Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I had a friend in college who figured out a way to scam her way out of a very early and very boring lecture class. It was so simple and worked all too well. You see, it was much too early in the morning for her to actually arrive to class on time, so she would show up two or three minutes before the end of class. And in the commotion of the exiting students, she would quietly slip in, sign her name on the attendance sheet posted in the back of the room and slip out with the rest of the crowd, happily going to her next class.

This worked for her all semester, except once. She overslept. She missed her window, the sheet, students and professor were gone by the time she showed up. Not wanting to look like a bad student, she planned on seeing the professor during office hours to explain that she was, in fact, in class that morning and realized she had walked out without signing the attendance sheet. However, before she had the chance to visit him in his office, fate stepped in and put the two of them in the right place at the right time. Call it Serendipity. She just happened to run into him by the campus food court and immediately seized her opportunity. Explaining her position, her name, the time of the class, how much she enjoyed the lecture that morning, on and on. The professor looked at her and said "Wow...I must say [NAME WITHHELD], you're a better student than anyone...Because we didn't have class this morning."


Nervous Laughter.



That's right, class was cancelled, since she hadn't seen anyone from the class, she had no way of knowing. Several months afterward she told me that the incident had shaken her so deeply, the humiliation so overwhelming that she couldn't mention the incident for three weeks after it happened. It wasn't surprising, to me or to her, that she ended up having to repeat the class. That, of course had nothing to do with the fact that she never actually attended a lecture.

Friday, September 26, 2003

I apologize to QuickSilver for not answering this sooner.

I just happened to stumble upon his question...part of my "Ask Me Anything" series in which you fellow bloggers write in to ask me questions on anything you can think of.

QuickSilver writes:
who invented the cubicle? Are they still alive? Where do they live if they are?

BitterTree answers:

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Bob Propst invented the cubicle way back in 1968. Metropolis Magazine did a fascinating story on the history of the Cubicle, Bob Propst's role in its development and corporate America's greed that's turned a revolutionary idea into the bane of millions of workers around the country.

Sadly, Bob Propst is no longer living; He passed away in 2000.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Another 'test' dream last night. This was an important test. I tried to study with some friends. I tried. We had to walk through a spooky abandoned school to get to the classroom to take the test. I struggled for the first hour or so, surfing the web, reading other things, just general distraction, but decided I really needed to buckle down and get through the test, since I knew last and most difficult part of the test, two essays, were yet to come. I never got to them. My alarm went off.

But I can't help but wonder this morning, what's with the testing? If you're one who think dreams have some meaning, hidden, coded or otherwise, to your waking life, then surely this must be symbolic of some test in my life now, right?

If you're one that thinks dreams are just the body's way of 'fooling' the mind into thinking it's awake so it won't actually wake up, thus allowing you to keep sleeping, then this is nothing more than a random firing of neurons...nothing more.

Either way, there's one thing I have realized from these last two night dreaming of tests. It's not fun going back to high school...in a dream or in reality.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

This past Sunday I got myself a spiffy new cell phone, plan and number. All were terribly outdated. Tonight I received my first wrong number on my new cell phone. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello?
Wrong Number: (inebriated) Laaaaaaarry....
Me: Excuse me?
Wrong Number: (inebriated) Is Laaaaaarry there?
Me: I'm sorry, you have the wrong number.
Wrong Number: (inebriated) Oh, I'm SORRY man!
Me: No Problem
Wrong Number: (inebriated) Oh...I'm SORRY...I'm on my friend's phone...The number was right above "Laura" you know?
Me: Yeah
Wrong Number: (inebriated) Well, I'm SORRY.
Me: No problem
Wrong Number: (inebriated) Okay, I'm SORRY.
Me: Okay, Bye.
Wrong Number: (inebriated) Bye Man!

Of course this got me thinking. There are so many things in my life that are covered with the fingerprints of others. For six months or a year into living in my old apartment, I was still receiving mail for "Moriarty." Not just catalogs and other 'junk mail' but important mail, IRS stuff, Bank stuff. I finally had to call the post office and complain. Of course the mail still came and now I had an angry postal worker delivering my mail... From time to time I receive mail at my current apartment for several ex-tenents, the bulk of which is for someone, coincidentally, named Larry.

A few months ago I got a call confirming a doctors appointment on my home telephone for a woman named Victoria. Not to mention, over the summer I was getting harrassing phone calls in the middle of the night. Victoria's ex-boyfriend, perhaps? Wrong numbers/information abound.

