Mission Possible

So I’m sitting here in my home on a quiet Saturday morning before anyone else has woken up thinking about things I want to accomplish in my lifetime. Here are a few randomly selected items on my list:

Make a complete list of everything I want to accomplish in my lifetime (so I will know when to stop).
Find a polynomial time algorithm that solves the Travelling Salesman Problem.
Figure out how to rearrange the molecules of our planet into a vessel capable of safely transporting intelligent life out of the solar system before the sun explodes.
Get my daughters to clean their rooms before the sun explodes.

Obviously one of these problems is truly impossible.

So why do I even bother with a list like this in the first place? Or how about I set the bar a bit lower and make my list “stay alive”? The obvious answer is that I like puzzles.

Well, at least it is obvious to me. What makes a good puzzle anyway?

Cosmic Error

After reading the dozen tweets from Neil deGrasse Tyson regarding the accuracy of the movie Gravity, I would like to point out a glaring inaccuracy in the title sequence of the television series Cosmos. Even if you could travel faster than the speed of light through the cosmos the stars wouldn’t appear to move relative to one another.  At most you would be able to see one star in the center fly at you as you passed next to it as the rest of the cosmos appeared static. Star Wars and Star Trek are also guilty of this mistake, but I have been unable to reach George Lucas and J.J. Abrams to rectify the problem. Also, they are fictional stories.

Despite this slight issue with the show I would like compliment Mr. Tyson on doing a great job promoting scientific principles to the world at large.

Wind Of Change

So as of this Saturday I’ve officially been a full time package driver at United Parcel Service for 10 years. Only another 10 or 20 years left until I can retire and start drawing my pension. Too bad I didn’t start at UPS earlier.

Also, I’ve come to the realization that I only have 12 more days to earn myself a Field Metal for Mathematical achievement. Apparently once you turn 40 you are no longer eligible for the award. I’ll have to think of a simple polynomial time solution for the “traveling salesman problem” while I’m at work this week. Or as I like to think of it, “the UPS driver wants to get home before his kids go to bed dilemma.”

Bright Eyes

Delivering packages at the mall is making me feel old. I was at Sephora this week when one of the girls asked if I would get mad if she moved by me as I was unloading packages.  I replied that I was “living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.” None of the three girls in the room understood what I was saying even when I clarified that it was a lyric from Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Still nothing. So next I went to the eye center and explained what just happened and none of them knew what I was talking about until one girl piped up and said “I think I heard that song on American Idol.” I guess that’s something. I was going to make a reference to the song “Glory Days” but I didn’t feel like explaining to everyone about Bruce Springsteen.

Hertz So Good

Notice to all Hertz rental offices in Northern California:

After a complete analysis of our operation over the past decade, we have found a disturbing trend that has accounted for a disproportionate amount of revenue loss in the Northern California division. It appears that one organization has been responsible for a vast majority of our damage claims. They have rented cars from our locations and then have returned them in various states of disrepair. Some vehicles appear to have been repeatedly parallel parked in a tight spot. Others have been returned with after-market equipment which allows the vehicle to be operated via remote control. One appears to have been retrofitted with rockets in the trunk.

Our report has found that this group accounts for 73% of all damage claims in the district and has reduced profits by a staggering 54%.  For these reasons, we are directing all employees to categorically refuse renting any vehicles to the following loosely organized group of people who often times refer to themselves as the “Mythbusters.”

Hitting The Wall

So I was watching Wall-E the other day for the Nth time (where N=N+1, which explains how many times my kiddos want to see this particular movie) and I noticed something that bothered me and now I can’t get it out of my head.  When Wall-E is hanging on to the outside of the rocket ship there is a shot of what I’m assuming is the Milky Way (or a similar shaped galaxy) which make me ask “how far away did they have to take the Axiom to escape the pollution of Earth?”  The answer, apparently, is a long, long way.  I asked Isabel for an explanation, but she started yelling “today is Wall-E’s birthday” over and over.  And if they can travel past billion of stars, why couldn’t they find a new planet on which to live?  Also, how much of the pollution on Earth was a direct result of building hundred of thousands of space ships and launching 10 billion people across the galaxy?  Think about it, but try not to let it keep you up all night.

