The Random Yak

Observations at an Electronics Superstore

Filed under: Frivol,Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 12:48 pm on December 11, 2009

Observed last night while shopping at a Famous (ReallY) Superstore for electronics and related items (which shall not be named, unless you can read between the lower case letters):

The setup:  I went to the store to purchase audio recording software for my (inherited) PowerMac G5.  Now that it has more RAM than a 1.8Gh processor could possibly know what to do with, I thought I might try my hoof at podcasting some stories onto CD for the Random Niece and Nephew.  So, needing software, and figuring I could bypass the less-qualified IBM Clones in favor of the allegedly superior Mac recording skillz, I went in search of what seemed – at first blush – a relatively simple solution.

After all, everyone knows that Macs are superior to PCs when it comes to A/V recording, editing and burning, right?

Finding software to record audio files on the Mac should be a breeze.

The reality:  Sure.  It’s a breeze.  Unless…. (more…)

Thursday Frivol(ous) Advice: If it Ain’t a Lollipop…Don’t Lick it.

Filed under: Education Yaks,Frivol,Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 1:37 pm on December 10, 2009

We’ll file this one under “things I really shouldn’t have to tell you (again).”  But in light of the unusually cold weather and recent news…let’s go there anyway.

A reading from The Yak’s Big Book of Life Lessons to Remember, Vol. III:

Rule 47:  Unless an item is clearly labeled as safe for human consumption, you should not lick it.”

Rule 48:  Lightpoles, fence posts, water pumps and all other metal-or-metallic objects are not safe for human consumption, and should not be licked under any circumstances, particularly in weather below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.”

“48(a): disobeying Rule 48 may lead to one or more of the following: embarrassment, public humiliation, injury to or loss of tongue, tardiness (due to having your tongue stuck to a fence post for an extended period of time), cramping (see previous cause), pain, unpleasant nicknames, deafness (from the laughter of those familiar with Rules 47-49), wishing for deafness and/or a variety of other equally unpleasant consequences.”

“48(b): Although emergency personnel will probably help free you from the results of disobeying Rules 47 and/or 48, they will also probably laugh at you and get your story published in the newspaper. Or on the Internet.  Or both.

Rule 49:  It is permissible to laugh at any person who does not obey Rule 47 and/or Rule 48, provided you call the emergency response personnel prior to commencement of the festivities.  (It’s Christmas.  Paramedics need entertainment too.)

For reference purposes, you may call Rules 47-49 the “It’s only funny until someone gets his tongue stuck to the fencepost, and then it’s only funny to the rest of us” rule.

Today’s helpful reading is brought to you by:

1. The-inevitable-kid-who-doesn’t-know-when-not-to-take-a-winter-dare.  For those who don’t want to click through, this is 2009′s (first) boy-versus-metal-fence-post grudge match.  For those who still don’t know how this one comes out…the fence post won.  Rescue workers freed him when a woman passing by in her car noticed the child stuck to the fence post and called 9-1-1.

2.  The (now terminated) British grocery store employee caught on videotape licking raw chickens (which, regrettably, may have been subsequently sold to unsuspecting consumers).  Given the high risk of salmonella associated with consumption of raw poultry, I’m guessing this particular individual was a few feathers short of a cluck himself, but still…raw chicken is not a “food product safe for human consumption” so File It Under “NO LICK” and let’s move on.

3.  A Tennessee farmer’s cows, who recently managed to lick a window screen and a gutter off the farmer’s house (and crack the window pane) before the owner managed to discover and stop the delinquent bovines’ behavior.  Although there’s no indication the cows ended up stuck to the window pane (which, admittedly, would have improved the story) the incident does reveal that most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover “Acts of Cow.”  Consider yourselves warned.

More Important Life Rules

Filed under: Law Yaks,Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 12:25 pm on October 19, 2009

In case you were wondering:

1.  No matter which other rules you’re functioning under, politeness does count.  (Read: even if they’re not your parents, people with the power can still smack you down for inappropriate behavior.)

2.  If you don’t know whether or not someone has the power to put The Smackdown on you, it’s best to behave as if they could.  (Corollary: Even if you know they can’t, better behave as if they could anyway.  See Rule #3.)

3.  In an academic, employment, or business situation, assume everyone can put The Smackdown on you.  (Trust me.  They can.  See Rule #3 and Rule #6.)

