Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Museum of Jurassic Technology

February 17th, 2018

Museum of Jurassic Technology
 

Over the past few years I’ve told pretty much anyone who’ll listen about my fascination with the type of real life interactive adventures from the likes of Nonchanance, including their Jejune Institute, Elsewhere Public Works, The Latitude, etc. [citation NOT needed] and every now and then someone responds by telling me about this oddball thing in LA County called the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

From Venice I took a reasonably fast 30 minute bus ride (good thing I’d ordered and pre-loaded my TAP Card in advance) down Venice Boulevard to this strange museum in Culver City.

After buying your ticket — technically it’s a donation — there’s no prescribed order to the museum, but if you enter the exhibit area and make an immediate left there’s a TV screen which shows a video at the press of a button explaining what you’re about to see… sort of. It starts off in a long-winded explanation of the history of museums, then finally hones in on the (fictional) history of the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

It’s worth noting here the word “Jurassic” is intentionally nonsensical; once you get past this the meanings of the exhibits start to fall into place. Nothing here is at it seems, and furthermore it’s all a series of stories that parody the very concept of a museum.

I don’t want to spoil too much because it’s sort of against the rules (no photos are allowed) but I’ll describe some of my favorite exhibits in my own words.

  • A pair of western scientists explore a “savage” people’s demonic experiences only to find the phenomenon is the result of a species of unusual bats.
  • A room full of paintings of dogs pays tribute to each dog in the Soviet space program.
  • An exhibit of early 20th century motor homes inexplicably compares them to Noah’s Ark and the Garden of Eden.
  • An ordinary stairway features dioramas of staircases.
  • A series of “cat’s cradle” string manipulations is treated as a major exhibit across two rooms with interactive exhibits.

This “museum” originally opened in the late 1980′s and has expanded since then according to one repeat visitor I spoke with. Some of the exhibits were not operational during my visit, though despite spending over an hour and a half I didn’t see or hear everything before it closed for the night. While I usually ignore museum gift shops, I wound up buying a book detailing the museum’s exhibits because it was just that good.
 

My recommendation: If you’ve ever read this blog you’re probably the target audience for people who enjoy subtly bizarre humor. This is the museum for people like us — by all means pay it a visit.

PG&E joke

August 13th, 2010


Bob: “Huh, so the power at my house went out for a few hours while I was at work.”
Pat: “Oh really? How do you know that?”
Bob: “I have PG&E.”

Insane Clown Posse parody on SNL

April 29th, 2010

SNL really nailed a parody of Insane Clown Posse’s latest video, “Miracles.”

But first, in the unlikely event you haven’t seen the Miracles video, here it is for reference.

Fuckin’ magnets… how do they work?

Okay, here’s SNL’s version.

Never follow the instructions on a bottle of shampoo

March 27th, 2010

You’re in the shower, and it’s time to shampoo. You flip the bottle around to read the instructions, and inevitably find the following:

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Let’s break this down into a flowchart.

Do you see the problem here? Nowhere does it state when you should stop shampooing. In other words there’s no “stop condition” in this set of instructions — it doesn’t say “repeat if your hair is still dirty,” it simply says “repeat.” Always. Forever.

If you follow these instructions, you will be in the shower for the rest of your life! I hope you’ve stocked up on enough shampoo to last until you starve to death in your shower of doom, lest you run out and be unable to follow directions.

But at least you’ll be clean when the coroner arrives.

No, the only choice you have is to NOT follow directions. You simply must disobey your shampoo bottle if you wish to live. It’s that important.

This conundrum calls into question many other instructions that you may follow blindly. If shampoo has misguided us, should we trust other directions? Maybe you should operate heavy machinery after taking NyQuil. Maybe you should let babies fall into plastic buckets. Maybe our pets should go in the microwave.

If we’re ever to trust product directions again, they’re going to have to change. As a first step, the shampoo manufacturers need to admit that we do not need to spend our lives trapped in the shower, lathering and rinsing.

Shampoo manufacturers, take heed: you need to add a stop condition to the directions to tell us when to stop and get out of the shower. Our lives are at stake. Thank you.

Spelled in China: Magicall jump rope

February 11th, 2010

Made in China
Found at a dollar store on Divisidero here in SF.

Why it’s just magicall, isn’t it!

WTF: Bell Plumbing advertisement

January 13th, 2010

I’ve been noticing some strange ads lately for a company called Bell Plumbing North here in San Francisco. Their ad is one major WTF after another.

And then some.

Here’s the ad in question:

bell plumbing

So there’s a smiling guy with the word PLUMBING in big red letters next to him. Not so strange… or is it?

Let’s look a little closer.

phone

Yes, that’s a phone. It’s an ad for plumbing, and he’s holding a phone. Not a pipe; a PHONE.

What does a phone have to do with plumbing? Everybody knows you can call a plumber on a phone, you don’t need this concept presented visually.

Is the idea that you can use a telephone to call a plumber particularly surprising to anyone? The add effectively states “we’re not like those other plumbing places where you have to send a telegram.”

But it gets stranger — look at his shirt.

shirt logo

Do you see what I see? Because what I see is this:

bell telephone

But wait… that’s the logo for Bell Telephone. The guy in the ad is wearing a phone company uniform. Does he work for the phone company during the day, and moonlight as a plumber at night?

Or perhaps he’s the customer. He’s a phone operator, and the men’s room at the phone company is flooding, so he’s calling a plumber.

No explanation could possibly be satisfactory.

Lastly, let’s look at where this company advertises.

telephone book

Yes… that’s the front cover of a phone book. They advertise on the PHONE BOOK. Phones… plumbing? Huh?

Where’s the connection? If they were a company that sold phones I would get it. But now I’m more confused than ever, and the circle of insanity is complete.

Bookmark: TheDailyWTF

August 1st, 2009

It wasn’t so much that Richard, a software engineer, sat in his cubical making animal noises all day — as it was that he was getting very little done.  And what he had been doing needed a sort of Rosetta Stone to explain.  If you never considered how one variable might be a “ghost” and another might be a “warrior,” and how each might be referred to  using a cryptic dialect you made up, then you must not be Richard.

There are many such tales of absurdity in the world of professional software development.  Richard’s boss, Taka, had to sort through that mess after Richard was let go.  In an industry that wavers between extreme stress and extreme boredom, it’s cathartic to here about someone who’s in a worse position than you.  And Taka is definitely one such engineer who knew about stress.

This aforementioned story, titled “A Peculilar System,” is one of many excellent tales collected by a programmer humor website called The Daily WTF.  I read their site religiously and find it educational, hilarious, and, well, calming — all at the same time.  If you’re a computer programmer with a sense of humor you’ll definitely enjoy The Daily WTF.

Here’s a few of my favorites from their site:

Bitten by the Enterprise Bug.  Why develop a simple in-house tool when a third party “consultant” can write the same application with substantially more complexity?

The Virtudyne Saga.  Sure, there’s Microsoft Office.  But you’ve got a lot of money and could do better, right?  Warning: several pages long, and completely insane.

Just a Wiring Problem.  You’re familiar with the term “ad-hoc network”?  Well if this network isn’t ad-hoc, I don’t know what is.  If you’ve ever done any type of IT or repair for a living, and dealt with crazy clients, you can relate to this story.