Saturday, July 29, 2017

Merchandise Returns Nursery Rhymes


This is the product sent by Think Geek to replace the broken one
My brother bought my son for his birthday.



This is the step my son got to
Before he realized he got another defective
Product sent by Think Geek to replace the broken one
My brother bought him for his birthday.



This is the switch that does nothing
And won't switch games
On the step my son got to
Before he realized he got another defective
Product sent by Think Geek to replace the broken one
My brother bought him for his birthday.



This is the battery that gave out after 10 seconds
While my son was showing me how 
The switch does nothing
And won't switch games
On the step he got to
Before he realized he got another defective
Product sent by Think Geek to replace the broken one
My brother bought him for his birthday.


This is the face I made 
While I emailed the returns department
After the battery gave out after 10 seconds
While my son was showing me how 
The switch does nothing
And won't switch games
On the step he got to
Before he realized he got another defective
Product sent by Think Geek to replace the broken one
My brother bought him for his birthday.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sixteen Burner Theory

There's a popular work-life balance visualization called Four Burner Theory.  The idea is that you should imagine yourself as a stove with four burners.

OMG, that looks just like you!
Each burner represents something in your life that you spend energy on.  Here's the four most people list.
Hm, BEING A JACKASS isn't on this one. Guess it doesn't work for Trump.
If you want to have a balanced life, you should balance all of these four elements.  However, if you want to be successful, you need to turn some of them off, so the others can burn brighter.

If you want to be more successful at work, you should ignore your friends, stop eating, or hire a bunch of nannies to take care of your kids.  If you want to be really successful, you'll turn off two burners.  And if you want to be at the top of your field...
Like a college student, the successful all cook on a camping stove.
There is a downside, however, to putting all of your fuel into the single burner.
Those who fall asleep while smoking and the successful have something in common.
The main problem I have with the Four Burner Theory is that it doesn't take geeks into account.  We geeks have more diversions than the average person.  A full geek stove would look more like...
Just figuring out the controls to turn one of the burners off would take weeks.  It's best to leave them all going.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

How to Make Chili for Your Son


  1. Remove chili from can.
    Remember to use even strokes when turning the can opener.
  2. Place chili in a microwave-safe bowl. 
    Cover with paper towel.
  3. Heat for 1:30.
  4. Open microwave to find that the chili has somehow exploded, knocking the paper towel off the top of the bowl, and coating the inside of the microwave.


  5. Clean microwave.
    You can use a wet paper towel, but disinfecting wipes are scented and you don't have to do the arduous work of using a faucet.
  6. Notice the piece of cardboard on the inside of your microwave. 
    Oops!  looks like you forgot to remove it when you unpacked the microwave.


  7. Remove cardboard, cracking a corner off.
  8. Realize it isn't cardboard, but a sheet of brittle, silvery material.
  9. Do research online to find out it is a microwave wave guide cover: "essential to keep the delicate equipment inside the microwave from corroding."

  10. Try to replace the microwave wave guide cover.
  11. Try to replace the microwave wave guide cover.
  12. Try to replace the microwave wave guide cover.
  13. Call local repair service. 
    You may find they are unfamiliar with the cover and special ordering the part may take two days.
  14. Look online to see if you can find a replacement part.
  15. Call a second repair person. 
    You will get the same result.
  16. Attempt to heat your son tamales in a frying pan. 
    Watch him disassemble the tamale with a fork until he finds a palatable piece, about 1/1000 the size of the original tamale.
  17. Make your son a salad.
  18. Call a third repair guy, who will mention local parts stores, but that "They'd never have something like that in stock."
  19. Call the microwave's manufacturer, who will tell you that they no longer service their own products.
  20. Call service company, who will tell you your microwave is under warranty, and they can send you a refund after 8-10 weeks. 
    They may suggest you contact the company that sold it to you.
  21. Email the company that sold you the microwave.
  22. Wait. 
    While waiting, consider how to reheat meals without a microwave oven.
  23. Search for nearby appliance part stores.  
  24. Call one.  "Sure, we have that."