Ghosts really do surround us everyday. An interesting thought.

Strange strange dreams awakened me at this hour...

I was back in high school, maybe even college, taking an English test on some obscure story I hadn't studied for. I was talking with the teacher, explaining my answers when I found myself at a part of the story I knew was full of symbolism. "The bird", I explained "the one that watched the Dutch settlers destroy the trees in the forest of his home, stood for loneliness and isolation..." As I explained the allegory to the teacher I found myself actually IN the story. Being carried by the bird, high above the water, talons sharply piercing into my neck. I was paralyzed. I saw the Dutch settlers cutting the trees, I saw how the beach was now much bigger because of this deforestation. I couldn't do anything but watch. Then I was dropped. And I fell. And I tried to move, but I couldn't. And I kept falling. Until finally I splashed into sea below...waking up to very real goosebumps, sweat and a growling, empty, angry stomach.

Here I sit at 2:00am, blogging about this dream. I just ate so I'm feeling better in that sense, but I'm not very tired anymore. Maybe I should submit it to Dream Toons?

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

I found this while doing some research on the Food Network.

So funny...

This is a magic keyboard. Apparently it can cure cancer, Psoriasis and help you lose weight. Honest. Read the customer reviews.

It's surprising that the manufacturer doesn't mention that in their specs.

The world is a mysterious place.

On a related note, I wish I could talk like Humphrey Bogart. Perhaps I'll take up smoking and start wearing suits everywhere. My luck I'd end up talking like Peter Lorre.

I have a friend and devout reader of this blog who had the idea for this before we knew it existed. A quick search at the US Patent and trademark office revealed that this (or a similar device) was patented in March 2001. He had told me about his idea for this device prior to that date.

Perhaps this is one of those inventions that was bound to be discovered, invented and marketed, regardless of inventor, like the telephone. It's a shame he missed his window. I know there's more brewing up in his head though, that's just the way he is. It's only a matter of time before he changes his name to "Edison II."

Monday, September 22, 2003

Good for Salon.com!

I just went through an experience I'd like to share with you. I am happy about what just happened. Very happy.

I've posted about my unhappiness with the use and overuse of advertisments. I feel strongly that we, as consumers, should accept advertising only when it provides us something in return. You don't want to pay for your TV? Sure, you can get it free...but you have to watch commercials. You want HBO? Well, you have to pay for HBO, but, you don't get any outside advertising. This is a system that works.

I just went to Salon.com and was presented with a choice. I could watch a special "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" TV commercial for a FREE day pass to Salon. So I did so. This was an equal exchange. I provided them with my time and attention, they provided me with a free day pass to Salon's content. Win-Win.

This is the way it should be. Equal exchange. Bravo, Salon.

You know what really gets to me? When people answer questions with vague things like "more than you could ever imagine."

I'll give you an example.

"How much are the Hilton Sisters estimated to inherit?"

"Nicky and Paris Hilton are heiresses to the Hilton Hotel fortune, needless to say they'll inherit more than you and I could ever imagine."

THAT is a bullshit answer. I can imagine a lot. I mean a whole lot. I can imagine much more than Paris and Nicky stand to inherit (which is estimated to be $150,000,000 each). More than Bill Gates has (currently the wealthiest person in the world). We're talking amounts that rival the deficit under the republicans. So don't bullshit me by saying "more than you or I can imagine." Exaggeration is fine, bullshit is not.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

The question mark was emphasized

Maybe it was the caffeine in the coke, coffee or cherry coke I drank tonight. Maybe it was the nap I took this afternoon. Maybe it's my natural circadian rhythms. Whatever the cause, right now, I am wired. Not tired -- wired.

So I'm sitting awake in my living room reading my post from the other day, trying to shed some light on it one way or another. No use.

I have also been thinking that comments on blogs are nice. The ability to leave or receive feedback is half of what makes blogging fun. It is fun, isn't it? Comments don't have to be profound, funny or even interesting, but comments are proof that someone is actually taking the time to read what you write and more than that, they've been moved in some way by your words that they respond with words of their own. Like the cycle of life...sort of.

Although sometimes, comments, like the people who write them, are just rude...I came across one such comment on another blog (hint: it's linked on the right) where the anonymous commenter left an insulting comment along with a general piece of advice for the blogger. No need to go into specifics here.

