Monday, October 27, 2008

Adventures In Back Hair Removal

I always feel 15 degrees warmer than everyone else. When it's 65 outside, I'll be in shorts and a t-shirt while everyone's wearing long sleeves and jeans. My secret? A little too much upper-body hair and I'm not proud of it.

An actor who tries too hard in serious roles and has lots of body hair.

On Saturday morning, I went for a swim at the Y. Disappointed with my back hair's drag during my doggy paddle laps, it was time for a clean slate, err back. That, and my back hair resembled the DC metro area, replete with a beltway and suburbs. I had my back waxed in July of 2007 while visiting my sister in a vain attempt to fit in with the LA lifestyle, but I was a poser and haven't repeated the painful experience.

If you don't count the years of practice, 12,000 calories/day diet, and Olympic medals, I'm right there with Phelps and his hairless back.

Who needs to give jewelry to your SO when you've got a built-in easel to show your love?

Mark Twain had upper-body hair and look where his writing career went!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Guitar Hero World Tour With A-Rod, Phelps, Kobe, and Tony Hawk

My pre-ordered copy had better arrive in the next few days!! As usual, Phelps looks the most awkward on camera. Gotta love Tony Hawk riding in on his skateboard with the drum kit. YouTube'd links to the entire setlist is found here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple Picking Ecstasy At Larriland Farm

With my favorite apple picking farm out of apples, I took my chances with one of the few apple picking farms with apples - Larriland Farm. I was apprehensive because it was a new apple source, but after two hours on the property it has now become this blog's top choice for all things apples, pumpkins, and farm festivities.I   rocked my usual 25 pounds of apples and later enjoyed apple pie. Now, onto the photos!
The first Larriland farm owner was entombed in wood.

The farm has plenty of pumpkins to place on your porch for neighborhood kids to smash.

Pick a squash any squash.

Just a few bucks gets you a hayride that travels slower than walking.

But you get to see paper-mached fairytale characters used without proper licensing fees.

The ultimate Paper Tiger...chortle, chortle, chortle.

Look! It's that girl played by that actress from that movie based on that book that I never read.

"We've fallen and we can't get up," said the grounded apples, knowing they'll never be picked.

Looks parallel to me.

Eating apples with pesticide gives them a real kick on your tongue and burning in your stomach.

Howard County is known for breeding llama-looking species.

Yeah Terps! The on-site chainsaw-wielding woodcutter knows what his audience wants.

The Five-foot tall hay maze...a great place to accidentally lose your kid on purpose for a few minutes of peace and quiet.

I never saw real hay like this in the NYC suburbs.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Maryland Race For The Cure 2008 Wrapup

This year's Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure in Maryland featured 30,000 runners. The temperature didn't clear 60 degrees, but that wasn't about to chill the spirit of the runners and walkers.

I proudly used my New York Giants handwarmer. It held my cell phone and keys, but it was not a fanny pack!

I ran in the second race without a timing chip and unofficial time. And well, unofficially I finished the 5k in 29-30 minutes, starting the run at 8:15 and finishing at 8:44. Unlike my run last year, I wasn't winded, but my knees were throbbing. I'm telling myself that my knees hurt because it was cold and not because my 29-year-old body has the knees of this blog's oldest demographic.

Like every Race For The Cure, this one had plenty of runners who didn't run much in the days before the race and were wholly unprepared. I started slowly and increased the pace as I realized I had enough energy to make the finish line without stopping. Many folks who ran hard in the first mile to get ahead of the pack were sucking wind and walking at the second mile marker. Also, if you're going to walk, that's fine, but walk toward the side of the road.

Bright blue skies oversaw wave after wave of runners and walkers.

25 years after the first Race For The Cure, walkers make their way down the home stretch.

As with every Race For The Cure, it was impossible not to be swept up by the goodwill among everyone. Pinks signs with the names of breast cancer survivors on the backs of runners and walkers gave hope for anyone stuck with this awful disease. Yet, just as those survivor signs gave hope, there were pink signs with the names of those who had lost their battle. It made it clear that my $30 donation was for more than a nice, XL long-sleeved shirt.

