Monthly Archives: September 2007

God Responds to Ernie, Uses Loophole to Avoid Suit

As you may remember from my last post, God’s wrath was diverted from me thanks to the antics of a certain Nebraska legislator. Our pal Ernie originally filed a lawsuit against the Almighty, blaming him for all sorts of bad goings on in the world. Well, a response shewing forth god-like wisdom was sent — effectively shutting Ernie down.

The 11th Commandment

Reportedly, God straightened Ernie out by explaining that just because He gave man the gift of free agency, it does not follow that He is therefore responsible for the actions of man. In other words, Ernie’s suit is non sequitur (I always wanted to use “non sequitur” in a sentence… yes!) The response further states that the defendant is immune from earthly laws and the court lacks jurisdiction.

So there ya go Ernie. But I somehow get the idea that this isn’t going to get you out of a pretty nasty sentence come judgment day.

Stu Gets Reprieve as God Gets Tied Up in Lawsuit

Wow. Things sure have turned around recently. You may remember that I was convinced some greater power was out to get me. Well, things quite suddenly started working out, leaving me wondering just what was going on.

The $600 I owed UVSC? Turns out my wife’s financial aid adviser is just incredibly lazy. When my wife called her (which, in and of itself is quite a task, since they are “so busy” all the time) to see if there was anything we could do to reduce the tuition we owed, the answer was more swift than Jamie Gold’s exit from this year’s WSOP:

“There’s nothing we can do.”

Well, after a quick call to a friend who happened to be a financial aid adviser at the same place, a simple search on my wife’s profile quickly yielded a scholarship that not only paid for the remaining tuition owed, but resulted in a $350 excess that we were able to bank!

Furthermore, my shoulder and bicep seem to have healed up without any problems so I hit the driving range at Cascade Fairways, the lost Netflix DVD managed to make it back to the Netflix warehouse, I found a new place to get free air for my car tires, and I just went out and got me some contact lenses for the first time since 2002. Life suddenly got much better!

So what happened? Had the gods grown bored with me? Was I not entertaining enough for them? Did they feel threatened by the publicity brought about by my blog post? Frankly, I didn’t really care. I was just happy that things were getting better.

Then I found out that Nebraska legislator, Ernie Chambers, is suing the Almighty Himself. Well, I can understand the hassle getting sued would cause… enough to divert attention from me. But as for Ernie, suing the very being who holds your eternal judgment in his hands? Not the brightest thing he could’ve done.

Whatever I did to deserve the run of misery last week, let me just say that it’s nothing compared to what our pal Ernie is gonna get. Ernie, it’s been nice knowing you. Enjoy your immortal life in Hell!

Ernie Sues God, Ends Up in Hell

Going Green? Give Up the Red

Apparently vegans have known about this for years, but the Brits have just recently come out to officially say that eating less red meat and dairy products will help cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.

Apparently livestock – which there is a lot of due to the worldwide demand for meat – puts out boatloads of greenhouse gases in the form of farts. Yes, you heard me right. Farting contributes to global warming. So if you ever needed a good reason to cut back on the burritos, this is it.

According to vegans, the idea behind eating less meat and dairy is that it will cut back on cow farming, thereby reducing cow farting.

EPA Enforcement Task Force

Personally, I don’t think the vegans go far enough. Us humans have the technology and smarts to put an end to the flatulence contribution of our very own species. I hereby declare that Beano should be a required part of every human’s diet! And no, I don’t hold stock in Beano… why do you ask?

Don’t Believe in a Higher Power? You’ve got to Be Kidding Me!

Zeus is pissed!So usually things go pretty well for me. At least, well enough that I can’t really complain. Just a few years ago I was supporting my family of five on little more than Washington State’s minimum wage. I wasn’t just below the poverty line, I was so far below it that I couldn’t see it and came to believe that this mystical line was just an urban myth.

Over the years, I gradually crawled my way into a better position. Today, I’m almost as far over the poverty line as I was below it. I drive a new car, own a home, watch cable TV, and my family eats as much as they want.

But then just a couple weeks ago I run over a screw in my car, puncturing one of the rear tires. I take it in for repair. The very next day, the same tire gets punctured again. This time when I take it in, the repairman shows me that my tires are nearly bald and need replacement. A week later I buy my first set of (cheap) golf clubs, something I had been wanting to do for several years.

