The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Category: lists

We’ve Got Pebbles!

I was in the car for 14 of 36 hours this past weekend (took a jaunt to Philly and back for my son to do an audition). I talk a lot in the car, because I like to entertain myself that way, keep the driver alert, and drive everyone else in the car crazy. 

We should have recorded the conversations – I’d have 75% of a podcast. 

Here, in no particular order, are things we discussed. I didn’t start this until Sunday so missed the stuff from Saturday I couldn’t remember.

– Why the person who called “not it” for driving through NY got stuck driving through NY both ways. That would be me, for the record. I declare the lower level of the George Washington Bridge a big disappointment because it felt more like a tunnel than a bridge. 

– New Jersey drivers were worse than any other group on the road. I have never seen so many crazy speeding lane-changers. Like violent swipes from one to another inches away from other cars. 

– If you owned a bus company would you only hire drivers willing to wear catheters so they could do the Boston to NYC route without stopping?

– Is a Lamborghini a practical car? (That was Michael’s claim. I don’t know how he defines practical but he couldn’t answer my “what if you are grocery shopping” question. We said the get good gas mileage. Google doesn’t confirm the claim unless you think 12mpg city is “good.” If you forget how to spell Lamborghini use “Lamb or ghini” as a hint. I don’t know if ghini is a thing.

– Made Tom Google the surgery-free weight loss balloon we saw advertised on a billboard. It’s a big balloon filled with saline. I can’t figure out how to insert a bug saline filled balloon without surgery. Tom says the fill it in you. “How do they tie it?” Secretly, I now want to try this method of weight loss, but instead of a saline balloon maybe one with smuggled diamonds. Also, can I just swallow balloons from the toy store to save money?

– The My Brother My Brother and Me podcast makes a joke about Gallagher 1 and 2 and references G1 being a dick. Tom hadn’t heard this (!) so we Google “Why is Gallagher a dick” but then have to exclude Oasis brothers (also dicks) and Dick Gallagher, a piano player who is probably a dick “because his mom liked the name” to get to the stories about angry racist Watermelon Gallagher. 

– Made Tom Google and read me the wiki for the Scarsdale Diet doctor murder. Also made him Google Molly Pitcher to verify our guesses about why they named a rest area after her. I had the correct era, and Michael actually knew a surprising amount about her. 

– We discussed  story from the audition. Michael had told people in line around him that you can suck on gummy bears to soothe your throat. Apparently the people behind him told him they’d Googled it because they thought he might be trying to sabotage the line by spreading a myth. We try to decide what he would have gained by knocking them out with bad advice when they weren’t directly auditioning against each other. Michael said to me, “Go ahead, Google ‘sucking on a gummy bear’.” Me: “I don’t have safe search on.” 

– Tom and Michael declare the Grover Cleveland rest area on the NJ turnpike honors a Muppet. We ponder if there are human/muppet porn movies but do not search for any because there must be some. It takes at least 20 more miles before I realize they meant Grover the blue Monster and not a humanoid Muppet named Grover Cleveland. Wasn’t there a boy Muppet similarly named?

– What is Peter Pan doing in the picture on the back of Peter Pan busses? Michael proposes Flamenco dancing and I think a magic trick with a quick “look over there!” redirect. Would you know it was a picture of Peter Pan if it wasn’t on a Peter Pan bus? “It’s young Robin Hood!” We didn’t look up the history, but it isn’t clear why Peter Pan = bus transportation. I also wonder what they had to pay JM Barrie for the rights, and if it was worth it (as opposed to just making up a new, non-intellectual property name.)

– We grew to hate the car’s GPS. Her alternate route suggestions to avoid traffic generally add time. She also says “Traffic jam ahead” when there is either no traffic jam ahead, or when we are already in the middle of it. WE KNOW.  I named the GPS lady Suzy because the car is a Subaru. A frequent response to her announcements is “Shut the hell up, Suzy!” The biggest flaw is that she seems to treat many highway exits like anti-turns, especially when there is an exit-only lane. I understand you don’t want people in a turn-only lane if they aren’t turning, but that feels like a thing we can just assume the driver will handle. If you tell me to drive 30 miles to my next exit, I will spend thirty miles NOT taking every exit that comes along.

