June 30, 2004

Overheard at Customer Service

Mookie tried to buy an electric bike. Yesterday after work we re-packed it into the box, loaded it into the pickup and drove back to where she bought it. I was prepared for a fight, because there was a giant sticker on the box that said "Do Not Return To Retailer. Contact Manufacturer With Problems."

Bull. The damn thing was unusable right out of the box.

So I walked up to the Customer Service desk and told the friendly and helpful employee that I needed someone with a flatbed cart to go out to my truck and unload it, after which I wanted a refund. Then I handed him the receipt and a baggie full of broken lock pieces.

He started to make noises about the manufacturer, so I calmly and politely reminded him to call for someone with a cart to unload my truck, and asked to speak to a manager. I'm not going to waste my time dealing with him if he's not going to be immediately helpful.

I pulled the truck up in front of the store and helped two stock guys unload it onto a cart. One looks at the box and says, "Oh, it's a scooter."

I said, "No, it's a scooter-shaped piece of crap."

The guys take it inside while I go park the truck again, and Mookie hears this exchange:

Manager: "It's a scooter?"

Stock Guy: "According to him, it's a scooter-shaped piece of crap."

Five minutes later, we're walking out the door, all taken care of.

Posted by: Ted at 06:41 AM | category: Square Pegs
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June 29, 2004

You heard it here first

There's a new low-carb dog food.

A new medical study shows that excessive protein in the diet can cause fertility "problems". The reporters I watched verbally danced around, desperately trying to not say "Atkins" or "low-carb", and implied that the "problems" involved conception. The details of the report that I heard sounded more like birth defect type "problems". Balance people, the key is balance.

"Morbidly Obese", isn't that a lovely medical term? I hearby street-slangify it to "Mo'Beast", as in, "That dude with the Mac in each hand? He is Mohhh' Beast!"


Posted by: Ted at 07:25 AM | category: Square Pegs
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To Mookie

Sweetie, I hope you don't think I was mad at you last night. I am seriously pissed off, and this afternoon we're going to go take care of it, but I am NOT upset with you.

I really, really, really hate it when something disappoints you like that. We'll make it right and consider it a lesson learned. Ok?

PS. Call me at work.

Posted by: Ted at 06:44 AM | category: Family matters
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June 28, 2004

Favorite Anagram

"To err is human, to forgive, divine." -- Alexander Pope

I've humor to give in trade for sin. -- anagram of above

Posted by: Ted at 09:20 PM | category: Square Pegs
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I've been reading Percival Lowell's Mars, the seminal 1895 work. In it, the famed astronomer examines the planet with care and in detail, and despite classic use of logic and deduction, manages to get almost everything completely wrong. Such is science.

Anyways, in one passage Lowell states:

"...with about as much probability... as that a chance collection of numbers should take the form of the multiplication table."

Which is the polite and scientific way of saying "when monkeys fly out of my

Posted by: Ted at 04:57 AM | category: Square Pegs
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June 27, 2004

Cycles in the universe

Victor brings up the bondage pants again, and then this morning whilst cruising the ol' linklist I find Velociman pointing out this site (via this guy, who is very funny) where you can meet ladies who're temporarily guests of the state. At least one of them is a Dominant (Domme, in the parlance), who helpfully mentions that she's incarcerated for a non-violent crime. Considering this post I made just days ago, that brings to three the number of recent mentions of BDSM, which fulfills the prophesy and closes the circle. No need to worry about the end-of-the-world thing, it's a small circle. At worst, your front lawn may die.

In totally unrelated news, I've discovered that by going out into the backyard and shouting "Ni!", the squirrels are leaving my bird feeder alone. Probably no connection, I know, but someone did leave a nice shrubbery on the front porch overnight.

Crap. I just remembered that I watched Secretary last night. The circle begins anew.

Posted by: Ted at 09:17 AM | category: Links
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Targeted Advertising

On the radio I heard an ad featuring a couple of voices who were 'obviously' black and urban. The product was those walkie-talkie phones, and the kicker line was, "your late-night bootie chirp".

Why is it that it's ok to air this kind of crap to make money, but if we use similar logic for security purposes it's denounced as racial profiling?

Posted by: Ted at 07:05 AM | category: Square Pegs
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June 26, 2004

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhh!!!

I made a pot of Venomous Kate's Slow Spice Stew today. Yum!!!!!!

Posted by: Ted at 09:23 PM | category: Recipes
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Hobby Rocketry in the news

Article in Wired.

