A Queer Mix of Tech

When we pick up these new smart devices, i.e. smartphones and tablets, one thing often missing is they keyboard.  When I upgraded from my Epic 4G to my S III, I sorely missed the keyboard at first.  I have since learned to adjust to the difference, but at first, I vowed to find a solution to have a physical keyboard for the phone.  Curious. 

I am currently typing this entry on an IBM M keyboard that I acquired at a junk store some time back.  I have it attached to my Samsung Galaxy S III phone by way or a PS3 to USB adapter plugged into a USB to Micro USB adapter.  I had my doubts that this would work, but I had to give it a whirl.  These are arguably the finest keyboards ever made, and they do make a very satisfying ‘click’ with each keystroke.  This is one of the later units in the production, being a 1996 model.  Despite it being nearly twenty years old, it seems to be doing quite well at its job, even on the Android phone.  This particular model even has the little pencil eraser mouse like laptops did in the ’90s. 

Obviously, this is not a ‘solution’ to the keyboard issue, as this is hardly a portable device, and would do far better as a bludgeoning weapon.  If I’m going to sit down with this much hardware to plunk out a blog entry, I will more than likely use my laptop.  Incidentally, my laptop doesn’t weigh much more than the M.  Anyway, this was just too funny not to share.  I’ll likely edit the video and add it to the text later. 

And, with the magic of editing…

I hope you enjoyed the video too. Please remind me to get some kilted pics posted tomorrow. I need to start announcing some of the fabulous prizes we’re giving away from the Evyl Robot Empyre. And, if you haven’t yet, please do donate to the cause here.

Watch Where You Step

Just yesterday, Jennifer and I were again discussing the unusually high concentration of carnivorous arthropods in the area this season. We have seen vast numbers of ladybugs, dragonflies, wasps, and spiders in our garden and around the house. We rarely see any bugs in the house, perhaps because we have four little furry hunters to keep them in check. Since my daily commute to work is approximately 10-feet, I often don’t wear shoes. Especially in the Summer, I will more often than not be patting around in my sock feet.

This morning, while walking down the hall, I felt a lump of something under my foot. Fearing the worst of what I might have just stepped in, I slowly removed my foot and took a look. It was a spider of the typical orb-weaver variety that we have seen around the garden. But, instead of being crushed as one might expect, it looked up at me with its shiny eyes, unphased, if a little annoyed that I had just stepped on it. It chattered its mandibles and I wondered if I should say, “excuse me” or something. I doubt I need to describe to you the size of the creature.

Back when I worked at the auto parts store in the bad part of town, we had a bit of a ‘pet’ spider. It was another garden variety spider, but had impressively grown to about an inch and a half long, not including its legs. When I first saw it, I commented that it had a beard and grandkids and was older than me. That one met its unfortunate demise when it confronted a customer who stomped it to death while purchasing motor oil for her leaky wreck of a car.

I have no particular fear of spiders; rather I find them to be fascinating creatures that efficiently kill bugs that I don’t like, and decorate their domain with impressively structured webs. They make interesting photography subjects and it’s fun to watch them weave their webs and catch insects. Even so, I still don’t wish to share my home with spiders that justifiably have no fear of me. Whether you are an arachnophobe or not, that’s just creepy!

Pictures of Pictures of Pictures

The NRA Meeting was a lot of fun, but we had a lot of fun outside of the show floor. JayG posted a picture of Jennifer taking a picture of both of their Nikon D3100s. Here’s the picture I took of him taking that picture:


I looked for the picture she took of the two cameras, but it appears that she hasn’t yet loaded it on the server. We may have to put out a formal request for her to post said picture. Jennifer? We’re talking about you! 😉

