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I’m not getting older, dammit! The world is just getting darker!

So I have a problem. One that requires more than a little blue pill to resolve.

Oh, if only a pill could solve this problem!

Or, for that matter, even a suppository.

I am deeply saddened to report that when it gets dark, and I mean very, very dark, I can’t see.

This is particularly disturbing because I do my best work at night. When it’s, you know, dark.

Yes, when my body most desperately needs to rest and rejuvenate itself, my brain is all, “Hold my beer.”

But in a good, non-alcoholic, non-electoral sort of way.

As you might be starting to suspect, I wrote this entry during the day. But I had no choice, given I can’t see at night.

You see, since everyone else in my household have brains that listen to their bodies, they’re all asleep at night.

Or should be. Get back to bed right now, Kiddo!

Sorry about that. Because of this (nearly) mass slumber, I can’t just flip on all the lights, crank up the volume on my .mod files, and take care of business.

Oh no. Everyone else in my household gets cranky when I turn the productivity up to 11 past, well, eleven. Suddenly the Missus and the one kiddo who actually does sleep at night are making snide remarks about needing rest and don’t I have work in the morning and look you’re making the dogs bark and oh my gawd what is that racket you are listening to it should be illegal to distribute it!

(My hearing is fine. Spider by They Might Be Giants is meant to be listened to loud.)

In order to appease the Missus, I turn everything off, go to bed, and when dawn’s surly light finally returns, make yet another medical appointment.

My doctor always sort of wilts and sighs when he walks into the exam room and sees me, like a blow-up punching bag suddenly deflating after one punch too many, then mutters “Oh no, not again.”

While most people would see this reaction and think, “Uh oh, I must be really sick!” I’m not worried. I’ve been here before. Seen the doc about this many times. And after the poorly hidden but inevitable eye roll, he always tells me the same thing:

“Still not getting more exercise? I really think you should focus more on that. Not being able to see in the dark? That’s nothing to worry about. You’re just getting old. Try turning on the lights.”

I am not getting old!

And turn on the lights?? Did he not read the above paragraph about other people in the house wanting it dark so they can sleep?

Since modern medical science has cast me aside despite my numerous co-pays, I was forced to do my own research.

My own experiments.

And I figured it out.

(So start writing up those Nobel Prize nominations, in case they won’t accept my self-nomination.)

I’m not getting older. Nope.

The world…is getting darker.

Hear me out. Once you see the evidence you will drop your jaws in amazement.

(Or disbelief. But if you stay silent, I can still imagine it’s amazement. So hush.)

Here’s a modern-day keyboard. Notice anything about it, aside from the dirt?

Peek-a-boo, I can't see you, goddammit!

Who uses this? Members of the band Disaster Area?

That’s right. It’s super dark.

Here’s what it looks like at night with all the lights in the house in the mandated OFF position:

I see London, I see France, I do not see this freakin' keyboard

The real reason schools started mandating touch typing classes…

Now you can see my problem (or more specifically, can’t).

And don’t tell me to get a back-lit keyboard! I’ve tried that! They require you to press a key combo to turn on the back-lighting.

Can you see any of the keys in the dark on the above keyboard? Can you? Then how the hell am I supposed to see them, hmm?

Think about it. Their design solution when you can’t see the keyboard is to require you to hit specific keys on the keyboard so you can see the keys. On the keyboard! It’s Kafkaesque!

They’ll be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes, let me tell you!

But, I perceive you mumbling as you nervously edge away, what do keyboards have to do with my supposition that the world is getting darker?

Well, aside from black reflecting back less light into the environment (ergo, making the surrounding environment darker), we once had, long ago, better keyboards.

And by better I don’t mean clickier (though that was better too). I mean beige:

Seriously, does it get any better than an IBM mechanical keyboard?

If my sunglasses were handy, I’d put them on before using this keyboard

See what this pinnacle of keyboard engineering looks like in normal lighting? Compare that to yet another modern keyboard (this time grey):

The Great Computer Compromise of 1995 between IBM and Apple solved nothing and only punted down the road the final, disastrous decision to switch to black for computers and accessories that future generations would lament for all time.

“We think beige is too bright. Waa waa. If black is too dark, how about we meet in the middle and try gray?” No. Just no.

But check it out what happened when I photographed my, if the Keyboard Industrial Complex PR hacks are to be believed, “old, tired, and passé” vintage keyboard in the dark.

WTFtl;dr! It actually got brighter:

OK, even I agree that white is too bright. Turn it up to beige AND THEN STOP!

CAPS LOCK on because DAMN IT, YES, I’M EXCITED ABOUT THIS KEYBOARD! AND NO COLLUSION! TOTALLY NO COLLUSION! COVFEFE!

Beige is a color I can type on in the dark. Because with beige, the cold encroachment of darkness is stopped in its sneaky, disabling tracks. I can look down and see the damn keys I need to press and then press them.

Presto! No back-light, front-light, or side-light required.

And it’s not just the keyboard. Tell me, how am I going to find that black CD eject button, cleverly placed, of course, right next to the black power button, on this particular, recently manufactured computer?

