Posts in Category: Life in General

My Wife — Defender of the Little Guy

Posted Apr 3rd, 2006 at 7:35 am in Life in General | 3 Comments

I have a cat (I’m sure you’ve heard), and since we have a two bathroom apartment, he occupies one bathroom to himself. We’ve stuck his litter box in the bathtub, behind a shower curtain.

My wife had the good idea of buying a Glade scented plugin to improve the smell. She set it to the lowest level and plugged it in.

When I came home, the entire apartment smelled like she’d spilled a bottle of disinfectant. Even on the lowest setting, it was just too strong. Maybe the low setting was for a Super Walmart, the medium for your average shopping mall, and the high for Texas Stadium. Whatever those levels were for, low was too much for our place.

So my wife, in true Ralph Nader fashion, emails the makers of Glade, explaining that their products sucks, and requesting a refund. The response comes quickly. They appreciate our feedback, and will be sending us a free refill cartridge for our plugin!

Think they even read my wife’s message? She picked up the phone and tenaciously waited on hold, seeking justice.

I now have a check for $4.32 sitting on my desk that I need to cash.

Can You Do Fourth Grade Math?

Posted Mar 24th, 2006 at 10:45 pm in Life in General | 5 Comments

My wife (the student teacher) told me of an absurb question that appeared in a fourth grade class on review material for the state assessment test. Can anyone spot the problems and provide a right answer? There is a set of numbers that gives a mathematically valid solution.

Bella’s age minus her brother’s age is 12. Bella’s brother is 4 times older than Bella. What are the ages of Bella and her brother?

When they said they were making the standards tests harder, I guess they weren’t kidding.

I’m Number One

Posted Mar 22nd, 2006 at 7:59 pm in Life in General | Comments Off

I’ve complained about it before and it’s nice to see that Google has finally listened. I knew it was only a matter of time before they came around and realized my importance.

I’ve edged ahead in the fierce contest for the number one ranking for the phrase ocellated on Google.

I can sleep well now.

Guess Who Just Got Published

Posted Mar 9th, 2006 at 10:32 am in Life in General, Science | 8 Comments

The blogging’s been slow lately as I’ve been trying to catch up with work and school in preparation for spring break. I do however have some exciting news to share.

I am now a published author of a scientific paper. Results of a Mammal Survey of the Tandayapa Valley, Ecuador has just been published in Occasional Papers of the Museum of Texas Tech University, Number 250. I conducted this survey with a professor and an Ecuadorian student in 2003.

Like Gregor Mendel, this work has been published in an obscure journal that no one will read. Unlike Mendel, no one will rediscover this paper 30 years from now to spawn a new field of science.

It’s a simple paper, entirely descriptive of what we found. Basically the area had never been surveyed before, so we extended the range (and/or known elevation) for a handful of species.

And while it’s not much to brag about, it is more of a contribution to science than intelligent design can claim in the last 20 years.

World Domination Will Have to Wait

Posted Mar 5th, 2006 at 6:36 pm in Life in General | Comments Off

Last night, the wife and I felt like a little world domination before going to bed. So like any couple in the mood (for world domination), we pulled out Risk.

A gift at our wedding, we hadn’t even opened the box. We laboriously counted out the appropriate armies and read the rules for two players. And then we realized we had problem. We only had 37 of the 42 country cards that are supposed to be included. Our game was defective! To Target we went, arriving at 10:08pm — you guessed it — 8 minutes after they closed.

So we came back and setup a 1,000 piece puzzle. We’ve got to finish it if we want to eat on our table anytime soon. World domination will just have to wait.

He’s Like Rudy, Only In High School

Posted Feb 28th, 2006 at 9:30 pm in Life in General | Comments Off

For the sentimental who like stories that make you tear up, CBS News ran a story about a kid named Jason McElwain, an autistic kid who’s the manager of his high school’s basketball team. Think of him as Rudy, only in high school.

