My cousin was doing a little Spring cleaning, and in an effort to make some room, he sent these goodies my way. I’m hoping over the summer I get a chance to breathe again and am able to dig a little deeper into them; in the meantime, however, they sure are neat to look at. The map and pieces for Sorcerer: The Game of Magical Conflict alone are incredible. And let’s be honest, you can’t really go wrong with Death Race 2000 on Blu-ray.
I was going to work on a more serious post this weekend, but instead I will write about consumption and poop bags.
Amazon is currently running an offer to get an Amazon Dash button for $1.1 I know Tom likes them, but I find them kind of strange. Still, for a buck, maybe there was something there that I can use. Well, there wasn’t. But that was not the point of this post.
Many of us have pets. Those pets require lots of repetitive purchases: food, medicine, treats, poop bags, etc. Seems like it might be a good fit for a Dash button. That is not what I am here to criticize. No, I am here to criticize one of the selections that you can choose. Poop bags specifically. Look at the image above. Look at the image below. That is one of the possible combinations.
Why would you need 900 damned poop bags? And why would you need the ability to order them with a push button? I would think if you are the kind of person who orders poop bags 900 at a time, you probably obsessively plan far ahead. Because most people don’t go through poop bags at a rapid rate. It’s not like they take up a lot of space or have a shelf life. So why would someone need to hit a button when they realized they went through 895 of their poop bag stash, and that they need 900 more TOMORROW.
For reference, we bought 300 (I think?) poop bags when we got Neutron for her litter box. I think Mike used more of them than I have. Neutron poop goes in Target bags.
Also, I like the branded version of the button more.
For those who don’t know, Amazon Dash buttons are little wifi devices that have a button on them. You link them to a specific product, and when you hit the button, it orders the product. The buttons are branded and only linkable to certain items. For example, the Gatorade button might let you select between several different flavors and sizes of Gatorade. ↩
Mike wanted me to write some stuff about shaving. He needs to follow up with his side of the story.
I started this post over a year ago. I only wrote the previous paragraph before I got side-tracked.
Learning to shave
Dad had a beard. I think at some point he gave Mike and I some cursory advice on how to shave, and that was it. I think it consisted of:
- Make sure your skin is wet. Shave after showering.
- Shave with the grain before you go against the grain.
I can attest that the first point is valid. The second… it took me several years to learn that if I shave against the grain, at any point in the process, I’m asking for trouble. So I stopped. I know that by college, I had stopped that step completely.
So that was it. Everything else was trial and error. Anyone who has ever done lab experiments knows that when your output variable (your feedback) is delayed by a couple of days from your inputs, it takes a while to figure things out. Couple this with the fact that you have to keep repeating the input actions every day or so, before you get the feedback, and it becomes a very long and drawn out process. Does my face hurt because of how I shaved this morning, or from 3 days ago?
Lastly, I didn’t necessarily realize that there was something I could do about this. I figured for a long time, “This is what it is.” It wasn’t all that bad and I didn’t know any better.
So it basically took about 15-20 years of shaving before I wised up. And I eventually did. A close shave is the worst type for me. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of what the shaving industry markets. I see Mike essentially stopped shaving; that’s how he deals with it.
I blame the Mach3.
The Gillette Mach3 was released in 1998 according to Wikipedia. To put that in perspective, I turned 19 in 1998. I don’t remember when I started shaving (13? 14?), but I didn’t shave that long before the Mach3 came out, and I certainly didn’t have heavy facial hair before then either.
Now, for those of you who aren’t intimately familiar with my facial hair, I don’t have a lot of it. I shave every other day (something it took me a few years to realize). I most certainly don’t need 3 (or 4 or 5) blades to knock back my 5 o’clock shadow. I used this razor, or variants thereof, for the better part of 15 years. It sucks for me. Too close of a shave which led to irritation. Also, the heads on these things are huge, which makes it hard to shave certain areas, like under your nose.
For some reason, back in 2007, I bought a Sensor Excel and some blades. I think it was because I was a poor graduate student, and the thought of spending a week’s worth of food money on razors got on my nerves a little. The Sensor is a 2 blade razor. Probably all I needed. I used it once or twice and then forgot about it for some reason.
I started using it again about 2 years ago. Ingrown hairs and razor bumps are for the most part a thing of the past. I still only shave every other day, and only with the grain. The replacement blades are getting hard to find, so I order them off of Amazon.