4.  Talking to an academic, employment or business associate as though (s)he was your child, immature friend, employee or an inferior always qualifies as a “Bad Idea.”

5.  Bad Ideas, when acted upon, generally result in The Smackdown.

6.  The Smackdown is not nice.  (Particularly when administered by Officers Of The Law).

Bonus Rules (for the really wise):

- Do not, under any circumstances, post evidence of your Bad Ideas (or the fact that you acted on them) on the Internet.  (Note: this includes Facebook.  Facebook has a URL, is reachable via computer, and is therefore included in “The Internet” – facts I mention because some people seem to have forgotten.)

- People use the Internet (and its Grand High Inquisitor, Google ) to explore the past and present activities of prospective employees, girl-and-boyfriends, spouses, business partners and co-conspirators. (Statistically, 67% of you know where this is going.  The others post their Bad Ideas on Facebook.)

- Generally speaking, posting evidence that you act on Bad Ideas doesn’t inspire the kind of confidence that leads people to look at you with admiration and say, “Wow, this guy has his act together!”  (Although it does help them get out of the way, for which the civilized world thanks you.)

Today’s installment of Important Life Rules comes from The Yak’s Big Book of Rules, Chapter 4:  Avoiding The Smackdown.  Brought to you by this guy, as referenced at Above the Law.

Always Remember. Never Forget.*

Filed under: History Yaks,Holyday Yaks,Lessons Learned,PoliYaks — Random Yak @ 3:04 pm on September 11, 2009

[Reposted from September 11, 2007.  September 11, 2006 post is here.]

Six years*  ago this morning, a telephone call from The Random Sibling woke me from a sound and peaceful sleep.

“Is your TV on?” His voice demanded into my sleeping ear.  “Are you watching this?”

“Watching what?”  I looked at the clock.  My alarm wouldn’t go off for another half hour.  “What’s going on?”

“We’re under attack.  They’re flying planes into buildings.  Turn your TV on NOW.”

September 11, 2001. (more…)

Lessons Learned From the Mute Button

Filed under: Just Yaks,Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 11:54 am on December 4, 2007

Just when I thought The Virus That Ate Thanksgiving (and most of the week after) had thrown in the towel, I learn the microscopic beasties had not yet begun to fight.

Woke up Saturday morning to a relapse of epic proportions.  Fever, cold, the whole nine.  Barely set foot outside the bedroom all weekend (and when I did, I found myself greeted with choruses of “go back to bed – get  those germs out of here!”)

Worst of all, I lost my voice.

Now, when I say “lost my voice,”  I don’t mean my voice descended into that raspy, hoarse-but-understandable zone of communication common to those with horrific head colds and/or the flu.  I mean lost. Gone.  Mute.  Completely unable to communicate above the lowest whisper.

Efforts at normal speech result in something between a squeak and a squawk, with a little hiss mixed in for good measure.  Regardless of volume or effort, intelligible speech is temporarily beyond me.

A fact that hasn’t exactly passed unnoticed at home, and which I fully expect to suffer for at the office. 

You learn quite a few things when you can’t speak.  Permit me to share a few:

1.  Regardless of how much you hate talking on the telephone, and regardless of how well you manage to avoid it under normal circumstances, the minute you lose your voice you will have a need to make at least four critical calls.

2.  Everyone suddenly “forgets” what you like to eat when you can’t tell them.

3.  Yaks are not particularly good at charades. 

4.  Cold medicines which claim to help congestion and sore throats taste far too nasty for the moderately poor job they do.  (Coffee, though far tastier, helps even less.)

5.  Even the foolish yak seems wise when it keeps its mouth shut.  This week, I’m the wisest yak on the block.

Some Assembly Required

Filed under: Just Yaks,Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 12:18 pm on June 25, 2007

Yak the Younger’s birthday present – a new loft bed/desk combination – arrived last Friday. Never one to let moss grow on any job that permits me to use a hammer, I decided to spend Saturday disassembling the old loft bed (which may be inherited by The Random Niece) and setting up the new (“some assembly required” – which basically means “wegrew the trees, you do the rest”).

All went well at the beginning. I thought the project through, loosened all the screws on the old bed and triumphantly gave the structure a mild shake. In a perfect world this would have neatly removed both end pieces, leaving me holding the mattress support and ladder assembly. Unfortunately, I forgottwo small but critical facts.

