Quite possibly the funniest four minutes of your day.

18 Dec

First watch this:

Then watch this:

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Posted in Random Fun


NaBloPoMo done for another year

30 Nov

Looking back at last year’s sum up, I still feel much the same way. It has been interesting to note which posts got attention. I really do mean to continue posting more often that 2 posts between now and next NaBloPoMo… It won’t be once a day, but I will do more posting. I may also revisit some of my older topics that need updating.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings this month, and if you have any suggestions for something to write about, please feel free to let me know in the comments.


Geekway To The West – register now

29 Nov

Geekway to the West is a great boardgaming convention in St Louis, and the next one is 17th-20th May 2012. I like it, partly because it’s local, but it’s also simply a great event.

It’s four days of open gaming, so you’re not having to book up events ahead of time. It’s a great opportunity to sit and play board games with friends from all over.

One of my favourite features of the con is the Play And Win table. Many publishers donate some of their newest games, and the organizers also buy some games to go on the table. Every time you play one of the games from the Play And Win table, you are entered into a drawing to win it. It’s a great way to experience some of the newest games, and the publishers like it too as it gives a certain amount of feedback about how popular the games were.

The hotel is a great place to stay, and in fact, even if you’re in St Louis, I recommend staying there. It’s not just that you save the driving time, but also you have to be awake enough to drive. By staying in the hotel you can stay later and get more gaming time in.

Early bird registration is $30 through the end of January, so get your registration in soon!


Apple – a slight frustration

28 Nov

I love Apple products. They are elegant and they do what you need them to do.

Apple has designed the most popular smartphone on the planet.

Why, then, do they not have a mobile-friendly version of their website? It seems somewhat counter productive to me.


Hartwell Farmhouse – avoiding the window tax.

27 Nov

Hartwell Farmhouse in Cranfield, England, is a Grade II Listed Building. That means it is a building that is nationally important and of special interest.

Click to embiggen

If you look closely at the larger picture, you can see that the four windows on the side wall, and two of the windows (top centre and top right) on the front wall aren’t actually windows at all. In 1696 under King William III, a window tax was instituted in England. At the time, the thought of an income tax was objectionable – the details of one’s personal finances was no business of the King! The thinking in introducing the window tax was that the more windows a house had, the richer the owners must be, so it was a simple, objective way to tax richer people. Of course, what happened was as new houses were built, they would look ostentatious with their many windows, but a good many of them were fake, and therefore not subject to the tax.

Although it was a progressive tax, it was unpopular, as it was perceived as a tax on light and air. It was also noted as time went on that the money being raised from this particular tax wasn’t increasing as expected, because of the fake windows being added to houses. Furthermore, members of the medical profession were concerned that the lack of windows resulted in dark, damp rooms, which could foster disease and ill-health. Ultimately the tax was repealed in 1851, to be replaced by a house tax.

I grew up about a five minute walk from this house, and took this picture during my visit to the UK earlier this year.


Water Heaters

26 Nov

Over the last day or two I’ve learnt all about water heaters, given that ours is leaking a little and needs replacing. It’s also 26 years old so really needed replacing anyway. Figuring out what we wanted and needed wasn’t too bad – something that essentially replaced what we already had while being a bit more energy efficient.

Getting it home, however, was a bit more difficult. There was no way it would fit in my car, so I had a couple of options – I could either rent their truck or have them deliver it. Delivery was a fixed fee, but the truck rental was by the hour. Living close enough to Home Depot to make it worth choosing the truck rental, that’s what I did.

I asked for some help getting the heater onto the truck and a young man came to help. However, it soon became evident that just the two of us couldn’t get it up there. He disappeared, presumably to go find help, though he didn’t actually say that. After a while, with no sign of his return, I went back to the tool rental desk (which is the department that deals with the truck rental). Taryn was very helpful and paged to get some additional assistance. Eventually 2 new guys came to help out, and the original associate came back with the person he’d gone to find. Taryn adjusted my official start time of the rental to take into account the extra time this was taking.

They managed to get it on the truck with a bit of a struggle, made harder by the rain, but then no-one had any idea how to use the ratchet strap to tie it down. Now, I don’t know how to use one either, but I would half expect people whose job it is to help customers load things on to trucks to know. 2 different people came to help out, but neither of them knew for sure how use it either.

