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A Century of What?!?!?

July 11th, 2011 No comments

So, yeah, this is NWTF number 100. I look back on the year and a half of my life that is documented in these posts and think: “Boy, I sure like to ramble.”

It’s true. I’ll be the last person to deny it.

What putting this blog together has proven to me is that it really is feasible for me to organize my thoughts and produce a knot of words that might even be mistaken for sentences if taken in the right context. Looking back at the general content of what I’ve written shows that I jump around a lot and have a few “impassioned” things to say about all manner of topics that I probably have no business spouting off about.

I’ve been sitting on writing this 100th posting for a couple of weeks. I definitely wanted to mark the occasion, but honestly had no clue what to address or write about other than, “Hey I write a bunch of stupid shit. Congratulate me for making it publicly consumable.”

That’s utter crap, so I’m going to experiment with some stream of consciousness drivel.

The index finger on my right hand hurts a lot in the joints today. This got me thinking about how many mouse-clicks I’ve made over the past twenty years and then how inconvenient it would be to not have index fingers.

The Fox and the Hound is thirty years old. Unawares to me, this film represents the transition from Disney’s original “nine old men” to a younger generation of animators. It was this movie that caused Don Bluth to quit Disney and go off and form his own studio that put out such gems as “The Secret of NIMH,” “Space Ace,” and the animated chunks of “Xanadu.”

Bamboo Paper for the iPad has been a serious lifesaver. Scraps of paper with random notes scribbled on them have been my method of thought/process organization for the past fifteen years. Being able to “write” notes out on the iPad in a simple way is the second reason I wanted an iPad (the first being an easier way to read comic books).

I recently read that the mere act of recalling a memory alters it. For some reason, this scares the ever-loving crap out of me.

While I have really enjoyed his writing in the past, Chuck Klosterman writing for Grantland makes me want to pluck my eyes out. It’s enough to make me read Douglas Coupland. As a good friend of min succinctly put it, “I don’t have the energy or patience to read a 4000 word essay on why Klosterman’s favorite sports experience was some junior college basketball game 25 years ago.” I would have to agree.

I recently decided that french fries, by and large, are a waste of time. That’s probably a pretty un-American thing for me to say, but there are a hell of a lot more potato delivery systems that I prefer. Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of places that I think do the fry up pretty damn well, but I would love to have a “salty starch sticks” stamp to “correct” most of the places I’ve had “fries” in over the past couple of years.

OK, that’s probably enough of that. I often have random disjointed thoughts that don’t warrant a full blog post, so now I have to decide if I should just “micro blog” (a term I utterly despise) and have a couple of lines of consumable text, or just save them all up for another post like this one. I’ll probably end up going with the former since my memory (or lack thereof) will keep me from compiling things easily.

Onward and upward!

The Sweet Harmonies of BRRRRZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

July 1st, 2010 No comments

Yeah, so I’ve been a little lax in the writing these past few weeks, but I’ve got a good (if not lazy) excuse. Ladies and gentlemen, it is World Cup time!

Typically a large majority of Americans have to be reminded that this grand culmination of the FIFA championship is going on. This year, however, a couple of factors have conspired to bring the World Cup to the attention of Americans.

The first of those factors are the two goals that FIFA officials robbed the US team of in the first round of play. Nothing unifies Americans faster than the thought that we are getting screwed over by some foreigner. That combined with the general hatred of referees in any sport and you’ve suddenly got Joe Six-Pack talking about the World Cup with his buddies on their bass boat.

The second, and way more important, factor has been the ever-present drone of the vuvuzela.

Never before has a two dollar piece of mold-injected plastic generated such a buzz (see what I did there?) on such a grand scale. Broadcasters have had to create new audio filters to cancel out some of the noise, whiny players (I’m looking at you Cristiano Ronaldo) have complained that is breaks up the players’ focus and doctors have been all over the media warning about potential hearing loss due to the 144 decibels these little monsters can pump out.

At first I really didn’t think twice about the hub-bub. It was kind of nice having something to distract from the inane commentary while I watched the first round of matches.  After the third day of three-match-a-day footie (and yes, I’ve been watching every single match), I just began ignoring them.

Then I tried watching an MLS match.

The play was good, I had beer and grilled meats, but something was missing. That’s right, I wasn’t enjoying my footie because it didn’t have the constant drone of the vuvuzela. In just one week I had been turned into Pavlov’s bitch.

Lucky for me, however, I had a variety of means at my disposal for faking that vuvuzela feeling. The easiest was to just get on the internet and download an mp3 of the buzz. Next, I hopped into the iTunes app store and found a couple of free apps that filled my need (plus it’s a great app for confusing people in bars).

So, damn the naysayers. I can understand banning vuvuzelas at events like Wimbledon and the US Open, but these plastic horns are here to stay. Besides, I’ve been seeing them at high school and college football games for years.

Haters gonna hate.

