hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jan. 27th, 2010 03:01 am)
There are a good number of hair salons in and around my town. Among the ones I pass more often are:

1. Sweeny Todd Hair (I kid you not, and it's billed as a "Family Hair Salon.")

2. Flash For Hair (which now shares the building with "Wags To Riches" pet grooming)

3. Hair Flair (whose sign consists of the name and phone number of the place in plain black type with absolutely no adornment... and basically zero flair)

4. Liquid Hair Salon (in case you wanted your hair liquefied? Their website is impressive. Trendy and stylish to an almost scary degree for a salon located on a highway in the suburbs. For all that, they could really use a copy editor.)

Almost makes me glad to be bald.

In other news, I decided to go ahead with the smile card experiment, redesigned based on [personal profile] synecdochic's suggestions. I think it could be cool. So I got a pack of business card stock, designed the cards (front and back), did a couple of test prints (on the cheap paper provided for the purpose), fixed the margins, put in the real thing, hit print, and... ink ran out. Went to get more ink, and... printer died. Dead. As in "you'll have to replace the motherboard" dead. Just like that, after three years of solid performance. Think the universe is trying to tell me something?

So we're getting a new printer. Same line, new model. Canon, it turns out, has a "loyalty program." If your printer or whatever dies, they'll give you 10-20% off a new one (from a small pool of new and refurbished models) and free overnight shipping. They've also got a good support team, with a call center that's actually based in the US. But... they also recently came out with a new new model in the same line. Some small improvements. Nothing major, as far as I can tell. Which means that stores are trying to get rid of their leftover stock of the previous model. So I got one of those for half off (with free shipping - standard shipping, too, thanks to Amazon's current promotion). Should be here in a couple of days.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Nov. 23rd, 2009 11:07 am)
1. Feeling pretty jetlagged. Circumstances this past weekend really messed with my sleep schedule.

2. Should also mention that I'll have spotty internet access for the next week or so.

3. From Twitter: Spacewalker Bobby Satcher just said, "...give a shout out to the Twitterverse."

From the universe to the Twitterverse. Silly Dr. Satcher. Doesn't he know that in space, no one can hear you tweet? I guess he just doesn't appreciate the microgravity of the situation.

Still... it's kinda cool. But also oddly scary.

4. Found a couple of interesting items in SkyMall.

The "Body Figure Enhancing Pads" caught my eye first. Diet until you look more like a sick figure than a healthy human being, but don't worry, we can fix that! Just slip these pads into your jeans and it'll look like you actually still have curves and a butt! All the fun of padding your bra, but upside-down! (Just don't try to sit down...)

Also, for you Yankee fans:

For only $799, you can buy a seat from the original Yankee Stadium!

Better yet, you can get two for $1499!

If that's out of your price range... never fear!

$99 will buy you an authentic chunk of freeze dried Yankee Stadium grass! But wait! Only $21 more, and you can get a square foot of Yankee Stadium sod! Better yet, $280 gets you four square feet! It even comes with a free bag of Yankees grass seed, which would otherwise cost $25. (And stoners thought their grass was expensive...)

Other items of interest:

Truck Antlers! They go in the windows to make your truck look like a deer! How precious. And hiliarious. BTW, you can't close your windows all the way because the antlers are there, so you'll probably get that annoying whistling sound at highway speed. And if you open the window, the antlers will fall out. Possibly causing an accident in the next lane over.

Windmill for your cell phone! Yes, now you can make use of all that hot air. This backup battery for your favorite portable electronics not only has a solar panel (like several others on the market), but also a small wind turbine. Just stand around holding this giant battery up in what is hopefully a decent breeze and, eventually, (probably after a few hours on a good day), it will recharge. Yay for green power!

Telekinetic Obstacle Course. The headband reads your brainwaves, and, based on theta wave activity, adjusts the power to a fan which holds a ball aloft. Focus, and you can get the ball to go up and down. Use a knob (so much for TK) to rotate the board, allowing you to maneuver the ball past one of nine interchangeable obstacles. Wow.