While they were figuring it out, I went back inside to Taryn. I explained that even if they figured it out I wanted someone who knew how to use the strap to make sure it was securely tied down. I didn’t want it to fall off on the highway. Sensing my frustration, Taryn found someone to make sure all was OK, and also assured me that when I came back with the truck she would have got authorization to get my truck rental free. It had been an hour since I originally rented the truck at this point.

After a few minutes, someone came to check the heater was securely strapped in. It was, so I drive it home. With the help of a neighbour we got it into the basement, ready to be installed by a friend next week.

Returning the truck, Taryn was true to her word and the rental was free. So while I was disappointed with the overall service, she did everything in her power towards making things right. She even encouraged me to fill out the feedback survey listed on my receipt as that gets a lot of attention from corporate, so I certainly will.

Let’s hope the actual installation goes smoothly.



25 Nov

Click to embiggen

A very tasty meal! I hope your Thanskgiving celebrations (if you’re so inclined) were appropriately wonderful.


Happy Birthday Mark!

24 Nov

This coming Saturday is the 60th birthday of my friend Mark. Last night, his family, friends and co-workers managed to give him a surprise birthday party. It was the first time in their 35 years of marriage that his wife, Carole, had managed to completely surprise him.

Mark and Carole are special people. In the nearly 11 years that I’ve been in St Louis, they’ve become like an extra set of parents. They have helped us out with some home maintenance, invited us to their house for holidays you traditionally spend with family, making us feel like a part of the family. They have been small group leaders, mentors, confidants, and faithful warriors in prayer. Mark also shares my sense of humour – I suspect that could be because he’s half English.

They’ve brought up four wonderful children who have also become good friends. They are reasonably well balanced adults now, with their own individual quirks, but they reflect the great parenting job that Mark and Carole have done.

If you want to know how to have a good relationship and be a good parent, you can’t go far wrong by looking at Mark and Carole as role models.

I’m thankful for them both, and for their family, and for the many blessings they have been to us, and I’m honoured to have been invited to be a part of Mark’s celebrations yesterday.


Those moments of not-quite-awake-ness

23 Nov

The place where I work not only closes for Thanksgiving and the day after, but also the day before, so I got to sleep in this morning. Part of my normal morning routine is the radio alarm. As I’m waking up, I’m listening to St Louis Public Radio. With the sleeping in, the radio now had Diane Rehm on. Apparently, listening to her show was affecting my dreams, because as I was in that twilight state of not quite awake, I was convinced that I was watching TV, where some young man was lip syncing to Diane’s words! I even tried to get my friend Steve to turn his TV on so he could see just how funny it was!

Have you ever had a dream that felt very real at the time? Ever had a dream that as you look back was so clearly influenced by your surroundings?


Martian Dice – a board game review

22 Nov

Martian Dice is a new game from Tasty Minstrel Games. It’s a quick push-your-luck filler, so good at the start of a gaming evening while waiting for more people to arrive, or at the end of an evening when there’s not much time left.

You are Martians, trying to abduct earthlings. You have 13 dice. 2 faces on each die are Death Rays, and then there’s one each of a tank, a chicken, a human and a cow.

When you roll, you are required to set aside any tanks. They are the earth military, trying to stop you abducting earthlings. You must then set aside at least one other die. When you decide which type of die to put aside, you must put aside all dice showing that same face. While you can always put aside Death Rays, adding to any you’ve put aside earlier, for each type of earthling, you can only set them aside once. So, if you’ve already set aside humans, you can’t set aside more humans.

You can either stop out of choice, or roll again, rolling the dice you haven’t yet set aside. You may be forced to stop if after setting aside tanks, you only have dice of an earthling type already set aside.

Once you are done with rolling, you then determine your score. Firstly, you must have at least as many death rays as tanks, or the earthly military has chased you away. If you don’t, you score nothing. If you do have sufficient force, you score one point for each earthling you abduct. If you manage to abduct at least one earthling of each type, you get a bonus 3 points.

It’s a silly but fun game, takes maybe 10 minutes to play, and it’s enjoyable to roll lots of dice.