Thursday, July 20, 2006

Have people lost all modesty?

Okay.... so .... I am picking up sandwiches last week from Togo's.

Even though I can go straight to the pick-up line, the place is packed, and I decide to wait in line.

In walks a woman... who is obviously pregnant. Not the "oh when is your baby due - I'm just fat" kind of pregnant. The "shouldn't you be calling an ambulance, you're gonna pop any day now, um... I think I see the baby's head!" pregnant. Obviously very late in the stage. Absolutely no mistake pregnant.

She is wearing daisy-dukes, and a little muscle beater type t-shirt. With her stomach fully exposed. Not "my stomach is poking out". Rather - bottom of the boob to just above the pleasure patch exposed.

Think a Jessica Simpson/Dukes of Hazard amount of clothing. Okay... it could be okay right? But she is the type of girl that even in her non pregnant stage, you would look at her and go "oh girl, I'm surprised you're trying to pull that off". The kind of girl who normally has a full muffin top - bulging out of her pants. Who on retrospect might have given the "what are you looking at bitch" head snap. But that isn't the crazy part. This is California after all... we get used to people "keepin it real".

This woman...... has SAVAGE stretch marks. Not the "wow, you have some really bad stretch marks" kind. The holy shit, "you really got the genetics shaft, nothing is going to fix that" - "Did you get mauled by a bear", kind of stretch marks. I've seen burn victims with less damage. Who also by the way, would have elicited less interest.

So I look around.. and everyone who has noticed her is trying desperately not to look at her. Myself included. Everyone is trying to be respectful, and act nonchalant. But an obvious reaction is being made... followed by an obvious attempt at not having a reaction.

This woman, of course, does not notice the room wide uncomfortable-ness. Or perhaps just doesn't care..

Now don't get me wrong... I love looking at bodies. But what happened to the generation where people actually tried to minimize their flaws. Everyone doesn't have to look beautiful, but at least a general attempt at decorum should be made. Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What are you looking at?

Do not do this to your bunny unless you have a dire medical need.

Our girl Jane Doe has glaucoma in her right eye (the one you can see in the picture). After a visit to the vetrinary eye specialist (with misc pokings and proddings), her eye became very irritated, and she started scratching at it. We needed to control her ability to get to the eye.

So the challenge was: how do you get a bunny to stop scratching an eye? People with dogs have it easy -- just put on a cone, or doggles.

Bunnies however have all sorts of engineering "problems".

1. Bunnies have no discernable neck. A cone would just fall off.

2. Bunnies panic easily. They can get really freaked out. They are very sensitive in the face, and they really don't like to feel trapped.

3. Bunnies will eat anything. Including hard plastic, like a dog cone. Including things that will kill them.

This was our solution. A Quaker Oats can. (well temporary solution - She got it off within 2 hours, but she seemed to leave the eye alone) We used the lower third of the can, and cut radial slits in the bottom to allow her had to pass through it. We also cut notches for her ears and muzzle. Not only are Quaker Oats good for your heart. (allegedly!) Their containers are completely edible (except the lid) by bunnies.

She was pretty okay with it until her mate started trying to "help her". First he started tugging on it trying to get it off her. Then he thought, "if your head is in there, maybe mine should be too". I didn't get pictures of that, because she started freaking out. After seperating her from her mate, she finally settled down. Begrudingly. And as you can see from the picture, we still had the directions to cook the oats.

Fires are NOT suppose to be funny... right?

Hey Jackass! Quit setting fires.

Yes.. I am going to make jokes about it. It is funny, and no people or property have been injured. How do you not snicker when you have to talk about this fire?

Lightening sparked the blaze near the Nevada California-line. News links here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

If you show me your Roomba, I'll show you mine.

I've been watching the steady migration of frisbybots (patent pending, patent pending, patent pending) trying to take over one country, then the next. First Canada. Then Australia, and now New Zealand (Courtesy of freitasm.)

Never in the history of the world have people been so excited to share pictures of their vacuum cleaners. Just ask flickr.

Once upon a time, if a significant other even dreamed about giving a vacuum cleaner as a gift, they would be exiled forever in the surviving partner's mind. "Yeah, I loved that person, but I had to kill them, I'm not your cleaning whore".

All of a sudden people are excited to purchase an item that previously was so completely mundane. Only clean freaks or people with OCD would brag about doing such a chore. Creative videos are popping up everywhere. This guy straps a camcorder on for a Roombas eye view. Youtube has a series of videos here. A pretty good animation assembly for a Roomba on Google video here. Roomba Wars via prasad here.

iRobot seems to be poised to be part of one of the largest industry expansions since the 80's. Not all that surprising since vacuum cleaner sales had enjoyed year over year record setting unit sales.

According to Appliance Design, "Breaking records is becoming the norm for the vacuum cleaner segment of the industry. If projections and estimates hold up, the segment in four out of five recent years will have achieved new highs in unit count. Record years and their numbers":

  • 1996-16.1 million
  • 1998-16.3 million
  • 1999-17.6 million
  • 2000-18.5 million
  • 1997 scored 15,692,000 units, only 2.5 percent off the 1996 mark of 16.1 million.

Somewhere between the year 2000 and now, things seems to have taken a dramatic turn down. Here, here and here.

iRobot has seen enormous growth even without its military segment, and is nipping at the heels of more established companies like Dyson. Despite reporting record results at years end. A large segment of its business last year came from Tokyo, but only sold about 200,000 units. Link here.

Dirt Devil was once owned by Royal Appliance Mfg Co., and acquired by Techtronic Industries in 2003, and is certainly not boasting about their vacuum cleaner sales. PDF 2005 Annual Report. Good luck.

The Kirby Company is also a pain in the ass to get current financials for. Hoovers here says 253.5mil, but who knows what year that is for. They also do not seem to be bragging about sales growth. So I guess the last major player is Electrolux, whose sales are pretty stagnant, and the German economy certainly isn't helping them.

With all this bad news, iRobot is clearly breathing fresh air into an industry covered in dust bunnies.

Embargo? What Embargo?

My personal view is that economic sanctions are never successful because you never get full cooperation. Here is an example.

This is a dessert menu from a California restaurant, one of those places where they print a new menu everyday. (I didn't feel it was wrong to take the menu, since they'll be printing a new one the next day anyway). I was a little shocked by the blatant selling of 100% Cuban cigars.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another reason to stay in school.

I don't sell insurance. I don't care who you get your insurance through, but if you have Farmers, you might as well get a discount.

After adding a car recently, and paying the insurance premium - I get a call from our agent. The addition apparently triggered them to look at how this car is getting paid for. It turns out Farmers Insurance thinks you got all that binge drinking done in college. If you have one of these,

From Colorado springs:
"Firefighters, Police & Law Enforcement Officers, Physicians, Surgeons, Pharmacists, Registered Nurse, Teachers, Engineers, and certain other college degrees."

you qualify for a professional discount.

This seems to be a little known discount. I will not send you to the Farmers site, because I basically gave up trying to find information about it there.

We'd been with Farmers for a few years, and had never heard such a thing. So I poked around the web to see if it was just my town, or state. Despite running across this article from 2004, I was able to find very few links which mention it for obvious reasons. I'm not sure whether to praise my agent, or stick him into the witness relocation program.

Why even give a discount if they dont want you to know about it?