Jul 27, 2007

Can I Have Your Attention...PLEASE!

Okay, let's be serious for a minute. NO ONE is reading my blog. Oh, it's nothing to cry about...there's millions of users out here in the blogosphere, all screaming to be read.

So the way I see it, I have two options. I can be unique, and try to attract readers with useful content and witty banter, OR I can be like everyone else and spew out cliched fodder and tired pictures that have been floating around the internet for 10 years.

Naturally, I'll take the second option becuase I'm lazy...and apparently it works!

Okay! Let's get started. So, what do all the other blogs have that I don't?

Of coure! A picture of a bee beard!

But my picture isn't just one bee beard, it's 6 bee beards - becuase I'm an extreme blogger! Now I just have to sit back and wait for people to Google "bee beard" and then I'm in there like swimwear. Yeah!

"Sometimes my razor stings, but this is ridiculous!"

I'd like to welcome all the new readers to Planet Bizzle. I look forward to entertaining you with the same old garbage you see everywhere else. You may begin laughing, downloading, forwarding and (most importantly) bookmarking. . . . . . . . now!

Jul 26, 2007

Great Band Name: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

For the past couple of weeks, my wife has been hitting the Harry Potter message boards on MuggleNet pretty hard. I like to read them too...it's fun to hear people's (translate: kids') theories and opinions about the book.

Right after the book came out, people were complaining about the spoilers that were showing up in the comments. (Seriously? I mean, what did they think they were going to find out? What were they expecting?) Anyway, one person posted a "spoiler" that the Deathly Hallows was the name of Harry Potter's rock band!

What a freakin' brilliant idea. It's a great name...'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'. Plus, the book jacket would make a great album cover. And you've already got millions of fans who are gonna buy the album no matter what the genre is. (May I suggest garage metal with some quirky "wizard" sound effects?)


I can already imagine sponsorship opportunities for PotterPalooza...

"Tonight's concert is brought to you by Ford - have you driven a Ford lately? By The Men's Warehouse - "you're gonna love the way you look!" And by Dreamworks Pictures, presenting "The Last Mimzy" on DVD."

"...After the concert, be sure to stay tuned to ABC for the 2008 All-Star Extreme Quidditch Challenge, brought to you by Budweiser."

Jul 25, 2007

Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad

This table, created by Ben Day, is an invaluable tool for anyone who has extra packets of condiments laying around the house (we all have them, we just may not want to admit it) in junk drawers, under the microwave or on top of the fridge. You can click on the block to the left for the complete table, or see the original upload here (in black and white - easier on the printer). The formatted, colorized version that I found is available here on Gary L. Dryfoos' website.

Jul 24, 2007

Dumb Steve Joke

Note: If you read MAD Kids, you'll recognize Dumb Steve. How dumb is Steve? Well...

An Irishman, a Mexican and Dumb Steve were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building.

They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, “Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building!”

The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, “Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off, too.”

Dumb Steve opened his lunch and said, “Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too!”

The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage, and jumped to his death.

The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito, and jumped, too.

Dumb Steve opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.

At the funeral, the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, “If I had known how tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him!”

The Mexican's wife also wept and said, “I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much.”

Everyone turned and stared at Dumb Steve’s wife. She said, “Don't look at me. He makes his own lunch!”

Alvin? Simon? Theodore? Is That You?

Have you seen the promotional poster for the new movie Alvin and the Chipmunks? It looks like a cross between Boyz N The Hood and Garfield. Apparently, The Chipmunks wandered into some nuclear waste (a la TMNT) and mutated into gansta chipmunks. I’ll bet they rap…so you know the soundtrack is gonna rock!

And they’ve already done movies. The Chipmunk Adventure, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman, etc. I guess this latest creation featuring pimped-out chipmunks and (probable) farting sound effects is the next installment of their recent foray into the horror genre. And Jason Lee as Dave? Are you kidding? Dave wasn’t some wannabe slacker-punk. He always wore sweater vests, his shirts were always tucked in and his shoes were always tied. At least they got Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman to do the voices of the chipmunks again. (Note: Ross also did the voice of Dave for the 80s animated TV series).

I’m not saying the Chipmunks can’t evolve. For crying out loud, remember when the Chipmunks used to look like this? (I don't):

But then they evolved into the lovable trio we have come to know so well:

Look, Hollywood, when it comes to making movies, “because we can” is not an acceptable answer. You’re just going to end up with a couple of dusty copies sitting on the shelves at Blockbuster that people are going to point at. With their middle fingers.