– How difficult would it be for a kitten to play ragtime on an upright piano? The song “Kitten on the Keys” feels misleading in this respect. I don’t think a kitten has the body mass to depress the keys that quickly. Tom realizes it’s a player piano or nickelodeon, not a piano. So it’s a REALLY misleading song title.

– Discuss the relative merits of Peter Tork as a singer.

– If you trip and fall and rip your arm open on a cruise ship mini golf course, how much is it your fault for not being able to lift your leg high enough to step over the edge of sides of the hole?  

– Changed the rules for Spotify Search Roulette. Have to use Gong Show guidelines of 30 seconds per song, then anyone can say “skip” but each rider gets two vetoes. You can one use one skip veto per song (so if there is a second Skip request after you veto the first one, you have to skip.) while the songs are awful, the search term “auntie” results in the most interesting song titles and band names I’ve ever seen while playing this game. 

14 hours driving to and from Philly plus an hour each way to see a concert Saturday night means we are all car seat-shaped and spent too much time in rest area bathrooms. But it was a good trip and I’d do it again tomorrow if I had to. (Unfortunately/fortunately, we won’t have to, at least not this time.)

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If I Ruled the iOS World

The latest Apple operating system is due out this week. Or soon. I can’t keep up, to be honest. Anyway, I decided this would be a good place to list my pet peeves and almost all of them are related to music apps, which is interesting. In particular order:

1. I hate hate hate how the Music app just does whatever the hell it wants when the phone locates and connects to a Bluetooth device. A good half the time, when I start my car, the music app just starts playing, even if I was using Spotify last. And it just starts playing in alphabetical order. I got to hear the first 5 seconds of the ABC Cafe from Les Mis until a song called “A Thrill of Anticipation” pulled in first. Hey, Apple, nobody includes the articles when determining alphabetical order. WTF.

Either way, stop auto-playing, and stop going back to the top of the song list.

2. Almost worse than that, why can’t I set the default for shuffle? Sweet baby Jesus, turning off shuffle multiple times a day is pure horseshit. If I turn it off, LEAVE IT OFF.

3. iTunes: STOP SUCKING. Music App: maybe force the developers to USE it so they’ll understand how unintuitive they’ve made the damned thing. I loathe Music now and listen to Spotify EVEN when I own the album and have to use data because the Music app sucks hard.

4. Spotify app: you need to let me change the order my playlists are in from the app. And set the default to add new songs to the top of a list (from within the app). (I figured this one out. Pull down on the playlist and the sort order is upper right.) Also, MyMusic would be far less annoying if it let me view by album. I hardly ever want to play every song by an artist, but I may want to play a whole album. Your UI makes me take 4 extra steps. And bring back the original concept of “Starred” songs going into the Starred playlist.

5. LastFM app: Get your shit together. Who on earth releases a whole new version of their software with all the functionality turned off? You weren’t ready to go live? Roll back to the previous version. The app is pretty much useless right now, listing only song title (not artist). Knowing I listened to Luce 22 times last week is different from knowing I have listed 322 times total. A weekly view should be a weekly view. Period.
Lastly, I don’t know if this is on Apple or you or the 3rd party app I’m using, but I shouldn’t have to listen to every second of a song for it to scrobble. Listening to 5:45 of a 6 minute song should count.

Is that a full wish list? Hardly, but addressing these issues would remove 80% of my iPhone frustration.

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Thanksgiving 2013

I have some things I’m thankful for this year. Some things I’m not, but now is not the time for that. Talk to me next week for complaints.

My son, for finally learning where everything goes when he empties the dishwasher, and for being the one person who consistently makes me belly laugh. That sarcasm 101 class at court jester school really paid off. You are top-shelf, kid, which is, by the way, where the wine glasses go.

