March 17, 2006

How low can you go?

I would never have guessed that a web site could be as truly, deeply, unintentionally-but-awesomely bad as

No, really. Trust me on this one. You have to experience it to believe it, that's how incredible it is.

(You'll need both Flash and a sound card to ... appreciate ... the site. Thanks to David Nichols for the pointer to this compendium of bad sites, which naturally had to include that one.)

You were warned.

November 07, 2005

Hitler defeated!

I just about died this afternoon when Hans showed this to me:


And while we're on the subject, I assume you're familiar with the World Rock Paper Scissors Society? Truly inspired.

Why sumo is better than karate

From an entry on Kaja Foglio's blog, Diary of a Cartoon Girl, comes this tiny gem of a movie:

Anybody want to tell me what the Chinese subtitles say?

August 14, 2005

Fun with Statistics

Langley, WA

Seen in Langley, WA.

April 25, 2005

Cat Tracking 101

When I came home from work on the first day after we deployed our new cat-tracking gear, Kathleen informed me that I could already start playing with the receiver for real: Enterprise hadn't come home yet, and Zap had come home without his fancy new collar!

Of course, these collars are made for finding, so discovering Zap's collar out in the dog run behind the house was a piece of cake. Tracking down Enterprise was more interesting.

We, like most outdoor pet owners, had essentially no idea where our cats went during the day. Part of the terror of Zap's long disappearance was the uncertainty about where he might have gone: was he prone to wandering down in the greenbelt among the coyotes? With the radio collars, we could now finally answer the question. To my relief, Enterprise's signal was clearly detectable over in the next cul-de-sac (very close by cat trails, a short drive by car).

I parked at the end of that street and quickly determined that Enterprise was apparently behind one particular house. (Some friends are particularly amused by the mental picture of me, standing in the street, holding a weird electronic box, and calling out "Enterprise! Enterprise!") I didn't want to just go barging into a stranger's back yard without permission, so I rang their doorbell and, unfortunately, interrupted their dinner. I sort of showed the receiver box and explained that I thought my cat was in their back yard and asked if it was OK for me to go looking for him there. They impatiently agreed and went back to their dinner.

Now, radio waves are curious things, and they tend to bounce off of large, dense objects like houses. By the time I reached the back of their house, the signal had reversed on me; Enterprise wasn't in the back of the house at all! With a little more care, I triangulated his position more precisely and determined that the signal was coming from inside their garage. Oh dear...

I couldn't see any way around it, so I went back to the door of the house and rang the bell to interrupt their dinner again. They were none too pleased to see me, especially when I apologetically explained where I now thought Enterprise was. "How could he be in there? We only open that door to come and go!" I shrugged, waved the geeky box around, and weakly explained that that's where the signal was. Now showing some serious annoyance, they agreed to open the doors. Enterprise did not instantly emerge, of course; if anything, he probably hid more deeply. By this time, I was so intimidated by the homeowner's displeasure that I didn't even crouch down to look under their cars. I just apologized again, wrote our phone number on a card and gave it to them, asking them to call us if they saw a black and white cat. Dejected, embarrassed, and defeated, I went back home, without my cat.

Kathleen suggested we eat our own dinner and then go back over together. She reasoned that the neighbor might be more likely to help us if they'd finished their dinner and if there were two of us; face it, she said, you look a bit like a kook with the long hair and strange electronics.

After dinner, we got ready to go out but were stopped by the sudden appearance of Enterprise at the back door! We welcomed him in and I started enumerating the possibilities: (1) The homeowners had found and released him, but hadn't bothered to call us, (2) Enterprise had his own way in and out of the garage, or (3) Enterprise had never been inside the garage in the first place.

The last possibility concerned me the most: what if I'd been chasing the wrong signal? That would jeopardize our entire tracking strategy. I jumped back in the car, rode over to the other cul-de-sac and checked for the signal again. Nothing. Just a faint signal in the direction of our own house.

It wasn't so easy at first to distinguish between possibilities (1) and (2), but we have since tracked Enterprise to that same garage several times. I remember noticing, during my first reconnoitering, that there was a big bag of dog food in that garage, and Enterprise is our most food-obsessed kitty, so...

We now refer to that garage as Enterprise's "club", in the old English sense. Somehow, we've never gotten around to letting those homeowners know that he has a secret entrance.