I guess we should be thankful that it’s not live action…yikes!!

Jul 17, 2007

To Do: Terrorize Employee

Today one of my analysts sent me an email with pictures attached of how people terrorize their drunk friends. You know, Saran Wrap-ping them to their beds, drawing all over their faces, etc. (I’m not going to bother posting the pictures, I’m sure you’ve seen them around - if not, you can do some quick searching and you’ll find them pretty easily.) In the email, my analyst made the mistake of saying, “…hope this doesn’t offend you.” HA! The plan was hatched as soon as I read those words.

First, I checked GroupWise to see if there were any company email addresses that auto-populate from “Human Resources”. There weren’t. Next, I created a new contact group called “Human Resources” with one member – myself. The beauty of GroupWise is that it only displays the common name, not the full email address. That would make the group look totally legitimate – and you wouldn’t be able to tell it was a group because GroupWise doesn’t show the members of the group, just the name.

I pulled up the original email, clicked on “forward message” and started typing my response. I had to make it look good. Then I entered the recipient as “Human Resources” (the group I had created) and carbon copied the analyst on the email. I hit “send” and waited for the fireworks. The analyst only sits two cubes away, so it wasn’t hard to keep my eye on her. She chuckled when she saw the GroupWise Notify pop-up, and then opened the email.

Now, this is what the email looked like to her:

From: BEN
To: Human Resources
Date: 7/17/2007 9:33:51 AM
Subject: Fwd: ??? [Offensive Email]

Please see below/attached for examples of abuse of the company email policy. I find this kind of thing to be offensive and insulting. I consider this to be a wicked, malicious personal affront, not to mention a textbook example of harssment.

Thank you,


The first thing she did was look at me funny. I was watching out of the corner of my eye, and it took all I had to keep it together. She turned back to her screen. Then she turned towards me and said, “Oh, nuh-uh. Ben, are you serious?” And I said, “Yes I’m serious. I’m sick of these kinds of things going around.” Then she looked back at her monitor. She turned back toward me and said, “Really?” And I followed up with, “Yes. I’m tired of it and it needs to stop.” After that, she just stared at her monitor for a while and started turning really pale.

I let her marinade in it for a few seconds before I realized I had to diffuse the situation quickly or she was going to pass out. Then I’d have to step over her body and delete the email before pounding on her chest.

I walked up behind her and started laughing, then explained the whole thing and told her it was all just a joke. She didn’t believe me at first, until I told her I created a phony group called “Human Resources”. She said she was relieved, and said she was almost on the verge of tears. I assured her that I would never turn any of them in for those kinds of abuse, ‘cuz they could nail me in a second…I mean c’mon – I’m blogging at work, for goodness sake!

Before you start feeling too sorry for her, you should know that she is one of those quick-thinking people that always seems to have a smart comment for anything you say to her. I told her it was payback for the last couple of weeks, and she admitted that I got her good. Now that it's later in the day, she actually thinks the whole thing is pretty funny.

I must have put on a good performance because she said my voice and tone were more convincing than the email. Dang! I knew I missed my calling…guess it’s time to update my resume on Monster to include “convincing office comedy in questionable taste”.

Jul 16, 2007

Breakroom Discussion: Munchkin Cats

The office break room is a great place to find out about some weird stuff. But you have to wade through a lot of sludge to get to the prize gems. You have to sit through countless stories about babies, health/medical conditions, and all of the workplace drama. I actually like my job here, so I won't elaborate on the last point!

But if you patiently wait it out, you'll get the goods sooner or later. My favorite breakroom discussion so far has got to be the great debate about what to do when you've been ensnared by a boa constrictor. The two schools of thought are "hold completely still" vs. "try to grab at the head and poke the eyes". Both had solid foundations, and both were defended quite well. Unfortunately, (as is the case with most break room banter), there is no authority to consult on these subjects - it's all complete conjecture. So instead of being informative, the whole thing was merely frustrating. Now I don't know what to do when I find myself amidst the coils of aforementioned constrictor. But I will probably remember the heated debate on the subject. Thanks, guys!

