Archive for March 2009

Viking Technical Support

March 31, 2009

“By Odin!”, exclaimed Clöst Aerfrök, the Village Elder.

“My Magical Thinking-Box has ceased to work..the Seeing-Portal has gone a strange shade of blue.    What sort of trickery is this that Loki inflicts on us?

“How shall I be able to figure out the tide schedule, so we can know when to set sail to invade the Celts?  How shall I calculate how to distribute our plunder?    How shall I count the Lute-Fisk harvest?”

it-viking-11“This is a grave situation.    Here, young Apprentice…guard the Portal, until I summon the Viking Council.”

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“Let ME help!…..” offered the Berserker, after Elder Clöst had left.

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“No…wait!”, said the Apprentice.     But it was too late.

“NYARRGH!”, the Berserker screamed.

“That evil blue glow smells of DEATH!  I shall send these vile spirits back to the realm of Niflheim, from whence they came!”

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Elder Clöst came back to find the Berserker standing in a pile of the broken pieces of the Magic Thinking-Box.

“HE did it..not ME!”, cried the Apprentice.

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Idiots“, Clöst muttered under his breath.

“Sigh…very well.  What is done, is done.     Summon the Kilted Barefoot one…he will know what to do”.

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The Kilted Barefoot one arrived, and assessed the carnage.

“Aye, the damage is great.  But all is not lost.   I may be able to help you.”

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“Bring me four logs of the stoutest Oak, thick as a man’s arm.   A heavy length of twine,  spun from the finest hemp, and two human skulls,  from our bravest defeated enemies”.

And the Kilted Barefoot one worked through the night,  applying his sorcery…

it-viking-8Came dawn, the Barefoot one presented his work:

“Behold…I have strung the pieces of the broken Thinking-Machine bits along the twine, and have formed an abacus.    This will still allow you to calculate and count.   Perhaps not as quickly as before, but I promise you, the Blue Screen of Death shall torment you no more”.

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“Crude, simple, but effective.   And still better than what we had before”, exclaimed the Elder.  “I thank you, O Kilted One.  We shall reward you well”.

And they did.

And the village was soon able to resume invading the Celts,  dividing their plunder, and counting their  Lute-Fisk.

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Stereotype TWITS

March 30, 2009

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The Carpet-Bombers
They leave a Tweet every 5 minutes, for hours on end.   Doesn’t matter if anyone answers them or not..they’ll do it anyway.  You wonder if these people have day-jobs.

The Pimpers
“Hey, check out my new blog and http.tinyurl/lookitme.com.

( Most of us are guilty of this one, occasionally..including yours truly).

The Hucksters

“Hey, check out my friend’s blog at http.tinurl/buy-my-shit.com.  Buy their product, so you can be cool, just like me.”

(Makes you wonder if they work on commission…?)

The Cool Kids

Unfortunately, the Cool Kids from Blogo-Land have established a beachhead in TwitterLand, and are here to stay.  …Whatever.

The Free-Lance Martyrs
We can tweet about what we ate for breakfast, and we’ll call it wasting time.  The Martyrs will spend 3 hours a day doing the same, and they’ll call it “Work”.  (Even though it never generates any revenue and never gains them any new clients.)

The Peeper
Kind of like the carpet-bomber, only with less tweets.   Just wants to be noticed.   “Hello.  Anybody there?  Anybody?…”

The Troglodyte
Pick a time.  Any time.  Log on randomly.  6:00 AM.  Midnight.   They’ll BE  THERE.  (My God, don’t these folks ever sleep?)

The Addicts
“OMG…Sorry, I had to leave for a few minutes, to drop off my Mom at Emerg.  She had a heart attack.  But I”m back now.  Did I miss anything? Huh?  What did  I miss?”

The Bartletts
As in Bartlett”s Quotations.   That’s all these bozos do:  cite one famous quote after another.    Only they never answer back, or initiate any discussion.  It’s  just a one-way conversation.   (Wow…how ORIGINAL.)

The Oracles
Same as the Bartletts.   Only instead of providing just quotes, they’ll also tell you what songs they’re listening to, or what blogs they’re reading, or what color socks they’re wearing.   And of course, they won’t talk back to anybody, either.   It’s a monologue:  they just want you to shut up and LISTEN.

Talk about an ego trip.

