Monday, July 30, 2007

Who Reads This Drivle?

For about a year now I've been tracking this blog's hits with a hit counter. It tells me all sorts of things, like the IP addresses of each hit, their domain names, their browser, operating system, how they got to the site, etc. Using the IP address the system can guesstimate where in the world the visitor is from. (Relax. If I know you read my blog, it's because you've told me, or left a comment. If you read my blog with a reader, or on Facebook then I have no idea you read it, unless you tell me.)

I have a few readers that I know about who read this blog occasionally, or regularely. But every now and again I get a whole bunch of random hits from all over the world. It seems that the random hit number is inversly proportional to the usefullness of the most recent post.

If I wrote that I found the cure for cancer, and wrote in detail what that cure is, I'd be lucky if my usual readers would read it. But if I wrote a post with the following exact content: "lalalalalalalalala" my hits would go through the roof.

What's the deal with that?

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Different Kind of Cat Scan

ATTENTION residents of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, R.I.:

Do not let this cat take a nap beside you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm An Artist Too (27)

What we have here is a nerdy accountant type guy talking with a beer-swilling, sports watching, mullet-having, truck driving redneck.

Redneck: What kind of truck do you have?
Nerd: Are you a man or a woman?
Redneck: Where I come from, it don't matter.
Nerd: I drive a hybrid.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Things Dry Out

Last week was a good week with the McQueen's. In one day we got a new mini-fridge for the basement, and a dehumidifier. Now I can keep my Pepsi and bottled water cold, and the basement dry.

We still need a new dryer. Or I need more clothes. I go to the laundromat every week. I only have one weeks worth of clothes. It turns out that a week's worth of clothes is also about one load of laundry.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Time For a New iPod

In today's article we see that the CD levy will soon be applied to iPods and other media.

For those who don't know about the CD levy, in Canada whenever you buy a blank CD you pay a hidden tax on it. The money from that tax goes to the recoding industry to compensate artists because it's presumed that the CDs will be used to copy music and give to people who haven't bought it. It's sort of like punishing your kids for the rules they may have broken that you didn't catch them for.

On the plus side, it's what exists to allow music downloading in Canada legal.

It's making it harder and harder to steal from the recording industry that so richly deserves it. I might have to upgrade my iPod before the tax is actually applied.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Book Review: L'avion de Gaston

Today I am going to review the first French book I was able to read, L'avion de Gaston by Nathalie BĂ©lineau.

It was a relatively easy read. There were only 4 or 5 lines of text per page. The pictures were well done with a reflective metallic looking airplane. The pages are made of cardboard, giving the book good durability. As a student of French, I got plenty of vocabulary from this book. I found it entertaining and delightful.

I found the book had several problems with it though. While there was plenty on the protagonist, Gaston, the book entirely lacked character development. There is an Air Traffic Controller, a mechanic, and a slightly anthropomorphic bird who's names aren't even mentioned.

I was curious about the bird. The bird wears a scarf and goggles and flies very close to the plane. I guess the bird is unaware of the hazards of bird-strikes. The bird will surely be killed by getting chopped up by the propeller. The propeller will likely be damaged by the bird. Gaston may crash and die. But, he seems to have a parachute.

This is supposed to be a children's book. But I'm not sure we should be exposing our children to that level of glorified danger!

The front cover shows Gaston flying directly above a cloud. Does he have his IFR rating? The book doesn't explicitly say, but judging by a picture of the cockpit, I don't think the plane is equipped for IFR flight. I don't even think he has a radio with which to communicate with the tower and other aircraft! (Not to mention how dangerous, and uncomfortable it is to fly directly above a cloud!)

As a student pilot, I am well aware of the dangers of Gaston's flying style. But most children will be oblivious. This is a potentially very dangerous book!

In summary, I can recommend this book only to adult student pilots, but in the hands of a child it's just a recipe for disaster. That's a risk I just don't want to be responsible for.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The New Rules Are The Bomb!

You can now use words like "bomb" at the airport. You'll get a warning instead of being arrested.

But I think it has to be in certain context. "That concert last night was the bomb!" or "That movie really bombed." will get you a warning. "I have a bomb and I'm gonna blow everyone to kingdom-come!" will get you arrested. In the old days, all three would have gotten you arrested.

(To my international readers, this applies to Canada. It's probably not the same elsewhere.)

These rules still beg the question "How many acts of terrorism have been prevented by these laws?" I figure if someone is intent on getting a bomb on a plane, they're probably not going to mention it, regardless of the rules. You wouldn't want anyone to know your intentions.

On the other hand, if you were the unwilling participant you might want to be arrested. But, even without the law, you could mention it, get arrested (for having the bomb, not mentioning it).