On that note, today's subject at lunch was "munchkin cats". Apparently, many people are interested in breeding cats that stay small their whole lives. What I found out was that the top breeders have been unable to accomplish this feat, (runts not included), despite the apparent overwhelming demand for kitten-sized cats.

What they have been able to develop are "munchkin cats". These cats are the same size as regular cats, except for one fact - they have very short legs. So short that the cat looks a lot like a weiner dog - a "weiner cat" if you will. This was both humorous and frustrating to my other co-workers in the breakroom. I pointed out that most cats are already small (in relation to most dog breeds) but that didn't seem to satisfy anybody. They all want permanent kittens. One of them said, "They can breed smaller dogs...I don't know why they can't breed smaller cats." I'm just wondering what's gonna happen when they finally breed a cat that's smaller than a rat. Man, that's one showdown I DON'T want to see. But that rat is gonna be a celebrity in the vermin community!

Kitten-sized cats. C'mon, science...let's get this one crossed off the list! And I'm still waiting on my speeder bike and hoverboard. What are you guys doing over there?

Escher, Legos and Ingenuity

Daniel Shui and Andrew Lipson built the Lego creation above. Andrew is a self-described "nerd" and enjoys Escher, Legos, juggling and math (like most nerds). His website (www.andrewlipson.com) is worth checking out - it includes the original Escher drawings and woodcuts for a side-by-side comparison (big points for accuracy and detail), as well as “behind-the-scenes” photographs of construction and effect techniques. I've placed the two versions of Escher's "Relativity" below for comparison:

Here’s some other works that Andrew and Daniel have produced (some of these rely on photo/perspective effects):

M.C. Escher's "Ascending":

M.C. Escher's "Balcony":

M.C. Escher's "Belvedere":

M.C. Escher's "Waterfall":

Jul 13, 2007

Cute Dog Pictures

Here are some pictures of our miniature dachshunds. Cocoa is a black and tan, and Daisy is a chocolate and tan.

(Oh, like your blog is so great!)

Jul 10, 2007

MIT Cheer

While I was looking for the Pi stuff, I found this cool MIT cheer:

“Cosine, secant, tangent, sine
Integral, radical, u dv,
Slipstick, slide rule, MIT!"

Man, MIT rocks hardcore. Party on guys, party on!

Mnemonic Devices for Remembering the Digits of Pi

I was just thinking about the infinite string of decimals you get when calculating Pi, and the farthest I could remember was 3.14159. So I went hunting for mnemonic devices that could help me remember a larger block of numbers. I found these, and I’m passing them on to you.

In the following examples, the length of the word determines the digit. The digit is N (where N represents the number of letters) if N is less than 10, 0 if N equals 10, and a combination of two digits if longer than 10 (e.g., a 12-letter word represents the digit '1' followed by '2').

Pi to 14 places:
How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after dry, heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics!

Pi to 20 places:
Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling
In mystic verse and magic spelling
Celestial spirits elucidate
All my own striving can't relate

This poem by Joseph Shipley (1960) gives Pi to 31 places:
But a time I spent wandering in bloomy night;
Yon tower, tinkling chimewise, loftily opportune.
Out, up, and together came sudden to Sunday rite,
The one solemnly off to correct plenilune.

And now for the coup de resistance, a poem by Mike Keith (1995) that gives Pi to 740 places:

Poe, E.
Near a Raven

Midnights so dreary, tired and weary.
Silently pondering volumes extolling all by-now obsolete lore.
During my rather long nap - the weirdest tap!
An ominous vibrating sound disturbing my chamber's antedoor.
“This", I whispered quietly, "I ignore".

Perfectly, the intellect remembers: the ghostly fires, a glittering ember.
Inflamed by lightning's outbursts, windows cast penumbras upon this floor. Sorrowful, as one mistreated, unhappy thoughts I heeded:
That inimitable lesson in elegance - Lenore -
Is delighting, exciting...nevermore.

Ominously, curtains parted (my serenity outsmarted),
And fear overcame my being - the fear of "forevermore".
Fearful foreboding abided, selfish sentiment confided,
As I said, "Methinks mysterious traveler knocks afore.
A man is visiting, of age threescore."

Taking little time, briskly addressing something: "Sir," (robustly)
"Tell what source originates clamorous noise afore?
Disturbing sleep unkindly, is it you a-tapping, so slyly?
Why, devil incarnate!--" Here completely unveiled I my antedoor--
Just darkness, I ascertained - nothing more.