The coach put him in for the last four minutes of the last game of the season, and the first shot he took, he air-balled by like six feet. His next shot caught the rim, but didn’t fall. He then proceeded to hit six three pointers. In row. The students in the gym went absolutely nuts.

You can watch the video here on Google Video. (Just one piece of advice — I had to wait and let the video mostly download and then play it, otherwise it played faster than I could download it, and the clip got choppy.)

Happy Valentine’s Day

Posted Feb 14th, 2006 at 3:49 pm in Life in General | Comments Off

I wanted to wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day. Be sure to tell those around you how much you love them. Whether it’s a spouse, a special someone, or a family member.

A year ago today, I was a nervous and excited wreck. I can’t believe it’s been one year since I popped the question. Afterwards, her dad gave me a hard time and warned me that all future Valentine’s Days would pale in comparison. I think the memory is all the sweeter.

Who Knew Geography Could Be So Fun

Posted Feb 13th, 2006 at 12:01 pm in Life in General | 1 Comment

Via Grrlscientist, I stumbled across a site that makes learning geography fun. Really fun.

If you’re like most Americans, you’re knowledge of geography is probably embarassing. Mine is.

This site has flash based “games” where you attempt to locate the countries or states in different parts of the world. They have many different levels for each country or region that range from easy to difficult to ridiculously hard.

So the next time you meet someone from Burundi, don’t ask them where it is and then stare blankly at them when they tell you it’s south of Rwanda and west of Tanzania. Instead, ask them how the fishing at Lake Tanganyika is. (Okay, the game won’t teach you that much geography…)

Husky and Sexy

Posted Feb 8th, 2006 at 9:06 pm in Life in General | 6 Comments

Read quickly. I’m in deep trouble when my wife finds this…

Coming back from church tonight we drove by Sonic, and she asked if we couldn’t stop for drinks, fully expecting me to say no. To her delight, I said sure. As we pulled in, I felt so much like that guy in the American Express commerical, who’s girlfriend orders a small popcorn at the movies, and he takes the bold step of saying, “make it a medium.” His girlfriend hugs him with joy, the cashier asks if he wants a drink with that too, and he looks downright scared and shakes his head no. Yeah, like him, I’m a cheapskate. (Not that I have a choice since neither of us have real jobs at the moment.)

So my wife’s getting over a cold, and her voice sounds really hoarse. After ordering, she looks over at me and says, “I think my voice sounds cool. Sort of husky and sexy, don’t you think?”

I kept a straight face for all of two seconds before I started laughing. “Honey, I’m not sure if husky and sexy are normally words that go together…”

Weekly Roundup

Posted Feb 3rd, 2006 at 7:29 am in Life in General | Comments Off

Here’s what caught my eye this week.

  • Ararensis reports on skeletal remains from Mexico that have been determined as belonging to African slaves as early as the end of the 16th century. The science on how they identified these remains is utterly fascinating.
  • Father George V. Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, discusses the Catholic position on science, evolution, and intelligent design. He’s got a lot of good insights, and understands well the places for science and faith.
  • A Danish cartoonist drew some satirical cartoons involving the prophet Mohammad as a terrorist, and it’s gotten him into a lot of trouble. The reaction from the Muslim world has been especially nasty, and he’s been fired. Ed over at Dispatches has an excellent post on The Danger of Radical Islam that goes straight to the heart of what freedom of speech really means, and that if governments start stepping in to censor this type of thing, you might as well throw the first amendment of the constitution away.
  • A visitor to a museum in London tripped over his shoelaces, fell down a flight of stairs, and destroyed priceless vases from China’s Qing Dynasty. He was okay.
  • A couple of Canadian radio pranksters called Jacques Chirac, the prime minister of France, pretending to be Canada’s newly elected prime minister. They had a lengthy conversation, and upon revealing the hoax, Chirac burst into laughter.
  • A lady in Dallas racked up $76,000 in toll fees, having never bothered to pay at the booth as she passed through over 3,000 times.