First: mine is not a perfect world.


Lessons Learned from a Family Road Trip

Filed under: Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 7:52 am on June 15, 2007

1. If three people share a box of animal crackers,someone will end up with all of the tigers, and someone else will get nothing but monkeys and the platypus.

2. Familyhumor comes from feral cows. (Feral cows come from California)

3.There are three radio stations in central California. One plays Mariachi, one plays polka, and the third plays Muzak versions of Culture Club.

4. By the end of the third elevatorial rendition of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” the answer is a resounding “YES.”

5. No matter what kind of snacksare purchase in advance, or how great a variety you already have in the car, they won’t be what you’re in the mood for by the time you reach the first gas station.

6. The gas station knows this, which is why they can try tocharge you $4.50 for a miniature can of Pringles.

7. You willbuy the Pringles anyway. (And they will taste just the way you want them to. And you won’tthink about the expense. Much. Though you might just blog about it.)

Trackposted to Blue Star Chronicles, Stuck On Stupid, Woman Honor Thyself, Church and State, and The Pet Haven Blog, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Public Opinion Put Down

Filed under: Just Yaks,Lessons Learned,Yaks of the Week — Maniyak @ 10:32 am on February 2, 2007

Yaki, the TRY philosopher, says:

It is easier to bear the humiliation of public scorn if you previously disdained the celebrity of public praise.

Lessons Learned From Having the Flu

Filed under: Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 9:15 am on

Yes, I disappeared again this week. No, it wasn’t intentional. In the spirit of partial disclosure (trust me, you don’t want the full picture) and reader education, here are a few

Lessons Learned From Having the Flu:

1. Sleep is not overrated.

2. Some viruses don’t mix well with coffee.

3. When the package says “helps with upset stomach” – beware.That statementmight be all too accurate.

4.No matter how many times you throw them off the bed,cats will come back the minute you fall asleep.

5. At dinnertime, go with soup. Hold the lasagne.

Lessons Learned from the Spam Filter

Filed under: Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 10:35 am on January 30, 2007

One thing about the use of Akismet as a spam filter – it’s never boring. On the whole Ilike the program. As filters go, it’s fairly smart and itseems to learn quickly. Like all spam filters, it also has its quirks. One of these (the one that keeps me from hitting “delete all” and forces me to dredge its murky depths on a daily basis) is its consistent, persistent inclination to treat trackbacks fromthree blogs that commonly link here as spam. Entertaining at first (particularly when you consider thenature of the blogs in question, which are about as far from spam as you could possibly get) but over time, somewhat irksome when it means I have to weed through the unspeakable in order to keep from offending friends and allies.

Which, of course, means it was high time I turnedirritation to entertainment and frustration to fisk(because that’s what we do with irritating things around here,whether or not they’remembers of Congress). And of course, you know I’m going to share.

With no further ado, I offer my most recent installment of Lessons Learned from the Spam Filter:

1. I am fat, ugly and in serious need of both male and female enhancement (you know it’s bad when they try to cover all the bases).

2. There are some peopleno one should ever see naked (but the Internet will show them toyou anyway).

3. This blog isstill the “best mistake” some spammers ever found (somehow, I still don’t sleep better at night).

4. Prescriptions are so last milennium.

5. Grammar and spelling are a losted arte.

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The Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system went online in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in 1981[citation needed].

Achieving Self-Fulfillment, One Final Question …

Filed under: Barking and Flapping,Frivol,Just Yaks,Lessons Learned,PoliYaks — Maniyak @ 8:17 am on January 27, 2007

Now that I’ve achieved self-fulfillment, what’s next?

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Self-Realization Realization

Filed under: Frivol,Just Yaks,Lessons Learned — Maniyak @ 12:44 pm on January 26, 2007

I just realized that I was better off before I achieved self-realization.

Edit. This post was spitefully retitled by Maniyak’senvious co-workers as “We Could Have Told You, and Saved the Cost of the Seminar.”

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More Advice You Shouldn’t Need (But Some of you Doubtless Do)

Filed under: Just Yaks,Lessons Learned,Random Warnings — Random Yak @ 11:13 am on September 1, 2006

Adam pointed me to LaShawn Barber’s continuing piece on avoiding Internet/blogging scandal (aka, “Blog Ethics 101″) with the comment that it contains good advice – but advice he wishes people didn’t need.

