Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fingertips, Class of 2009

My new work computer is an IBM Thinkpad laptop. This model has the option of using your fingerprint to enable it's biometric security. Personally, I'm disappointed they aren't yet using the retina scan for laptop security. I'm looking forward to the day when I can laugh at everyone (and myself) leaning over to line eyeballs up within centimeters of a screen-mounted vision system. While peering into my monitor in public places, I would comment on all the amazing things I could see inside.

When I log on to my fancy pants computer, I occasionally get prompted to "Log in to enroll your fingertips." Never in my life did I expect my fingertips to be so important. They need to be enrolled. They're all grown up, my fingertips. Today, I couldn't help but imagine a day in the future when my fingertips would don caps and gowns at biometric security graduation. I'm so proud, I'm getting all choked up.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Have You Bathed Your Chief Executive Lately?

Last week, I started a new job. I still work in the life sciences industry and work at a laboratory. As in most fields, there is local jargon and terminology. In most laboratories, chemicals and biological reagents are abbreviated. It's not uncommon to see bottles labeled with a variety of acronyms such as H20 (water), EtOH (ethanol), or WTF (unknown).

In getting to my team and the laboratory processes by way of a laboratory tour, I took note of materials, machines, and mice (there were none, but it's always good to keep tabs on 'em). I smiled when I saw a bottle labeled "CFO Wash". Of course, I realize that this is a specific reagent to the technology used in that part of the lab. However, I couldn't help but imagine that this liquid was available just in case the company's head of all things financial showed up looking a bit dusty (one gets that way from rolling around in money. Or so I hear). Naturally, my next thought was...self-applied or team-building exercise?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spread Blogs, Not Swine Flu

You clicked it! You must send the link to this blog ( to 10 friends within 24 hours or you will undoubtedly get swine flu. As this chain letter has not yet been optimized, there is a 10% failure rate for recipients in which only partial symptoms will be experienced. Therefore, 9% of my those who fail to share this blog will get the "normal" flu while 1% of them will turn into pigs. Sorry.

Okay, so I've been a little absent and clearly my fear of decreased readership is on my mind. Please stick around. I've simply been busy as I change jobs. Tomorrow is my first official day onsite. I spent the last two days in orientation getting oriented. I must now start sleeptation getting sleeped.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tyler the Dad Has a Posse.

Tyler the Dad Has a Posse.
(I enjoyed the Shepard Fairey exhibit at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art today.) Granted my posse consists of two toddlers and their mommy, but it's a posse nonetheless).

When I got home, I noticed an article online. The link is here, but just in case it dissolves I have pasted it here also with credits to the Boston Globe:

"BERLIN—German police said an elderly man was so annoyed at hearing the same serenade over and over that he called authorities to report his neighbors -- only to discover the culprit was a musical greeting card on his own windowsill. Police said Tuesday the 82-year-old from Goslar in central Germany told officers he was sick of the music, which would come at irregular intervals and at all hours.

Upon further investigation, police found the musical greeting card on his windowsill, where occasional breezes opened the card just enough to play an irritating tune.

Police said the retiree was happy to find out his neighbors weren't trying to annoy him."

That's hysterical! But, apparently I owe my neighbor next door an apology. I guess they haven't been singing Feliz Cumpleanos in their best Dora the Explorer voice all Winter after all. And Mrs. O'Shamrock stopped talking to me the day I suggested that her singing was worse than a 25-cent Mexican Music Box. I said Adios and forgot about it until I saw this article.

The story prompted me to find that card in my living room and throw it out immediately. But, I won't stop my visits to the local Hallmark store to see one particular Thinking Of You card. We have an understanding. She always opens up to me (no really, she does) and sings such sweet words to me. Repeatedly and confidently. Until they close the store at night and ask me to leave.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If You Lived Here, You Would Be Reading About Toilet Seats and Olive Oil By Now

I have the week off between jobs. I was going to work on my book a little, but have been too restless. Perhaps tomorrow if the weather keeps me from going outdoors as planned. In the meantime, I've been running errands and making note of humorous observations along the way. Here are several:

My to-do list took me to Lowe's. My wife had a break in her schedule, so I picked her up on the way. Once we got there she said that she was glad that she came along so that I didn't go "overboard". Apparently, this has happened before. On my list of five items was a toilet seat. We really need to replace the seat in our 1/2 bath on the first floor of our house. Since we bought the house two years ago, sitting on that thing has given visitors a good scare when they begin to slide. Obviously they haven't actually fallen off, because there would have been a post or two about it by now.