I hit the golf course and nearly shred my bicep to pieces and jack up my shoulder. Then my son, throwing rocks around for some weird reason, puts a nice couple of dents in the hood of my car. That night, I have a dream that I get fired from my job. The day after, a Netflix DVD that I was really looking forward to watching is cracked. The next day I discover that the local college has “adjusted” my wife’s pell grant and I now owe them $600 to make up the difference in a charge of $1,200 for one – yep, I said ONE – class!

At work, suddenly the entire company seems to need my services and they all want it done by Wednesday, and I come home to find that a dog has crapped all over my lawn, my toilet won’t flush right, and the USPS delivered the mailing label for my next Netflix DVD but somehow managed to lose the DVD itself!

Furthermore, I need to put air in my car’s tires but every place that I used to get air at for free is suddenly charging $0.75. Not that it’s all that bad (but seriously now… it’s just air!) but I don’t carry cash! This is 2007 for crying out loud… put a *$#@! credit card machine on the air pump if you’re going to charge for it!

Desktop Tower DefenseAnd to top it all off, a friend and coworker has completely slaughtered my high score in Desktop Tower Defense.

Now look me in the eyes and, with a straight face, tell me the gods aren’t just having some sick fun with me. But hey, at least I’m not shoveling horse manure, in the rain, on the graveyard shift.

“To Protect and Serve”, or “To Bully and Walk Around Like We’re Better Than You”?

Think about how many times you’ve gotten sick after eating at a restaurant. I can clearly remember two occasions where I left a restaurant only to stay up the entire night hurling my guts out. Once was thanks to Wendy’s, the other thanks to TGI Fridays (the latter of which I have never returned to, nor will I ever).

As much fast food as I eat, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more often. And surprisingly, Wendy’s is still one of my favorites (I’m eating their spicy chicken combo as I write this… no kidding!) Nonetheless, I got incredibly sick after eating at these restaurants, and yet there was no recourse taken. Why? Well, what was I to do? Call the cops?

Sure. The response would have been, “There’s nothing we can do,” after which they would have hung up then laughed at my idiotic request. But boy, do things ever change when something like this happens to a cop.

Recently, a McDonald’s cook accidently spilled salt on a few hamburger patties, removed what she could, then sent them to the heating lamps. From there, a cashier served it to a cop in the drive through. The cop supposedly got sick, returned to the restaurant, questioned the manager, and finally arrested the cook that prepared his hamburger.

So, a cop eats a too-salty hamburger and some poor McDonald’s employee gets thrown in the coop? Makes me want to become a cop just so I, too, can go around arresting people that piss me off. Hey, I wouldn’t be the first guy to become a cop for the “benefits”.

Lucky for the cop, he just got a salty burger. He could have gotten boot-stomped garlic instead.

Cops love to arrest peopleJust to be clear, I respect the authority of law enforcement and I’m grateful that we have cops and the people willing to serve in that capacity. But if you’ve been around long enough to have more than a few experiences with police, then you know exactly where I’m coming from. Piss off a cop and his entire department will harass you ‘till you move out of town… or commit suicide. There’s nary an adult that I know who doesn’t think most cops are just bullies. That we’re raised and brainwashed to believe cops are the good guys doesn’t do much to counter personal experience, does it?

For all the good cops out there, keep up the good work. For the minority out there that are giving all the other cops a bad name, grow up would you?

Now hopefully this blog post doesn’t get me arrested by tomorrow. I really should know better than to mess with the Brotherhood of the Blue Shield. I just might get arrested for hurling too loudly and disturbing the peace from my 1996 TGI Friday’s food poisoning experience. What is the statute of limitations for hurling too loudly anyway?

As they haul me out of my house in front of my neighbors, all playing their *#@! car stereos way too loud out in the street, I figure I’m going to “get the shaft” one way or another, so I offer… ummm, favors to the arresting officer. Failing that, I can always hope the cop is as gullible as those in Postal 2. I’ll scream, “Look, a donut!” As the cop is distracted, I’ll make a break for it, destined to live the rest of my life on the run.

Hey, it can’t be worse than getting your butt kicked by a blind guy. That poor sap is lucky he didn’t have a gun.

Have You Forgotten?

I almost did. It’s four minutes past midnight as I write this.

So it’s been six years. I still remember first hearing the news. As I drove to work that day, I went down Bangerter Highway and saw a Jeep Wrangler with a huge flag that the driver had managed to fanangle in there somehow. It was quite a sight to see that huge flag flying down the highway at 50+ mph.

