Sunday, December 20, 2009

White Elephant

Each year my office does a white elephant gift exchange, where participants contribute a gift that is purchased (rarely) or just randomly grabbed out of their closet/attic/desk.

Everyone pulls a number and then gifts are chosen by order of the numbers. Starting with numbers 2 and higher you can either grab a new unopened gift from the pile or steal one that an earlier participant has opened (they in turn either steal from someone else or grab a new gift).

My contribution this year was a child leash purchased at the Dinosaurland gift shop. I am an impulse buyer and it was up at the counter along with candy dinos and maps. I came home with all three. Sadly, I left the How to make Wizard Stencils book behind.

My first pick was a nice looking gift bag with the word "Lucky" on it. How can you resist that, right? Besides, it was heavy and heavy is good. When I opened it up, I found that it contained at least 30 DVDs that I never want to watch...the remake of Dukes of Hazzard, some random Billy Bob Thorton movie, Must love dogs ect. SCORE!

Unfortunately, somehow jacked my stash and I lost 30 DVDs I would never want to watch and ended up with a single DVD that I simply can't watch (as it is a copy of the Hulk on the now defunct HD DVD format).

Sigh.

As an added bonus of awesomeness, the bag also included random office knick knacks of former co-workers who have been sacked over the last 12 months...our old Admin's Paper Weight, another colleagues clock they received for putting someone in an old folks home and the piece de resistance, the bag itself.

At first glance, it appears to be a standard holiday gift back, but, upon close examination, one phrase is not quite right. See if you can pick it out from the following...

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays
Jingle bells
Peace of Earth

Peace of Earth? What the hell is that?

Did the guy from ELF do the QC check on that before sending off to the printer?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Zomb-economics



No sooner did I mention the cause of the lack of posting, then did I stumble across a proper idea for a post, which was born of a fairly innocuous FB post mentioning the impact of watching Food INC.

First as a primer to my latest thesis, a quick recap of Food INC... Corn is the root of all evil.

Ok, there is a bit more than that.

Essentially what starts off with very noble intentions, how can we improve upon our farming practices so they impact the environment less, and produce a greater quantity of food at a lower price? wanders into some creepy territory not that foreign from a Michael Crichton novel... GMO's using natural pollination in conjunction with their proprietary genetically modified seeds to claim farmers who did not buy their seed to owe them seed rights (i.e. scrilla, loot, dough, benjamins) through a twisted version of eminent domain blended against other scary tales of altering the natural diets of animals to include things mother nature never intended them to eat (and thus having riveting impacts on their bodies) and dipping a toe in what really goes into processing our food (and you thought making sausage was bad!).

Being the sharp minded critical thinkers that you are, you have most likely deduced to two primary opposing arguments likely to emerge as a result of this film...

Smith sez: We need to leverage science to do more with less in order to meet the ever increasing demand for food, no matter how frankensteinian the means are. If food supplies are scarce, how can we afford to feed the masses?

Jones sez: We are what we eat and as such need to stop subsidizing unhealthy foods (why is it cheaper to eat an extra value meal than to buy ingredients for a fresh salad?) and start supporting local, organic, natural food supplies.

So after some back and forth commenting on the original post, I volleyed my strategic masterpiece...which I christened "ZombiEconomics."

Apparently the idea of Zombie-economics is not new (as demonstrated by a quick google search).

HOWEVER it is about to get a make over, topic15 style.

In the past, it referred to mindless politics, ignorant of the conditions which lead to the present (and thus creating a susceptibility to recreate them in the future, or as the old adage goes, those who don't know the past are bound to recreate it).

So, you are probably thinking, Zombies are cool. Economics aren't cool, but are necessary, what's the deal with the Topic15 Remix of these two concepts?

The fundamental basis of Zombieconomics is as simple as it is brilliant...eat the poor.

The power of this tenet is twofold, as being a relative term, we are virtually guaranteed never to run out of a food source, likewise it will have the benefit of pushing capitalism to the most obscene boundaries through an unprecedented culture of fear.

It is a veritable mash-up of Darwin and Weber! Survival of the fittest means survival of those who work hard and accumulate wealth (which is not a function of a direct desire to be wealthy, but rather as an unintended consequence associated with a desire not to be eaten, very much in line the Protestant world of not being saved).

