But what do I know? I'm just a twice clicken brown shirt teabaggin tjroll. Right? --PatP

Not now. There are dirty, swaying men at my door. They’re looking for Brian. I need to go deal with that. --Thor

If Joss Wedon was near me, I'd of kicked his ass. --PaulC

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Home at last

I'm totally wiped from driving 6-ish hours, so I may not make my huge post (encompassing all the e-mail reminders I sent myself from my phone) until tomorrow, but just a quick one now to end the trip on a blog note.

Hershey Park was great. It was less than I remember, but it was still a lot of fun. All the coasters at Cedar Point are eXtreme thrill rides designed to kick your ass. And they do. The coasters at Hershey Park are just solid fun. Not saying that the ones at CP weren't fun. Just a different kind of fun. Cedar Point was ball-to-the-wall fun. Hershey Park was relaxing fun. A good cooldown park.

It was wicked hot today in Harrisburg, PA, and I didn't imbibe nearly enough fluids, so by the time we left the park (I wanna say around 3), I was less than well-hydrated. So Josh drove the first ten or fifteen minutes until we found a subway while I passed out (or nearly passed out. Sometimes you can't quite be sure, you know?) in the passenger seat. After lunch, I drove the rest of the way back to smAlbany, and my hands are still vibrating. We made then trip in about about four and a half hours. Google said it should have taken 5:10. If we hadn't hit road work, we would have done it in 4 flat.

Later (perhaps tomorrow), I wil relate the whole story (summarized from my aforementioned e-mails), including monetary freak occurences, and the remainder of our "Haiku from the road". And yes, PaulC, I will link my posts later. I'm just too lazy to do it right now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let's eat, grandpa.
Let's eat grandpa.
Punctuation saves lives.
Fast roller coaster
bug left a dent in my head.
Could have been a bird

Monday, May 18, 2009

haiku from the road

Prison area
do not pick up hitchikers
so says the road sign

Adult superstore
the sign says "truckers welcome."
don't use the restrooms

Darien Lakes and Cedar Point

Wow. What a day. Cedar Point is an awesome park. I definitely concur with the notion of it being the best coaster park in the world. The literature says they have fourteen coasters, and that includes several steel coasters, two or three speed coasters, at least one kiddy coaster, one small wood coaster, and two or three full-on woodies.

Darien Lakes was a pretty good warm-up park. It was windy the whole three to four hours we were there, so it was pretty cold. But the coasters weregood (not awesome), and it's no longer a Six Flags park. Who knew? So Superman is now just “The Ride of Steel,” and the prizes at the carney games are no longer Warner Brothers themed. Now, on to the coasters.

First, the parking lot ride. Ordinarily, I don't consider this a ride. But the way Josh drives, it was a good warm up. Just kidding. But when I opened my door, the wind caught it and it hit and closed (and nominally f*@&ed up) the door of the woman who was trying to get out of the car next to us.

The Ride of Steel (formerly superman) was first. I haven't been on a roller coaster is several (at least three) years. So, the former Superman was a little intimidating. The big lift hill at the beginning actually gave me a little scare. But after that it was all dark chocolate. I remember something about this coaster going fifty-ish mph, but that doesn't touch Steel Force's 68.

Predator. I don't like wooden roller coasters. I don't like the Comet at Great Escape, mostly because it's at Great Escape, but I also just don't like it. Maybe it's just because I haven't been coasting in a few years, but I loved this ride. It was smooth, as wooden coasters go, and it was fun.

Viper was odd. It was a sit-in-the-car steel coaster with inversions, and it had those notorious shoulder harnesses that are the bane of tall riders everywhere. There were some interesting, twisty inversions, and I learned how to handle said harnesses. If you slide your bum forward in the seat, your shoulders move into a more short-person orientation, relieving the ouchiness.