It was tough to work that day. That day resulted in the strike price for my stock options being about $10 lower than it normally would have been. Somebody emailed a couple days later wondering why we “couldn’t fix anything? No wonder people are flying airplanes into buildings!”

I told the guy who received the email to write back and tell him what a sick piece of garbage he was. I was so angry, I wanted to beat the guy to death. But he wasn’t quite as sick as the guy who started the rumor about typing in the flight number of one of the planes using the “wing ding” font, you got an airplane facing two sheets of paper (which he said were the WTC buildings).

How to become a Jewish pirate

I was amazed at how many people freaked out about that. The second I heard it, I asked, “Is that even the real flight number of any of the planes?” People looked at me as if to say, “Oh, I guess we should look into that before buying into the conspiracy that Microsoft is somehow involved.” Ummm… yeah.

For all the 9/11 conspiracy theorists. I don’t think much of you guys.

May we never forget!

Semper Fidelis!

Hypermiling Success Found in Compromise

As you may recall, I first started hypermiling (driving in a manner that maximizes fuel efficiency) back in June. Well, after three months of trying different things, I’ve kind of settled into a mix of hypermiling and my (formerly) normal driving.

Acceleration – This is my biggest adjustment. I used to just accelerate quickly everywhere I went, not quite maxing out, but getting very close. Now, I have decided that the best strategy is to accelerate “briskly” rather than like a grandma. It actually seems to conserve gas better (in my town at least) to briskly accelerate, reaching your cruising speed quickly, rather than accelerate like a grandma.

Whether this is best for you depends on your driving conditions (and the type of car you drive I would imagine). If you have to stop at a light every two blocks, driving like a grandma is probably better.

Coasting in neutral – I stopped coasting in neutral most of the time, though I still catch myself doing it sometimes out of habit. I’m too concerned about increased wear and tear on the transmission and brakes. However, for long downhill stretches I’ll still pop it into neutral.

Air conditioning – One thing I found out is that running with the A/C on absolutely kills mileage. I knew it was bad, but I sure got a lesson these last few months. In the city, running with A/C drops mileage to about 19 mpg, whereas without I’ll get anywhere from 23 to 25. I try to avoid A/C whenever possible, suffering from some uncomfortable heat sometimes. But I’m a wimp when it comes to temperature, so I run it more often than I really need to.

Timing traffic lights – I’ve gotten pretty good at timing the lights on the main streets here in Orem. I found out that if I can drive 40 mph consistently (the speed limit on our main road, State Street), I’ll get 40 mpg. I discovered this one day after freshly filling up my tank and pulling onto State Street. I somehow managed to time the lights perfectly, driving about 3 miles without stopping, and slowing down/accelerating very little.

Shutting off the engine – Well, I’ve pretty much given up on this. Again, it comes down to wear and tear. However, when going to fast food restaurants I’ll park and go inside rather than waiting in the drive through. Just today, I made the mistake of sitting in a Taco Bell drive through where I watched my mileage drop from 21.9 to 20 (this was after only 12.4 miles were put on after fill up though, so it was dropping faster than normal… but still!)

The bad thing about this though is that if I just quit going to fast food restaurants, I’d save enough money in one month to pay for that month’s gas, plus half the next month’s.

Overall, my mix of adjustments has brought me to a happy place where I’m comfortable that I can maintain safe driving habits (some hypermiling techniques are simply too distracting), and not cause too much wear and tear on my car. I guess it’s better called “enthusiasticmiling.”

This results in about 22 mpg in the city. And, since freeway hypermiling techniques are very easy to follow, I still get around 35 mpg freeway, which is no change from before.

For all the hypermiling techniques I’ve tried, check out all the posts in the Hypermiling category.

Your DNA Is Not Like My DNA

So you’ve probably heard it touted around by the scientific community that a chimp’s DNA is 99% similar to human DNA, and that there is only 0.1% difference in DNA between any two humans, meaning to say that you and I – or anybody else – are 99.9% similar.

Well, scientist have just discovered some new variances in DNA that put those numbers into question. According the new research, us humans are actually up to a whopping 1% different from each other, while chimp similarity gets pushed back to 95 percent.

And you know, I always felt that there was something more than a 0.1% difference between myself and my coworkers. Take a look at this recent office photo:

Chimp versus Human DNAThat’s me in the middle. Be serious now. The guy on the left is just plain ugly. I mean… there’s no way he’s 99.9% similar to me!

The guy on the right is Canadian. He’s a good guy, but you don’t want to make him angry. He has a weird tendency to fling poo when he’s angry.