I still need to flesh out the concept, but think I might have a dissertation on my hands, should I ever return to the world of academia, which I won't... as that means giving up my $$$$ making job and in turn giving me a front of the line pass to the TBE (to be eaten) queue should my theory ever pan out.

Outsource Outsource Outsource is the new Ho Ho Ho

I made a snarky remark about outsourcing Christmas cards only to discover 1 google search later that my idea is reality.

PS...One day I will get back to blogging regularly, just as soon as I start cultivating proper fodder of Topic15's standard.

Boondock Saint's 2 took 10 years, you just can't rush quality!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

OBEY The Gambler




In the dream world of topic15, anything is possible and often the outer edge of the envelope of randomness is explored.

I recently had a dream which has haunted me, not necessarily because it was scary, but because it featured an item I would much like to have, yet am fairly certain does not exist.

The context
I was at some podunk blue collar county fair type of event (which I think is a direct effect of a real life trip to York PA for a monstrous train sale). I was browsing the various redneck bric-a-brac and came across an item which can only be described as an unknown, unmet need. And decided to purchase it on the spot.

The item
The object of my desire was none other than an urban camo hooded sweatshirt which had an iconic image of Kenny Rogers stenciled on the front (similar to Shepard Fairey's Obey the Giant work). My desire for this item did not erode when I woke up. It has only intensified. Partially cause it is cool and largely because it does not exists (which of course makes me want it even more).

The resolution
While there are some interesting proxies, the only way to truly replicate the one from my dream is going to be to make it. I've already started on an image to use to cut the stencil (shown above), now I simply need to find the right color of urban camo hooded sweatshirt to bring this idea to life. After a quick google search, I think I may need to opt for sky camo (see #4) rather than urban camo as that is a closer match to the one in my dream.

We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Michael Bay, you be trippin!



After watching the biblically bad Crank 2: High Voltage, I was hoping for some redemption from Transformers 2. I should have known better.

There were a few interesting stand outs, but not all necessarily in a good way. Perhaps the most questionable were the addition of two new autobots, Skids and Mudflap. These characters are based on 2 chevy compacts. They also speak jive, are always causing a ruckus, admit they can't read and one has a gold tooth.

Apparently, I was not the only one to notice the dubious racial overtones.

And you thought Jar Jar Binks was racist. Damn Michael Bay, you really raised the racism bar son! What do you have in store for Transformers 3? A watermelon that transforms into a bucket of chicken?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Greetings from down unda!



G'day mates! The first 24 hours in the land down under did not disappoint, well except for learning that we just missed Ben Folds at the opera house.

We spent the bulk of the first day hoofing it around town in a zombie-like post 14 hour flight jet lag daze. We did get to see a couple of traditionally cool sights, including the harbor bridge, the opera house and the Sydney tower.

We also saw a few things that probably aren't considered cool by most standard, but I found interesting.

Example #1.

These neo-el camino's run rampant on Sydney's streets.

They seem to also have a bit of a fetish for turkish delight. They sell it everywhere. Unfortunately, they like to keep it real, and by keep it real, I mean make it with rosewater, which just doesn't do it for my western palette.

I found a record shop near by which offers classes in scratching. I am trying to schedule a lesson before we head out.

We took a trip to Manly beach, which if I ever come back to Sydney, will plan to stay there (Sydney is cool, but Manly beach is more laid back and has the most terrifically terrible souvenir stores one can imagine...In one shop I saw an infant wifebeater with a picture of soundwave on it for $3).

I'd write more, but we are off to a walking pub tour. Should be interesting! I will write more later.




Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Nothing runs like a Cena?!?!?!?!??!

Interesting to see WWE superstar John Cena's latest look which seems to crib heavily the colors and style of none other than John Deere.


Cena's not shy from borrowing from other logos. Just see the comparison to his HLA shirt and the now defunct AWA logo...


Now, I get why he would repurpose the AWA logo, given it is old school wrestling and he is a wrestler and he is all about respect and old skool and all that jazz, but what is the dealio with John Deere?

I mean c'mon, that is totally out of left field.

