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Archive for the ‘Andrew’ Category

God Bless Technology

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Don’t you just love voice automated systems, error messaging services, and all the other technology out there so that people no longer have to talk to actual people? Well what happens when you get a particularly dumb or literal person on the other end of technology?

Example:

Person dials a number on a phone. Three raising tones and then: “We’re sorry. The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service. Please hang up and try again.” Person hangs up and dials the same number. Three raising tones and then: “We’re sorry. The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service. Please hang up and try again.” Person hangs up and dials the same number. Three raising tones and then: “We’re sorry. The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service. Please hang up and try again.” Ad infinitum.

Or the instructions that become so famous I need only mention them and most of America knows of which I’m talking. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Well what happens if you get stuck on the repeat part? Are you doomed to a lifetime of showering and washing? And even worse is the conditioner. Lather, let stand 2-5 minutes, rinse, repeat. So now there is the 2-3 minutes of standing in the shower added in the mix. Aigh!

Then you have the directions that seem to be arguing with themselves: “To open package, carefully cut open with shark knife or scissors.” followed by big bold letters “DO NOT OPEN USING SHARP OBJECTS!” Make up your mind will you?!?

And everyone’s favorite, the directions and warnings so obvious that you know someone had to do it for them to put the warning on there. Like the warning on a hair dryer: “Warning: Do not use while in the shower!” Duh!

Well I thought I’d keep this short, and let you all put your favorites in here, so feel free to contribute.

Here is a short list of a few of my personal favorites:

  1. Found on a chainsaw: “Do not use as a Halloween prop! Can cause real dismemberment!”
  2. Found on a toaster: “Do not use to heat Pop Tarts as fire may occur!” (BTW: There is a basis for this! Search YouTube or Google for “Strawberry PopTart Toaster Fire” as I found it rather awesome)
  3. Found on Microwave: “Do not use to dry small pets!” (though sometimes I wish I could use it to “dry” my neighbors chihuahua who pees and craps all over my back porch)
  4. Found on bottle of massage oil: “Do not use as personal lubricant. Do not use on waterbeds as injury or suffocation may occur!” Just below this warning is a picture of a person UNDERNEATH the waterbed mattress.
  5. Found in a 9mm Baretta 92F instruction manual: “Do not look down barrel and squeeze trigger!”
  6. Found on Army mortar round: “Do not hit with hammer!”
  7. Found on a Peanut container: “Contains nuts!”
  8. Found on a box of matches: “Caution! Flammable!”
  9. Warning sign near volcano: “Caution! Do not touch flowing lava! Contact with lava may cause burns or death!”
  10. On a Holmes Bathroom Heather (it’s actual name!): “Caution! this product is not to be used in bathrooms!”

I Know What They Were Thinking

Friday, October 17th, 2008

With Skippy talking about road trips and such things it brings to mind that there are several places out there with some sort of attention grabbing gimmick. Some are things like dinosaurs in front of gas stations, others are simply the names of the place. Below are a few names I have come across (and their locations when I can remember them) in my travels. All of these places are reputable places of business that are not what their names imply.

  1. Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn (Alaska) (Hotel and Lounge)
  2. Grandma’s Shaved Beaver (Washington) (A restaurant specializing in local game animals)
  3. St. Louis Steel Erection (Missouri) (Construction company)
  4. Hore’s House (British Columbia) (Bed and Breakfast)
  5. The Notty Shop (Alaska) (A souvenir shop and Ice Cream/coffee bar)
  6. Knockin’ Boots (Oklahoma) (Obviously it’s a custom boot maker)

And then there are of course the message boards. You have probably seen several of them that when taken out of context would be extremely naughty. Probably the most famous one is a church sign with the message “The most powerful position in the world is on your knees.” There are many others and here are just a few that I have seen:

  1. On a taxidermists shop: “Father’s Day Special – Wives, bring ’em in and we’ll skin and stuff ’em for you!”
  2. On a sign shared by a grocery store and lingerie shop: “Special Half Off Sale! Come see our melons!”
  3. On a sign in the middle of a desert: “Caution! No Water Ahead!”
  4. On a church sign: “Laying on your back and yelling “Oh My God” is not the same as going to Church.”

And finally, as I was driving off a military installation there was a sign that simply said “Speed Hump Ahead,” not even 25 feet later there were two deer going at it hot and heavy. This distracted me so much that I actually bottomed out the back end of my truck and the actual speed hump.

Please feel free to add as many places and names as you would like to this!

What an Air Force TDY Report SHOULD Look Like

Friday, October 10th, 2008

The names in the following memo have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. Please understand, sick this is for humor purposes only, ampoule and is not a serious report.

