Monday, June 30, 2003

No Left Turn

In our parking garage at work, we're only allowed to make right-hand turns. I don't make the rules, but that's what the white arrows on the ground tell us to do. Sometimes when you reach the bottom of a ramp, you see a parking space to the left within 40-50 feet. You have to turn left to get to it, but it's only a quicky, and everybody does it. I'm not saying that makes it OK, but it's not a federal offense. Today, I took the quick left.

I parked my car, and "Right-turn Rita" pulled up behind me in an SUV, scowling. I intentionally took an extra long time gathering my things together, hoping she would go away. She didn't. I got out of my car, and Right-turn Rita let into me.

"I want you to know that you're NOT supposed to turn left but because YOU didn't care you took the space that I was going to park in and just because OTHER people do it doesn't give YOU the right to turn there..."

I calmly and pointedly asked her "would you like me to move my car so you can park here?"

"No, I don't want you to move your car, I want you to never do it again."

Again, "would you like me to move my car?"

"No!" Right-turn Rita drove off, foaming at the mouth.

I moved my car anyway, in the hopes that she would get a lousy parking spot and then see that I had given up my spot for her.

What a -----.


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Sunday, June 29, 2003

The Divine Punchclock

I went to church today and was astounded and how late people can be. When the service started at 12:00 (yes, noon, how hard is it to arrive on time at noon?!) I'd say the joint was probably 75% empty. At 12:10, it was probably half full, and at 12:20 it was almost standing room only. At 12:30, I was still watching people come forward to fill in the last remaining seats.

What is wrong with these people? I don't understand the group dynamic which explains why literally hundreds of people were so late. Are they just coming for the free crackers? I showed up on time, and I don't want to have to slide down for you or have you climb over me. I'm sure these are the same people who come late to movies. If you do arrive late for a movie, you have a 10-minute buffer because of previews, but then SKIP THE POPCORN. If you're running that late, your lazy ass could probably afford to skip the butter anyway.


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Thursday, June 26, 2003

Why I fly Delta

These are the "Fatal Event Rates" for some major airlines. It tells the number of times per one million flights that one or more people are killed as a result of that flight (due to crashes, hijackings, collisions, whatever.)

Delta: .16
Continental: .18
U.S. Airways: .35
United: .37
American: .54

Note that Delta has 1/2 the fatal event rate of United and 1/3 the rate of American. In case you're wondering, stay away from Cubana Airlines (18.53) and Air Zimbabwe (11.54).

It is true that Southwest Airlines has never had a flight fatality. But their planes don't fly any place useful.


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Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Hernia who?
Hernia good jokes lately?

How many hernia patients does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None. They shouldn't be stretching.

Yes, these jokes are Mister P. originals. I'm here all week.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2003

A Gutsy Move

Somebody is trying to kill me.

They failed to burn down my condo, so now they're going for the direct approach: I have to go in for a hernia operation. Three days ago the only thing I knew about hernias was that you got them from lifting heavy refrigerators. When it comes to refrigerator-lifting, I've always been a strong believer in practicing abstinence, so I figured I didn't have to worry about it. Not true. Oops.

A lot of websites give euphimistic analogies to explain what a hernia is. They start off saying "think of the body as a balloon... or a bicycle tire...." No matter how delicately they try to put it, what they're all saying is "your guts are spilling out." Here's my analogy: imagine cooking up some macaroni & cheese and putting it in a zip-loc bag. But the bag doesn't have one of those "yellow and blue make green" zippers on it, so you can't be sure if it's really sealed. As it turns out, my abdomen doesn't have a green stripe and my macaroni & cheese is falling out.

The funny thing (in a "oh my God, why aren't you dead?!" sort of way) is that I've had the hernia for about 2 years now. I just didn't know what it was. You may ask yourself, "how could anyone walk around with a hernia for 2 years and not know?" My response is "how does someone burn down a kitty-litter box?" My gut started bulging, I just sort of thought it was a fatty deposit from my wierd diet. Hernias are not something you normally see in polite company, so they're not something you're going to recognize right away.

I went to see my "Primary Care Practitioner" today. I needed him to say "yup, your guts are spilling out" so I can get a referral from the healthcare system. My regular PCP (randomly selected by computer) didn't have any openings until July 18th, but I was told I could meet with Dr. Olsen. I think he's Kate & Ashley's younger brother. A nurse brought me into his office and I waited for him to come in.

I will not look in your medicine cabinet if I am at your house, but in the doctor's office I admit, I am a snooper. I figure if I have to hang out in someone's office with my shorts around my ankles, I deserve to look around when he's not there. He had a deskpad calendar on the table, and it seems he has a big day June 25th. In big letters, surrounded by a bold, doodled box with stars around it - yes stars - were the words "Last Comic Book Day!" I don't know what that means, but it gave me the impression that this guy wasn't practicing medicine for very long. Sure enough, Doogie Howser comes in a few minutes later.