Another Exciting Friday Night

My ongoing quest to get our DVD collection onto a network drive took a big step forward last night.  I found a gizmo on Amazon that lets me turn an old USB drive into a network drive.  Now I have someplace to download all of our movies that the Playstation 3 can recognize.  This means the hardware configuration section of the project is 100% complete.  The overall project is 43% finished in terms of the projected time commitments. Stay tuned for for my next post entitled “37 unnecessarily confusing steps to follow so you don’t have to search through all your DVDs when you child needs to watch Toy Story ASAP.”

Relationship Tip #57

If you are dating a woman and are considering “taking things to the next level” (such as spending the rest of your lives together or lending her your spare grocery store rewards card) I would highly recommend that you do a little bit of research on the Internet and check out how she fares in the “88 Lines About 44 Women” song. When Katherine and I started dating I discovered the following about her:

Well, Rhonda had a house in Venice, lived on brown rice and cocaine.
Patty had a house in Houston, shot cough syrup in her veins.
Linda thought her life was empty, filled it up with alcohol.
Katherine was much too pretty, she didn’t do that shit at all.
Uh uh, not Katherine.

Given that very positive review we ended up getting married and having two wonderful kids together.  So make sure to do your homework before taking the plunge. That, and make sure to stay away from Dinah– I’m pretty sure she isn’t anyone’s type.

2012 Review

The clock on my computer says 7:18 p.m. and I am either A) putting on my tuxedo getting ready to go to a high-society masquerade party or B) watching Team Unizoomi in my pajamas with my children reading my WordPress year in review web statistics email.  I spent countless weekends perfecting my Odo mask for the Northern Colorado Trekkies Association’s annual masquerade party only to be un-invited after making an ill-received joke at their Christmas party that Scott Backula was doing great as the star of “American Restoration.”  Needless to say, 2012 turned out to be yet another year I didn’t get invited to a masquerade party.

For those readers who prefer visual references, here is Odo, the security chief in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:

Scott Backlua in Star Trek: Enterprise:

And Rick Dale from the History Channel’s “American Restoration.”

So, getting back to my web stats for my newfunny.com website, I am happy to report my blog received roughly 17,000 page views this year.  If you don’t believe me, anyone can check out my stats page at:

http://jetpack.me/annual-report/13586333/2012/

While I’m very happy with the results, there are a few situations that seem to have inflated these numbers a bit.  One of the biggest reasons people come to my website is because if you are looking on Google for images of The Dukes of Hazzard one of the images from my website shows up on the first page of the search.  I don’t know how many people that click on the image actually stay to read the story, but it is one of my favorite stories that uses a popular television show to demonstrate the abuse of power from the war on drugs.  I know, it sounds really serious, but it is funny too.

Another reason I’m getting more page views is because I wrote about the movies “Zach and Miri Make a Porno” and “Orgazmo” and now people who search for porn movies get sent to my website instead.  I’m sure I’m only getting 0.000000001% of the porn traffic, so I don’t think the porn industry really needs to view me as a threat.

Rounding out the top five stories on my website are my Sci-fi themed wedding invitations (which we did actually send out to everyone) and my Sci-fi themed thank you letters (which Katherine wouldn’t let me send out).

While I didn’t make any big changes to the layout of the website this year, I did find a nice plug-in that shows a list of the most popular stories on the upper right hand side of the page.  I’m still disappointed that my Iron Chef Amsterdam story and the UPS/Lord of the Rings story aren’t at the top of the list.  If I was a little more motivated I would go into the WordPress database and rig it so they showed up higher.  But I guess the public has spoken.

So that about wraps it up for this year.  And my resolution for 2013 is to finally get invited to a masquerade party. Sci-fi themed or otherwise.

