Saturday, July 30, 2005

Apartment Living... part deux

So about a month ago I blogged about the random stuff I found down on my deck from the "crazy lady upstairs". [Apartment Living a.k.a. How to be an amateur CSI] So I'm sitting here at home on this Saturday morning and I get a knock on my door. Now, might I add this is I believe the very first time I've ever had ANYONE knock in my door... it just doesn't happen. So I open the door, and it's the lady from upstairs.

At first I was like, "ok, I've lived here for a year and a half... this is the first time I've met her... why is she coming down here now?" Maybe it's because when my friend Jonell was over here a week or so ago she mentioned "that crazy lady upstairs" out the door while said crazy lady from upstairs was out on her balcony. Who knows. We talk briefly, then I find out the real reason for her visit... some clothes that were apparently drying had fallen off of her balcony onto mine. She was really embarrassed... I was just amused. I asked her how long she's lived here... she pauses a moment and then says... "oh... about 12 years now." TWELVE YEARS?!!? Dude... this place is nice but I can't imagine living in any apartment for that long, let alone this one. I guess to each her own.

Then she tells me about how she's put towels down so that when she waters her plants, the water doesn't make all that noise as it comes splashing down on my patio. She also has explained one other mystery to me... for the last week or two I've noticed how the squirrels seem to congregate out on my patio, and I couldn't figure out why. Well, she says she feeds the squirrels... by throwing nuts down onto my patio. Mm-hmm... it all makes sense now.

Anyway... half of the mystery solved... but she's still the "crazy lady upstairs" in my book. But a nice crazy lady upstairs, I will say.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

If it ain't broke, don't fix it...

OK, tonight gets an extra bonus post because I just saw a news article that completely caught me off guard. Our fine legislators in D.C. have agreed to the "Energy Policy Act of 2005". While the whole act has a lot of mumbo-jumbo about saving energy in an effort to wean we oil-guzzling Americans off of middle-eastern oil (or something like that)... the key provision that actually affects us in the real world is quite simple: to change daylight savings time from the current system (first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October), to the first Sunday in MARCH to the last Sunday in NOVEMBER.

Could this not be a more RIDICULOUS idea!? While we can thank good old "Mr. $100 bill" Ben Franklin for the idea of shifting time haphazardly in an effort to confuse people every 6 months... er... save energy, I still think daylight savings time is dumb, but support it if only because I think it would confuse people more if we didn't change the clocks anymore.

Now, if you don't immediately see the bad consequences of this, let me point out exactly why this is a "very bad idea":

1) Canada. Our neighbors to the north currently have conformed to our ridiculous practices in an effort to ensure continental harmony. If we go and start messing with things, during the entire months of March and October, crossing the Canadian border will be like changing time zones. So if it's 8:00 in Seattle, it'll be 7:00 in Vancouver, BC, and 9:07 in Boise. What a mess.

2) Smoke Detectors. We're all so used to changing the batteries in the smoke detectors when we change the clocks. You think that this works out to changing the batteries every 6 months, but if you actually pull out a calendar, the beginning of April through the end of October is actually 7 months. I guess people think batteries should last at least 7 months. But if we change things, that will be March through November: 9 MONTHS! According to the firefighters out there in the world, that's unacceptable. (I think they're getting kickbacks from Duracell, personally.)

3) Not-so-"Standard Time". So if we're on daylight savings time for 9 months out of the year... for you non-math-people out there, that's 3/4 of the year with daylight savings time, and only 1/4 of the year for "Standard" time. Now I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound very "Standard" to me... sounds to me like the standard is to have daylight savings time. Seems pretty bogus to me.

4) Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. If this goes into effect, it will take effect immediately, meaning the currently scheduled time change on October 30th, 2005 will be moved to November 27th. So if you have a flight scheduled for anytime during the month of November... when does your flight leave? Are you an hour late, or an hour early? Does your flight leave an hour later than scheduled, or an hour earlier, or do we just pretend this whole mess never happened and go with whatever the clock on the wall says? Same goes for trains, I guess, if you ride trains for any productive purpose. As for automobiles, uh... well it seems to take a rocket scientist to figure out how to change the clocks built into most car stereos... maybe that's a reason unto itself.

Of course, this all depends on President Bush actually signing this bill into law... maybe he'll be smart and... oh wait, nevermind.


One of my favorite shows on TV has got to be Mythbusters. I've been hooked on this show ever since I stumbled onto one of the very first episodes several years ago.

These guys, Adam and Jamie are just great. The whole show operates on two simple premises: 1) test common myths and see if they are actually true, and 2) if they aren't true, see what extreme conditions would make them true. The first one is usually easy enough to test, and I'd guess that 95% of the myths turn out to be complete and utter nonsense. The second one usually involves making things explode, break in spectacular fashion, or a little of both.

It's funny though, the show has changed over the years. Somewhere along the line, they ran out of myths... so now they seem to do more testing of "could thing things you saw in the movies really happen? Or did they just look good on film?" These are entertaining, but they get old, just like everything else.

One other interesting thing I found out is that Adam and Jamie really aren't friends, though you wouldn't believe that from watching the show. ['MythBusters' Friendship Only Gadget-Deep - AP 4/26/2005] Apparently Jamie didn't even go to Adam's wedding because he "didn't want to". Touching. Though you can definitely tell that often they get quite frustrated with each other on the show, now I know that it's completely real.

It used to be just the two of them, but now the cast has "expanded" to include their understudies or "Mythterns" as they are often called. What a waste... all they get are the dumb myths that Adam and Jamie are too good to deal with. I think it hit rock bottom for me when they tested a myth of whether plants grow better when you talk to them than when you don't. I mean honestly, booooooooogus. I think the page at summarizes much of what I'm talking about.

