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Buzz Word Overkill July 21, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, buzzwords, soapbox.
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Today at work, I had to update a slide containing the following (and I am not making this up):

Review current plans and methodologies to help refine vision on ways process can be improved

If you made it this far in the entry without your brain exploding, consider yourself lucky.  For fun, lets try to figure out what this means.

“Review current plans and methodologies” – I’m with you so far – “to help refine vision” – OK, there must be some vision refinement plans out there that we need to review – “on ways process can be improved” – um, so we have to improve our process (obviously) and somewhere, someone has a vision on how to do this, but this vision needs some refinement, and we have plans (and methodologies) on how refine it – it being the vision, or is it the process?, or maybe it is the BLAM!

(we’re sorry to inform you that Andy’s brain has just exploded)


Ears Without a Face July 19, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox, startrek.

Which came first – the chicken or the egg? If a tree falls in the woods with no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Does the light really go off when you shut the refrigerator door? Mary-Anne or Ginger?

These are all controversial questions that have been debated throughout time. Now, I’d like to add another question to this list:

Are ears part of the face?

Some people think yes and some think no. Who’s to say who is right?

I am. The yes people are right. Ears are part of the face.

Picture the face of someone you know. Did you picture ears? I expect so. Describe the face in this picture:


Could you do it without mentioning the ears? I think not.

Let’s face it, ears are part of the face. I’m glad that is settled. As for the other great questions, here are the answers:



Yes, but only for a few moments. It then comes back on when the food item come to life and have conversations and adventures as shown in TV commercials


Different Strokes July 18, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox.
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7 February 2005

We’ve been looking for a new church since we’ve moved to Maryland. Yesterday we went to a church that met our limited criteria for a first visit. Lacking good sources of information, this criteria is based mainly on denomination and location (I also use how cool the name sounds to settle a tie-breaker). As we approached the building, I began to suspect that we should have done more research.

Several members of the congregation were amiably chatting outside the church door. These ladies all had something in common that the four of us didn’t. We entered the church and discovered that we stood out, and not just because we were under dressed. Though this difference was obvious to everyone, no one we met mentioned anything about it to us. Everyone was quite friendly and welcoming, more so I think than at other churches we visited. Despite this, we still felt uncomfortable in a way we were unaccustomed to. (Aside: I say “we” felt uncomfortable, but it would more accurate to say “Shelley and I” since Alex and Ella were oblivious to the situation. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could be so oblivious?)

Being unsure of what to do, I’ll admit to looking for a way to sneak out. I don’t know if it was out of respect, curiosity for a new experience, or fear of embarrassment, but we decided to stay. We dropped the kids off in the nursery and found ourselves a pew. One thing I worry about when visiting a new church is if something were to happen with one of the kids, how would the nursery attendant locate us among the congregation? I did not have that worry this time.

As the service proceeded, I discovered that some of my preconceived notions of what would occur were not completely wrong. What I found more significant was how different this church wasn’t from what I was used to. The style might have been different, but the message was the same.

I doubt we will go back to this church, but hopefuly we gained a little perspective from our unplanned adventure. I’ve come to realize more and more that the farther I get out of my comfort zone, the more likely I am to have interesting experiences.

Mominos July 17, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, Childbirth, humptyDumpty, soapbox.

What If Delivering A Baby Was Like Delivering A Pizza?

29 November 2004

In the last few years, I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about where babies come from. The things I’ve seen and am trying to forget have led me to the conclusion that delivering a baby is not an easy task. But, what if it was? Those hours or days can be a very difficult time for the father-to-be, and I suspect for the mother-to-be as well. What if after 9 months, you make a call then – BOOM! – within thirty minutes you had a new baby?

What would the world be like?

As I try to answer that question, I fear that anything I say might offend people who have had a less easy time of delivering a baby – especially people that live in this house. Just as discretion is the better part of valor, I think in this case, brevity is the better part of me not incurring the wrath of Shelley.

Since I still have some space here, I’ll pose a very remotely related question that was not worth its own SoapBox: Why is it we think Humpty Dumpty was an egg? Where in the text is this indicated?

I’m a Dum-Dum July 16, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, dummies, soapbox.

17 September 2004

Recently, when reading a book to my son for the hundreth time, I realized I’d been making the same mistake each time I’d read it (I misread “white” instead of “whistle”). This realization led me to proclaim, “I’m a dum-dum!” Thinking this was a good thing, my son responded “I’m a dum-dum!” This led to an argument over who was the bigger dum-dum. Since my son was not interested in my supporting arguments, I’ll share them instead with you.

Dumb Things I’ve Done

  • Until I was about 25, I thought the word “might” was “minght” As in, “I minght be a dum dum”
  • Thought “whimsical” was “whismical” (I was full of whismic)
  • While swimming underwater, decided to find out what water smelled like
  • Investigated a dripping sound in the ceiling by standing directly below it and removing the ceiling tile.
  • Having seen a commercial where a guy removed a scratch from a counter top by sanding it out, decided to use this same method to remove a scratch from my sunglasses.
  • Bought a case of Frankenberry cereal
  • After getting out of the shower, I unknowingly put liquid hand soap in my hair instead of hair gel. I figured I must have just done a poor job rinsing out the shampoo, so went back into the shower to rinse my hair. I then proceeded to mistakenly put liquid hand soap in my hair again.
  • Got into an argument with a 2 year old about who was a dum-dum

Traveling at the Speed Of Time July 14, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, einstein, relativity, soapbox.

27 November 2001

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.” – Albert Einstein

We’ve all noticed that the speed of time is not consistent. Not even a little. Some moments/days/weeks/months/years go by quickly while others crawl slowly past. What’s more, one’s preception of a given span can change depending on when one is examining it. While you are in the middle of long drive, it can seem like it is taking forever, but when you get there, the trip did not seem that long. Also, there is no law of conservation of time perception. For example, a week that consists of seven slow days in retrospect could seem to have flown by.