Don't get me wrong, I love me some John Deere after doing a near weekly battle with the belts on my dad's JD lawn tractor, but can't help but wonder what Cena's connection is. He ain't no farmer, that's for damn sure. I suppose he might be making a play to the blue collar fans or maybe he just likes the color green.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I love it when a plug comes together

Well in a few short days, Hamm-solo and crew embark on the BABE rally.

In true entrepreneurial spirit, he is gonna try and flip that pig in the big easy (translation--sell the van to recoup purchase price and investment).

In a vain attempt to build buzz, I sent the following to Q93, New Orlean's mad crazy hip hop hook up....


What's up Q93 crew!

I just wanted to send a shout out all the way from the nation's capital, (DC in the hizouse! what what!) drop some knowledge on an upcoming event, and see if you might be able to hook a friend up!

So check this out, next week the 2009 BABE rally kicks off.

What's that, you ask?

It's a rally style race from the Big Apple to Big Easy (thus the BABE accronym). The rally runs M-F, starting in Staten Island and ending in the super fine city of New Orleans. It's an event that is open to pretty much anyone regardless of driving skill.

There is, however, one devastatingly twisted stipulation.

The car you field for the rally can cost no more that $500.

Yes, $500.

That's right, not much more that a playstation. It is essentially a Burt Reynolds movie with straight hoopties (Sir Mix Alot would certainly approve in a motor in the back of the honda kind of way).

For safety reasons, it must me registered and insured, but that is about all. So don't be alarmed when on Friday, the city's hooptie population experiences a slight spike. Now you know why.

So now that I have the shout out, and 411 on the event laid out, I wanted to share a small request. I have a good friend participating in the event and he is looking for a loving home for his van once they arrive.

This van is no ordinary creep box on wheels however. It is a rolling tribute to the A-team that has been painstakingly replicated with about 2 hours of work, a couple of cans of spray paint and a case of mexican beer.

It is hott.

Yes hot with 2 t's. And it can be had for a steal, asking price of just under 1 large (not bad for a road worthy vehicle that is bound to attract props with its hella-fine candy paint job). We put a listing on craigslist.

Any chance you could ask you listeners to take a look?

http://neworleans.craigslist.org/cto/1195065317.html

Thank you in advance for you consideration.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Things I have not done in a long time...


1) Worked out with 225 pounds (ouch)

2) Written on this blog

3) Bought an actual CD

Mainly thanks to #3 I have something worthwhile to share for #2.


Today I stumbled across an interesting CD which for some unknown reason has flown under my radar for nearly half a year.


I discovered said CD while searching for remixes on youtube and saw that Pete Rock did a Johnny Cash remix and true to the mecca soul brother's standards it was pretty swank. Even more impressive was the remix of Belshazzar by machine drum (see video below).






If you listen closely, you can here hints of a track I nearly forgot about until I stumbled across my case of mixtapes in my parents attic, God Lives Underwater's "From your mouth."


A quick listen and you can't help but think the same producer must be behind both of these tracks. I wonder if they would mash-up well together. Perhaps I will give that a shot this weekend.


Anyhow back to the Johnny Cash Remix album. I bought it at Best Buy before realizing it was also available on I-tunes. That's fine, I actually like having the CD and liner notes to get details on the producers of the album and individual contributors.


The reviews on Itunes are dismal. Nearly 300 ratings, and the average is 1.5 stars. Yikes!

Interestingly, the driving force behind the album was none other than Snoop Dogg (who has a track on the CD) and Johnny Cash's son, John Carter Cash. And while many commenters think the remixes are borderline blasphemy, John Carter Cash has this to say...


"My father made his stead by defying the expected & accepted way of things. He set the standard at the same time. He would have loved this remix record. While it stays true to the original recordings, the cd touches on undiscovered ground. This is what my father was about, staying true to tradition, while creating groundbreaking new music."


Knowing what I know about the man in black and the character I believe he was, I am inclined to agree with this.


I certainly love and respect the original work, but also love that other artists from all different walks of life continue to embrace his work and pay tribute in the form of their own remixes.


