Saturday, May 26, 2007

Solve YOUR problem, not THE problem

I am indebted to KF for sending this item, which was recommended to her by her G-mail, which thinks she is prissy, or old, or both.

SweetPee. The product you didn't know you needed, and still aren't convinced about.
here are the highlights:
Some women invented a disposable trough (judging by the drawings, about the size of a shoe) to use in order to urinate standing up.
So let me say this first: it is possible without a trough, and if you don't believe me, rent The Full Monty.

But then you have to understand the premise that motivated these inventors, in their own words:
"We ...have always had an issue with germs....We wear a mask on airplanes, request two bed sheets and pillow cases in hotel rooms, use a straw rather than put our lips on a restaurant glass, just to name a few of our fears."
It's a wonder they urinate at all, really.
They are still in talks with Norplant about a permanently installed Foley.
I made that part up.

The FAQs are a delight! Here are a few:
Must you throw My SweetPee away after using it?
Oh, MUST I? I am so cheap. Even at $1 a piece when I buy in bulk, I hate to throw things away. Don't the germ-phobes and the hoarders intersect somewhere?
Please do not throw it on the floor behind the door.
Which way do most women prefer to stand while using My SweetPee?
"...most women prefer to face away from the toilet." How much do you want to see the market research?

How does one hold the shield in place?
"...Shape My SweetPee sides like a funnel with your hands."
Somehow this seems less germy to these women than hands-free squatting.

My favorite line on the whole website:
"...invented and patented My SweetPee after many years of research and development."
Imagine that research. Now imagine the pitch meeting.
"I was almost reduced to tears at an airport in a third world country when I saw that the toilet facilities for women were nothing more than holes on the floor...."
I was unmoved by their inability to vote, drive, own property, or speak above a whisper. I also never read a tour book before I went to a third world country. And did you know there was no ranch dressing there?!

"It truly is the answer to my prayers..."
God snickered just now. But in a loving way.

Damn right I sit right down. But then I only go twice a day, as anyone who knows me will tell you.

Best news for you venture capitalists: The SweetPee patent is for sale. Call them to buy now before someone snatches up (oh yes I did) this idea.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How they Get Ya. A trip to the Best Buy

In New England, we like to put "the" in front of things. We also like to comment on "how they get ya." This is one such story and involves the problem of being 1 person with 5 telephones in the house.

I have a simple, and unnecessary goal, which is to have all of my phones ring, that is, with a bell, not an electronic chip that I can not distinguish from my smoke alarm. This is harder to do than you realize, but I have 2 -- both good heavy Ma Bell phones just one generation removed from hard wiring, and both with touch-tone. I do have a dial phone, which is also candlestick, and I enjoy it, but the "ring" sends me right thrugh the roof. In the guest room is an AT&T Trimline, which doesn't actually work. In the kitchen, a wall-model Trimline, which has been failing of late. People tell me they can't hear me well.

The best part of this story is that I never call anybody.

I took a chance yesterday since I was in the Best Buy neighborhood, to see what the price of a Trimline is these days, though I know perfectly well it won't truly ring. $10. Can you stand that anything is $10 anymore? Now, for ten bucks, you don't get a range of colors (I would take an avocado green one, if you have it, and even the sky-blue one). Best Buy had white. You have the buy the tiny connector wire separately.

And you know what else they sell at Best Buy? DVDs. Piles and piles of them.
You know what was released on DVD this week? Roots.

When this was released on video for the first time it was $125, which I certainly didn't have, but neither did I have the closet space for the 8 cassettes it came with. I like a movie that serves as its own bookends.

But today, my friends, it is 3 discs, 1 box, thin as a dime. Or 5 dimes. I didn't measure.
And $39. So damn right I bought it, despite what I said yesterday about not getting trapped under a DVD collection.

And that's how they get ya. Because I could have gotten out of there for 12 bucks.
And I can't get the new Trimline to stay vertical on the wall. probably because the guy who knew the physics of this thing died in the 80s.

While I was typing this, 2 phone incidents occured:
1) someone called, but I am on the level with the broken phone. So I didn't bother. Because you could break your neck running for the phone in this house.

2) Someone's wireless call came in over my speakers. I didn't take a message.

You know how else they get ya at the Best Buy, with the loud music and the slacker clerk-boys and the confusing signage for technology unfamiliar to me?
I forgot to look for Roomba.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I, Roomba

The patter of little feet I am considering adding to my home do not belong to a mammal. I have been thinking about bringing a Roomba into my selfish little life.