My iPhone, which serves as my connection to the universe, my way to shop, my alarm clock, my kitchen timer, my camera, nightlight and radio. I don’t know what I’d do without an automated way to crush candy.
My parents, for everything they do for me, whether I ask them to or not. I know I’m blessed beyond belief to have you both. But I also promised to not get mushy.
My spare kid, and the girls who formed a fan club fighting to replace him, for making me feel loved and appreciated and all-powerful. I do love each of you special snowflakes. If you are reading this, you are my favorite.

Last but not least, I am thankful for second dates, and boys patient enough to wait for you to come out of your silly fog. I am thankful I came to my senses before he gave up on me. And he’s better than a plate full of turkey (but not better than stuffing because let’s not get crazy, okay?)

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St. Jody Day 2013

I posted a link to the original St. Jody Day post back in 2009 (the first official St. Jody Day) on Facebook and Twitter. It is here. Go catch up, and then come back.  I think in the 4 years since then, we have learned a few things and we should add more items to the list of ways to celebrate.

Therefore, on what would have been my 20th wedding anniversary if, say, I had remained married the last four years (oops) I declare an update to the St. Jody Day rules!

6. The wearing of the tiara. You don’t have a tiara? Well, there are malls all over the world. Most of them should have a tiara store. Look near the yacht store.
7. The plugging in of twinkle lights. Don’t have twinkle lights? And you call yourself my friend? I HOARD twinkle lights. But I’m not sharing. If you have a fake Christmas tree, put it up and turn it on. There is no excuse.
8. The faving and RTing of my work on Twitter. For goodness’ sake, people, why do I only have 425 followers? And why am I not more popular? On St. Jody Day, you’d better bust out the big guns and make me feel loved!
9. The slurping of mai tais and ice cream. My darling cousin Jacqui and her darling husband Ron helped me celebrate my first St. Jody Day by taking me to a chinese buffet, followed by ice cream at Kimball’s in Westford MA. Two mai tais during dinner guaranteed I would have to be carried to the window to order my ice cream. You may choose to limit yourself to one mai tai, but get an extra scoop on your cone.

Is that enough? Never, but I don’t want to overwhelm the newbies. I think this St. Jody Day will be legendary.

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What Amuses Me

Welcome to class, students of “What makes Jody laugh.” We will go deep into Rifftrax and MST3K
(“The Power of Mocking Humor”) but also the following:

  • Weird juxtapositions (signs, bad captions or the wrong video in news reports)
  • Funny foreign packaging (aka dollar store humor)
  • Theater of the Absurd (The Jerk, Arrested Development, Batman TV series, Daily Show rants or things like Bad Lip Reading http://youtu.be/Zce-QT7MGSE)
  • People getting caught in a lie that they have to go with to ridiculous lengths to support (IT Crowd – Roy getting stuck pretending he’s handicapped (http://youtu.be/BHwawAf0-Bc),
    Extras – Ricky Gervais being forced to lie about being in the cemetery to visit his dead mother (http://youtu.be/HLTeltR87vw starts at about 3:40)

There will be a quiz.

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So You Want To Be a Superhero

Welcome to lesson one of the self-paced training session “So You Want To Be a Superhero”. This course consists of 25 lessons, which should be completed in numbered order. You should never attempt to jump to Lesson 15, Stopping a Moving Vehicle with Your Feet” until after you complete Lesson 5, “Verifying Your Personal Strength Limits” and Lesson 9, “Are You Invincible?”

WE CANNOT STRESS HIGHLY ENOUGH THAT SKIPPING LESSONS MAY CAUSE BLISTERING, HEARING LOSS AND/OR DEATH.

Also, lesson-skippers will be blacklisted at the Justice League of America and superhero employment opportunities will simply not be available to you.

Lesson 1: Introduction to Superheroing

Many people who sign up for this class are under the mistaken impression that just about anyone can be a superhero. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not everyone can be a superhero. Some people can’t even be heroes without proper adult supervision.