Now I'm all for freedom of speech. Say what you want, but let the insulted know who said it. So if you want to hide behind your IP address of:, do so. But know something, we're on to you. It's only a matter of time.

So keep commenting! All advice can be helpful if looked at through the right set of eyes. All stories can be interesting, (except those by James Joyce) and all compliments are flattering, regardless of the author or sayer.

My advice: Find a blog you like and leave a message.

Anyway, you may have noticed, I've added a new 'sites' section to the other links on the right. Some of the sites I've included I've blogged about before, others I just like. I'll keep adding new ones when I come across them, but this is a start. I hope it'll show you something you've never seen before.

Oh, and before I leave I've just learned, by age 25, John D. Rockefeller owned one of the largest oil refineries in the world.

PS - I just yawned. I guess Blogging makes me tired.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Where has the motivation gone?

I'm feeling nostalgic. I'm feeling sad. I'm feeling stuck in a rut. I'm thinking about what I used to be like, in college. That was only a few years ago, but a lot has changed since then. I was active. I was involved. I was finishing up a double major. I was president of an student organization. I was a teaching assistant. I volunteered six-hours a week at the career center helping people tweak their resumes so they can land good jobs. They did. I was doing an independent study requiring a thesis. I wrote a thesis on the depiction of the elderly in 16th and 17th century German prints. I wrote a senior seminar paper on the history of psychology in advertising. I knew what I was talking about. On the weekends I went out with friends, I had fun. I planned a week-long spring break trip 36 hours before I set foot on the plane. I stayed up all night writing a coverletter for a job. I landed an interview because of that coverletter. I landed a job because of that coverletter. Life was exciting. The world was full of possibilities.

I'm feeling burned out. I'm feeling open. Maybe I've been inspired by the consistent openness and honesty found here. Maybe I'm jealous. Maybe I still feel that the world has possibilities but I'm not seeing them anymore or at least not in the same way. Maybe that's why this post is so self-absorbed. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Picasso had made a name for himself in Paris by age 20. George Harrison was playing with the Beatles at 17. Mozart was playing for royalty at age 6. Okay, Motzart's an exception. Kerouac wrote his first novel at age 24. What have I done? What have you done?

Maybe I picked the wrong road to take, now I'm lost without a map and hardly any gas in the tank...It's getting dark folks. Winter's approaching.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Anyone else sick and tired of the hurricane coverage??

A special thank you is dedicated to the Divine Ms. J for your post on the upcoming movie, starring Johnny Depp & Benico Del Toro based on a novel by the good doctor. I know this will be of interest to Circa, too.

I happened to notice today that Princess dedicated a post to you. In that post she mentioned that you like a certain celebrity...Well, I thought it would only be right if I posted an article for you. Maybe you will get the chance be a stepmom.

Cheers, and keep up the good blogs.

New posts will be coming soon.

Sorry for the silence.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Is this study surprising to anyone?

...Wechsler defines binge-drinking as the consumption of five or more drinks in one sitting by a man, or four by a woman.

Set the standards low enough and soon everyone will be classified as a Binge drinker.

I've had five drinks over several hours, "in one sitting," and though technically that would constitute binge drinking, I'd argue against it. I've also had five drinks in one hour...I would consider that binging...and studpidly fun.

Ripped off? or Great minds think alike? 1, 2

Today is a sad day.

I've been listening to Johnny Cash since senior year of college, when Circa and I started to swap mp3s of "A Boy Named Sue" "I Walk the Line", "One Piece at a Time" and other classics. I continue to listen to him and, recently, was angry at myself for leaving my Johnny Cash CD in the CD-ROM drive of my computer when I left my job.

I try to make an effort to see older music legends before they pass on. I've seen Dave Brubeck, BB King, Buddy Guy, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon. I have also seen the Grateful Dead (with Jerry). I'm sad to say that I never got the chance to see Johnny Cash. Thanks for being so original.

I must say, when I was a kid, I was a John Ritter fan. My sister would make me sit and watch "Three's Company" with her. While I didn't understand the subtle homosexual innuendos and overtly sexual references, I did enjoy watching him get a face full of flour or trip and fall over the sofa (Until I was about 10, I thought that's why they named him Jack Tripper.) I thought he did an excellent job in Sling Blade. I will admit, I wasn't a viewer of his latest sitcom, but I respected him, nonetheless. Rest in Peace, Mr. Ritter.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Sometimes the universe can be cruel.