Divine hammer? I sure think so

April 6th, 2010 No comments

Something to consider each and every day is your level of preparedness when the zombie apocalypse comes.

This may sound farcical, but being ready to not be overcome by flesh-eating masses of the undead will pretty much make you ready for anything. To this end, I spend more than my fair share of time thinking about how best to defend myself if set upon by shamblers, runners or both.

Several weeks ago a friend and I came up with what could be one of the best zombie survial tools to date; a device we simply call the “zombie hammer”.

The construction of the zombie hammer is quite simple. Cast a pretty decent sized sledge hammer in titanium with a slightly over-sized head that is hollow. Fill the hollow head with mercury and you are all set to swing for the bleachers.

When considering a zombie weapon it is important to think about upkeep and portability. Guns will run out of ammo, and swords/knives will probably lose their edge (ever de-bone a chicken?), but hammers and/or maces seem pretty solid. Putting a spike on one end may provide for some more damage, but if you get stuck while a horde is on you, a spike could be a problem.

Let’s talk about the power behind the zombie hammer: a head half-full of mercury.

When I was a kid my brother and I had one of those over-sized plastic baseball bats that we used to smack all manner of objects around our backyard.  Quite by accident we discovered that filling the bat a bit with water allowed us to smack the crap we were swinging at a lot farther. The weight to power ratio was pretty damn amazing.

I was further able to test the power of the zombie hammer this past Friday when I managed to smack myself in the eye giving myself a slight concussion. The offending object? A half-filled Camelbak water bottle.

That’s right, I conked the crap out of my face and managed to give myself a black eye in the name of science! I can say, from firsthand experience, that the zombie hammer is quite effective against human flesh. Please don’t try this testing at home, I’m a pseudo-professional.

My embarrassment of concussing myself while standing in my bedroom were only compounded by the fact that America’s Funniest Videos was on the television. Oh the humanity.

Is knowing really half the battle?

December 14th, 2009 No comments

doll_gijoe2I’m a child of the 80′s. Sure there was a lot of horrible stuff went on (Iran-Contra, Reaganomics, parachute pants), but it was definitely a simpler time for simpler people.

A simpler time for simpler tastes, and my simple tastes were largely cartoon oriented. Cut me some slack, I was ten years old in 1984. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I even knew who George Orwell was or why the year was so significant. I watched the hell out of Transformers, M.A.S.K., Voltron, Robotech, Tranzor-Z, and, my personal favorite, G.I. Joe.

I had nearly as much G.I. Joe crap as I did Star Wars crap. My brother and I held constant battles with some of the coolest toys ever to be made, and that was all fueled by the cartoon.

This weekend my darling squeezle bought for me The absolute ultimate G.I. Joe box set ever, and, throwing her own sanity to the wind, watched about six hours of the masterpiece with me. Sure, she did fall asleep during part of The MASS Device, but it’s totally excusable.

After watching a bunch of these episodes in a row I’ve discovered a few things that actually surprise me.

First off, when I was a kid, I remember Dukebeing a total badass. From the first six hours of cartoon that I’ve watched so far, Duke has spent way more time being a prisoner of Cobra than actually fighting. What the hell is up with that? Sure, being a P.O.W. is heroic and I would never denigrate that, but getting captured repeatedly is just moronic. Yeah, I said it, Duke is a moron.

My second “WTF” moment was the realization that Snake Eyesis constantly getting called on the radio. No lie, the line “Snake Eyes, are you there?” happened several times in the first couple of episodes alone. Hey Joes, can’t you remember that your elite ninja guy is mute? I’m just not thinking he’s going to answer that damn radio.

Third, everyone in G.I. Joe is a horrible shot. I can understand making all the guns “magically” lasers because there is just no way to market a cartoon where 3/4 of the time on the show is spent with the heroes and villains reloading their guns. Plus, in the eventuality that anyone gets hit, a laser shot is way cleaner than being hit by a bullet. Not that anyone ever gets hit. For an elite squad, G.I. Joe, quite literally, cannot hit the broad side of a tank from thirty yards.

All in all, while these things bug me, it’s not like I’m going to stop watching the episodes, or, heaven forbid, reevaluate my childhood. The lessons I learned from G.I. Joe I carry with me even today. For example, did you know that apple seeds are slightly poisonous? G.I. Joe taught me that.

I’m like the techno-Jesus

December 11th, 2009 No comments

poplar_wine_rack_product_pageAbout a week ago I got saddled with a project at work that was the ultimate definition of “last-minute.” This little project was so time-sensitive that I got it at 4PM and it really needed to be up and out for consumption by the next morning. Things like this put me in a really foul mood and make me not all that pleasant to be around. Coupled with an already festering bad attitude and I was approaching meltdown even before I got that deep into the mess.

When 2:30AM rolled around I was pretty much deliriously toast. In this fugue state I do unpredictable things: generally involving my PayPal account.