The Yes-Men
Like Remoras on sharks,  they’ll latch onto the Oracles,  hanging on every single word they say, like it’s the Sermon of the Mount or something.

The Collectors
They’ll have thousands of followers.  I can’t conceive how anyone can follow such a converation, but they apparently do.  It probably helps to be a Troglodyte.

The Self-Perpetuating Twits
They’ll refer you to such interesting sites, such as “Maximizing your Twitter Efficiency to Increase your Blog Traffic In orer to Optimize your Twitter Followers”.

Yawn.   Dude.  You need to get a new hobby.

The Lap-Toppers
Seems to be an ample supply of lucky winners who’ve received lap-tops, and now want to tell me how I can do the same.   And according to the avatars, these people always seem to be gorgeous babes.

But that’s just pure coincidence, right?

….Right?

The Heretics
Those who openly dare to make fun of Twitter. (Very few and far between.)

I wish there were more.

Perfessor Friar rambles about cars, fuel cells and saving the planet.

March 29, 2009

 All this talk about hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars.     Well, what about them?

Remember your high-school science class, when the teacher applied electricty to water with two electrodes?     It would cause electrolysis of the water. The electrical energy would cause the H2O to to dissociate into hydrogen gas and oxygen:

2 H2O + energy = 2H2 + O2

Hydrogen fuel cells work in reverse (I won’t go into the details here).   They combine oxygen and hydrogen gas to form water, and create energy.  

2H2 + O2 = 2H20 + energy

Hydrogen is everywhere on our planet.   Fuel cells don’t generate any CO2 or greenhouse gases,  just water vapor and heat.     Sounds great, doesn’t it?   Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could run our cars on hydrogen instead of gasoline? 

Well, let’s think of this for a moment.

One way to get hydrogen is from steam reforming, where H2 is extracted from hydrocarbons, mostly from natural gas 

However this process still takes energy, and still generates some  greenhouse gases.   So you’re basically still using hydrocarbons to indirectly power your car.    There is some debate that this is a short-term solution.   It still dosen’t remove us from our dependency from fossil fuels.

Another way to get hydrogen is to electrolyze water.   But the problem is,  the H’s and O’s like to be together in the form of H2O.   It takes a certain amount of coaxing to get them apart.   To do that, we need energy.  (Just like your chemistry teacher had to use a small battery for the hydrogen/water experiment). 

So where would we get that electrical energy to break down water into hydrogen?   From our power-generating stations, naturally, which are based on coal, natural gas, nuclear or hydroelectricity.

Now, what if it happens that your electricity happens to comes from a coal-burning plant? 

Well, then that defeats the WHOLE purpose of your fuel-cell car.     

You’d basically be burning coal…to make electricity… to make hydrogen…to power your car.   The net effect is you’d basically be burning COAL to run your car, which isn’t  exactly the most environmentally-friendly source of fuel.  

Sure, your car might not pollute the local neighborhood where you live, but it most definitely would, indirectly, near the coal-buring plant hundreds of miles away.   

So much for zero emissions.

The only truly zero-emission way to power your hydrogen-fuel cell car would be to generate hydrogen from nuclear or hydroelectric power plants.

Well, lots of people oppose the building of hydro dams.   Besides, there’s only so much hydroelectric  power available (we’ve pretty much dammned up every significant river in North America already).    

The most plausible answer seems to be to build more nuke plants to make more electricity.   Which again,  many people are opposed to.   

So what’s  the right choice?   (Things are never as easy as they seem, are they?)

I”m not saying hydrogen-powered vehicles dont’ have a huge potential.   Yes, we can have zero-emission vehicles that don’t depend on oil or gas.  

We just need to be aware of where this hydrogen will come from, and what price we’re willing to pay to cover the associated costs of getting it to our cars.

Suitable for covering your floor with…

March 27, 2009

People often ask me how long it takes to do a painting.

I’ll tell them: “Twenty years”.

Mabye a few hours to actually do the painting.  That’s the EASY part.

The tricky part is the 2-3 decades of practice…practice….PRACTICE!  that it takes to get to that point.

I didn’t realize how much practice, till I put all my paintings on the floor.

These are only from circa ~2000 to the present.

paintings-2

Now, mind you, these are only the “Good” ones I’m willing to show people.

