Thursday, March 25, 2010

Say what?

I've always found it funny when I realize I've been singing the wrong words to a particular song. I thought I'd share some of them!

Disclaimer: I apologize if I ruin any of these songs for anyone, cause chance are once you're looking for the wrong lyric, you'll hear it every time.

Of course, there's the class Jimi Hendrix song, Purple Haze
The Lyric: "S'cuse me while I kiss the sky!"
My Version: "S'cuse me while I kiss this guy!"
Elton John's Tiny Dancer had a couple...
The Lyric: "Hold me closer, tiny dancer."
My Version: "Hold me closer, Tony Danza."
The Lyric: "Count the head lights on the highway."
My Version: "Count the head lice on the highway."
Allanis Morrisette's man-hater song You Oughta Know
The Lyric: "It's not fair to deny me the cross I bear that you gave to me"
My Version: "It's not fair to deny me the cross eyed bear that you gave to me". 

Not sure what I thought there, I figured the guy gave her a teddy bear and it was cross eyed, but he took it when he left?? /shrug

Tom Petty's Free Fallin'
They Lyric: "I'm a bad boy, cause I don't even miss her. And I'm a bad boy for breakin' her heart."
My Version: "I'm a bad boy, cause I don't even miss her. And I'm a bad boy for breakin' her arm."
The Police Spirits In The Material World
The Lyric: "We are spirits, in the material world."
My Version: "We're asparagus, in the material world."
The Police's Message In A Bottle
The Lyric: "A year has passed since I wrote my note."
My Version: "A year has passed since I broke my nose"
The Verve Pipe Freshmen
The Lyric: "For the life of me, I could not believe we'd ever die for these sins, we were merely freshmen."
My Version: "For the life of me, I could not believe we'd ever die forty cents, we were merely freshmen."

Ok, so there're a few that come to mind right now, I'm sure there are more, but please chime in with some of your own, so I know I'm not the only one!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bone May Reveal a New Human Group

A previously unknown kind of human group vanished from the world so completely that it has left behind the merest wisp of evidence that it ever existed — a single bone from the little finger of a child, buried in a cave in the Altai mountains of southern Siberia.

Read the full story here:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

La Salette Shrine

Those of you who have been reading for a while are aware we had two very close family members pass away this year. At the end of last year, my wife and I took our kids to the La Salette Shrine in Attleboro.

For those who haven't been there, there is a shrine where you can buy a candle, say a prayer, and leave the candle lit. My understanding is that the prayer is supposedly repeated for the duration of that flame's life, though I may be wrong, it's been a very long time since it was explained to me.

Outside of the shrine is a very large piece of land that includes a pond in the middle. Around the pond is a walkway that has the stations telling the story of Jesus, as they have in the Catholic churches, but on a much larger scale.

They decorate the entire grounds with lights around Christmas. It's quite a spectacle. So many lights are lit, that it's like walking around in the middle of the day.

Now, personally, I am not a very religious person, though I am very spiritual. I grew up Catholic. I was an alter boy for almost 10 years. However, I've always felt like my connection with god was a little more personal that I was taught. I'm not going to get into my whole view on religion, it's one topic I'm usually very careful with, but I will say I am familiar with Catholicism, and I respect anyone's right to follow whatever religion he or she chooses. I do not claim to know better, nor do I judge.


At the end of December, around the 26th I believe, we took a trip out to the shrine, brought along the kids and we met some friends out there. We walked the area, looked at lights, froze our butts off, had some hot chocolate. We into some areas where they had small scale models of whole cities and little figurines for sale, and it was really quite nice.

When we were done, my wife and I went into the shrine and bought a pair of candles. We lit them, and placed them in their glass holders next to each other, and we silently said our prayers. It was peaceful, serene, and comforting.

When we were done, we turned to leave and found our four year old blowing out the candles in the lowest row.

As a person who grew up Catholic, I nearly choked...

As a man of reason, I have to believe God has a sense of humor... I mean, just look at the platypus. I mean, know all about Egypt's first born sons, and the great flood and all, but I think he mellowed with age, he was much nicer in the new testament.

