Friday, March 21, 2008

NCAA woes

It's March "Mad" ness time. And boy am I mad. I'm not going to even bother posting my bracket. It's completely wrong. I'll be surprised if any of my final four make it. I missed on more than 30% of my picks in the first round.


Hopefully fantasy baseball goes better for me.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A brief history of the world, part I

Since the dawn of creation there have been families with small children. And since two years after the dawn of creation, those children have loved to swing and slide. And behold, there was capitalism, and commerce, and certain people said, "Let us make stores, and let them stock certain items, such that small children may swing and slide."

And the fathers of the world observed this and saw that it appeared good.

And these people, these capitalists, these manufacturers of things on which to swing and slide saw their profits and thought, "We can do better"

And so they fired the writers of assembly instructions who were literate, because they demanded higher wages. And they hired screw buyers who were notorious for buying screws that were 1/4" shorter than needed, and locknuts that didn't fit them.

And their profits soared, and they saw this and saw that it was good for them.

And they fired the assembly instruction illustrators because they were wasting good ink on the diagrams. And they provided their new, low-wage illustrators the following instruction:

"They don't need any pictures of what it will actually look like assembled. Just show them the last 4 inches of each pole, then label them with numbers, but don't put the numbers anywhere on the poles. Draw poles with angled bends in them as straight, and draw straight poles across the folds of the instructions so they look bent. Don't even provide a diagram of what is included in the box, just make a list with no dimensions, only colors. Then paint everything the same color."

And the new illustrators followed directions and saved ink. And lo, profit margins increased.

And finally, they provided the following instruction:

"Don't even put a picture of the final assembly on the box. Make it plain cardboard with words in six languages poorly translated."

And to the webmasters, they instructed:

"Put the following picture onto the websites, such that the fathers of the world will see it and be confused, for we will construct the pieces such that it is absolutely impossible to assemble it that way - it will instead have to be assembly in the exact reverse manner as shown."

And again, their profit margins soared, and it was good for them.

This has been the story, since two years after the dawn of creation.

And all this time, since two years after the dawn of creation, the fathers of the world have been stupid enough to try to put these playsets together.

Personally, I would like to get my hands on the idiot who is wrapped in a moron, who provided the instructions above to the assemblers of my swingset kit. Things went much better after I relieved some stress by throwing a hammer (coincidentally, the same hammer that flew off a truck in the street and almost smashed my head in) and after I replaced all the bolts and nuts provided in the kit with my own that *gasp* actually fit.

And so, the end result - we now have three swings, a glider swing, and a slide in our backyard. You will hopefully notice that it is assembled in the exact reverse of the picture above. Took me 40 minutes to realize that.

But hey - my daughter likes it, and isn't that the point? I mean, who needs their Sunday afternoon anyway?

-The Krunchy Krab

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A lot has happened

So my blogging has slowed as of late. Not that I haven't had anything to say, I've just been too lazy to say it. And I'd rather spend time playing with my daughter and hangin with my wife than typing on a computer.

So, let me give you a brief rundown of the things I almost, and might still blog about:

Oh what the heck, I'll just try to cover them all in one post.

The most exciting thing is that we may have finally kicked the binky habit. I was home alone with my daughter last night, and we had pulled out the hide-a-bed to read and pretend to sleep. (pretending to sleep consists of closing our eyes and fake snoring for about two minutes at a time, no less than 50 times)

We had just finished picking up the toys, pulling out the bed, putting the correct blankets on the bed, getting all our pillows, adjusting the light, and settling down with our animals. I had a pink teddy bear, and my daughter had Lambie (who else?) I thought I was in for a good two minute nap, but when I closed my eyes I heard, "I will need my binkies!"

I was not about to get up and search the house for binkies.
So, first I tried to say that we didn't need binkies, but the quivering lower lip told me otherwise.
So, in laziness I tried a new tactic. I gave her a pretend binky. Fortunately, she is able to understand the concept of pretend, and so she was excited to have a red binky, and I had a green one, which magically changed to purple the next time she mentioned it.