  25. Realize the store will close in half an hour.
  26. Tell kids to get into the car.
  27. Beg kids to get into the car.
  28. Yell at kids to get into the car.
  29. Bargain with kids to get into the car.
  30. Physically pick up kids and place them in the car. 
    Remember to lift with your legs.
  31. Drive to store.
  32. Show broken microwave wave guide cover to proprietor. 
    He will hand you a large sheet of silver material that looks nothing like it: "We used to carry every brand, now we just carry this."


  33. Point out it looks nothing like the material your original piece was made of. 
    He will assure you it'll be fine.  "Just cut it into the right shape."
  34. Return home.
  35. Get your tools out.
    You will need: An exacto knife to cut, a cutting board for safety, a pen to trace, kitchen scissors because the exacto knife doesn't quite work, and your son's scissors because the kitchen scissors don't quite work.

  36. Trace and cut.


  37. Put newly-cut wave guide cover into the slot where the old one was.
  38. Change the orientation and place it in the slot.
  39. Flip it over and place it in the goddamned fucking slot already!!!!!
  40. Replace turntable.
  41. Make new bowl of chili, using plastic wrap to cover so it doesn't splatter.
  42. Serve with freshly shredded cheese.
    I suggest a sharp cheddar.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Outrage Fatigue

I'm all out of outrage.

Outrage -- like oil, fresh water, and fresh, human blood -- is a precious, but limited resource.  There's only so much of it you can use before it stops flowing.  When you run out of oil, cars stop driving and the economy grinds to a halt.  When you run out of water, crops wither and die and people riot.  When you run out of blood, you have to give up your dreams of speaking to Nyarlathotep.
And I so wanted his autograph.

When you're out of outrage, though, you'll accept all kinds of horrors.  Americans have already accepted:
  • weekly mass shootings
  • the merging of church and state
  • the end of civility and public discourse
  • a poor job market
  • and the fact The Simpsons is still on the air.
Now we also have to accept daily (daily!) outrages from Trump:
  • publicly insulting anyone who disagrees with him
  • embarrassing the country before the world
  • destroying economic stability
  • obstructing justice
  • lying
  • and making bizarre statements.
Only a few months into his presidency, I've used up all the outrage I've delegated to this lifetime.  In my next life, when I've been reincarnated as a retired circus elephant's unicycle (I've been really bad), I might finally be able to be a tiny bit upset about something.

A taste of my future.
I'm trying to replenish my strategic outrage reserves, but it's hard in this media-saturated, sensationalism-focused world we live in.  If I want to tune out Trump, I have to avoid:
  • news
  • comedy shows
  • Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Grindr, GeoCities social media
  • conversations with friends
  • conversations with family
  • conversations with strangers
  • conversations with imaginary creatures
  • bumper stickers
  • going outside
  • and staying inside.

The only real way to avoid Trump is not to avoid him, but to focus on something else.  I've compiled a list of fulfilling things you can do to rest your outrage spouts for a little while.  My suggestions:
  • Go outside and breathe in the clean air.
  • Look into your finances.  How much do you invest abroad?  How quickly can you convert your assets into gold or something else with an intrinsic value?
  • Meditate.
  • Look into improving your home.  Does it have a fence?  A storm cellar?  Steel-reinforced doors?  How much freeze-dried food and sterile water can it hold?  How much would it cost to build a bomb shelter?
  • Go for a run.
  • Paint a picture of your neighborhood.  Now paint a picture of what it will look like in eight years.  Will there be any minorities or just white people with guns?
  • Take a class at your local park service or community college.
  • Plan a vacation to a foreign country.  Study their culture, government, language, and immigration policies.  Figure out how long they'd let you stay.
  • Bake a cake.
  • Teach your children how to play an instrument.  Teach your children a foreign language.  Teach your children how to put on a flak jacket and gas mask.
  • Call a friend.  While you still can.
Feel better?  Great!  Now hold on to that feeling, and check Twitter.