As a father, I was rather disappointed in myself for not having seen that one coming. Was another "What are you, new?!" moments... and yes. yes she was.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Queue the pollen!

In case you haven't made your way outside in the last few days, or haven't noticed the date, or haven't frequented just about everyone else's blog, I thought I'd let you know that spring is apparently upon us.

Spring has sprung
the grass has riz
I wonder where the flowers iz?

I'm a creature of the cold, to be quite truthful. The sun gives me headaches, and burns me like an ant under a magnifying glass. I'm quite comfortable in temperatures around 55°F - 65°F, and I'd rather throw on a sweatshirt when it's chilly than a tank top when it's hot.

I don't do well in the heat. I'd credit it to the winter insulation that I put on during the winter of 1998... uh, and never shed, though I seem to put on a new layer every winter. Either that, or someone is playing tricks on me and shrinking my clothes a size or two every year. But even back in high school when I was a lean 180lbs, I was easily oppressed by the heat. I am finding as I get a little older though, I do tend to put the heat up a couple degrees higher than I used to.

I walked outside today and breathed deeply. It was a nice feeling, as the air rushed through my head and didn't cause my sinuses to freeze dry in a painful stinging way. The sun was behind a cloud, and I could clearly see the beginnings of new leaves budding on the trees. A duck dramatically plunged out of the air and into the calm water of the lake behind my house, and I thought "Perhaps I did miss the warmer weather. This isn't so bad."

I looked back at the billowing fair-weather clouds, just as the sun poked its way out from around it scorching my retinas. I averted my eyes  back to the lake to see Mr. Duck being chased out of the cove by the resident swan, which are actually much more aggressive than they've been portrayed, by the way. The swan beat his wings at the water and stuck his head out to nip at the duck. I watched nature play it's little game until another ambassador of nature buzzed stupidly into my eye. Rotten little fruit flies or whatever the heck they are that we get around here... gnats of some sort...

Rubbing the Kamikaze gnat-pilot out of my eye, or more likely into my eye, I blinked a couple times and found myself looking at the lawn. The leaves that were currently being replaced by new buds still lay dead and wet on what would eventually become grass. It occurred to me that I'd have to remove them shortly, so that I could then begin the weekly (or bi-weekly depending on my enthusiasm) ritual of mowing.

I did enjoy my momentary spring fever, and I'm grateful for it, but as I sit here, my red eye watering, I wonder if I might have enjoyed perhaps another week or two of chilliness and sweatshirts.

Ah well, it gives me something to look forward too... C'mon back September, and bring your cool breeze and football!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What are you, NEW?

Logic. The Vulcans had it right, in my opinion. That which does not follow logic is usually irrational, at times baffling, and frankly sometimes rather scary for me. If logic is adhered to, most of the time, I'm comfortable.

When things get whacky, I'm usually the guy who says "What the f... Alright, wait. Hang on here, back it up. Let's think about this..." and we cut out the silly, consider this or that, and we get to a conclusion of some sort, be it a solid decision or at least a direction to stumble along in until such a time that things makes sense again.

This is how I get through life. Life: a series of things, some crazy, some sane, some weird, some not that comes your way and you have to deal with. Some people get emotional and act in the moment, reactionary and passionate. This is not me. I've perhaps done this once or twice, but I've never come out of it saying "That went well". Typically I spend the next few weeks calling myself every kind of dumbass.

Anyway, those of you who have children can relate to the complete upset of logic I'm going to talk about... Once the kids come, nothing really goes as planned, nor does it go as expected. My oldest is now closing in on her fifth birthday, which will be this summer. As most parents will say, I can't believe how fast time has gone. Five already!? ...and yet, in the time she's aged her four plus years, I think I may have aged a decade or more.

My comfortable blanket of routine and logic was quickly torn to bits after fatherhood set in, and I mean "set in" cause it doesn't really start on day 1. Sure the first eight or so months were an adjustment... Night time feedings, soiled diapers, drool... (Which by the way, if I had to sum up parenthood of an infant in just one word, that word would be "wet" in almost every sense of the word) and of course the irrational expression of need... Screeching. But once all that is coupled with mobility and language, all bets are off.

