Friday, August 14, 2009

Geek Humor

Given Mike's recent post describing engineers, and given the brief discussion I had with LiLu and Lemmonex at the most recent happy hour about really enjoying bad jokes, I thought I'd take this opportunity to pass along a couple of geek jokes from my past.

Now you'll need to be something of a geek to get these, and at least one of them comes from days as a chemistry major. I feel compelled to tell you up front that these are not particularly good jokes, so if you groan, I'll know you got them. If you laugh, I'll suspect you're just being kind.

1) An engineer and a mathematician are interviewing for the same job. First to be interviewed is the engineer. The interviewer says, "I have a question that I like to ask in order to help determine problem-solving abilities. Suppose there's a fire in my trash can and there's a bucket of water on the chair next to you. What would you do?" The engineer says, "I'd pick up the bucket of water and pour it on the fire." The interviewer says, "Good, good. Now suppose the bucket of water is next to my desk and the trash can on fire is on the chair next to you. What would you do?" The engineer thinks this is sort of ridiculous, but says, "Why, I'd pick up the bucket of water and pour it on the fire." The interviewer says, "OK, good. You can go. We'll be in touch." Next up is the mathematician. The interviewer eventually asks him the same question, "Suppose there's a bucket of water next to you on the chair and the trash can beside my desk is on fire. What would you do?" The mathematician says, "I'd pick up the bucket of water and pour it on the fire." The interviewer says, "Good, good. Now suppose the trash can on fire is on the chair next to you and the bucket of water is next to my desk. What would you do?" The mathematician says, "I'd move the trash can to the side of your desk, move the bucket of water to the chair next to me, and that would reduce it to a problem I've already solved."

2) An engineer and a mathematician are converging on a pretty woman. The mathematician says, "You know we can never actually reach her." The engineer responds with, "Yeah, but we can get close enough!"

3) Werner Heisenberg and Rene Descartes are ordering lunch at McDonald's. The counter person asks Descartes, "Would you like a hot apple pie with that?" Descartes answers, "I think not" and he disappears! The counter person turns to Heisenberg and says, "Did you see that?" Heisenberg answers, "Maybe."

4) Three Native American women had children. The first gave birth to a little boy on a buffalo skin. The second gave birth to a little girl on a mountain lion skin. The third one gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, on a hippopotamus skin. This just goes to prove that the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sum of the squaws of the other two hides.

5) [For my finale, the only thing I learned from 3 semesters of calculus] What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhinoceros? You get an elephant times a rhinoceros times the sine of theta. What do you get when you cross an elephant with a mountain climber? You can 't do that because a mountain climber is a scaler (scalar).

Please don't beat me up at the next happy hour.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thanks for all the music, Mr. Paul

Les Paul (1915 - 2009)

Making an Informed Decision

I suppose it's possible that at some point in my life I will cease to be amazed at how some people get by in the world, but I'm beginning to lose hope. I'm just back from lunch and this is the conversation between a Subway employee and a customer just behind me:

Customer: How much is a 6-inch tuna?
Employee: [pointing at the menu just over her head] Four dollars.
Customer: How big is it?
Employee: How big is a 6-inch sandwich?
Customer: Yes.
Employee: Um... 6 inches?
Customer: You mean, like, onetwothreefourfivesix?
Employee: Yes.
Customer: Oh. In that case give me two foot-long Spicy Italians.

I think this might qualify for a page in one of my favorite blogs.

Try as I might, I simply cannot fathom the thought processes, if they can be called that, of the customer while this conversation was taking place.

Did she think she might confuse the employee into giving her two foot-long meat sandwiches for the price of one 6-inch tuna? Is there some form of "6" besides onetwothreefourfivesix that I'm not aware of? Does anyone really walk into a Subway thinking to themselves, "I'm gonna have either a 6-inch tuna or two feet of Spicy Italian"?

Isn't this like getting all the details for a one-way flight to Atlanta and then buying 2 round-trip tickets to Omaha?

It makes me wonder if she asks the person at Home Depot how tall their 8-foot stepladders are, or the person at the 7-11 how much a 32-ounce Big Gulp holds.

Life just shouldn't be this difficult, people. I'm only thankful that she was behind me and not in front of me.

No, I'm also thankful that I don't work in retail.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Touch of Gray

But I feel I'm growing older,
and the songs that I have sung
echo in the distance like the sound
of a windmill going 'round.

