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Ode To Brown Santa November 27, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, Christmas, cyber monday, soapbox, UPS.
3 comments

Twas the month before Christmas and all down the street
Folks were clicking online to find gifts that were neat.

To Amazon and Buy for gadgets that glean
And for clothes and home fashions I’ll try LL Bean.

To e-bay to snipe an auction or two.
Because the kids can’t tell that this stuff is not new.

For Alex some PJ’s, pink doll stuff for Ella.
For Shelley, well, I’m not going to tell ya.

I stay warm in my house while the weather is nipping.
Get some stuff for myself? Sure, why not? Save on shipping.

No buyers remorse as the days go pass
Got some good deals and did not pay for gas

Check gmail one day when I wake from my slumbers
Could it be, yes it is, hoo-ahh, tracking numbers!

And now the fun adventure begins
As I see where my boxes have their origins.

I watch as they go across this great nation.
And arrive and depart from each destination.

Then one morning, what joy could this be?
My package is out for delivery!

Later as I’m heating my mid-day meal,
Do I hear a low rumble and also a squeal?

Right as I’m turning off the oven
Brown Santa delivers some cardboard wrapped lovin.

Brown Santa Brown Santa, what joy what luck
I feel whenever I see your brown truck.

You bring me my stuff, put it right by the door.
I don’t even have to go to the store.

Back to the truck, and off down the road
To deliver more goodness that online was sold.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”


Digg!

TGI Pie Day November 17, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, pie, soapbox, Thanksgiving.
1 comment so far

Thanksgiving is descending upon us like a giant Underdog float down 34th street, and this year, as in years past, I am thankful for pie. Don’t get me wrong, I like a cookie or a cake as much as the next guy, and if ice cream were never invented I’d probably weigh 20 pounds less than I do. But nothing fills that 15 minutes between the last bite of turkey and falling asleep on the couch better than a hearty slice of pie.

Other holidays have have their own associated goodies. Christmas has sugar plums and fruit cakes. Easter, Halloween and Valentines day have their respective candys. Father’s Day has its tie shaped Carvel ice cream cake (made from the same mold as Fudgie the Whale). Those are all good, and I will certainly eat my share, plus the shares of my kids if they don’t finish them or are not paying attention. But for me, the king of holiday desserts has to be pie.

So, what type of pie is my favorite? I’m glad you asked. Certainly not Shoefly pie, which I think is made from tar and dust. No way. My three favorite pies are

3. Boston Cream – how could you not like chocolate frosted pie filled with pudding?

2. Apple – call my a patriot, but give a slice of hot apple pie (the kind with a criss-cross top) and a side scoop of ice cream, and I will be your friend for life.

1. Pumpkin. Especially at Thanksgiving, its gotta be pumpkin. Hot or cold with whip cream on top, this pie takes the cake.

Me, Myself, and iPod October 27, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, Gadgets, iPod, soapbox, Technology and Gadgets.
1 comment so far

I tend to avoid things that are trendy. Not to the extent of being Gothic or anything, but if something is too popular, I am less likely to be interested in it. I’m not interested in Camarys, American Idol, Starbucks, or South Beach.

The exception to this is the iPod. Last year I bought myself a black 4 GB Nano. I even got it inscribed: “None more black”
(lest you think me racist, this is part of a quote from Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel when talking about their new album This Is Spinal Tap “It’s like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black. “)

So today, I saw a post entitled Top 10 reasons/places not to use an iPod and it got me thinking about what are good reasons/places to use an iPod. So, here is my top 4 list:

1. To provide your own, personal, soundtrack. You only need to watch any movie since Jazz Singer to recognize how the right music can describe and communicate the right mood . Got a long flight of steps to climb – play the Rocky music. In a hurry, play the Benny Hill song.

2. To block out elevator music, country music, or any other music you’d rather not hear.

3. To provide Foley sound effects to everyday situations. Instead of walking across the floor, you can stomp like King Kong. Instead of mildly making a left, you can rev your engine and squeal your tires like your are in the General Lee.

4. Overdub people with whom you disagree. Watch Bush, but hear Barak.

Sorry there are only four, but I think the earbuds have melted my brain.

Just Say No October 18, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, rants, soapbox.
4 comments

Things I Won’t Do:

  • Park right in front of the store, even if I’m just going to be a minute.
  • Write a blog post about blogging
  • Mix beer and wine, ever.
  • Knowingly eat guacamole
  • Watch a Bette Middler movie
  • Wear a tie when I don’t really have to
  • Drink shots
  • Write a blog post when I’m supposed to be working
  • Accept that sushi is more than just raw fish
  • Wear sweat pants out of the house to a non exercise-based event
  • Value fashion over comfort
  • Wash that gray right out of my hair
  • Get any more cats
  • Have shrubbery in my yard that is shaped like anything other than shrubbery

Missing The Trick October 16, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, dummies, Growing Up, Halloween, soapbox, Trick or Treat.
2 comments

Two weeks from tomorrow night, swarms of people too young to vote will visit my house. They will be attired in garb ranging from the elaborate “my parents need more children” to the mundane “as little effort as possible”. These porch-standing hooligans will have a common demmand of me: “Trick or Treat!” And that is where it starts to go wrong.

