Saturday, November 28, 2009

Unnecessary Store Employees

It's been a while. Sorry guys. Sadly outlining takes precedence over Blawegsome. Anyway, a couple things,

In continuance of my last post, I recently discovered yet another sweet google feature. If you go to, you get one window with 4 different search screens in them. This is pretty cool if you want a really quick way to have multiple pages open without going from window to window, and you dont want to resize all of them and put them in corners yourself. Being the nerd that I am, I naturally used one of the quarter-windows and went to to create even smaller windows. I imagine you could theoretically do this forever. Awesome.

I was recently told that when people meet my parents, they are "not what they expected." What this means is that I am the only constantly sarcastic and obnoxious one in the family. My dad tends to be somewhat quiet...around non-family people anyway. Put in the right situation and well, a different side shows. Example: the golf course. My dad uses profanity the way other artists work in oils or clay. The swearing generally comes out the most in two instances: 1) when he is attempting to use some technology, and 2) when he is golfing.

Yesterday on the golf course I went 18 with my brother and dad. On #5, Dad missed a short putt. I'll clean it up a little, but he said "Oh you a-whole...gosh darn it...fudge." As we walked to the next hole, I was with my brother, and my dad was out of earshot. I said "you know, I bet if they kept a tally of the number of times anyone had said those specific words in that specific order, Dad would be #1." He agreed.

At the tee on #6, Dad hit his drive into the right rough. Angry, he shouted "Oh you a-whole...gosh darn it....." and then there was silence. My brother and I exchanged a glance and stayed quiet, just waiting for it. Then, after about 7 seconds, "...fudge..." It was amazing. My dad has a world of swear words open to him, but for some reason this seems to subconsciously be his go-to "bad golf shot" swear.

Anyhow, this trip has opened my eyes to something else, which is the main topic of today's post: unnecessary store employees. I fully support companies creating jobs, but at the same time i really have to question them sometimes.

The Wal-Mart greeter. Theoretically, the idea of someone standing at the entrance of a store welcoming you is a great idea. Often times I go into a store looking for one specific thing, and it would be nice to be able to ask someone right when I walk in which way to head. All this is nice, like I said, theoretically. In practice, though, Wal-Mart greeters are hit or miss. On Tuesday I went into a wal-mart and there was no greeter. Honestly, I was a little surprised. Then I saw him though. This man had to be at least 80, standing sideways staring intently at a 4-year-old girl in one of the checkout lines. He did not move a muscle for at least the 10 seconds I saw him. And lets just say this is not the first weird, creepy wal-mart greeter I have encountered. The moral of the story is: good, friendly wal-mart greeters I can deal with. Creepy ones i can do without.

The Ukrops bag carrier. At Ukrops, when you purchase your groceries, they have people there to carry your bags out to your car. Again, this seems like a nice idea...theoretically. It would be nice to have someone be able to help you with your bags if you needed or wanted some help. But in reality, this is hardly an option. When someone demands that they take my groceries to my car, and they are much slower than me, it just creates an awkward situation. I don't want to walk slowly, I don't want to get my car and wait for you to get there. I don't want to make pleasant forced small talk. I just want to carry my own bags to my car. I think I should be able to do that if I want. Some Ukrops bag carriers disagree. Isn't it bad enough that you aren't open on Sundays, can't I at least get my groceries out the way I so choose?

I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving, and safe travels back if you went away!

Friday, November 20, 2009


We often reminisce back to our childhood or past by saying "hey, remember when ______" and then fill in the blank with some culutral reference. of the past. It can be "Hey, remember when gas was less than a dollar?" Or "Hey, remember when Ross and Rachel were on a break?" slight derivation from the original form is allowed, like "Hey remember VCRs?"

Often these phrases can say a lot about the present. Like "Hey, remember when Google was just a search engine?" Google these days is, of course, sooo much more. It puts the "fun" in "function." There's Gmail, Google Reader, Google Scholar, Google Earth (oh do not get me started on Google Earth...) Google Books, Google Calendar, Google Shopping, i could go on and on. Oh, and my personal favorite would have to be Google Trends, which lets you type in search terms and see what cities have been searching for that term the most. Example: I'd stay away from Richardson, Texas. No US city searched the term "swine flu" more.

When you go to, some of the functions are listed at the top. Then there's a "more" link. click on this, and you;ll get a drop down bar with about a dozen MORE apps/functions. Then there's a "even more" link. Click on this, and it takes you to a page listing about 50 functions. You still won't find all of Google's functions here. When you have a more, and an even more link, and that STILL doesn't cut it, things are getting a little ridiculous.

