Fetch, Jimmy? Do you want to get us sued?

Be careful when throwing a stick to your dog.  You might be violating the patent on sticks.  This is why I like clear,  simple language.  Words like “utilize” and “apparatus” are useless.  Why couldn’t you say “use” or “device”?  Because you want to “impress” or “confuse” people.  If people had to submit patents in 6th-grader language, maybe we’d have fewer crazy ones like this.

Play the (simulated) lottery!

If you want to see how unlikely you are to win the lottery even under the best of situations, try this simulator.  You can’t win if you don’t play!  (or even if you do play)  I never understood the lottery.  The odds that you’ll have a terrible car accident on the way home from work are fantastic, compared to the chances that you’ll win the lottery.  And yet, lottery players still drive home.  But they’re willing to waste thousands of dollars on a tiny tiny minute chance that they might possibly win the lottery…but almost certainly won’t.

Oh, the designer and the coder should be friends!

Since we’re trying to sell our house, a designer came and looked at it to give suggestions.  The mindset of an interior decorator and that of a programmer must be at polar opposites.  I’ll take her opinions as reliable, since it’s her job and she’s an expert, but the ideas may as well have been in a language from a distant star for all the sense they made to me.  Where I would think in terms of efficiency and practicality, she thinks in terms of fads and aesthetics.  For eight years, we’ve apparently been living in the horrid squalor of unaccented white walls.  I only hope my family can forgive me with time.  I don’t know how we’ve survived in this state so long, but we’ll probably get the house painted.  And in 30 years, it’ll probably be as out-of-fashion as 70s pea green is now.  Our back yard has been, for the most part, “au naturale”…invaded by wild grass and a few weeds and so on.  (This should apparently be said with great shame and in hushed tones from the designer’s reaction.)  So, the back yard has to be worked on.  Also, we apparently need to make the house look like nobody is living there.  This is some feat with a one-year-old who believes that scattering items evenly around the house is a matter of national security and a five-year-old who somehow has the idea that toothpaste is supposed to be slathered generously over all bathroom surfaces.  I think we’ll have to sleep on the floor and rent an acre of storage.  Overall, what we thought was a structurally sound home in good condition has been an aesthetic deathtrap all along!  The tragedy of all of this is that the house will be in its nicest condition ever just as we’re getting rid of it.  Worse still, the designer made a scathing remark about my computer being in our closet.  One does not simply besmirch the good name of a coder’s trusty computer!  The truculence of it!

I suppose if we’d had the funds over the years, I’d probably have painted the house in video game themes like this.  And I’d have done this to the garage door.  But that would probably have made some designer cry…’cause it’s just so awesome.

We're turning Albuquerque into a tiny mudpit! Saturday!

A few weeks ago, we went to watch R/C off-road racing Saturday at the ARCOR Raceway in southwest Albuquerque. I think it was just qualifying for racing the next day, but it was still cool to watch. (Although Sean quickly ran out of interest.) I think we were the only spectators there. Most people seemed to be regulars. There were various types of R/C cars…both battery and gas powered. The cars are fast enough that they would flip backward if you hit the throttle all the way. It was serious racing, so there was no wackiness or use of experimental cameras or anything, as I kinda dreamed there might be.

brain dump

A coworker who’s helping his son with chemistry had a pretty good plan for taking a test. A brain dump is where you memorize your cheat sheet and practice writing it out over and over. When the test comes, you immediately write out your memorized cheat sheet on the back of the test or scratch paper you’ve asked for. Then you don’t have to worry about panicking and forgetting important knowledge for the test.