Choosing The Perfect Card

There is no perfect card that you can buy off the rack.  There are cards that are close, but perfect cards have to be created and not purchased.  But I don't have time to make my own card. Plus all the grammar and neatness... bleck.

So instead, I will buy a card that isn't even close and turn it into The Perfect Card:

First, buy a card. It really doesn't matter what card you buy. Words on the front usually work best. This card below was for Beth and Eric's wedding. As you can see, this has very little to do with a wedding. That's fine. If you are good, you can Photoshop your edits. If you are me, you use markers.



Next, get your tools. For this card, I'll be using blue and red sharpies and a huge carpenters L thingy for drawing straight lines.  I don't know what I was thinking.



Finally, make The Perfect Card edits. remove the words that don't work, replace them with words that do.


And that is how you Chose the Perfect Card. If you want, you can print this out and edit it for your Perfect Card.

Found: Flashlight

I found a flashlight in our yard as I was mowing. It was extremely nice. When I turned it on outside, it made the sun dim a little bit. Once inside, I looked it up online and it was worth about $150. A very nice flashlight.  My immediate thought was to sell it on eBay. But I knew that this flashlight was nice enough that the person who lost it would be looking for it.  I created a cryptic post on our neighborhood website.

Found: Flashlight
"Why are you making a post about a flashlight?"
I know. It sounds silly, but it looks really cool, it's about as bright as the sun and when I looked it up online, it had a value of $100 - $200 dollars. So I assume that someone's kid borrowed it for Halloween, dropped it in my yard and some mom or dad is really sad that it is missing. If you are missing this flashlight, describe it via private message and I'll get it back to you.



Within 20 minutes I got a reply. The guy knew exactly what it was, make and model. He just lived down the block and said he could pop by.  I never thought in my life that the person would be thankful enough to make up for the quick $75 I could have made on eBay. He was so thankful. It had been a treasured gift from his son. It's a tactical flashlight. He was so distraught when he found it was missing. He is a cancer survivor. He showed me how it clicked into the special holster it came with. He is 65. He took that flashlight on all the walks with his dog at night. We shook hands. He said thanks for the third time. And he left.

Annie said he walked really fast for someone who was that old.

How to Fake Being a Beer Connoisseur


If you are like me, you don’t know anything about craft beer or imports or even the pale yellow stuff that comes in a gimmicky bottle. For the adventurous, one way of learning about beer would be to take one of the various beer tasting class where they teach you how to order, look at and smell a beer before tasting. But if you don’t have the time, do what I do: fake it.

Most people don’t care what you know about beer.  Friendly beer drinkers find out what other beers you like and make suggestions. But there’s always going to be that guy at the office or the girl who’s dating your best friend who tries to win influence and gain respect by throwing around terms like hops and Lovibond and Parnesian Slow Drip Open Cask Fermentation Technique. If you find yourself backed in a corner and you have to fake beer knowledge, follow these steps.

Ordering
It’s best to ask your beer nemesis what they suggest.  Let them make the first move. No matter what they say, just reply, “Are you going to drink that out of a tall boy PBR can?” This will A) make them second guess their choice and B) wonder for the rest of the evening what the hell you were talking about. While they are still reeling, tell the bartender you’ll have the beer that has the most animals carved into the tap.

Color
Somehow the color of beer affects the taste or the taste of the beer affects the color.  I don’t know. What I do know is that you can stare at a beer for a good long time. Take a couple angles on it: over the top, through the glass, from the bottom. Then, without a taste or a smell, send it back and ask for something else. When your companion starts to question your actions, ignore them, look at their beer and say, “Are you really going to drink that poisonous swill?”

Waft and Tent
Once another brew shows up, make a big show of smelling the beer.  I like to set the beer on the table and use both hands to shovel the air over top the glass into my face.  It’s best to make questioning noises at first and then work your way into agreement mumblings and finally full out orgasmic grunts.   Then, put both hands over top of the glass like a tent and stick your nose in the opening. Turn your head and exhale then dive right back in.  Once you are finished, proclaim that the beer is slightly earthy with an acrid tooth.

Temperature
Hold the glass to your face.  Ask the beer connoisseur at the table if the beer feels too cold. If they touch the glass with their hand to test the temperature,  say, “Oh, you don’t use the Trappist Monk technique?” If they ask what the Trappist Monk technique is, smile and say, “I’m sorry, I've said too much already.”

Taste
Here’s where it gets tough.  By this time, your beer nemesis will be thrown off by your bizarre techniques and will want to step up with their knowledge of both taste and ingredients. Let them! Just reply back to anything they say with, “I can see where you would say that,” or “I’m sure that’s probably what you were taught.”  If they start to question your questioning, just gargle the beer while they are talking and then reply, “What did you say? I couldn't hear you during my Over Tasting procedure.”  If they start talking again, gargle louder.  After about three minutes of gargling, you should look down to see that they are gone.