You spend a lot of time chasing, following, correcting, taking away of things, pulling things from the mouth that were never meant to be in a mouth, protecting of pets, cleaning, feeding, washing, bathing... After a while it subsides a bit. You do less and less of these things, and sooner or later, you find yourself believing that whichever of these behaviors that has gone away, is gone for good. Rejoice! ...But not for long.

Soon after the child seems to develop a solid sense of wrong or right, the things you were running ragged to put a stop to for the last year and a half seem to resurface!

It was a bit of a strain on my logic when it all started, but when it'd gone away, and I'd said "finally!"... it came back! The "Terrible Twos" (which is a complete misnomer, as it implies that it starts at 2 and ends at 3... it does not always start at two, and it doesn't always end at 3. I'm beginning to think there are cases where it may never end!) set in, and they start doing things just to see if these things are still a no-no.

This is where I get frustrated. "It was a no-no yesterday, why wouldn't it be a no-no today!?" Of course, logic is completely lost on a child, and even though I know this, I still find myself saying things like "What the F... Why the hell would you do that?!" and, always my favorite as a kid "You know better!"

One day in a fit of frustrated rage, I asked my daughter "Have you heard me say this before?! What are you, NEW?"

The term "What are you, new?" seems to sum up the entirety of my confusion, I think. I've found myself saying a lot. It's applicable to just about every situation involving someone doing something they shouldn't. It's become a bit of a catch phrase, and sometimes I say without really listening to the question.

My second daughter, now 6 months grabbed a fist full of beard (a clear indication that it's time for a trim) and on impulse, I shouted "Ow! What are you, new?!"

To which my 4 year old said "Uh yeah she is new daddy. Duuuh."

...And so we've come full circle...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Did you know that St. Patrick's Day is the Roman Catholic feast honoring Ireland's patron saint, St. Patrick? The holiday is also an international celebration of Irish history and heritage

Did you know that Patrick was neither Irish nor particularly religious, at least not initially? Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in 385 CE in the Welsh town of Banwen, and for the first sixteen years of his life he was an avowed pagan.

Did you know that Patrick, nee Maewyn, was captured by Gaelic slave traders at the age of sixteen and sold to an Irish sheep farmer? Patrick was enslaved for six years, during which he turned to Christianity for comfort. He escaped at the age of 22, and spent the next 12 years living in a British monastery. It was there that he adopted the name Patrick.

Did you know that Patrick returned to Ireland after his time in a monastery, along with 20-some followers, serving as a Christian missionary?

Did you know that St. Patrick is believed to have died in Ireland on March 17, 461 C.E.? The anniversary of his death is now the day on which St. Patrick's Day feast is celebrated.

Did you know that the myth that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland into the Irish Sea is just that -- a myth? Many locals still insist that the serpents were drowned in the Irish Sea by Saint Patrick, causing their seas to be so rough. The truth, however, is that serpents where never native to Ireland. The story is most likely a metaphor for the druidic religions, which disappeared from the Emerald Island after St. Patrick spread the seeds of Christianity.

Did you know that St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday in Ireland? It is also a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, both Canadian provinces with significant Irish populations.

Did you know that there are 34 million U.S. citizens claiming Irish ancestry? That's nearly ten times the population of Ireland today, which has 3.9 million people. Since 1820, 4.8 million Irish have legally immigrated to the U.S.

Did you know that Irish Americans are the second most numerous ethnic group in the United States? Only four other countries (Germany, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom) have sent more native-born residents to U.S. shores.

Did you know that while it is customary to wear green on St. Patrick's Day in the United States, the color green is actually considered unlucky in Ireland? Green is the color of faeries, which are believed to steal children who wear too much green.

Did you know that the Irish celebrate St. Patrick's Day by wearing shamrocks on their lapels' and dressing their children up in the colors of the Irish flag: orange, white and green? The green on the flag symbolizes the people of the south, the orange represents the people of the north. The white stands for peace, which brings the green and orange together as a united nation.

