USB toys. (fine, and some funny USB storage devices)

- You've heard of thumb drives, right? But you probably didn't think there was a real THUMB drive, did you?
- I don't know what to say about this digital storage device.
- This is arguably old technology (4 years -- that's ancient in computer terms), but it's still clever. It's a USB-powered rice noodle strainer.
- Everyone needs one of these. It's a USB-powered hamster wheel.
- If you're a workaholic (like me), you shovel your lunch down at your desk. Dropping too many crumbs into your keyboard? Clearly you need a USB-enabled duck-shaped vacuum cleaner. Why don't I have one of these?
-Have you declared war on your cubicle neighbors? It's your civic duty. Surprise them with a USB cannon, then beat them down with a USB-powered rocket launcher.

Who comes up with this stuff??

16 April 2007

Reasonably useless information

Every now and then various family members pass on relatively interesting pieces of information. Here are some fine examples:

From my brother:
Can't decide where to eat lunch? Spin the Wheel of Lunch. You can even run such queries as (your zip code) and "Thai," and it'll limit your options to Thai restaurants in the area. If you want details, read the explanation.

From my mother:
Go to google maps. Click on "get directions." Ask for directions from New York to Paris. Scroll down to Direction #23 or so.

From my sister (The Conqueror):
A new TV show! It's called Robin Hood, and it's on BBC America. It's about Robin Hood (did you not guess that already?). I discover many good shows on BBC America. Examples: Look Around You. My Hero. Shakespeare Retold. And I'm sure there are others.

14 April 2007

Hope is not a strategy

Neither is turning a mysterious ticking noise into a song. But it does result in an entertaining video!

11 April 2007

A is for Average, F is for Fantastic

Today's posting is all about Easter Eggs. This weekend my sister and I decorated eggs with two very young cousins. Let's see if you can tell from the following picture which eggs were decorated and/or cracked by our cousins and which were decorated by us.

Easter Eggs/Easter Egg Decorating

My aunt came up with this very effective trick for adding designs: dye + glue gun + more dye. Nice.

Not into food art? Well, there is another other kind of easter egg -- hidden stuff in computer programs! Unfortunately, it seems this is a dying (no, not dyeing) art--too many companies fear risks added by undocumented code. But back when I taught MS Office classes to pay my way through college, I found that the easter egg discussions (for instance, I pointed out an old version of Excel's Spy Hunter and the MS Access Magic 8 Ball, among others) were the only times when students paid attention.

Ah, the days when you could ctrl-shift-f into Netscape's fishcam... or go to about:mozilla in Firefox for a funny message. Oh, wait, I think those still work (assuming you're using the right browsers).

Looking for others? The eeggs.com archive might be worth a visit.

UPDATE: For some bizarre reason, this has turned out to be my most popular blog entry of all time. Not this quality posting or this controversial topic, but this teensy little entry on Easter Eggs. Huh. You just can't predict these sorts of things.

Anyway, I thought I'd reward the adoring public by giving even MORE information on the creative egg decorating technique displayed in the not so hot picture that probably brought you to this page. I don't know if my aunt made this up, or if she got the idea from an egg decorating book/magazine article/voices in her head... whatever the source, this is a fun and easy technique. (caution--this involves the use of a glue gun, which may not be safe or appropriate for young kids). Steps:

- Take a hard boiled egg, then dye it the color of of your choice. Or skip the pre-dye phase and move directly to the next step...
- Using a glue gun, decorate the egg. If you use one of those mini glue guns you can get a fairly high degree of detail in your design. Wavy lines, squiggly lines, little teensy circles... so many options! But be careful not to burn yourself!
- After the glue dries (which shouldn't take long), put the egg into a second color of dye for a few minutes.
- When you're satisfied with the updated color of the egg, remove it from the dye. Dry it off, then peel off the dried glue. Voila! A beautiful and unique egg design!

Enjoy! :)

05 April 2007

Good Idea, Bad Idea

Did you ever watch Animaniacs? If so, you likely saw some of Mr. Skullhead's "Good Idea/Bad Idea" segments. I couldn't find a video of the one I remember most (good idea: feeding stray kittens in the park; bad idea: feeding stray kittens in the park to a bear.), but I do think this one is entertaining.

And now, a real life "Good Idea/Bad Idea":

Good idea: Attend a calm, relaxing hockey game with friends.

Bad idea: Play a game of "extreme underwater ice hockey" with friends.

Near freezing temperatures. Underwater. No oxygen tanks. Insanity!!

02 April 2007

Do you feel pretty?

In honor of April Fool's Day, I'd like to dedicate today's posting to the world's longest running practical joke: the fashion industry! We've all been trained to think that some bizarre things are normal and even attractive. For example, take high heels. Ouch! Far from functional. But I still look at some pairs of heels and think, "Cute! Must buy!" Fashion is illogical.

And then we get to the practical joke part. If you are a fan of America's Next Top Model or Project Runway or other fashion-related shows, pay attention to the designers... and the irony. What were these designers like when they were young? Many, like Project Runway Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll, admit to being considered unpopular and "weird" in their youth.

Now, remind me... who was it in high school that had to run out and buy the latest fashions, or get the amazing trendy hairstyles? Ah, yes, the school's upper castes. And who did they shun? Oh, that's right--those people who are now playing an integral role in determining what today's fashionable elite have to run out and buy. Does anyone else see a conflict there? Are the former socially oppressed fighting back? It would explain some of those bizarre trends...

I can just see it -- when a former social outcast is inducted into the fashion industry, they enter into a fashion secret society. They conspire to make people--especially those who mocked
them in their youth--look as ridiculous as possible.

If my calculations are correct, this secret society has existed for centuries. How else can you explain some of the horrifying style trends that have existed throughout history? Clearly, someone wanted all these people to pay dearly for their perceived superiority. They succeeded--and are continuing in that fine tradition.

Examples that support my theory:

Whatever you do, don't go swimming in these high fashion items

Why 18th century palace doors are wide

20th century fashion

Animal print

Big hair

Military uniforms!? (if you visit the Tower of London, you'll see that they still dress like this)

And clearly, someone has it in for fashion models

If you wonder what you're supposed to wear now, there are some interesting trends headed our way. Yikes. Incidentally, I've found it interesting that the survivors in Lost are way more in fashion than I am (not to imply that I'm trying hard to follow trends)... note that they're stuck on an island, and I think it's still 2004 in their world!

Keep in mind that I posted this revealing information at great risk to my personal style. I can imagine some of the threats that may be directed my way by those involved in the fashion conspiracy... threats of future bad haircuts and potential banishment to SO-not-in-season sales racks. How shall I endure?

01 April 2007

Time has a way of changing things

Welcome to the new home of my blog! Until today, I was using the built-in blog feature within MySpace. But now it's time for me to have a REAL blog (which this is supposed to be). I prefer not to become a blog transient; hopefully there will be no need to move again.

Just for fun, I imported all my old MySpace blog postings to this site.

Preview of things to come:
Tune in here tomorrow, as I plan to reveal the shocking truth about why a nerd like me would watch fashion-centric shows such as Ugly Betty, America's Next Top Model, and Instant Beauty Pageant. Admit it -- you're dying to know why!