Congratulations! You've won. Now order a tall boy PBR and let that cold, tasteless swill join the pride that fills your belly.  But not before you give it a good tent wafting!


Five Year Obituary Tradition


Obituaries are no fun if you can’t read them, especially when it’s your own. If everyone else is like me, people like to hear about themselves, both good and bad.  Most people have a yearly review at work to let them know how they are doing. As people, we only get one review and it’s after we die.

I have an idea called the Five Year Obituary.  Every five years, someone should write your obituary. Sum up what you’ve done with your awesome/miserable life. It will either be a tear jerking, reminiscent walk down a path paved with your successes or it will make you realize that you’ve got to get your shit together before you die.

While I have suggest in the past that you should write your own obituary, I think that this one should be written by a close friend that can drop the truth on you without you being too offended by it.  You should go into this with an open mind and allow your life summation to be both a pat on the back and a kick in the butt.

A yearly obituary would be tedious. If you only reflect on your life every ten years, you won’t have good opportunities to get your hearse pointed back in the right direction. 

Find a good friend and ask them to write your obituary. What causes have you donated your time to? Where have you explored? What lives have you changed? Who looks up to you? How many hot dogs can you eat in 10 minutes and how can we get that number up by the next Five Year Obituary?


Try it and let me know how it goes.  Mine currently just has a “born on” date, so I’ve got a bit of work to do with my life.

Poly

I met Freckled Jenn and Eric at a brewery called Lineage. She suckered be in by telling me they had a Wheat beer infused with Sour Patch Kids.  I went through two sets of tires driving to the place as fast as I did.

I was the first to arrive, seeing as I drove there so fast that my car tires made the Earth rotate backwards and caused time to reverse. I ordered a Kimmy Gibbler and sat at the high table that faces the parking lot. I only had to wait as long as it took the Earth to catch up with itself for them to arrive.

Freckled Jenn was very interested to hear about my trip to Turkey. I probably talked for 30 minutes straight about salty cheese and feral cats and carpenters that didn’t know how to carpenter. Jenn is a good listener and asked good questions like, “You know that prostitution is cheating, even if you are in a different country,” and “why didn’t you just buy a new pair of underwear?”

Eric rejoined us after speaking with one of his buddies who runs the kitchen. We immediately started discussing the women of Turkey. I hadn’t  an opportunity to go looking for beautiful people, so I had not seen a whole lot. There were a few very pretty people we saw at out and about, but none that I thought were stunning. I was convinced that I wouldn’t see beautiful woman the whole time. But then on my last night, I met one of Metin’s friends. She owns a Nutella store. Holy smokes she was pretty and very nice.  She spoke english and was very interested in what we were doing in Turkey.  But Jenn was tired of hearing about other pretty girls, so we decided to have one more beer and Jenn and I went up to the bar to get a round.

At the bar, we ran into a couple who were sitting near the end. They looked like a couple, but then again, Jenn and I probably looked like a couple. We talked about Bloody Marys and buying liquor as we waiting for the bartender to take our order.  We somehow got into celery salt and Worcestershire when I made a joke about my wife and Jenn’s husband. The other couple questioned if we were a couple and then they got excited and said, “Are you poly?”

Poly. Polly? Poly!

Oh! Polyamorous. Like, we would all go back to your place and roll on the IKEA carpet? I did think it was odd that the guy kept mentioning how he was texting his girlfriend, but that the girl next to him kept affectionately rubbing his back. 

Before I had a chance to say, "yes," Jenn said no, but she heard there were poly couples in the area. Jenn had recently seen an article in 614 Magazine and was familiar. The couple didn’t act disappointed as much as they acted disappointed.  We got our drinks, said our goodbyes and went back over to Eric, telling him about our adventure.  We all stared at them sitting at the bar, waiting for them to try and absorb another couple, but instead they left to go roll on their carpet alone together.

I did end up drinking a Wheat beer infused with Sour Patch Kids. It wasn’t as good as it sounded. I'm wondering what a poly relationship of Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, vodka and wheat beer would be like. Sans the carpet.


Chai, Two Lumps


I was in Turkey for three weeks working at a museum. My assumption before visiting Turkey was that I would be drinking a lot of Turkish coffee. But they don’t drink as much coffee as they do tea or, as they call it, chai. Chai was a part of everyday social interaction, business dealings and every meal. When someone offers you chai, you accept.  I did not accept on a few occasions and always ended up spending more time explaining why we couldn’t stay for chai than it would have been to just have had the drink.

