Posts in Category: Odds and Ends

Why Didn’t I Think Of This For My Wedding

Posted Sep 20th, 2006 at 8:54 am in Odds and Ends | 1 Comment

You know, it’s that song everybody enters the church to…

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Making the World a Better Place, One Computer at a Time

Posted Sep 11th, 2006 at 9:57 am in Humor, Odds and Ends, Technology | 2 Comments

I have a friend (I won’t say who) that recently came across a serious problem. Their workplace wouldn’t allow them to install Firefox. According to IT, Firefox would make the computer more vulnerable to viruses. Yeah, and engaging in abstinence is a risk of AIDS transmission.

Well, as it turns out, this friend could install other programs on the computer. They just couldn’t download certain things due to a filter. So we put Firefox on a flash drive, it installed just fine, and then I got a little creative so that Firefox wouldn’t stand out on the desktop… :)

a new look for Firefox

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Etymology of the Word Avocado

Posted Sep 8th, 2006 at 8:42 am in Books, Odds and Ends | 5 Comments

Several years ago while rambling along the potholed roads of Mexico, my compradres and I began a discussion on the etymology of the word avocado. We all thought that it sounded Spanish but knew it wasn’t since the Spanish word for avocado is not avocado.

I’ve been reading a wonderful book lately that my sister gave me. A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: The Life of William Dampier: Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer by Michael Preston. Sailing around the world in the late 1600s to early 1700s, Dampier wrote a book that popularized the travel narrative in England. His work was very influential for people like Jonathon Swift in Gulliver’s Travels, and Charles Darwin’s The Origin.

Anyway, while reading the other night, I discovered that he gave the first English account of avocados[1]. They were reported by the Spanish to have aphrodisiac qualities (what didn’t the Spanish report having aphrodisiac qualities?), and the book had this footnote:

The word avocado originates from a Nahuatl Indian (Aztec) word meaning “testicle,” a reference either to its shape or to its aphrodisiac qualities.

There you have it. A little something to make you laugh the next time you have avocados or guacamole (the etymology of the latter is Spanish I believe).

[1] He gave the first account for many things, which I’ll cover in my review when I’m done reading the book.

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My Wife Had the Wrong Job This Summer

Posted Aug 31st, 2006 at 8:11 am in Odds and Ends | Comments Off

While I was off having fun in the Davis Mountains, my wife had a job at a local steak house. She found that she didn’t care much for the food industry. What she didn’t realize is that she should have been working at the Applebees in Hutchinson, Kansas, where they leave $10,000 tips on a $26 tab.

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Excellent Choreography

Posted Aug 19th, 2006 at 6:16 pm in Odds and Ends | Comments Off

This one’s just fun. My wife told me about a video she’d seen the other day. The band sets up a series of treadmills that run in opposite directions, on which they can walk across to perform some very interesting choreography. The entire thing was filmed in one take too. The band is named Ok Go, and the song is “Here It Goes Again.” Enjoy.

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Getting a House the Old Fashion Way — Bartering!

Posted Jul 10th, 2006 at 8:22 pm in Odds and Ends | Comments Off

In April, I ever so briefly mentioned the guy who started with a red paper clip and a blog, and wanted to trade his way up for items of higher value until he got a house. Well, now he’s done it.

I’m sure the thought going through about 10 million people’s minds right now is — “why didn’t I think of that”?

If Only The Price Matched The Pump

Posted May 23rd, 2006 at 9:26 pm in Odds and Ends | 1 Comment

I didn’t mention it, but I actually ran home for a couple of days on Sunday and Monday. The timing worked out best that way.

While driving home, I stopped at a gas station with old time gas pumps. I mean really old time gas pumps. I don’t remember the last time I saw pumps like these, though the only gas station in Bakersfield, TX (Pecos County) has them.

old time gas pump

While the pump may be old, it’s prices unfortunately are a sign of the times.

This Is Just Not Right!

Posted May 3rd, 2006 at 9:48 am in Odds and Ends | Comments Off

A 33-year-old man in northern Malaysia has married a 104-year-old woman, saying mutual respect and friendship had turned to love, a news report said Tuesday.

It was Muhamad Noor Che Musa’s first marriage and his wife’s 21st…

There just ought to be law against this.

I’ll Trade You A Red Paper Clip For A House

Posted Apr 17th, 2006 at 9:22 am in Odds and Ends | Comments Off

In what has to be one of the coolest stories I’ve come across in a while, a guy has decided that he wants to acquire a house, starting with a red paper clip and progressively trading it up for higher value items. He’s currently up to a year’s free rent at a place in Phoenix.

Reality Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Posted Apr 17th, 2006 at 7:46 am in Odds and Ends | Comments Off

I’ve almost caught up with my responsbilities. In the meantime, I wanted to share something I came across in one of those moments I should have been working.

There’s an artist who uses Photoshop and Illustrator to create as realistic as possible scenes. Some of his earlier works, while very good, still barely look digitial. His latest work however blows me away. If you know anything about computers and Photoshop, you’ll find the following information on the piece impressive. Note in particular that he spent almost 2,000 hours creating the image.

  • The image size is 40 inches by 120 inches.
  • The flattened file weighs in at 1.7 Gigabytes.
  • It took eleven months (close to 2,000 hours) to create.
  • The painting is comprised of close to fifty individual Photoshop files.
  • Taking a cumulative total of all the files, the overall image contains over 15,000 layers.
  • Over 500 alpha channels were used for various effects.
  • Over 250,000 paths make up the multitude of shapes throughout the scene.

How long will it be before pictures aren’t trustworthy? We’re already there in some regards but it’s only going to get easier as technology improves. It won’t surprise me when digital camera makers introduce “assurance” technology so that images off the camera can be verified as authentic.