Stephen King's got nothin' on this scary beast

Hell, in this photo I have a spotlight on the chassis and I’m using a flash, and you still can’t see anything (except the dust bunny residue)!

But take away the above modern, fancy-pants, 1080p, USB 3.0, multi-core and multi-threaded (guess the color of the thread – hint: it’s BLACK) super computer and replace it with a late-80s, early-90s computer, and what do you get?

You get this, a right proper computing machine:

This. This I can effin' see.

The IBM “Just Try And Make The Room This Is In Dark” PS/2 P70. They don’t build ’em like this any more. Can’t afford to. Too much lead needed for the chassis.

That’s right. I closed the curtains, turned off the lights, and then tented the entire house (due to termites) before taking this picture, and it still looks like I’m standing outside on a bright summer day.

That’s how much frickin’ light beige computers give off!

Now it might be the termiticide talking, but I think I’d be able to use my computer at night just fine…if it were made out of beige. But sadly, as amazing as the above computer is, it does lack one feature deemed unnecessary in the 1980s and 1990s:

WiFi.


Do you have tales of horror trying to use an albedo-challenged computer in the wee hours? Share them in the comments so we can commiserate together and maybe put together a kickstarter to make a modern beige computer!

(Please comment. The Missus thinks I’m nuts and I need you to help me prove her wrong.)
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Nose Hair, Evolution, and String Theory: The Three Legs of Reality’s Stool

Yesterday, I had to replace my dead CRT television with a new flat screen.

Messed up TV image

The CRT's mode of failure inadvertently tapped into the military transmissions of a cartoon intent on taking over the world.

This naturally led me to thinking about nose hair.

The old TV was heavy and awkward and old, possibly like me, but I won’t confirm that for sure, even if my wife is making me run with her three times a week to improve our health.

When I dropped the TV, and it made that strange sproingy, hissy sound, well, it reminded me of all the odd noises my body has started to make lately over the course of a normal day.

Which made me start to think about nose hair.

You know how when you’re young, your nose hair is all neat and black and not trying to creep out of your nose and repel members of the opposite sex?

Yeah, I remember those days. Sigh.

Fortunately, I managed to get married before the nose hair went crazy.

(You get ear hair too when you’re older, though I’m not there…yet!)

It’s also a cruel irony that as men develop this … excess … nose (and ear) hair, they tend to develop a … deficit … of head hair at the same time.

I started to wonder why on earth men get crazy nose hair (and ear hair (and who-knows-what-else hair I have in store for me)) as they get older. Then I figured it out.

Immunity.

As we get older, our immune systems start getting weaker, more susceptible to things. Well, things we aren’t already immune to (like scathing irony). To compensate, our body tries to make it harder for germs and such to get in our bodies. The approach is two-fold.

Physical protection: the hair in our noses (and ears) gets thick and unruly to filter out any of the larger nasties bouncing about in the air. A ‘None Shall Pass’ approach that only a deftly handled sword could penetrate.

Social un-networking (or decoupling): these rats’ nests hanging out of our noses (and ears) make us physically repulsive, so polite people shy away from us and less polite people run screaming in the opposite direction.  An excellent barrier to contracting STDs, among other things.

This nose hair immune system ‘shield’ is a rather brilliant design, stunning in its simplicity and effectiveness. Therefore, evolution is real. Q.E.D.

Wow. I just proved evolution is fact. I have ensured my place in history.

(And on a few hate lists too, no doubt.)

I would think women have the same issues with nose (and ear) hair, though if they do, they’ve certainly circled their wagons and ensured I never hear anything about extraneous hair issues affecting the fairer sex.

I think this is terribly unfair. Men have to get these awful, noisy nose (and ear) hair clippers as they get older, or wrestle with these tiny, impotent little scissors, and have to primp and pull and pick while standing at awkward angles in front of a mirror.

But women? Nothing! They just gracefully fade into old age.

It is so not fair.

Oh sure, I’ve heard the rumblings. The physicists positing that nose (and ear) hair plays a critical role in String Theory (and therefore men, being the only carriers of nose (and ear) hair, play a critical role in String Theory). I don’t care if it’s true (and the evidence is quite convincing thus far).

It’s still unsightly.

It’s still ghastly.

It still causes my children to retreat from me, wailing and screaming, if I approach before my morning ‘shave’.

Therefore, I demand justice! I demand the doctors and pharmacists of the world start looking for a cure for excessive male nose (and ear) hair. I demand governments put aside vast amounts of research monies to fund this search! There must be a cure! If Hair Club for Men can give me (er, I mean, men in general, ahem) a full head of hair, there must be a way to give men a neat and trim nasal passage!

Only then will I be able to breathe easy.

On a slightly related note, I’ve also discovered that you cannot snort Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (hardback or paperback). Not directly, mind you (nose hair, remember?), but through a third-party. I have pictorial evidence of this, but thus far have been utterly unable to obtain the necessary releases to post the picture. But I assure you, it cannot be done!

(At least, if the book is intact).

 
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Posted by on 1 September 2011 in Conspiracies Out To Get Me, Life

 

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