Monday, February 26, 2007

A Matter of Convenience

I can tell you the exact moment when I "switched teams." It was last Friday night. I was driving home around 10:45 PM when I realized that I hadn't eaten dinner yet. I called in a carryout order to the Bamboo House in Cockeysville, which is a restaurant and bar. I had ordered from there before, but never on a Friday night.

My first clue that something was amiss was that there was little parking available. When I entered the lobby, I could see into the bar and it was packed. I chuckled to myself when I realized that it was a single's bar for the local 30's to 50's crowd. Since it was a Chinese restaurant,
I was kind of surprised, but so long as they had my order ready, I didn't care if they were sacrificing goats to Gozer in there.

There was a guy in front of me, who apparently consumed a drum of Old Spice intravenously before leaving the house. He was complaining to the hostess about something, but oxygen deprivation kept me from hearing. He stalked off towards the bar and walked directly into a lady drinking a martini in the lobby. She managed to keep the drink off of him and apologized, even though it was his fault. He glared at her, refused to acknowledge her apology, and waited by the entrance to the bar. This lead to the following conversation.

Woman: Did you see that? Why is he mad? He ran into me.
Me: Yes, I saw it. I think it's because he's an asshole. (This was amusing because the guy could still hear us.)
Woman: Laughing. Maybe you should be my bodyguard tonight.
Me: Welcome to Cockeysville. It's the asshole capital of Baltimore County.
Woman: More laughter.

At this point, I paid the semi-offended hostess for my food. As I turned to leave, the woman moved closer, grabbed my free arm, and said, "Hi, I'm XXXX. Let me buy you a drink." Considering that I was tired, hungry, and mere minutes away from curing both problems, the only thought that ran through my head was, "Get the fuck off of me, twit." (I despise strangers touching me.) Fortunately, the minuscule part of my brain that dispenses politeness engaged and, somehow, caused me to blurt out, "Thanks, but I'm gay." She muttered something unintelligible and I made good on my escape.

In retrospect, this incident was disturbing because I am not now and have never been gay. If memory serves, any lying that is done in these kind of places is done for the express purpose of getting women and their panties to go their separate ways. Of course, it's possible that I am one of those guys who is gay and just doesn't know it yet. This is highly doubtful, though, since I am aesthetically retarded, and I dance like a very white, very heterosexual man. Thus, I can only conclude that I am conveniently gay, which, I believe, would make me a pseudosexual (as opposed to a bi-,trans-, or homosexual). I'm thinking that this might be the most appropriate alternative lifestyle for me, as I can reap the benefits of snappy fashion and tasteful interior decoration, while passing on the less appealing aspects such as Barbara Streisand and sodomy. Regardless, I spent the rest of the evening eating Mongolian Beef while rocking Papillon on AMC, which, now that I think about it, sounds kind of gay, too.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


As they used to tell us in school: Engineers are problem solvers.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Passive-Aggressive Driving.

We've all heard how horrible it is to be an aggressive driver. The Maryland MVA has a program which targets aggressive driving and the legislature has even made aggressive driving a crime. Although cell phones and incompetent drivers are still permitted, aggressive driving is becoming the new drunk driving. The problem is: What precisely is aggressive driving? I mention this because I could be considered an aggressive driver. I am rarely passed on an interstate and I always try to maximize my speed in light to moderate traffic conditions (Speeding in heavy traffic doesn't work, you just get to the next backup sooner.).

Now if we look below at page 32 from the MD Driver's Handbook we see that the slow drivers are encouraged to keep right.

Yet, Maryland attaches no legal recognition to the left lane. It is not officially considered a passing lane or the "fast" lane. Maryland believes that it is a driver's right to do 55mph in the left lane of I-695 when the prevailing speed is 70-75mph. So, if the left lane is just another lane and passing on the right is legal, why do slow drivers in the left lane get so pissed off when they get passed on the right? At least once a day, I'll pass someone travelling in the left lane of I-83, I-695, or I-895/95 well below the prevailing speed and they will start honking or flashing their lights. Yesterday, I passed an elderly couple on I-695 travelling at 50 mph and he gave me the finger. I've even had one depraved women try to hit me with her SUV because I was the 5th person to pass her in less than a minute.

I've noticed that this problem is getting worse lately. MD drivers who drive slowly in the left lane are fully aware that they are creating problems. By matching speeds with drivers of the next lane, they are deliberately impeding traffic flow. I know it's deliberate, because they actively try to prevent people from getting around them by speeding up when a pass is attempted. What I want to know is why? Are these people self-appointed Speed Police protecting us from ourselves? If you're going to drive the same speed as the next rightmost lane, why not just get into that lane and not create a backup? Regardless, if the traffic is light and you're doing 55mph in the left lane, I'll probably be seeing you, but not for long.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mystery Solved

I've always wondered why they make wine in a box. Now I know:

Yes, that would be saran wrap. Apparently, it can be used for purposes other than birth control. Who knew?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mr. Wizard's Lab

Although the primary goal of this blog is crotch humor, I also want it to serve as an educational resource. Unfortunately, a review of my more recent posts indicates that I've been remiss in this capacity. Thus, I've decided to post a brief primer on chemistry, which even includes an instructional experiment that you can use to impress your family and friends. However, to make the most of the hands-on activity, some basic chemical background is required.