MEMORANDUM FOR:  Major Big High Guy

FROM:   The drunk fool in Hawaii
SUBJECT:  After Actions Report
1. TYPE OF OPERATION:  Goat Rope Boondogle & some real work.
2. DATE OF OPERATION:  21 Sept 08 thru 27 Sept 08 (21 Sept and 27 Sept reserved as travel days).
3. LOCATION: Mary’s House of Pasties, remedy Waikiki Police station, Madame Ho’s Massage facility. Hawaii.
4. CONTROL HEADQUARTERS:  I Love This Bar & Grill
5. UNITS INVOLVED:  A couple of units that I can’t remember, Big Island Liquor.
6. SUPPORTING FORCES:  Dukes den of Tattoo’s.
7. CONCEPT OF OPERATION:  In conjunction with the Local Unit  and the Other Local Unit personnel, MSgt John Wayne and SrA James Jones performed troubleshooting and functional testing of some equipment they didn’t know how to use and Microsoft Solitare system long-haul connectivity between Hawaii, and somewhere in MO.  The idea was then to find ways to justify an additional 4 days on the island to get at tan
8. EXECUTION:  Daily entries made in lieu of a Master Station Log.
Travel day and arrival at Waikiki, HI – 21 September 2008.
Day 1 – (Monday, September 22, 2008).  Slept, woke up and surfed porn, slept some more. At noon went to beach and slept. Woke up, applied coconut oil, slept. Woke up, ate snack, drank dinner, surfed porn, slept.
Day 2 – (Tuesday, September 23, 2008).  Met with and discussed further firewall procedures and technologies with SSgt Smart Guy and SSgt. Other Smart Guy.  Meanwhile, TSgt Bob back at home did some actual work to configure the Missouri firewall. SSgt Hard Worker and SSgt New Guy powered up and configured the highly advance and confusing systems.  Network traffic was then monitored on the firewalls to determine actual utilization.  An additional port was discovered in the firewalls logs as specifically required for connectivity between Missouri and Hawaii.  That port was then added to the firewall Service Groups.   Once network activity was confirmed, we worked for another 5 minutes before leaving the building.  After that hour, went back to beach, slept, drank, got sand kicked on face by Japanese tourist girl, went to hotel and surfed porn.
Day 3 – (Wednesday, September 24, 2008).  Called Missouri to make sure everything was working and stayed an extra day, “Just in case”.  Hung up phone, surfed porn. MSgt. Wayne went scuba diving, SrA Jones went looking for Tattoo parlor he found while surfing porn.  Drank, slept.
Day 4 – (Thursday, September 25, 2008).  SSgt Other Smart Guy continued with the overview and demonstration of the highly technical and confusing systems applications and theory of operation.  While SSgt. Rocket Scientist worked, MSgt. Wayne went scuba diving againg and SrA Jones drank heavily wishing he had not visited the tattoo parlor. Ate dinner, drank, surfed porn, slept some more.
Day 5 – (Friday, September 26, 2008).  Return flight to Missouri Got drunk, slept.
Day 6 – (Saturday, September 27, 2008).   Arrive at HOR early morning, drank, surfed porn, slept.

9. RESULTS:

OVERALL TRAINING:  Good training opportunity for firewall configuration. Maybe next time can take advantage of it. Opportunities existed to learn stuff we will never ever use. Maybe next time can take advantage of it .  UTC qualification and proficiency on firewalls was signed off anyway to make it look good.

OPERATIONS:  The TDY really Rocked!

TRAINING EFFFECTIVENESS RATING:  Yeah, whatever.

10.  ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS:

Hawaii AFB POC Information:
Networks – SSgt Smart Guy
Networks – SSgt Other Smart Guy
Confusing System – SrA LowManOn TotemPole
Highly Advanced Chat Room Director – SSgt Rocket Scientist

11. SPECIAL REQUIRMENTS, TECHNIQUES AND EQUIPMENT:

Scuba Equipment
Liquor
Sun Tan Lotion
Band-Aids

12. RECOMMENDATIONS/LESSONS LEARNED:

With the information gleaned from this trip, Network Technicians Wayne and Jones will be able to more rapidly and accurately take advantage of further TDYs to exotic and remote locations around the world.

JAMES S. JONES, SRA
PSEUDO MILITARY

Addendum 1 – Total cost of trip including reimbusement for special requirements $41,519.41 to be paid in full by American Tax Payers.

Drills, Steel and a Quick Trip to La La Land

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

When reading this try to think late 70’s early 80’s educational video.

