Of cabbages and kings, sealing wax and wedding rings

Amazon's EchoAlexa, the bot personality in Amazon’s Echo, can do lots of things.   She gives you weather reports, plays your favorite music, tells jokes, and we found out recently she will do a coin toss as well.  Since discovering the coin toss capability, Alexa has, against all odds, consistently returned “heads.”  Even 8 year-old Matt thought this was odd.

Matt: “Alexa, flip a coin.”

Alexa: “Flipping.  The answer is heads.”

“Grandpa, I think Alexa is broken.”

“Why is that, Matt?”

“She only gives head.”

“Oh, I don’t think she’s broken.  I think she just wants a wedding ring.”

“Huh?”

“I’ll explain when you are older.”

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A career in Tech Support

Anyone who is even moderately geeky soon becomes the Tech Support person for all their tech-challenged friends and family.  My professional friends are all pretty tech-y and know this all too well.  But I also have a foot in the autism world, anti-bullying and compassion-based advocacy, authors and writing, travel, crowdfunding, and a few other communities, many of which are populated by relatively normal people.

Note: If you were wondering “normal relative to what, exactly?” Don’t worry, I am too.  I have yet to find a stable benchmark for that term.
Note2: If you are thinking “that’s a lot of feet” you’d be correct.  I have a hell of a time buying shoes.

Between my activity in these communities and the usual allocation of non-technical friends and family, there are a lot of people who occasionally think of me when they need a technical question answered.  Thanks to them I have risen to the top, the very pinnacle I tell you, of the very highly respected and yet very lowly paid position of “I know this nerdy guy who could probably help you with that.”  So I’m never surprised to receive an email or private message asking for advice.  Sometimes it’s the advice being asked for that is surprising.  I predict that after posting this, applications for Tech Support jobs will skyrocket.

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The intervention contraindication

I’ve posted before on how my wife Joan​, the recovering technophobe, has taken to the smart phone.  And recently I posted about her new addiction to Trivia Crack.  But I didn’t realize how far over the edge she’d gone until last night when I walked into the bathroom to find her standing in front of the shower, naked except for a shower cap, phone in hand and totally engrossed in a round of Trivia Crack.

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Supersexy Squash Recipe

My wife likes those scented wax cubes that you put in a warmer to make the house smell good.  Some of those things smell a lot like food so when I smell something delicious late at night, I assume it is scented wax.  Last night I was surprised to find it it was Megan cooking.

“What is that?  It smells delicious?”

“I’m baking some squash,” she said.  She was busily attacking the center of a gourd with a fork to pull out seeds and strings.

“You know, I thought it was one of those wax things in the warmer.”

“Yeah, some of those do smell like food.”  More seeds and strings disappeared.

“Hey, here’s an idea.  Instead of putting seasonings in the squash, put in some of that wax.  It bakes the flavor in and then when it cools you can just rip the wax out and all the seeds and strings will come with it.”

“Yeah, your squash will be smooth as a baby’s butt.  Whaddaya plan to name that recipe?”

“You kidding?  Brazilian Squash, of course.”

And THAT is how recipes are born, folks.  Look for Brazilian Squash in my upcoming recipe book Out of My Gourd.  I’d post a photo but it’s not safe for work.

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No ads!

Over at my IoPT blog I’ve written occasionally about how online ad networks are co-opted by cyber criminals and used to deliver malware.  It is one reason why I’ve never carried ads on T-Rob.net, IoPTConsulting.com, or Ask-An-Aspie.net.

But this blog is hosted at WordPress and is the only one of my blogs not on my own domain or hosting account. WordPress has been running ads on it but they do offer an ad-free upgrade which I just purchased.  So as of tonight this blog should be totally ad-free.  I know WordPress runs some scripts.  Hell, the theme I use runs some as well.  I try to keep these minimal but aren’t about to retrain as a WordPress programmer to make them go away entirely.  But at least you should be free of any malware vectoring in over the ad network.  If you see any ads when viewing this site, please let me know.

And now, back to your irregularly scheduled content!

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Nerd love

My wife and I watched Scorpion on the DVR tonight.  “I like this show,” she told me as the credits began to roll.

“Well,” I replied, “you do have a thing for brainy nerds.”

“Are you a brainy nerd?”

“Little bit,” I said with a grin.

She headed off to the bathroom to brush her teeth.  I shut down the TV and DVR and then followed along.  She was still brushing her teeth when I arrived so I sidled up next to her, put my arm around her shoulders and kissed the back of her neck.  As I moved to straighten up I lost my balance and stumbled back awkwardly trying to recover.  The fly in my pajamas had caught on a drawer knob which is what made me lose my balance.  In recovering from the fall the drawer had pulled out and was still stuck to me as I stood there.  I looked at my pants pulled taught in front of me like a tent, then looked up to see her looking at them too.

I detached myself from the drawer knob and pushed it closed.  “So much for the brainy nerd image” I sighed, feeling like an idiot.

She laid a hand on my cheek and said “no Honey, that is exactly the brainy nerd image.” Then she kissed me and everything was OK again.

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Garbage Collection

Trying to eat up all the odds and ends that have collected in the kitchen and pantry leads to a weird food day.

  • Slightly out of date yogurt. (If you thought those cultures were active before the expiration, you should see the Zumba dance-off they have beginning at 12:01am the day after expiration!)
  • The fruit formerly known as Banana.
  • The last of the stale-ish pita crisps with jalapeno mint jelly.
  • That frozen dinner even Matt won’t eat.
  • The last of the jalapeno olives.
  • The last of the Castelvetrano olives.
  • The last of the cracked olives.
  • Enough vodka to retroactively make martinis with said olives.  Wish I’d thought of that before I ate the olives.
  • I wonder if I could finish the last of the pickles?
  • Nope.

On the menu tomorrow:

  • Try to finish off the last of the jalapeno mint jelly by slathering it onto the last of the bread-and-butter pickle chips.
  • More out of date yogurt.
  • Is that coat of mold part of the cheese or something that came later?
  • Something made with vegetable stock.
  • Something made with frozen blueberries.
  • Hey, is blueberry soup a thing?  I’ll find out tomorrow.
  • Last of about 4 or 5 different kinds of frozen vegetables, each with less than a single serving left in the bag.
  • Archeological expedition to the bottom of the chest freezer in the garage. Send a rescue party if I’m not back by Sunday.
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