Did you know that the first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in Boston, Massachusetts? The parade has been an annual tradition since 1737.

Did you know that the first St. Patrick's Day parade in New York was held in 1762? Irish immigrants serving in the British colonial army marched down the streets.

Did you know that the New York St. Patrick's Day was officially launched in 1850? Today, this parade is the longest running civilian parade in the world, with 150,00 participants and nearly three million live spectators.

Did you know that the largest St. Patrick's Day parade in Canada is held in Montreal? The parade began in 1824.

Did you know that Chicagoans celebrate St. Patrick's Day by dyeing the Chicago River green? The tradition started in 1962. Today, 40 tons of dye is used, which keeps the river green for several hours.

Did you know that Guinness, the most famous of Irish dark stouts, was first brewed in Dublin Ireland in 1759? More than 1.9 billion pints of Guinness are drank around the world every year.

Did you know that Dublin is the capital of Ireland? There is also a Dublin in California and another Dublin in Ohio.

Did you know that the shamrock, considered the official plant of Ireland, was viewed as a sacred plant in ancient Ireland? The shamrock symbolized rebirth.

Did you know that in the seventeenth century, the shamrock became a symbol of Irish nationalism? In defending themselves against encroaching English imperialism, many Irish wore a shamrock on their lapel as a symbol of their opposition to English rule.

Did you know that leprechauns are traditional Irish folk figures? Leprechauns are believed to be cranky little fellows responsible for mending the shoes of fairies and causing all sorts of mayhem and mischief.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bug juice

Next time you're browsing the supermarket in search of the makings of that night's dinner, pause a moment to read the ingredients labels of your favorite red-colored ingestibles and cosmetics. Chances are, you'll discover a notation for cochineal, carmine, or carminic acid, pigments whose origins might surprise and possibly disgust you.

Cochineal and its close cousin carmine (also known as carminic acid) are derived from the crushed carcasses of a particular South and Central American insect. These popular colorants, which today are used to impart a deep red shade to fruit juices, gelatins, candies, shampoos, and more, come from the female Dactylopius coccus, an insect that inhabits a type of cactus known as Opuntia.

Dactylopius coccus was the source of a red dye used by Aztecs and Mexican Indians for centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards. Those indigenous peoples would collect cochineal insects, briefly immerse them in hot water to kill the beasties and dissolve the females' waxy coating, and then dry them in the sun. The desiccated insects would then be ground to a fine powder.

The Spaniards immediately grasped the potential of the pigment, so these dried insects became one of the first products to be exported from the New World to the Old. Europeans took to the beautiful, bright scarlet colour immediately both for its vibrant hue and for its extraordinary colorfast properties, ensuring that boatloads of cochineal insects would make the trans-Atlantic trek.

Today cochineal has been surpassed as a dye for cloth by a number of synthetic pigments, but is still widely used as a coloring agent for a number of foodstuffs, beverages, and cosmetics (because many of those synthetic dyes proved dangerous to humans when taken internally or allowed to leach into the body through the skin). It takes about 70,000 insects to make one pound of cochineal.

While cochineal is used in a wide variety of foods, it is not found in kosher products because Jewish dietary laws prohibit the inclusion of insects or their parts in food. The "ewww!" factor nothwithstanding, cochineal is a safe food colorant aside from a few rare cases of allergic reaction.

Another red dye used in foods, FD&C Red Dye #40 (alternatively known as Red #40), is often mistakenly assumed to be a euphemism for cochineal or carmine. It's not — it's bug-free and is actually derived from coal.

Our distaste at the thought of ingesting bugs is based on cultural factors rather than the properties or flavors of the insects themselves. Western society eschews (rather than chews) bugs, hence the widespread "Ewww!" reaction to the news that some of our favorite foods contain insect extract.

Reposted from (Snopes, so you know it's true!)