First of all, this demand should be presented to me as a choice: “Trick or Treat?”. Like “soup or salad?” (which I used to think was “Super Salad?” as in “Would I like the Super Salad?” “No thanks, I’m not a big fan of salad, but I wonder if I can get some soup?” Yes, I’m a dum-dum, but I’m getting off topic”)

Back to “Trick or Treat?” As the man with the candy, it should be my choice whether to distribute it to any particular princess, pirate, or super hero or instead face the consequences. Often, when I’m unimpressed with the supplicants costume, I feel like they don’t deserve my candy, and so I answer them “Trick, please” Instead of a trick, what they always give me, to a person, is a blank stare. The kids just don’t understand this. They have nothing prepared. No eggs, no toilet paper, not even a water gun. They just want the candy.

The blank stares often turn to looks of annoyance. I can see it in their eyes that they are thinking “Strange man, give me my Hershey bar now! I’ve got eighteen more cul-de-sacs to cover tonight.” Where’s the holiday spirit (pun intended)?

Annoying, Now October 6, 2006

Posted by Andy in Grammar, improvement, soapbox.
2 comments

Warning: Don’t Read This Post. I’m serious. It will make your life less enjoyable.

Years ago, I was enjoying a meal back in the college dining hall, when my friend pointed out that the register emitted a beep each time an ID card was swiped through it to pay for a meal. I’d never noticed this before, but once I was aware of it, I could no longer not-hear it, and it annoyed me for the rest of my meals in the dining hall.

If only there was some way for super selective amnesia to be induced, things like this would not have to be the thorns in the paw of our life experience.

Here are some other things that I wish I could un-know:

  • Grape gum tastes like raisins (thanks, Dave)
  • Stewart’s Orange n’ Cream soda tastes like baby aspirin (thanks, Gretch)
  • “try and…” is not right. Should be “try to…” (thanks, Shelley)

Ignorance really is bliss, I suppose. At the risk of becoming less blissful, I’ll ask if anyone else has something that was pointed out to them that now annoys them.  Let’s try and to make a nice list.

T.M.X. Elmo W.T.F.? October 4, 2006

Posted by Andy in Elmo, Gadgets, soapbox, Toys.
4 comments

The fine folks at Toy Wishes magazine have announced their annual Hot Dozen list of toys that they expect to be most popular this holiday season. Not surprisingly, T.M.X. Elmo made the list. According to fisher-price.com:


“T.M.X.” Elmo will tickle America’s funny bone with three interactive tickle spots on his chin, tummy or toe. When kids tickle Elmo once on any of the tickle spots, he starts to laugh and slap his leg twice, then falls down into a sitting position and rocks himself back up to standing while laughing. When they tickle him a second time, he repeats the pattern even more, then sits down again and falls backwards onto his back and starts kicking his feet while laughing even harder. He then stands back up and asks to be tickled again. And on the third tickle he absolutely lets loose going through the first two patterns and then rolling over onto his tummy where he starts hitting the floor with his hand in gales of laughter, then rolling onto his back, standing up again, and ending with a deep sigh

To me, this has to be the second sign of the apocalypse (the first being the increasing number and complexity of Lucky Charm marbits, that I rant about here). Ten years ago, when the 1 tickle spot, non knee slapping, deep sigh free Tickle Me Elmo came out, it was more than enough fun for the children of the nineties. Today’s kids need more, it seems.

All this makes me wonder what the 2016 incarnation of the auburn furred Muppet will be. Here are my predictions for T.M.XX Elmo

  • Interactive tickle spots replaced by humor proximity sensors that make Elmo giggle when within 10 meters of something amusing (aside: I say meters in my hope that the U.S. has finally switched to the metric system by then)
  • These humor proximity sensors respond not only to slap-stick physical humor, but dry sardonic asides and amusing anecdotes relevant to the issues of the day
  • The first time he is amused, Elmo smiles and nods slightly in acknowledgment of the humor
  • The second time he is amused, Elmo guffaws, does a spit-take, and milk comes out of his nose
  • The third time is the charm since it causes Elmo to write a poignant commentary about what caused his delight on his blog. This blog is so popular that it is second only to Scoble.

Lose Weight The HP Way September 19, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, hp, Microsoft, soapbox, Technology and Gadgets.
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One of the features of many new HP cameras is a “slimming effect” that you can apply to photos with which “anyone can appear more slender—instantly.” Don Havlik at Gizmodo summed it well “Here’s a new camera from HP that’ll help you answer that age-old – but always tricky – question from your girlfriend: “Do these jeans make me look fat?”