Posted by: Ted at 08:53 PM | category: Rocketry
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100 million thousand billion centuries!

That's the estimated age of the dinosaur fossile bought at an auction in New York, according to the new owner.

More than 60 million years after the triceratops dinosaur roamed what is now Montana, its horn went to 6-year-old Eamon Rush for $550 at a Park Avenue auction.

Although the tip of Eamon's horn was rebuilt by a human hand, he was thrilled with his purchase. The Manhattan boy planned to bring home the dinosaur horn for the archaeology club he started with a classmate.

Knowlege and skill counts, but so does enthusiasm.
It was a bargain for Lot 69, offered at an estimated value of $1,500 to $2,000 by Guernsey's at its "Dinosaurs & Other Prehistoric Creatures" sale.

On Thursday afternoon, Eamon showed up on Park Avenue in a bright tie-dyed top, so when he shot up with his paddle to signal his bid, everyone noticed. And the adults held back higher bids so the 6-year-old could win.


Posted by: Ted at 11:40 AM | category: SciTech
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Choking your chicken

Flipping the zippy, pounding yer pud, spanking the monkey, etc. Whatever you call it, it's all just snazzier ways of saying "male masturbation" (how sterile and clinical that sounds!). The first time I ever heard it called "choking your chicken" was in Basic Training, and it was one of our drill sergeant's favorite phrases.

I had a boss once who's still a very good friend. He was single, and made no bones about it - he beat off frequently. During our smoke breaks at work we'd get into some of the damndest conversations - "that older sister on The Wild Thornberry's, I bet she'd be a demon in bed" - and my boss would smile and say, "I've got to go be alone with myself now."

I used to tease him about it all the time. I'd tell him he jerked off so often that he kept a picture of his right hand in his wallet.

He used his left hand sometimes just so he could pretend he was with a stranger.

For him, foreplay was kissing and licking his fingers.

Got any good one-liners or anecdotes? Put 'em in the comments. Don't be shy, we all know it's stuff that's happened to your 'friend'. Uh-huh, sure.

And just to be crass, here's a related Helen Keller joke:

Q: Why did Helen Keller masturbate with one hand?

A: So she could moan with the other.

Posted by: Ted at 07:48 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Up Please

President Bush wants to return to the moon and put a man on Mars. But scientist Bradley C. Edwards has an idea that's really out of this world: an elevator that climbs 62,000 miles into space.

Edwards thinks an initial version could be operating in 15 years, a year earlier than Bush's 2020 timetable for a return to the moon. He pegs the cost at $10 billion, a pittance compared with other space endeavors.

"It's not new physics — nothing new has to be discovered, nothing new has to be invented from scratch," he says. "If there are delays in budget or delays in whatever, it could stretch, but 15 years is a realistic estimate for when we could have one up."

This is not a new concept, and no more outlandish than President Kennedy announcing to the world that America was going to the moon in the 60's. For more information, here's a FAQ page about space elevators.

Posted by: Ted at 07:44 AM | category: SciTech
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June 25, 2004

Freedom Park

The new job is across the street from my old corporate headquarters (long since moved to the 'burbs), so the area isn't completely unfamiliar to me. Walking around this week, I found a new park that's been built since I last visited the area. Called Freedom Park, I'll try to describe the place, but I also recommend going here for some great pictures.

To start off, set back from the street in a nook between two skyscrapers, are nine sections of the original Berlin Wall. The sections are covered with artwork from three different artists, and there are several placards placed in front that talk about the wall. See those pictures! They also have an original East German guard tower from near Checkpoint Charlie.

To the left of this display is a set of steps (the entire park moves uphill in terraced steps as it broadly curves to the right) leading up to a series of symbols of freedom from around the world. Among the symbols are cast bronze replicas of the Goddess of Democracy located in Tienamen Square (similar to the Statue of Liberty, but with oriental eyes), a South African ballot box (end of apartied), the door to the jail cell where Martin Luther King, Jr was held, a small homemade boat used by Cuban refugees, reproductions of Women's Sufferage banners, an actual toppled stone statue of Lenin - sans head, a section of cobbles from the Warsaw Jewish ghetto, and finally, a slightly less than 1/2 scale bronze of "Freedom", the 1863 sculpture by Thomas Crawford that crowns the dome of the US Capitol building.

Still farther up is a Journalists Memorial, dedicated to those who gave their lives while practicing freedom of the press, known and unknown. A kiosk with a touchscreen terminal contains a directory of names on the memorial. There is also an attached Journalists Museum, but I haven't been in there yet.

