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This is a catchall page. Other sections, such as my rants, have much more intricate and developed stuff. This is mainly targeted at trivialities and overflow. Maybe someday I'll take some of these ideas, and really develop them. But probably not. This is stuff I consider important enough or funny enough or interesting enough or just plain weird enough to be worth putting on my webpage, but not <anything> enough to really delve into.

What's here

Quick links to bits of this page.

Idle Musings

These are quick little anecdotes, object lessons, or just random thought trains. They don't MEAN anything, they're just there.

A neighbor of mine was having a small party the other day. By small, I do mean small; just 4 or 5 friends. The apartments around here have your standard-issue cheap miniblinds, which said neighbors had dropped nearly to the bottom of the window, but there was about 5 inches or so visible at the bottom. Through that, you could see to just above the people's ankles, depending of course on how far back from the window they were standing. And I found myself watching.

You can tell a lot about things, sometimes, by observing parts of them. The interesting thing is, you can learn a huge amount, and not even be aware of how much you're missing. The general patterns of party-behavior can be deduced from watching people's feet, just as they could from representing people as dots, and showing where the dots are in the apartment. Actually, the feet tell you more, since you can sort of tell 'how' a person moves from their feet; are they wandering, or going somewhere, or excited about going there? The feet know. The feet can tell.

What you don't know is why. And that lack is telling.

I was on my way downtown this morning (~1am) to swap some backup tapes on our servers. Partway there (around Northside Drive and I55, for those of you who know Jackson), my odometer rolled over to 72,772.7 miles.

It's interesting to look at some of the phrases and concepts that have just permeated our current mythos. Star Wars is a great example, and the one that started this chain of thought. Saying things like May the Force be with you is something we do almost offhand and reflexively, and we do it assuming that whoever we say it to, if they've been breathing sometime during the last few decades, will know exactly what we mean.

You kinda have to wonder what thoughts were going through George Lucas's head as he penned those lines in the script. I mean, May the Force be with you, and all the other "Force" quotes, seem in retrospect like fairly natural phrases to have been picked up. And we all use them.

But These aren't the droids you're looking for?!?!?! What an utterly bizarre phrase! It's practically a throwaway line in the movie, and here it is holding the status of cultural icon! I'm not sure whether I should applaud Lucas's almost prescient abilties as a screenwriter, or laugh my ass off over how pathetic we all are to have nothing better to say than These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Ever noticed how every once in a while, you mindlessly do something really dumb? Well, OK, very often. But sometimes, your mind catches you halfway.

I was coming home carrying a CD rack, a DVD rack, and a Diet Coke in your standard plastic-cup-with-straw carryout cup thingy. This, of course, doesn't leave much hand-room free for the keys to get into home. I'm carrying these racks in one hand, and the cup in the other.

So, as I mount the steps toward the door, I'm taking a drink through the straw, and I'm beginning to clamp my teeth down on the straw and release my hand. It's a brilliant plan; I get my hand free to unlock the door, and the straw certainly isn't going to slip through my teeth, so the cup won't fall, right?

Fortunately for my new pants, my brain clicked into phase before the hand got the 'OK, let go' message, and pulled my internal Emergency Brake cord.

I was swapping some backup tapes the other night at about 2:30am. Driving back, I happened upon two young ladies, on their way home from a bar, on the side of the road with a flat. So, being the gentleman I am, I stopped to help them change it (good thing, since they didn't have a tire iron). So, right off, let me say; those silly-looking collapsable tire irons at Wal-Mart for $15? They actually do work pretty well.

So, after swapping on the spare, and watching them drive off (on-ward on the off-ramp... women drivers), I sally forth onward to my next port of call, the venerable International House Of Pancakes. I obviously go there too often, as I walked in the door and they called back my order before they sat me down. So, I set down my jacket, and wanders back to yonder restroom to clean the wonderful rubber-and-grease-compound off my hands.

