Monday, December 31, 2007

Wall full of razor blades

This post is completely unrelated to anything going on in my life right now ... other than that someone I know mentioned something that sent me off on an interesting search.

Coworker and buddy Jason White told me about a slot in the back of his medicine cabinet labelled "Old Razor Blades" (fixed broken link) -- but with no apparent site to recover the old blades. He figures they just go into a cavity in the wall.


Strange? Yes. True? Apparently!


Askthebuilder.com writes:
If you want surprises when it comes to medicine cabinets, wait until you remove one from an old home and see all of the discarded double-edged razor blades that are waiting for you behind the plaster. Those of us who grew up in older homes can still remember the tiny slit in the back of medicine cabinets where razor blades were placed instead of garbage cans. Razor blades in garbage cans can be very dangerous, so medicine cabinet manufacturers of old thought it was a great idea to place the dull blades in a wall cavity where no hands could get cut.

One writer named Marian at about.com believed the sudden appearance of razor blades in her home to be a poltergeist experience:

The odd thing about that was that the razor blade was coming from inside the wall! I pulled the blade out, which ripped a small hole in the wall, and I noticed there were more razor blades inside the wall, many of them actually stuck into the wall. My first thought was that maybe at some point in the past there may have been some remodeling done and for whatever reason they may have used the double-edged blades to cut, and had placed them in the wall and forgot about them and walled up over them.

One renovator found that the previous owners had put coins down the slot, not razor blades. Jackpot!:

Coins that have been sorted so far date from 1826 through 1964 and include large cents and seated Liberty dimes. The coins have been removed from the old house and placed in secure locations.So far, Bidelman has sorted and cataloged coins with a face value of about $8,500. Value to collectors will be much more, Bidelman said, adding he is already putting some items on the popular Internet auction site eBay.
A column at caller.com explores the issue with reader feedback on the eventual fate of the discared blades:

A Caller-Times alum, Ed Rehfeld, faxed me a meditation - including illustrations, no less - in which he calculated that the space in the bin for discarded blades works out to 2,520 cubic inches. That works out to room for 168,000 blades if they fall and lie flat. "Divide the blades you use in a year (remember . . . double- edged) and divide into 168,000 = a bunch of years."

The photo atop this article was taken from a blog posting ... you can visit it, but be aware -- it's one of those annoying web sites that forces music upon you.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Big Ass Christmas Haul


To boast about Christmas gifts is decidedly un-Canadian, but I want to extend my thanks to everyone this holiday season for their generous and thoughtful giving by hitting just a few of the highlights.
From my parents, a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. I love vacuuming, but I also love robots, so to have a robot that will chase the kitties around during the day and clean up hair and crumbs will be really, really cool.

From Sandra and Byron, a donation-in-name-of to an organization that buys goats for the goatless and hungry -- what a neat idea! And a Buddha Board -- a nifty thing that encourages you to just blurt out your visual creativity on a page by painting with water in a medium that shows up for a while, then fades away. We saw these in Charlottetown last year, and I thought they were way, way cool. Thank you.

From Shannon and Chris, an item that could make my effort to quit eating cinammon buns easier or more difficult: body wash/shampoo that smells like cinnamon buns. Specifically, somehow, like Cinnabon cinnamon buns. Seriously, it smells f'ing awesome. They need more serious warnings not to eat this stuff. Also, a big Toblerone bar. My sister knows me well. Toblerone = awesome.

From Barb and Wendall, a super-cool lunch bag made of neoprene. It holds all my lunch loot and can spread out to make a placemat. Also, some cool books including the Borat book and The Onion book.

And from Amanda, a ceramic jar for holding my thoughts or change, or change of thoughts, or thoughts of change, or whatever. And a pair of ceramic mittens that are so sweet!

From me ... well, from "Santa" via me. A Nintendo DS video game machine with Nintendogs, and Brain Age and Brain Age 2. A whole lotta fun.

Thank you to everyone for everything! Sorry we couldn't be with you all in person, but we felt the love from far away!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Everyone knows you're supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day

Well, phooey on you for believing one of the great medical myths.

BMJ (formerly The British Medical Journal) has issued its list of Seven Great Medical Myths. Among them: the idea that you need eight glasses of water a day.

This notion was assailed in a BAS post from September 2006:

Now, some people go overboard with the water. You've certainly heard the "rule" that you need to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day in order to maintain good health. Well, baloney. Snopes.com, the Urban Legends Reference Pages, debunks that myth. Furthermore, a Dartmouth Medical School study published in the American Journal of Physiology gives medical debunking to the "8x8" dogma -- eight glasses of water at eight ounces each.


