Monday, August 22, 2011

Reason #3 - Make That Connector Fit

I lost the charger for my GPS navigation unit some time ago. After months of half-ass searching, I gave up. This weekend I did have a legitimate need for the device so I stopped by the local Radio Shack to pick up a replacement charger. After paying too much for the charger, I sat in my car and realized the USB connector was too fat to fit into the recessed port on the GPS unit. Rather than go through the hassle of the return process and pay more for the brand name product, I realized I could make this work with just a little modification of the connector.

The connector housing was made of a thick rubbery material which meant it was fairly easy to slice through. Luckily it wasn't hollow. By shaving off enough of the excess, I was able to get the connector to fit into the USB port of the GPS unit. The whole process took less than two minutes. 

Crisis averted, and another reason to carry a knife every day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reason #2 - Stabilize a Pizza

Stick with me on this one. I know it sounds silly, but using your knife to help cut a pizza makes the task easier and creates less of a mess.

If you cook frozen pizzas at home, I'm sure you've experienced the sliding pizza problem. When you try and run the rolling cutter through the pizza, invariably the roller gets caught on the thick crispy crust and the pizza slides all over the place. I used to stabilize the hot pizza with my oven mitt, but this often left my mitt covered in pizza sauce. There had to be a better way, I thought. So, I just started using my knife. It's quick, easy, and if I get pizza sauce on my knife it's easier to clean the knife than the mitt.

And just so you know, it took a little bit of trickery to take that shot.... Or do I really have three hands? Ponder that until next time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

1000 Reasons to Carry a Knife - #1

I've always been a knife guy. My first pocket knife was given to me by my grandfather. It was an old wood and bone handled knife that smelled of oil. Some years later when I was still a boy, he acquired a Russian switch blade and gave it to me. Looking back, I'm amazed I didn't somehow lose a finger before I eventually destroyed the thing.
I recently realized just how valuable my knife is and asked myself why more people don't carry one. I use mine on a daily basis for a number of tasks without even thinking about it. Surely, there must be 1000 reasons to carry a knife. This is my attempt to list those reasons, one by one.

Reason #1 - Cheap pull tab cans fail often

Most of the time these pull tab cans are great. They prevent you from having to drag along a can opener to work for your lunch. But as I'm sure you have experienced this before, they fail often leaving you with no way in to your can of soup. That momentary sense of panic must be terrible for all you non knife carriers. Rather than spending 15 minutes of your precious lunch break combing the drawers looking for that can opener, you could just whip out that pocket knife and take care of it.

Three easy, safe steps to accomplishing this:

1. Put the can down on a flat, solid surface to prevent cutting yourself. Puncture the lid with the tip of your knife along the thin seam of the lid. Make sure to do this at the same spot where the tab would do it.

2. Pry and work open the lid just enough to slide your knife in about half way.

3. Slowly work the knife's sharp edge around the seam, prying as you go. The motion feels similar to opening a can of paint.

3. When you've come all the way around, leave a millimeter or two spacing still attached to the can. Fold the lid back with the knife and the lid should break free fairly easily.

Enjoy your lunch and remember, this is exactly why you should carry a knife every day.

A Letter to the Swamp

Dear Mr. Dismal Swamp.