But I saved the best for last:

Underwater Cell Phone System

Now, not even the depths of the ocean can keep you from those vital "Hey, I thought I was on vacation, dammit!" conference calls. For a mere $1790 (plus tax and shipping), you can get this floating antenna and make cell phone calls while scuba diving! Never be out of touch with your favorite telemarketer again! "But wait," you say. "It's a floating antenna? How am i supposed to use that while diving?" Quite simple! A 40 meter cable connects the antenna to the Bluetooth headset built in to the mask. Because of course the excellent voice quality of Bluetooth will work just fine through water. Of course, if anyone else happens to be diving in the area with a tether to the surface, you just know you're going to get all tangled up together. But no matter. You can always call for help - or call each other! Just make sure not to dive more than, say, 38 meters down (have to leave some wiggle room and all - waves, horizontal distance, etc).

SkyMall can be entertaining and amusing. Every once in a while, it pops up something cool and interesting like the giant cupcake of doom or the recycled plastic composter or something (which can generally be found elsewhere for 2/3 the price). But sometimes I worry that there's actually a market for some of this stuff. And sometimes, it just seems to highlight everything that's wrong with this world.
This doll is about the scariest thing I've heard about on Halloween.

And yes, it appears to be real.

For only $69.99.

So, to sum up:

Name: "Palm Beach Sugar's Daddy Ken" (though many sites are leaving out the 's)

Wearing: Bright green paisley jacket, pink polo shirt, white slacks. Comes with 80's shades and some of the loudest floral swim trunks you've ever seen.

Accessories include: Little white dog on bright pink leash

Price: $69

"Made with the adult collector in mind!"

And somehow this is (apparently) not a hoax. It's been covered by ABC news, among others. (I'd double-check with Mattel.com, but their site is down.)

I think my head just exploded.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jul. 9th, 2009 05:45 pm)
Had a good day yesterday (finally!). Feeling back to my old crappy self after getting off those pills. Still not great, but at least not crappy and drugged. Was worth a try, anyway.

So I went into the city and spent the day with my sister. Walked around central park. Finally got rid of the Reverse Tooth Fairy coins that I've been carrying around in my pocket this whole time. Tossed them into a fountain in the park. (If found by the park service - there's a guy whose job it is to clean and maintain the fountains - the money goes to maintaining the park. More often, though, the coins are picked up - illegally - by homeless people. Hopefully, Tooth Fairy money will bring luck and good things, either way.)

Also tried frozen custard for the first time, since they were selling it at the Boathouse in the park where we had lunch. It's a lot like ice cream, but thicker and smoother. (According to Marc Summers, it's also made with more egg, served colder, contains less air, and must be served fresh - within minutes of coming out of the machine.) So that was pretty cool. (And listening in to snatches of conversations from neighboring tables was interesting, too...)

From there, we went to the Met. Sis was hoping to find something of interest for her class in the newly (re)opened American Wing. That didn't work out so well, but there were still some cool things to see. A view into the life of generations past. But they also had these cool interactive touchscreen displays at various points. Including one that dealt with colonial-era intercontinental trade (triangle trade and beyond). I was looking at that (sis had gone on to the next room) when a woman (late middle age) walked up to look at it, too. We started talking about the displayed trade route for Chinese porcelain, which was reportedly shipped around Africa to Europe. I was struck by how difficult that trip would have been, especially taking cargo as delicate as porcelain around the Cape of Good Hope. She was saying that there should have been other stops (not shown) along the way. We had a rambling discussion, ultimately deciding that we would have shipped it around Asia (avoiding the difficult mountain crossings), offloaded around Egypt (where the Suez Canal is now), relayed overland, filled the first ship with spices, rugs, and other Arabian products, sent that back to China, and sent the porcelain on another ship, to be relayed across the Mediterranean. We had fun, as she said, "rewriting history." Then we went our separate ways. Been a while since I've done something like that.

Left the museum to go back to sis's place, hung out there with her and the kids, and had a great time. Best day I've had in a long time.

In other news...

I've been enjoying my Kindle. Read a bunch of Sherlock Holmes, The Lost World, several books by Mark Twain, Alice and Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, and now I'm on to an 800-page book on Norse mythology. Amazing. And I've still yet to actually purchase a book, thanks to Project Gutenberg.