The album is no where near without having fault or some questionnable versions, but that is all good and fine. Like most things in life, and the man in black himself, the postive aspects do far more too offset the associated transgressions and the net result is the rare album I am not only proud to own, but actually made the trek to the store to buy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fred

For when you want that bum wine look, but not that bum wine feel, reach for FRED, spring water in a bottle that looks like a flask of mad dog or cheap vodka.

I picked some up while on a trip to Dinosaurland to celebrate KG's 30th...


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

To fully appreciate the transformation...

Before -- Old and Busted:

After -- New Hotness:








Saturday, April 04, 2009

I love it when a plan comes together!

I am positively AMAZED at what a few beers, some spray paint, and a saturday afternoon can produce.

Sadly, I am unable to participate in the BABE Rally 2009, but was more than glad to lend a hand to team sweatbox and giving vanaroonie a new coat honoring the A-Team.

The end result is a virtual mona lisa on wheels...

The van looks good. Good enough to make George Peppard Gizz in His Pants.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New Coke and Damn Yankees

I had a good discussion on brands on the way to seven springs with Suede Shizzle and decided to look into what the dealio was with the roll-out of new coke (and answer the question of did they bother investing in research to test reaction).

What I found on Wikipedia was simply fascinating. Coke did do a fair amount of market research before rolling out the new formula. Coke did not successfully foresee the big picture, nor consider the implications of deviating from their original brand promise. Let me try to summarize…

Coke wanted to attract younger buyers to help beat Pepsi in the Cola wars of the 80s and the decided to refine the formula as a means to do so. The new formula was sweeter than both the old coke and pepsi (pepsi traditionally being sweeter that old coke). It was important to attract younger consumers as they speculated, and rightly so, that as consumers age, they become more concerned with health and calories (and thus more likely to switch to diet versions, which were a much smaller part of the pie back then). At the time the younger audiences preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi.

This move also had to be fueled, at least in part, to the taste tests that pepsi was doing and consistently beating coke. Although that method is often criticized as being flawed, as it is a sip test, and people will prefer more intense flavor in smaller volume (i.e a sip) as opposed to a full serving. Furthermore, Coke had smartly reframed this in previous ad campaigns featuring Bill Cosby. In these ads, the Cos said he preferred Coke because it was less sweet. As a result, the new formula sandbagged that whole campaign and marked a 180 shift in how the brand promoted itself, which is never a good thing.

But back to new coke, Coke did a number of studies, including focus groups in surveys to measure reaction to the new formula. The net result was positive, especially in the surveys. The focus groups, however, did reveal a small set (10% or so) of consumers STRONGLY opposed to the switch. This was sufficient enough for Coke to feel confident to make the switch and they began rolling out new coke.

New coke was not the instant flop that we tend to remember. Sales data show that many old coke drinkers were quick to adopt the new version and consume in equal quantity. However, just as in the focus groups, there was a very displeased and very vocal minority. These people were often southerners who considered coke as a part of the regional identity, and viewed the cola war like the civil war (considering the NY based Pepsi to be the Yankee enemy). Changing the formula to be more like Pepsi was a slap in the face and when Coke hired a psychiatrist to screen calls, the found that the tone of the callers was not unlike those mourning the death of a family member. Pretty soon, hating on the new formula became a bandwagon and folks started piling on, regardless of whether or not people actually liked the product.

Soon enough coke got tired of the drama and brought the old formula back.

Check out the full article on Wikipedia when you get a chance.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blame Al Gore

Ok, I caught some flack last weekend about not updating my blog.

Being a dude's ski weekend and operating without our moral compasses, I am thankful that flack is all I received as opposed to the potential t-bag or pseudo-sanchez that may or may not be associated with such events.

So in a weak attempt to provide some semi-entertaining material, I will share a few responses to an interesting political discussion that has been volleyed among some of my distance relatives and myself.

The launching point was an email that indicates the owners of SNOPES (which is a source for debunking myths, urban legends, and common internet fallacies) are democrats who are running the site for profit and to advance the liberal agenda.

Here are some responses written in the spirit of good fun...

Topic15:
This news should not be surprising.

After all Snopes resides on the Internet.

And we all know Al Gore invented the Internet, and thus by transitive properties all Internet content defaults to the liberal agenda.

It's simple math.

Plus NOW it's in an email so it is totally true.