Chai is served hot extremely hot. I secretly think this is so more time can be spent hanging out and talking while it cools down. Chai is traditionally served in hourglass shaped glasses so that any loose chai leaves get caught in the bottom of the glass.  

We were at the museum late one night, waiting for a shipment. In Izmit, large trucks are not allowed on the roads during the day, so we got shipments early or late. And when you are waiting for a shipment, you drink chai.  One of our interpreters, Setar, was helping with delivery and offered me chai via the security guards. I agreed and was asked how many sugars I wanted. I said two because it was late and I was considering this dessert chai. Two sugars is considered a lot.  Almost as many as three or four.  Setar then brought up a memory from his youth.  He said he remembered a Bugs Bunny cartoon where chai was being served and when Bugs Bunny’s nemesis asked for three or four sugars, Bugs hit him on the head.

Here is that clip:

I immediately found this both funny and interesting.  In the translation from English to Macedonian (I didn’t mention that Setar is 24 year old from Macedonia, moved to Turkey to go to school, showed up not speaking a bit of Turkish, was not allowed in school because he couldn’t speak the language and then worked in a restaurant over the next 6 months, picking up the language as he went along. His comment to me, “Once you know how a person is feeling, you can learn what they are saying.”) So in the translation from English to Macedonian, it was just translated as, “How many sugars to you want?” not “How many lumps do you want.” Whack. Whack. Whack. Whack.

Why is this interesting?  When I explained it to him (sugar = lumps = lumps are bumps) he “got it.” But either way, it was still something that he remembered and thought was funny, even though the actual joke was not revealed until 20 years later.   Bugs Bunny has that effect.

This is probably even more interesting because the translation in the cartoon was probably done correctly and that Setar was just humoring me with my observation.  Satar probably saw that I was proud of my clarification of the joke, knew that I was excited about my observation and that it would be best to leave it at that. Everyone happy. Everyone drinking chai.

The Rodney

I work with people that design Things and people that build Things. These people usually do not get along. The designers want the impossible and the builders want practical.  Somewhere along the way, they end up bruised and bloody, but in agreement and The Thing gets built.  The designer and the builder then go off and have a drink while the third, yet unmentioned party called the installer, takes The Thing in the field and tries to make The Thing that is too big/ too small / too upside down fit into a space that is too wet / too curved / too gravity.

The installer hates the designer and the builder because they always forget about her/him. Usually the installer ends up calling one of the two from 2000 miles away and asks them what they hell they were thinking when they designed/built The Thing. And because they are still out together having that drink, they tend to let the installer go to voice mail.

Recently, I installed A Thing as part of a much larger project. It was a decorative barrel. The designer and the builder had some really good ideas about how this engineered and scenically treated decorative barrel should look and function.  I do not think they had very many thoughts about how it would be installed. They created a steel frame that could be fastened to the wood floor with large lag screws. They made wonderful holes in the bottom the 36" tall frame in several locations so the barrel would be firmly attached.  The metal frame was connected to other barrels' metal frames so they would all hold each other up. It was a really nice design except for one item: the holes in the bottom were 36" away from the top and the metal frame inside only allowed for about 3" of access to the bottom. Imagine trying to stick a drill 36 inches though the tiny gaps in a Christmas tree made of 1" thick steel branches. It's mostly impossible unless you have a specialized tool.  So with a bit of improvisation, we created "The Rodney."  Not named for the designer or the builder, but for the guy that manages those two entities. And Rodney can take a joke.

So to get through the very small gap, 36" down to the bottom of the barrel, we purchased three 12" socket extension and a magnet.


The extensions connected to one another, but would fall apart when suspended. Using tape, I connected the three extensions together.


I then taped a magnet to the socket so that the lags would not fall off as they were lowered into the barrel. The fastener is not taped to the socket, ti just looks that way. The magnet taped to the socket holds the lag while being lowered into the barrel.


We christened it "The Rodney" and set off to try it out.

The magnet was so strong that I had problems getting it to the bottom of the barrels without it sticking to the frame.  Once the fastener did make it to the bottom and I would start the drill, the damn thing was wobbly as hell and it was difficult to get the lag to dig into the wood.  After several rough starts, the lag finally grabbed into the wood and The Rodney drove them through the frame in solidly into the floor.

There were five barrels in all and they each got a taste of The Rodney.  Then The Rodney was put on a shelf and mostly forgotten until now. In the end, it got stripped down so that we could use the magnet to fetch some metal bits from under an exhibit and someone had their own Thing to deal with and just needed one 12" extension.

No design is perfect. No fabrication technique is flawless. No installation is simple.  But when your back is against the wall and The Thing is making the situation seems hopeless, just remember that The Rodney will always be there for you.

