Posts Tagged ‘wtf’

Tandoori pipe

March 4th, 2012

Tandoori oven

Don’t have a tandoori oven? Turns out you can sort of make a ghetto-rigged tandoori from an old chimney pipe. But good luck getting the nann to stick. And try not to burn yourself.


July 26th, 2011


Spotted at Church St. Station.

Growing Green Babies

March 14th, 2011

I was in the customer service line at Safeway when I spotted this unusually-titled DVD.

Growing Green Babies

Not sure what this movie is about, but I imagine there’s a lab where mad scientists grow babies — of what species I’m not entirely sure, but perhaps human judging from the box art — and their growing process contains some kind of DNA modification to ensure they come out green.

The box doesn’t say who directed it, but if I had to guess I’d go with David Cronenberg.

Beings Of Nibber Glux Six

January 19th, 2011

Back in the winter of 2004 when I was in college — and perhaps more than a bit stoned — I created a short-lived comic strip series called “Beings Of Nibber Glux Six.”

Here they are, reprinted, in their long-forgotten glory.

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Human bodies: the missing features

November 10th, 2010

There’s a lot of things I’d change about the way our bodies work if I could. We could be so much better. So what would I change?

I’m going to forgo the obvious here. There’s no need to discuss superpowers, infinite lifespans, Matrix-style brain plugs, regenerative limbs, the ability to run 100 MPH, etc. My new features are more unique and immediately practical. Sort of.

Here’s my new features.

Detachable teeth

Even a dentist would agree that going to the dentist sucks. But why? It’s not like anyone wants to have dirty, rotting teeth. No, the problem is the dental experience. Even the best dentist can’t magically make you feel great about having various painful implements stuffed into your mouth.

So if your jaw had a lever that removed your teeth, wouldn’t that be perfect? The dentist could just work on your teeth and you’d pick them up in an hour.

Now I know what you’re thinking — how is this different from dentures? Well first of all they’d be your natural teeth, so they’d fit much better and would come free with the rest of your body. But second, there would be no glues or weird odors or special tablets. The important thing here is you don’t smell like a grandfather.

Sleep timer

Picture this: you go to bed with eight hours to spare before you have to get up the next morning. But once you crawl into bed, you can’t get to sleep! Dammit!

What if instead of having an alarm, we had a way of setting our brains to automatically wake up at a certain time? This way you’d never have to worry about being late for something, plus you’d never have to worry about waking up too soon either because you’d sleep right up until the timer went off.

Of course there might be some issues, like you’d need a way to override the timer if a bear was attacking your children or your boss called, and a way to change your clock for daylight savings. But these are minor details… I guess.


You can close your eyes. Why can’t you close your ears?

Think about how useful this would be — you could close your ears for sirens, at a loud concert, or even to prevent things from getting in your ear. Hearing loss and ear infections would be far less common.

Plus if someone was bitching at you, you could close your ears and think about how much you hate them.

Pain switch

Sometimes, pain is a good thing. For example, if you break your leg, pain lets you know that you need to go to the hospital.

But around puberty, we all start experiencing pain that doesn’t help us. Growing pains, headaches, backaches… and as you get older, it only gets worse. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just switch it off when we didn’t need it?

Ideally we could just switch off specific pain signals. So if you had a headache, you could turn that off, but you’d still know if you had a scrape and needed a bandage.

(Credit for the pain switch goes to Robert Anton Wilson.)

Eye focus knob

Eyes get out of focus? You would never need glasses if you had a knob to adjust the focus setting.

Sure, your eyes would still focus automatically even with the knob. But it would change the default in case it got out of whack.

Now you might say, “okay dude, but why not just have 20/20 vision?” Ah, well here’s the cool thing about a focus knob: you could use it to tune out. Bored in class? Just unfocus your eyes until the world is a gray blob, sit back, and pretend to be paying attention.

Baby door

Painful vaginal birth or a surgical cesarean section? How about neither? Women would just have a door on their bellies that unlocked and opened so the baby could be taken out.

Before anyone e-mails me and says this one is obvious, I sort of agree. If you’re a woman who’s given birth, I’m sure you’ve thought of this one. But I’m a guy, so this is original for me. So let’s give credit where credit is due, k?