“So, you want to learn how to drill through steel huh?” (Mute video actor smiles and nods head vigorously.) “Do you have a drill?” (Nods again holding up acme super-drill.) “And do you have some steel?” (Nods and points to a M-1 Abrams parked a short distance away.) “Good! You are now ready to learn how to drill through steel!” (Actor smiles and pumps arm as if screaming Woo Hoo!) “But before you learn how to drill through steel, remember…. Safety first! Always wear eye protection.” (Actor puts on over-sized safety goggles.)

“Now then, first we will show you how not to drill through steel.” (Now picture me standing there with a 19.4V battery operated drill in hand) “When drilling, it is NOT a good idea to use a dull bit. It is also not a good idea to get frustrated with the dull bit and drill at maximum speed.” (Now picture me trying to drill through said steel with the drill at its highest speed setting slowly drilling through the steel.) “When you start punching through the steel always slow down your bit, otherwise it will probably catch at the last possible second.” (Watch in slow motion as the drill bit catches and the drill twists 360 degrees while I’m still holding it. My forearm twists as far as it will go, and my wrist completes the full revolution.) “This can cause injury to the wrist, forearm and shoulder if you are not careful.”

That is basically what happened, in my mind at least, and the narrators voice was probably added by the pain killers the doctor gave me. I was working with a co-worker at the time and he heard a distinct pop from my wrist. He quickly cleaned up the work site and took me to the hospital where the x-rays showed several hairline and minor fractures to every bone in my wrist. There were also hairline fractures on my forearm and stress fractures in my shoulder.

Needless to say my boss wasn’t happy. The next day at work he brought in an expert to show us how to properly drill through steel and during the lecture even managed not to look directly at me. I spent 6 weeks in a cast and immobilizing sling, and 4 weeks in La La Land due to the pain killers. The boss was able to laugh about it after about a week and dubbed me “Oliver” (as in Oliver “Twist”).

Another Job List

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Well all my life I’ve been a jack of all trades. I’ve worked for carnivals, haunted houses and rodeos (yes, I was the clown). I’ve been a carpenter, electrician and mason. I’ve worked fisheries, fishing boats and spent a season doing America’s deadliest job (Alaska Crab Fishing). But in all of these jobs I don’t think I had as much fun as when I was a Satellite and Wireless Internet installer. Every morning my team would get together and the office manager would come out and lecture us on the days jobs, and what was wrong with yesterday. Here are a few excerpts: (I will list the numbers that apply directly to me at the end)

  1. It is not OK to shoot a kid with an AirSoft gun, while working.
  2. Even if the kid was shooting you first.
  3. It is not OK to tell the police the accelerator was “stuck” and you were “unsticking” it while driving a company vehicle.
  4. It is not OK to use the terms spectrothermal “anal”yzer, pig snoot, three-eyed cancer hazard when describing the feed horns on a satellite dish.
  5. It is not OK to drill four, one inch diameter holes in a rude customers wall to run a quarter inch thick cable to the back of the TV.
  6. It is not OK to throw heavy objects from a roof and tell young children to “catch!”
  7. When taking your lunch on the roof of a customers home it is not OK to tease the pet rottweiler with your food.
  8. It is not OK to help your customer get revenge on his neighbor by putting a 14 foot tall motorized dish right outside the bedroom window of his neighbors house.
  9. It is not OK to offer free additional channels in exchange for sex, especially when you aren’t the one who activates those channels.
  10. It is not OK to tell a customer that the microwave receiving plate is “harmless unless you are within 100 feet of it, in any direction, for more than a few minutes at a time,” then mount it to the roof right above their bedroom.
  11. If you are going to fall off a roof, try to land somewhere soft, other than the customer’s favorite pet.
  12. While climbing towers do not “test” the safety harness by tying yourself off and jumping off the tower.
  13. Microwave receiving/transmitting plates are not Frisbees.
  14. It is not OK to beat a customer over the head and shoulders with a fishing pole.
  15. It is not OK to beat a customer over the head and shoulders with a foam pool noodle.
  16. It is not OK to challenge a customer to a duel. They might just accept.
  17. It is not OK to tell a customer “Don’t worry, I’m a professional” and then open a can of beer.
  18. It is not OK to have beer at any work site, unless said work site is a bar and you aren’t drinking it.
  19. When a police officer pulls you over it is not OK to tell him to “bugger off and mind your own business.”
  20. When climbing a tower with a ladder, use the ladder. Also it is not OK to race your coworker up the outside of the tower while he climbs the ladder.
  21. When in a cherry picker with a coworker it is NOT OK to see how far you can make the bucket rock. Especially if your coworker is afraid of heights.
  22. It is not OK to beat up a coworker for, literally, scaring the piss out of you.
  23. It is not OK to break your wrist while drilling through steel, at work.

