Hello Again

Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve done any real posting on here. Been pretty busy with work and school; although, the cool thing is that I’m in my last semester now, and I’m only taking 1 class. I’ll be done in early December.

It’s cool to be so close to graduation. I never thought I’d go back to school, but it really hasn’t been that bad. I’ve learned some cool stuff. It was in March of last year that I really started thinking about going back. I posted about it at the time, but it was still sort of just a “what if” then. In some ways, I’m still kind of surprised that I actually did it.

But anyway, things have been going well. The kids are getting older, my hair’s getting grayer (and yes, those things are directly linked), and Star Wars is kicking off a long TV series this Friday! Things just keep rolling along…

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

— JRR Tolkien

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Okay… Cure for Hiccups Unveiled…

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve done anything here…  WordPress has even updated their dashboard.  Kind of threw me off for a minute.

Right now, I’m sitting in the computer lab for UAB‘s School of Business working on a take home final for my last programming class in C#. I’m working on a little project that combines web development (ASP.NET) with database manipulation (ADO.NET), and I’m feeling a little frustrated. Maybe later I’ll post the link for anyone who might like to see it (though it’s not much to look at).

Anyway, this frustration reminded me to write about two things that seem to irritate most people, but that I think I’ve found a solution for.

The first is hand dryers in public bathrooms. Usually, when people use these, they hold their hands under them for a few minutes, and then resignedly wipe their hands on their pants. I was the same way. But a few years ago, I happened to read (and follow) the directions printed on the dryer and discovered the crucial hand-drying step I had been overlooking all these years.

Rub hands vigorously.

You see, the warm air is not supposed to dry your hands completely on its own. Instead, you’ll find that if you rub your hands together while you’re holding them under the air vent, they dry quite nicely. It’s the combination of the warm air from the dryer and the friction of rubbing your hands together that does the trick. Try it next time…

Of course, if you’re using one of these newer hand dryers that has harnessed the power of a typhoon, then there’s no need to rub your hands. Just keep an eye on them and make sure your skin doesn’t fly away.

The other thing that has always been the bane of man’s existence is the hiccup. Well, I have found the cure.

Seriously, give up all that drinking water, holding your breath, having people scare you, standing on your head nonsense. I figured out how to cure these things several years ago. It takes some self-control, but it’s really not too hard to accomplish.

First of all, hiccupping is caused by involuntary muscle movements in your abdomen. Being involuntary, you can’t control them — at least not directly… I theorized that if you could calm your body down, starting with the muscles you can control, then the rest of your body should be able to catch up.

The best way to get rid of these things is to lie down and close your eyes. Then, you want to concentrate on your breathing. Take slow, even breaths and try to relax every muscle in your head, face, and neck. Then relax your shoulders, your arms, your chest, your stomach, etc, all the way down your body. Simply relax completely and even out your breathing. Try not to think about the hiccups. In just a couple of minutes, you’ll realize that you don’t have them anymore.

This takes a little practice, depending on how good you are at relaxing. Since I excel at laziness, this isn’t too hard for me. But for you over-acheivers and Type A people out there, this might take a little practice. Don’t get frustrated, just relax and enjoy it.

And let me know if it works for you… I never have trouble getting rid of them anymore, and it even works for my 4 year old daughter.

Take it easy, and I hope to post again soon!

Chronicles of the Sears Warehouse Vol 1: Rise of the Pigeonslayer

The following story is based on actual events. The names of people and places have been left the same, mostly due to laziness. Some poetic license has been taken, but the overall gist remains true to life.

Come, sit down by the fire. Wrap yourself in its comfort and warmth. For I have a tale to share with you — a tale of blood and adventure, a tale of heroism and tyranny. It’s the tale of a man who was more than a man; indeed, he was a terrible being of light and fury, and his name was Clint.

As for myself, I was but a simple warehouse supervisor back in those days, young and inexperienced in the ways of the world. Though my hands remain relatively clean of the brutality that transpired, I must admit that it was I who set the events in motion. And as a horror-stricken bystander, I saw first-hand the things I am about to tell you. So come closer, my friend, enjoy the protection of the fire and lend your ear to my story. For you are about to learn of the Pigeonslayer.

As a young man of 20, I was given the task of running an off-site warehouse for the magnificent company Sears. Behold, you have probably seen its name in lights in many cities across the world. Truly, it is a great empire of capitalism, though its splendor seems somewhat diminished in this current age. But at that time, its power was unrivaled, and I was but one of many who sought gainful employment with such an icon of supremacy.

In my new profession, I had three charges under my care: the stoic Jeff, the noble Donnie, and the quick-witted Clint. Lo, they were worthy men who handled forklifts and handtrucks with an awesome dexterity. Their comely behavior toward our customers was quite admirable, and our modest little warehouse was soon known far and wide as a fair and productive establishment.

But one of our number harbored a dark secret. Indeed, beneath his smiling facade there resided a far more brutal and sinister nature.

Clint was one of my closest companions, and had been since our school days. One of my first actions in my new post at the warehouse had been to hire him.  And if I had known of the horrible things that were to transpire, perhaps I never would have brought him into the employ of our magnificent warehouse.  But how could I have known?  Indeed, things began wonderfully! Oh, they were joyous days filled with jovial frivolity!  When we weren’t encumbered by our normal responsibilities, we would often find time to converse about important matters such as Final Fantasy VIII and the young maidens we were each enamored with. But a shadow began to loom over these happy days. A winged shadow that struck terror into the hearts of lesser men. Woe unto us, our beloved warehouse had been infested with pigeons!

