The Profiler

I’m getting married in June, which means I’ve got a lot of stuff to do before then. Of course I’m putting off all those things and procrastinating by writing a story about my old myspace profile when I really should be going to the Men’s Warehouse to get fitted for a suit. Anyone looking to meet people on the Internet is going to have to create a profile to describe who they are. A good profile will catch the attention of the type of people you would like to meet. A bad profile will repel these types of people, and, in some extreme cases, get your name permanently added to several government watch lists. Below is my old Myspace profile, along with some pointers in bold.

About Me:

First of all, I’m a delivery driver in Northern Colorado. Saying where you live and what kind of work you do is a good place to start, but don’t be too specific.

What does this mean to you? I’m pretty active since I’m running around town in a big brown truck 45 hours a week. I have a nice tan, except for the fact that my feet are totally white from my socks. I’m in good shape, except my love for Taco Bell means I have a few extra pounds to deal with. Be honest about your age and physical description. And while I’m on the topic, make sure to put up a reasonably new picture of yourself, preferably looking somewhat happy where your body takes up at least half the image. Sending a picture you took at a bar with 17 other people all wearing novelty Saint Patrick’s day sunglasses isn’t going give the other person much to go on.

Finally, I have a habit of droning on about work related stories, but I’m currently getting counseling and electro-shock therapy to keep it under control. References to electro-shock treatments can be a good ice breaker.

I’m also a writer. Not the kind that had made any money, but I keep plugging away at it. My goal is to get one of my stories on Saturday Night Live or Mad TV. I run a website at Newfunny.com where I put a lot of my writing. Mentioning what you would like to be doing is a good idea. Not too many people work at their dream job, so knowing that your soul hasn’t been crushed from years of cubical nesting gives your profile a positive spin.

What else do I do? I’m currently building an entry for next years Kinetics Race in Boulder. Once I get my hands on some welding equipment and some industrial grade marine Styrofoam I’ll be 80 percent finished. OK, this brings up a concept that many people don’t grasp too well. Many people assume if you write about your strangest hobbies everyone will thing you are crazy and nobody will talk to you. In reality, a certain percentage of the viewers will be turned off by this, but the ones who aren’t will be even more intrigued. For example, saying that you’ve been to one or more Star Trek conventions will make 90 percent of the viewers move on to the next profile, but the remaining 10 percent will be 90 percent more likely to keep reading. On the other hand, saying you like movies and going out to eat isn’t going to win points with anyone. You might as well say you like breathing air and drinking water.

I also like to play pool, ride my motorcycle, and meet new people. I’m very outgoing when I’m working, but more quiet and reserved when I go out socially. For some reason the UPS uniform gives me special powers– I can park where ever I want, ask random questions of total strangers, and of course run to the front of the line at any business without anyone getting mad. Talking about your job is good in moderation. Just remember to keep is positive. Starting a sentence with, “My boss is such a jerk-off for the following eleven reasons…” isn’t the best way to go, even if have detailed documentation to back up your claims.

Who I’d like to meet:

What do I want from a woman? Well, have you ever seen “Lord of the Rings”? All I want is a beautiful elven princess, like, say, Arwin (played by Liv Tyler) who possesses eternal beauty, courage, passion, and kindness but is willing to give it all up for a stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder (hmmm… I might be mixing my sci-fi metaphors a bit here). Am I asking too much? If you fit all of these criterion but are only a regular human princess, give me a call. If you are Liv Tyler, give me a call right now. This section is largely a trick question. Many of the things you want from a potential mate you can’t come right out and say in the beginning, like, say, “I want to meet someone who will paint my house on a regular basis. And not just going through the motions either. They need to do all the proper preparation like scraping the old paint, filling in the cracks, and laying a solid coat of primer.” And when you say “paint my house” you really mean something else like “cook all my meals,” “do my laundry,” or “satisfy my deviant sexual fetishes.”

Seriously though, I want a woman with a strong sense of balance. Not falling over too much, being able to ride a bicycle, and perhaps even the ability to juggle a few tennis balls is a good start. But more important is having a balance between your own needs and the needs of partner. Give and take is a big part of a strong relationship. Like saying, “OK, we can watch the stupid History channel special about subway construction (which I’ll bet you’ve already see before) but I get to put my feet up on your lap and so you can rub lotion on them during the show.” or “I’ll do the laundry if you do something about that rotting dead hooker in the trunk.” Another thing about what type of person you want to meet: You don’t need to say that you are looking for someone who shares common interests. That is kind of assumed. Nobody looks at profiles and thinks, “I want someone who is totally opposite than me in every possible dimension so we can just sit at dinner silently night after night knowing that any attempt at communication is destined to fail until the weaker willed of the union can’t take it anymore and, in a fit of uncontrolled anger, throws their dinner plate across the table accidentally decapitating their partner and damaging beyond any hope of repair, the Persian rug sitting underneath the dining room table that had been in your family for two generations.”