The exam itself was very quick. "Yup, your guts are spilling out". They took an EKG and blood pressure readings, then sent me over to "Unilab" to get some bloodwork. You might think Unilab is the name of a top-secret research facility in a cheesey Jerry Bruckheimer film, but actually it's a small office on Verdugo Blvd.

I have a reputation for stressing out over many things. You would think that my blood pressure would be through the roof. As it turns out, I clocked in at 102/70 today. "Normal" blood pressure is around 130/85, "Optimal" is considered 120/80. The numbers don't lie: I'm one of the most mellow people you will ever meet.


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Sunday, June 15, 2003

How to get rid of litterbox odors

Every now and then you hear a story about some moron who had an accident, and you'll ask yourself "how could anybody be that stupid?" Well, I am that moron: I burned down a kitty-litterbox.

No matter how often you clean a litterbox, sometimes they smell. That was the case last night, so I placed a scented candle on top of the canopy to mask the odor. The story pretty much writes itself from this point, folks.

At around 6:00 this morning I was awoken by a buzzer. Fire alarms are not that uncommon in my building, so I tried to ignore it. I quickly realized it wasn't a building alarm, but rather the fire alarm within my condo. I got out of bed and thought to myself "huh, that's odd, why is my bedroom filled with smoke?" I took about 10 steps and thought to myself "huh, that's odd, why is there a bright orange glow coming from my bathroom?"

I went into the bathroom and there on a floor was a rectangular flame about 2 feet high, pretty much in the exact size, shape, and location where the litterbox once stood. I threw my bathrobe on top of it, but didn't get it all. I threw a towel on it, and that put the fire out. I started running around the condo openning windows and setting up fans to air the place out for two reasons: First, I like being able to breathe, Secondly, and almost as importantly, I wanted to get the smoke alarm to turn off before building security and the fire department showed up so I wouldn't have to explain that I burned down a litterbox.

Much of the plastic fused with the fibers in the carpet as well as with my bath robe. The ironic part is that the smell of a litterbox is nothing compared to the stink of burning polyeurthane.


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Friday, June 13, 2003

But it's lovely this time of year

My mother is insane.

She sent me an email message asking if I would like to join her on a vacation to Europe as a Christmas present. What a wonderfully generous offer. And where does she want to go? London? Paris? Ireland? Not my mother. She's going to Bosnia.

Yes, Bosnia. You know, the place with that little misunderstanding between the Muslims and the Serbs.

You see, Bosnia is in the heart of the Holy Land. And it seems that in 1981 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to some children there and has been making regular appearances ever since. So my mother thinks this makes it a perfect vacation resort, and found a tour group heading there later this year. Merry Christmas! Happy Jihad!


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Thursday, June 12, 2003

Redneck White & Blue

I heard a way-over-the-top patriotic rock/country song today. The music was so generic and the lyrics so far out there that I thought I was listening to a Mark & Brian song parody. So I listened, waiting for the big punchline, when I realized "good God, they're SERIOUS!" It talks about paying taxes, and brothers and fathers dying for the flag, and if people don't like it "they can git the hell out!"

It turns out I was listening to the new Lynard Skynard song. It goes a little something like this: "My hair's turning white, my neck's always been red, my collar's still blue". Look, I realize Lynard Skynard is an American rock institution, but it ain't 1975 no mo'. Dudes, seriously, stick to Sweet Home Alabama.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Fear Factor

I need to fly to Myrtle Beach this summer to go on vacation. I think most people would book their flights this way: go to an airline's website, type in the departing and arrival cities and dates, then click the "Find Lowest Fare" button. I do things a bit differently.

I basically have two options: First, I can fly from Los Angeles to Atlanta on a big plane, then from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach on a little plane. Or, I can fly from Ontario to Salt Lake City on a little plane, then on to Atlanta on a little plane, then to Myrtle Beach on a little plane. So I have to weigh the pros and cons of both itineraries.

The most dangerous parts of any flight are take-off and landing, so that would favor flying out of LAX and using 2 hops instead of three. On the other hand, big planes carry more fuel and are better at crashing into buildings, so that means I'm better off flying out of Ontario on a little plane. But little planes can't handle bad weather as well as large planes, so I should leave out of LAX. Then again, security is better at smaller airports, so Ontario is the better choice.

It basically boils down to one question: what force is going to try and kill me? Is it going to be "man" with either a psycho with a box cutter or a drunken air-traffic controller, or "nature" with a mid-summer thunderstorm? If I choose nature, then I fly out of LAX on a large sturdy plane and avoid the crazy Salt Lake City weather. If I choose man, then I have to decide if I am going to be killed intentionally or accidently. If it's intentional, I fly out of Ontario where there is better security and less appetizing fuel-gorged missiles. If the crash is going to be accidental, then I should fly on fewer planes so that lazy mechanics or exhausted air-traffic controllers will have fewer chances to get me.

