Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spacing Out

I've been on a real space kick recently. For instance, I can see Venus outside my office window right now*. Venus. A planet. With my eyes! Isn't that awesome? It's another freaking planet just floating around out there, chilling with its friends. "Oh look... it's the moon, a whole other planet, and a gigantic perpetual nuclear explosion that hovers in the air. Just another day in my backyard."

Speaking of the moon, how is it that my generation looks at the moon and thinks to itself "Oh yeah, totally doable." Really? Take a look up someday, does that thing look easy to get to? And have you seen the crap they went to the moon with? If I'd lent them my phone back then it would have revolutionized the entire mission. Hell, I probably could have written an excel spreadsheet that would automatically handle all the computer functions for the trip.

Just for fun, here's an example of how ridiculous the moon landing was. This is a quote from the Neil Armstrong biography where he's talking about descending onto the moon:

On the double-paned window on Neil’s side of the LM (Paul: Lunar Module. And good to know it was double-paned, keeps out the draft) there was a vertical line with horizontal marks on it. As the LM flew facedown, Neil used a stopwatch to time the number of seconds it took to move from mark A to mark B (Paul: aka, rocks on the ground) on the window line. By that he calculated the spacecraft’s angular rate. With him in the cabin Neil had a chart that he used to compare tracking rates with expected values at various positions along the orbit. Differences between his visual observations and the expected values allowed him to estimate both the altitude of the LM’s perilune and the time at which they would reach it.

Hansen, James R. (2005-10-18). First Man (p. 453). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Did you hear that? The moon landing depended on proper use of a stopwatch!!! Yeah, I knew their gear was budget but c'mon. I have a ton of respect for these folks. It ain't easy sending someone to the moon with tin cans, a stopwatch, and about 45,000 cigarettes (seriously, read one of these biographies. Those dudes smoked a lot).

As a side note, Erika and I have an ongoing argument about going to Mars. As in, I'd totally go if given the chance. Erika has some flimsy argument about "If you left me for five years to go to Mars I would either leave you while you were gone or kill you when you got back" but I don't get it. My argument is this: It's Mars. Who doesn't want to go to Mars???

The real irony is that Erika is a scientist and would be waaay more likely to get picked for the mission. Me? I'm only going if they decide they want an entertainment director for the flight.


When did I become a morning person? I remember when I was younger I'd sleep in until 11am and still feel tired. Then for a while I had to get up early for work. Now I'm up at 6:30am writing this despite not needing to be at work for 3 more hours because I'd be too tired to do it after work.

By the way, why do night people get all the coffee cred? "Ooo, look at me. I'm soooo tired, I just can't FUNCTION until I get my morning cup of coffee." Hey, great for you, you need that one cup of joe in the morning to get you going and then it's off to the races. Do you know what afternoons are like for a morning person? If coffee were secreted by small woodland creatures I'd have a cage of them under my desk that I'd wring out directly into my mouth at 2pm. Those critters would start shaking in the corner as soon as they smelled ham sandwich being eaten.

*Actually, after a while it started moving so I'm pretty sure it was a plane. But you can totally see Venus with the naked eye in the morning so everything I said above remains applicable.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Travel Advisory

And we're back folks!

As I mentioned, Complete Tangent was going on hiatus while I went on a job hunt, and that was literally my 9-5 job for the last 6 weeks. But now, thanks to the good people at Skybox Labs and their discerning taste in designers, the blog is up and running again.

Last we heard Erika and I were in Australia. But how does one get from Australia to Vancouver? By plane of course! And do you know what the best part of flying is? The emergency exit cards!

Yes, I am referring to those little cards they stick in the seat-back in front of you that explain how you're going to survive when your 500 tonnes of plane becomes 500 tonnes of boat. These things are a great source of comedy gold. For example:

What is wrong with this woman's child! Is it a child? Is he the white Gary Coleman? Why did she dress him in beige pants, brown socks, and tan shoes?


"If you do need to open the emergency exit doors, make sure you do it like the steely-eyed motherf**er that you are."


"Don't forget to molest women on their way out of the plane. If you happen to see a man who isn't taking advantage of this opportunity, ensure that he is aware the opportunity exists."


"Well if I can't listen to my AM/FM radio or play with my RC cars what the hell am I supposed to do for the next 15 hours!?"


Apparently the proper procedure if you are traveling with an infant is to form yourself into the shape of a canon and point the baby's head in the direction the plane is traveling.


Oh no, hideous child is back! And he's an infant? Wow, that was unexpected. Let's break down the steps to making sure your hideous child can grow up and one day make hideous babies of their own:

STEPS 1-2:

Wait patiently until the flight attendant brings you a life vest for your child. Despite the burning and the screaming your child should be quite quiet and patient during this process, assuming you held them in canon formation during landing.

STEPS 3-4:

Carefully jam your child's oversized head through the hole made for someone not shaped like a Lord of the Rings extra. Try not to think of childbirth. Instruct your hideous mistake to step carefully through the leg straps.

STEPS 6-7:

Carefully cinch your man-child into his floatation device. Please note that you should not have attempted to put yours on yet, as that would make you a horrible person.

STEPS 8-9:

Pull on the inflation cords, even though we all know your unruly child would have activated them on their own 5 steps ago. Pretend that you don't see it inflating and blow into the inflation tubes anyway, getting angry when little Damien doesn't go purple from lack of oxygen. Trigger the light on his vest and push him out to sea.

While writing the blog in Australia, a few things caught my eye that didn't quite have a home in a regular blog post. Such as:

Uuuh... are you sure this is a good idea?


Is Motorola making condoms now?


Hey, mixed nuts! Wait, what' that in the top left corner?

Oh. Uh, how very... Australian of you.


"I believe in anarchy so strongly that I'm willing to put up posters and organize people!"


Good ol' high viz rope. Man that stuff can do anything. See, you can even climb mountains with it!

Oh. Well you could have been clearer in your messaging.


"Welcome to Australia, where everyone gets out of the water until the helicopter following the shark tells us it's ok to go back in!"


Oh hey, it's our good friends at Apple! Sure, let's buy an iPad. Dum de dum... it's checkout time! Wait, what's that option at the bottom?

Please tell me that's not what I think it is. Dare I click on it?

Oh wow, that is what I think it is. Just in case you're wallowing in debt but still want the latest toys, Apple lets you split your purchase up over two credit cards. Stay classy Apple, stay classy.


Finally, just in case you ever wondered where these ideas come from, here's the whiteboard from Sydney... a scary insight into how my mind works: