Category Archives: Humor

I’ll have the bland airline meal, please

I was booking an airline flight the other day and in selecting my seating, frequent flyer and other preferences, I looked at the options under meal preference…

Bland Airline Meal

Huh? You can request an even blander airline meal? At first I thought it was a joke, perhaps pulled by some bitter web developer who didn’t like the task of creating the meal option dropdown menu. But, in fact, the bland option is common and has valid health reasons, whereas normal airline food is bland for a number of common-sense reasons that are clearly laid out in Wikipedia. The special “bland” meal preference is for people with more sensitive digestive systems or ulcers, and it lacks any sort of heavy seasoning, extra dairy, or raw meat.

You learn something new every day.

When Web-scraping Doesn’t Cut It

When you search for my name on the “professional search directory” ZoomInfo, you get some very interesting results. My favorite:

Very Subtle Captain

I’m pretty sure their web crawling/scraping algorithm needs a little tweaking. Somehow they also connected an article about New Hampshire history (circa 1770-1790) which also mentioned a “Captain Chase Taylor”. Again, they might want to refine the sources (and the methods) that they collect their data from.

It’s a monumental task to try creating useful profiles of people from content scattered across the web. Spock is at least one startup that thinks they can do a better job, and they’re going for an even larger data set than what ZoomInfo currently boasts. Scouring information in a controlled way from the right places, I think it may achieve some decent results. Afterall, the current bar is set at combining Revolutionary War era military records with soccer goalie quotes from 2005, so the sky’s the limit.

Interaction Design of a Wedding Invitation RSVP

I received a lovely invitation to a friend’s wedding the other day. It was very formal, as expected, with the typical “Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so request your presence at…” language. And then I came to this RSVP card:

Wedding RSVP

What’s the correct way to fill this out? I figured out that the “M____” line is to put my name, so that was clear enough. Just using an “M” at the start of the line lets you put “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Ms.” as your title, to keep with the original formal language. But what about the “will ___ attend”?

Well, if I’m not attending I simply write: “will not attend”. OK, that’s easy. But I am attending. Now what? Some options:

  1. will X attend – An “X” or a checkmark might do it, but looks really tacky. It’d be more appropriate to use these if there was in fact a checkbox for the “will not attend” option too. So that’s not going to work.
  2. will yes attend – Now that’s some bad grammar. Writing “not” keeps the sentence correct, but “yes” isn’t an effective opposite and it breaks the sentence.
  3. will definitely attend – There we go, we’ve made a sentence that makes sense. We could also use, “absolutely”, “positively”, “certainly” or any number of other affirmative words. But that little line doesn’t really give you enough space. I’m guessing this is wrong.
  4. will probably attend – Line space issue aside, this has got to be a major wedding RSVP faux pas. You generally don’t plan for “maybe” guests at a wedding, so that’s right out.
  5. will ___ attend – Leave it blank. Grammatically and formally, this seems best since it forms a nice sentence, “Mr. C. Taylor will attend.” But leaving it blank makes me a little uneasy. Is simply mailing this back enough to positively confirm that I’ll be there?
  6. will ___ attend your wedding to the best of his ability. – Ah ha, leaving it blank but writing something afterwards! I mean, what if some catastrophe happens on that day and I can’t make it even though I’ve said yes. This option covers my bases. But alas, scribbling in the rest of the sentence might not be too classy (then again, there’s no period after “attend” so maybe it’s open for expansion).

A quick Google search confirmed that option 5 is indeed the proper etiquette for replying on this type of invitation. Couldn’t this be less of a nerve-wracking choice? I mean, the proper way to answer the question is to not answer it. Checkboxes, while uglier, would be more reassuring since I’ve got a clear yes/no choice.

But actually, checkboxes aren’t even the best choice for this type of one-or-the-other decision. We need invitation response cards with radio buttons.

Good ‘ol Jerry Masterson

I recently found an old t-shirt in my drawer from The Portland Mercury (sister paper of The Stranger), featuring the face of a charming young boy, Jerry Masterson. For those of you who don’t know, or don’t remember, here are his greatest hits:

Overheard on the bus

A girl loudly talking on her cell phone on the bus, about relationships and then school, and work:

“…and one of my friends even called me a genius. I don’t know about that, if I’m a genius I’m definitely not living up to my potentiality.”

Close, but not quite: potentiality. Actually, that might be correct. Less common, but more accurate than “potential“. Or I’m just confused now. Clearly not a genius here.

On the Edge of Tastelessness

Every week during the winter months, a pizza place in downtown Seattle, Belltown Pizza hosts a trivia night. 5 rounds, 10 questions each, and 1 of the rounds being a music round (ie. name the song title and artist). Coworkers and friends have gotten into the routine of heading down almost every Monday night to give it our best shot. We’ve won a couple, we’ve miserably lost many more, but in general the teams that we scrape together tend to hold their own.

One of the fun parts of starting the evening is coming up with a team name. We decided we didn’t like to always use the same name like some other teams did, and since our team members are different each week, we started mixing it up. Initiated by my friend Dan and his pals, the new tradition has been to come up with some current events related pun, or joke about the news. I wish I kept track of them all, but we’ve made reference to North Korea, Mark Foley, Bush and Cheney (of course), and we’ve thrown in some good ‘ol spam, “CheapViagraOnline.com”.

This week we were having our brainstorming session and we were about to go with, “My Trees Have Fallen and They Can’t Get Up” in reference to the crazy windstorms that came through Seattle. But then, I offered up: “Snow Cave For Rent“. Tasteless? Yes. The team groaned, but with a quick show of hands, they all voted for the name.