As reported this week on WebMD:

1. Medical Myth: Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
Reality: There's no evidence that you have to drink that much water to assure adequate fluid intake -- and drinking too much water can be unhealthy.
2. Medical Myth: We use only 10% of our brains.
Reality: Most of the brain isn't loafing.
Detailed brain studies haven't found the "non-functioning" 90% of the brain.
3. Medical Myth: Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.
Reality: Hair and fingernails don't keep growing after death. But it may seem that way because dehydration can make the skin shrink back from hair and nails, making them look longer.
4. Medical Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.
Reality: Dim light isn't great for focusing, but it's "unlikely to cause a permanent change in the function or structure of the eyes," Vreeman's team writes.
5. Medical Myth: Shaving causes hair to grow back faster or coarser.
Reality: "Shaving does not affect the thickness or rate of hair regrowth," write Vreeman and colleagues. But shaved hair doesn't have the fine taper of unshaved hair, making it seem coarser.
6. Medical Myth: Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.
Reality: "Rigorous testing in Europe found minimal interference and only at distances of less than one meter [about 3.28 feet]," write the researchers. But that may be a point of controversy. In September, Dutch doctors reported that cell phones may interfere with critical care equipment and shouldn't be used within a meter of medical equipment or hospital beds.
7. Medical Myth: Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy.
Reality: Turkey isn't all that rich in tryptophan, the chemical linked to sleepiness after eating turkey. But eating a big, decadent meal can cause sleepiness, even if turkey isn't on the menu.

Here's to a 2008 full of informed information and factual facts.

Now, time for bed. The turkey is making me sleepy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How to stuff a turkey

Amanda stuffs our Christmas bird ... bacon-and-maple-coated turkey that wss deeeeelicious.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Alright, everybody ...


Stacks of Christmas joy, originally uploaded by BigAssSuperBlog.

I thought we were going to "tone it down" this year. All these presents are dwarfing the tree.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Kitten smokes on toilet"

TV karma will burn me harshly for this one day, but for now, I'm chortling.

Last night, on The Simpsons, there was a YouTube reference, a la "PICTURE A DAY FOR 39 YEARS":




(Fox may end up deleting this video at some point.)

At the end of the video, the pretend YouTube offers a link to a video with 63-million hits called "Kitten smokes on toilet".

After I watched the show, I checked YouTube and there was no video called "Kitten smokes on toilet". Of course, I felt obliged to provide one. See below. Note there is no toilet, no smoking, and the kitten is Amanda's Kitty.



Yeah, it's cheap, but someone was going to do it. Why not me?

UPDATE: After drawing 26-hundred hits with the "Kitten smokes on toilet" label -- and 30-some comments from YouTubers pissed off about my sneakery, I've put the video label back to something a little more honest.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My teeth in sesquipedalian detail


Hey, look. It's my teeth. Spooooky, mang.

That's the third panoramic x-ray I had done during a visit to one of Halifax's top orthodontists for a consultation on getting a billion-dollar smile. The panoramic x-ray machine had a hard time navigating around my broad, manly, hulking shoulders. That, and I was biting the bite-thingy wrong the first time and moved a little.


So, here's the lowdown.

Apparently I have a borderline skeletal Class III malocclusion. Moderate overbite, 2mm overjet, deep Curve of Spee, maxillary anterior diastema, excessive upper and lower interdental spacing, incisal misguidance, mandibular retropositioning, mandibular thrusting, anterior bruxing, abraded 1-2, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-1, 4-1, 4-2, mandibular left closing shift, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, mandibular macrognathia, dental asymmetry, missing 1-8, 2-8, 3-8, 4-8, malformed (small) 1-2, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-1, 4-1, 4-2.

Yup. That's a mouthful. (Har, har.)

The doctor spent about 40 minutes telling me how a proper bite was important, not just for the sake of a beautiful smile, but for my overall health. He demonstrated on charts, pictures, gizmos and a human skull how my funky bite could mess up so many things.

But when I told him what I do for a living, and how I'm concerned that not being able to speak properly would be a big hindrance to my life, he changed course.

He switched from a track that would lead to train-tracks in my mouth, to one that would slap porcelain on my chompers.