I was the direct cause of 1, 2, 4, 10, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23. I was the coworker pissing my pants in 21. I did however have a lot of fun, and would do it all again if it wasn’t for the lawsuit. But that is another story….

Beer And Boredom

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

What is worse than a drunk soldier with too much skill and too much time on his hands? How about three very drunk soldiers with too much imagination and time on their hands.

So there we were. In paradise. No literally, paradise. Honolulu, Hawaii for an 18 day training exercise. It was three days before we flew back home and EndEx was at noon. So I and some buddies decided to celebrate a successful exercise with enough beer to drown an elephant. And some rum. And some vodka. And some whiskey. And some more rum… well you get the idea. At sometime between 1700 hours and two days later we were getting bored with just drinking.

So we started betting each other to do funny, and stupid, things. You know, bets like, “I’ll bet you $5 you can’t jump that ten foot long picnic table without touching it”. Well I and a friend, we’ll call him “James”, are both climbers. He for his job, and me for fun. We bet James he couldn’t climb to the second story balcony of our hotel in less than a minute. Boy was that a mistake, after placing stakes and putting our money where our mouths were, the climbed to the second story balcony, in 35 seconds.

Not to be beaten I bet them I could climb to the top of the building, some thirteen stories tall, and I could do it in no more than ten minutes. We’ll I played them up, and there was a sizable sum of money sitting there. As there was also a sizable sum of alcohol in my system (I drank all the rum) I was just drunk, and stupid, enough to attempt the climb.

Now when I say attempt, I mean I set a dangerous pace and did some very stupid things to climb the building. Had I been sober I would have probably killed myself. But as I was drunk I succeeded in climbing the building, inside the time allotted, and as soon as I got to the roof loud cheering erupted below. It seems everyone heard us making the bets and had come out to watch me either succeed or kill myself trying.

When I said hotel, it was really a military building, with the first ten floors run as billeting and the top three floors were set aside as dorms. Which also meant there was a belligerent E-9 in charge of it all. Well, as I accepted my approbations I heard the unmistakable bellow of a pissed off E-9, directly behind me. You know the one, it has a Southern drawl and starts with “What in the sam heeeeeeeeeeell did ya think yer was doin’!” And it goes down hill from there. This particular E-9 had spent time in all five branches of the military and had picked up some truly amazing curses and insults along the way. I got called things that would have a marine drill sergeant taking notes. Fortunately, it was about this time my exertion, and that last bottle of rum, caught up with me and I blissfully passed out.

Two days later…

I woke up to find myself standing in the airport with all my belongings, including a small revel drum I had somehow bought along the way, to my first sergeant yelling at me for being a complete moron, and that self same E-9 standing between me and the exit. He was smiling, not a happy smile, but the evil smile that makes raw recruits wet themselves and have nightmares for a week.

Just before getting on the plane the E-9 walks up to me with that evil smile and takes me aside. In a soft voice he says, “Son, I know what it is to get drunk and do stupid stuff, but that took stupid to a new level. I don’t ever want to see you back in my building again. By the way, here’s your winnings.” And he hands me a wad of cash about three times bigger than I remembered.

For my escapade I was counseled, sent to an alcohol education course, and banned from billeting on that base. But I also made $498 in bets and earned the respect of those buddies of mine. Now whenever I say “I can climb that…” they just smile and say, “I know you can, but lets not bet on it.”

Different Time Different Place, Different Commander

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

How many of you have been to a sports game where some costumed individual has stood down near the area of play and launched various objects out of what is commonly known as a “t-shirt cannon?” Well recently I’ve had the pleasure of being that costumed individual. And yes, they gave me a t-shirt cannon.

Most t-shirt cannons are little more than a modified paintball gun using pressures of about 35 to 40 psi. The cannon they handed me however was not one of these models. It was a custom built job, complete with adjustable pressure valve capable of pressures up to 100 psi. The group I was with was having fun launching various objects into the crowd at a local sports game. Lets just say the sport involved a diamond, large wooden clubs, small leather wrapped balls and a lot of spitting. We were launching stuff like t-shirts, hats, nerf-balls and other various soft objects to the crowd and I could tell the people in the upper tiers were getting upset because they were not receiving anything in the ongoing festivities. So I upped the pressure. All the way. And the level of fun went up as the level of intelligence dropped.