Having Kids Ruined My Netflix Account

This is really more of a problem with Netflix than my kids. While I go off to work my kids like to watch stuff like “The Cat in the Hat” and “The Mickey Mouse Fun House.” Which is fine, but then we put the kids to bed, come downstairs, and fire up Netflix only to have it recommend movies that only a three year old would enjoy. I’m not sure exactly how their search engine can find valid recommendations when the last two shows watched were “Team Unizoomi” and “Battlestar Gallactica.” So if anyone at Netflix is reading this, maybe you should figure how to deal with kids and adults watching content from the same account. Heck, it might even help your stock price.

Stephen Colbert Title Sequence

“Mi-partison”, “My-partison”, and/or “Mypartison” are my submissions for the next word in Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report.”  I’m not sure exactly how to spell it since I just made up the word, but that is besides the point.  For those who aren’t up on Comedy Central’s talk shows, every now and then a new phrase is put on the screen right as Colbert grabs the American flag and starts falling into the giant letter C.  A few of my favorite past words have been:  Smartyr, Freedominant, Uptrodden, WinLaden, Downtrickler, and Fundit.

Grounds Of Discontent

I’m pretty sure that I’m not giving away any sensitive UPS intelligence when I say that my employer saves money by purchasing the cheapest coffee that doesn’t violate any Federal laws.  So the other day I took a small sample of coffee to a lab for analysis. It turns out that each packet of coffee contains 53% fine sawdust, 40% recycled toner cartridge ink, and three coffee beans.  I’m not sure I even want to know what is in the powdered creamer.

Worth Every Penny

Years ago, Stephen Hawking bet a fellow scientist from the University of Michigan $100 that the Higgs Boson particle would never be discovered. In an interview with the BBC, Hawking said: “It seems I have just lost $100.” On Wednesday, scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle, controversially dubbed “the God particle.”

“Mr. Hawking isn’t wrong very often,” said an individual who knows Stephen Hawking well but nonetheless would prefer to remain anonymous. “Just don’t fall for ‘the money is in my front trouser’s pocket– just reach in there and grab it’ trick.  Sure, he may be one of the brightest scientific minds of this generation, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a dirty old man.”

Father’s Day Update

So Katherine ended up getting me a nine inch diameter glazed doughnut for Father’s Day. Apparently I was a little bit off the mark with the whole Lisa Loeb coming over to my house and making me pancakes. Katherine explained to me how she really tried to get Lisa to stop by, but apparently she is married and has a few kids to look after. (I know how that can dampen one’s social life!)

So I put up a link to the pancake song that she recently releases on my last post, but I didn’t even know about it until I googled “Lisa Loeb pancakes”. I was thinking back to her short lived food show “Dweezil & Lisa” where they spent an entire show preparing and hosting a pancake party. I guess I’m not being the best fanatic that I could be in this area.

While going on a date with Lisa is kind of out of the question, maybe we could arrange a play date with our kiddos. Isabel and Samantha have a lot of cool toys and plenty of space to run around. But if I don’t ever get to meet you in person, I’ll always remember you as “the queen of being sexy without letting all your junk hang out, even though you have the figure to wear trampy attention grabbing outfits, because you want the world to appreciate you for your artistic abilities.” I totally get it.

So despite the lack of sexy rock stars at our house this weekend, I really enjoyed my Father’s Day. And yes, I ate the whole doughnut myself!

Father’s Day Surprise

Katherine told me Friday night that she is picking up a special Father’s Day gift for me at 9am Saturday morning. She refuses to give me any more details regarding the nature of the item, so I am using my amazing powers of deduction and reasonableness to conclude that she spent a small part of the afternoon arranging for one of my long term goals of having Lisa Loeb come over to our house and cook me pancakes.

Developments in this matter, I’m quite sure, will soon follow.