Now I've got to go wire my new best friend, Prince Nabujaru in Nigeria $10,000.


Aunt Carol:
Right, your new friend should be told, that Bill Gates is giving us $250, something or another for keeping these emails going.


Topic15:
Gosh, you are totally right.

I was going to tell prince nabujaru that, but I have been distracted today.

You see, I was on my way to fill up my gas tank early this morning, since tomorrow is the Don't buy gas on thursday 3/12 boycott that will result in 99 cents gas next week, but while on my way to the gas station, I passed a car driving with no headlights.

I wanted to alert them, so I flashed my highbeams, which was a BAD idea. Turns out, it was a gang trying to initiate new members and they tried to kill me.

Lucky I am a morning person and I was able to outmanuever them. They crashed into a colony of giant desert camel spiders which proceeded to bite them, rendering them unconscious.

This all happened in the seedy parking lot of a motel in vegas, so naturally, I booked a room, dragged the gang bangers inside and removed their kidneys and left them in an ice bath.

I was able to fetch a solid $20,000 per kidney on the black market.

Now I have my $10,000 to send to prince nabujaru AND fill up my tank!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hittin Harder the Riddick Bowe...

Oh man, JACKPOT! I found a case of old high school mix tapes in my parents attic this past weekend and have been rocking them out thanks to the CD/tape deck combo in the 'roo.

I might joke with people about having forgot more about old school hip hop than they will ever learn, but after finding some of the tracks in those mix tapes, there might be something too it.

I found monster underground tracks including this one:




Even better is that in proper mixtape style, half the songs on the tapes were dubbed straight off the radio and have Donnie Simpson or Al B D chatting it up at the tail end (that's where the title came from, a quick sign off from Donnie Simpson from 93.9 citing a track hitting harder than Riddick Bowe.)

Gotta love the old school.

Here's another classic brought back to life:


2 Pac -- Keep ya head up (vibe tribe remix)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taste Check One Two...One Two...

I have been known to brew my own beer and I have been known to name my tasty beers with less than tasteful names...Spooky Chocolate, Honky McGhee, Cincinnati Surprise, Donkey Punch ect ect ect.

What is the consensus on naming a beer "The Last Supper?"

Is that considered overtly tasteless?

Some of you might be asking yourself, "Here, here topic15! Where do you get such ideas?"

Well I will tell you.

My dreams.

Specifically a dream where some hoodrat checkout lady was commenting on my limited edition 44 oz Obama "Yes We Can" bottle of Colt 45 that I was buying at a local Korean Grocery store from my childhood. She was saying they should just call it "The Last Supper" cause that's all you need.

Should I be shocked and appalled at my own dream?

Or should I be getting on the phone with Colt 45's marketing department?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Because plain Mayo is just too damn healthy...

You can now step up to baconnaise. Supposedly it's kosher too. I don't know if I buy it. Not after getting burned by ball park's turkey franks this past weekend. Seconds after opening the pack, I thought to myself, these things smell disturbingly like regular hot dogs. A quick review of the ingredients revealed one of the main ingredients...BEEF STOCK. That's a dirty dog move ball park!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

When in Portland...

Be sure to visit Voodoo doughnut, the most creative and slightly perverted purveyor of deep fried circular goodness.

They serve everything from doughnuts dipped in chocolate rice crispies and filled with peanut butter to maple and bacon to one glazed in Nyquil. The shop has been featured on a few shows such as Bourdain's no reservation and most recently Man vs. Food.

The Man vs. Food did a quick pan shot of the dessert case and I was pretty such I saw a doughnut shaped like a wang. A quick visit to their menu reveals that there is indeed a cock-n-balls pastry...

As described on their menu...

Cock-n-Balls(Bachlorette party favorite, tripple cream filled, with your favorite saying written right on it. Comes in its own pink box. $4.95 Order ahead as supplies can be limited.)

Holy twig and berries! I am mildly shocked by such a creation, but also intrigued. Can you imagine slipping one of these into the anonymous dozen of dunkin donuts in the break room? The watching people's reactions when they open the box? It is sort of like tying a snake to the lid, and then scaring the bah-jeezus out of them when the snake pops out. It is just that this snake only has one eye.