I've heard that other people actually enjoy planning their summer vacations. I don't see how.


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Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I was watching a Bugs Bunny marathon on Cartoon Network, and started wondering how Bugs was able to do all of those amazing feats: dodging bullets, levitating over cliffs, materializing objects out of thin air. I finally figured it out. Bugs Bunny is in The Matrix.

Consider the evidence:
Elmer Fudd is an accomplished hunter, yet when he fires multiple gunshots at Bugs from inches away, he can't hit the wascally wabbit.

When running off a cliff, Wyle E. Coyote will fall but Bugs will stay in the air.

Bugs can paint a tunnel or rabbit hole on a rock and jump inside.

Whenever he needs a dress to disguise himself, or a banana cream pie to throw in someone's face, Bugs has someone in the "real world" (most likely Daffy) download whatever he needs.

Yes, Bugs Bunny is The One. Remember, there is no carrot.


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Sunday, June 08, 2003

MTV Movie Awards

Elijah Wood was caught on camera giving his opinion about part of the show. See if you can read his lips. It's just 3 seconds long, no audio, but an extra large high-quality file so you can make out all the details. 1.8 MB Quicktime.
This is Mister P's Clip Of The Week.


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Friday, June 06, 2003

Film Festival

My Old Friend Travis (formerly known as My New Friend Travis) has been horrified at how many classic movies I have not seen. To rectify this injustice, last night we started a Film Festival of movies I need to see. We watched Big Trouble in Little China. Hated it. Maybe hate is a strong word, but I certainly disliked it.

My Old Friend Travis is a movie buff, and I have been seeing more and more films with him over the past year. As it turns out, there are quite a few movies I have disliked recently. Using the TiVo rating system of giving Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down for movies, here are some of the movies I've seen with my ratings, sorted by movies I have seen with My Old Friend Travis, and without My Old Friend Travis.

If we add point for every Thumbs Up, and subtract one point for every Thumbs Down, the overall score for movies I have seen with My Old Friend Travis is -2, or Two Thumbs Down. The score for movies without My Old Friend Travis is +4, or Four Thumbs Up.

The math does not lie. Obviously the problem is not that I don't like movies, but rather that I don't like My Old Friend Travis.


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Thursday, June 05, 2003

10:00 PM. I come home, open up the balcony doors to cool down my place, and soon the condo is filled with the stench of pot. You'd swear Woody Harrelson's tractor-trailer truck jack-knifed on the freeway. I think even the cat is getting high.


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Why I Hate Apple Computer, Part II

Last week I had an entry about my self-healing computer monitor. Well last night and came home and noticed my monitor was trying to send me a message. The front light was flashing a sequence of pulses: short-short-long, short-short-long. That's Apple-speak for "something is wrong with a monitor lamp, contact your local Apple authorized repair representative".

I know Steve works in mysterious ways, but I don't understand why he would break my monitor. It may just be a test of faith.


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Monday, June 02, 2003

Cola War Turns Stupid

I'm a Pepsi person. Mountain Dew is a Pepsi product, I prefer Pepsi over Coke, and historically Pepsi has better Superbowl commercials. But their new promotion is just stupid.

Pepsi is sponsoring a "Billion-Dollar-Give-Away". It's a contest where someone may win (insert Dr. Evil accent) ONE BILLION DOLLARS on live TV in September. Sounds cool, right? Wrong. Here's how the contest works: 1000 potential winners will pick a 6-digit number. A random 6-digit number will be generated, and who ever is closest to that number wins $1 million. Not bad, but nothing spectacular. Now if somebody hits the EXACT same 6-digit number then they win (insert Dr. Evil accent) ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

1000 numbers from 0-999,999 means that the odds of someone winning the (insert Dr. Evil accent) ONE BILLION DOLLARS are 1 in 1000. Or in other words, there is a 99.9% chance that the prize will NOT be given out. So it's hardly a big risk for Pepsi. But let's assume some lucky S.O.B. does get it. The payout is over 40 years. You "only" get $5 million a year for the first 20 years, $10 million the next 19 years, then one helluva ballon payment of $710 million the final year. So basically there's a good chance the winnner would be dead before he saw the billion. A lump-sum payment option is available, where the winner gets $250 million. You'd have to be a freakin' moron not to choose the lump-sum.

$250 million is nothing to sneeze at. But it's basically the same scale as a large Super-Lotto drawing. And at least with Lotto, you know that SOMEBODY is going to win it. Pepsi is coming up flat trying to pretend it's a real drawing for (insert Dr. Evil accent) ONE BILLION DOLLARS.


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