impressing the repairman

This is not my kitchen. My kitchen is used several times a day and I have better things to do than clean it several times a day.

There’s a repairman coming to my house this week to fix my oven, so he’s going to see my kitchen, living room, and dining room, and I really want to impress him with how clean and organized my house is. Well, except I don’t. But apparently I should. Supposedly. I don’t know. I mean, the house isn’t trashed or filthy — it just looks like a couple of young kids live here with parents who are too busy with life to keep the house spotless. Ironically, that’s true because it’s true. Well, I reckon that’s unironically, since the situation and explanation should be normal and okay. (What is it called when irony is ironic? Or if a lack of irony is actually irony? Are there terms for such confusion? But that’s a rabbit trail for another day… or not.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, making a good impression with the repairman. I don’t know him. I’ve seen him once before, when he diagnosed the problem with my oven and had to order parts. I think I’d still classify him as a visitor, since I don’t even know his name. Maybe I should get to know him. After all, his opinion of my house is apparently really important and valuable, such that it causes stress and we need to clean a lot. So should I invite him over for dinner sometime? Although, on second thought, that might be awkward. Actually, this whole idea is awkward.

So what’s going on here? Basically, the post is satire but is based on actual events. The confusion is real. The awkwardness is unfortunately real. But here is the dramatic twist in the narrative — you can be the hero! Yes, you! Wait, before you click away, I’m not dragging you into this quagmire. There’s no further need to judge my house or repair my oven. Where you can help is by explaining what’s going on here. Why should I care what the repairman thinks of how clean and organized my house is? Are there legitimate reasons, or is this a load of malarkey? I report, you decide. If you understand, please leave a comment.

invisible sculpture for sale

From the department of “you are not going to believe this”, there’s an Italian artist named Salvatore Garau who recently auctioned a sculpture that does not actually exist and someone paid $18,300 for it! Literally, there is nothing but a certificate of authenticity and some instructions for how to display it. He calls it an “immaterial sculpture”. And this isn’t even the first time he’s “created” an invisible statue / sculpture — he’s made one that’s supposedly inside some white tape on the ground (see video image at the link above).

The “artist” explains it this way (from Snopes.com):

Rather than invisible sculptures, I would define them as immaterial sculptures. My fantasy, trained for a lifetime to feel differently the existing around me, allows me to “see” what apparently does not exist. The intangible sculptures are works that I feel as physical. Into the void there is a container of positive and negative possibilities that are constantly equivalent, in short, there is a density of events. Furthermore, the void is nothing more than a space full of energy, even if we empty it of electromagnetic fields, neutrinos, dark matter – in a way that nothing remains – it stands out that according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (which I recently read with enthusiasm) nothing has a weight! Therefore, it has an energy that condenses and turns into particles, in short, in us!

Now, if you aren’t experienced in the finer nuances of modern art, you might think this is all just jibber-jabber nonsense with a few scientific words included to confuse ignorant folk. But apparently he’s onto something, if multiple people are willing to bid tens of thousands of dollars to buy this art. And I completely understand what he’s talking about.

However, this is way too “high society” for most people. Honestly, middle class people just can’t afford $18,300 to buy any art piece, no matter how good it may or may not appear. Plus his requirements of five feet by five feet is a lot of spare room that most people just don’t have in their house. I get that. That’s where Buffet o’ Blog comes in.

We have for sale similar sculptures, made affordably for you. Each piece is unique, yet immaterial. It’s random, yet profound. Amusing, yet contemplative. Each order includes a certificate of authenticity. And it requires only about one foot by one foot, so you can put it on a coffee table or your bathroom counter or for your dining table centerpiece (it’s a great conversation starter!). It can be enjoyed anytime, but for optimum experience, we recommend you contemplate the depth of it while consuming your favorite beverage (like sweet tea). We also made them easier to understand — no need to ponder the uncertainty of neutrinos or any such scientific stuff. Anyone can comprehend what ours is all about.

See how much better this looks?

How much would you pay for something like this? $5,000? $10,000? It could be worth that. These are hand-crafted here in the USA — no imported ingredients ever. We pay attention to detail, and they all pass multiple stages of quality control. But because we want everyone to be able to enjoy these in the comfort of your own home, we are offering them for the low, low introductory sale price of $120 each. That’s over 95% off the MSRP!

Order now! Supplies are limited! If you pass on this offer, you might have regret for a long time (which might feel like indigestion… or bad gas).