That's Comedy

Comedy takes on many forms, and it's a very personal thing to those who find it funny. There's all kinds of comedy, stand-up, insult comedy, slapstick, etc. Being that so many people find so many different things funny, an awful lot of comedy can be offensive to some. I think some of the best comedy is the intellectual stuff that doesn't leave a small percentage of the audience saying "Hrmph!"

George Carlin made millions of dollars swearing and shocking people with vulgarities, but behind it all is simple genius. You can be sure there were people with their hands over their ears and turning all shades of red during most of his most famous material, but many of the things he said were from pure observation and thought.

Bill Cosby "himself" is one of the funniest, most memorable, most quotable pieces of comedic gold I've ever seen, and I think he managed to pull off that act without offending a single demographic.

I've got a sick side to my sense of humor too, and I'm not talking about finding it funny when people fall down the stairs, or farting in an elevator (although I do find that hysterical... I think it's a guy thing). I'm talking about the kinds jokes you tell that are so bad you get more amusement out of the groans of agony from your audience.
  • Two guys walk into a bar, the third guy ducked!
  • Did you hear about the two peanuts walking down the street? One was a salted! (Assaulted)
  • A dyslexic man walked into a bra
In addition to silly little one liners like that, I have a great love for puns.
  • I once submitted a top ten list of favorite puns to a "Best Puns" contest in hope of winning. Unfortunately, no pun-in-ten-did!
Perhaps the best example I can think of a masterful execution of puns would have to be "Wet Dream" by Dr. Demento

Best quote: "She said things I couldn't fathom. She was too deep! Seemed to be under a lot of pressure!"

Got some favorite knee-slappers? Perhaps just a groaner? Let's hear it!

-20% for being a loser

Teachers hold in their hands our future. Those who are careless with it do not deserve the privilege.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Best Things in Life

The best things in life are free, or so they say. While I believe this, I think it's a little bit more complicated that so simple a statement. What are these best things in life, anyway? Love certainly springs to mind. Friendship, a close second, though one might argue that friendship is simply a different form of love. Harmony, perhaps? I would be very surprised if one were able to find harmony on anything but a fractional scale for free.

Let's stick with love for now, as it's something that's most likely (hopefully) touched each of us at some point along the way, and in all honesty I believe it is the best thing in life. Love doesn't care what you look like. Love doesn't care where you live. Love doesn't care how much money you have in your bank account or 401k. Love doesn't care what car you drive, or if you drive at all.

Love in it's purest, simplest form, does not cost money. One can never buy love. Love is freely given. But to love means to protect, to provide for, to enhance the beloved. We buy houses, we buy security, we buy food, we buy health. These are the debts we pay for this free thing, and we'll pay whatever price is necessary. This is made necessary by greed, which preys on love.

Greed could arguably be the worst thing in life, though it is free, like the best things. Greed is the reason professional sports players get the money that they do, because there are those who love the sport, and will pay to see it played. Greed is the reason health insurance companies can raise their rates by 20% each year, because we'll do everything we can to make sure our loved ones are covered. Greed is the reason there are wars. Greed is the reason we compromise on the things we want just to make sure we have the things our loved ones need.

It can be irritating that we're born into this world and have to go through twenty years of school, just so that we can survive, and that's even if we're not lucky enough to find someone to love! Greed, like original sin is a debt for the simple privilege of being born!

I do not regret or the best things, nor do I begrudge the worst. I'd never rather go without the best, and would pay whatever price I could for those I hold dear, as I'm sure anyone else would.

I have been blessed with love in my life, and as a bonus I've experienced many of the other free things as well. I've been enchanted by stories. I have been moved by music. I've had my breath taken away by nature. I've shared laughs. I've spread joy.

The best things in life are free, and the worst things in life are forced upon us all. But perhaps it's the worst things that make us appreciate the best even more? How can one love, without knowing hate? Without hate, is there love? Without grudge, is there forgiveness? Without grief, is there joy? How can one love life unless he or she is occasionally reminded of his or her mortality?

They say you never know what you had until you've lost it, and I think that's unfortunately common, though not necessarily true. It doesn't take much to realize what you have, as long as you realize why you do the things you're doing.

