Sturgeon’s Law

Ninety Per­cent Of Every­thing Is Crap


Derived from a quote by sci­ence fic­tion author Theodore Stur­geon, who once said, “Sure, 90% of sci­ence fic­tion is crud. That’s because 90% of every­thing is crud.” Oddly, when Sturgeon’s Law is cited, the final word is almost invari­ably changed to ‘crap’.

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Six Weeks Old

I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again, if Donna’s sis­ter didn’t live in Florida we wouldn’t come here. I would be will­ing to admit that that atti­tude does play a role in our dis­like of vis­it­ing the state. We have vis­ited many beau­ti­ful spots and enjoyed the state, but we have seen pretty much all of that we want to. Here is a lit­tle sce­nario from yes­ter­day morning’s drive down that illus­trates why we would rather avoid the the state.

We stopped for gas at the usual kind of exit off I-95 (see pre­vi­ous post) and while I was top­ping the tank Donna went inside to get a hot choco­late and a Peo­ple mag­a­zine to read while it was my turn to drive. She came back out with the mag­a­zine, but no drink. The place had a nice machine for var­i­ous kinds of hot choco­late, but all that came out into the cup was a stream of light tan, to mostly clear in color, steam­ing water. She showed it to the per­son behind the counter and told him that she wasn’t pay­ing for that and some­one should fix that machine. She did get her Peo­ple magazine.

She came out of the store while I was still pump­ing gas. I wanted to wash the dead bugs off the wind­shield too, but had to wait to do it after fill­ing the tank because I had to stand there and hold the han­dle to keep the gas flow­ing, the auto shut­off lever was busted. With still a while to go before we would be ready to roll, I sug­gested that she go next door to McDon­alds and get the hot choco­late as they have that McCafe thing that serves all those starbucks-like drinks and would have what it.

Just as I was fin­ish­ing clean­ing the win­dow, up walked Donna with­out a hot choco­late. When she had got to the counter and the asso­ciate asked what she wanted, she told him and he was dumb­founded. He turned to another per­sonn behind the counter, “Do we make Hot Choco­late?” She looked back at him like he was speak­ing French. Donna decided that even if they could find some­one back there who knew that they did in fact have hot choco­late on the menu, the chances of any­one actu­ally know­ing how to make it were pretty slim, so turned around and left.

With us both in the car, the tank topped and the wind­shield trans­par­ent, I started to drive out of the gas sta­tion lot for the 1/2 mile, 10 minute trip back to I-95. It was then she noticed the date on her new Peo­ple mag­a­zine, July 14, 2014, or about 6 weeks ago!

65,000 Floridians Waiting At A Light

The Pur­ple Whale clicked past the 65,000 mile mark just before we got off I-95 to head into Palm City, Florida. This is about the fourth trip down to visit Donna’s sis­ter in as many months and we are start­ing to get the hang of it. It is still a long dang trip, but each suc­ces­sive time it seems to get easier.

The part that we still despise is the side trip off the Inter­state to get gas, snacks, a meal or a rest room break. Invari­ably there is a traf­fic sig­nal at the end of the off-ramp with a No Turn On Red sign in which we have to wait 2 or 3 min­utes to turn in our favor. Then we race 100 yards or so to be stopped at another light with the same or longer wait for the cross traf­fic left turns, the cross traf­fic straight across traf­fic, then we wait for our left turn­ers before we can finally pro­ceed. Some­times we even have to wait through yet another light a 1/4 mile fur­ther down the road before we reach where we want to be. Then we repeat the process all over again to get back to the Interstate.

I think this adds at least 20 extra min­utes on top of what­ever time it takes to com­plete what we got off the high­way for…

2014 Draft Day for the EZEFFL

I Drafted in the 7th posi­tion, didn’t pay atten­tion to a player’s Bye Week (as you can tell) and I’m pretty sure I’ve totally mucked it up. But if I man­age to win just half the games I play, I’ll fin­ish at least two games bet­ter, record-wise, than last year. And then maybe light­ning will strike twice, and I win the last 4 games and get to keep the Cham­pi­onship Tro­phy in my cubicle.

