A pickle for Xmas? Oh please…
Good morning everyone, it’s been a while.
This morning, as I was chipping the ice off of my legs (it’s been rather chilly here in the lower 48, hasn’t it? I’m sure that it’s another heinous Canadian plot), I got thinking about Xmas tree decorations. In my case, our tree is going undecorated this year, and not from any lack of Christmas spirit or other such nonsense. No, gods above, below, and out on both sides, no. My wife, you see, adores Christmas and has collected at least a sea container’s worth of ornaments and other seasonal decorations, and when she hits full stride the inside of the compound looks as if it’s been hit by a bomb made of chrome, glitter and coloured lights. It can be quite frightening to the uninitiated. But not this year.
This year we have two new young cats. It’s been a very long time since we had any young cats at the compound. Our previous kitties were 18 years old when they passed on earlier this year, and we had forgotten just how much of a handful a pair of young (Audrey is 10 months and Sydney is 22 months old) cats can be. Needless to say, we have cats everywhere, even though there are only two of them, and we especially have them in our tree. I took the precaution of lashing the tree to a bannister, and it’s a damned good thing that I did, otherwise I’d find it on the floor every morning. Hence, no decorations on the tree this year.
But that’s not the subject of this post. No, it’s about ugly Xmas ornaments, like that stupid pickle up top. My sister gave us one of those things many years ago, to my chagrin, and spouting off about some typically saccharine Xmas legend from Germany or some other Teutonic region. A pickle. What’s next, an Xmas turnip?
My wife goes to ornament exchanges with her co-workers every year to swap unwanted (?) Xmas tree bling with each other, and sometimes she hauls home some real stinkers, but nothing as ugly (to me) as that glass pickle.
So how about you lot? What’s the ugliest Xmas decoration that you possess and that your Better Half™ insists that you proudly display?
Photo credit: Wiki
If you’ve never heard of The Piano Guys, let me introduce you. Hit the jump to see some incredible musical talent, as well as some up close shots of how a piano works. Well, maybe they don’t quite use it in the traditional sense…
Continue reading Get In The Holiday Spirit!
I collect hand-made items, specifically hand-made coffee cups, but also just about anything one-of-a-kind or made by an artisan. If I can get a handmade desk, or chair, or shoes, or whatever, if it’s within my budget, I will always choose that option.
You would think, then, that I should be pretty easy to shop for, when the holidays roll around. When people ask me what they can get me, I tell them to choose a hand-made coffee mug. They’re easy enough to find, if you’re willing to put in a small amount of time, and they’re not usually all that expensive. For me, the interesting thing is to see what different people choose to buy; it’s a little insight into the person giving the gift, and as a result, every time I use that mug, it’s a reminder of the person who gave me the gift. Nevertheless, despite saying this time and time again, I think I’ve probably received three mugs in the last five years. Come Christmas morning, I’m told that I didn’t really want a mug, that’s not a real gift, I’ve got plenty of those already.
I don’t need anything at all, really. I’m comfortable, and not seriously wanting for anything essential. So it really is the sentiment that counts. It puzzles me, then, that asking for a gift that is almost entirely sentiment — and happens to also hold my coffee — never goes well.
What gift have you long asked for, and never received?
Our friends at ThinkGeek have a better pizza cutter. For those who find cutting a straight line challenging, they have put a Picatinny tactical rail system on a pizza cutter and equipped it with a laser/flash light. Yes. You can cut your pizza in the dark with precision.
This is cool and all, but why not just up the power of the laser so I can cut my pizza with the laser.
[Image Credit: ThinkGeek]
It’s that time of year again, and the Christmas and miscellaneous-other-holiday decorations are springing up everywhere like sick children in flu season. Now, this is not the bah-humbug post you might expect it to be, because I actually love the holidays. People keep trying to make it a religious festival, and that bothers me a bit, but other than that, I think it’s a wonderful time of year.
The problem I have with holiday decorations is the simple fact that they’re getting tackier each year. And my personal choice for the worst offender is the new batch of giant inflatable decorations that are springing up everywhere.
These things are awful. They look terrible, they’re cheap, and they are the epitome of “I don’t actually care enough to decorate for the holidays, but here’s some tacky shit for my front yard.” As far as I’m concerned, you either put in some effort, or you don’t bother. Either option is just fine, but pick a side of the fence and commit to it.
Going on the assumption that it’s not all horrible, what’s the holiday decorating trend that just frosts your Christmas cookies?
The Cyclotram, unfortunately, is not real. It’s from the 1951 film Unknown World. Red Box doesn’t carry this film, so I’ve never seen it. From minutes of exhaustive research on the internets (i.e. I read a review on Monster Shack) I can tell you that the Cyclotram was built by scientists interested in finding an undiscovered, hospitable place for humans to hide in the earth’s crust so that they would be safe from WWIII. Enough with that nonsense. I say we build a real Cyclotram.
[Image Credit: x-ray delta one]
Several hours after being eaten, the moon appeared to emerge from the Arecibo radio telescope, quickly quelling a new-born myth; but, gave rise to more questions than it answered.
Today across the USA and other random parts of the world, people are gathering with family and friends to eat, watch football, drink copious amounts of wine and other adult beverages, and…oh yeah…give thanks. We here at Atomic Toasters want to thank you, our readers and commenters, for another great year. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.
One more thing: put down the cell phone and enjoy being with the people you are with today.
Cryptographic messages have been found dating back to 1900 BC in Egypt. Julius Caesar was one of the more famous early rulers to use cryptography to communicate securely with his generals. His system, oddly called the Caesar Cipher would replace each letter with another letter a fixed distance from the first in the Latin alphabet. As the world became more literate, ciphers had to become more complex. One of the most secure handwritten ciphers uses a one time pad. Each party has a known scheme to encrypt/decrypt a message. At certain times, that scheme is thrown away and a new one implemented. This system worked well up until computers gained enough power to be able to find patterns. No matter how careful we are as humans to be random, we still have natural tendencies towards patterns that can be detected given enough information. Today, cryptography now exists in a digital realm with cryptographers and cryptoanalysts waging an electronic war.