Tuesday, March 31, 2009


A local newspaper holds an annual contest started in 1987 to write a short story in 55 words or less. The New Times accepts entries from anyone and selects some to publish in the weekly paper. The idea of writing a story in 55 words or less is not as easy as you may think. New Times criteria for the stories include a setting, one or more characters, conflict, and resolution. They are really fun to write though, and I suggest anyone give it a try.

For one year I wrote and submitted two entries, which unfortunately did not get chosen for publication. I encourage any reader to write one for fun, and I will include one in this post. The next post will contain the second. Much of my writing is a little ambiguous, and this is in the same vein. I won’t say the exact meaning of this story here. If you want to know and don’t see it from the story it will be below. The first one in 53 words is called Passage, enjoy!

They go in. They don’t come out.
Watching from the hall two went in. None came out.
Menacing doors swallowed them all.
An emptying hall, all go through the gaping hole.
I couldn’t help myself. I had to see, slipping through the closing doors.
Fellow prey stood to my side, “Level two please.”

I wanted to make an everyday occurrence seem suspenseful. In this case a person is watching people walk into an elevator, then going in as well. I hope some of you try it out. Leave a comment if gave it a try or what you think of the idea of super short stories.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


There are quite a few names for popular computer programs that are pretty strange when you think about it. The two web browsers I use are a good example, Firefox and Safari. I realize Firefox is named after the Red Panda native to Asia, but I can’t help imagining a poor fox running around on fire.

The logo sure looks like it’s a fox that has caught fire, the size of a planet too. Who cares about meteorites, we have giant foxes, which is much more devastating.

A Firefox falling to earth is probably the answer to the mysterious cause of the Tunguska event.

Safari makes a little more sense I guess, going around the inter-tubes on a safari enjoying the scenery. Safaris also are full of animals though, particularly some dangerous ones. I am a little scared I will be browsing some website about zoos, and a hungry lion jumps out of the screen and eats my face. Perhaps reading political news and a stinky wildebeest starts munching on my monitor.

Most bundled applications in OSX are pretty self explanatory such as Mail, Automator, and TextEdit. But there are far too many “iPrograms.” iCal, iChat, iSync, iTunes, iWork, iPhoto, iWeb, iMovie, which are a part of iLife, all of which are bundled with the operating system, not to mention the iPod, iMac and iPhone. Maybe not iWork on some computers, which is an office productivity suite.

Third party developers are also obsessed with iPrograms and iPeripherals. You can pick up an iClock, an iMicrophone, and pretty soon I am expecting to see the BMW iCar, complete with an Aqua user interface.

Pets too, can you imagine an iMongoose?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

April Fool's

April Fool’s day is right around the corner, and I am wondering what pranks I will see this year. Some very well thought out, though one I fear is my sister's. To this date, she has not pulled one, so this year may be when her sinister plan unfolds. All those years of peace and silence shattered in an explosion of foolishness.

I will be up at her place, so the terror may be quite severe. Waking up to find Tony the Terror Cat about to pounce from kitty treats on my face. There is no escape from the Doom Kitty, you can run, but Tony can smell your fear.

Perhaps on my drive north Steve will call to let me know of a RFID device wired to explode if I drop below 90 MPH. Speed 3, Revenge of Keanu! In a desperate attempt to avoid the semi-trucks dominating the freeway, my speed drops to 89. Speakers play his recorded laugh followed by N’SYNC on endless repeat, the horror, the horror!

The pressure building every year until something snaps, and California falls into the ocean.

Got your tickets to the gun show?

Some friends are going to a nearby gun show Sunday. They asked if I wanted to come, but I am not sure what to expect. I have gone trap shooting many time, as well as quite a bit of target shooting, but a gun show might be a little too much. I grew up in the Boy Scouts, and gun safety and events were common. By the time I got Eagle Scout I have no clue how many times guns came up.

Main reason I am unsure is I think the people that go to these events are probably scary, no offense to anyone reading. In looking at some information on what the vendors and events are one common theme emerged, knives and beef jerky.