Playing Scrabble with sis led me to remember a favorite word of a friend of mine. "Lagniappe." It's a Creole word meaning an extra or bonus. Basically, a little gift given "just because." Neat little word. Thought I'd share. (No, it wasn't actually used in the game.)

Take a look at this picture. Notice anything odd? It's something I've been wondering about. "Fat Free ReddiWip." ... "Made with real cream!" How does that work, then? They use real cream and then skim off the fat? That's even stranger than the Ben & Jerry's ice cream I came across a few years back which boldly proclaimed "Made With Real Skim Milk and Cream!" ... which two ingredients, mixed in the proper proportions, would result in... whole milk, the original product from which skim milk and cream are made.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Mar. 2nd, 2009 05:48 pm)
1. Why did the yo-yo cross the road? )

2. New icon:

Thoughts? I'm not quite satisfied with it, but not sure how to finish/improve it.

I do hope it at least amuses. [livejournal.com profile] ladymirth, if no one else...

3. As [livejournal.com profile] orangebeaver pointed out, Michael Jackson has a life-sized sculpture of himself as Batman, and, along with a whole bunch of other stuff... it's currently up for auction. The statue (catalog 4, page 71, item 805) is scheduled for day 4 of the auction (April 24th), which focuses on Disney, superheroes, video games, and general entertainment-related items. According to the main auction page, proceeds will benefit MusiCares. Starting bid for the statue is $200-$300. I expect it'll go for considerably more. (Also... "The catalogues are comprised of a 5 book set in a hard box cover at $100 per set plus shipping and handling. A limited edition catalogue box set, signed and numbered by Michael Jackson, will be available for $500 plus shipping and handling.") You can, if you want, register and bid online.

4. Had a very odd dream last night. What's even stranger is that I remembered most of it when I woke up. Long enough to jot down a bunch of notes before falling back asleep.

The whole long crazy story... )
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Feb. 7th, 2009 06:53 pm)
To the good people at Community Energy:

I recently received your letter explaining that you would be raising your prices due to the "increasing price of solar power in New Jersey."

This at first confused me. The sun, though steadily burning its finite supply of fuel, surely cannot be appreciably different in the quality or quantity of its output. If it is, then I've got a lot more to worry about than an extra 2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Solar technology has been around for some time, and any improvements in that technology should, on the whole, serve to make it cheaper and more efficient (else they wouldn't really be improvements, per se).

Then it occurred to me. In the time since we signed up for your renewable energy plan, the sun over New Jersey actually has grown dimmer and the hours of daylight shorter. I am happy to explain to you, however, that this phenomenon is known and understood. It is called "winter." It is the phase in the Earth's orbit in which the northern end of the axis points away from the sun, reducing the quality and quantity of light which hits the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere. Fortunately, though I can only prove it through the logically imperfect process of induction, I can say with reasonable confidence that by March 1 (your proposed effective date for the price increase) winter will have passed and New Jersey will once again benefit from a brightly shining sun. In fact, with the winter solstice having already been passed, you may have noticed that the days are already getting longer.

So, unless there's some other factor which I have failed to consider, you may relax and be confident that an increase in the supply of solar power is soon to come.


Paul-Gabriel Wiener
Just saw an ad for this thing. It's a little device which purports to do what Viagara does, but without pills. Instead, it uses a "vacuum therapy system", which supposedly does the job in 4 minutes. So you sit there, for 4 minutes, while this vacuum... yeah.

And they're making enough money off of this to afford (late night) national TV ads. Charging nothing up front, and with people to handle all the paperwork for you, because - and this is the kicker - it's covered by Medicare, the US government insurance program for the elderly and disabled.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Dec. 12th, 2007 02:24 pm)
In other news...

The good people at Webster's have chosen their "Word Of The Year."

Reuters has an article about it, and, of course, you can see the official announcement over at m-w.com.

So what is the word?


No, really. It's "w00t." Which they have correctly spelled with two zeroes.

What can I say?