While surrounded by darkness then, I persevered to clearly comprehend.
I perceived the weirdest dream...of everlasting "nevermores".
Quite, quite, quick nocturnal doubts fled - such relief! - as my intellect said,
(Desiring, imagining still) that perchance the apparition was uttering a whispered "Lenore".
This only, as evermore.

Silently, I reinforced, remaining anxious, quite scared, afraid,
While intrusive tap did then come thrice - O, so stronger than sounded afore.
"Surely" (said silently) "it was the banging, clanging window lattice."
Glancing out, I quaked, upset by horrors hereinbefore,
Perceiving: a "nevermore".

Completely disturbed, I said, "Utter, please, what prevails ahead.
Repose, relief, cessation, or but more dreary 'nevermores'?"
The bird intruded thence - O, irritation ever since! -
Then sat on Pallas' pallid bust, watching me (I sat not, therefore),
And stated "nevermores".

Bemused by raven's dissonance, my soul exclaimed, "I seek intelligence;
Explain thy purpose, or soon cease intoning forlorn 'nevermores'!"
"Nevermores", winged corvus proclaimed - thusly was a raven named?
Actually maintain a surname, upon Pluvious seashore?
I heard an oppressive "nevermore".

My sentiments extremely pained, to perceive an utterance so plain,
Most interested, mystified, a meaning I hoped for.
"Surely," said the raven's watcher, "separate discourse is wiser.
Therefore, liberation I'll obtain, retreating heretofore -
Eliminating all the 'nevermores' ".

Still, the detestable raven just remained, unmoving, on sculptured bust.
Always saying "never" (by a red chamber's door).
A poor, tender heartache maven - a sorrowful bird - a raven!
O, I wished thoroughly, forthwith, that he'd fly heretofore.
Still sitting, he recited "nevermores".

The raven's dirge induced alarm - "nevermore" quite wearisome.
I meditated: "Might its utterances summarize of a calamity before?"
O, a sadness was manifest - a sorrowful cry of unrest;
"O," I thought sincerely, "it's a melancholy great - furthermore,
Removing doubt, this explains 'nevermores' ".

Seizing just that moment to sit - closely, carefully, advancing beside it,
Sinking down, intrigued, where velvet cushion lay afore.
A creature, midnight-black, watched there - it studied my soul, unawares.
Wherefore, explanations my insight entreated for.
Silently, I pondered the "nevermores".

"Disentangle, nefarious bird! Disengage - I am disturbed!"
Intently its eye burned, raising the cry within my core.
"That delectable Lenore - whose velvet pillow this was, heretofore,
Departed thence, unsettling my consciousness therefore.
She's returning - that maiden - aye, nevermore."

Since, to me, that thought was madness, I renounced continuing sadness.
Continuing on, I soundly, adamantly forswore:
"Wretch," (addressing blackbird only) "fly swiftly - emancipate me!"
"Respite, respite, detestable raven - and discharge me, I implore!"
A ghostly answer of: "nevermore".

" 'Tis a prophet? Wraith? Strange devil? Or the ultimate evil?"
"Answer, tempter-sent creature!", I inquired, like before.
"Forlorn, though firmly undaunted, with 'nevermores' quite indoctrinated,
Is everything depressing, generating great sorrow evermore?
I am subdued!", I then swore.

In answer, the raven turned - relentless distress it spurned.
"Comfort, surcease, quiet, silence!" - pleaded I for.
"Will my (abusive raven!) sorrows persist unabated?
Nevermore Lenore respondeth?", adamantly I encored.
The appeal was ignored.

"O, satanic inferno's denizen -- go!", I said boldly, standing then.
"Take henceforth loathsome "nevermores" - O, to an ugly Plutonian shore!
Let nary one expression, O bird, remain still here, replacing mirth.
Promptly leave and retreat!", I resolutely swore.
Blackbird's riposte: "nevermore".

So he sitteth, observing always, perching ominously on these doorways.
Squatting on the stony bust so untroubled, O therefore.
Suffering stark raven's conversings, so I am condemned, subserving,
To a nightmare cursed, containing miseries galore.
Thus henceforth, I'll rise (from a darkness, a grave) -- nevermore!

Original: E. Poe
Redone by measuring circles.

Jul 5, 2007

One Heck of a Trailer Hitch

Talk about heavy duty!