PURPLE WHALES
Player Pos. Bye
QB Pey­ton Man­ning, Den QB 4
RB Arian Fos­ter, Hou RB 10
RB DeAn­gelo Williams, Car RB 12
WR Andre John­son, Hou WR 10
WR DeSean Jack­son, Wsh WR 10
TE Julius Thomas, Den TE 4
FLEX Hakeem Nicks, Ind WR 10
D/ST Sea­hawks D/ST 4
K Gra­ham Gano, Car K 12
Bench Ste­van Rid­ley, NE RB 10
Bench Fred Jack­son, Buf RB 9
Bench Cecil Shorts, Jac WR 11
Started down, up, down, up, down, up, down, still down.
Miata Top Tran­si­tions since 10/24/08: 1416

Wrest of the Week Wrap

Shappire Valley

Wednes­day: Top down morn­ing drive, work, top up drive home, watch Red Sox lose on MLB.tv

Thurs­day: Top down morn­ing drive, work, top up drive home, watch Red Sox lose on MLB.tv

Fri­day: Hawai­ian Shirt Day, ride tan­dem to work, ride tan­dem home, watch Red Sox lose on MLB.tv

Sat­ur­day: Top down morn­ing drive, lunch in High­lands, NC, top up drive home, watch Red Sox lose on MLB.tv

Sun­day: Top down morn­ing drive, rollerblade around the block, gro­cery shop, watch Red Sox lose on MLB.tv

Started up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, still down.
Miata Top Tran­si­tions since 10/24/08: 1410

144,444

144,444

As promised 2,144,444 sec­onds ago (24 days, 19 hours, 40 min­utes, 44 sec­onds) here is a pic­ture of the Emperor’s dash last night after we pulled over into a church park­ing lot.

When we got home from work yes­ter­day and parked in the garage, I noticed the ODO read­ing was 144420, so I told Donna we needed to go for a 24 mile drive after din­ner. “Twist my arm,” she said. It was much past din­ner time and almost ready for bed time when I twisted it. We headed south on Banks Mill, took White Pond over to Whiskey Road and started back towards home. We we still about 5 miles from return­ing home when the dig­its changed to 144444 and I had just shy of a mile to find a spot to stop.

253,670,400 sec­onds ago the Emperor’s odome­ter read just 44,444 miles. That is 8 years and 2 weeks in the past and if you take the 100k miles and divide it by the num­ber days elapsed you get an aver­age of a touch over 34 miles a day.

It took the Pur­ple Whale 1192 days to get to 44,444 which equates to about 37–1/4 miles a day aver­age. At that rate it will be 7 years, 4 months, 4 days, 13 hours, 45 min­utes and 46 sec­onds, which is Jan­u­ary 5, 2022, to get to 144,444.

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Tran­si­tions since 10/24/08: 1403

2014 Bug Splat

Bug Splat

When Donna and I ate at the Apizza di Napoli a week or so before the Bug Splat I told the owner that we would be there at 6:30 the fol­low­ing Sat­ur­day night and would prob­a­bly bring about 15–20 people.

It dawned on me the day before the event that I had 6:00PM listed as the start time on the Club’s Cal­en­dar, so I called the restau­rant just before I left work and spoke to one of the women who work there and said that the arrival time was really 6:00 not the pre­vi­ously stated 6:30 and that there would be 15 peo­ple, plus or minus 5.

Lit­tle did I know, that when relayed to the owner, the mes­sage became plus or minus 5 peo­ple would be attend­ing. They tried to call me back at work for clar­i­fi­ca­tion, but I had already left. The owner is friends with the Prez so he called Larry and Larry told him it would be a lot more like 20 peo­ple show­ing up.

They set up three tables, two with 6 and one with 8, but that couldn’t con­tain us. We ended up fill­ing nearly every table in the joint (except for the big one behind us that was reserved for a birth­day party) and a cou­ple booths as well with the 34(1) Club mem­bers who showed up.

On the drive our conga line of Miatas stretched as far as the eye could see. But most of the time I could only see about half of them in the rearview mir­ror because of all the turns and curves in the roads mak­ing it hard to ensure we were not los­ing any­one. Amaz­ingly enough we stayed pretty much together for the whole 34 miles, through 18 turns (4 of them lefts) and 8 traf­fic lights with only an occa­sional non-Miata get­ting in line with us. The evening sky turned pretty col­ored and the tem­per­a­ture eased into the lower 80’s mak­ing for a very pleas­ant drive over­all. The only thing that was not up to snuff about the rally was the lack of bugs.

I’ve lamented the lack of real bugs and/or their splats for the last few years and maybe this is just the old timer in me that thinks, “Back in my day the bugs were big­ger and more plen­ti­ful,” but when the Biggest Bug Tro­phy goes to some­one that has the 3/16″ long car­cass of a mayfly stuck to their head­light, that would look small if it was stuck to the tro­phy itself (2), then the Miata Insect Killing World is going to heck in a hand basket.