I am sure this post will shoot up some red flags over at GoogleSpy. That's right, I'm on to you. Of course the general public can't know GoogleSpy exists, but I've caught on. Anyway, I mean no threat. Instead, I'd like to offer a few ideas for new Google functions! Full disclosure: some of these might exist already. It is hard to say.

Google Microwave. Point your laptop at a bag of popcorn, go to the Google Microwave page, and it will send microwaves through your webcam to the popcorn bag. This technology is dangerous...but delicious.

Google Superiority. If you type in any good thing about another search engine, it will give you 10 reasons why Google is better. If you type in any good thing about Google, it will agree wholeheartedly.

Google Curfew - Equipped with a motion detector, Google Curfew monitors and logs what time your children arrive home. If they arrive past their curfew, it will disable their facebook, twitter, Gchat, and AIM accounts. Virtual grounding!

Google Spading - Input footnotes, Google will give you citations. Then it will proceed to send a strongly worded email to the author of ridiculously incomplete footnotes.

Google Dispute Resolution. GDR is the new ADR. Two parties tell their side of the story, and google solves the problem, divides up any property, even convinces children that it's not their fault.

The possibilities are endless. Of course, this brings us back to a constant problem. While technology is nice, there comes a point where to make something convenient our computers and technology need to "think" At which point, they will destroy us all and inherit the world. I am firmly AGAINST this idea, for two main reasons. 1) it would mean I would get destroyed. Not comforting. 2) It would severely weaken the credibility of my plot for "Wasted Planet." Humans are supposed to be destroyed by the TrashBerg monster, not google.

So here's the deal, Google. Most of your apps are awesome. But let's not get carried away here and do something we will all regret later. Google Robot is not an option.

Of course, I will likely not be listened to. For more, please see my forthcoming post on how to survive if Google Robots take over the world.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Late Night at the Boat

Here at U of R, The Law School Library closes its doors at midnight. So if you want to burn the late night oil, your best bet is to head on over to Boatwright Memorial Library, the undergrad library. The Boat is open 24/7 (except during a snowstorm, as I found out last winter).

An undergrad library open 24 hours is a new experience for me, as Swem (William and Mary's library) closed early as well. I will tell you, William and Mary has enough strange characters as is. Here in Richmond, you don't see it all the time during the day, but spend a night in the Boat, and the characters will come out.

-There's the girl listening to music so loudly that you wonder if she knows everyone within a 30 foot radius is "movin my hips like yeah" too.
-The guy who can't look at his book for more than 4 seconds without looking up and around the room for a solid 15 seconds.
-The girls who don't seem to have any clue they are in a quiet study area.
-The guys who don't seem to have any clue they are in a quiet study area.
-The guy who showed up for a study DATE only to be disappointed because it is clear the girl showed up for a STUDY date.
-Mr. Braswell.
-The girl who appears to have come to the library at 2 in the morning to do nothing but Facebook and YouTube.
-The constant cougher
-The constant sniffler
-The constant sigher (I really hope this guy's life situation is not so bad as to warrant all those sighs)
-The guy who has to have gone to the bathroom at least 4 times in the last 45 minutes.
-The study group who seems entirely too energized but doesn't have a single cup of coffee or energy drink at their table.

If you are in the library late at night, and you don't see or hear some of these people, ask yourself this: ARE YOU some of these people? Don't feel bad if you are, it just means you fit in. Because we've all got something in common, here on Late Night at the Boat.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

QuickPost: A Crazy Stat.

I love sports. Specifically, I love sports stats. I've seen a lot of crazy stats over the years, but this one might just top them all:

Note: Today is November 17th.

The New York Yankees, with 2 wins in November, have MORE November wins than the Jets, Giants, Nets, and Knicks COMBINED! The Knicks have won 1 game in November. The Jets, Giants, and Nets have not won any.

This is crazy. C'mon, New York/New Jersey, you guys can do better than this. 4 teams should not combine for 1 win in 3 weeks. Especially when 2 of those teams are basketball teams and play 3 times a week. Well, in any case, even if the nets and knicks keep losing, this stat will come to an end Saturday, when they play each other, ensuring that this combination of teams will have at least TWO November wins.

Note: with the jets at New England this week, and the giants against Atlanta, it actually could be a little while before the team hits 3 wins to surpass the Yankees. Time will tell.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Suspensions for Meeping

It's time for another installment of "Whatever, I Do What I Want!" This week's WIDWIW award goes to the administration at Danvers High School in Massachusetts.