I can understand knives at a gun show, but the importance placed on beef jerky is a little interesting. On road trips to Oregon to go salmon fishing we would commonly have some beef jerky in the car, Vienna sausages too, yummy!

I do not know if I would go to a gun show with the purpose of buying the stuff, or the gourmet supposedly available. I find beef jerky and gourmet to be opposite each other.

Maybe I will go for the fun of it, but if there is nothing but people running around with automatic weapons and bandoliers, I will probably be leaving early.

I know this guy too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Any colour so long as it is black

I am not sure what to think of some laws on the books, or most likely will become law. Many have heard those silly laws, like an Arizona law that forbids having a donkey sleep in your bathtub. I wonder if these laws originally made sense in the time they were written, or if some politician is screwing with us.

California has its share of strange ones, but one coming down the pipe right now is high on the ridiculous scale. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) placed a 2016 mandate to have paint reflect 20% of light, with a phase-in period starting 2012. What this means in English is that dark paint colors will be banned. No more going to your local car dealership and picking up a black car, or anything with a dark hue at all.

Unfortunately, this is not a governmental April Fool’s joke, as the announcement was made on CARB’s press release on standards and test procedures. Supposedly the dark paint colors makes climate control systems work harder to cool the car. Here is a link to a PDF of the report.

I like living in California, but the possibility of not being able to buy a car in a dark paint job is silly. Henry Ford would probably be ticked off at this news. Whether you like Ford or not, Henry Ford really did revolutionize the car industry when he introduced the Model T in 1908, as well as starting assembly lines.

My Grandfather had a 1910 Model T and a 1930 Model A, so I love classic Fords. He used to drive us around as kids through the city, everyone in other cars waving and honking hellos.

Henry Ford was a fan of black cars. The Model T originally came in one color, black. In his 1922 autobiography Henry Ford said, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” I doubt he would be a fan of Malibu Barbie’s pink convertible.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Warning Labels

I have always thought there were too many warning labels. If you are brilliant enough to use a hair dryer in the bathtub I think you deserve an eye opening experience courtesy of electricity.

A wise person told me that we should remove warning labels and weed out the population. Those using a lawnmower to cut their own hair and other similar ingenious ideas would get no cautions. Granted her favorite animal was a cute fluffy Great White Shark, so her mental process might be slightly skewed in the direction of carnage. The Calculus Fairy told me happiness is two fistfuls of double-barreled carnage. Maybe I need to rethink my acquaintances, oh, and a shotgun chainsaw combo works well too. You can pick them up at S-Mart in the housewares department.

One warning sorely missed still confuses me as to its absence. At a local campus, there is a large fake waterfall. Designed to be as realistic as possible with various rocks and styles, well, as realistic as you can make a waterfall made of concrete rocks. What could possibly be dangerous about a fake waterfall, especially since I am not planning on using a hair dryer while inside.

I was just relaxing at a table reading near the landscaped waterfall and trees. The only danger I could have imagined was rabid squirrels or even worse, rabid gardeners.

Suddenly I hear an explosion, whipping my head around to see a huge blast of water going into the air. Unfortunately, it was not long before the water remembered gravity and completely drenched a person sitting nearby. I could not see where the blast had come from, and it seemed highly unlikely this was an intended function of the nice peaceful waterfall.

I wonder if S-Mart sells waterfalls.

If Ash were allowed to ride it

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Paul Harvey

The broadcasting world lost one of it's greats yesterday.

Paul Harvey passed away on on the 28th of February at 90 years old. 70 of those years Harvey spent on the radio. He definitely ruffled quite a few feathers with some controversial comments, but the gifted broadcaster was loved by his listeners, broadcasting on over 1,200 stations, and 400 Armed Forces networks.

Many broadcasters have had their trademark styles and personalities, such as Walter Cronkite, dubbed the most trusted man in America. Many will recognize Harvey's voice if you did not know who it was when you listened to it. The below link is a YouTube video with a few quotes from his radio broadcasts.


His pauses and delivery style earned him a reputation for the staccato style of speaking, and I wish his family well. The memory of this radio giant is powerful, and the world will miss him.