Uhm... "W00t!"?
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Dec. 2nd, 2007 03:27 am)
Caught a bit of a broadcast from Chicago today. It was the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Being broadcast (live, I believe) December 1st.

Let me repeat that.

The McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade. On December 1st.


And the commentators... There was a mixed group of horses going by. Some full size, but also some kids on ponies.

W: There are those little horses. I don't know how they do it.
M: They probably stop feeding them after a couple of days, so they don't grow anymore.
W: You are so smart!

The last two lines were obviously joking, but she sounded like she meant the first one. And I don't think he knew where ponies come from, either.

The one thing I can say for it all is that they took the time to play Twist & Shout over the PA or something. (Covering over a marching band that was passing by the camera at the time, but what can you do?) A parade, in the streets of Chicago, with Twist & Shout (the Beatles version) blaring out and parts of the crowd singing along. Very cool. Though, since I only caught the end of the song, I do wonder what float I missed going by. But hey, it's nice to know that a classic movie of my childhood has not been forgotten.

As for the rest... all I can say is what's in the tag: What In Fragnation?
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2007 09:47 am)
Was browsing Citysearch.com, looking for a restaurant for Mom's birthday (we'd planned to go to CT, but had to cancel), when I came across a small list of national restaurants which had recently gotten good reviews (the top 10 or whatever). In the middle of the list...

Phuket Thai Restaurant

I'm sure that means something good in Thai. But when I read it, I just get a word I'd rather not have echoing in my head. Do they not realize this? Has no one told them? Or is this some subtle form of advertising?
You know that Carrie Underwood song, "Before He Cheats"? It's been out for a little while now, and I've been wondering about it.

For those of you who don't know the song, it goes like this: "He went off with some bimbo, so I totally trashed his precious car. That'll teach him."

First of all... How did this escape the country stations into my airwaves?

Second... Let's consider the legal issues involved. If they were married, then cheating is grounds for divorce. By trashing their car, she's ruined what could have been a very good case. They're still getting the divorce, but that car (and probably more) is coming out of her share.

If they weren't married, then what it comes down to is that he left his girlfriend for another woman. It happens. And Carrie is now guilty of a little thing called "Willful Destruction of Property." In Michigan, the top hit on my quick search, it's a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to 3 times the value of the damaged property.

Either way, she's screwed herself for the sake of a bit of petty fun. And is now crowing about it. Brilliant.

Meantime... he left her (here's a Google Image search), and she responded by throwing a tantrum. Which is the shallow one here?

Did she ever stop to consider that maybe, just maybe, the reason he left is that she's... I don't know... a jealous pyscho?
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Sep. 4th, 2007 10:42 pm)
Sorry that I once again have not responded to comments. I suck. And I'm still exhausted. Even more so thanks to a morning checkup that cut me down to half a night's sleep for the sake of 2 minutes of face time with the doc.

In the meantime, for your enjoyment, a discovery I made today )

And I know just where to keep it! )
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 19th, 2007 03:19 am)
What in fragnation?

Just stumbled across the Shakespeare Fishing Tackle Company, a brand of fishing equipment that, according to their history, was founded in 1897 by "William Shakespeare, Jr., an avid fisherman of 27 years" (27 years in 1896, when he started designing the equipment he would sell the following year). Their signature brand of freshwater rods? Ugly Stik (sic).

Pardon me, I think my head just exploded.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 12th, 2007 12:19 am)
"No Sugar Added" my foot! (Perhaps literally...)

Went to Olive Garden with the family for dinner tonight. Plenty of salad and breadsticks, good food, good service (though I was thinking I might have had better luck at a different location... ;) ), reasonable prices. If you're in the US, you probably know the place.

This time, I noticed that they had some new (to me... it's been a while) desserts. Including a lovely looking chocolate torte which was labeled "No Sugar Added!"

Having had some nasty experiences with that particular label in the past, I asked the waitress what sweetener was actually used before ordering. She went back to check and told me it was Splenda. I relaxed. It's a plausible replacement sweetener for baked goods. Unlike Nutrasweet, it doesn't denature at high temperatures. And, since it's basically just an isomer of sugar, it tastes and acts just like the real thing. (Except that it's not actually digested.) So I went ahead and ordered it.