At Lowe's, the toilet seat display is very interesting. The seats are hanging vertically from the standard metal shelving that they have throughout the store. I imagine that they are hanging like this, because they want to prevent folks from trying them out for comfort. Once we selected a seat based on visual inspection alone, we discovered that the new seats were behind the hanging displays. They were hung pretty high and a bit awkward to move. Therefore, one would have overheard in Aisle 12: Can you please lift the toilet seat while I pull one of those suckers out?

While driving to a meeting this afternoon, I noticed a run down beer and liquor store with no cars in the parking lot. The large sign out front said:

Ask About Our Olive Oil

ATM Inside

I'm not an expert on marketing, but I have a feeling that they need to change their sign if they want to sell more, I dunno, beer and liquor? It's not the olive oil or the ATM that's bringing people in. Who's running inside and asking for recommendations on olive oil? Something that goes well with fish and my in-laws. Oh and I'm going to buy a lot, so do you happen to have an ATM?

A popular chain of coffee shops now offers "Artisan Sandwiches". If sandwich making is an art, then I'm Picasso. Joking aside, please point me in the direction of the next Sandwich Artisan Open Studios.

I was in a clothing store today looking at dress socks. I wondered, how often to guys actually buy the combo of three socks of different shades? I can understand how this works for kids - stripes, polka dots, and dancing bunnies. But, how often does someone look at the package and think, Wow, those match my khaki, taupe, and dancing bunny pants perfectly! I would bet that 2/3 of the dress sock trio end up in the back of the drawer indefinitely.

Today, I also saw a sign in front of an apartment complex that read "If you lived here, you'd be home by now." I thought this sign was funny and creative when used in front of the condominiums along Storrow Drive in downtown Boston to taunt the drivers sitting in traffic. But, in the suburbs the sign doesn't make any sense. You could hang that sign anywhere and it would be true. It led me to think about how this sign could be more interesting under different circumstances:

If you lived here, you'd be dead by now. (Cemetery)
If you lived here, you'd have ten wives by now. (Polygamist Commune)
If you lived here, you'd be running a successful drug trafficking business by now. (Vacant Warehouse)
If you lived here, you'd be taking this sign down by now. (Anywhere)

Please leave a comment and tell me what else you would be doing by now if you lived here...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Why Is Toilet Paper Embossed Anyways?

While at a popular coffee shop, I used the men's room. I noticed an unwrapped roll of toilet paper with the manufacturer's name, Envision, on it. That's very appropriate for a company who wants you to be forward-thinking when using their product or especially when planning to use their product (or not). In other words, try to "envision" a scenario where you didn't have any toilet paper.

As a side note, I Googled the product and the company and found advertisements for their "embossed" toilet paper. Subsequently, and not by accident, I found an online dictionary entry for "embossed" that read: "to mold or carve in relief". We've now moved from appropriate to inappropriate.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wearing Many Hats. Literally.

Although it was quite ambitious and a challenge to sustain, I miss the days of posting my humorous observations every day. Please do not misunderstand the more recent pauses between postings. It is not that there isn't any humor to share, but rather I've been laughing too hard to type. Okay, so that is only partially true. I've also been very busy. For now, I'll share a few things on my mind.

First of all, I'm still enjoying my Kreativ Blogger Award. However, with it comes the great responsibility of tagging two more bloggers worthy of the Award. I've been too busy to articulate my nominations, but plan to do so soon. It also wasn't helpful that I briefly lost the award. It's actually a virtual award, but I carry it everywhere. The morning after I received it, I was excited to take it to work. I carried it to my car along with my laptop and lunch. However, I must have left it on my car's roof and drove off without realizing it. Needless to say, my award fell off the roof and shattered into a million (virtual) pieces. Boy, was I embarrassed. So, I've been looking all week for a new one. As part of my strategy, I even posted "in search of" ads online in hopes of finding a suitable replacement. One particular ad, which offered massages in exchange for a new or "like new" Kreativ Blogger Award, got me in a bit of trouble with the police. In the end, I decided to make my own with the same virtual materials used to make the first one. Back on track, I'm planning to write more about my nominations soon.

