Off Season

Here it is well into November and of course, the one thing that you see the most any time you pay any attention to advertising (I don’t anymore) is Christmas related ads.  Granted it’s not even Thanksgiving yet but that doesn’t generlly stop advertisers and retailers at all.

What most people don’t think of too much at this time of year however is that in addition to the approaching holiday it is also very much the “off season” for summer related items.

Joey B. realized this recently and decided to take advantage of it.  He did some looking around at some regional retailers and found that he could get five swimming pool pumps for about the same price that he would normally have to pay for one in the peak of the summer season.  Because of this he went all out and bought twenty of them.

I know, the first thing you’re going to ask is “what on Earth is he going to do with twenty swimming pool pumps??!!?”.  But you see it really was a good idea for him to do this because in the summer he’ll turn around and sell them for ten percent less than anyone else and make a small fortune in the process.

Sadly, I can neither afford to do this nor would I know the first thing about how to sell them. 

Jupiter Mission – Holiday

From the Captain’s log USS Discovery, Tue Dec 25, 2012 00:08:30 GMT

It’s Christmas day.  The first of several that we will spend out here in deep space.  Last week mission control had us record a Christmas special called “Christmas in deep space” that is to be broadcast today.

Ralph, Hal and I exchanged the expected rounds of “Merry Christmas” and talked about what it’s like to spend Christmas farther away from home than anyone in history.  We also recorded messages to family and friends to be transmitted back home.  Because of the special, their holiday messages to us were recorded and sent to us two weeks ahead of time.

It was done that early not only because of the usual production work involved in such things but also because of the increasing delay in communications.

At our present distance which is a little over 110.5 million miles (and getting greater at the rate of approximately 70,843 miles per hour) it takes a bit over ten minutes for the radio signal to travel from Earth to us and another ten minutes for our replies to arrive there.

We arrive at that figure by taking our distance from the Earth and dividing it by the speed that radio communications travel which, for all intents and purposes is the speed of light.  (this is not always true but it’s close enough for this calculation)

The basic formula is one you learn in grade school.

time = distance divided by speed

time delay in seconds = distance from Earth (currently 1.189au which converts to 110,524,550 miles) divided by 182,000 miles per second (the speed of light)

As we get farther from Earth this time delay in communications will get longer.  It is one of the reasons that we have so many redundant systems as well as literally tons of spare parts, tools and supplies for doing repairs.  We are very much on our own out here and every possibility had to be planned for no matter how remote that possibility might be.

I have been asked to give a simplified explanation of how far away we are and how much farther we have to go.  I made a graphic of our orbit and Jupiter’s orbit and used it with the following;

Discovery's orbit position as of Dec 25, 2012

To help visualize the distances involved the yellow circle in the graphic is Jupiter’s orbit around the sun.  The place where the green ellipse meets the yellow circle is where we will meet up with Jupiter. 

The solid yellow line shows where Jupiter is in that orbit now.  The green ellipse is our orbit and the solid green line shows our current position in that orbit.  Years from now we will use a similar orbit to return to Earth.

As you can see Jupiter will travel almost a quarter of the way around it’s orbit by the time we get there.  We are a little under a fourth of the way to the point where our two orbits meet.  Even moving at our incredible speed of over 70,000 miles per hour we have over a year to travel before we get there.

Some may look at that graphic and think that it would be faster to travel in a straight line.  The answer is that it would be faster.  Unfortunately to do that would require more fuel for acceleration and braking than a hundred ships like Discovery could carry.  In fact, any ship that could carry that much fuel would be have so much mass no rocket engine we can build could move it faster than a snails pace.

Click Here for part seven

This Can Stop Anytime Now

When the news of Bobs disappearance last December finally broke I have to admit that it was more than a littel entertaining browsing through the many rumors and alleged “Bob sightings” that started flowing through the endless rumor mills around the world.

The thing is though that it’s not nearly so funny or entertaining anymore.  Oh there is still the occasional exception but really, am I actually expected to believe that Bob has decided that the best way to light the new warehouse that he allegedly bought in New York City was to use brown wire lights?

First up, those are Christmas lights, they’re made using brown wire instead of the usual green so that the wireing can be easily concealed.  They’re not meant to be used to light up a 12,000 square foot warehouse.

Speaking of that, just exactly why would Bob need such a warehouse?  More importantly, how is he going to pay for it when he hardly ever has any money and what little he does have he spends on “Babes of Star Trek Gone Wild” videos to add to his collection.

Really, I think I’m ready for this to stop.

How To Make Your Anniversary A Hit

In the first couple years after I got married I made loads of mistakes that seem so incredibly obvious to me now.  I did really stupid things like buy her all sorts of “practical” gifts.  You know, the kind of thing that is “useful” in some way.

I learned fairly quickly that sort of thing is the last thing a woman wants for an anniversary.  This is most especially important when it comes to things like First Anniversary gifts.  What you want to do is give her something that somehow makes her feel special, rather than that you want her cleaning the house and slaving over a hot stove all day.

Years later I had this figured out.  One Christmas when there just wasn’t very much money to spend on gifts I came up with an idea that related to the Tom Hanks movie “You’ve Got mail” which happened to be one of her favorites.

I took the cardboard tube from a used up roll of wrapping paper and a dozen new pencils.  I sharpened each pencil and stuck it through a hole in one end of the tube so that they looked sorta like petals of a weird wooden flower.  Then I very carefully wrapped it and told her that she had to be very careful when opening it (because she could have gotten jabbed by the sharp pencils).

How did it go over?  She loved it.  That bouquet of sharpened pencils sat on her desk for years.

Technorati Tags: birthday, christmas, anniversary, bad gifts, gifts, good gifts, practical gifts

The Human Browser?

Yeah, I was a bit puzzled by that one myself but it’s *apparently* true.  There’s a guy that showed up in town the other day.  He was eating in the Nutjob Hills diner and heard a couple talking about what they were going to get this guy they knew for Christmas.  They were pretty much stumped for ideas because he’s one of those guys that’s kinda hard to buy for.

He piped up with two words “click here“.  When they gave him the “who are you and why are you saying strange things like that” look, he elaborated by telling them that he’s the world’s only human web browser and that if they were looking for something all they had to do was ‘click here’ (he said while pointing at his forehead) and they would have plenty of suggestions.

In any other city in the world he would have simply been dismissed as a nut and ignored.  Here in Nutjob Hills however, strange things are commonplace and people around here are pretty much used to it.  One of them got up, walked over to him, looked at him hesitantly, he repeated ‘click here’ while pointing at his forehead again.  They ‘clicked’ on his forehead by tapping him with a finger.

Next thing you know he’s listing off a whole mess of gift ideas, where to get them and how much they cost with shipping.

He’s been pretty popular since then and the diner has enjoyed a boost in business as well from all the people coming in and waiting to use his services.

It’s things like this that have taught me not to wonder what will happen next around here.

Technorati Tags: gift ideas, nutjob hills, strange, browser, human browser, odd

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