THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: May 2006

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On Being Cautious (Overly?) - Part 1

As I move through my thirties, I'm discovering that I am an extremely (overly) cautious person in some ways. Mostly and especially as regards my physical safety. The fact of the matter is that I have decided one of my very long-term goals is to someday meet my great-grandchildren. On earth, not in heaven. So I try to be careful.

When driving, for example, I take -- to the considerable amazement (read, consternation) of friends and family -- what I have coined "safety cuts" to avoid what I consider unreasonably dangerous situations. No matter that it added two minutes to what is ordinarily a five minute drive, there was a spot on my previous commute where if I was driving home after dark I would drive a considerable distance through a residential neighborhood to avoid sitting still waiting for the left turn arrow on a county highway. My "safety cut" allowed me to go straight through the same intersection and also to cross that busy street when my light was the only one that was green.

When choosing entertainment and exercise, for example, I generally avoid sports that could lead to injurious collisions (e.g., basketball or football). And I guess to be honest I generally don't exercise, so that's a bad example.

I'm guided by that philosophy so succintly and accurately summarized by Christian Slater in True Romance (written by Quentin Tarentino): "Better to have [it] and not need it than to need it and not have it." In the case of the movie, "it" being a gun. In the case of my ├╝ber-cautious life, safety.

So that's the back story. Here's the latest example.

Every night, the crew that cleans our offices comes in and does its thing, collecting the day's refuse, dusting the furniture, and vacuuming the carpets. As is frequently the case, I was working late the other night, so I was here when the cleaning occurred (I'm often the last to leave the office; I'm also customarily the last to arrive in the morning, though, so like most things, it balances out).

The man who runs the vacuum and I have a "Hello, how are you?" sort of relationship. He seems like a pleasant fellow. He is extremely conscientious about his work. He's also vigorous and energetic and happy. Plus he wears a quite ample amount of a pleasant smelling cologne.

Anyway, this night was like each other night. He came into my office, I scooted my chair from left to right and lifted up my legs so he could vacuum under my desk. We exchanged pleasantries.

Then he went out to vacuum the rest of the offices. But unlike each other night, this time he stopped working a couple offices down. He turned off his vacuum cleaner. He took a call on his cell phone. And during the call he got very upset. At least I think he was very upset. I do not speak his primary language, so I don't know what he was saying. But he sounded infuriated. I became quite uncomfortable, since I was the only person in the office, the only person within earshot. It occurred to me (as a borderline paranoid person, see above) that he might have forgotten I was here because he was so upset. And that if he saw me again he might not be amused that I overheard his conversation (even though, of course, it was no fault of mine that I overheard him, he was the one doing the yelling).

So I climbed under my desk. And I kneeled there for about five minutes while he finished up his phone call and about another five minutes while he finished up his vacuuming and left. When I heard him shut the door and when I observed him turn out the lights, I came out and went back to work.

Putting the experience in the above-referenced philosophy, I decided it was better to hide under my desk and not need to than to need to hide under my desk and be sitting in my chair.

Photo Credits: here and here.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

On Heavy Drinking - Part 1

So it was my birthday recently.

And don't tell me I don't know how to party. The CEO of my new employer took all available employees for the company out to dinner at a Morton's Steakhouse. I went along. And since the company was picking up the tab, I started out the night with a club soda. Seriously.

After that, I ordered my favorite drink that you can get in a bar.


Nothing caps a celebration like grenadine, I always say.

Unfortunately, all the other people at the table heard me order it. It was modestly noisy when I got the waiter's attention to lodge my request, but as sometimes happens in groups, everybody sort of quieted down right about the time the words "Roy Rogers" were escaping my lips. I'm confident it is because everyone is always extremely curious to know what I'm up to because I'm such a trendsetter. Or else it could've just been a complete, inconvenient coincidence.

Photo Credits: here

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lyttle Lytton Contest Entry

I heard about this contest from a dear friend and a wonderful man (not pictured). This contest is delightfully intellectually stimulating. I am a traditionalist, so I am only interested in the "classic" Lyttle Lytton contest. The rules, the parameters, are as follows: Your task is to write the first sentence of an imaginary novel. Your goal is to make it hilariously bad. The maximum sentence length is 25 words.