So now we are launching t-shirts, hats, nerf-balls and other various objects into the upper tiers. We had to aim almost straight up as there was a cross breeze above the stadium that was catching the objects fired and was flinging them about with wild abandon. After a few t-shirts landed on the roof of the structure we figured out the cross breeze. A couple minutes later one of the local sports athletes walks out and hand us several of the leather wrapped balls with his very own signature on them. Most, we either handed out or tossed out by arm, but none of us had the arm strength to reach the upper tiers. So we decided to use the cannon.

Did you notice earlier when I mentioned I had turned the pressure up? Well we forgot to turn it back down. So we loaded the cannon, it was an almost perfect fit as the ball was snug along the sides of the launch tube, aimed in the same general direction we had been launching the t-shirts, and pulled the trigger. I felt like I had been kicked by a mule and the ball shot out at a speed that a major league pitcher would have envied. We all watched in horror is the wind caught the ball and carried it to the side of the stands, missing the scoreboard by only a few feet. Then we heard the car alarm go off. The crowd laughed and cheered, only a couple thousand people, and we sheepishly left the field.

About fifteen minutes later as we all approached our vehicles we heard the commander utter an oath not suitable for young ears and eyes. The ball had crashed through the rear passenger window if his car.

No one really got in trouble (he was the one who suggested using the cannon in the first place) but we learned a valuable lesson that day. If you are going to launch baseballs out a t-shirt cannon, point away from where your vehicles are parked.

Two Weeks Later

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

After finally getting my trebuchet back I still hadn’t learned my lesson completely. I bought my own beer and soda intending to drink the soda, and launch the beer. I brought my supplies to the place where my trebuchet now permanently resides. I also brought along several friends to help me turn the trebuchet so it was instead pointed at a much larger, and unused, helicopter pad.

As my friends and I were loading up the twelve pack I had bought, someone pointed out that it was a waste of perfectly good beer.

After a quick discussion and an informal poll, the beer launch was vetoed. So we loaded the soda instead. All four 2 liter bottles. We didn’t bother with ties or anything because the sling would hold them together nicely until about half a second after release. We all popped a beer and toasted the trebuchet dubbing it “Soda-Slayer”.

And the I pulled the firing cord.

Did I mention the four plastic soda bottles? The two liter ones.

Well they make a sound similar to a twelve ounce can of beer slamming into the side of a building.

Especially when they slam into the side of the self-same building.

In all our re-aiming and adjustments, we forgot to readjust the launching platform. What resulted was something similar to a “hook” in golf. The bottles flew the correct direction for about one nanosecond then proceeded to veer off in a beautiful arc before slamming into the roof of the headquarters building and exploding. I was told it sounded something like a cannon going off on the roof. They shook the whole building. The only thing that saved us was when the base commander came storming over, we saluted, and handed him a beer with the promise to clean up the mess and re-roof the building.

After that day I was permanently banned from my trebuchet. It is still sitting there though. It is slightly rusted and the sling is rotted, but a little loving care and an new sling and it will be ready for more soda/beer slinging action.

Mass Time Velocity Squared Plus Beer Equals “Oops”

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

What would you do if you found twelve pieces of twelve foot long steel I-Beam sitting next to a metal recycle bin? Me, I’m interested in the late feudal eras of Northern Europe so I did the only thing I could think of. I built a trebuchet.

For those of you who do not know what a trebuchet is, it is a fourteen foot tall counter-levered catapult capable if flinging large object tremendous distances with great accuracy.

In other words, it’s fun!

So there I was, I-Beams and a plan. But how to do this? Well our local vehicle maintenance shop just happens to have not only a welding machine, but an acetylene torch as well. It took me two weeks of leave and a lot of secrecy, but what I emerged with was a twelve foot tall 16,400 pound steel and lead contraption that I was proud of. I even attached a tow hitch and wheels to make it transportable.

My first day back to work I towed it along. During my lunch break I wanted to test fire it, but had no ammunition to fire. Again providence provided and I found a fridge full of nearly expired beer. So I grabbed a six pack, unhitched and set up the trebuchet and had it loaded and ready when one of my co-workers returned from lunch.

He saw me with a rope in hand, a full unbroken six pack upon the launch platform and a huge grin on my face. Unfortunately he was just a hair slow in telling me not to pull the rope.

WHAM!!!!

The six-pack launched about two-hundred feet into the air and sailed completely over the parade grounds I was aiming at. About mid-flight the plastic rings gave out and I suddenly had a cluster shot instead of a single projectile. As it flew I realized my mistake as the beer also flew over the parking lot on the far side of the parade ground and began to pelt the side of the base headquarters. If you’ve never seen an entire six-pack explode in rapid succession I’d recommend using this particular method.

Just don’t hit the side of the headquarters building.

Especially right out side of the base commander’s window.

And doubly especially with the base commander’s own beer.