Ug, bad joke, sorry couldn't resist. Anyhow despite the mule log, if ever I find myself in Portland, count me in for a visit to Voodoo and sign me up for the Memphis Mafia which involves (chocolate chips/banana/ peanutbutter).

The king would approve.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Take II

My second attempt. Maybe I should read up on logo design before cranking away on these, but they are fun exercises in getting to know PPT 2007's capabilities (although I am pretty sure this sort of thing could be done in the older versions as well).

Shout out to the wagon mafia. Woot Woot!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Unintended Usage

One of the things that I am fairly certain of is that when Billy Bob Gates offered up PowerPoint, he did not intend it to be used to create digital graffiti. Here is my shoddy 5 minute attempt at creating a logo for the blog I never update.

If I weren't so damn lazy I would...

A) update this thing more often

B) have found a better solution here

C) have found B sooner instead of waiting until after creating the logo above to do a google search on graffiti (as a spell check, it is one of those words I can never remember the correct spelling of...is it grafetti? grafiti? graffiti?)

D) use an actual dictionary for spell checks

Lazy lazy topic15, not doing a damn thing, ya know what I mean!

Sizzlelean, drama queen, pack up your bacon and split the scene

Oh SNAP spontaneous rap song dropping on your bean

Burrito, neato, potayto patahto

This rhyme is 4th of july hot-oh

Snap, yeah that's twice in the same song

It's ok, helps to make it long

like this week

which is weak

like my lack of posting

so here's toasting

to another year of random roasting.

Sweet.

Da Juice is loose!

Holy criznap!

I saw Joose's newest offering at our local 7-11, Dragon Joose which weighs in at a stout 9.9% ABV. My curiousity may get the better of me and I may have to break down and try it. Although the last time I sampled such a bevvie (a competitive brand called tilt) I go wicked revv'd up and started to sound a bit like John Moschitta Jr. AKA the micro machine guy...




Sunday, February 01, 2009

From Hero to Ziro

A few nights ago I had the distinct pleasure of watching "The Clone Wars." If you saw the this movie, you are thinking that last statement is a lie. You are partially right. I use pleasure in a relative term and this movie was relatively more pleasurable than the original "Casino Royale."
About three quarters of the way through Casino Royale, I turned it off, as I discovered it is not really a movie, but more of some sort of brain washing mechanism ala LOST or Clockwork Orange. I threw in the towel at the scene where a UFO descended in London to caputure Bond's daughter and took her to an underground base in the middle of the ocean, being run by Woody Allen. It was awful, but had the saving grace of a fantastic Herb Alpert theme song that some of you might recognize.
But I digress from the topic du jour...
The hot mess of the clone wars was pretty bloody awful. Then we got to meet Jabba the Hut's uncle, Ziro the hut, who I was pretty sure was a pimp. He is purple, wears gold, runs a gentlemen's type club in the "downtown" section of Courasant (sp?). He spoke in a stoned pimpish kinda of voice with a bit of a lisp that reminded a bit of how the American Dream Dusty Roads used to sound. I thought it all was pretty funny, but that was just the tip of iceberg.
When trying to track down a picture of said pimp, I stumbled across an entire wikipedia style site dedicated to Star Wars (which if I were to make a guess probably has content equal to, possibly in excess of the wikipedia site that covers everything). On that site I read some commentary and insight and speculation that I will attempt to summarize below...
In keeping with the theme of horribly offensive stereotype aliens (Jar-Jar-Binks being a homey, Watto being Jewish, that group of enemies with asian accents) the decided to bring in Ziro, an over-the-top flaming homosexual. This move has caused quite a stir.
I dunno, I am sticking with the pimp explaination. Regardless I do concur with the fact that it was placed on Maxim's list of WTF moments of Summer Movies of 2008.

Monday, January 19, 2009

One Giant Step Backwards...

So, this week's circular for Giant food features a nice plate of chicken wings to go with your Obama Yes we Can pennant.

That's just plain wrong!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Three words you don't want to hear while on a plane...

Brace for impact.

Yesterday a US Airways flight went down into the Hudson river thanks to a flock of kamikaze geese who flew straight into its engines.