--Deep Purple

I find that as I'm getting older, the reminders that I'm getting older become more and more frequent. I'm not talking about aches and pains or the fact that I'm slowing down. I'm not talking about those little grunting sounds I make every time I sit or stand. I'm not talking about the fact that I don't dare eat pizza after 8:00 PM any more. I'm talking about simply having conversations with people

This actually came to mind after reading some of the comments on Shannon's blog in which she referred to the 1976 movie "Logan's Run". Some folks had no idea what the reference was all about, and that really surprised me since I saw that movie in the theater when it was initially released. It takes a while for it to settle into my brain that that was 33 years ago and that a very large percentage of the population wasn't even born then.

Frankly, not being much of a videophile, it was actually pure coincidence that Shannon came up with a movie that I had just happened to see. Typically when I think of pop culture, I think of music which I dearly love and love to talk about.

Here are a few things I've mentioned in recent years and the responses I've gotten to them:

ME: I have "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" on CD.
RESPONSE: Who are they?

ME: Thought I might plug in a little Billie Holiday.
RESPONSE: Who is Billie Holiday?

ME: I'm looking forward to seeing Johnny Mathis this weekend.
RESPONSE: I know that name....

ME: Man! I actually got to see Leon Russell in concert last weekend.
RESPONSE: [blank stare]

Part of the reason for this is that most people aren't very interested in the roots of the music they choose to listen to, if they choose to listen to music. Part of the reason for this is that a lot of folks, unlike me, don't have the benefit of having older siblings and the music they listened to. Part of the issue is that my taste in music tends to run to those artists that make the Top 100, but rarely if ever make the Top 40. But if I'm honest with myself, part of the reason is that I tend to cling to these things from my youth like cat hair on a sweater.

I suspect that I could easily list off the pop/rock groups from the past 25 years that have intrigued me enough to actually purchase some of their music: The Dave Matthews Band, Green Day, Counting Crows, David Gray, Ozric Tentacles (find them on YouTube, they're pretty amazing), Flogging Molly, Collective Soul, Crash Test Dummies, Del Amitri, Gin Blossoms, Hothouse Flowers, Indigo Girls, Sass Jordan, Matchbox 20. There may be others, but the list is small compared to what I own from the 30 years or so before that. I'm surprised that I came up with that many, but 25 years is a long time.

So in the interest of higher education, I'm including these 4 clips from the artists I first mentioned. This is a tiny, tiny sample of the sort of thing I'm talking about, and these wouldn't even qualify as my favorites. They're all just very, very good. Perhaps you can hear the echoes of some of your favorites in their music.

I hope you enjoy.

Possibly the apex of '60s psychedelic rock -

Smooth, smoky, the blues done right -

An incredibly smooth voice. 73 years old and he's still got it -

He can't sing, but he can write and he OWNS the piano -

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"I'm not quite clear about what you just spoke" - Crash Test Dummies

I would like to relate a conversation that occurred at last Friday's Blogger Happy Hour between Lemmonex, Malnurtured Snay, myself and another blogger whose name unfortunately escaped me. Bear in mind that there were a lot of people in a very small space and the music was thumping. I will try to relate this based on what I believe Lemmonex actually heard versus what was actually said:

Snay: This is [Blogger whose name I didn't get]. This is Lemmonex and this is Gilahi.
Blogger: [to Lemmonex] Oh! I read your blog all the time!
Lemmonex: Really! Thank you!
Snay: [to Lemmonex] You're fatter!
Lemmonex: [with a look that would have reduced a lesser man to ashes] I'm WHAT?
Snay: You're fatter!
Me: [leaning in to Lemmonex's ear] You're fuh-LAT-er-DUH! You're flattered!
Lemmonex: Oh! Man, I was about to give you a lesson in what not to say to a woman.

And I believe she would have, too.

At least this is what I think Lemmonex heard, based entirely on her reaction. If I'm right, I think she showed admirable restraint.

It occurred to me afterward that there was no good way to mis-hear the word "flattered". Even if the "L" sound had come through, you definitely wanted to be sure that the "D" sound on the end was heard as well.

See what you miss by not attending these events? Not only was there music, good people, good conversation, and good booze, there was very nearly a murder as well.

So hey, let's be careful out there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Random Bits & Pieces

A few random thoughts from my list of blog ideas. None of them seem to lend themselves to complete posts, so I'll just list them here.

