Tag Archives: child safety

Color Design: It Could Save Lives Or Be Horribly, Horribly Misused

The horror! The horror!What the hell is wrong with people?

And by people, I mean everyone else but me.

So, you guys.

You know who you are.

People who don’t look over their shoulders before changing lanes.

Thieves who break into my car, the one I can’t lock up because of Idiot A above.

Clerks at Lucky who ignore the “Three’s a crowd” rule, thus keeping me in the store long enough for Idiot B above to break into my car and steal all the expensive electronics I left on the dash.

You’re on my list now, Idiots A, B, and C. And you too, dashboard. Being inanimate will save no one! Take it from me, as someone who’s on my list, you don’t want to be there.

But mostly it’s the people at Kensington.

Why them?

Because they made a power strip.

A power strip that has friendly, Otter Pops-colored outlets on it.

As everyone knows, nothing says, “Come here and lick me” to a toddler quite like an Otter Pop-colored object.

Oh sure, they're all smiles and clever mustaches, but little do you know how quickly they'll turn on you!

Would you look at this and expect to get zapped with 1.21 gigawatts of electricity if you licked it?

Usually, these objects turn out to be mostly harmless Otter Pops, and not fully energized electrical outlets.

But not when the fine designers bent on infanticide at Kensington are on the job.

How do I know this is a sinister plot rather than some misguided belief by the folks at Kensington that people using this power strip won’t have children?

Because the packaging is totally opaque. No clear plastic window to show you the festively colored power strip that will tempt your inquisitive toddlers to their doom, to warn you off to some all-beige knock-off that’s also a third the price (and ‘VL-Listed’ instead of ‘UL-Listed’, whatever that means).

“But Ian,” you’re tempted to point out, “the box does say, right on the front, ‘Color Coded Rings.’”

Shut up. Also, I refute your feeble argument thusly:

It does not say ‘Otter Pop-colored Color Coded Rings That Will Draw Young Children To Them Like Ants To Store Clerks Staked Into the Ground With Honey Poured All Over Them.’

For all I can tell looking at the plain white box with its unassuming blue print, the colors are white, off-white, eggshell, alabaster, gray, and black! Nothing on the box says to me, “WARNING: Deep, vivid colors that will scream out to your children to stick forks into the candy-coated delicious sockets!”

Why do we even need colors on a power strip anyway? Is the electricity that much better when it flows through bright colors?

What the heck, people? Am I supposed to bear the heavy responsibility of keeping my kids safe? In addition to the Herculean effort I spend in the much more important task of keeping myself out of harm’s way?

Hell, it’s all I can do to keep myself from tripping and falling onto one of my kids. Ever since they learned to walk, they’re underfoot, grabbing onto my leg and burbling something about loving me.

And since I’m often juggling knives or flaming torches, it’s really important I don’t fall on anyone, let alone my kids.

Goes down like kerosene, comes back up like gasoline

Nowhere does it warn about making my breath flammable.

Now that I think about it, I should probably stop drinking so heavily. At least when I juggle. One of these days a torch is going to set off my breath and I’ll inadvertently flambé the family dog or one of the kiddos.

Do those torches or bottles of Jack have warning labels about this possibility? No. Of course not. Lazy torch-makers and distillers. They have no shred of human decency.

Or is it laziness? I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a conspiracy afoot to prevent my genes from propagating. That would be very short-sighted of Humanity.

But on the slim chance that this inane failure to protect my kids is inadvertent, that everyone out there thinks I’ve got my kids’ safety in hand, I have just one thing to say:

That’s the most irresponsible presumption I’ve ever heard.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
My books are available!

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

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So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)


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Writer Hulk SMASH Smashwords!

Why does this man's voice make women weak at the knees?

Benedict Cumberbatch (not) naked – you people searching for those images need to get a life. Seriously. His voice, however? To die for…

Whenever I have a bad day, I try to remember my cousin Rupert.

