Category Archives: Random

R.I.P. The Simpsons

I just realized the Smothers Brothers’ cameo is the funniest thing I’ve seen on The Simpsons in over a year. Hang it up, guys, you’re making a mockery of yourselves.

Get A Diploma Online – Free!

A quick post, as much for my own reference as anything.

Resources for your free online education:

This one costs $99/month, but that’s almost free compared to most colleges:

100 incredible lectures from the world’s top scientists:

And finally, print your own degree:

What I’m Listening To Lately

  1. BeirutGulag Orkestar
  2. Lee “Scratch” PerryLively Up Yourself
  3. The ClashTrain In Vain
  4. Tony Sly/Joey CapeAcoustic
  5. RodriguezThis Is Not A Song, It’s an Outburst:
    Or, The Establishment Blues
  6. Girl TalkFeed The Animals
  7. Animal CollectiveMerriweather Post Pavilion


I must look like a friendly person. I get approached and asked for directions all the time. Despite the fact that a lot of the time I’m gawking like a tourist or have a camera around my neck. People swerve to the side of the road to talk to me in some foreign tongue. When I ask them to repeat in English they do and I usually have to inform them that I have no clue.

Just tonight in about a half hour I got approached by two people who asked me if I knew the way. One asked me in thickly accented English if I knew where the cinema was and so I pulled out my map and started looking around for it. He thanked me but said he’d rather just ask someone who knew where it was. Where’s the fun in that?

The next person who came up to me asked if I knew the way to eternal life. He was a Scottish Mormon. I didn’t know they existed. This is the second time in a foreign city that I’ve been approached by a missioning Mormon – the first being a kid from Utah missioning in Vilnius – and asked about my opinions on the meaning of life and everything. Maybe I just look like I know what I’m doing and they want to know my secrets.

You’d think that people would know better. I’ve usually got a beard, shaggy hair and am dressed like someone who buys his clothes in some kind of American thrift store or something. And yet Europeans still ask me if I know how to get to the movies and to Heaven. Go figure.

Who Survives A Plane Crash

Here’s a Q&A on the Freakonomics blog about who survives in a plane crash. Pretty good quick read.

Help Wanted

I have a side business where I dispose of obsolete corporate technology assets. That’s a fancy way of saying that people pay me to take their rusty computer hardware. Only some of it isn’t rusty or obsolete and I can fix it up and sell it. But being that I travel all the time, I don’t have the chance. So I’m paying for a couple of storage units because I’m a pack rat and can’t stand to throw anything out.

So I have been looking for somebody do help me out when I’m out of town to fix the machines and sell them. It’s not exactly a 9-5 position, as I can’t provide a regular paycheck and don’t offer benefits or anything. But I figure that if I cut this person in as a percentage of the profits, that should be enough to get somebody interested in stepping up to the plate. The problem is that it takes initiative, ambition, and the willingness to make the job work for you, rather than just sitting back and collecting a paycheck. I have had some help, but for one reason or another these people have had better things to do (yeah, like graduating college is going to help!) or just haven’t worked out.

But last night, in a fit of insomnia, I posted an ad on Craigslist. Here’s what it said:

I'm looking for somebody who either doesn't know how to fix computers and
wants to learn or who knows how and just wants a part time job. The ideal
candidate will probably be a high school or college student who's smart
and ambitious (or just bored) and wants to make some cash -- which is
just as good as money!

Here's what your resumé will say for this job:
*Troubleshot and replaced hardware
*Installed hardware
*Installed software
*Worked with Windows XP and Linux
*Performed cost/benefit analysis and ROI calculations
*Worked with data security regulations
*Worked with environmental disposal regulations
*Demonstrated good communication skills (employers always want to see this)

Let me tell you a sad story. I have about a hundred computers that don't
work. And I've got a bunch of parts to fix them up to sell. But I don't
have the time to do it. So I'm paying outrageous amounts each month to
store all this stuff. The end, here's a tissue.

I'll leave it to you to figure out what you'll be doing. If it sounds like
fun, get in touch with me. This job will give you only as much as you're
willing to put into it. And if you've got the motivation and desire, you
can make this job really work for you in your future.

Compensation: $10-$25 per hour
This is a part-time job
This is an internship job

I figured that I’d have about a half dozen people contact me over a week or so and that one might work out. I mean what kind of a lunatic would respond to that ad? Only the kind of lunatic that I wanted working for me, I’d hoped. Somebody who’s a little bit ‘out there’ and doesn’t really want a full time job for one reason or another but is plenty ambitious and maybe somewhat bored with their life. Somebody like me.

But without realizing it, I apparently posted everybody’s dream job. Either that or there really aren’t any jobs for computer people. 12 hours later, I’ve got 50 emails about this position! About half sent a resume. I’d planned to delete them all, but some of the messages seemed promising. The ones without messages were deleted immediately. About a third were women. Some were way overqualified – 15 years as a Sysadmin and you want to do this job? Many of them didn’t get that this is a part time temporary position.

And some of them made me laugh. Maybe they’re that funny, maybe it’s just been a long week.

The job that you have posted is perfect for one of my former students!!! ...

What, was your Mom too busy to email me? Kid, if you want a job go get it yourself. And the letter had funny wording that said she wasn’t getting paid to do it. Three exclamation points is too many anyway.

I am currently located in New Jersey...

Next. Also, this guy sent me his and his friend’s resumes.

you wont need to teach me how to repair computers, if you truly need that many repaired then please contact me at....

What if I don’t truly need them repaired? Or what if it’s one less than a hundred? this guy seems to be challenging me or questioning my credibility. Not cool.

I also have a few laptops with parts I am trying to turn into some cash....

If you haven’t done it by now, you’re probably not the person I’m looking for.

I saw your ad about fixing those busted machines. It reminded me that I
have one on the blink as well.

Not exactly a “go-getter” when it comes to technology, are you?

I don't know anything about cost/benefit analysis and ROI calculations,
data security regulations, or environmental disposal regulations, but I
am sure learning it will be easy since I fantasize about working with
numbers and the like. by the way I am very detailed and my communication
skills are supreme.

Oh, this one is a GEM! By this guy’s logic, all the ladies in Maxim are “easy” too. But I suppose those are some pretty “supreme” communication skills.

What is the background of your setup? Please bear with me, but this
sounds a touch shady, or at least too good to be true.

Shady or too good to be true? I’m not the son of a deposed African dictator or anything. Actually, this one might be promising and I think I’ll follow up.
One person described herself as a “caped crusader.” Nice.
One person described herself as having a “passion for the electronic world.” I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds like a load of BS.

Sure let's talk about it.

This wasn’t a personal question directed at you. You sound almost like I’m imposing.

Okay, I will fix them for you.

Again, I’m not asking for a favor or addressing you directly. Also this guy’s name sounds like a cheap scotch.

My resume is mostly geared towards web design but if I’m technical
enough to do that stuff I can certainly work with the guts of a computer.

Really? Because “web design” could be as simple as throwing a template into some WYSIWYG software and tweaking the colors. More like Martha Stewart than Bob Vila. I’ll bet old Bob can’t pick out color swatches to save his life, but I’d rather have him working with the “guts” of my house than Martha.

...and can fix ALL of your computers.

What about the one where somebody set it on fire and then threw a bunch of water on it? You might be in over your head, friend.

iPhone Death Rattle

My iPhone‘s vibrate feature broke. Now it just rattles. I bought a new one and when I got my first call…the vibrate feature didn’t work. So I swapped it for a new one and tested it in the store.

Check out the video.