August 02, 2005

Need some really, really cheap furniture?

How creative, cheap, crazy and cool. This guy has figured out how to build furniture for his empty apartment from free FedEx packaging materials.
This is a 9.5 foot couch. It is not 100% complete yet due to how difficult it is to get fedex to deliver to my house these days.
Necessity is definitely the mother of invention, and eating off FedEx boxes sure beats eating (and sleeping) on the floor.

July 24, 2005

There goes the neighborhood

On Friday morning as I was driving to work, I saw not one, but two Hummers ahead of me at the traffic light where I turn to get on the road that gets me to I-4. The white one was turning left with me; the black one was going straight.

So I wondered: what does it feel like, to have such a need to drive a larger vehicle than everyone else that you drop an excess of funds on a Hummer, only to pull up to the traffic light and find yourself elbow-to-elbow with another Hummer driver? Are you, well, ordinary again?

July 20, 2005

Moon pie in the sky

Today is Moon Day, the thirty-sixth anniversary of the day that humans last walked on our moon. And now I read that Scotty has beamed up permanently. I wonder if he determined, at the last, that there was no intelligent life down here?

Gene Roddenberry took advantage of his Star-Trek soapbox to call peace our "Undiscovered Country". We've shuffled to the moon and back, sent drones to Mars and Jupiter, and submersibles to our deep ocean trenches. My youngest sister likes to point out that we've spent more time on the moon than in the deepest parts of the ocean, and she's still probably right.

But I think we've also spent little time truly at peace, that undiscovered country. It's not an easy place to find; and it seems that many people find it too tempting to leave rather than stay.

Beam him up

From BoingBoing:
James Doohan, chief engineer Montgomery Scott on the original Star Trek, died today at age 85. Rest in peace, Scotty.

July 07, 2005

London Underground: memory escapes

Reading news briefs this morning about the transit bombings in London, I tried to find out what stations had been affected, to remember if I had been to them when I was in Britain as a student.

Strangely, I find it hard to remember now what the stations looked like. I'm finding my memories of London Underground overrun with my mental images of the Underground in Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel, Neverwhere. Time is partly to blame, I'm sure. But I wonder if it's also that I can't quite associate the reality of the places I've been with a bombing. A surreal fantasy setting comes more easily to mind.

June 21, 2005

I pledge allegiance to the United Federation of Planets

I can't believe that a school suspended an eight-year-old kid for speaking his own version of the Pledge of Allegiance. His version:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.
Seriously. He's eight. He likes Star Trek. This deserves suspension? The mother reports that the teacher said the following in response to the boy's so-called misbehavior:
"Mrs. Jaworski. This isn't humorous. The Pledge is an extremely important and patriotic moment each morning in the classroom. I am ashamed of your son's behavior, and I hope you are, too."
Is Big Brother in charge of this school? Are we now training children to be patriotic at all costs? WTF?

This story via BoingBoing.

Zero rows returned

Wil Wheaton has a great post about buying a new geek-celebrating t-shirt and then trying to wear it for the first time. Oops. It's a great shirt; I've always liked the design though I don't have one of my own:

> SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0;
> 0 rows returned

(Rough English translation: select all users who have a clue. Result: none. Also available in a BOSSES variation...)

June 20, 2005

Sick pink shrimp: Are they aware of lightning?

Local news. When the body count isn't enough to pump up the newscast, things can get really odd. Just today: our shrimp are sick, and it's Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

Also, if you're a registered sex offender, you're now banned from public hurricane shelters in Hillsborough County, Florida. I guess that part about paying your debt to society doesn't count if you have the wrong kind of offense on your record.

June 18, 2005

Turtle Rescue!

My good deed of the week. Last night, driving home from work, I saw a Florida box turtle (photo) attempting to cross Hiawassee Road near a park. I can't imagine where he (she?) thought he was going, since he was actually leaving the safety of the park grounds.

So I pulled over in the right-turn lane, put my blinkers on, and went running back down the road like a crazy woman. That turtle was hauling his little turtle butt across the highway. When I passed him he was in the turn lane. As I was doing my lame sprint toward him, he was already in the right-hand traffic lane. Fortunately, the next car saw him (or saw loony me, and then the turtle) and moved over to the left lane to miss him.

Then a van came along in the left lane -- which was where the turtle was by this time. Man, that little guy could move! The van stopped dead in the road in front of the turtle, and I could see the driver leaning forward over his steering wheel to look at this turtle. I ran across the street, picked up the turtle, waved to the van driver, and crossed back to the park side with turtle in my hands.

I know some people say you should take turtles in the direction they were going, but there was nothing on the other side of the street but stores and houses. Not turtle-friendly.

So I looked at the turtle, and said to him, "Hey, you almost got tiddly-winked there." He just sucked into his shell. I've never held a box turtle that sucked into his shell before. Box turtles have a hinge on their bottom shell, so they can close up tighter. I could feel the bottom plate move when he did it. He stared back at me with his beady eyes.

I returned him to the grassy weeds at the edge of the park. I hope he'll stay there. He had some numbers painted on his shell in copper-colored paint, so somebody must be keeping track of him.