There was also the Mind Eraser, but I'll write about that later, as I am tired after a long day of waiting in line. I will also sum up Cedar Point in my next post.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Striated concrete road.
Asphalt doesn't make that sound.
Is it on purpose?
Darien Lakes Park.
Anheuser-Busch park no more.
Sad little ghost town.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Popular Mechanics List

After a long wait and much ado, I finally present to you the popular mechanics list of things every man should be able to do.

1. Patch a radiator hose
--Yeah. That's a good one. I can't tell you how many times (okay, it's happened once) I've had to do that and couldn't.

2. Protect your computer
--Yep. If you're smart enough to use one, you'd better be smart enough to keep it healthy.

3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
--First time I read that, I thought it said "rescue a boat who has capsized." And I thought "umm... tow it to shore and roll it back over?" Boater makes far more sense though, and I forget how to get somebody out of the water without tipping my own canoe. Rowboat is less tipsy, but canoes are hard.

4. Frame a wall
--A manly man skill, no doubt. Can I do it? No. Do I know who to pay to make it happen? yes.

5. Retouch digital photos
--Absolutely. Personally, I think it's more impressive to be able to re-touch film photos, digitally or otherwise, but I definitely think this is an essential skill for modern man.

6. Back up a trailer
--Oh my God. Yes. When we were looking at apartments, Kerry and I witnessed a stupendous example of a woman who could not back up a trailer. She was driving a semi. What she had to do was drive half-way up a hill with a lane-and-a-half road, then back down the road into a parking lot. Why she didn't just front into the parking lot, I have no idea. Bt she had driven past the parking lot, and a cop was trying to help her back into the lot. The cop wasn't actually doing anything, just looking amused. I have never driven a tractor trailer, but from watching her do it, I feel infinitely qualified to watch someone else do it. Having driven my share of forklifts with unsteady loads on, I think I'm perfectly competent to back up a trailer on a car or minivan. And yes, I think every man should be able to do that.

7. Build a campfire
--Fire’s pretty manly. Every man should be able to make some.

8. Fix a dead outlet
--Can I do it? No. I possess very basic electrictionary skills (meaning I know what a ground is, and not to touch a hot wire, and to turn off the circuit breaker before doing anything), and I think that, given a Home Depot or Craftsman DIY book, I could do it. I think it stays on the list.

9. Navigate with a map and compass
--I would alter this to read simply “navigate effectively without a computer.” Map and compass is good, but you don’t need tools to find the mall. Also, if you can navigate with neither map nor compass, that’s pretty manly.

10. Use a torque wrench
--Sounds like a no-brainer to me, so I say it goes on the list of "things every idiot should be able to do."

11. Sharpen a knife
--Not as easy as you think (unless you actually know). You've got to have a steady eye and a steady hand. Or a tool that does all the angles for you. I have such a tool, and I know how to sharpen without one, AND my knives only come out right two out of three.

12. Perform CPR
-- Yep. Every American should know how to do this. If you don't, take the one-week class.

13. Fillet a fish

14. Maneuver a car out of a skid

--Yep. Once again, I know how, but the one time I needed that knowledge, it was useless, since I was skidding straight forward. You have to know your car to know how to get out of a skid. If you have rear-wheel drive, A) Get a new car. B) Turn your wheel in the direction your car is moving until you feel the wheels catch, then try to escape the impending guardrail action. If you have front-wheel drive, turn your wheel where you want your car to go and hit the gas. If you drive an F-22 Raptor… you’re on your own. If you drive a Colonial Raptor, use your lateral thrusters to steady your ship so it's not spinning. Then adjust your pitch so that your are travelling more or less backwards. Now fire your primary thrusters in controlled bursts until you are travelling forward again.

15. Get a car unstuck
--I guess this is a good one. I mean... traction under the tires, some extra weight on the drive wheels... What's to know?
16. Back up data
--Again, essential idiot skill. Insert thumb drive. Drag, drop, done. Data upped

17. Paint a room
--I'm sensing a theme here. Tape the borders, use drop clothes, apply liberally.

18. Mix concrete
--Dude. Instructions are on the bag. Add water. Pour. The only "knowing how" is what it should look like before you pour it.