Take some time out of each day to remember that without the bad, there'd be no good, and without the price, there'd be no payoff.

I Remember...

I remember being sent to the store by my folks. I would walk in, buy a Boston Herald and a Boston Globe, two packs of cigarettes (for my folks, of course) and a scratch ticket. I was so young, I struggled to get those heavy newspapers home. At the time, we lived perhaps 200 yards from the store.

Now, I shudder at the thought of my kid being on a different floor of the house than I am.

I remember leaving my bike unattended and unlocked for days on end in my back yard, and never having to worry about whether or not it would still be there when I returned for it.

Now, I worry about people digging through my garbage and stealing my very identity!

I remember when there were public service commercials

Now, if there's no money to be generated, there'll be no commercials.

I remember when fast food was a bargain. Now it's just as expensive as going to a restaurant.

I remember when people would welcome new families to the neighborhood. Now, they just want to be left alone.

I remember when you could surf the net and enjoy it. Now if you're not careful, you can lose data or worse.

It's true that not all changes are for the worst, but these are the things I happened to be thinking of right now.

What do you remember?

Ticks Repost

This is an article I posted last year. I didn't write it, so I apologize for any part of it you might feel is poorly written... It's only here for informational content!

We found a tick on my daughter this morning, so I felt this would be a good re-post. We took her to the Dr. He plucked it off of her, said it looked fine, collected his co-pay and sent us on our way. Better safe than sorry though, so...

With the weather getting warmer, the ticks are coming out in full force. Living in eastern MA, I've dealt with ticks many times before. This year, I've been seeing a lot of deer ticks, and that's got me concerned.

Here's a helpful article from Northern New England dot com:

Ticks (also known as arachnids) are a fact of life here in New England, and, in fact, in many places on earth. Golfers, hikers, hunters, bird watchers and anyone that spends time outdoors should be aware of ticks.

Globally, there are some 400 species of ticks on this planet. Here in northern New England, we have about a dozen different species lurking in the woods, forests, and grass.

Not much is usually heard about ticks, but the fact is - knowing about ticks is extremely important and potentially life saving. Ticks, like mites are external parasites that live off the blood of mammals, birds, and even reptiles and amphibians. Ticks are also vectors of several diseases, including the potentially fatal Lyme disease.

Often tick species take their name from their favorite host, so we have bird ticks, woodchuck ticks, rabbit ticks, moose ticks, and dog ticks. Other New England varieties of tick include; one star tick, tiny black-legged tick - the local variety, of which is commonly referred to as a "deer tick".

Ticks are rather unique in that all ticks must stalk and feed from a host vertebrate three times in their lifetime, as larva, again as a nymph, and finally as an adult. It is in the third and final phase of the deer tick's life that is the most dangerous to humans.

Ticks & Lyme Disease

An infected tick can spread Lyme Disease. Not all ticks are infected with Lyme Disease. A tick bite can be difficult to detect. Anyone who spends time outdoors (hikers, golfers, hunters, bird watchers, bike riders, etc. ) should learn how to check themselves for fleas, ticks and insect bites and should take the time to perform this precautionary measure. The actual size of an adult tick in about the size of this 0, or the size of a pin head.

Most cases of Lyme diseases are from the Northeast. Nearly 90% of all Lyme disease cases have been reported in the Northeastern part of the US. Many people are being infected from ticks in their own yard.

Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that are often found in tall grass, stone walls, fallen leaves, and shrubs where they wait to attach themselves to a passing host, like you or your pet. Physical contact is the only method of transportation for ticks. Thankfully, ticks can not jump or fly, although they may drop from their perch and fall onto an unsuspecting host.

Tick Removal

To remove a tick use a small set of quality tweezers: grab the head of the tick and slowly pull it out. Crushing or irritating the tick by using heat or chemicals should be avoided, because these methods may cause it to regurgitate its stomach contents into the skin, increasing the possibility of infection. Very small ticks and larval ticks can be removed by scraping them off.