So I spent my first two minute nap, wondering why I hadn't tried that before. I had a plan. My wife never knew what hit her. When we put her down last night, we tried the pretend binky tactic. Enter the quivering lower lip: "But I want my real binky!" Oh dear.

My wife, in a moment of brilliance, suggested that if she could go to sleep with her pretend binky, she could have a lollipop the next day. Lollipops are considered a very special treat... she's had probably 2 in her entire life.

It worked. 12 hours later, I was sitting in the living room, waiting for the first signs of life from the other end of the house. I heard her talking to her animals in her room, so I opened the door a crack. She was instantly out of bed. "Oh, hi. I am ready for my lollipop now."
My daughter has a mind like a steel trap, and it is no more easily distracted than Gonzo is in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

So now, I have stowed the binkies in a kitchen drawer, hopefully never to emerge again.

Let's see, what else has happened?
As you might have guessed, my truck's odometer rolled over. But, it's more impressive than you think. This rollover was to 200,000 miles. I always said I just wanted to make it last to 200,000. Now I can sell it - "1989 Ford Ranger, low miles - only 1000 miles!"
Ok, I know I could never get away with that. Now my next goal for it is to get to 213,327, because then I will personally have put 100,000 miles on it. I'm already at 202,000 so that's not too unreasonable.

Let's see, what else? We've done some serious cleaning/organizing... the basement is finally useable. Now on to the garage. One of my cleaning projects was to get rid of all the junk I've been carting around since high school/college. One of the items I found was a lighting control box we built in college before we could afford to get an actual lighting control board. It was a box, built of 1/4" plywood, about 12 inches wide, 5 inches high, and 10 inches deep. We put 6 toggle switches in the top, and mounted 4 outlets in the back. The wiring inside the box is the most impressive part. I removed it pretty much intact... here's a picture:

Of course, we took every safety precaution - we installed a fuse in the side of the box. Of course, when I opened the fuse holder, what did I find? A rolled up wad of foil in the shape of a fuse. Great. Of course this brings back great memories of college, throwing parties, concerts, etc. Holding the ladder for others to hang the Aggressor, and some of our early events.

Our second Karaoke contest was probably my favorite, despite Storm's 45 minute solo ear blasting concert at the beginning. This was before we had the big pocketbooks that allowed us to assemble the switch box I had just disassembled. I was set up backstage, with a large round table to which I had duct taped about 25 surge protectors. Running lights consisted of me switching these surge protectors on and off in time to the music. I really wish I could watch a video of me backstage, because during the second half, I really gained a 5th sense of which light was which switch, and I was throwing switches like a crazy man.

My mastery of this archaic but impressive lighting system culminated in the final performance of the night. It was not infact a karaoke performance, but was a group of 5 guys who wanted to lip sync and dance to "I Want you Back" by N Sync.

They moved through the first part of the song, it was going fairly well. All the girls in the crowd had gravitated to the front. The first chorus was coming up. (click here if you don't remember the song)

I was ready.

As soon as I began to hear "You're all I ever wanted" I cut all the lights (which consisted of laying on top of the table to hit about 8 surge protectors at once. I had previously taken the fog machine control box in my hand. I simultaneously hit the fog machine and reached out and turned on the aggressor.

Now my friend who normally hangs the aggressor on the ceiling (a near impossible task given the string and duct tape we gave him with which to do the job) was particalarly happy this evening, because I had opted in my lighting setup to instead place the aggressor on the back center of the stage, facing the crowd from behind the performers. This proved to be a most fortuitous decision, both to cement my relationship with my friend, and for this one upcoming moment, which I believe defined my short career running concert lighting.

So, hopefully you now have your eyes closed, imagining the stage being plunged into darkness, rolls of fog billowing around the performers feet, and 32 beams of colored light shooting out over their shoulders with perfect timing. The performers all looked at each other as if to say, "What the heck?" The crowd went nuts. It almost felt like N Sync was on stage. I had found my calling.

Well, that was a trip and a half down memory lane. And it all came courtesy of a jumbled mess of wires.

Here's a random picture of my daughter.

-The Krunchy Krab