This doesn’t count the many MANY rejects I’ve done.

Or the countless studies from art class  (I still have a whole other box of this shit at my Mom’s house).

Or the  25 or so that I’ve given away as gifts to close friends or family members. .

Or the 40-50 (approx) that that I’ve sold here and there.

Or the others  hanging on my walls or at my parent’s house.

And that’s just for watercolors.  This doesn’t include pencil sketches,  cartoons, charcoal, drawing excercises, etc…

And I don’t even do this for a living.  This is just a hobby.

Imagine what a FULL-TIME artist does…?

Anyway, this blog post has taught me a two things

1) Geez, I’ve invested a LOT of time and money into my painting.

and

2) I definitely need to GET OUT more! 😉

Things I WON’T do, when I retire.

March 25, 2009

old-man-jenkins

Hose down my driveway.
Note to seniors:  a driveway means cars can DRIVE on it.   It is outside…it is ALLOWED to get dirty.

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Become a Lawn-Nazi
An obsessive-compulsive perfectly-groomed lawn (along with a hosed-down driveway) is a sure sign that someone has way, WAY too much free time on their hands.

If I ever get to that point, I’ll watch Oprah.  Or volunteer.  Or something.

I dunno…maybe bake Braille cookies for the blind.  Or knit sweaters for homeless chihuahuas….ANYTHING but groom my lawn.

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Hang out at the office where I used to work.
If I’m going to pal around any former co-workers, it won’t be with the whole damned group, it will be with a few selected best friends.    And it will be at home, at the pub, or at Tim Horton’s…whatever.

One thing I can tell you…it will certainly NOT be in the dingy basement cafeteria where we all used to work.

(Do the words “GET A LIFE” mean anything to anyone?)

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Buy a FLY and drive in a caravan with all the other FLY’s
(FLY = F**king Land Yacht = those monster RV’s that are so damned big, they have their own Zip Code.)

Oh, don’t get me started!  I can’t even begin to list all the reasons I hate these gas-guzzling behemoths.  (It will probably have to be a separate blog post in itself).

But let’s say experienced severe head trauma, and I somehow changed my mind and eventually DID own a big Land Yacht.

Then least I’d get off the beaten path, and I’d explore the scenic back-roads my own.

The LAST thing I’d want to do is play follow-the-leader at 35 mph on the Interstate….with a herd of other FLY-driving Greyheads doing exactly the same thing.

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Fear new technology
I had a relative who had all her marbles right to the very end, and she was a very smart woman.   She survived Nazi occupation, and immigrated to Canada and successfully raised a family.

But she just had this one mental block in her old age:  she could not operate a tape deck.

She’d play her audio book till the tape ended. Then would literally wait hours for someone to come home, so they could take the tape out and flip it over to the B-side.

I don’t understand.   I mean……a three-year- old can do this!

I think it was more of a case of “would not”, rather than “could not”.    I hope I never get like that.

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Participate in lame-ass activities  just because that’s what all other retirees seniors do.
I can see myself enjoying fishing, curling, or golf or camping.   These are activities that everyone enjoys, both young and old.

But it’s the other pastimes  I don’t understand:  bingo, square-dancing, tai-chi for seniors, etc…

Nobody EVER did these when they were in their 20’s.   So what’s the story here?

When you turn 70, does the “Old-Fart” switch go off in your head and suddenly you decide you WANT to lawn-bowl?

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Continue Investing in High-Risk Equities
You constantly hear stories about seniors losing their retirement fund, because they had invested in stocks and the market crashed.

Well, I’m sorry…but DUHHHH!!    WHAT were you thinking? (Especially in today’s market!)

When you come down to it, it’s basically all about greed….these people had a nest egg, and they wanted it bigger.

On a scale of 10, as a financial expert, I rate maybe a 1.2.   But even a doofus like me knows that when you approach your golden years, you’re supposed to transfer your investments into low-risk funds and bonds, and not gamble your life savings.

(Sorry, I don’t plan on buying cat food, when I don’t own a cat.)

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Work shitty jobs
OMG…if I’m 70 years old, and I’m a Wall-Mart Greeter, or I’m flipping hamburgers at McD’s with the other 16-year-olds, then I’ve FAILED at life.