I just came back from getting a haircut ("no, I got them all cut"...hardy har har) but on my way down, I realized just how much impact one person (me) can have in this great big world.

My barber is only 3 or 4 blocks from my apartment. En route there is a supermarket, a pet store, nail salon, dry cleaner and a major construction site for a fancy new 'design lighting' store. This construction site has trucks coming and going all day, so they've stationed a police officer out front to direct traffic. Well, I came to the construction site, the officer asked me if I'd like to cross, I did, so she stopped traffic to allow me to cross.

When I arrived on the other side of the street, I noticed the officer was now allowing someone to turn out of a parking lot and while doing so had her hand up to STOP an oncoming car. Behind this car was a guy on a 10 speed bike. The car, traveling too fast for the street, stopped too short for the bicyclist, he attempted to stop as quickly as he could but ended up hitting the back of the car and smaking his face on the trunk first, then the back windshield. The officer rushed over asking if he was okay, he got up, shook it off, put his hat back on and told her he was fine.

All because of me. If I hadn't crossed...she wouldn't have stopped the traffic...yada yada yada...

So goes the world.

PS- My TV is on mute.

Mark Writes:
I need the numbers 0-10, written (hopefully in a font I can use) AND pronunciations in the following languages:


BitterTree Answers:
Dear Mark,

What a request!

This is what I've found for you, I hope it can be of some help.

For your information, according to SpeakALanguage.com Mandarin Chinese is the most common Chinese dialect.

Chinese Counting (for pronunciation): here (Flash Fun!).
You can see the Chinese numbers here and download free Chinese fonts here.

You can find the pronunciation of numbers here.
You can find MANY Cyrillic (Russian) Fonts (TrueType) here.

You can find the pronunciation of the numbers here.
and a few Hebrew fonts here.

You can find the pronunciation of numbers here.
You can find Arabic fonts here.

Hope this has been a help. Thanks for writing....

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Did this article really need to be written, let alone published?

The Mollusk Writes:
What about the "hair grows back thicker and darker" when shaved theory? Is that real or imagined? Why would hair grow faster and darker just because you cut it?

BitterTree Answers:
Though this may have been a very funny premise for a Seinfeld episode, it too is only a common myth. According to About.com's Dermatology Expert "Shaving does not make the hair shaft thicker, darker, or grow faster or slower." Though it may seem that way because "the short hair shaft grows out...with a blunt tip instead of the normal tapered tip."

Thanks again for the question, Mollusk, feel to shave yourself without consequences.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

"ROD" writes:
How does trimming the ends of my hair encour[a]ge growth when my hair grows from the root?

BitterTree Answers:
Who said it did? According to Good Housekeeping the belief that trimming hair will make it grow faster is a common myth.

They say: "Hair grows a half-inch per month, whether you cut it or not," says John Barrett, owner of the John Barrett Salon in New York City. Hair may grow slightly faster in the summer, but that has nothing to do with the stylist's scissors and everything to do with hormones, which do speed growth a little."

However, hair always seems to grow in much more slowly when you get a bad hair cut than when you get a good haircut, doesn't it?

Thanks for your question 'ROD'.


Monday, September 08, 2003

Call me Jake Gittes

Okay people, listen up.

I'm realizing that I'm pretty good at researching and finding info on just about anything that interests me. But I'm starting to bore myself, so I'm opening up this blog to you.

Do you have a question that you've been unable to answer? Do you wonder how a refrigerator, cell phone or a toilet works? or how much money is all the money in the world?

Maybe you're wondering how many trees must be cut down to produce one edition of the Sunday New York Times? Or where and how much is the most expensive hotel room in the world? (answer: $25,000 a day at the Bridge Suite at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas -- and a 21-hour day at that)

Now I'm serious, if you have a question you haven't been able to answer, let me know. Post a comment.

If I can find some reliable info for you, I'll be happy to blog about it.

Keep in mind what my teachers used to say in school. "If you have a question about something, chances are someone else has that question, too." Thank you Divine Ms. J for proving that with this comment.

So don't be shy. Post a comment.

Did you ever wonder...

I love my TV's 'mute' button. I mute everything. *phone rings* I Mute. *commercial* I mute. *someone talks* mute. *i talk* I mute. *i blog* I mute.

My tv is on mute right now. Cogito ergo mute.

Ask anyone who's watched TV with me. I mute everything.