19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
--Umm. You never know when you're going to have to clean a bolt-action rifle? I guess? Certainly a manly skill, but essential? I dunno.

20. Change oil and filter
--Yep. I don't know how, but I'm sure I should.

21. Hook up an HDTV
--Uh... Obviously whoever wrote this list doesn't know how to hook-up an HDTV. Find outlet. Insert plug. Done. If you can't figure out how to "hook up" a TV, you need to carefully remove yourself from the vicinity of  whatever computer you’re using right now and not go near one again. Ever. If you can’t figure out TV, you don’t need to worry about this list. It’s beyond you. All of it.

22. Bleed brakes
--I'm not entirely sure I know what this means, but after number 21, I'm only reasonably certain the person who wrote this list knows either.

23. Paddle a canoe
--Another idiot skill, depending on what is meant. Anybody can get in a canoe and propel it with reasonable accuracy. Only someone who knows what they're doing can canoe across a lake and back and not lose feeling in both arms.

24. Fix a bike flat
--Fix, or inflate? I suppose this is more useful than skinning a moose, but I think someone who has no kids and no bike doesn't need it.

25. Extend your wireless network
--Unless you’re an electronic engineer (meaning “you engineer electronics,” not “you are a robot”), it's really a matter of buying the proper equipment. Someone make me wrong so I can retain some faith in the author of this list.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

iPhone Bump

iPhone Bump, a smartphone app by Bump Technologies LLC, sounds really, really cool. Ever had to give somebody somebody else's phone number? Hold on. I got it in my iPhone. It's five, five, three... three, two, two... two... No fun, right?

Enter: iPhone Bump. Flag the data you want to send, hold your two iPhones in your fists, and give 'em a bump. Instant data transfer. The iPhone feels the vibration of the bump, send that data, along with the data you want to send, to the BT server. The receiving phone feels the same bump, goes to the server and finds the data from the phone that felt the same bump with the same timestamp.

Awesome. I still neither own nor want an iPhone, but this app is wicked cool.

Posting Issue

I've discovered that if I use live writer to edit an existing post and save it as a draft, it removes the original post and leaves only on unposted draft. More on this as it develops.

Monday, May 11, 2009

25 Things Every Man Should Know

Yesterday morning, Free Beer and Hot Wings were talking about Esquire's likst of "25 Essential Skills For Men." I only heard the tail end of the segment, so I went home and found the article. The guys also referenced a similar article in Popular Mechanics. So, agree or disagree, here is the Esquire list:

1. Skin a Moose
--Realy? A moose? That's something every man should know? I can't imagine that the majority of American males will ever have occasion to skin an animal, much less a moose. I realize there are a lot of hunters out there, but... essential? I think not.

2. Get a Busy Bartender's Attention
--Absolutely. I've been in enough bars to know that this isn't always the easiest thing to do. This is a skill that can serve other uses as well. It's very basically "how to yell at a guy in a noisy place without pissing him off."

3. Bet The Horses
--Disagree completely. Is this a useful skill? Certainly. Is it "essential" that a man know how to make a good bet at the track? No. I live less than an hour from Saratoga, and I've never been to the track. If I do go there someday, will I lay a wager? Surely. Will I crunch any numbers or do any research? No. I'll put twenty bucks on the crowd favorite, twenty bucks on a long shot, and twenty bucks on a horse who's name I like.

4. Give a Good Massage
--I suppose this one's not ridiculous. I happen to give a good massage, and it is a useful skill. But I tend to think that any "skill" that is also a "profession" for which people go to school for multiple years and are paid large sums of money is probably not an essential skill.

5. Fell a Tree
--This one I agree with, but not because every man should know how to fell a tree. If you know how to fell a tree, you've got three things: common sense, a basic grasp on elementary physics, and the manliness to swing an axe (or the manliness to own a chainsaw).