Adjoining the memorial is a long curving series of fountains dedicated to early American journalism pioneers. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, James Gordon Bennett, Frederick Douglas, Horace Greeley (he of the advice to head west), and Ida B. Wells.

Across from the fountains are 270 pictures painted by kids that represent freedom. Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Religion, Freedom to Grow, Freedom to Learn, and so on.

Whoever designed the park did a nice job making it feel larger than it really is. It's impossible to hide the towering buildings around, but the eye is drawn downwards into the park itself. There are trees and grassy areas, and plenty of benches to enjoy the fresh air. This was a pleasant surprise to find, especially in the heart of the downtown area, and I'll probably go there often to have my lunch. If you're in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, you should check it out.

Posted by: Ted at 08:45 PM | category: Links
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Random thought

Is William Hung the real-life equivalent of South Park's Timmy?

Posted by: Ted at 08:09 PM | category: Square Pegs
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This is a test, this is only a test

As promised, we conducted an emergency test of the Remote NogWatch System. Here's the original no-notice alert sent to my good friend and occasional commenter Anonymous Kyle:

This is a test of the Remote Nog Watch Network. Please check on the nog when you get a chance and let me know the status. No hurry, no pressure, but millions of interested blog readers are sitting on the edge of their seats and gnawing their nails, wondering if this will work.


Associate NogWarden Dan responded almost immediately to let me know that a report would be forthcoming. Sounds official, doesn't it?

Soon enough for government work, NogWarden Kyle reported back:

The Nog Stands Alone. Tell everyone that they can stop chewing thier toenails. Maybe our friend in the fridge could start it's own NogBlog.

NogBlog. The very idea is frighteningly (now there's a word to win some bar bets with) dull, although I like the name a lot. Consider it copyrighted or patented or whatever, you intellectual property criminals, it belongs to m-... uh, Anonymous Kyle.

So yeah, the Remote NogWatch System is a success. And I learned a couple of things: first, friends are important when you want to get things done, and second, it takes some real work to suck as bad as Bill.

Posted by: Ted at 05:25 AM | category: Square Pegs
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June 24, 2004

About as far from work-related as possible

Then again, this might be the most work-related link ever, depending on where you work. Not work safe.

Whoops! Forgot to credit the link: Fleshbot, for naughtyness.

Posted by: Ted at 05:22 PM | category: Links
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June 23, 2004

Sometimes you're the windshield

Other times you're the bug. Work has dominated my universe this week, so I haven't been around to visit my usual haunts, let alone post much interesting here. I am working on something cool, hopefully it'll be ready to go tomorrow evening.

For a complete change of pace, I'll tell you about my humdrum home life. Last weekend I'd planned to replace the attic fan motor, but as usual, not only couldn't I find one at the HumongousHardwareChain, but they've restocked the place with all new clerks who graduated surly cum laude.

So instead, I helped my neighbor replace his picket fence. Much use of manly power tools was made. He was kind enough to give me a new fan motor (he's in that line of work), so this afternoon Mookie and I braved the sauna of the attic and knocked that item off the honey-do list.

And that about sums up life this week. Things will calm down soon enough, and return to as near to normal as it ever gets.

Posted by: Ted at 07:34 PM | category: Square Pegs
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In a meeting today

"T&A stands for 'Time and Attendance',
T&A stands for 'Time and Attendance',
T&A stands for 'Time and Attendance',
T&A stands for 'Time and -"

"Excuse me, Ted, did you have a question?"

"Oh. No, just making sure I have the terminology right."

Posted by: Ted at 06:43 PM | category: Square Pegs
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June 22, 2004

A small sample

JCL stands for Job Control Language, and it's been around since the 50's. It hasn't changed much over time, which means that computer jobs written decades ago still run perfectly today.

I'm (re)learning JCL as part of my new project, and here's a couple choice tidbits from the reference book:

"The role of JCL sounds complex and it is - JCL is downright difficult."

No sugarcoating here, nosireebob!
"This book will explain JCL, but it won't try to make you like it because JCL is not a likable language."

My head hurts, but I'm having fun!

Posted by: Ted at 08:00 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Green Eggs and Hamlet

Would you kill him in his bed?
Thrust a dagger through his head?
I would not, could not, kill the King.
I could not do that evil thing.
I would not wed this girl, you see.
Now get her to a nunnery.

Posted by: Ted at 04:16 AM | category: Square Pegs
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