Hugs, tears, and smiles abound at the finish line.

While waiting at the finish line I saw many hugs between survivors, their friends, and family. Nobody in my family has fought breast cancer and I want to keep it that way. If a measly 5k run would guarantee that for everyone, I'd say the battle is being won.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hey Crotch Rocket Rider, Thanks For Almost Causing An Accident

I was unprepared for my unglamorous drive down Route 29 this morning. While I had my lunch and bottle of water, I didn't bring a bazooka to take one less unsafe crotch rocket rider off the road.

Long before the gluttony of traffic lights slows 29 south, traffic was flowing well for 6:45 in the morning. As usual, most of the cars were traveling just above speed, but close together. Driving the same road with the same people everyday allows such a level of comfort.

At least this sport bike doesn't encourage dangerous driving.

I was in the middle lane, just cruising along, when I heard the revving of a crotch rocket. I checked the rearview mirror and saw no single headlight. Then I checked the left mirror, but it only showed a line of cars and trucks. In the second it took me to turn from my left mirror to my right mirror, the biker was tailgating a utility truck in the right lane. don't have the right to make a 2-lane road into a 2.5-lane danger zone.

My front right bumper was caddy corner to the truck's back left bumper. Normally this isn't much of an issue because we're in different lanes, but this idiot on his bike had aligned his front tire with mine, keeping all of 2 feet between him and the truck in front. There was so little space between the corners of my car and the truck and not much room between me and the car in front that I didn't think the biking fool would cut in front of me.

Of course he did.

He crotch rocketed in front of me with about a foot to spare, tailgated the car in front and then swerved to the left lane, promptly cutting off another sedan before speeding ahead. I took my foot off the gas after the amateur rocketeer made his move to avoid showing my brake lights and scaring the crap out of the driver behind me.

I can only dream of doing this.

I know that not all, and certainly less than half, of sport bike riders are dangerous and dumb on the road, but it's a safe bet that there are more crotch rocket riders making unsafe maneuvers than you'd find among riders of touring bikes like a Harley or Honda. It's a small minority of sport bike riders, but they still need to exercise caution.

Sport bikes aren't the culprit, irresponsible sport bike riders are.

I would love for my passive road rage to find a legal way to destroy these riders and their bikes. How about flipping them over with a stick in the road, then running them over with Big Foot, and finally blowing them up with any weapons found in Grand Theft Auto. Until then, these dangerous riders will continue to get themselves killed/injured and cause plenty of accidents with their unsafe lane changes.

Where's BIGFOOT when I needed it?

Though my car's position didn't allow it this morning, I will back off and give these asinine riders their space because it's clear they value their time, safety, and lives over everyone else's on the road. Until it's legal to carry a bazooka in your car to blowup unsafe crotch rocket bikes and their riders, it would be nice if they respected other drivers didn't make sudden and unsafe lane changes and didn't ride the shoulder or between lanes while everyone else sits in traffic.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Won't Reach A Bipartisan Congress Until We Fix This Conflict

I tend to stray from talking politics. We all have our views and it's unlikely anyone will convince someone else to change their mind about who to vote for. Likewise this blog doesn't bring up such topics, but for this post at least, we need to talk about what nobody's willing to talk about.

There are many issues facing the presidential candidates ranging from the economy to Iraq, health care to immigration, and choosing a blue or red tie for debates. Yet neither Obama nor McCain have stepped up to America's, and likely the world's biggest problem - improper toilet paper roll (TPR) direction. Scoff all you want, but this impacts all of us where it matters.

I dream of a day when all custodians learn the proper TPR direction.