This is great news for me and the rest of the lazy people in the world. No longer do I need to exercise or eat right. Nope! Instead I can hang up my running shoes and get as husky as I want, and with a click of a button I become a lean mean fighting machine. This is especially useful for me since I rarely see the people I work with, and most of my friends and family live in different states. The only way these people ever see me is in the pictures I post, and thanks to HP, they will never need to know what a fat slob I’ve become.

Here is an example showing the results of slimming feature:

Slimmer

This innovation by HP makes me wonder what other flaws and shortcomings we can disguise with technology. Could HP also add other appearence altering features that would make short people taller, blad people hairier, and ugly people less so? Maybe Microsoft could add a feature to Word along the lines of the spell checker and grammar checker called “stupid content checker”. With this, if someone typed “George W. Bush is the greatest president ever” Word would change it to “George W. Bush is president” Also, wouldn’t it be nice if auto makers could add “bad driving prevention” features that would do such things as automatically increase a vehicle’s speed to at least the speed limit when driven in the passing lane.

I’d write more, but it is time to go fix myself a milkshake and some cheeseburgers for breakfast.

Is Microsoft Copying Me? September 14, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, Microsoft, soapbox.
1 comment so far

You know you’ve arrived when Microsoft rips you off.  Just ask any diehard Apple supporter.  Or notice how many of the “new” features in IE7 are familiar to Firefox users.

After 10 years and nearly 1000 hits, Microsoft seems to have noticed Andy’s SoapBox.  It seems Bill Gates and crew will be coming out with a soapbox of their own.  Sure, mine is a blog and theirs is a YouTube clone, but it would be an amazing coincidence for them to use “soapbox”.  It does not even make sense since a soapbox historically was something on which one would stand when speaking to a group of people.  Sounds like a blog to me much more than a video sharing service.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but could this be some form of retribution for me cancelling my xbox live subscription (got tired of having 10 year olds consistently killing me)?

Don’t get me wrong. Though I know it is cool to hate Microsoft, I actually don’t. Clippy aside, I think they make decent stuff.  I’m just a bit rankled that they are moving in on my turf.  I’m watching you, Bill!

Big Heads at Dogfish Head September 9, 2006

Posted by Andy in beer, Dogfish Head.
2 comments

dogfish11.jpg

Last Wednesday, I went on the free tour of the Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, Delaware. I’ve always been a fan of brewery tours, and not just for the free samples. I think it is fun and interesting to see how things are made. One of my dreams in life is to tour the M&M’s factory so I can see for myself how they get those M’s on there. But I digress.

dogfish2.jpg

Dogfish brewery is fairly large and rapidly expanding to keep up with the expanding demand for their brews. The tour began at 3:30 with the tour meister, whose name I never learned, greeting us from between the bar and wall o’ merchandise. He spoke over a wireless headset that broadcast from a handheld speaker that he carried around. The fidelity and background noise was such that I often found it hard to understand what he was saying (thus me not knowing his name). The gist of the first part was that they started off really small but are so great that they keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. The “how great they are” was kind of the theme of the whole tour. During this stage, we got to try samples of their seasonal Punkin Ale and their 90 Minute IPA. I enjoyed the first so much that I bought a case to take home, so I have that to look forward to, which is nice. I liked the second more that I expected since I am not heavy into hops.

The next part of the tour went through where the beer is brewed (picture dozens of large silver tanks) and bottled (picture many bottles rolling down a line like in the opening to Laverne & Shirley, minus the glove and Laverne, and Shirley). Unnamed Tour Gguide seemed to phone in this part of the tour like he did it three times a week, and it also seemed rushed. We got a peek into the warehouse, which was about as exciting as you’d expect a warehouse to be. I think he showed it to us for us to gasp at it’s size. They also gave out more samples.
The third part of the tour was back to the bar, where we were encourgaed to try more samples, and purchase t-shirts. Because of all the samples, the t-shirts really seemed like a good idea (I got the long sleeve mocha shirt and Shelley got a hat). This shot is a fairly accurate depection of how things looked at this point.

dogfish3.jpg

This is also the point at which Unamed Tour Guide said something that really turned me off. I mentioned to him how I lived down the road from Frederick Brewing Company (now called Wild Goose Brewery though they actually are part of Flying Dog). He remarked how he was glad that I now had a chance to try good beer. Okay, Mr. Dogfish Head Man. Sorry I didn’t realize you guys made the only good beer in the world. I guess that’s why Delaware is considered a beer capital of the world.

All that aside, and ignoring the fact that between the case of Punkin Ale, the shirt, and the hat this free tour cost me around $80, I still ecomendend you check out the Dogfish Head brewery tour next time you find yourself in Milton, DE.