I need your advice on this, not because I am worried what Chiffarobe will think (we have been together some time now, and he seems secure in his position as head of the household) but because Roomba is an Insane Robot, with Haunted Child rising -- this one can fight Cancer, for crying out loud!!

I have heard that people become emotionally attached to their Roomba, and some genius entrepreneur has marketed little Mr Potato Head like stickers so one can personalize.

Here's all I want -- to vaccum under the furniture. And not carry the upright up the stairs anymore. Smurph describes my home as a lighthouse. When I am carrying things from level to level, I am more inclined to say "ladder."

It is a standard bachelor-girl townhome, meaning each room is just as small as rooms I lived in on Beacon Hill, but if you stack them on top of each other, it feels like space. And it does feel like space, too -- miles of it when I am "Hoovering."

The British say Hoovering, which makes the Dyson guy seem even funnier when you think about that.
Sorry James, I don't think "Dysoning" is going to catch on.

Now, according to Robot Law, the Roomba is not permitted to attack me in my sleep (or otherwise).

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Through inaction. Think about that. If I choke on my own dust, or trip over it in its station (dogbed), is Roomba to blame?

A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. In the world of product design, I call this a "good requirement." When I say it, I mean it more as a comment on the product designer than the rule itself. I just say "Good for you for finding the loophole before Roomba did."

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. This one brings it all home by finding the human loophole too. It also means that if things come to blows between Roomba and me, it will never end. We'll just tustle around the house like Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner until the place falls down around ears. Then, after a beat, a rustling in the rubble. Roomba emerges, and removes the dust away from my face. I take a deep breath, and we regard each other as the camera irises out.

By the way, "I, Roomba," is such an obvious title, I considered not using it. But then I remembered this isn't college. This is also the reason I don't have a conclusion to this essay.

Your Roomba advice is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Worcester Tornadoes

I think I may have to start another label for this blog called "storms." If I live through this one.

To make matters crazier, the local weather station pauses during tornado watch updates to show ads for cancer hospitals.

This particular cell (of storms, not cancer) is moving quickly, judging by the thunder that just blew overhead. I am in the lower level, with curtains drawn, when it got so dark that the porch light came on. I picked the wrong day to leave the car outside the garage.

So anyway... I am writing on battery. Don't worry about that. I depend on my blog-o-sphere to distract me through these bizarre moments. I realize that as you read this, the moment has long passed (some longer than others...ahem) but I want you to enjoy the drama as much as I do.

Why a Worcester tornado watch is worth fretting over. (there are over 100 slides there, so link at your own risk)

The watch went up at noon, and is in effect until 7pm. It is 5:30 now, and we are in the second line of storms. The first line opened my garage door. That issue may not be fully resolved, but between the storms I moved the car inside and have decided tomorrow is another day.

Thank goodness my dear friend Mark is here to see me through this.... Maker's Mark. [insert laugh track] I actually did try to insert a laugh track, and this is the kind of thing I get lost in instead of creating a process flow for non-core implementation. What's that, you ask? oh, sigh, who cares.

Gotta go, but you all come back now, ya hear?

Pick your favorite Dorothy:

A: Classic
B: Vintage
C: Fierce that's Jim Bailey, by the way. I've seen him live (rhymes with five, not shiv). I should blog about that sometime. Or I should just keep it to myself)
D: Snarky. That might also be Jim Bailey.

Good Night America. How are ya.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Herding the Rain

or... where the heck I've been

You don't have to believe that I have a list of 10 topics I have been meaning to write about, going back to the passing of Audrey Santo in the middle of March.

You don't have to believe it, but it is true, and what happened was I fell into the wormhole of my addiction and have been unable to get out.

My specific brand of workoholism is, sadly, unrelated to my work in any way. Unrelated to my ego, or self-esteem, or even satisfaction of a job well done. It is the stress of the unfinished tasks, dozens of them, clearing their impatient throats, ticking their little sixty minutes clocks. (that effect took a little effort - here at DrawingIn, we care)

Recently, at dinner with Kit, I found the comparison I was looking for as I tried to explain it to her. If you have ever watched border collies at work, you have some sense of the pressure of things needing to be done. I am certain you could run a herding dog completely to death and he would go with his tongue lolling out of his ridiculous smiling mouth, so pleased to have gotten the ducks, or the sheep, or the tennis balls all in their places. again.