How to Download Your Playlist from Grooveshark (for Chrome)

This is from reddit user akahomerjay42 http://www.reddit.com/user/akahomerjay42 

Grooveshark was a HTML5 website, so it stored data in the browser "Local Storage.". If you haven't cleared your cache since you last logged into Grooveshark, you can probably retrieve it.
2) Open Chrome's Developer Tools by hitting (CTRL+SHIFT+I)
3) Click on "Resources" tab
4) Expand the "Local Storage" tree
5) Click on "http://grooveshark.com"
6) Find the key that looks something like "Library1414435" (it will be a 7+ digit number)
7) Look at its "value" (it's a JSON string). You should see something like this "{"lastModified":.....blah blah artist name...
8) Right-Click on that value
9) Click "Edit Value"
10) Copy it by hitting CTRL+C 
11) Now go to the webiste https://json-csv.com/  and Paste (CTRL +V) the contents of your clipboard into the window 

12) Download the resulting .CSV file 
13) Open the .CSV file in Office or Excel

My Pineapple Heart

I wrote a draft of a play called "My Pineapple Heart."  In acquaintance of mine (yes, I am allowed to have an acquaintance,) MaryBeth, mentioned that she had a very small pineapple (smaller than normal) and my friendquaintance (one step up from an acquaintance) Wooz was taking plays for his yearly Valentine show at St. James Tavern.  This didn't get picked, but I thought I would share. It still needs a lot of work, but this is probably the last I will ever touch it.

My Pineapple Heart


Guy
Hi, anyone sitting here?

Girl
Not anymore.

Guy
I’ve seen you here at the St. James a couple of times. 

Girl
Oh yeah, you were playing pool?

Guy
You… you noticed me?

Girl
Ha! No. It’s just that there’s a pretty good chance that anyone coming here was or is going to play pool.

Guy 
I can’t help but see that you have a pineapple strapped to your chest.

Girl
Oh? Is it noticeable?

Guy 
Well, it’s a small pineapple. Smaller than normal.

Girl
His name is Charles, but I call him Charlie.

Guy 
Do you carry it in case of a fruity drink emergency?

Girl
No.

Guy
Is it some kind of Japanese fashion trend?

Girl
No.

Guy
Did you lose a bet?

Girl
This is my heart.

Guy
Your heart?

Girl
My heart. The mass of muscle that beats endlessly and keeps us alive. My heart.

Guy
You mean it’s a symbol of your heart.

Girl
No.  My heart was taken from me.

Guy 
Stolen?

Girl
Ripped out.  Ripped right out. I was lying there on the floor about to die, but I was able to reach Charlie. Somehow, I made it though. I fashioned this sling to keep it on me.

Guy
Who took your heart?

Girl
A guy. His name is Joe.

Guy
Is he the guy you come here with?

Girl
Yeah.  Used to.

Guy
So Joe, I assume, broke up with you, took your heart and this pineapple heart is the replacement.

Girl
The pineapple is perfect for me to replace my heart. It’s smaller than normal. It’s spikey in all sorts of places. It’s ugly. The core is rough and gritty. But if you know how to work your way in there, there is sweetness inside. Was. Not sure anymore.

Guy
I’ve seen you here before.  I’ve always wanted to talk to you, but you’ve always been with a guy. With Joe.

Girl
You’ve been watching me?

Guy
Not in a creepy way.

Girl
When you watch someone more than once and you don’t say hello, it’s creepy.

Guy
I think that Joe guy would not have appreciated me coming over to say hello.

Girl
Joe didn’t appreciate much.

Guy
How long are you going to wear that?

Girl
Forever. Until I’m dead. Whichever comes first.

Guy
Listen. I’m just the creepy guy playing pool that stares as you, but you’ve got to know that there’re other guys out there.

Girl
That… that is so cheesy. 

Guy
What I mean is this: this pineapple isn’t your heart. And Joe didn’t rip it out of you. You gave it to him. You let him have it. And he broke it.

Girl
Yes. I guess you are right.

Guy
But hearts aren’t made to give. They are meant to be shared. Equally. With someone who I… someone you loves you as much as you love them.

Girl
I… I think I know what you are saying.

Guy
Yes?

Girl
I’ve been blind this whole time!

Guy
Yes!

Girl
I don’t need to give my heart away, I need to share it.

Guy
Yes! Share it!

Girl
Thank you! I’m going to go find Joe and give it another chance.  Thank you!

Guy
But! But I..

Girl
I did it all wrong  the first time around. This time, things will be different. Thank you!

(She kisses him on the cheek.)

GIRL
I don’t need this anymore. (She removes the pineapple and throws it on the bar.)

Joe! (She leaves.)

The guy stands up and watches her go. He then clutches his chest and bends over in pain.  With a gasp, he reaches for the pineapple and puts it on.