But, on the plus side, I'm no longer afraid of seeing my friend, Jack, on a plane and yelling "Hi!" to him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm An Artist Too (25)

It's a three-eyed fish, like in The Simpsons. That's what I call "nuclear fishin'".

Monday, July 09, 2007

We Need to Get A New Dryer

I can't believe it! Two McQueen stories in a row! Just like old times.

On Thursday I came home from work. I asked if the laundry machine was free. Wendy said that she had to transfer some clothes from the washer to the dryer. She did that as I went downstairs, and got my laundry ready to be washed. When I had come up stairs, she had finished the transfer and was in the living room. I put my clothes in the washer and started the load. Then I went into the living room.

Wendy tells me "The dryer doesn't work."

Me: "What?"

Wendy: "When you try to start it, it just makes a buzzing sound."

Me: "Can it be fixed?"

Wendy: "The last time it broke the repairman said that if it ever broke again it wouldn't be worth repairing, and it should be replaced."

The McQueens are heading out for a vacation for a week. (By the time you read this, they'll be back.) So they probably won't take care of it until after they get back.

So, looks like my Thursday nights for the next few weeks will be spent in a laundromat.

Oh, and one more thing. Did I mention the dehumidifier gave up the ghost? Now it makes an awful squealing noise. According to the internet it's probably the motor and should be replaced. I don't know how much work and cost we're talking here, but it might be time for a new one.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hey! Who Turned Out The Lights? (Part 2)

In a recent blog post I sent you (my readers) to an article discussing the dangers of fluorescent light bulbs. The article discussed potential problems with people throwing old fluorescent bulbs in the garbage unaware of the mercury content and it's potentially environmental harm.

In the article was a story of a woman named Brandy Bridges who dropped a bulb and it broke. She called Maine's Department of Environmental Protection. They recommended a cleanup that would cost upwards of $2 000.

An alert reader/commenter sent me a couple of articles discussing that story. The first article basically said that it was a half-urban myth. It's a half urban myth because it actually happened, but the urban-myth part is that in the end she could have cleaned it up herself. Cheaply. A fact that was mentioned in the article I linked to.

From the article:
"While cases like Bridges are rare and she was told later by the DEP that she could have cleaned it up herself."

This raises the question "How does one clean up a broken fluorescent bulb safely?" This is answered in the second article that was sent to me by the reader/commenter.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I'm An Artist Too (24)

Here I was experimenting with cuteness (thus the teddy bear) and someone walking. Drawing people walking towards you turns out to be pretty hard.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fridge Update

I think it's time for another McQueen update.

If you've been keeping up with the amount, and placement of fridges and freezers in their house, you probably either: 1. Live here, or 2. have no life.

I live here.  So I'll catch you up.

The McQueen's had a fridge in the kitchen.  This fridge had no freezer component.   But it's a nice, big fridge.

They also had a second fridge in the garage.  This fridge wasn't doing very well.  It had a freezer component, but it wasn't very big.  The seals on the door were breaking.  This caused the fridge to demand lots of juice from the power company.

The third fridge was also in the garage.  But it was really bad.  The fridge part was not noticeably working.  The freezer part, which was small, was operating as a fridge.

A fourth fridge was in the basement.  I kept water and pop in this fridge.  It worked fine.  It was dirty though.  This fridge had the best freezer in the house, and it was used to freeze things (as freezers are wont to do....except in this house).

Also in the basement was a deep-freeze which, if you remember, does not work.

Edgar is still dead.  Jack is at a cross-roads.

The McQueens decided to buy the freezer unit that matches the kitchen fridge.  The delivery people came by last week to drop if off.  As part of the deal they took all our fridges and freezers, except the one in the kitchen.  Now we only have the two.  It's a matching set.

In order for them to take the fridges away, we had to empty them out.  The fridge in the basement had lots of stuff in it.  Stuff we haven't used in a long time.  The McQueens took the stuff out and, for the time being, left it on a shelf in the basement.  There was no room in the main fridge.  It got really hot down there.  Now that stuff is no longer fit for consumption.

So I dumped it down the toilet.  I wasn't as discriminating at this as I should have been.  The contents of the toilet quickly became quite opaque.  I didn't always know what I was pouring in the toilet.

Eventually I put something in that had some chicken bones.  This ended up clogging the toilet, causing Pastor Jack and I to use a plunger to get them out.

This process also caused an absolutely foul odor  to fill the washroom.  After several flushings and some washings, a faint remnant is still can still be detected.

So, now I'll leave you with a picture.  Click to enlarge, if you dare.

McQueen's Toilet