At Danvers High School, the recent student trend is "meeping," or saying the word "meep." Meep, as in, the sound Beaker used to make on the Muppets. The higher-ups at Danvers high school have decided to take things into their own hands, threatening to SUSPEND any student caught "meeping" in school.

Really? You're going to suspend students for saying a word that means absolutely nothing? Seriously, defines "Meep" as "the most versatile word int eh English language" and that it "can mean whatever you want it to mean."

Principal Thomas Murray claims that it's not about the word. He says "it has to do with the conduct of the students. We wouldn't just ban a word just to ban a word." With all due respect, principal Murray, it seems like that is EXACTLY what you are doing. You threatened the suspensions after rumors started of a mass-meeping in school. So if it's about the conduct, and not about the word, would you suspend students if they got together and all said "physics!" Somehow I doubt it. And suspension? Really? Does the phrase "let the punishment fit the crime" ring any bells? I'm no expert on the rules of the Massachusetts school board, but I imagine suspensions go on a students permanent record, and are gonna show up on college applications. Red flags like that could be the difference between admission and rejection. Do you really want to put up a roadblock in a 15-year-olds future because he says the word "meep" in school? It's really a shame schools don't have some other form of punishment, something like detention....oh wait, they do.

Students disrupting class repeatedly is one thing. Students using meep clearly in the place of bad words is another. But I really really hope you do not carry out these suspensions for students saying the word in the halls.

Mr. Murray, I don't know the ins and outs of your school. I don't know what other form of punishments you have available, but I imagine there must be something. SUSPENDING students for saying the word "meep" somehow seems a little extreme. So enjoy your "whatever, I do what I want!" award. If I had a trophy, I would send it to you. You could put it on your desk, and show it to parents when they come in and ask why you have ruined their child's educational future.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Animals, Adjectives, and Adverbs

If animals knew what was going on in the human world, some of them would be pissed. I'm not talking about animal cruelty or anything like that. No, I'm talking about something else - animals used as negative adjectives and adverbs.

When your hands are cold, sweaty, and pretty gross to touch, we say they are "clammy." Do you think clams are happy about this? I mean, what have clams ever done to us? They are peaceful creatures - all they do is chill in the ocean until maybe one day they show up in some seafood fry bucket in North Carolina for some happy tourists to gobble up. For all we know, clams could be friendly. But we've gone ahead and assumed that they aren't, slapping them with negativity faster than a D-hall dinner table does to anyone who says something questionable.

Sticking with the ocean-animals theme, why are suspicious things "fishy?" Who is responsible for that? I don't see fish and think that they are up to no good and plotting some scheme to bring us all down. Wait a second...come to think of it, they are giving safe harbor and protection to the TrashBerg Monster, who will in turn destroy us all...alright new evidence has emerged. I'll get back to you on "fishy."

Sloth. Alright, sure these guys aren't showy. They don't scurry around the forest with blazing speed. Some say slow, I say they take their time and enjoy the scenery. But do they really deserve to share their name with one of the 7 deadly sins? That is harsh. Sloths are really upset about this. In fact, they are so jealous of other animals whose names aren't associated with deadly sins, that they are green with envy.

All I'm saying is, what have these animals ever done to us? Why do we degrade them so. We did it with fish, and if they weren't suspicious before, they certainly are now in plotting their revenge. The idea of a sloth and clam army rising up against us doesn't exactly thrill me either. So let's show some respect to our animal friends. Next time someone has cold, sweaty hands, just be real and say they are "cold and sweaty" More syllables? Yes. Worth it in the end? Time will tell...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Human Wrecking Balls and Parkour

On Wednesday, November 11th, a great TV Show returns to the air with all-new episodes - Human Wrecking Balls. Here's the premise - each episode, two professional breakers (like breaking stacks of wood, bricks, etc.), the Pumphrey Brothers, try to dismantle something with their bare hands. And by "something" I mean a helicopter, plane, boat, house, arcade, bar, movie theatre, office, hotel room, or gas station. They have a structural engineer there to explain just how hard it will be to break this stuff. Then the brothers break them.

It really is amazing how these guys completely wreck anything without any tools. It also makes you think about how cheap some of your stuff might be. The best part of the show is that they have a "big break" every episode. It's either something cool that they both want to do, or something really dangerous that neither of them want to do. They have a contest, and the winner/loser has to do the big break. A sample "contest" was to see who could break 6 stacks of cinder blocks. With 6 different moves. And the cinder blocks were on fire.

The ridiculousness of the show is only surpassed by its awesomeness.