By the sink, there's a soap dispenser. It's labelled "light duty hand cleanser". And lemme tell ya; they ain't kidding. 10 minutes I spent there, and only got the surface crap off my hands. So, I wander out and go ask the kitchen guys for some heavier-duty stuff, some grease cutter. Get it, wander back, keep scrubbing. Still can't get it all off. So, I give it up, thinking "If it's not coming off with the heavy-duty degreaser, it's not going to come off on my hamburger", and go masticate my deceased bovine.

I don't know what they do to that tire rubber to make it hold that well, but I'm sure there's some military application for it.

Crispy M&M's seem to have an unusually high percentage of red ones. Kiiiiiick-ass!

Random pseudo-metaphysical thought-of-the-day: If numbers reproduced like biological lifeforms, within a relatively few generations all numbers would be even.

After all, the only way you can get an odd number as a result of a multiplication is if both 'parents' are odd. Presuming that any even numbers exist, natural interbreeding will shortly dispose of all but the most hard-core 'racial purity' odd-ites. Eventually, they'll die out through attrition and inbreeding.

It's a good thing for established mathematics that numbers don't breed.

So I was talking to my mother on the phone the other day. Now, I love my mother, and my mother loves me, but proximity is not good for our relationship. So the fact that we live a thousand miles apart, and talk once or twice a month is great.

So we were commenting on this, and my mother comes up with the description of me as her "phone child". Neat. I've always wanted to be a phone child.

But it makes me wonder. Is a "phone child" what you get 9 months after you have phone sex?

Have you ever noticed that milk only goes bad when you're asleep?

No, seriously! It'll be "good" still at dinner-time, but it'll be "bad" at breakfast. But it'll never be "good" at breakfast, but then "bad" at dinner. Even though often the breakfast -> dinner time-span is often longer (sometimes much longer, with my days) than the dinner -> breakfast timespan. Somehow, the milk knows that you're awake.

Pretty freaky. I've always thought it would be neat to be paranoid, but I never realized that dairy products kept such a close eye on me.


This is pretty much random quotations. Not quotations of famous people, mind you. You overhear a lot of stuff in a day; snippets of conversations between employees at a place you shop, or bits and pieces from the group sitting next to you at a restaurant. Each snippet is like a little slice of that person's life. Your friends, you generally have a nice overall view of their lives; enough to give you some idea of their perspective, anyway. Most people in the world you never meet, so you have nothing.

But these are the interesting ones. The ones you meet in passing, getting barely enough information to be noticeable as information. A lot of it is funny, especially taken out of context (which you have to do, since you don't have the context to take it in). Some of it is sad. A lot of it is just interesting.

Message from gollingj on ttypk at 13:27 ...
Gateway's Tech Support people are rather chatty
While I was running a DFT, the guy asked about the [Pittsburgh] Steelers
We went on for 10 minutes until it finished with a non-zero error code, stating the prescence of bad sectors
"We'll send a new drive if you guys make the playoffs. Just kidding."

Message from gh on ttyp2 at 21:50 ...
The NSA is committed to cultural diversity in the workplace.
That means they'll be hiding behind, what, palm trees *and* spruces?

Found on the paper wrapper around some chopsticks at an eminently decent Chinese restaurant here in town (reproduced verbatim; all strangenesses are part of the original):

Welcome to Chinese Restaurant.
please try your Nice Chinese Food With Chopsticks the traditional and typical of Chinese glonous history. and cultual.

The following message was left on my answering machine by a friend of mine. I swear, he's not on drugs. Really.

I was standing in the middle of the desert, nowhere. In an invisible Wal-Mart. When I hear them page, "Matt Fuller, please come to the customer assistance counter. Matt Fuller, please come to the customer assistance counter."

What a strange day this nightmare has turned out to be. This dream, this moment that has elapsed in time. And all I can remember is them paging, "Matt Fuller, to customer assistance."