Then we got home. I was curious, so I checked the site. Turns out they don't list nutritional information for most of their items (big surprise :p), but since this one is special diet food, they do have it listed on their Garden Fare menu.

According to that, one serving of Torta di Chocolate (specifically mentioned above as being great for those looking to limit their sugar intake) has a whopping 63 grams of carbohydrates (about as much as, say, two full cups of pasta or four slices of bread) - probably more than the entire rest of my dinner. 11 of those are from fiber, which isn't really digested. And some of it is, of course, complex carbs from the flour. But 34 grams are from... sugar alcohol. The bane of my diabetic existence. (One of them, anyway.)

Sugar alcohols are derivatives of sugar. They aren't fully digested, but what is digested might as well be sugar. The FDA seems to have mixed feelings about them. Their regulations seem to change from year to year and context to context. In one place, they define "sugar" as anything that is a sugar, is derived from sugar, or functions as sugar - including sugar alcohols. In another, they say that reporting of sugar alcohols on labels is voluntary. And, although I can't seem to find a clear indication now, my old research (from when I tried the Killer "Sugar Free" Gumballs Of Doom about 10 years back) says that sugar alcohols don't count towards the "No Sugar Added" label.

So, right now... my blood sugar isn't supremely dangerously high (or even as majorly high as it was after a single gumball), but it's up there. Higher than it should be. Much higher than it would otherwise have been.

I wrote to the FDA to ask for labeling clarification (and to beg for tighter rules), but I doubt they'll do anything. And yet...

This stuff is dangerous. It may or may not technically be sugar. It may not be processed exactly as sugar. But, dammit, it's close. Close enough to put a crimp in a dieter's style. Close enough to pose a serious health hazard to people with metabolic disorders like diabetes.

If I'd had more than a couple of those innocent-seeming gumballs, I could have been hospitalized. Or too much of that "no sugar added" pie from the grocery store. Or, yes, the chocolate torte from tonight (which I thankfully split with Mom).

Why would they allow that? Why?? I can only assume it's pressure from the manufacturers, but, dammit, stuff like this is exactly what the FDA is supposed to be protecting us from.

Why would people be so irresponsible as to label a thing as "no sugar added" and "good for those seeking to lower their sugar intake" and such when, really, it's no such thing? And why would the FDA be so irresponsible as to let them get away with it?

They're playing with people's lives.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( May. 29th, 2007 05:11 pm)
Well, the shoe fits, so I must acquit. Or maybe it means I'm Prince Charming? Or... no, wait... If the shoe fits... wear it.

Looks nice, fits comfortably, Mom likes them better than my old ones... things are good. Yay!

In other news, I a got a letter in the mail today to acknowledge/confirm that I chose email instead of paper delivery, so they don't have to send me any more letters. Gotta love it.

(In truth, I'm glad they did. Means someone can't hack my account and change the delivery settings without my finding out about it. Still, you gotta appreciate the irony.)

In yet other news... We've just taken a step closer to Back To The Future II's vision of 2015.

In that future, Marty orders a Pepsi, only to be served a vitamin-enriched Pepsi Perfect:

Meanwhile, just this month, the Coca-Cola company came out with a new product: Diet Coke Plus.

"Each 8-ounce serving of Diet Coke Plus provides 15% of the daily value for niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, and 10% for zinc and magnesium."

Yes, that's right. It's enriched with up to 15% of your RDA of five vitamins and minerals! Wow.

But hey, it's an interesting step.

Now, where's my flying car...?
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( May. 12th, 2007 07:37 am)
What in fragnation??

We just got a new high-power dehumidifier for the basement. (The old cheap one kept breaking.)

Front page of the instructions, first bullet point, large letters (and this is an exact quote, including formatting):

  • It is designed to be installed INDOORS ONLY.

  • It's a good thing they warned us. We could have accidentally stopped it from raining ever again.

    ETA: You know, I'll bet that's what happened to Texas. The whole thing's pretty much desert, except for this one corner where there's so much water in the ground, it's turned into swampland. That must be where the condensate tube emptied out.