Here is footage of one trying to herd the rain.

I totally get it, dawg. But you're never going to get ahead of that.

They probably make a pill for this, but I don't want to take it.

So it is Saturday morning and here is what you've missed. By the way, this is the blog equivalent of the clip-show, and I acknowledge that lacks some craft. But you'll have to take it, or wait for your letter, or come over here and do some of this laundry. It is 8:19am, Nanci Griffith is on the stereo, and there is a day of housewifery ahead, so enjoy this stream of consciousness while I am still conscious.

April 16 - the passing of Little Audrey Santo.
I got fairly deep into this post, but didn't finish it. It will have to come back later, because the danger of a blog (and a sardonic sense of humor) is that the readership begins to expect that every post is about to be a lark, and sometimes I want to talk about something more serious. Most of the time, I am just trying to figure out what I think about a thing, and I can spin around a topic for 2-300 words without coming to much of a conclusion.
This might be one of those posts.

It is not my intention to make fun of Audrey Santo in any way, because she was someone's child; because one never knows what one would do in these situations; because I spent a lot of energy resolving the ethics of Terry Shiavo and her family; and because one can not actively be a christian without confronting what one really believes (and wants to believe) about miracles.

And because those kids in Yugolsavia have stuck by their story for 25 years. And what do you do with that?

There was to be a post called "Pinky Swear: no blogging!" in which 3 dear friends and sometime bloggers go out together and something awful and embarrassing happens to one of them, and the other 2 lock fingers and declare..."Pinky Swear: No Blogging!" Eventually everyone you know reads your blog -- or at least, you hope they do, but it is hard to tell (hint hint) -- and in one of life's paradoxes, you find you have less to say than before. But I couldn't write about not writing about it without writing about it, and eventually... some meeting minutes had to be typed.

Bridget's Diary homage:
# of meeting minutes on deck = 5 ....going back to May 2..... hope you took your own notes
# of project team members waiting for me to do something that is blocking their tasks = 3

I needed the Readership's input on this. This is no way to teach geography. Unless you are in hell. PS: any 6th grader will notice that looks like "gonads." And laugh milk through their nose.

Also in April, down at the Mill, we had Take your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and did I ever have a rant and a half about that. Here it is condensed:
1. This is not what the Ms foundation had in mind, you co-opting opportunists, and I am so disappointed in Ms for backing down on the girls-only angle.
2. Seriously? 6 year olds?
3. The Mill planned a full-day program, which didn't actually include the kids' parents, so it was a day off of school with kids you don't know in an office. Dullsville. There was a mutiny at about 2pm. We could have used a border collie.
4. If you want to expose kids to the real world of work,why not ask them to get together in small groups and create a mural of say, the Battle of Gettysburg, in chalk on rolls of black paper, let them work for about 6 of the hours they will be there all day, then after cookies and milk tell them never mind and wad it up in front of them.

oh, sweet Internet, how I love you

There was the night Dodie called and opened with "I have a male homosexual question. 2, in fact." This was hilarious at the time. It doesn't retell well. But it was almost a post. (don't worry, fellas, I represented).

It also led nicely into "The Single Girl's Guide to Flipping a Mattress," which was to contain safety-style drawings and diagrams. But it wasn't as funny as the title, or this drawing, so I bailed.

How about this? I mean, really, what more needs to be said?

A fight broke out between 2 80 yr old women at the yard sale of assets of the Lancaster Current Topics book club. I invite any of you to write the short story inspired by this event and submit it to "you Can't Make this Sh*t up dot com."

I am angry at the entire state of California for taking both Suburbia and the Rockport Girls. I am happy for everyone's success and wish them well. I have decided to fault the state instead of you. Send mail. I was pleased to be able to give Suburbia directions to the San Jose airport by looking it up for her while she drove there. (the collie yips with delight)

Wasn't it Bozo who said, "That ought to hold the little bastards"?
Thanks for reading. And mostly for waiting.

# of laundry loads waiting = 4
# of overdue tasks on the Outlook Task Pad = 20
# of letters waiting to be written = 9
# of cups of coffee left in this house = 1

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Here's what I'm thinking

I have a bunch of posts on-deck that I can't seem to get to, and which are becoming outdated. but here's what I'm thinking right now, as I sit in Colonial Chevrolet (O! happy wireless!).

Why doesn't car insurance work like health insurance?
That is... why don't we get a co-pay on regularly scheduled maintenance, and some kind of perscription coverage for parts?