For a time, we strove to ignore our unwelcome guests, though they abused us with their insolent coos and littered us with their obtrusive poop. But their rebellious attitude was soon more than we could bear, and we began plotting some way to be rid of them. Jeff, Donnie, and myself often wondered aloud if nothing could be done to block their entry into our dear sanctuary. But Clint thought on a more primitive scale.

One ill-fated morning, as Clint strode toward the lavoratory, he happened upon a pair of especially seditious pigeons who refused to yield to him. They simply strutted back and forth, casting him sidelong glances, and insulting his manhood with their brazen diatribes. It was to be a disastrous miscalculation on their part.

Behold, in Clint’s hand was a roll of packing tape. And upon the provocation issued by the pigeons, he launched forth his sticky missile with an amazing velocity and deadly accuracy. The first pigeon exploded into a cloud of feathers, and his companion immediately took flight, screeching its curses and fixing Clint with an evil eye.

Donnie was kind enough to clean up the mess and give our fallen enemy a soldier’s burial in our trash compactor. And though I hoped the incident would pass peacefully, I somehow knew that we hand’t seen the last of our foe.

The next morning dawned bright and cold. Upon arriving at the warehouse, we were met with a dark, ominous mass of feathered warriors, perched upon the roof of our beloved building. At their head was the savage pigeon that had fled Clint’s wrath on the previous day. Never have I seen a fowl offer so foul a scowl.

But Clint was undeterred.

Verily, he had prepared in earnest for this battle, as though his life depended upon it. And in truth, it did. He alone understood the savage cruely of pigeons and the depths to which they would sink in their avaricious quest to annoy mankind. You see, though none of us knew it, they were his sworn enemy. Pigeons had murdered his parents.

Clint strode up to the throng with a baseball bat slung across his back, and 6 tubes of tennis balls attached to his belt. With a loud, ringing voice, he addressed his foes: “Hark, ye rebels! Forsooth, I have sworn to strike ye down with great fury, should ye encroach further into the sanctity of our establishment. Ye abhorrent pigeons have dealt me more woe than any man should bear, yet I have borne it with great integrity to this point. But mark my words, if I see one false motion of a wing, I shall see you stuffed and mounted on this building for all eternity!”

As one, the pigeons sounded forth a great tumult, and though I do not speak Pigeon, I am inclined to believe they said something like, “ARRRRR!!!” For no sooner had he stopped speaking than they arose with one accord and bore down on us like ravenous hawks.

Clint launched forth a dozen tennis balls in but a moment, which somehow managed to fell 41 pigeons. Donnie, Jeff, and I ran in abject terror while feathers and tennis balls whirled around us. At one point in the battle, as I lay huddled under a nearby car, I glimpsed Clint wielding his baseball bat with wreckless abandon. Like a whirlwind, he moved with a speed I could not follow, and not a single pigeon was able to penetrate the destruction wrought by his flailing arms.

Finally, as the dust and feathers cleared, I saw Clint locked in a life-or-death struggle with the commanding pigeon. They rolled upon the ground slashing and gouging at one another in frantic combat. Clint tried a move he had once seen a famous pugilist use and tried to bite off the pigeon’s ear. But his attack was thwarted when he realized pigeons had no ears.

Nonetheless, the fight was soon over, and Clint stood above his vanquished enemy in triumph. The pigeon offered a few whispered coos as its final words, but none of us had any inkling as to what they meant. And since customers had long since been lining up outside our establishment, we all decided to get back to work.

But never again did we face trouble from pigeons. Faithful Clint kept his promise and stuffed many of the pigeons that fell there that day. Even now, they remain perched atop the Sears warehouse as a warning to any belligerent pigeons who might choose to roost there, even though all of us have moved on from the magnificent service of Sears. Clint was awarded a Sears Medal of Valor and a 15%-off coupon good on any purchase (except cosmetics and fragrances).

Never again has he been forced to raise a tennis ball in anger.

Howdy, Stranger…

Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve had a severe case of “blogger’s block” lately, and I still haven’t kicked it. I’ve been wanting to post some killer stuff, but have no idea what to write about. I mean, my life has been pretty normal lately (which makes it abnormal for me), and thus, relatively uninteresting. I’ve gone to work, gone to school, gone home to the wife and kids, played video games, read comics, and slept. That’s about it.

But I hope to make some other posts very soon. Maybe I’ll get some massive dose of inspiration and compose some heartfelt diatribe on some drastically important topic. Of course, that would require learning about something drastically important. And let’s face it, it’s doubtful I’ll put that much effort into anything.

Oh, I do have some really good news though…

I just saved a ton of money by switching to Geico. No, really… I’m serious. You should check them out.

Striking Out

Ok, how many times have you read about somebody striking a match on their thumbnail?  Or maybe their teeth, or pavement, etc?  Have you ever seen anybody actually do it?  I’ve tried it before, on my thumbnail and on my teeth.  I get nothing.

If you’ve ever had luck with this, let me know.  Because right now, my faith in westerns and hard-boiled detective novels is starting fail me.  I mean, if this isn’t true, who knows what else might be exaggerated too?!