The Joy Of Shingles

I now have the honor of being part of an elite group  of Americans who have come down with the shingles. [LOOKS OVER AT THE INTERNET]  Oh, wait, apparently one in three people get it sometime in their lifetime. If you are thinking quietly to yourself, “hey, isn’t that the band who sang that catchy song in the movie The Garden State?” you are probably getting the band The Shins. I’m not sure if anyone in the Shins have ever had the shingles, but the odds are there.

If you are thinking it has something to do with having experienced the chicken pox as a child, you are on the right track. Apparently the virus that causes the chicken pox hangs around inside your body just waiting to cause problems at some random point in the future.

So about a week ago I started getting daily headaches and my neck and right shoulder started to feel sore. Being a UPS employee for almost a decade now, none of these symptoms seemed particularly alarming. A few days later I got a rash on my neck and right ear. Just looking at it in no way relates to the pain I was feeling. Laying my head down on my pillow caused tremendous pain. I eventually started plans to build a bacta water tank that helped heal Luke Skywalker from a severe wampa attack at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. Katherine was not receptive to this idea.

The pain in my ear can be described exactly as the scene in Star Trek when a younger, more fit, and, well, I suppose less passed away Ricardo Montelbon places mind-controlling bugs in crew members of the Enterprise.

So, in conclusion, the shingles really suck. Really. And I know that I’m the type who, on occasion, may tend to exaggerate my pain situation to gain sympathy. And the fact that they just randomly pop up for no real reason makes it that much better. So if you know of anyone who get the shingles, the best thing to do is to sneak up behind them and inject them with large dose of horse tranquiler. Just let them sleep the whole experience away. Do not, and I don’t think I can stress this enough, sneak up behind them and give them an Indian burn on the effected area. This will most likely cause them to die. Literally.

Sleep Deprivation

I truly believe that any sleep deprivation study needs to use 10 month old children who wake up a random intervals in the middle of the night.  My second daughter, Samantha, is quite skilled at screaming at random intervals in the night for reasons completely unknown to me.

So I took her downstairs the other night to try and calm her down, but none of the usual tricks were doing me any good.  Eventually I just sat down with her on the recliner and turned on the television.  After randomly moving through channels we both dozed off in the chair.  When I woke up I had a bunch of strange thoughts in my head such as:

Drug cartels from south of the boarder are funding conservative super PACs to keep funding for the war on drugs
The Rosetta Stone company is actively suppressing Esperanto for their own finical gain.
Jimmy Carter, at night when he isn’t working on being an international peace ambassador, is a super hero whose only goal is to get the United States to convert to the metric system.

So I’m not really sure what channel I was watching when I fell asleep, but I highly suspect it was one of those crazy 24 news channels. That, or I was watching the Colbert report commenting on these topics.  The last alternative is that I’m just strange enough to think of these things on my own.

Not in Russian Anymore

I was looking through my wordpress admin page and I noticed more than 1,000 spam responses in the comments section.  By default I don’t post any of these to my site, but just for fun I looked through some of the stuff that people are trying to get on my site.  About half of the comments were in, and I’m just kind of guessing here because there were a bunch of backwards Rs and other symbols I didn’t recognize, Russian or some similar language.  If these spammers are so smart, can’t they figure out only to spam sites that at least use the same character set?

While I was messing around with my website setup, I thought I would give the “automagically post this to my facebook page” plugin another shot.  I tried a few months ago but wasn’t able to get it to work. Here goes attempt number 2.  Engage!

House Calls

Mitt Romney is still working to clarify his statement, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”  On an unplanned trip to chat with reporters in the rear of his campaign jet, the former Governor of Massachusetts worked to explain his intentions of the comment in question.

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” Romney proclaimed. “I was referring to the fact that the very poor have a safety net.  Let me give you an example here– I was watching television up front and witnessed a story about a pretty young homeless woman who came into the emergency room with a mysterious illness.  During her stay at the hospital she received top-notch care from the best doctors in the building and not once was refused treatment based on ability to pay.  This reassures me that our safety net is working.  Thank you Doctor House.”