Which started me thinking.

LaShawn is performing an important and valuable public service, helping people understand things which should be instinctive – but now that common sense “isn’t” andbarkingmad is the new “moderate” she might just be on to a new niche market: advicewe shouldn’t need, but somepeople actually do.

Which also started me thinking.

LaShawn ranks among the first-string bloggers because she’s consistently trying to help people in a variety of ways, from spreading important information to offering helpful advice to those who should don’t know better. In short, engaging in precisely the kind of behavior we yaks seek to emulate. And with that in mind, I’ve decided to be helpful too. Here’s my first installment of “More Advice You Shouldn’t Need (But Some of you Doubtless Do)”

1. On Blogging:If you’re going to use sock puppets, please wash the socks first. (Unless, of course, you’re goingplanning a different kind of self defense.)

2.On Electronics: The video game console really does work better when you plug itin. (Trust me.)

3. On Lost Objects:Someone once told me she”always” seems to find things the last placeshe looks for them. Newsflash: There’s a reason for that.

4. On Coffee: May Should be hot. (And if you didn’t order it iced, you wanted it that way, soit reallyshouldn’t come as a big surprise.)

5.On the Care and Feeding of Sock Puppets: If you’re going to go against conventional wisdom and use sock puppet identities, keep them secret and name them carefully. (Pick something really clever like “NotTheYak” so nobody will ever, ever recognize you.)

6. On Gaming: When thehealer says “AFK/OOM,” stop pulling. (Or prepare to ask for a rez.)

Lessons Learned from Having a Ten Year-Old

Filed under: Lessons Learned — Random Yak @ 9:26 pm on July 29, 2006

1. The ice cream sandwich will not be there when you get home from work. (Corollary: Neither will the Oreos.)

2. Turning off the garden hose is skilled labor. (The water will go higher before it goes off. Guaranteed.)

3. “Oops” actually means: “Someone (else) better get in here with a towel. Quickly.”

4. Cats will eat green beans. And carrots. (Corollary: Then they will throw them up on the rug.)

5. As long as the ambient temperature exceeds eighty degrees,boys can swim. (It doesn’t really matter what the pool temperature is.)

6. Spoons left on the table can be “recrisped” for later use by returning them to the silverware drawer.

7. It iseasier to remember the exact bonuses and statistics attached to a piece of armor you received in World of Warcraft two weeks ago than to remember to finish the homework you received this afternoon.

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Global Warming and You!

Filed under: Lessons Learned,News Yaks — Random Yak @ 8:04 pm on June 21, 2006

ABC News wants to know how global warming has impacted your life.

They’re looking for "interesting examples of people coping with differences in their daily lives." There’s even a fill-in-the-blanks form and a place to upload your video entry.

Here’s my submission:

In the interest of furthering this important research, I thought I’d offer the following list of Ways Global Warming Has Impacted My Life. Fortunately I am a creative individual with good problem-solving skills and have been able to devise unique coping mechanisms to deal with the impact of Global Warming within my community. I present my solutions as well, in hopes of contributing to the wellbeing of others plagued by similar Global Warming issues:

1. I can now use the swimming pool in my backyard. This was not true two months ago, as the water was too cold for swimming. (Solution: more swimming.)

2. My jeans and other long pants have become uncomfortable, as I feel too warm when wearing them. (Solution: short pants.)

3. The plants in my garden die if I don’t water them. (Solution: water the plants.)

4. Ice melts rapidly, diluting my diet soda. (Solution: add more ice. Note: I tried putting the diet soda cans in the freezer, but that proved to be an inefficient and time-consuming solution with negative side effects.)

5. I sweat. (Solution: I bathe.)

6. The house has become unpleasantly hot during the day. Ditto the car. (Solution: Air Conditioning).

7. Ice cream melts very, very quickly, making it difficult to enjoy a sundae. (Solution: eat faster.)

As you can see, recent Global Warming has impacted me in serious, life-changing ways. Fortunately, resourcefulness and a "go-getter spirit" makes me uniquely qualified to address the challenges associated with life in a Globally Warming environment.

Tune in next October, when I will address strategies for coping with the next major trend: Global Cooling.

Okay, I didn’t really send it. But I did spend several temptation-filled minutes considering the idea.

Tip of the Horns: TMH’s Bacon Bits.

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