Archive for November, 2006

The Idiot Test

Monday, November 27th, 2006

This test is a lot of fun. Pay close attention to the instructions and let me know how well you do.

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Employees Must Pretend to Wash Hands

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

On our way back from Las Vegas we stopped in Barstow. Many places were closed because it’s Thanksgiving Day. We pulled into a gas station that looked like it was open and there were about 15 people milling about outside the restrooms (which were located on the side of the building). We decided that there had to be something better than that, so we drove to a Circle K down the road. There were only a few people at this gas station, so we stopped. I went inside to look for a pen light and a restroom. On the wall next to the restroom doors was a sign: “Closed for cleaning for 20 minutes. Sorry.” I saw a customer come out of the restroom while I was walking toward it, so I went inside.

It was immediately obvious that the sign outside the door had been there for a long time. I tried to hold my breath as I walked past the filthy sinks on the right and the two stalls in use on the left. As I rounded the turn I expected to find at least one urinal, but there was only a trash can where porcelain should have been mounted to the wall. I turned around as a man in a black leather jacket exited one of the stalls. I was not excited to be there.

Inside the stall I twisted the locking mechanism. As my fingers met the cold metal handle I had to remind myself that I would be able to wash my hands on my way out. There was used toilet paper on the floor surrounding the toilet. I’ve never been able to understand this. The toilet is right there, for the love of Pete! If anything it takes more effort to see the toilet and then make a decision not to throw the used toilet paper into it. Someone had also managed to miss slightly when they were sitting down and the remainder of this mistake was still on the back of the rim. The toilet seat was up, and I was glad that I didn’t have anything substantial I wanted to get rid of. When I was done, all I could think of was washing my hands and getting out of there.

At the sink I turned on the water and wet my hands as I looked around for the soap dispenser. It was on the wall between the two sinks. It was covered with dried streaks like someone had brushed their teeth and spit on the top of it and let the foamy toothpaste and spit run down the sides. I pulled the handle below the soap dispenser toward me. Nothing happened. I pulled again, and still nothing. So I started wiggling it back and forth more violently hoping to get a drop of the last bit of soap out. I resigned myself to pretending I was washing my hands, rubbing them together under the water for a while. I figured that was better than nothing. Then I looked for the paper towels. All I could find was a heated-air hand drier. I raised my foot above waist-level and lightly kicked the start button with the front of the sole of my shoe. It took two cycles to completely dry my hands. Then I waited for about 15 seconds for someone to come in the the restroom so I didn’t have to touch the door with my hand.

I decided to skip the hot dogs behind the cash register.

Repurposing the Wii Fund Again

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Krissy was going to take the car to work today so she could run some errands. I was planning on sleeping in a little bit so I could drive at least the last leg of the trip and be awake at one o’clock in the morning. She wakes me up just before she leaves and tells me that there is a flat tire. We’ve had a slow leak for about three months, so I’ve been refilling the tire with air every couple of days. Luckily we have a small air compressor that plugs into the cigarette lighter jack. The tires cost about the same amount of money that I had set aside to purchase the Wii. Once again, the money set aside for the Wii has been taken for something more important.

I could get upset that the Wii has been yanked out from under me twice, but as I see it, at least I had the extra money we needed when a sudden need arose. The Wii can wait. I’m just glad that the tire failed now before we drove to Las Vegas. We are leaving tonight.

Maybe I can make some extra money writing articles for News Forge.


Monday, November 20th, 2006

I went to two Target stores, three Costco stores, two Toys R Us stores, one Circuit City, and one Walmart location and all I got was a Wii Remote. Only one of the places I went said they even had any left today. So much for Nintendo’s claims that they would be able to meet the demand. I demand that my demand be met!

It looks like it will be a while before I get to exhaust the Wii Fund.

Wii Popularity Exceeds Supply

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

I thought I might be able to get a Wii on Monday morning, but it is looking less and less likely the more I read online about the popularity of the Wii and the numerous Costco locations that have already sold out. I was banking on the fact that Costco has been overlooked in previous console releases. The Xbox 360 was still easy to get at most Costco locations the day after its official launch. The only way that I might still be able to get one tomorrow is if one of the local Costco stores didn’t receive a shipment on Sunday and get them in on Monday.

If I can’t get the bundle from Costco it’s not the end of the world. I won’t really have much time to play it anyway. I was still excited for it though. The bundle comes with Zelda: Twilight Princess and Excite Truck. It is looking to be difficult to get Zelda anywhere else; everyone is sold out. Message boards online are also saying that the only way to buy a Wii Remote is from, so it looks like no two-player games for a while. I will post again when I have more information. Here’s hoping that I can find the Wii somewhere tomorrow.