Lyme disease (which is found in deer ticks) cannot be transmitted once the tick body is removed even if the mouthparts break off and are still in the skin. Prompt removal is important; infection generally takes an extended period of time, over 24 hours for Lyme disease which is why carefully checking yourself after hiking, hunting or outdoor activities is so important.

Tick Population Factors

Ticks of all types depend largely upon water and moisture for survival. More ticks will survive a mild winter than a cold one. A long dry summer will have a devastating effect on tick populations, conversely a wet and warm spring will help hatch an abundance of ticks.

Reposted from here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I don't buy it - Snowflakes

We've all heard it said before that no two snow flakes are alike.

I have always had trouble believing this entirely. Sure, it could be true, but I do not think there's anyway we could ever prove this, and therefore, I think we must consider that it just might be incorrect. 

In order to prove that no two snowflakes are alike, we'd have to have some kind of database like Afis that has cataloged in it every snow flake that was ever generated. Obviously not possible since every snow flake I've encountered is in some other form right now, be it water or vapor.

According to WikiAnswers, a typical snowstorm can produce anywhere from 20 to 300 trillion flakes of snow, depending on the intensity of the storm. To give you some idea of the magnitude of 20 to 300 trillion, in 2008 there were 6.69 billion people on earth. That means each person on earth could have 44.8 thousand snowflakes to themselves. I might be wrong, my math skills were never very good...

I'm finding a lot of conflicting information in my quick little Google research project on the number of snow flakes per storm and such, so I'm just going to pretend my numbers are perfect from here, and say also that we're only talking about one storm.

Look, there are a lot of snowflakes! There's no possible way to prove that they are all completely unique, so I call shenanigans on this "fact". If you can prove me wrong, I'll gladly bow to you. Until then, I say it's BS. 

Windows Cannot open Exes

There's a nasty piece of malware going around right now, posing as a legitimate spyware removal tool that's spontaneously found a couple hundred threats.

First, a real malware scanner will not find threats as fast as this one appears to. It just wants to freak you out, so you say "Yes, please remove these threats!" and then you're screwed. If you see this, simply close the window that's popped up! Click the X at the top right of the window, or press Alt + F4.

If it's too late for any of that, you can attempt a system restore, but most of the time, the spyware will prevent this from happening.

You can try to download Malwarebyte's anti-malware. This malware may block your access to this site though. If it does, you can download it from another machine and transfer it to a CD or a thumb drive, etc.

One of the latest features of the malware is that it will remove the ability to run EXE files. If you open windows Explorer, go to tools, options, and to the "File Types" tab. You'll need to add a new extenesion for EXE, and associate it with "Application". You'll get an error that it already exists, and it will ask you if you want to change it. Click yes. Once this is done, you should be able to install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

Another thing you can do for EXE files that are being blocked by spyware is rename it to .COM instead of .EXE.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ladybugs - They're BACK!

What with the warming of this particular area of the earth, the bugs are waking up, or hatching, or whatever the hell they do when their activity begins in the spring... Looks like the little buggers have returned, and they're looking to check their emails!

I'm just glad I saw it before squishing it. Not out of any sort of respect for all living things or what have you, but more because I hate when my keys stick!

I wish I could blame the missing "E" from that key on him / her but alas, that's my fault. Same with the "S and "D" and most of that "F" and part of the "A".

Makes me wonder though, what's it doing down there? Does it eat the little bits and pieces of junk that have fallen in between? If so, all the better!

But then, where do they do their business? Same place? Even if it's less destructive than the junk that ends up in there, a keyboard full of Ladybug poop just doesn't appeal to me... not that I know what it looks like, or what kind of damage it could do to a keyboard. Hell, I could be covered in Ladybug poop and not even know it, now that I think about it. Yeuch... I think I'll stop thinking about it...

I guess things could be worse... Pretty soon, I'm sure I'll start seeing Stinkbugs again. Now, these things weird me right the heck out. They're slow, clumsy and prehistoric looking little things, and they stink when (or if) you squish them. It's a strange sort of almost spoiled milk mixed with grass clippings kind of stink..

