Packing material

I was fixing our dishwasher (sorry ladies, I’m spoken for) and had to order a replacement for a broken part. Normally, I use Sears Parts Direct because they hadn’t been too expensive, and they’ll carry parts for my ten year-old Maytag. But the broken part, a little piece of plastic called the impeller, was over seven dollars through Sears, and I thought that was a bit much. I searched the Googs again, and I found the part through PartSelect for a buck cheaper. I also ordered a filter, which was $5 cheaper from PartSelect than through Sears, and shipping was about $2 less. So, good deal, I thought.

And to confirm the good deal, I ordered the parts on Wednesday night, they got the parts to FedEx on Thursday, and, although shipping was FedEx Ground, I received the parts on Friday. (I love New York—almost all ground shipping still gets here within 1–2 days.) The parts were as ordered, so PartSelect has confirmed me as a faithful customer.

So no real complaints there, but I had to laugh when I saw the box that these two plastic pieces, totaling no more than $20, were shipped in. (Cat and table for scale-the box was over four feet high.)

Indy inspects a box that was just delivered.

Here’s the exploded view.

The two packages and two dozen air bags that came out of the large box.

And finally with the parts that were shipped. There may have been slight overkill here. The long, white plastic piece is the filter, which is millimeters thick and is installed when connected into a circle.

The packages have been opened to reveal a thin white plastic band and a tiny 2 in wide disk.

Ah! But there was something else in the box:

Indy peers out of the box. How'd he get in there?

As a total aside, the cushiony air bags used for shipping were manufactured by Sealed Air. I was lead developer on their 2011 Online Annual Report! (Sorry fellas, I’m spoken for.)

Nothing but random

A yellow plastic tie shaped into a closed circle sits around the nose of ceramic Sylvester cat flower pot.

I have one superpower—incredible, random aim. Year ago, I threw a small rock across the Sunrise Highway Service Road and beaned my friend on the other side on the top of head. I wasn’t particularly aiming at him, and I was throwing the rock in a long arc. I was mocking him, as he was going home, probably saying something like, “Fine, go home, loser,” or whatever nonsense I was apt to spout back then. There was absolutely no intention of hitting him. But it clocked him right on top of his noggin. He was fine. It was a small rock under the influence of gravity only, because of the arc. But it shook me more than him. If I was aiming for the top of his head, I never would have hit him.

A yellow plastic tie shaped into a closed circle sits around the nose of ceramic Sylvester cat flower pot.This odd, eerie power continues to this day. I just casually tossed a cat toy from a set of stairs in the back of my living room. I threw it so it would arc over beam overhead, and land on the ground. I often throw in large arcs so the cats get more excited when it lands. They seem to be impressed by toys that travel greater distances. At any rate, the toy (really just a hoop of plastic) landed on the nose of ceramic Sylvester flower pot. At a carnival, I would have just won a medium or larger prize. It was a fantastic throw that I would never be able to duplicate again, nor would I have managed to land it intentionally.

So remember, if you want me to never hit you with something, have me aim directly for you. But if I’m randomly throwing something in the air, duck and cover.

It’s Alphabetic

Huh. I was going to post that I wanted to get two of ABC’s albums with “The Look of Love,” “How to Be a Millionare,” and “Poison Arrow.” I think these are on two different albums if I remember my 80s vinyl correctly. But not only are those albums not available on CD, but the songs themselves are only available as best-of collections as MP3s.

Now, ABC wasn’t known for their album-oriented rock, so I really shouldn’t have a problem buying a best-of and that’s that, but, boy, is that going to be the toughest thing to give up in our post-album world. It’s not the loss of the artwork or liner notes, which enterprising distributors are bringing back. It’s not the loss of cohesion within a group of songs, since it looks like a lot of artists are still grouping songs to release at once.

No, it’s hitting me hardest that I can’t remain smug when I, as a real fan, purchase albums and scoff at the fair-weather fans who purchase best-ofs and think they know anything about the band or the music they’re listening to. I want my high-horse back!

I answer questions

Facebook has a recently-added question area. Normally, I avoid answering the questions because many seem–well–they seem sketchy. Complete strangers asking each other about God’s existence and whether or not women who dress provocatively deserve harassment seems designed to just get on people’s nerves. But the pedagogue in me sometimes can’t resist. (And the feminist in me couldn’t resist answering the latter question with: Fuck men who think they can ever harass women.)

One question popped up which lead me to this little rant. I figure my long-suffering readers shouldn’t miss out on yet more of my brilliance, just because they’re not going to read my scintillating answers on Facebook. So, I’m republishing my answer here.

The question was: Why are unhealthy foods so tasty?

My answer follows: Because big companies spend lots of money on research to make it that way.

Which big companies? Well, your McDonalds and Kraft Foods, sure, but also companies like Archer Daniels Midland and Monsanto–companies that are supposed to be in the agriculture business, but instead spend tremendous amounts of money making sure that their main products (corn and soybeans) can be used to replace any other foodstuff.

Let’s face it. Most of the foods we eat don’t resemble anything that came from an animal or grew in the ground. To do that in an efficient, mass-production way, we need cheap, readily available ingredients. So maybe corn isn’t what you expect in ice cream, or maybe you thought you had to order a soy-burger to actually get soy in your burger. Well, it’s in the beef one, too.

They’ve taken corn and soy and seaweed and sometimes just plain chemicals and combined them, reduced them, steamed them, whatever, to approximate what is missing from mass-produced foods.

In doing so, they’ve distilled the flavors to the point where (and this is true) McDonalds adds a French-fry flavor to it’s French fries. McDonalds will say it is for consistency, but a side-benefit is that it makes food we all like to eat taste MORE like the foods we like to eat. Therefore, there is no incentive for food production companies to add better ingredients, just more flavorings of the food we like to cheaper and cheaper ingredients.

So here’s something for all of us. We can totally train our taste buds. We can eat things with less sugar and less salt and actually enjoy it. I’m not telling anyone to eat organic or stop using butter–if you saw me in person, you’d know I’m a person who enjoys more than my share of butter. What I am saying is that we can eat healthier as soon as we stop to taste things. Fat isn’t a problem; sugar isn’t a problem; salt isn’t a problem–in moderation. But companies selling us prepared foods don’t have time to hit us with subtleties. They fire fat-sugar-salt! all at once and hit all our pleasure centers.

Russell’s Rule of Long Island 7-11 Placement

The vast majority of 7-11s on Long Island are on the north or west side of the road. A corollary to this rule: I am always traveling east- or northbound, which forces me to make a left turn/u-turn to get to a 7-11. Although I’ve only been to Orient Point once, I am apprently always headed there.

Who's been using my Amazon Account?!?

From Amazon:

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

Since you have purchased extreme sports gear or beef snacks in the past, we thought you might like to know that Slim Jim, Original, Case of 12 15-Ounce Canisters is now available for ordering. I can think of two things wrong with this…

Raw Babelized

Take the first stanza to my poem “[Raw][raw],” and put it into [Altavista’s Bablefish][babel] translation service, translate it to a foreign language and back to English again, and the results are pure beatnik heaven. Continuing to send that translation back and forth until it stabilizes is referred to as Babelizing. Confused? Check out these examples. First, the stanza as originally written by me:

Slipshod and raw pink faces in the early light It