Wii Fund Update

Monday, November 13th, 2006

The money just keeps rolling in from PayPerPost. Things are even better than I expected. I now have enough for the basic system and there is still a week to go. Of course, you don’t get paid until 30 days after you post, so the money I’m getting now is for posts made a month ago. Thanks to my foresight I am on track to meet my goal!

The US Wii website has a lot of new videos of people playing the Wii for the first time. It’s great stuff if you haven’t seen the system in action yet.

I haven’t had a chance to call around and see if any local retailers have playable Wii demos set up. This just happens to be an incredibly busy week for me with a lot of unforeseen deadlines to meet, so I won’t be able to check until Thursday or Friday. I have heard reports that some Gamestop locations around the country have set up Wii displays. I’ll have to go during the day when all the kids are still in school. Early reports say that Excite Truck may not be as much fun as it looks. We’ll just have to see about that.

At Church yesterday I heard some people talking about the Wii. It seems a lot of people still don’t even know that Nintendo is releasing a new system! Unbelievable! With the Release of the Wii in the US just two days after the far-more expensive PS3, Nintendo will soon be all over the news. Once the Wii launches no news story about the PS3 will fail to mention the also brand new Wii. Let’s hope the gameplay from the new Wiimotes is as revolutionary as the system’s original codename implies.

Telescope Memories

Monday, November 13th, 2006

I can’t remember how old I was when I got my first telescope, but I remember how much I enjoyed it. It was a small red telescope that was mostly plastic. It was the spyglass style that you always see in the pirate movies. It didn’t have great magnification, but it was a fun toy, and it worked. I have only ever owned three telescopes in my life. The first was the red toy spyglass. The second one was a gift from my grandparents, and it was a lot nicer.

Shortly after receiving a telescope with a tripod and everything for Christmas my Grandfather and I took it out to the mountains that are home to the Palomar observatory. We didn’t drive all the way up to the observatory, but we stopped on the side of the road about halfway up. There we set up the telescope and did our best to find interesting things I’d never seen except in books or on TV. I was able to spot Venus and could even see that it had phases like the Moon. Those are memories I will cherish forever.

The third one I bought while I was a missionary in Germany. I don’t know what it was that drew me to it. It was another spyglass, but it looked nicer that my first one. It had an all-metal case and much greater magnification, too. We were riding our bikes around the rural area between Mühldorf and Altötting trying to find a bike path since we missed the train. The road was extremely narrow and dangerous to ride a bicycle on. We eventually got somewhat lost, and would have wasting a good amount of time had it not been for my spyglass. I was able to spot the important roadsigns from over a kilometer away and avoid traveling in the wrong direction. I became so known for my spyglass that the Sisters in our district gave me a little Kermit the Frog figure holding a yellow spyglass. They had drawn on my hairstyle and written my name on the base of the plastic toy stand.

Telescopes and binoculars make great gifts (Free UPS shipping on orders of $29.99 or more). People don’t often think of them until they could really use them and then forget about the after the time of need has passed. Do your friends and family a favor and get them a telescope and help them create memories, too.

Simple Tip for Better Photographs

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

I’ve seen it happen so many times, and I always feel bad when it does. Have you ever had a picture of a person where the background is in focus and the person is all blurry? There is a solution, and it’s called focal lock. It’s something that anyone who ever takes a picture with a camera should know about and how to do properly. It’s not a hard thing, but there are still many many people who don’t know about it. I hope the suffering in the world might be lessened by this post.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

You know things are starting to get interesting when your wife tells you not to look at the order history at and when the UPS man starts ringing your doorbell when you aren’t expecting any packages. Today was the first time this year that a mystery package arrived at our door. I hope the box used for shipping is just being reused. It says it was sent by AG Lock and Hardware. The sticker on the box says it contains forty 1/6 bend PVC pipe fixtures. That doesn’t much sound like a Christmas gift. Maybe Krissy is taking a plumbing correspondence course I don’t know about.

The Postie Patrol Strikes Again

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

How would you like to get paid for stuffing your face with pizza? The Postie Patrol is one way rewards its users. They pick a random active user and stop by their place. They give them a choice of tasks to complete for money. The person picks one and craziness ensues. You will see that they have a huge truck in the video. This truck is affectionately nicknamed the Blue Monster. The one in the video that challenges the postie is the founder of PayPer Post, ambulance Ted Murphy. Check it out!