I like this idea. I used to have some of my dear friend the wonderful man's efforts, but I lost that email after moving over to the new job. Luckily I still have the best effort I've summoned to date. I haven't submitted this for the contest. But I am publishing it here for the collective joy of both people who read my blog regularly.

To whit:

  • By afternoon the distant screams subsided, but since the planet Zerphat doesn't orbit anything or rotate, this didn't mean much to Bob or Lucy.

I'm not sure, reading it again today, that I like it that much anymore. But I would definitely not read a novel with that for the first sentence, so at least it's got that going for it.

Photo Credits: here

Monday, May 08, 2006

On Helping Hands - Part 1

I opened a new carton of orange juice a few minutes ago. During the act, I accidentally caught the fingernail of my index finger on the edge of the spout. The force applied against the nail was so strong the nail bent backwards and the skin underneath the nail actually tore. I am typing carefully so as not to get blood into the keyboard of my laptop. OUCH. (It hurt.)

Luckily I feel better now after laughing about this ...

A friend uses Earthlink for email, and she has a spam prevention feature set up on their account. I just emailed this person for the first time from my new email account at my new job. I clicked the link the spamblocker auto-response included. My browser opened and took me to a page where I could register my email account so in the future emails from me will be accepted into my friend's inbox without delay. The registration page included one of those goofy text boxes like the word verification feature on blogger.

It also included this option, the utility of which I questioned:

  • Visually impaired?


Photo Credits: here

Sunday, May 07, 2006

On What I Do - Part 1

She's my inspiration ... at least for this post.

The pictures below are real.
I took them.

After I realized what I was doing merited disclosure.

Perhaps one of you can help?


(I'd just emptied
the last
of the milk
the carton
into a cereal bowl.)

(For my breakfast.)


(I squished it and folded it,
squeezing as much of the air
out of the carton
as I could
before twisting the cap back on.)

(My hands like how it feels like the
outside the squished, folded carton
after I've sealed it
to get into the carton.)

(Physics. Cool.)


(I placed it into the trash can.)

(My brain likes
it doesn't take
much space in the sack.)

Friday, May 05, 2006

On Fables Revisited - Part 1

I read a book recently. I'll be writing about that sometime in the future. It was a wonderful book. It affected me. But it took me awhile to finish it. And it got me thinking.

Each of the following statements is true.

And how can that be?

How does that make any sense?
  • When reading silently to myself, I can read much faster than I can read when I'm reading out loud.
  • It takes me longer to read a book (in real hours' time) than it does to listen to the same book -- even the unabridged version -- as an audiobook.

So Aesop was right. Prescient. Something. Apparently my brain's inability to stay focused on pushing my eyes across words and through page after page loses to the diligent plodding of the recorded reader's voice.

I am the hare.

I eight the sandbox.

Photo Credits: hare

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On Peculiar Things Learned - Part 1

Something peculiar I learned today:
  • It is not a violation of copyright law (federal or common) to take a picture of a drilling rig owned by someone else.
  • Under many circumstances, it is a violation of copyright law (federal and common) to take someone else's picture of a drilling rig.

Photo Credits: here

Monday, May 01, 2006

On Business Models - Part 1

This website is a fabulous idea, it seems to me. The blog you see if you click through the preceding link is styled "A Painting a Day." It's the blog of a painter named named Duane Keiser. According to his blog, he posts a painting a day. Postcard sized oil paintings. Still lifes, mostly, from the days I clicked around and saw. Nice pieces. I like his style. I would buy these paintings.

And at the top of each post, he links to his ebay auction where that particular painting is available to the highest bidder. Some of them I saw sold for in excess of $300. Decent.

What a great way to profit from being a skilled artist. It's got to be an exceedingly high profit margin business. And I can't imagine it takes him more than an hour to bang out one of those post-card sized paintings. If he could figure out how to increase the volume of products sold through his blog he might really be on to something. Of course maybe he can identify his top selling paintings through the blog, identifying customer demand, and then create larger versions of those same paintings, hoping to increase revenue. Or maybe he can make prints of the top sellers and generate higher volumes of sales (albeit at lower prices) from those pieces.

Anyway, bully for this guy. That's using your noodle. That's putting technology to work for you. What a great way for an artist to make his products available to a large, interested group of consumers.

Chris - you should try this method to gin up some coin instead of that adsense gimmick!!

I can't paint or I'd try it myself. Hell, maybe I should try to learn.

Photo Credits: here