Soft Drinks, Artificial Sweetener, and Childhood

This morning I attempted to pop open a can of Pepsi Throwback, but apparently the top of the can was not scored deeply enough for the opening tab to function properly, and I wound up with an unopened can and the separated pull tab in my hand. Not to be discouraged, I used the can opener in my Leatherman to open the can, and enjoy my Pepsi. this brought back memories of my childhood. When I was around seven years old, I liked to use my finger to push the flap of can top flat against the underside of the lid for some reason. I honestly have no idea why that held such appeal to me. When my dad saw me doing this on several occasions, he mistakenly thought that I was dropping the pull tab into the can, and he’d take the drink away from me, citing that I could accidentally swallow the pull tab and injure myself. He never understood my explanation when I tried to clarify that in reality, there was no loose metal in the can. I would often drink diet sodas, because the aspartame would give me such a buzz. In fact, I’d often eat artificial sweetener tabs like mints for the same head rush. At the time I never made the connection that the subsequent skull-throbbing headache was a direct result of the aspartame. I always had headaches when I was younger. When I started avoiding that crap, the headaches disappeared. As I have matured, artificial sweeteners stopped giving me any kind of buzz, but the headaches are still guaranteed, often accompanied by nausea. Sometimes I wish that everything was so simple as misunderstandings over soft drink cans and avoiding the wrong food additives.

Don’t Text and Drive!

I have a solitaire app on my phone that I enjoy playing from time to time. On one of its ‘updates’, it started this annoying little habit of displaying an advertisement prior to dealing my cards. During deer season, this was particularly bothersome when it was a video commercial with sound. Fortunately, it’s usually just an image, or a video with a play button, as opposed to one that auto starts. For example, something like this:

dont text and drive

Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep the car on the road when I’m trying to clear off some stupid public safety announcement so I can play solitaire?

Marketing Fail

Every now and then, I’ll see a store display that just stinks of some out-of-touch marketing mind doing something that they think will be clever, not taking into account reality or people or human nature. At the local office supply store, there is a Sharpie marker display that is set up as a try-before-you-buy affair. It is a colorful display with racks of markers in different colors, and at waist height, it has a paper scratchpad and a couple pads of Post-Its. One must be careful how they design a promotional store display. It is nothing short of laughable that whatever aforementioned marketing guru did not foresee the shortcomings in this otherwise clever marketing piece.

See, people can’t leave well enough alone. If you leave an opportunity to make havoc, someone will take you up on the offer. How many times have you seen a prank video based around the placement of a mysterious button, and the filming of passers by pressing it to see what will happen? Indeed, I would defy you to leave what appears to be a very large firecracker someplace with a lighter, and see how many people try to light it. It’s irresistible. As another example, on Sunday, one of the local grocery stores had a rack full of herbs. I could not help myself and had to do a little rearranging.


Are you going to the grocery store? Remind me to one who works there.
So, Sharpie has this great display where people can try out many colors of their permanent markers.


They even provided a little pad of paper for people to try out their markers on. There’s a sign over the paper that reads, “Try Me”. And surely, nobody would mark anywhere but the provided paper, right?


“Try Me” you say? Don’t mind if I do!

I’ve been watching this display for a while. When it first went in, although pristine, I recognized it for the degenerative folly that it would eventually become. Here’s part of the display which shows a picture of a little girl a few months ago:


And, more recently:


I <3 poop

LOL! Beware of the quips of marker wielding idiots! The differences are subtle, but clearly more artists have contributed as time has gone by. People even took the opportunity to mark on the shelving to the side of the display.


Here, you can see that someone wrote a greeting to the world not once, but twice, just in case the world wasn’t paying attention the first time. World, you’ve been greeted. And finally, there was at least one brony representing:


They at least had the decency to leave the message on one of the provided Post Its instead of defacing the display or store property. I realize that most of this graffiti is likely the work of under attended children, but it illustrates a part of human nature that never really goes away. As we mature, we learn to rise above it, but it never fades completely. We’ll always have that prankster that wants to press the button or rearrange the herbs or scrawl “I <3 poop" in a speech bubble on the Sharpie display. Note to all you marketing people out there; make your product labeling witty and humorous enough that your prospective customers won't want to deface it when their attention is drawn to it. awesomesauce

Because seriously, who would want to mess up a perfectly good jar of Awesomesauce?