I think it's the same problem of driving good shows into the ground. Like the first Who Wants to be a Millionaire prime-time series (the one hosted by Regis)... that was exciting when they had it on for limited spans of time, until they started showing it 4 nights a week and everyone got sick of it. Why can't people leave well-enough alone?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Christmas in July

What's the deal with all these "Christmas in July" sales? Not to mention those damn commercials for Sleep Country with their little jingle bells-type song about Christmas in July... it's so bad, but you just can't stop watching it. Not to mention it's the exact same commercial they had on TV last July... I guess it was so good they decided to resurrect it. Whatever.

So Christmas in July, is that really necessary? What's so wrong with having a "July in July" sale? Or here's a novel idea, an "Independence Day in July" sale. I don't get it. I mean, I know July is as far away from Christmas as you can get, but so what? I'm going to have a store and throw my own sale... I'll call it my "St. Patrick's Day in September " Sale. You get those same great St. Patrick's Day prices in the middle of September. It's perfect! Again, this deserves a big giant whatever.

In completely unrelated news... don't you hate it when you eat a sandwich made with toasted bread, like a club sandwich or something, and it just chews up the roof of your mouth. I think I have serious cuts up there... painful I tell you. But that sandwich was mmm...mmm... good. :)

That's all, I'm going to bed.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

LIVE! (except on the West Coast)

Isn't it amazing how Hollywood, California is probably the television capital of the world, yet the world of television revolves around Eastern Standard Time. I don't think the majority of people on the east coast have any clue that this is the case. How does it work that all of these shows are LIVE from California... except if you're actually watching it IN California in which case it was actually taped LIVE 3-hours before you actually watch it. Having lived on the west coast all my life, I think this is probably the most ridiculous thing. Now, I know this all revolves around the almighty dollar and broadcasting the shows in the primetime viewing slots. Like the Oscars, one of the biggest non-sporting television events of the year... ALWAYS live from Los Angeles. I think they usually start around 5pm (since that's 8pm on the east coast, the start of prime time television). But I distinctly remember times when they would actually delay the show until 8pm for us west coast viewers... ridiculous! Why do I need to watch when I can just go online and see all the winners, since it already happened 3 hours earlier! Though knowing the Oscars, the show would probably start for us before the live show has actually finished.

With smaller prime-time shows, it's almost commonplace to see this happen. Take the LIVE finales of your favorite reality TV shows. American Idol, The Apprentice, or as I was just noticing the live finale of Dancing with the Stars.. all LIVE... unless your poor soul happens to reside in the fine states of Washington, Oregon, or California. I'd like to see a show Live in primetime (except on the East Coast). Then again, I think the Earth might need to spin the other direction for that to make any sense whatsoever. Something to strive for.

Apartment Living a.k.a. How to be an amateur CSI

Living in an apartment building always proves to have its interesting quirks. I consider myself pretty lucky overall. My apartment building has probably about 60 or so apartments... not that I count the rooms, but I seem to remember there being about that many mailboxes. Anyway... I live in the back corner of the building, so I really only have two neighbors that I share walls with. One next to me, and one above me. The one who lives next to me, I have never actually seen, but that's not surprising because I rarely see anyone unless I pass them in the parking garage, and this neighbor just moved in a month ago. Anyway, she seems pretty quiet because I rarely hear anything from that side of the apartment. The only problem is that whenever she uses the shower, the sounds of the water running through the pipes in the wall is deafening. When I'm sitting in my living room watching TV and the shower comes on, I literally cannot hear the TV anymore it's so loud. On the bright side, I can only assume it's just as loud when I use my shower too, so I guess I can't fault it too much. It's usually not too bad though.

Now we come to the neighbor upstairs. Again, someone I have never actually seen, but her balcony is actually directly over part of my patio. As close as I can tell, it's some old lady who lives there... and she has cats. Our apartment has a no pets, no smoking policy, yet I know the old lady who lives above me both has cats, and smokes. How do I know this? Well, how can I not. I've seen her cat both in the window sill and out on her balcony. Plus, when I left my window open the other night, I was awoken at about 6am to the sound of the lady out on her balcony talking to what I can only assume was her cat. As for her smoking, if I have the door open, I can sometimes smell the smoke wafting into my apartment, which is just FABulous, let me tell you. Though like I said, her balcony over hangs over my patio... so the result is that anytime something falls off her balcony, it lands right on my patio. She seems to have some nice flower planters on her balcony railing, which she apparently waters frequently, because I just jumped halfway out of my chair when I heard the sound of water crashing down on my cement patio. And considering there isn't a cloud in the sky and it hasn't rained for a week, I don't see much other explanation. The other day I found a lighter on the patio, she must have dropped it one day. In a case of extreme evidence seeking, I decided to dust it for fingerprints.

Of course, I must have lost my Acme Fingerprint Identification Kit, so I had to improvise. Fortunately, considering my friend Andrew is a forensic scientist, he was able to provide me with the necessary instruction. First I needed some "fingerprinting dust" (no, I don't think that's the technical term, but it works). So I didn't have any nearby, but I could use some graphite from a pencil. Of course, I learned this from an old episode of MacGyver. :) I searched and searched for a pencil by only found a golf pencil. But it sufficed, and I used the file of a swiss army knife to grind the lead down for some fine graphite dust. So far so good. Now I was supposed to have rubber gloves... oh well, I must have left them in my other jacket. I'll just try not to touch the lighter too much. I was now told that I needed a paintbrush or something to put the dust onto the lighter. Well, I found a basting brush in the kitchen, it managed to do the trick. And after all was said and done, I found nothing but a big smear of dust and not a fingerprint to be seen. Oh well, it was fun I guess.