Too many TPRs are set to rotate the wrong way. The proper TPR is placed so that the leading edge comes over the top of the roll. Bathroom managers everywhere are making the horrendous decision to lead from the bottom of the TPR. This is an affront to the American way of making tasks as easy as possible so we don't have to think. When it's time to wipe, an overhand TPR is the quickest, easiest, and most importantly, cleanest way to access your sanitary cloth.

Tremendous idea, but poor execution with underhand TPRs.

The underhand TPR is the last thing anyone wants to see when they don't have time for an alternate place of deposit. A recent survey conducted by an illegitimate firm whose credibility has not been recognized found that 94.5% of the time an overhand TPR is advantageous compared to an underhand TPR. The imaginary survey also found that 5.4% of the time neither roll direction is more favorable, and 0.1% of the time the underhand TPR is desired. It should be noted that those 0.1% respondents are all from an underhand TPR lobbying group.

An underhand TPR requires greater distance to reach the paper's edge for successful pulling. At the very least, you must reach around half of the roll's diameter as you flail your fingers for that first piece that you can't see. Often, the edge is resting on the next revolution of paper so your bacteria-laden fingers inevitably scrape the paper just to start the roll. I don't have to tell you (but I will anyway) that nobody wants to wipe with TP that they dirtied themselves, let alone someone else.

I love technology!

If you're fortunate enough to have an accessible edge, you're still traveling a greater distance to find that edge. When you're in need of TP, nobody wants to go from squatting to standing and increase the need for TP in other places. Sorry, it had to be written on the Internet sometime. What's worse, is when you do rip your sheet from the TPR, the edge returns to the start on the other side of the roll. Back to square one.

Ripping an underhand TPR is like reaching a mountain's peak only to fall and climb it again.

Consider yourself lucky when you find an overhand TPR. First, it's closer, negating the need to travel around the TPR's diameter to find relief. Second, you can clearly see the edge, allowing for pinpoint first contact accuracy and no mess on future squares. No matter where the edge hangs after ripping the TP, you'll be able to start and finish cleanly.

Finally a way to show Hello Kitty how you feel about her/it.

The greatest advantage for overhand TPR is a lower rate of premature rotational ripping. Pulling from an underhand TPR requires greater dexterity and touch to not rip the paper as you pull from the blind side. The underhand pull requires the paper to go down and then toward you. It is this directional change where we see the greatest number of elongated paper fatalities.

The overhand TPR is always a simple pull toward. At worst, you have to lift the edge and then pull toward, but you are not forced to change directions. This increases the success rate of elongated paper rolling to over 98%; a number the underhand TPR lobbyists have never refuted. Accidental broken paper pulls from an overhand TPR stem from your friend's cheap TPR buying ways or malfunctioning spindles. If you try to do a quick pull and rip from an underhand TPR it will likely cause the TP to continue rolling off of the roll.

Nobody asked about TPR direction at last week's town hall debate and that's a shame considering how split America has been on party politics. Americans deserve to know where the candidates stand (err, squat?) on this issue. I am B and T Crowd and I approved this message.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Top 10 1980s Educational Computer Games

As a child of the 1980s, this article about the 10 Most Influential Education Games of the 1980s hit home.  I remember playing most of these games, but I was never that good at them. I had trouble falling for the whole gaming can be fun trick my teachers tried. Why would I want to ruin a burgeoning love for videogames with something as silly as education? Plus, we only had one Apple IIc in our elementary school classrooms so getting time at the keyboard was tough. I also wasn't about to use my family's PC for education. I knew back then to never mix business with pleasure.

First on the list is Oregon Trail. I remember playing this only for the buffalo shoot range. I assume there was some educational part that may have made its way through my thick (read: stubborn) head, but I don't remember that part. I never made it to the end of the trail, often succumbing to dysentery, which was an early form of my lactose intolerance. Shooting buffalo made the game interesting, learning about our ancestors traversing the country wasn't.

It's so easy for kids in the NYC suburbs to relate to the trials and tribulations on the Oregon Trail.