If I work these $7.00/hr jobs because I HAVE to, then I’m totally screwed up my retirement planning (see above) and I’m one step away from eating Whiskas to stay alive.

If I work these jobs because I WANT to…then maybe its’ time to change my Depends, and put me in a home.  Because I’m no longer competent and responsible for my own actions.

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Gloat to the Younger Generation
I promise, I will NOT tell young people how great it is that I no longer have take part in the Rat Race.  I will NOT tell them how the company’s changed, and how I’m so glad I don’t’ have to work at that place any more.

Those poor bastards will feel bad enough as it is,  knowing they have to put in another 25 years at the Factory.  Why make them feel worse?

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Make Recreational Activities Sounds like Work.
I will refuse to tell everyone how “hectic ” my life is, because I’m busy playing golf and visiting friends.

(Sorry, this is what working people do for FUN, after they’ve put in their 8 hour work-day).

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Talk about Death
Typical Senior conversation:

“Did you hear about Bill Garnaggle? He got cancer of his big toe-nail…it went into his kidneys, and he died on the golf-course when his spleen exploded.”

“Oh, really?  What a shame.  Did you hear about Betty Garfarkle down the road…it’s sad, really..they found her lying in a pool of her own excrement….”

As for me, when I get old, this will be my approach:

“LA-LA-LA (covering my ears), I can’t hear you, Death, LA-LA-LA.”

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Make excuses for procrastination

Doncha love it when retirees miss an important deadline for something,  and their excuse is they were “too busy?”

Sorry…you DON’T WORK anymore.   You are NOT too busy.   You didn’t  do it, because you didn’t WANT TO.

At least admit it, and be honest about it!

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Start liking bag-pipe music
I have zero Scottish ancestry, and I don’t like bag-pipes now.   I can’t ever see myself changing my mind about the subject, even 40 years from now.

(Unless it’s because that  “Old-Fart” switch suddenly gets activated…)

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Holding up the line, cashing in 34 winning lottery tickets at $2.00 each.

Playing the lottery once in a while is fun.   But I won’t be blowing half my old-age pension check every week on the chance of winning the Big One.

(What…?  So I can win money and retire AGAIN?)

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Go to Early-Bird specials

Sorry, 4:30 PM is a late lunch.  NOT an early supper.

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Obsess over the daily newspaper
I feel sorry for the Type-A’s who never did anything with their lives but work.   Now they they don’t know what to do with themselves.

For a lot of them, reading the paper becomes  the highlight of their day.  They get upset when it doesn’t arrive on time.   They get upset when other people touch it before they do.   And they’ll spend 3 hours reading it (followed by the evening news on TV, in case they’ve missed anything since reading the paper).

That’s just SAD.    GET a hobby.

(No, wait…that’s the problem.  They never learned HOW).

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Continue to do the present job I’m doing right now, as a retiree on contract.

If I’m in my 70’s…and I’m still doing the same work…then why don’t you just put a bullet in my head right now, because I deserve to be put down!

A slice of grease.

March 25, 2009

This is the third installment of my watercolor junk-food still-lifes.

A generic slice of pepperoni from a forgettable franchise:  this wasn’t great pizza,  but it was the only place within a 40-minute drive that sells it by the slice.

From an artistic point of view, it would have better to get a slice of all-dressed.    The extra browns and greens from the peppers and mushrooms would have enhanced the bi-color red/yellow palette.

But this is Splat Creek.    The sidewalks roll up early (even at 6:45 PM).   So apparently it’s not worth selling more than one type of pizza-by-the-slice, even during peak supper time.

god-awfuls-pizza

Still, it made for a decent breakfast.    Any cold pizza out of the fridge tastes good the next day.

A Very Viking Spring

March 24, 2009

“Lo, the Feast of Equinox is nigh”, the Village Elder said.   “Let us celebrate”.

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And there was much rejoicing and feasting, and many games were played.

Only the bravest dared try “Let’s-Wake-Ursåal, the Sleeping Bear”…

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…this was enthusiastically followed by the Tradiational Slapping of the Frozen Lutefisk.

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The lovely village maidens did a splendid dance around the Purple Pole of the Fallen Skull-Warrior.   The men watched on, shouting much encouragement.

viking-spring-4Finally, the day drew to a close, with the mandatory burning and pillaging.

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A good time was had by most.