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Criminal simulation (1) Fri, Feb 27, 2009
A man in Tennessee was arrested for trying to use counterfeit money to buy fake OxyContin pills from an undercover police officer.  In other words, nothing happened.  No real drugs were bought or sold, and no money was exchanged in the process.  The cops disagreed and charged the guy with "criminal simulation" (notice the lack of a "t", dirty birdies), which also sounds like nothing happened.  By "simulating" a crime, doesn't that mean no crime is actually committed?  This whole case is perplexing. #entertainment

Antisocial networking Fri, Feb 27, 2009
I closed my Facebook account the other day, not that I ever used it anyway.  I got sick of receiving occasional emails about friend requests, especially from people I know in real life.  Why do we need to be digital friends if we're already real life friends?  The thing is, I never got into Facebook in the first place.  I signed up for an account a few years ago just to check it out, but I never got past the first few minutes of using it.  I still don't quite understand the point of it.  I'm supposed to connect with people I haven't heard from in a long time?  Why would I want to do that?  The appeal is lost on me.  Plus, I already have an online place where I write things and post pictures.  It's this here website.  Why should I get into something that apparently performs the same function?  I'll also be closing my MySpace account soon for the same reasons, and a few more.  MySpace is to Facebook what Paterson is to Hoboken.  Not only is it useless to me, it's painfully, eye-pokingly ugly and full of high school kids.  I generally try to avoid things where teenagers are the primary demographic. #technology

Mint addiction (4) Fri, Feb 27, 2009
I have a slight mint addiction.  My current fix is Mentos, of which I recently ordered a fairly large supply from Amazon.com.  Before that (and when my Mentos supply runs low), it was Wint-O-Green Life Savers (in the green bag).  I just can't get enough.  And it's not even because of the breath-freshening qualities.  It's just that I really like mint.  Not candy canes or those red and white candies from Chinese restaurants, just Mentos and Life Savers.  I eat a whole roll of Mentos in under five minutes.  I can't stop myself. #food

An important message (1) Wed, Feb 25, 2009
The best way for telemarketers to get me to hang up immediately is to (a) play a recording and (b) start off with the words, "This is an important message regarding your [auto insurance policy, credit card account, etc.]."  No other words in the English language convey the exact opposite meaning as surely and concisely as these words. #entertainment

House knows all Wed, Feb 25, 2009
One thing that annoys me about the TV show House is that everyone thinks they know everything about everyone and everything.  It started with Dr. House himself.  One of his most common phrases is, "[This] means [this], which means [this] which could mean either [this] or [this]."  That was fun and all, but that's his character.  He's analytical and likes to think out loud, and he's usually right in the end.  But now every single character on the show does this, and not only is it annoying, they're usually wrong.  Foreman tries to analyze his girlfriend's behavior, saying, "You said [this], which means [this], which could mean either [this] or [this]."  Then his girlfriend walks out on him because he's an idiot.  Number one, never try to read a woman.  Number two, don't be so sure of yourself when you have a definite track record of being wrong.  From my experience in life, things aren't always cut and dry, so on-the-spot analyses, especially ones regarding human behavior, aren't always accurate, nor are they welcome topics of discussion.  I guess I shouldn't expect reality from non-reality TV.  But Survivor is always so similar to real life... #entertainment

Spam profundity Mon, Feb 23, 2009
I got a spam email today from Cindy.  Here's what she said: 
"It has been long time since we did not meet. I hope everything is okay with you."
How can there be any time since an event that didn't happen?  Maybe life is like a CD on repeat, and as soon as it gets to the end of the last song, it plays again from the beginning.  And maybe Cindy is onto it, and she remembers the previous play-through, which included the time we met.  It's one of those things that makes your head hurt. 

She went on to tell me about a wonderful website where I can buy all kinds of medications online.  How thoughtful of her. #technology

Too many martial artists Thu, Feb 19, 2009
On a fairly regular basis I read a news headline that says something about a crime being prevented or stopped in mid-action by some sort of martial artist.  This one is about a jewelry thief in Germany who was stopped by a Judo black belt.  Maybe someday crime will cease to exist because too many people will know martial arts and whatever reward would have come from the crime just isn't worth the risk of getting attacked in self-defense or worse yet, being subdued until authorities arrest you. #sports

More salt (2) Thu, Feb 19, 2009
I like mildly salty foods like Pepperidge Farm Goldfish.  But sometimes I find myself eating almost compulsively in order to get just a little more salt.  I'm past the point of being full, but I just want some more salt.  This is a problem. #food

It just works Wed, Feb 18, 2009
My Toyota Camry came with a keyless entry keychain, and in the almost-five years I've owned it, I've pressed any of the three (and sometimes four -- whoops that's the alarm) buttons no less than 3000 times.  I would estimate it's more likely double that number.  And by the beard of Zeus, I haven't yet needed to replace the minuscule battery that makes this process possible, nor has the keychain had any issue working, despite the complicated nature of the technology involved (electromagnetic waves flying through the air from my hand to my car's brain, telling it to unlock the door; it's crazy) and the minimal amount of power supplied by the little pancake battery.  This is a credit to the engineers and designers at Toyota for making a product that does what it's supposed to, given its excessive, though expected, usage. 

Meanwhile, the battery in my relatively new laptop at work doesn't last more than 45 minutes, even though it says it'll last for two hours.  The "new" lids on those Coffee Mate coffee creamers always leak, and the flip-up ones on the International Delight bottles always manage to spray liquid directly in my face.  My electric shaver doesn't work while it's charging,, which, odd as it may seem, is exactly when I need it the most.  Many products come in clamshell plastic packaging, which has been proven to be literally impossible to open without self injury. 

My point is this:  When people design products, do they test them out first?  Do they fill the coffee creamer container with coffee creamer, put it in the refrigerator, take it out, and experience the frustration of spritzing sticky liquid everywhere?  I'm an engineer.  I've designed things.  And perhaps my designs haven't been the best, nor have they been used by the general population, but you can bet your ass I'd test out my product before I gave it to a bazillion people. #products

Snowboarding thoughts Wed, Feb 18, 2009
I went snowboarding on Monday, and here's a list of the thoughts that came to mind while riding the peaceful lift up the quiet mountain: 
  • Never, under any circumstances, wear pants that have zippers, buttons, or other hard objects near the ankles.  These will inevitably get squashed against your legs by your tight boots, and they will find a way to a bone or a nerve.
  • Teenagers shouldn't be allowed to mix with the rest of the people who visit a snow-covered mountain to enjoy the effects of gravity and low friction.  What with their snowball-throwing and their sitting in the middle of the hill without moving, they should all just be herded to a separate location where they're allowed to go all Lord-of-the-Flies on each other.  Thankfully, Mountain Creek in Vernon, NJ has a terrain park, which is where all the smelly, scummy teenagers hang out.  Once I figured that out, my happiness increased tenfold.
  • Granite Peak at Mountain Creek (that rhymes) is my favorite park of the park.  There's never anyone there, there are no lines for the lift, and the steep, wide slopes allow you to achieve maximum speed without knocking over any 6-year-olds.
  • I enjoy going fast.  I enjoy going fast much more than I enjoy being airborne, hence my desire for steep, wide slopes and my dislike for the terrain park.
Just to be clear, I don't hate all kids.  I always like seeing those little tiny humans passing me as they fly down the hill.  But when humans are that tiny, they're with their parents, which magically makes children less scummy and annoying.  As soon as they turn 13, they leave their parents, become jerks, and hang out at the terrain park.  It makes me feel like I never left high school. #sports

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