In addition to being nerdy, desperately lonely, and in high school, he has parents who felt it appropriate to name him Rupert.

I will not reveal his middle name, except to say it starts with a ‘T’ and ends with an ‘iberius.’

Parents can be cruel idiots. Just like the jocks who beat Rupert up. A lot.

And it isn’t just the jocks whaling on him.

(Girls are cruel too, and holy crap, they fight dirty.)

Six months ago, things for Rupert took a turn for the worst. The star quarterback on the school’s football team convinced a bunch of linebackers that it would be a big boost to school spirit if they threw Rupert into the stadium during a game.

Rupert landed on his head.  He was in a coma for a week.

When he woke up, Rupert had undergone a complete transformation.

Of his accent.

He went from his slightly nasally, West Coast dialect to having the accent of a man doing a presentable impression of Benedict Cumberbatch.

This did little for his health and well-being around the jocks who weren’t awaiting trial for felony assault and battery. Those footballers still at liberty had it in for him the moment the team’s best players were suspended and brought up on charges.

The accent was just a gift as far as they were concerned.

And who can blame them? First name Rupert, ponce British accent – even I felt an overwhelming urge to shove my fist into his gob-hole when I visited him at the hospital.

On the other hand, the accent has made him very popular with the ladies.

Which is a pity, since he’s gay.

I have to wonder what kind of impotent force in the Universe would take a young man, ensure his life involves beatings, humiliations, and hospitalizations, and then repays him for these indignities by making him irresistible to the gender he has absolutely no interest in.

I was thinking about this today as I surveyed my lawn and quietly wept.

I mowed it this morning. I hate mowing, as I’ve mentioned here before. But after mowing it, with the sun beating down, I spent forty-five minutes creeping up and down the length of the lawn, on hands and knees, carrying a large plastic bag and dumping every single dog turd I came across into that bag.

I don’t do this very often. The bag was very heavy when I was done.

I wanted to make the lawn safe for my kids to play on.

The same kids who, a few days earlier, had knocked a bunch of loquats out of the loquat tree with a broom.

Loquats the dog ate as I was cleaning up all the turds.

The dog that got the runs because he ate so many loquats.

And back to the kids who chased the dog with the runs because of the loquats up and down, back and forth across the lawn.

After I cleaned up all the turds.

A pointless, demeaning exercise in futility that makes me want to shove a gun in my mouth and spray my brains all over that damned dog.

This is exactly how I feel every time I try to use Smashwords to publish one of my books.

I’d been hoping to make an announcement here for about a month and a half about a free book, but in order to make it free on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I have to publish it through Smashwords and wait for it to go through the Premium Distribution channel.

Twice now, I’ve been told my cover’s aspect ratio is unacceptable.

It takes about three weeks for Smashwords to figure out there’s a problem with the aspect ratio. This in itself is very frustrating.

The cover must be a vertical rectangle with a height > (width +100).

My cover was 2580 pixels high and 2416 pixels wide. As an engineer, I took this to mean I met the requirements. I actually plugged the values into the formula, and 2580 is greater than (2416+100).

At least using real math. I don’t know what kind of math Smashwords uses.

Perhaps they employ a form of non-Euclidean geometry…

So imagine my surprise when, three weeks later, I got the same error.

I guess my mistake was thinking ‘high’ was equivalent to ‘height.’ Boy, is my face red.

I’ve cleaned the gun. I’ve got the dog chained to a post within what I calculate will be the spray zone. Now I just have to wait another three weeks to see what additional nonsense Smashwords will sprew at me to trigger the suicidal final gesture.

I have to admit to a certain amount of curiosity. I’m hoping for some new form of obscene illogic, rather than the same old same old.

But mostly I just want to mail all my lawn scrapings to Smashwords’ corporate office.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
My books are now available!
Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE! Yes, I’ve mentioned it in the ads, but wanted to do an actual, dedicated blog post about it for weeks now. Thanks a lot, Smashwords, you box of bastards!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)


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