A question that this time flow discontinuity brings up is how do we measure the relative speed of time. For most things, rates are determined by dividing something by time. Can we thus divide time by time? Perhaps if we divide how long a span “feels” like, lets call that relative time, by how long it actually is, that would give us a speed. So the minute on the hot stove that feels like an hour would be 60/1, or 60. The hour with the pretty girl would be 1/60 or 0.0167.

I wonder how long it would seem to be sitting with a pretty girl while your hand was on a hot stove.

Observations From 75″ July 14, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox.
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02 October 2001

Some things I’ve noticed…

  • People tend to dress for what the weather was yesterday.
  • No one cares about wind-chill in the summer.
  • The more you know someone, the weirder they seem.
  • People tend to be ignorant of their own ignorance.
  • Nothing is left unsaid forever
  • Sandwiches taste better when someone else makes them for you.
  • Wasting time is not always a waste of time.
  • Better becomes standard and standard becomes worse.
  • Travel yields perspective.
  • Everybody has a different walk
  • Watched pots do boil, eventually

What, Me Thirty? July 13, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox.
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28 March 2001

A little over a month ago, I crossed into the realm of the thirty-somethings. So far, it is more or less what I expected. When I was a boy, someone who was thirty seemed much older than I now feel. Of course, I still remember thinking someone in third grade was old. Even so, as I begin my fourth decade, there are some things I am glad for. For one, it is nice to still have all my hair, even though some of it is a bit gray. I’m glad to have a wife whose company I still enjoy. I’m especially glad to have a wife who is in her twenties. I’m glad that I still enjoy some of the same diversions as I have in the past, including cartoons, games, and sugar sweetened cereal.

One thing that really surprises me is that I think my feet are still growing.

So, what happens now? As I get older, will I look at time as the fire in which I burn or will I intead see it as a companion through my life’s journey? When will I be old enough for a midlife crisis? What does it mean that 40 still seems further away than 20 does? The answers to these and many other questions will be revealed in their own time. In the meantime, I just have to wait, enjoy the moment, and hope my feet stop growing.

Y1X July 13, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, soapbox.
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From 1999

The calendar has changed yet again, and I realized two things:

1) We are approaching the end of the century

2) I have not written a new SoapBox in quite some time.

With these realizations, I decided it was time for me to get on the bandwagon and talk about the big year change that has the potential for causing so much mischief with all things technological. First, let me say that you need not fear, Andy’s SoapBox is Y2K compliant. Once you are through partying with the Aritst, you can come and re-read the ramblings of the Andy (assuming you can log on).

Enough has been discussed about everything that may go wrong on that fateful day, so I feel no need to get on my SoapBox about it. Instead, I want to look at another important calendrical milestone. This was January 1, 10. That’s right, the big Year One X disaster (YIX).

Of course the technology was quite less advanced in those days. Computers did not run as fast, have as much memory (both kinds), play as many cool games, and were made of stone. Also computer programmers of that day were not quite as advanced as those today who wear that hat (snicker). All through the first decade of the first millenium, they wrote their programs with nary a thought about what would happen when the year suddenly had twice as many digits. All programs only reserved one digit of memory for the year, by the time this problem was realized, it was almost too late.

The solution though was not to come from the computer people. Instead, it came from the number people, specifically from a young number engineer named Johnny Aught. It was young Johnny who invented something that not only saved the technology, but had a drastic impact even into modern day. He invented the zero. Before Johnny had his break through, there were only 9 numbers. But with Johnny’s new invention came the ability to go past nine, right into ten!

The idea caught on like wild fire (which was something since fire had yet to be invented). Factories worked 9 hours a day producing zeros, and they shipped them to programmers around the world who were able to fix all their software, and everyone lived happily ever after (at least until Y1C)

On Becoming Plural July 13, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, marriage, soapbox, startrek.

From 1997

Today I was updating various parts of this website, and I noticed that I was changing a lot of “I”s to “We”s, and a lot of “Me”s to “Us”s. The reason for this is because in something like 211 days I will be getting married. In some ways, the Andy that I have been will be no more as he becomes a part of the Andy-And-Shelley Collective (Resistance is futile). Don’t get me wrong, I am not sad about this. In fact, I am looking forward to it. It’s just a new way to think about life and the future. I went through a stage of life where I was dependent on my parents and others to provide and take care of me. Then, I went through a time where I was independent and I took care of myself. This next stage I see as being one of “inter-dependence” where I rely on Shelley and she relies on me. I realize that this is no earth-shattering realization and that millions of people go through this same thing. This is however not their SoapBox, it is mine, and this is what I feel like talking about.

At the same time all of this is happening, there are some things about me that will remain just me. This SoapBox, for example will not become “Andy & Shelley’s SoapBox”. You don’t have to worry about that, and not just because Shelley has no interest in being part of the SoapBox. If she does, she can have her own page for that.

Now that I have a woman, I don’t have to worry about being too geeky and making Star Trek references. If you were paying attention, in the first paragraph I made a comparison of getting married to being assimilated by the Borg. In many ways, I think this a good analogy. Certainly I refer to ourselves in the plural, just like the Borg. There are also many times when Shelley and I seem to share thoughts. Also, if for some reason we had to leave the collective, we would both be in pretty bad shape. There is one very important way however that getting married is different than being assimilated by the Borg, and it has nothing to do with traveling around in a big cubical space ship. The difference is this: We want to be married, we choose to be married, and we are thrilled and excited at the prospect. With that thought, we will sign off.