And so... Since I mute everything I have enabled the closed captions on my television. This is a wonderful invention. So wonderful, in fact, that I wondered how it worked. Was there a little troll that sat somewhere, listened to the broadcast and transcribed (errors and all) onto my television set? or had voice recognition software come so frar that it's translated and displayed by computer alone?

To find out, I (of course) went to How Stuff Works. According to them:

"A stenographer listens to the broadcast and types the words into a special computer program that adds the captions to the television signal. The typists have to be skilled at dictation and spelling and they have to be very fast and accurate at typing."

I've noticed that they're actually quite inaccurate with live broadcasts, though amusing nonetheless. Figuring out entirely new meanings with synonyms for the words that are actually said. However, they're a whole lot quicker than I could ever be. Let's just hope court stenographers aren't quite as lackadaisy.


Sunday, September 07, 2003

This weekend my parents came to visit. We joked that their trip revolved around eating. They were here from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon.

I don't think that was too far from the truth.

Below are the places where we ate:

Brueggers Bagels
Parish Cafe

Friday, September 05, 2003

I used to work at a company that produced internet ads, you know those banner ads, flash ads, screen takeovers, etc. etc. Yeah, I was one of the ones you can blame for that. We were quite legit, though. Big clients, clients that you'd know if you heard them, clients that you've probably eaten, driven or used to buy things at some point this week. We were never 'deceptive' with our ads (ie: if this is flashing you're a winner!) and I must say we were quite sucessful, by internet ad standards.

However, the whole experience left me quite empty. I dislike the flashing banners as much as the next guy, but I had to live with myself knowing that I was putting it out there. Yeah, yeah, i realize they're necessary for free content, but that doesn't make them any less annoying.

So yesterday when I started customizing my router's firewall for the new high speed connection, I stumbled upon something that I must say, I'm quite proud of. I noticed that I can customize my firewall to block certain keywords from being passed on to my browsers. The intent, I'm sure was to limit pornography and other child un-friendly materials from beng, even accidentally, accessed.

It works like this, anytime the firewall sees a certain word (customized by me) in the URL (the web address) it blocks it. Simple huh?

Well, I've used it for my own good, my friends. I've used it to block, I'd say 90% - 95% of advertising on any page I visit. This is without using any software, this STOPS it at the source, it doesn't allow it to be displayed.

It's been a quite enjoyable day and a half without the ads, I must say.


Thursday, September 04, 2003

Every so often, I'll go through the bookmarks in my browser and come across a site that makes me laugh. Crash Bonsai is one of those sites.

Miniature car wrecks. Hysterical.


Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Abe Lincoln Says: "I'm a trend setter!"

Interesting history lesson for today.

In the shower this morning I began thinking about facial hair. I need to shave badly. It's been days, maybe even a week and I haven't touched myself with a razor. At the same time on NPR the BBC was discussing the upcoming US Presidential election (democrats struggle, Howard Dean, Iraq, recall election, etc., etc.) and it got me thinking...Who was the last president with a beard*? And so that got me thinking...Why have there been no presidents with beards SINCE Benjamin Harrison in 1893? And so, for your enjoyment and education, I present to you the hairy Presidents of our great country.

Presidents with Beards

Presidents with Moustaches

President with Mutton Chops

So my question for you, ladies and gentlemen readers, since it's been 111 years since we had full facial hair in the oval office and 91 years since a (handlebar) moustache has given a press conference...are we in need of a little growth on the chins of our elected leader? or you happy and satisfied with seeing a clean-cut commander-in-chief?

Don't forget, two of nine of the aforementioned Presidents with facial hair are carved on Mount Rushmore. Coincidence?

Please comment below.

The bachelor party was great.

I won't go into too much detail, but we all had a fun time. Some gambling, drinking and laughing. I'm glad I met the best man and another guy who will be in the wedding, both really good guys...

Atlantic City wasn't so wonderful, especially if you've been to Las Vegas, but it did have a seedy sort of charm. Hardly redeeming, but there nonetheless. Lots of stories, lots of fun, lots of memories, just as a bachelor party should be. The bachelor was happy (though not the last night when he was cheated by the casino...[dealer hit him when he hadn't told him to, thus busting his hand]...but he told the pit boss and the dealer was promptly and swiftly removed from the game and replaced by, let's hope, a more competent and honest dealer.).

Now I need to get flights down to Florida for the wedding. Yikes.

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