Monday, January 23, 2017

Terrible Food Day

So, I thought it would be a good idea to have Terrible Food Day for my daughter (and, by extension, me). My wife is always buying these healthy things with buckwheat and chia and tiny rocks, and while I appreciate her earnest healthward leanings, I recognize that when you are seven years old, tofu and gravelly grain is not the most appealing.

I started talking about TV dinners to my daughter. The cobbler! You put a TV dinner in the oven and if you wanted the (arguable) meat to be hot, that cobbler was going to be fused like magma. Pirate Picnic--that was my favorite when I was a kid. Games on the box! Nestle's Quik mix included! This is what life was like before Atari.

The excitement was palpable.

So we ventured forth to our local grocery store. I was anticipating a rich array of choices. But the only real TV dinners I could find were Hungry Mans. And I don't think a 50 pound person needs 2 pounds of food. (Incidentally, while we were discussing what terrible food choice we would make, a hungry man approached the Hungry Mans and changed his mind when he heard us. Sorry, Swanson.)

Apart from that there were some Banquet choices, only one of which had a dessert in it, and that one looked pretty terrible. In the end she opted for a kind-of TV dinner featuring chicken nuggets and some macaroni and cheese that was frankly unholy and did not taste even a little like cheese.

I myself opted for the Stouffer's turkey tetrazzini, a foodstuff I consumed throughout high school and college at a truly alarming rate. And I tell you it hasn't changed. In fact the particular box I purchased may have been from 1992--how could you tell?

I also tried to flesh out Terrible Food Day with Chikn-in-a-Biskit crackers. My daughter ate one and sputtered "aaaagh! salty!" I assured her that the chemical reaction taking place in her insides was not just salt--it was Nature's Perfect Food: MSG! And lots of it! But no matter how I tried to explain the wonders of Flavor Enhancer, she would not be swayed.

So anyway, I may have affected her eating habits in a good way by making her eat stuff that tastes even worse than quinoa. She liked the orange soda though.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Is IoT the Next Game Changer?

Will your game change when your toothbrush is talking to your toaster? I'm here to tell you it will.

And the best thing is that dudes in Latvia will be able to listen to your toothbrush too! It may end up like that Gilligan's Island episode where Gilligan was receiving radio signals through his teeth, except this will be a guy named Gregor slowly reciting strings of random numbers into your molars as you massage your gums in the morning. A new world of openness and possibility!

And are you tired of having to manually upgrade your waffle iron to install the newest patch, adding full Netflix capability to what is ostensibly a way to make breakfast? Now you don't have to! Your waffle iron will automatically download the latest kicky apps to keep you entertained!

We must never rest until every single device can stream everything all the time. Until the glorious moment when everything everywhere is released in a half-assed version that we can upgrade remotely to a new version that is deeply insecure and broken in new and exciting ways.

Save your credit card information to your doorbell! It will be fine!

Your medical records should be stored on your connected fridge, which can also generate a playlist based on your fiber intake. Listen to it as you lie immobile on the floor, waiting for the paramedics!

This is the future!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

An Arguably Bad Idea: Monkey Ownership

The surprisingly not awful but still kind of awful tale of people who ordered squirrel monkeys from comic book ads in the 60s and 70s:

It was also capable of riding on the back of the family’s Sheltie collie like a horse. Although the dog didn’t enjoy it, he learned to deal with Chipper. 

I am troubled there is no mention of the late 70s scheme wherein a company would begin sending you small dangerous animals every month until you paid them to stop sending you small dangerous animals. A particularly inspired wrinkle of the scheme was that if you gave the company the names and addresses of three of your friends, you could get them to stop sending the small dangerous animals for an unknowable amount of time. Of course, the scheme was doomed from the outset because once the recipient was killed by the small dangerous animals (and they inevitably were, if not killed, really badly damaged both physically and emotionally) the small dangerous animals tended to pile up at the recipient's address, and you wound up with flocks of small dangerous animals roaming the streets, brandishing their flick-knives at old ladies and generally threatening a god-fearing populace.

Note that this story is like eight years old. I know that. Don't get all huffy with me, sir.

via metafilter

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The Daddest of the Dads

As one gets older, one realizes certain things about oneself. 

Just after Christmas (and I hope you had a good one), I finally gave in to 2009 and picked up a Blu-Ray player. This had been on my mind for some years, since I upgraded my amp (or is a tuner? God knows) and discovered my DVD player would no longer connect to it in any useful way. Because the crushing march of technology dictates that everything must be HDMI now. And that's good--don't get me wrong...when I am watching my tedious art films I want to see angst and despair at the highest possible resolution. So for several years I have had a basically useless DVD player sitting underneath my TiVo, and I have been watching movies on the Xbox. That's fine as well, as long as you don't mind occasionally being unable to hear anything the actors are saying over the droning whirr.

So anyway, my little Blu-Ray player arrived from Amazon (refurbished! 47 dollars!) and I eyed my component console thing warily. This is a unit with two side-by-side drawers on the bottom for storing media (read: absolutely full drawer of DVDs you look at wistfully from time to time and drawer full of video game peripherals that you're not sure if they still work but figure you had better keep, just in case you ever want to play a Gamecube pinball game where you speak into the controller and control Japanese feudal-age armies again.) Above the drawers, the unit has two side-by-side shelves where you store your components, and tiny little holes through which you feed a vast array of cables. I have wisely broadened those cable-holes over time, ensuring no resale value remains for the unit itself. The shelves are covered by those lift-and-slide cabinet doors that are exactly the height of my amp thing. So every time I slide the amp out to see what the hell is going on back there, the amp grates against the bottom of the cabinet door, leaving gouges and grooves that make it look like it has been the victim of a werewolf attack. Also, all the cables are just exactly the right length so that when you slide the amp out, half of them detach and you have to guess where they previously connected. Or, as I did, you kind of rotate the amp just enough to where the cables don't pop out and you can kind of see the markings on the 27 Ins and Outs, as you shine your iPhone in there, making sure to shine it directly into your eyes a couple of times and panicking you into thinking a migraine is inevitable. 

So I am in there messing around with cords and cables and trying to remember if I have another HDMI cable in the garage (spoiler: I do not) and thinking I should really do something about this nest of cables under my component amp tuner console furniture thing because other people seem to have figured this out but I somehow have not, and what if I somehow used zip-ties and hooked all these cables to the back of the unit? 

And it hits me: I love doing this. I love assing around with cables that connect various electronic things, and reassuring my family that I know exactly what I am doing, nodding to myself sagely before optimistically pressing several remote buttons, only to find out I have screwed up one of the 27 connections in some unknowable way. And swearing, of course.

The daddest of the dads.


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