Speaking of which, I'm currently watching a show on MTV called Ultimate Parkour challenge. Parkour is a sport/activity that basically involves getting from Point A to Point B in the most creative way possible. These guys do crazy wall jumps, handstand walks, flips, all sorts of crazy stuff. The bad landings are brutal, but most of the whole time, you just stare in awe and wonder how they do things like that. I mean I'm not gonna put it on the TiVo, but it's alright to watch every once in a while.

human Wrecking Balls returns for a new season Wednesday at 8:00 on G4.

Friday, November 6, 2009

More Evidence of the LHC Saboteur

A few days ago, I did a post on the possibility of the Large Hadron Collider being sabotaged from the future. The basic idea is that if the Large Hadron Collider finds the God particle, it will destroy the universe, and so someone or something is going back in time to save the universe by throwing hitches in the development of the LDC. The idea was proposed by two physicists, and was recently featured on the Colbert Report.

If you don't buy into the idea, let me ask you this: what do you need? More hitches? Stranger, more random things that you wouldn't expect to happen? Well then prepare to take one more step towards believing.

On Thursday the LHC suffered extreme overheating in several sections. Why? Because a bird dropped a piece of bread into a piece of equipment above the accelerator ring.

I'm gonna say that again. Just for emphasis. The most recent in a string of breakdowns for the Large Hadron collider was overheating in several sections due to a bird dropping a piece of a baguette into the collider.

This has to be more than a coincidence. But to me, it's even more than proof that the LHC is being sabotaged. It's a clue as to who is saving the universe from the future. They're using birds. This can't go unignored. I'd say 97% of the human population loathe pigeons. It takes a rare breed to love birds, and even rarer to trust them with such a lofty task.

So who is this mysterious person saving us all? We can start to paint a picture. The first person that comes to mind is the pigeon lady from Home Alone. She is mysterious, yet wise. Crafty, yet caring. And she is friends with all of the birds, and they do her bidding. We've got a match. The LHC Saboteur is definitely a descendant of the bird lady.

Our next clue is the baguette. It pains me to believe that the savior of our universe is French. And if you think about it, it makes sense that he's not. The bird dropped a piece of a baguette - which means the saboteur didn't finish his baguette. A French person would never do that.

So that's where we're at. Like the bird lady. And not French. As the clues continue to roll in, we'll get a clearer idea of who our LHC saboteur from the future is. More to soon as they try to fire this thing up again I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Snuggie Update

Today marks the 8-month anniversary of the day I became a PSO (Proud Snuggie Owner) It has served me well, and will hopefully continue to do so. Lightweight, yet keeps me warm. Holds up well after a machine washing. I have no complaints. But I've noticed an interesting trend recently. My Snuggie has become, for lack of a better term, "vintage."

I was at dinner on Monday when Mike asked if anyone owned a Snuggie. Always happy to represent, I said that I did. He asked if I had the leopard print one. No, I said, mine is blue. It's old school.

I imagine situations like this happen across the country almost every day. See, recently, Snuggies have been branching out with new products. Today there is the Microplush Snuggie, the latest in Snuggie technology. The regular Snuggie is no longer available in only 3 solid colors - but also in designer print, like leopard and zebra print. There are also Snuggies printed with the logos of colleges (although not all colleges. I received a letter from their marketing company thanking my for my letter requesting a University of Richmond Snuggie, but they were unable to make one.) They are even not just for humans anymore - with the Snuggie for Dogs growing in popularity. Most recent is the Weezer Snuggie - which comes with the band's name on the Snuggie, is twice the price but comes with Weezer's new CD.

It puts us long-time PSO's in an interesting position. On the one hand, I am definitely happy for the company. They deliver a good product, and they should continue to expand. I totally support it. On the other hand though, every new type of Snuggie is a type that I don't have. And the last thing that I want is to be looked down upon because I've been rockin' the Snuggie for many a fortnight.

I've considered upgrading to the Microplush recently. However, at the end of the day, I really don't have to. My vintage Snuggie is still awesome. So really, I guess the only thing to do is to be proud of my classic, keep spreading my message - that you can mock the infomercials all you want, but Snuggies are awesome and better than regular blankets. I recently gave my sister one for her birthday. My awesome legal research professor recently purchased one (which I like to think I have something to do with).

And in a great turn of events that really worked out for me, this happened: My brother and my mom work at the same company. My mom mentioned that her son has a Snuggie. Naturally everyone in the office thought she meant my brother, and bombarded him with questions about his Snuggie, which he had to deny over and over again.