The judg­ing for Most, Fewest and Clos­est to the Dot prizes were based on the amount and loca­tion of noth­ing more than the small white puffs left behind by pass­ing through a cloud of unseen and unknown species. Bob & Pat Tar­rant won the Fewest Bug prize because their car was white mak­ing the lit­tle puffs seem nonex­is­tent. Larry & Rita Gar­ner nabbed the Most Bugs prize by virtue of their dark Mon­tego Blue color car. Sue & Dave Woomer had a white puff smack in the mid­dle of the green Avery dot on the nose of their car thereby tak­ing home the Clos­est to the Dot Prize. The Woomers were also the own­ers of that small mayfly and as such have the honor of dis­play­ing the Biggest Bug Tro­phy on their fire­place man­tle until next year.

Next year I am going to look into hir­ing some kids with a pickup truck to drive the route a few min­utes ahead of us and have them toss hand­fuls of crick­ets and grasshop­pers in the grass at cer­tain inter­vals and maybe one or two Ele­phant Bee­tles for good measure.

1. That num­ber is a guess from Pres­i­dent Gar­ner and does not reflect an actual count. I was told 13 cars did the drive, but this hearsay and not an actual count either. Let’s do some cipherin’ and see if we can make the math work. Assum­ing there were 13 cars on the drive that meant 25 peo­ple (one car had just a dri­ver) din­ing. There were 2 cou­ples in their OTMs as their Miatas were down for main­te­nance, this makes 29. There was another cou­ple who dined only and then went home, mak­ing 31 peo­ple. But one car was a late arrival, so sub­tract 2, giv­ing us only 29 Miatan­ites who ate at the restau­rant. Not 34, but that’s closer than my guess of, “a lot.”

2. This in no way should be taken that I’m dimin­ish­ing the skill and effort of the dri­ver and nav­i­ga­tor of said win­ning car in pluck­ing this obvi­ously very scarce insect from the air.

New To Math Too

Fri­day night Donna and I ran the route for the MMC’s Bug Splat Rally that we were spear­head­ing on Sat­ur­day night. The drive would start after din­ner at Apizza di Napoli in Aiken and end up at a Sonic in North Augusta after 34 miles of zig­ging around. Most of the roads we were tak­ing peo­ple on were famil­iar to us, but 2 of the dozen or so on the route, we had never been on before. We wanted to be sure there wasn’t any con­struc­tion or sur­prises for us to stum­ble upon while lead­ing a group of Miatas. Plus, we needed to make sure we’d rec­og­nize the turns onto the ones we had never dri­ven on before.

When we fin­ished our dry run up at the Sonic we thought maybe we would sam­ple a bit of ice cream. You know, just to be sure the qual­ity hadn’t suf­fered any since last year. Rather than sit in the car when at Sonic, we usu­ally sit at the table and chairs out front where it is bet­ter for peo­ple watch­ing. Both order­ing stands had a group in front of them and after lis­ten­ing to both sets try and fig­ure who wanted what for a while, our lack of patience for this sort of inep­ti­tude from small fam­ily units pre­sented with so many choices at din­ing estab­lish­ments that they are over­whelmed, took hold and we left.

There was a Bruster’s Ice Cream stand just up the road, so we thought we’d give them a shot at our frozen dessert busi­ness. We got lucky there as the fam­ily group­ing was already sit­ting about with their ice cream in their hands. Donna ordered a small choco­late in a cup and I ordered a small Almond Choco­late Coconut in a cup. Our young server ducked to the left, rang us up on the cash reg­is­ter and reported back with the total, “That’ll be six dol­lars and twenty-four cents.” I didn’t have enough ones to make it to six, so I handed her a ten dol­lar bill and said, “Wait, I’ve got some change.” I added a quar­ter to her hand.

I could see this young woman through the win­dow as she strug­gled to make the change. She picked up some bills. She put some back. She picked up some coins. She put some back. Donna looked at me and asked, “What’s tak­ing so long.” “She’s mak­ing change,” I replied with a lop­sided grin on my face. She gave a look that I knew was going to lead to more anx­i­ety for our hap­less ice cream server, so I held up my hand to hold her back for a while. Server came back to the win­dow with 3 one dol­lar bills, two quar­ters and a penny. Both of as said, “That’s not right,” at about the same time. She called some­one over to help her out. After a minute or so see came to the win­dow and handed me four ones and a penny. “Sorry,” she said, “I’m new here.”

New to math too, I thought, but didn’t say.