He recommends:
- continued bite plane therapy -- the plastic mouth guard that stops me from smashing my molars to pieces every night
- periodontal referral -- I guess to see if the gums in the gaps between my teeth are in jeopardy due to their exposure
- cosmetic dentistry to eliminate excessive maxillary and mandibular interdental spacing -- that is, veneers or bonding or grinding or something to un-gap my gappy teeth

That's assessment number one. I plan to have at least one more before pondering futher.

Here's something interesting. In searching for some of the terms in the very wordy diagnosis, Google spat back some intriguing results. Namely, this very blog. I posted first and then went to add some links -- and Google sometimes found that my entry was one of the only instances of that phrase on the net.

Another page with some of the same terms is another blog. Coincidentally, a blog by a woman who saw an orthodontist in Nova Scotia. Does it seem weird that terms appeared in both her diagnosis and mine, but not so commonly across the internet?

1987 flashback on the Youtube

Hey, groovy gang.

I've tossed some old commercials up on to the YouTube.

Visit my channel to see 1987 ads for:
  • Water Pik - the one with the Cosby-sweater ventriloquist and the talking dentures
  • The Brick
  • Standard Auto Glass
  • Royal LePage
  • Remax
  • Motts Clamato Cocktail - the guy who wants hot and cold running Clamato (what's with Clamato anyway? Was someone drinking tomato juice one day and thought ... mmm ... good ... but ... needs more clam.)
  • Molson Export - you've spent all night in the cold rain fixing downed power lines. Now you need to get shitfaced. Ex says it all.
  • Granada - wanna buy a TV or VCR? Go to the place famous for RENTING them! That's Granada! (Where's Granada now? Exactly. The last one I remember closed and became Adults Only Video on Yonge Street south of Gerrard.)
  • Coors Gold - they don't make it any more.
  • Burger King Chicken Bundles - they don't make these any more either. Think Chicken McNugget on a bun.
Also posted a WWF wrestling clip from 1986 featuring an in-joke I didn't get until years later. Randy Savage is wrestling a jabroni named Mark Faban. Vince McMahon asks Bruno Sammartino, what's this guy's first name? Kay? Bruno laughs at the notion of a wrestler named Kay Faban. Like, "kayfabin'". Okay, if you're not a wrestling nerd, you might not know what "kayfabe" means, but to have two announcers joking about kayfabe in 1986 was pretty....I dunno, pretty weird, I guess.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Now the CityPulse news test...

Jason White just blew my mind by telling me the Channel 7 Eyewitness News theme I grew up with -- WKBW in Buffalo -- had words. He didn't sing them.

He posted The Hilltop Singers, "Move Closer To Your World".

There's a whole web site about it. (Or was, when I wrote this.)

But the music doesn't work. So here it is in MP3 (nope). Jason says this TV station tribute page also has it.

If you grew up in Western New York or Southern Ontario, check it out. Maybe you'll be as jaw-droppingly gobsmacked as me. (And if you're a Weinsteinophile, check out the Irv, Rick and Tom page.)

It reminds me that some time ago, I asked the folks over at the Big Yellow Board, SOWNY, if anyone knew the name of the song they used to use on Toronto's CityTV for the CityPulse News Test.

Turns out it's a Warren Zevon song called Nighttime In The Switching Yard. Here's a video at ArtistDirect. Mind blown again.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

The New BigAssStudios

Mixer - Behringer Xenyx 1204

Monitors - KRK Rokit 5 active (pair)

Backup speakers - Altec Lansing 2.1

Audio interface - M-Audio Audiophile 2496


Guitar processor - Line 6 PodXT with 3.0 firmware

seiko st606 guitar tuner


Mics:

Shure Beta58a for vocals

Shure SM57 for instruments

Other dynamic



Instruments:


Squier P-Bass in blue

Yamaha? Acoustic

Fender? Acoustic

Keyboard/MIDI - Casio CTK 541

Assorted shakers, whistles, harmonica


Computer:

Stallion

Processor

Mobo

Ram

Windows XP Pro SP2 release day ed'n

HD / RAID

Cd/dvd burner

ATI All-in-Wonder 9800 Pro

LG widescreen


Main software:

Adobe Audition for tracking, mixing, effects and mastering

FL Studio 6 via ReWire for drums and midi

Assorted VST plugins and instruments

Amanda's Kitty is unusual

I put some food down for Amanda's Kitty, and a few nuggets bounced away. One went under this piece of furniture. Kitty went under the furniture to get it. There, she stayed.

We put the plate of food nearby to see if she'd do a variation of one of her typical eating routines -- lying down, reaching out lazily, grabbing a nugget off the plate, and happily crunching it with minimal effort.

She did. Lazy kitty.