Everything in the universe is composed of matter, which naturally occurs in one of three states: gray, legal, or fecal. Matter is comprised of molecules, which are, in turn, made of atoms, which are the basic building blocks of nature. Chemists use chemical equations to describe how these atoms and molecules react to form new substances. For example, below is the equation for the demonstration that follows:

CaH2(s) + 2H2O(l) → 2H2(g) + Ca(OH)2(s)

On the right hand side of the arrow, we have the reactants, while the products are found to the left of the arrow. The products are typically sub classified into groups known as Good Shit and Bad Shit, but analytical chemistry is beyond the scope of this discussion. Essentially, what the above equation states is that 1 molecule of calcium hydride (CaH2) will react with 2 molecules of water (H2O) to form 2 molecules of hydrogen (H2) and 1 molecule of calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2). Notice that we have two molecules of one type combining with a single molecule of a different species - this is a very important class of chemical reaction. It was first discovered in 1767, by French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, and is known as the Ménage à trois. You may have also noticed the lowercase letters in parentheses that follow each molecule like (s), (l), and (g). I really can't remember what these symbols indicate, so I doubt that they are anything important.

As anyone who has had intimate relations with Dyckerson* can verify, it is nearly impossible to manipulate objects on the molecular level. Thus, chemists use a more convenient unit of measure known as the mole. Like a dozen consists of 12 objects, a mole is comprised of a shitload of molecules and this quantity is referred to as Desperado's number. Desperado's number is a famous chemical constant and was even celebrated by contemporary musician Don Henley, who has a strong following amongst chronic self-abusers. Thus, the concept of the mole can be applied to a chemical equation in order to quantitatively determine amount of products produced by known amounts of reactants. This determination is known as stoichiometry, which has Greek origins and means "silly-assed calculations that should be avoided." Thus, we'll move on to the experimental portion.


If you skipped the above nonsense and went for the interesting part of the post: Good for you. I did precisely the same thing for four years and they gave me a degree for it, so you're in good company. Regardless, what follows is a demonstration that you can perform** for your children and family to show them that chemistry can be fun.

1. First you need to assemble the reactants. For our purposes, a 50 gram bottle of calcium hydride and about 50 milliliters of water will be sufficient. I trust you know what water looks like.

2. Next, weigh out a portion of calcium hydride. In my case, I chose 42.1 grams because that's my lucky number, but feel free to use whatever feels good.

3. Obtain a suitable reaction vessel in which to combine the reactants.

4. First add the calcium hydride and then the water. Observe the resulting reaction. You can verify that you've done it properly, if your results resemble the following:

I've certainly enjoyed taking this opportunity to show you how entertaining science can be. Next time, we'll discuss the commercial aspects of chemistry in a pair of essays entitled "Home Distillation: It's the New Scrapbooking" and "Maximizing Your Meth Lab Dollar."

* - I was speaking hypothetically. This has never actually happened.

** - This is utter bullshit. This is one of the dumber things that I've posted in a while and my propensity for stupidity is well documented (1, 2, 3). Seriously, don't do this or anything like it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Call Me Tinkerbell

I have a coworker who I'll refer to as Engineer 1. He is a mechanical engineer and is, perhaps, my one of my all-time favorite coworkers. Over the last two years, we've been tossed into several flagging projects, typically with the implied threat of termination for failure, and we're both still employed. He has the combination of intelligence and common sense, which is excruciatingly rare. Certainly, graduate schools are full of book smart geniuses who can't pour piss from a boot and the trades have many adept craftsman who don't actually understand why they do what they do, but I haven't found many individuals that can fit both bills. I trust his judgement implicitly in all matters mechanical and many other affairs, as well. Thus, I was concerned to see this in his cube last week:

If you look at the left of his monitor, you'll see that he's hiding something back there. This lead to the following conversation:

Me: What's that back there?
Engineer1: (sheepishly) Nothing.
Me: It looks like coffee creamer. Why is it back there?
Engineer1: OK, my wife bought it for me.

Despite his protests, I liberated the canister from it's hiding spot and was shocked to find this:

Now, as we all know, the only coffee additive that can be considered manly is rabid gorilla semen. Consequently, the conversation continued:

Me: Sweet Jesus, what in the hell is that?
Engineer1: I know, I know...
Me: Does your wife understand that if she makes you homosexual, then she loses, too?
Engineer1: Well, she's always wanted a gay best friend. Besides, it's good. Try some.
Me: No. Somebody might see.
Engineer1: Try it, jackass.

So, I did and discovered that the "fairy dust," as we refer to it, is rather good.
In fact, a little too good. In the short span of 5 days, I have been rendered incapable of drinking coffee without a dose it. I'm acutely aware that I have likely initiated the downward spiral that will eventually lead to a sordid life of truckstop kielbasa gargling. Typically, these deteriorations take time, but I see no reason to draw this painful process out. Thus, if you are an OTR trucker on the I-95 corridor, who is feeling a little lonesome, just ask for "Sugar Lips" on CB channel 24. And don't forget to bring the Vanilla Chai Spice.