When the dust cleared and I was checking my email the next morning, I came to the realization that I had ordered 32 mini Fortune Cats (made by RealxHead) from Lulubell Toy Bodega. I already had a mess of the little one-eyed freaks, so it wasn’t that big of a shock, but then I got to thinking about just where in the hell I might be able to put these guys once they arrived.

I’ve spent the better part of a week digging around the interwebs for a cubby-like shelf system that would allow me to display the optimal number of these two-and-a-half inch beasties with the minimal amount of used space. I knew exactly what I wanted, but just couldn’t find a reasonable solution.

All that bitching about me “not feeling” the future I felt I deserved when I was eight years old got thinking about my little shelving dilemma. Using my favorite illustration program, I could plot out exactly what I needed to make what I needed, but I’m not the greatest about translating plans into physical deliverables. In addition, I’m notorious for hurting myself when I’m playing with powertools.

Ponoko to the rescue!

I’d used Ponoko a little over a year ago to manufacture some acrylic pieces that I turned into zipper pulls. Basically, Ponoko is a New Zealand-based company that will take your designs and turn them into physical items. More simply stated, they have laser cutters a mess of materials to choose from and a couple of standard sized sheets that you can work with.

I was able to scale my shelf design to their largest sheet size(the P3) and I picked out a nice birch veneer. The whole thing (materials, cutting, shipping) cost me around $51, about $40 cheaper than any analog I had found on the web so far. That gives me more money to buy more kitties with. Plus, I get the added bonus of having shelves “from the future” since they were cut out with freakin’ lasers!

If you don’t feel like making up your own designs, Ponoko also has a storefront where you can peruse and buy designs that other people have made. Many are even offered for free.

Now I play the waiting game. In less than a month I’ll have my big chunk of laser-carved wood that I can snap out and assemble Lincoln Log-style into a groovy grid that will hold my plastic crap.

Carpentry, your future is now.

Categories: Awesomeness, Useless Junk, Vice

blah blah blah, something clever about getting screwed and keys

December 7th, 2009 No comments

screwkey3smallScrew Key! I am floored at how easy and effective this tiny screwdriver set is. For some strange reason, I am in need of a handy screwdriver on a regular basis and, despite owning about three thousand different screwdriver-esque products, I can never find one when I need one, let alone one that does any actual good.

At the same time, these things are damn cheap; only $5 for one Phillips and one straight blade. That’s just about insane.

Now if I can just keep from hurting myself with these things.

Categories: Awesomeness, Useless Junk

I Gotta Be Me

December 3rd, 2009 No comments

cat-mens-socksAs you have either known for a long time, or have just figured out from reading my little diatribes, I’m an odd fellow. Strike that, I’m almost downright weird. I find great comfort in individuality and always have.

Being weird isn’t a new thing for me; I’ve been weird just about all of my life. Just ask my Mother, she’d be more than happy to tell you how weird of a kid I was.

One of the funniest things about my life is that I have spent a lot of time and effort pursuing activities and careers that are pretty much anathema to individuality. I’ve worked for two semi-governmental organizations very much involved in the pursuit of the “Status Quo,” I damn near got a job with the State Department and I spent a good amount of time involved in United Nations related stuff in my college years.

I guess even my weird has a weird.

I bring this all up because my individuality has been butting heads with the constraints of my employment for the past several years and I finally have a way to relieve a little amount of stress in that regard.

As mentioned above, I work for a semi-governmental agency. As part of my wildly fulfilling employment, I get the opportunity to take out my piercings and cover up my tattoos every single day (I’m not bitter or anything). Yes, I get to look like every other penguin on the icefloe.

A month ago, squeezle set me up a way to be my own monkey and still keep the bigwigs happy: LittleMissMatched.

Basically, LittleMissMatched sells socks that come three-a-pair and each sock in the threesome is a different color. While I have both stripes and argyle, I tend to wear two striped or two argyle because one striped and one argyle would make squeezle crazy.

Today at work, someone finally noticed. With socks this bright, it’s pretty apparent that a statement is being made and that I didn’t just get dressed in the dark this morning. I’ve accidentally worn one black and one brown several times in the past couple of years, but that has more to do with my zombie-like state in the morning than active dissension.

I actually wouldn’t be surprised if, by the end of next week, I am not approached and told to wear normal socks. That’s just how this place seems to roll.

Ooncha-Squeek-Ooncha-Squeek

December 1st, 2009 No comments

partyratsI think it goes without saying that the singular thing that has been missing from raver action for the past several decades is the inclusion of more rodentia. Sure, you’ve always had that strange kid with the serious buck teeth X’ed out of his gourd and gnawing on the side of a table, but that’s just not the same. What has been missing is some Party Rats.

Just look at these little bastards. Who wouldn’t want them? It didn’t take a kilo of MDMA for me to figure out that these were the real deal: a vision of the future.

I’m just happy that Archee McPhee has had the foresight to provide us an outlet to obtain such enlightenment. Who knows, maybe they’ll even help quell alien invasion.

Hell, they are even ideal for night blogging: it says so right on the package!