Second on the list is Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, a game that introduced me to the copious amount of information in an almanac. I remember writing down clues about the villain and feverishly thumbing through the almanac, but like Oregon Trail, I'm not sure it ever kept my attention long enough to actually capture Carmen or one of the V.I.L.E. henchmen. My attention span was only so long in elementary school.

I never cut it as a private investigator.

SimCity is #3 on the list, but I never got involved with this one. It seemed like too much work, and my home computer didn't have the power to run such demanding software. The few minutes I'd spend playing it were used to create total chaos and building fires. I never played Reader Rabbit (#4), Math Blaster (#5), and Mavis Beacon Typing (#6), preferring to play learning games that at least tried to hide that they were teaching me.

I do recall putting a few hours into Lemonade Stand at #7. I had no idea I was applying economic theory when I just wanted to lower the price to gain more customers. Score one for the edutainment gaming industry. Number Munchers (#8) was a solid title, but lacked much replay value. I remember the cut scenes repeating a lot. Wikipedia says there were only 6 scenes and that sounds plausible.

Once again proving that if you squint really hard, you won't notice the awful graphics.

I know nothing about ZORK at #9, but do recall enjoying many rounds of solitaire (#10). Back in the day, I was excited to download freeware with 50 solitaire modes of play, but it took too long to learn each game's rules so the generic solitaire did the trick. Why play a game with real cards by yourself when you can play the game with fake cards by yourself and develop carpal tunnel syndrome? Who knew it would become the office time wasting standard until the World Wide Web? How working drones ever wasted their time before all of this computerized fun, I'll never understand.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

High Holy Days Test My Shirt and Suit Sizes

I'm not required to wear a suit at work; it's khakis and polo shirts for me. This has created a backlog of formal clothes that I needed for my last position. These days I don't wear formal clothes except for weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, funerals, graduations, blogger autograph sessions, and monthly fashion shows at Nordstrom's; none of which I have attended/participated in the last year. Of course I've never gone to a a fashion show and you can tell by this blog's quality that I've never signed autographs. I only breakout the cuff links and button the collar for High Holy Day services.

As we are in the midst of the Days of Awe, I'm reminded painfully that my formal clothing viability changes a lot in a year. Shirts that were neatly pressed and dry cleaned, now have stained collars, including those still under plastic. Pants that were a snug fit a year ago are now ready to burst at the seam should I dare sit down or elongate my stride. Nobody wants to rip their pants on the Kippur.

The Gates of Repentance doesn't account for wardrobe malfunctions.

Two jackets still sit well on my shoulders, but I'd burst the buttons if I try for closure. It's just not going to happen. It also appears that the Cat spent much of his time in the closet's corner and rubbed against the bottom of one of the jackets. My other jacket is clean thanks to dry cleaner plastic wrap, but a button on the cuff is split in half. I just can't catch a break.

One flamethrower and two lint brush strips later, my jacket is cathair free...sort of.

When I'm able to find clean shirts, I face that small matter of finding a proper fit. Like my pants, it seems my shirts shrink while they hibernate in the back of the closet. This year, 4 shirts have uncleanable collar stains (gross, I know) and 2 were tossed because my neck got fatter or I just have to admit that my 17 1/2 neck won't fit in a 17 collar. Five other shirts were snug fits with slight collar discoloration and will be revived by the dry cleaners...I hope.

Sadly, I can't blame my ill-fitting collars on neck muscle exercises. Maybe it's from staring at a monitor all day.

In a last ditch effort to play it safe, I replenished some of my clothing catalog with 3 shirts from Macy's (25% off CK). This way I can safely say I have clean, pressed, and fitted white, blue, and gray shirts.

Area formalwear salesmen salivate for the High Holy Days because it's then that people like me learn suddenly that they need new clothes.

When I check my clothes to celebrate 5770 next year, I'm sure the white collars will look banana yogurt yellow, I won't be able to button my pants, and my jacket sleeves will need major tailoring. Perhaps it's time I review my clothing options long before the Days of Awe; it's the least I could do for my bank account.