So now that my days of online dating are over, I hope this helps out everyone out there who haven’t met/seduced/started stalking their favorite lover. Keep your spirits up, your profile up to date, and your dates full of spirits.

Black Remote Technology

Who wants to save electricity? Or from a more pragmatic perspective: Who wants to save money? By far the best first step in reducing a home utility bill is to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs to replace less efficient incandescent bulbs. These CFL bulbs used to be quite pricey, but I just checked on Amazon.com and found a pack of 8 bulbs available for $12.69. Don’t wait for the old bulbs to burn out– grab the step stool from the utility closet and go on a bulb changing spree. The the cost of the new bulbs will be covered by the savings on next month’s electricity bill. The biggest challenge is removing the new bulbs from the hermetically sealed double-walled cocoons that General Electric uses to keep their merchandise safe during the moving process. Personally, I have found these types of packages quite easy to open by driving to my local home improvement store and a) renting an acoustic welder, b) purchasing a set of the “jaws of life”, and c) ranting like a lunatic at the poor girl working the customer service center until she successfully opens the package.

So now you figured out how easy it is to save a few bucks each month without any real long-term lifestyle change. So what’s next? CFL bulbs are the low hanging fruit on the home energy efficiency tree. Many of the next ideas, while they will consume less electricity, have a more significant startup cost. Buying a programmable thermostat can save money, but it will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100. Buying Energy Star appliances is also going to save money in the long run. Heck, replacing all the exterior windows in a house with double pained high efficiency windows will pay off ten to fifteen years down the road. Assuming, of course, that home prices will stop going down somewhere down the road. And, just a reminder, if you don’t own the building in which you live, well, none of this paragraph applies to you anyway.

For the forty five percent of the population that is renting, and the rest of the home owners who are only one quarter the environmentalist of Ed Begley Jr., the next step is to go from room to room and count how many remote controls you use on a regular basis. Here is a list of the electronic devices in my house that use a remote control: two television sets, two DVD players, satellite box, audio receiver, Playstation 2, XM Radio, and two CD players. When these devices are plugged in but not turned on they are drawing power. All these devices are consuming small amounts of electricity 24/7 which adds up to about 5% of your electric bill.

One way to eliminate this problem is to plug these devices into outlets which are shut off by a nearby electrical switch. Another solution is to plug these devices into a power strip. When you turn off the switch on the wall or on the power strip, no electricity is getting to these devices. While this solution works in a technical sense, many people are going to forget to physically disconnect these devices on a regular basis. And, let’s face it, another segment of the population won’t really understand why they need to unplug something they just turned off.

I have a much better idea.

In the future, any stand-alone electronic device that comes with a remote control is also going to contain a built-in remote control cradle to physically keep the remote control with the device. When the remote is not in the cradle, the electronic device listens for signals from the remote. When the remote is returned to the cradle, it physically activates a switch which disables the circuitry used for the remote control. The benefits are twofold: The remote control is kept with the device when not in use and the device is not wasting energy associated with the remote control. Note that when the remote is in the cradle all the non-remote functionality is still active.

A slight variation of this idea can be implemented for more complex setups such as a home entertainment centers. Often times several components are working in unison. For example, a universal remote control can send signals to a television set, a cable box, and DVD player. For this setup a stand alone cradle can be used for the single remote control. This type of cradle plugs into a wall outlet and contains space for multiple electrical devices (much like a power switch) for the television, cable box, and DVD player. When the universal remote control is removed from the cradle, power is restored to all the devices. When the user is finished, all the devices are turned off through the remote control and the remote control is placed back in the cradle. This activates a switch which completely cuts off all power to these devices.

While reducing a home’s power consumption by 5% may seem trivial, as a nation we are wasting 65 Billion kilowatt-hours of electricity which costs us $5.8 billion dollars a year. To put that in perspective, the Hoover Dam produces 565 million kilowatt-hours each year. That is equivalent to 115 Hoover Dams.