Oddly enough, the regular Sensor blades aren’t quite as good as the Excel blades, but they do in a pinch. I just have to shave at a slightly different angle.
Wiki says the Sensor and Sensor Excel were released in 1990 and 1993 respectively and are discontinued. I think the blades I buy are imported from other parts of the world.
At some point, I’m not going to be able to get these razors any more. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do. I’m not going back to 3, 4, or 5 bladed razors.
I’m getting to that point in my life where I don’t want to dick around with this shit, so whatever the decision ends up being, hopefully I won’t have to make another after that.
I’ve been using Mathematica more for work, and finally getting better at it. It’s only been 20 years…
Anyway, Mathematica has some machine learning capabilities built in, so I started playing around with them. Maybe something would be useful for work? (Probably not.) Anyway, a few of the tools have pre-trained datasets to play with, so you can just plug stuff into them.
One is the “NameAge” dataset, which predicts the most likely age for a given name. Naturally, I put some names in. I then plotted up the difference between the predicted age and the person’s actual age. In my chart, negative numbers represent how much younger the person is predicted to be compared to their actual age, and positive numbers are older.
Buff does the worst, but with her given name, she is predicted to be much younger. Up next is Joe, Mike, Pete, Tom, and myself; according to this machine learning dataset, we should be getting ready for retirement, clocking in at more than 15 years older than our actual age.
Who knows if I’ll ever get around to doing those twelve 2017 movie reviews… I did see Phantasm in the theatre; it may have been on Blu-ray, which was disenchanting to say the least. Thusly, I’m currently down on the notion of the theatre, so in lieu of cinema I wanted to talk about music. I hopped on Amazon music this evening and downloaded MP3s of a couple albums that I’d bought in physical formats. One album was Lana Del Ray’s Ultraviolence. I really liked her Honeymoon, but dear lord… the songs on Ultraviolence aren’t bad, but the production on the album actually hurts my ears. It doesn’t matter if I’m listening to it on CD or MP3; it sounds dreadful.
Conversely, David Bowie – my fu**ing god – I picked up two albums recently, Blackstar and Hunky Dory. The production on both is impecable. I know the former was on everyone’s best of list, but bear in mind this is coming from a respectful fan, not an avid fan (my wife is an avid fan; there’s a difference); Blackstar is like listening to the album Radiohead has been trying to record (A Moon Shaped Pool is pretty good, but it’s no Blackstar). However, where Blackstar sounds amazing, it is Hunky Dory that floors me; the album is 45 years old. Sure, it might not be Boston by Boston, but to my ears the production sounds fantastic. Point is that if you are looking to invest in some great sounding music, I can’t recommend the Bowie albums enough.
You may recall that with retro 2 CRT TVs, one of which being 200 lbs, I built a custom stand for them. The end game was to get multiple vintage* consoles going to either TV, in whatever configuration desired. To do that, I had to create a mesh of cables and switches, that look something like this:
The character, the one I liked most – and no, not one from Rogue One – but instead from the Peanuts Colorform Star Snoopy set, had slid down, too far, far too far, into the abyss of the baseboard heating unit. Swallowed and unable to be retrieved, it was – simply – gone.
There in the hall crouching on the runner rug, I can still see myself, and yet, I cannot recall who the character was. If my child fingers were pointless and dull in their rescue attempts, the character’s identity has also slipped through time and my memory’s grasp.
I certainly could not have understood the legal circumstances surrounding Star Snoopy, a product that drew on the popularity of the 1977 release of George Lucas’s Star Wars, but was not affiliated with the franchise. Snoopy & Co. had never quite managed to get around to licensing the rights to use the Star Wars name from Lucasfilm, Ltd. Even if they had, to my 2- or 3-year old mind, it was of little consequence. Star Snoopy’s starships, characters dressed like they might be at home in a galaxy far far away, and Snoopy himself brandishing a lightsaber-like sword existed in the same cosmos as any toy that was officially licensed, such as my Jawa sandcrwaler playset made by Kenner, which back in the late ‘70s, was not unlike Colorforms; it was also largely made of cardboard.
Distinctions like these would become clearer by the time I had outgrown my Boba Fett Underoos. For instance, I would graduate from the star-camp of the Cantina theme to Meco’s LP of galactic funk and their disco-spin on John Williams Star Wars score. I had read all the Timothy Zahn books and even the Brian Daley ones. By my late teens I was, in short, more than a passing fan.