6. Buy a Woman Clothing
--Do clarify, their explanation for this one is "don't." In any case, I disagree. I don't think a man needs to know how to buy a woman clothing, and I don't agree with the blanket statement "don't." I've bought clothes for my wife on several occasions, and on all but one of them, it went over very well.

7. Fillet a Fish
--Absolutely. Not nearly as extreme as skinning a moose. I would be willing to bet that many more guys wil have occasion to fillet a fish than to skin a moose.

8. Make Eggs Four Ways
--Yep. Absolutely. Everybody likes eggs different, and you never know who you'll be making breakfast for.

9. Google Efficiently
--Hallelujah! Absolutely! I am so sick of people who think they win at Google because they get the most results. You don't win by getting 40 thousand results that you're not going to sift through. You win by inputting specific search terms and using quotes so that you get somewhere between ten and forty results that are probably all exactly what you're looking for

10. Sew a Button
--Again, a very useful skill, and one every idiot should be able to figure out. Some would argue “there’s always a woman around who can do it for you.” I disagree.

11. Console a Crying Woman
--I conditionally disagree. You should be able to console your crying woman. If you are able to console any crying woman, cool. Essential skill? I don’t think so.

12. Look Good In a Picture
--Not much comment here. Just general agreement.

13. Calm a Crying Baby
-- See #11

14. Parallel Park (Like a Man)
-- Totally agree. Everyone should be able to parallel park. I don’t know what it means to do it “like a man,” but everyone should be able to do it.

15. Wire a Ceiling Fixture
-- See # 4. Definitely a useful skill, but there’s always either a person or book you can buy to do it for you.

16. Make Pancakes From Scratch
-- I would replace this one with “Make Breakfast From Scratch.”

17. Stop a Running Toilet
-- See # 15. Once again, a conditional agreement. If it's a matter of opening the tank and lifitng up the float so the water stops running, yes. If it involves going to the store and buying parts, no. Hire a plumber. Stimulate the economy.

18. Rock the Man In the Boat
--No Brainer. This is essential.

19. Carve a Turkey
--Again, I guess everybody should know how to do this, but if you can't figure it out, you're probably retarded. Wiping your own bum is an essential skill too, but I don't think it needs to go on the list.

20. Make a Drink, Just For Her
--Agreed. Every man should know how to make a drink that his woman (or man, as the case may be) will drink. Using the handy instructions on the side of my shaker, I can make a good cosmopolitan and an excellent sex on the beach. I can also make a horrid, horrid margarita.

21. Pick a Ripe One
--And they don't mean pick out ripe produce in general. They mean specifically a cantaloupe. While I think anyone who either cooks or buys groceries needs to be able to identify ripe produce, I don't think choosing a ripe cantaloupe is a skill that is necessary for anyone who doesn't work in the produce department of a grocery store and is not a cantaloupe farmer.

22. Jump-start a Car
--Absolutely every American should know how to do this properly. Yes, this should be on the list.

23. Get a Table At a Restaurant
--And they don't mean call and make a reservation. They mean show up without a reservation and get a table. I think this is an excellent skill that I don't have. Definitely should make the list.

24. Kill An Injured Animal
--Once again, a good skill to have, but another no-brainer. If it's a small animal, crush its skull or sever it's spinal cord. If it's not a small animal, shoot it in the head or break its neck. This shouldn't be on the list because it's just common sense.

25. Shine a Shoe
--If you are a man who wears dress shoes to work every day, then you are going to get them scuffed, dusty, dirty, etc. You need to be able to clean and polish your own shoes. If you are not that man, you probably wear your dress shoes three times a year. You need to know how to find them in your closet, how to blow the dust off (I like canned air), and how to not step in the mud.

This list should be titled: Skills Any Man Can Use To Impress a Woman.

Next: Popular Mechanics' similar list of real man skills.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Terminator Motorcycle

So they were talking about the motorcycle terminators in the commercials before Star Trek this past weekend. I thought I'd post some pictures.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek

Thor’s Unemployment Blog is proud to give you your first look at the brand new USS Enterprise.