I don't mind admitting that I get a little creeped out when these things fly around near my face in their little seemly random flight path. I always get the feeling that they're going to divebomb right into my eye, or up my nose or something. Yet another creature who's poop I'd rather not have around, but couldn't identify even if I stumbled upon it. Or into it, if you will... Even if you wont... And I hope you don't. Cause I wouldn't.

They fly very erratically, not unlike a little brown six-legged Woodstock. Remember the little yellow bird in the Charlie Brown comics? Now, I know what bird poop looks like... That I can identify, and I'm sure that wouldn't be nice in my keyboard.

Or instead of Woodstock, maybe like "The Greatest American Hero".

If you don't recall him, it was a TV show back in the 80s, and he was an unlikely super hero who was given this super-suit by aliens, but lost the owner's manual, and had a real hard time getting it to do whatever he wanted it to.

Not even going there with the poop comments...

Pet Peeves

As I posted a few posts back, I'm generally a happy fellow, and I try to always give others the benefit of the doubt. In that post I also mentioned that I do have some pet peeves, and I thought I'd share. Nothing helps a pet peeve like sharing it and possibly spreading it.

I can't stand when people stir coffee and clank the spoon around in the mug. Every clink in the mug strikes sharply against my eardrums. Every time I hear it, I have to resist the urge to lunch at the person's drink and stay their hand. It's like when a metal plate hits the ground and is allowed to half-spin weirdly until it finally lays flat. I just want to jump in it and cut it's little symphony short in a dramatic slam, followed by golden silence. 

Drives me nuts when people slurp, like when their coffee is just too hot to sip and they need to infuse the intake of liquid with tiny gusts of air, so as not to par boil their lips. Please... If you're guilty of this, just wait the five or so minutes until your coffee is cool enough to drink. Each slurp is like a tiny tear in the fringe of my nervous system. 

I hate wooden spoons. I can't eat an Italian ice with those miniature wooden boat oars they give you. The feeling of the wood grain on my teeth and tongue sends uncomfortable shivers down my spine. Even just the thought of it... ugh. Popsicle sticks too. Can't stand to let those touch my teeth or tongue.

I apparently have an unreasonable distaste for repeating myself. I especially clench my teeth when people say "Huh?" in response to every sentence I utter, when I know they've heard me. I've had friends say "Huh?" and then after I stare at them a moment, they say "Oh," and answer my question. This was after weeks of thinking they didn't hear me... I was going nuts thinking I might be mumbling, or they were going deaf. Nope. Just annoying. 

I actually hate (and I know I said I always try to not hate but...) when someone believes they are correct, and will not stop to consider another person's input. Am I incorrect? Perhaps... but that doesn't mean what I have to say isn't pertinent or possibly worth consideration. I am always willing to entertain the possibility that I'm wrong on just about any given subject. If you feel I'm incorrect on something, please let me hear it. I'd much rather have been wrong, than continue to be so. 

I wish I could get people on public transportation to turn their music devices down just enough so that I can't hear it. It's extremely difficult to think when you have one baseline of something playing on the left, and another on the right. I personally find it rude. 

I am always disappointed by a lack of civility from people in customer service positions. If you deal with people on behalf of your employer, you have an obligation to be courteous, if not friendly. Don't look at me like I just grounded you, no one's forcing you to be there, or at least, I'm not. You are the face of your company. I'll always associate your attitude with the company logo, even if it's not fair, I can't help it... It just works out that way. 

I don't like car horns. There seems to be a prevalent misconception that when something is inconveniencing a driver, that the horn is there so that said driver can make sure everyone around him or her is just as irritated. This is not the case. The horn is there so that you can let others know you're there so as to avoid an accident. Think about it... If there's a traffic jam, no one cares that you're there, they're there in their car too. 

And now, having just said, "you're there, they're there in their"... it really burns my bacon when people misuse "there" "they're" and "their" as well as "here" and "hear". There are others like, "were" and "we're", and "should have" not "should of" but the the(ir)(y're)(re) and he(re)(ar) are there most common amongst the social networking crowds these days. 

I think that's enough to start with... Please feel free to comment with some of your own!