    Times have been rough for you lately. I mean, the government has been stealing you and converting you into useful, arable land, you kinda smell funny, and you’ve got a serious pest problem. The History Channel has even begun a vigorous and aggressive campaign against your Floridian and Louisianan cousins depicting toothless, amoeba brained men that exploit your resources for various reasons. Now, don’t get me wrong, I support using natural resources in a responsible manner, but those shows are a little over the top mostly because of the people in them, not because of the swamps.
      You are who you are though and I can respect that. In a way, your aforementioned maladies give you an endearing quality. Sorta like Oscar The Grouch. He’s rude, lives in a trash can, and smells too but he was always a favorite character of mine when I was child. And even though I loved Oscar, I doubt I would have given him a hug, given the opportunity. Similarly, I doubt I would venture to give you a hug either.
      But you need a hug right now. You’ve got a serious problem and it seems to only be getting worse. A lightning strike, or what some would call a terrible smiting from on high, set you ablaze. So now, you’ve got bugs, an odor problem, and a raging fire in your armpit. The problem is, that your muddy, unkept self is making it difficult for our best to put that fire out. Perhaps you should consider keeping a tidier place so that next time you have company, people won’t be sloshing around in your muck. They say cleanliness is next to godliness, perhaps that’s why you were smited, or is it smote? I’m not sure, but either way, you are a slob. Despite the fact that I think, on an abstract level, the chemical processes fueling your fire are interesting, I really wish you’d consider my advice in cleaning up in order to avoid this next time.
     Now, you may ask your self why I am taking the time to write you a letter. In fact, I would bet my neighbors RV that this is the very first letter you have ever received. I’m confident your lazy, sloppy cousins aren’t put together enough to write at Christmas. I hope I’m right, because I would hate to see my neighbors RV leave. They are currently retired and spend a lot of time on the go because of that big brown bus in their driveway. If they were to be stuck at home all the time, I’m positive I would see a significant increase in the (already copious) amount of stray cats hanging around my house. Neighbor lady feeds them and calls them her babies, which seems nice until you stand at my front door and are assaulted by the rancid odor of cat feces in my garden bed. But I digress.
     I’m writing you, Mr. Dismal Swamp, because you owe me exactly two hours of lost sleep. I will, of course, accept repayment in the form of a jet ski and/or a new truck as I know that time can’t exactly be replaced or returned.
     You may ask your self why you are responsible for my two hours of lost sleep.
     Well, this morning at approximately o dark thirty and whilst dreaming of Scarlett Johansson, I suddenly awoke in a terrible fit. There was a very strong smell of burning in the house and, in my half awake mind, it was assuredly on fire. Scarlett and the go kart ride we were enjoying was quickly forgot as I hurriedly and clumsily exfiltrated my bed. Damaging my closet door in the process and smashing at least three of my toes, I ran to my son’s room. His undoubtedly vivid dreams of chocolate covered monster trucks were interrupted by his crazy old man yelling.
     “There’s a fire! There’s a fire!”
     I grabbed my surprised son and ran down the stairs, thankful they were not on fire, and out the front door. Once outside, I noticed there was smoke everywhere! I thought to myself, “The whole neighborhood is on fire! Surely, the end times are at hand!”
     Of course, all of this happened in the blink of an eye. Just as I realized my house was not on fire, my two year old son looked at me curiously and said “Daddy, no fire.”
     Now, if you have children you know that once they are awake, they are awake. So I sat in bed with my son, trying to doze back off while he watched TV and intermittently smacked me in the face to make sure I was still alive. Why do they do that?
     So you see, Mr. Dismal Swamp, you are directly responsible for my lost two hours via the smoke from your fire. I will gladly accept repayment as described above. Yamaha makes excellent jet skis. I hear they are fast and reliable. I would really like a Ford F-150 but if you can’t afford it, a used Toyota Tacoma will do. Just make sure to get something with four doors as I need to accommodate a child with better sense than I.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Goat Rope

“Marcus, can you hear me?”


A faint, soft voice echoed in his mind, reverberating on the edge of his consciousness. Marcus could feel the voice more than he was hearing it. Slowly, his awareness crept into something resembling normality.

He opened his eyes and looked around and became aware that he was sitting in a padded chair in a sterile room. There was only one door to the white room and no windows. The chair was the only thing there. So, he rose from the chair and rolled his fingers looking at them and feeling them and studied the way they moved.

“Marcus” came the female voice into his mind again.

“Yes...” he spoke aloud.

“Good, you’re awake.”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"You're doing it!"

I've recently joined a new Sci-Fiction shared writing project called the "Ninerverse".

This is my first entry in this shared universe. I hope you enjoy!


“I know you’ve been avoiding this for a while, but we’ve got no other choice. You have to go. It’s the only place where we can get the info we need.” said the General. His face was drawn and stone cold.

“I don’t want to do this, there has to be another way.” Marcus grumbled. He scratched at the short coarse hair on the back of his head. His massive frame was hulked over while he sat on a metal bench in front of his commanding officer, General Henderson, his Uncle.

“Personally, I don’t give a grat’s behind what you want Marcus. You’re doing it!”

Marcus looked up at his Uncle from under his brow and glared intently upon the older man’s face. He knew he could smash the old man’s head if he wanted to, but maybe not before his Uncle took an eye or an ear with him. It wasn’t worth the trouble, even if the old man was right. This really was the most effective way to gather intel.

“Fine.” Marcus relented.

He slowly rose and his body towered over that of the General. He rendered a precise salute and awaited his uncle’s response. The older man came to attention and returned the salute then slapped his massive protege on the shoulder and said, “Come on now, let’s get those implants taken care of.”