  1. Just in case you read this, Mb, I haven't forgotten that you tagged me for a meme, nor am I ignoring it. I'm just having a hard time finding the keepsake I wanted to talk about. Some keepsake, huh? I'll get to it, I promise.

  2. I've never been one to argue the relative benefits of animals, but I can't help but notice one thing: There are stores that successfully sell worms, leeches, and crickets, but people in front of the library have a hard time giving cats away.

  3. University of Maryland University College - Is that the stupidest name for a school you ever heard of? For those of you outside of the DC area, this is a real school that advertises on TV constantly. I can't decide if this institution was founded by really forgetful people or stutterers. If they're going to reuse multiple synonyms in their name, they could have come up with a better acronym than UMUC: Maryland University Scholastic Institute College (MUSIC), Maryland Institute Scholastic College University for Education (MISCUE), Academic Scholastic School/Halls Of Learning and Education (ASSHOLE). You can see that the possibilities are endless. Why UMUC? They may as well have called it Maryland University University Maryland University University (MUUMUU).

  4. You hear people say, "I couldn't believe my eyes/ears", but no one ever says, "I couldn't believe my nose!" Is your nose somehow more trustworthy than your other body parts? What about your spleen? Can you trust your spleen?

  5. The best way to make the highest score you've ever had on any video game is to be playing it when your spouse/SO says, "OK, I'm ready to go now". And no matter how much you try to explain that it's your highest score ever and if you stop now you'll lose it and this is bigbigbigbig, it's somehow not as important to your spouse/SO as their sibling's wedding that you're already late for.

  6. Didja ever notice that most people who talk about how much they LOVE New York City are the people who have left it? If it means that much to you, go back. The last thing we need here is yet another import telling us at every opportunity how the place they're from is better than the place they've chosen to be. And I don't care what you say, you always have choices. If it really means that much to you, you'll find some way to get back there. Otherwise, we just don't want to hear it.

  7. Why are there no seedless lemons? There are seedless oranges, tangerines, watermelons (sort of), etc. We're always juicing lemons and having to pick out those slimy seeds. How hard could it be to come up with seedless lemons?

  8. Really, on a purely objective level, how can you ever tell how contented a cow actually is? They pretty much look the same no matter what. How do we know the best milk comes from contented cows? Maybe the best milk comes from cows that are white hot with rage. We just don't know how to judge cow moods.

  9. Geek Alert: If odometers were in binary instead of decimal, my car would have 63 miles on it. On the other hand, if they were in hexadecimal, my car would have 1,118,481 miles on it.

That's all. Any questions above are mostly rhetorical, but if you want to answer any of them in the comments, please feel free. Also, any more Maryland University College School Institution Maryland University University University University acronyms could be fun.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Gimme a head with hair. Long, beautiful hair" - from "Hair"

I got a haircut last week.

I've mentioned more than once in this space that I wear my hair long. If I happen to mention a haircut to someone, they often say, "You get your hair cut?"

No. I let it grow down between my shoulder blades and by sheer force of my indomitable will I make it stop right there.

But even before it was long, I got the response that every guy on the planet who has hair has gotten. Walk into the office, your local bar, school, church, AA, whatever, and someone will inevitably say, "You got a haircut!"


What is it that makes people want to tell you something about yourself that should be pretty obvious to you? I used to think that perhaps I could stop this activity with smart-ass rejoinders.

"I got 'em all cut."

"No, I washed it in very hot water and it shrank."

Didn't faze anybody. After spending an hour in a chair for a wash, cut, and blow-dry, then shelling out a month's salary for the privilege of smelling like a French brothel for the rest of the day, people still felt compelled to tell me just in case I hadn't noticed.

A couple of years ago, I lost my mind one night and shaved off my beard. Everyone I met the next day said, "You SHAVED!"

"No, I just decided to grow it inward for a while."

"You have an uncanny knack for grasping the obvious."

"What was your first clue, my total lack of chin or the IV I'm attached to because of the blood loss?"

What's the special thing about changing your hair or facial hair that makes people feel they need to tell you what you've done to yourself? Nobody ever says, "You put on deodorant!", "You took a bath!", "You finally flicked that thing out of your nose!" It's the failure to do these things that elicits comments, and then it's usually behind your back. I'm tempted to start every conversation from now on with "Your hair is exactly the same!"

Just stop it. Resist the urge. Guys know when they've done these things.

You read my blog!

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