Seriously, we priced it low so you can enjoy it. This is for your benefit. These are super premium quality — pictures don’t do it justice, you need to see it in your home. It’s not every day you can get world-famous-style art in your home for such an affordable price!

recreating the Aurora Borealis

Have you ever seen the Aurora Borealis (also known as the northern lights)? I haven’t, because where I live seems to be not compatible with that visual effect. I’ve been up north (in the United States), but not at the right time. I’ve seen pictures of it, which is neat, but that’s not quite the same. (But here’s a picture anyway.) 🙂

Now you may be wondering why I would write about the Aurora Borealis when I’ve never seen it. Well, I’d like to see it. I have a friend who has a great saying for when someone is at the proverbial fork in the road with a situation that needs a solution: “What are you going to do about it?”

Maybe I should make my own! Of course some people might say I should just travel up north to go see it, but that seems like too much trouble. I’d rather bring it here. (That sounds so much like Heinz Doofenschmirtz from Phineas & Ferb, where he planned to take (steal) Big Ben from London and put it next to his skyscraper apartment window, because it was getting harder to read the numbers on his watch. He just wanted a bigger clock, and that was the solution he chose. Honestly, I did not take his idea and modify it — I actually came up with this crazy solution on my own, though you might could argue I’ve watched too many cartoons. You might lose that argument, but I digress…)

Okay, where was I? Creating the Aurora Borealis effect where it doesn’t naturally exist. That shouldn’t be too complicated… it’s just some color smeared around in the sky. 🙂 But there’s probably some complicated science equations to work out, and maybe I should’ve paid more attention in college… but what am I talking about? The goal of education is not memorizing facts but in knowing where to look and how to find the answers you need. I learned about Google, so let’s start there:

Particles discharged from the sun travel 93 million miles (around 150 million km) toward Earth before they are drawn irresistibly toward the magnetic north and south poles. As the particles pass through the Earth’s magnetic shield, they mingle with atoms and molecules of oxygen, nitrogen and other elements that result in the dazzling display of lights in the sky. … Typically, when the particles collide with oxygen, yellow and green are produced. Interactions with nitrogen produce red, violet, and occasionally blue colors. The type of collision also makes a difference to the colors that appear in the sky: atomic nitrogen causes blue displays, while molecular nitrogen results in purple. The colors are also affected by altitude. The green lights typically in areas appear up to 150 miles (241 km) high, red above 150 miles; blue usually appears at up to 60 miles (96.5 km); and purple and violet above 60 miles. These lights may manifest as a static band of light, or, when the solar flares are particularly strong, as a dancing curtain of ever-changing color.

That’s a good start. Combining that with Wikipedia, we basically need to create something similar to solar winds and the resulting geomagnetic disturbance. Obviously we don’t want to cause interference or destruction with electronics, so that has to be accounted for. And it’ll need to be simpler. The solar winds are basically a flow of magnetized hot plasma from the two million degrees outer layer of the sun (the corona), and they arrive at Earth with a velocity around 400 km/s. Recreating that would be considerably costly and dangerous… and a lot of work…

So this project sounds really difficult, if not impossible. But consider this saying: “Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.” What if there is a simpler way to make it happen? Also, what if no one has really tried before? And it doesn’t have to be at that scale… What about making it happen over a smaller area, like over your house? Or in your living room?

So I searched some more, and scientists have recreated the northern lights inside a container, which is neat, but it’s not in the open air, so someone should take this to the next level. Not only would it be awesome, but you could sell this technology (although I must stipulate that the licensing needs to specify no ads are allowed in the sky; we see enough ads).

Do you have any ideas on how to do it? What you would do with a device that could make the air glow?

To answer my own question, I’d like to make lightning appear in different colors. The science might be relatable. Lightning is sometimes as hot as the surface of the sun, and it already moves really fast. (And an interesting side note is that the resulting thunder is because of the air being ionized… or in layman’s terms, torn apart. This will become its own post soon… I’ve rambled enough here.) 🙂

Optimus Prime that transforms on its own

Someone has created an Optimus Prime action figure / toy / collectible that transforms on its own. It even responds to voice commands and you can drive it around via an app. If this interests you in the least, here’s a video showing it off:

I have to admit, that is really cool. It’s great that they used the original transforming sound effect and that they got Peter Cullen to voice the dialogue. So props to the maker of this for doing it right.

It contains over 5000 components, 60 microchips, and 27 servo motors, with more details at the official site. As you might expect, technology this awesome is not cheap. $700 is out of my budget for such things, so I won’t be able to provide a hands-on review. Hopefully in the future it’ll get a lot cheaper, because it would be a great addition to my desk.

The reviewer in the video declares this the coolest toy ever. Of course that’s debatable, but I’m not going to argue with that. It is indeed awesome. Do you know of a toy or toy-like collectible that is more awesome?