Large diameter pee pipe

I’ve saved the best for last. Sure, it’s similar to the last one, but hear me out.

When you urinate, you’re basically squeezing out a balloon of liquid through a very, very small pipe. Due to the small diameter of the pipe, it takes quite a while to go pee. But why should it be this way?

So let’s have a bigger pipe for peeing. Or maybe a zipper or lid that we could open so all the pee could exit at once. Zip, splash, flush, and you’re done in 2 seconds.

Best part is, the whole issue with… um… *crosses legs* stones (ouch) would no longer be a threat to mankind.

The Apple iBrik

June 23rd, 2010

Copy and paste? Multitasking? Folders?

These are old concepts; even on phones. But don’t tell Apple fans that the “new” features on their precious JesusPhone were on your Treo half a decade ago.

Likewise, Turkish coffee is over one thousand years old. But slap an Apple log on it and it’s exciting and new!

Behold the new Apple iBrik. It’s shiny and has an Apple logo, that’s all that matters.

How to fix Muni Metro

June 14th, 2010

A few years ago, I moved closer to a Bart station simply so I could get to work on time. While Muni Metro has the potential to be a great system, it simply didn’t work for me for any other situation where I needed to get somewhere on time.

The problems I experienced with the Metro are systemic but not intractable. Here’s a few “no duh” solutions to fix Muni Metro.

At the very least, riders need to know when they’re going to be late. When there’s problems on the Metro, the control center needs a way to notify everyone that there’s a delay.

Riders should be notified of what type of delay occurred and be given an estimate for how long the delay will take. This means direct communication with people in trains and people waiting at station platforms. Ideally, bus stops would have this information as well.

Muni has no excuse for failing at this; Bart does this VERY well! During a delay, the Bart control center announces the delay to all stations and on all train loudspeakers. Why can’t Muni Metro do the same?

Being a combined streetcar/subway system, there’s many places where traffic interacts with Metro trains. These areas slow trains unpredictably.

The intersection at West Portal and Ulloa and the intersection at Duboce and Church both see multiple Metro lines exit the tunnel and enter the street. These two places are also notorious for 10 minute+ delays.

Why? Because both intersections have stop signs. Drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists compete with trains in getting through these intersections, often darting in front of trains. Adding a traffic light at both intersections would at least make the delays minor and predictable.

Secondly, other intersections could be improved. A traffic light at Cole and Carl would speed up the N-Judah line slightly. The area where the M-Oceanview crosses 19th Ave has a light, but drivers often block the tracks. A light timing adjustment here would help immensely to get drivers off the blocked section. Failing that, cops should be dispatched to give tickets to motorists who (illegally!) stop on the tracks.

Door malfunctions
When I lived in the Sunset, malfunctioning doors on the train were a source of delays for me on a weekly basis. On some trains, the doors simply won’t close when the train is on an incline. This is unacceptable in a city as hilly as San Francisco.

The doors NEED to somehow be fixed so they can close. This seems like a maintenance no-brainer.

Train spacing
Train spacing solves two problems: being trapped in a tunnel and waiting too long for a train.

When there’s problems with trains ahead of you, riders shouldn’t be trapped on a stationary train in a tunnel. They should be brought to the next station and given the choice to get out and take a bus. A major reason this happens is because there’s too many trains in the tunnel for everyone to arrive at a station platform and get off. In other words, the tunnel is over capacity. The control center could have prevented this, but rarely does.

Likewise, at surface stops you occasionally see several trains go by in a row. This indicates the trains weren’t spaced correctly.

Unlike buses, spacing can and should be resolved in the tunnel. When trains turn around, if there’s three L-Taravals in a row, at least one of them should be changed to a different line. If there hasn’t been a J-Church in the past 20 minutes, why not make it a J-Church? The train control operators can simply change the destination of any train at the Embarcadero switchback. But more often that not, they don’t.

Unfortunately, these problems are obvious to the riders of Muni Metro. Why hasn’t Muni taken action? Are the directors of the MTA unaware of these issues? Do they not care? I can’t tell.

What’s going on, Muni?

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.