So. Was it the best Star Trek film ever, bar none? Yes. Were all of the actors perfect? Yes. Was Zachary Quinto as Spock just rehash of Zachary Quinto as Sylar? No. The man is an artist.

The film is balls-to-the-wall excitement from the first minute. Not only that, but it’s got plot, character development, and all the other things you’ve come never to expect from a Star Trek film.

Yet at the same time there was chemistry between the actors, believable dialogue, and a sparing helping of situational irony and one-liners.

That being said, this is undeniably not only a good film, but a Star Trek film. Confusing I know, but bear with me. This film had such a great script that it convinced Leonard Nimoy to play Spock one last time, something he swore he would never do. It had all the characters you needed to see, this time portrayed by professional actors. Let it never again be said that Star Trek ruined anyone’s career. Star Trek gave careers to a bunch of washouts who otherwise couldn’t get a job.

No more of that nonsense.

Star Trek has finally reached the moment at which real actors can get excited about being in a cult film. While Simon Pegg’s Scotty was great, and Quinto’s Spock was not short of breathtaking, most impressive was Karl Urban’s portrayal of Bones. Not only did he manage to give the character a tangible soul, he retained every bit off Deforrest Kelley’s charm and inherent weirdness.

To sum up, the acting was extraordinary, the script was phenomenal, there was no time wasted on tedious explanations of why Klingons have head ridges, and just about every character said their iconic catch-phrases. Chris Pine even tossed in a little Shatner tribute at the very end. Subtle, but splendid.

To anyone who’s counting, this will mark the third occasion on which I cried at a movie. Number one was Phantom Menace, when Anakin left his mommy. Number two was Return of the King “you bow to no one.” Number three was Skywalker vs. younglings. But I have never wept uncontrollably (and I’m not ashamed to lose a few man points to admit it) until I heard Leonard Nimoy do the traditional monologue.

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mass pike has reflectors down the middle. I hate nysdot.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Make Concrete Look Like Granite

So Kerry said our friends Kim and John wanted to know if I know how to make concrete look like granite. I immediately thought "Yeah! I can do that!" Then I said "Uh... Yeah. Gimme a day or two and I can know how to do that."

So for the past couple of weeks, ideas involving splatter brushes and colored stone and polyurethane basecoats and topcoats have been swirling around in my head. Just now, I found this article at ehow.com that shows how to do it all with paint and funny brushes. I still think my idea of polyurethane basecoat (or two), thick polyurethane coat with crushed red and black stone splooshed into it, polyurethan topcoat is a good one, but probably way more expensive than just paint. Click the photo below for the article.

Airplane On a Treadmill

I saw this over on PaulC’s blog in his post on Hungarian notation. I read the blog and thought I understood the problem. Then Mythbusters did it. The plane couldn’t take off, even with a running start. Somebody explain this to me, as I clearly don’t understand what I thought I understood.

I thought that the plane would take off because it’s not being propelled by the wheels and that running the treadmill under it would simply make the wheels turn faster while the plane maintained speed and would achieve lift. Apparently, that is not the case.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Invisible Car

I'm at work and Earl shows me this photo of this art student who made an "invisible car." My first response was: "holy shit, Batman! An invisible car!" Then I realized what she actually did, which is still pretty kewl. The car is painted to look exactly like the scenery behind it. Genius. Well, maybe but genius, but still pretty damn cool.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mad-lib Mayhem

Okay. So maybe this isn’t as funny as I think it is. But too bad.

We all know mad-libs are a great place to find new uses for old words. In this instance “slink.” We were all at the Hollywood Drive-In, and Kerry brought a book of mad-libs. She needed a verb and mom said “slink.” I haven’t got it in front of me, but the usage was funny, and I immediately said “slink me, baby.” Then I sent a mobile post to my blog. Use it in conversation, or as a pickup line. “Slink me, baby.”