At the end of the first trivia round, the quiz master read through the scores and everyone heard the team names for the first time, “blah, blah… Vast Right Wing Conspiracy had 7 out of 10 …and Snow Cave For Rent… had 8 out of 10…” The restaurant erupted into boos and groans, and we even got a boo from the quiz master. From across the room we heard someone shout, “Too soon!”

It was at that point that I knew… we had picked the right team name.

The Things Kids Say

After a little surprise snowstorm last night (more on that soon) all of the schools in the city were shut down today. One of my coworkers was taking care of his 5 year old daughter this afternoon at work, which provided some fun entertainment. On her way out around 4:00, she loudly proclaimed over her shoulder:

“See you later, alligator! After a while… allig- …gile!”

She nailed it. See you later, croco-gator!

And a Little More Halloween

I finished up this year’s Halloween season with one more party last night. There were some Katamari Damacy characters, some creepy cross-dressing, the Dude from Big Lebowski, and a Jack in the Box “Jack” with papier mache head (there was one at our company party too). And of course there were a fair number of sexy costumes.

When I was starting to visit the costume and thrift stores to figure out my costume this year, what I found most amusing were the “instant” kits for various costumes. You can see a few instant costume kits here. “Instant Hippie” is a headband, peace sign necklace and Lennon sunglasses. “Instant Rapper” (yes, I purchased one) is a $ sign ring, #1 bling necklace and fake gold teeth. Who knew it was so easy to become a rapper! And of course there were the various Instant Pirate Kits that included assorted combinations of hats, hooks, eyepatches, and bandanas. The definitions of “cliche” are, “the idea expressed by a trite phrase or expression” or, “something that has become overly familiar or commonplace”. I find it amazing that we can boil down a character idea, or an entire genre into 3 simple accessories. Maybe that’s the new definition of cliche. If you can create an “Instant ___ Kit” for it, with 3 over-priced “Made in China” accessories, than your idea has truly become “overly familiar or commonplace.”

And lastly, I leave you with one more photo from our company Halloween party. I bet you didn’t know Flavor Flav was teaming up with U2…

Flavor Flav with Bono and the Edge

Revelant is not a word

Revelant
Main Entry: rev-e-lant
Pronunciation: re-vuh-luhnt
Function: Nothing, aside from making you sound dumb.
1a. I think you mean to say “relevant” especially since that’s what I just said to you, and it is the topic we’re discussing… 1b. Idiot
2. Oh no, you’re continuing to say “revelant” over and over again in this conversation, going on for 20 minutes. Does it sound correct to you? How are you not noticing? 2b. OK, I just said the correct word again. Maybe you noticed.
3. I give up.

The word you want is: relevant. It has some interesting etymology too. From the Latin relevare, related to “relieve” and “lever” meaning, “to raise up”.

A possible imaginary definition for “revelant” might be something like:
Adj. 1. Posessing the qualities of reveling or merriment

But that’s a stretch. 1 million Google results for “revelant” at least indicates that’s it’s a somewhat common mistake.

You Know You’re No Longer in the City When

  1. The first people to enter the restaurant after you are all wearing cowboy hats.
  2. The next couple are both wearing black leather biker chaps (non-ironically, and very non-gay).
  3. The next two guys to walk in look 16 years old and they’re in full hunting camouflage.
Three Fingered Jack's

The past two days, I drove up to the North Cascades and around and down to do the full Cascade Loop. The scenery was amazing. The above was from my stop over in Winthrop, which is trying very hard to be a quaint little “authentic” Western town. More on the full trip soon.

Santorum keeps on Spreading

Last weekend I attended The Stranger‘s Hump 2 screening (which was amusing, frightening, funny, disgusting and jaw-dropping all at the same time), and I chatted briefly with Dan Savage. He mentioned his little pet project SpreadingSantorum.com, which I had worked on, and he said it was featured on the Daily Show not too long ago. A quick YouTube search, and there it is. Santorum segment starts at 1:30 into the video…

And thanks to Google’s algorithm change (I think we were previously hand-edited down to 2nd in the results) in the past few months, we’ve regained the #1 spot for “santorum“. With that one indirect mention on the Daily Show in July, check out the traffic spike on the site.

In the YouTube results I also found that santorum was featured in a full 2 minute spot on Googlecurrent_ which is part of the Current TV lineup. I’m glad to see a little Google-bombing has good staying power and keeps on spreading.

Everyone deserves a Moustache

This summer my company was planning to hold its second annual company family picnic at the Woodland Park Zoo. Somehow, two weeks before Friday’s picnic we (myself and another coworker) decided it’d be a perfect time to have a little surprise for the rest of our coworkers. We decided to get as many guys together as possible, to grow moustaches. With the survey here, we confirmed that the “Hogan” (sometimes called a handlebar or “the biker”) was the way to go. People without facial hair began to grow, while others with existing goatees or beards just went along their merry way. Reminders to shave were sent out the day before, but it was still an unknown how many people would fully commit.

Friday morning, we had an impressive 7 representatives. A few of the hold-outs had come prepared, and when they saw the ‘staches well-represented, they made their way to the bathrooms with razors and clippers to join (after a little extra peer pressure). We got an impressive 3 converts that very morning! Arriving at the picnic, we totaled a solid 10 moustachioed faces (missing one from this group shot)…

There were some puzzled/surprised coworkers, not to mention their families and kids who must have been rather frightened (or just plain amused).

And here are the requisite close-ups of some participants, which really demonstrate the variety of scruff we achieved: Chase, Buck, Dan (awarded as Best Last Mnute Trim), Larry, Matt, Michael (awarded as Most Surprising-Don’t-Ever-Do-That-Again), Noah, and Scott (winner of the Most “Village People” Award).

I hope the tradition will continue next year.