The pilot tried to return to the airport but was unable to make it, and had to set it down in the Hudson and did so safely. Turns out I actually know a guy who was on the flight, a former classmate from middle school. So I am glad that all turned out well.

I am less pleased with a snippet about the incident from CNN...

"We circled around ... the captain came on and said, 'Look, we're going down. Brace for impact.' Everyone looked at each other and we said our prayers. I said about five Hail Marys," said the 31-year-old Norwalk, Connecticut, resident, who was en route to Charlotte to play golf.
But the water hazard he faced was unlike any he'd encountered on a golf course.


C'mon! Is that last sentence even necessary? CNN, who do you think you are? Fox news?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tool time

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flatmetal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, 'Oh shit'

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in theirholes until you die of old age.

SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creationof blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off boltheads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays isused as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.

UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I thought it looked familiar...

The new Acura TL bares a striking resemblance to the far too short lived VW Fast mascot...

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Bipolar Advantage

Happy New Year you Hooligans!

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and got their fill of the holiday trifecta...food, family and fun.

So here is a funny holiday tale, probably better told over a nice winter lager than through a post or an IM, but we'll see how it translates bloggityblog-style.

Some say Topic15 can be difficult to shop for.

I do not necessarily disagree, as it is more common than not that I have no clue what I want until I see it. And unless I am out lookin for fun gifts, my top-of-mind wish list tends to be pretty spartan. I do, however, mark things off on Amazon when I come across something fun that I would like to find under the tree.

After requesting gift ideas for yours truly, I directed my parents to said amazon wish list, which is loaded with DJ stuff, Video games, Martial Arts gear, Audio/video goodies, cooking supplies, and John Deere branded swag. I would like to think it is a pretty clear marker and would be readily associated with me (as it is all the random, yet interesting stuff I like).

Fast forward to 6.2 ounce baby Jesus's birthday. I was opening gifts and came across several money things I had tagged...Season 1 of Prison Break, After Dark: New York Revisited CD, Polo black cologne, John Deere sweats and they I hit a curveball...a book titled "The Bipolar Advantage."

Hmmmmmmmm. One of these things is not like the others.

I scrambled and took mental stock of recent converstations I had with the parents. Did they mention such a book as a good read? Did I absent-mindedly suggest that would be just the thing I needed to find under the tree?

No and no.

Turns out there is another wish list housed under my full name, but does not belong to me.

This digital doppleganger belongs to somewho who shares little more than a similar name, as evident by the types of things padding out their wish list, including but not limited to 8-10 different kinds of wrist watches (I don't wear a wrist watch nor desire to), 8 pages of books with at least 6 dedicated to learning how to speak chinese (love the food, no interest in learning the lingo) and a few other total odd odds and ends culminating with a book that maps a strategy for hope to cope with day to day life when you suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

Excerpt from chapter 1:

Daily checklist for success Part 1: Did you get out of Bed?

Sounds like a real page turner! Only to really bring the heat with chapter 1 part 2:

Did you at least visually inspect your teeth?

Try to control your excitement!

Quantitatively speak there is relatively quite a lot that is just plain wrong here...
  1. First let's just deal with the issue of 2 lists--2 owners -- 1 name...As previously mentioned, I would like to believe even a cursory review of these lists would quickly give one a pretty good sense of who's list belongs to who (in case there was any question or doubt).
  2. Now let's focus on the fact that items where purchased from both lists (this indicates both lists were reviewed and erases the possibility of just buying off the wrong list (not realizing there was another more relevant one).
  3. Most questionable is the item purchased off the wrong list...a book on How to live with Bipolar Disorder...a book purchased by a mother for her son...a book purchased by a mother who is a licensed clinical social worker and no stranger to identification of individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder for her son (who now questions if he is bipolar)

Qualitatively speaking there is a lot that is right here (and the explanation that I will choose to believe)

  1. When faced with the possibility of me having multiple lists, she was simply doing motherly diligence and covering off boths lists (after all I got a whole mess of things from the right list and just that one weird book from the wrong list).
  2. It makes for one hell of a funny story, which far exceeds the macro enjoyability (ie joy of others not just me) all of the other material gifts received (regardless of whether they were from the right or wrong list).
Whatever the reason, it was a pretty great holiday.