Catching Up – Dreams and Such

I’m sorry for how… …manic my posting has been. It seems that right as I get into the habit of daily blog entries something random occurs and all of a sudden you get nothing for two weeks or so. Well, I don’t have a whole lot to report this morning, but I thought you deserved some kind of update. It may have been a mistake to incorporate bacon into two meals yesterday. Weird dreams were had by all. Perhaps even weirder than this:

However, they weren’t nearly as weird as the time I had the epic dream about the evil corporation that was transforming me into a sasquatch and Jennifer into some kind of electric babe, and we were supposed to forget each other in the whole transformation process. That one pretty well took the weird cake for me, and yet it was cohesive enough a story that I could probably write it into a pretty entertaining narrative. I’ve been wanting to do that, but I’m trying to decide whether I should write it in first person or limited third. And then, do I write it as myself, or change identification for the sake of the write up?

In Jennifer’s dreaming, we had to run some miscreants out of LawDog‘s flower bed, threatening them that they had trespassed into the wrong garden, and then we all had a party. In my dream, my parents dismantled my car, so I had a sleep-over in a car shop with my best buds (because that’s totally what grown men do), until the place got overrun by people doing some kind of battle drills, and then this random chick from YouTube kissed my neck in something of an emotional breakdown, and they had to drag her away.

So, yeah. The dreams were weird but not all that weird in the grand scheme of things. I may see what it would take to set up a parallel page here where I can post some fiction work, and get some of that down. Or, should I simply create a “fictional narrative” category and post it in line here, as some other bloggers tend to do? Also, I’d love your input about the form of my write up of the previously mentioned weird dream – whether I ought to go first or third person, and whether I should rename characters or roll with it like it happened in my unconscious mind.

Got Ammo?

Since we still have not received the replacement alternator for the Tactical Assault Compact Sedan, and Jennifer doesn’t want to risk being stranded on her own yet again, I drove her to work this morning. On my return trip, the car lost all throttle response while I was in the middle of the busiest intersection in town. And then the light changed. Much like Jennifer’s experience, fellow motorists confirmed they saw my hazard lights with horn honking and hand gestures. What couldn’t possibly have been more than a few seconds and yet felt like hours later, the throttle response was back and I laid some rubber to jettison myself from the path of so many pre-coffee, rush hour commuters. Then, I pulled into the Academy parking lot to check my pants for stains.

I seemed to recall that Academy gets their shipments on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so I wandered in to see about picking up some .22 lr. We are not as stocked up on ammunition as I would like, but we have enough to ward off a small apocalypse. We’re not going to be doing as much centerfire shooting as we’d like for a while until the insanity comes down, but we’ll be alright. I have been wanting to pick up some more rimfire so we can have some cheap range trips. It totally creeps me out to be out of any given caliber that we shoot, and we’ve been getting dangerously close to that line in .22. Unless of course you count the low-velocity stuff that won’t cycle the semi-autos, we’ve got oodles of that stuff still.

Crossing the store’s threshold, I saw a line of probably twenty people at the customer service counter waiting to purchase ammunition. Holy smokes! It was like post Soviet Russia. But with guns and spandex. Okay, so it was nothing like post Soviet Russia. On their most popular calibers, they are limiting customers to one box per caliber for a combined total limit of three boxes of ammunition per visit. I saw some people in line in front of me stocking up as best they could. The guy in front of me got their last full sized brick of .22 lr. Darn the luck! But, they had one last 325-round Federal mini brick, and I snatched it up. I would really like to have gotten several 525-round bricks, but we can make this work.

I will note that customer service has always been exemplary at this particular location. Also of note is how courteous and orderly the patrons were, even in this ammo buying scare. Nobody pushed or acted cross. There was no panicking and there was no gunfire. Not that there would be, but some people seem to think that’s how we prefer to solve all of our problems. I really hate scare buying, but if we have to have it, at least it’s calm scare buying. Maybe I’ll go back on Monday and see if I can get any more. I really wish they’d knock down Feinstein’s proposed bill so we can start getting back to normal.