It's been a warm and productive 8 months. Here's to the next being even more so. If you still don't have one, you don't know what you're missing. Don't hate.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


With Halloween only 364 days away, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype of planning your next costume. But don't get carried away. There are plenty of other excellent holidays on the way before 10/31/2010. And probably a couple you haven't heard of. Let's make like Dumbledore and shed some lumos on this situation

1. Thanksgiving. November 26th. The idea behind Thanksgiving is that people will take some time, reflect on their lives, and be grateful for blessings. But our holiday forefathers were realists. They knew not many people would actually do this. So they cooked up some story about Pilgrims and food to make it a tradition that there would be an elaborate feast with way too much of all kinds of dishes. They built giving thanks right into the system, as in
"Thankfully I don't have to cook anything else for 5 days. We'll just eat leftovers."
"Thank God I don't have to do that many dishes at once again until next Thanksgiving."
"Aunt Betty got snowed in and won't be joining us. No annoying relatives, and more food for me. Of this I am thankful."
Basically, no matter what your outlook on life is, or how much self-reflection you do, you can always be thankful for SOMETHING when there is family and cooking, even if it is that it will all be over soon...

2. Christmahannuboxingkwanzukamas Day. Some people prefer to say "the Holiday season." To them I say, "Really? How do you think that makes the other seasons feel?" Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring have been getting cut down for years now. Take Autumn. First, they stick you with not 1 but 2 U's, clearly the worst vowel in the alphabet, then they assign the dreaded "mn" combo? Ouch. This led to most people falling for the easier-to-say-and-spell "fall" instead. Not only is it easier, but it is also a verb, lending it to be used in such phrases as "Spring ahead, fall back." And it's not just Autumn! The proud title of "season" has been getting tossed around more than H1N1. We've got hurricane season, flu season, [insert sport here] season, stop me anytime. Basically, any kind of time period more than a week and a half that has some kind of theme can be called a "season." Well I'm not buying it. Let's give the REAL 4 seasons their dignity back, and come up with a new word for all the fake seasons. I'm going with Hurricane Puppy-Time. No one is gonna argue with something called "Puppy-Time." It's just so adorable, it must be right.

3. Groundhog Day. February 2nd. When New Years Eve rolls around, people make resolutions, promise themselves a fresh start, vow to make the coming year better. Then they fall flat on their face, mess up, and everything is ruined by MLKJ day. Well don't worry, readers. For groundhog day is just around the corner - a day where if you mess something up, you can just get a re-do, and keep trying until you get it right. Sadly, for those of us who aren't Bill Murray, this isn't always a reality. Instead, we are stuck with a day that is exactly like the day before it, and after it, except for one small difference - thousands of people flock to Pennsylvania to see some guy in a coat hold up a groundhog. Thrilling, really.

A big part of it must be the suspense of Groundhog Day. If Phil comes out and sees his shadow, gets scared, and runs back into his hole, then there will be 6 more weeks of winter. But let's face it - this tradition is outdated, and it's value as a prophecy is about as meaningful as a promise from Orlando that he will show up to a flag football game. I'm sure he's scared off by his shadow, and not the throngs of crazy people and flash cameras trying to catch a glimpse. And 6 more weeks of winter? That's clearly a pre-global warming idea. There's no way winter extends into late March these days.

4. St. Patrick's Day. March 17th. Honestly, this one never ceases to amuse me. A holiday completely based on drinking, and the color green. I wonder how St. Patrick would feel about the way his day is celebrated. Upset? Amused? I'll tell you who is furious - all the other saints that nobody knows because they don't have days. They must loathe Patrick. They would probably be green with envy, except that would actually be construed as supporting St. Patrick and his day. There need to be more holidays where one color plays a huge role. I suppose orange is pretty big with Halloween. Brown seems to have some pull with Thanksgiving. Obviously, green and red are Christmas colors. But Green and St. Patrick's Day take them all to the cleaners. Do you get physically attacked for not wearing orange on Halloween? No way. It's this kind of dedication that we need. in all our holidays. Let's associate a color with every holiday, and make drinking said-colored beer an integral part of the celebration. I cannot wait for my pink beer come valentines day.

5. Flag Day. June 14th. It's a sad commentary on our nation that "Groundhog Day" is much more popular than "Symbol-of-our-Freedom Day." I do my best to support awareness of Flag Day. I think it would be more popular if people could create their own flags. It's no insult to America, but July 4th is less than a month away. This year, I will create my own flag, most likely encompassing the spirit of my favorite things that start with "S" - Snuggies, ShamWows, Steve Nash, Snickers bars, Samurai Swords, Sleeping in, and Scrubs. It should be awesome.

Those are just a few highlights, but there is PLENTY of opportunity for festivity and celebrations in the years to come. And I for one cannot wait.