This past week was my last week at my most recent job. It included a lot of dining out for lunch and dinner with friends and coworkers. One such outing was to a barbecue restaurant that also specialized in "chicken and waffles". Surprisingly, this is not the humorous part of the story. But, it's at least worth mentioning that I never thought that I would enjoy a waffle topped with fried chicken, 5 herb butter, maple syrup, and honey mustard sauce would be so good. One Inner Humorist reader made me proud with a great joke, including the words "waffle" and "chicken", when referring to another coworker's indecision about joining us for lunch.

The humorous part of the chicken and waffles experience was what happened when we ordered. As far as I could tell, there were three people working; the cashier, the cook, and The Expediter. The cashier did all the cooking and the cook did all the cashiering. Just kidding. Their roles and responsibilities were clear. The Expediter also had an important role. Actually, he had two. He stood near the chef behind a stainless steel table and faced the seating area. As the chef completed meals, he placed them on the table. When an order was complete, he yelled loudly "Order UP!" He then promptly walked around the table and picked up the order and bring it to the awaiting customer. Since I was with a party of nine, I had the opportunity to watch him do this repeatedly. Was he really announcing "Order UP!" to himself? Brilliant. When you are shorthanded and wearing many hats, why not make it clear to everyone around? In fact, if I were him I would probably swap hats as I rounded the table corner. I might someday have the opportunity. When I open my coffeeshop, I might "hire" a full staff of characters all of which I will act out independently. Unfortunately this business plan is instantly flawed, because as soon as the manager asked one of the slacker employees to clean the bathroom, I would quit.

On a separate topic, why does the spellcheck on Blogger highlight "bloggers" as a misspelling, but not "blogger"? They should have more confidence. Of course there's more than one. Or perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt. Is there a plural for "blogger" that I am unaware of? Like Bloog, Bleeg, or Bloggerie?

Finally, if you are reading please say hi. Leave a comment or "Follow" me. I promise not to "Lead" you anywhere that doesn't have chocolate.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lickety Split

In my house, there is a lot of singing and dancing. Despite good advice by friends and my insurance agent, I too participate in the ongoing musical that is life in my home. I've been typecast as father, but have been known to play other roles such as Tickle Dog and Woogie from Something About Mary. And given my overall positive and humorous outlook on life, there is always something to sing about.

My wife and I try, sometimes unintentionally, to turn a word or phrase into song. I've lost count of how many times I have belted out instructions for the bedtime routine in my best tenor voice. My attempted soprano is bad enough to actually expedite bedtime routines and end otherwise perfect afternoons. If the kids knew the phrase "That's an hour of playtime I'll never get back," they certainly would have used it a million times by now. I also learned quickly that singing "Do you want a timeout? (I know you do!)" to the melody of Bob the Builder isn't nearly as effective as I hoped. However when we sing "Let's Go Lickety Split!", a phrase used to imply the need for great haste, the kids laugh and laugh as they pick up their pace.

My wife and I also catch ourselves singing our conversation to each other, even when the kids are in another room. We sing our conversation.

"How was your day?" I might sing.
"Please stop singing!" she might sing back.
"Do you want a timeout? (I know you do!)" I would conclude.

It's also very normal for us to take a normal phrase and make a silly song by truncating the words and making our own version of a remix. For example, "Zippity Do Da" might easily become "Zip it, Zip it! Do it! Do it! Zip Zip Zip it! Do it and Zip it!" This play with words is almost always safe with the kids, however recently my wife suddenly transformed a g-rated activity into a x-rated one when she tried to apply the word shortening and "It" appending game on the otherwise harmless phrase "Lickety Split". Go ahead, try it.