Here are some questions we would like you to consider before you continue on with your lessons:

Am I Likable?
While not a requirement, it really does help you run your superhero empire if people naturally like you. If you are hateable, people will question your motives, and are likely to try to sue you for the damage you’ll do in the line of duty. Put a whole in a building to stop bank robbers and a likable hero will get a medal. An unlikable one will get a bill for repairs.

 What is My Motivation?
Did bad guys do you wrong? Are you trying to avenge something? Or are you taking this class because you hate math and thought it would be a good way to get on television? Being a superhero is not easy. You’re never fully off duty. You want to go on vacation to the Grand Canyon? You’ll probably spend your time there preventing some villain from trying to fill it with quick-drying cement.

How will I look in Spandex?
This question should not be ignored. Superheroes are attention magnets. You will receive lots of press exposure, and looking good is part of the gig. Nobody wants to be rescued by a guy with a beer belly stretching the limits of his uniform. Are you willing to commit to do the work it takes to keep the spandex lump-free?

 Do You Overheat Easily?
How do you handle warm weather? Do you sweat a lot, get a red face and just generally feel miserable when you get warm? Go get a refund on this course right now. Almost all superheros have alter-egos to hide their true identity. Those alter-egos are nice normal people who wear nice normal clothing. You, however, will be wearing the equivalent of long underwear under your street clothes 24 hours a day. Do you know how hot that can get? Try putting on a shirt and pants over that uniform. Layers suck in the summer. You cannot get away from it, because you need to be in uniform at a moment’s notice. Sure, some superheroes decide to just forgo the alter-ego and be in uniform all the time. They don’t get a single moment’s peace. Everyone needs something every minute of the day.

Are You Prepared to Trust No One?
Nobody but nobody is trustworthy. Your girlfriend? She’s been mind-controlled by your nemesis. Your parents? They have been infected with a toxic mind mold by the League of Doom. Your “best friend”? He’s turned to the dark side and become the Green Goblin. You can never really fully trust anyone. Maybe even the people teaching this course.

Think about it.

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Christmas Music Purchases: 2011 Edition

I own a ton of Christmas music. I will not apologize for it. I used to have a page on the site that documented it all, with links to Amazon. Back when people used to care about me, my link was on page 1 of the Google results for Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack. THAT was how much I ruled the universe.

These days, people don’t need me to find that CD. But, I still have many many (many) fans sitting in their dark and dirty rooms, lit only with the light of a laptop monitor, the buzzing of traffic their only companions, wondering: “For baby Jesus’ sake, WHAT CHRISTMAS MUSIC DID JODY ADD TO HER COLLECTION THIS YEAR??!!”

I will only document complete albums, not individual songs, unless the individual songs are kick-ass. Actually, I’ve downloaded so much free stuff that I don’t know which individual songs are kick-ass yet. (Please, before time runs out, check out the Amazon MP3 site for their 25 free songs – maybe one of them will appeal to you?)

Albums/CDs I purchased this year, in no particular order:

  • Christmas Remixed: Holiday Classics Re-grooved
  • Christmas Cheer – Straight No Chaser
  • Cello Music For Christmas – The Christmas Cello
  • Merry Flippin’ Christmas Vol 1 and 2 – Bowling for Soup
  • This is Christmas – Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler

So the musical Christmas spirit is alive and well Chez Dump. Keep on singing!

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Items From My Current To-Do List

For those who want to be me, here’s a current to-do list to copy into your own palm pilot or hipster PDA.

  • Process 1700+ photos from 13: The Musical and upload them to maplebarnphoto.com for the nice parents of the nice children who entertained us this weekend
  • Put away the suitcase from my January trip to Florida
  • Decide which week in August to take a vacation
  • Check budget to see if you can afford August vacation
  •  Decide what to do during August vacation
  • Laundry, still and again
  • Write a poem about Jesus Toast
  • Wash the mound of bird shit off the car
  • Lose 50 pounds
  • Get a blood test
  • Throw out all the stuff that’s been in the freezer for more than a year. That would cover everything but the container of ice cream, some Thin Mints, and a package of frozen blueberries.
  • Face the fact that it’s
  • Start my next to-do list
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Useless Writing Advice

I do not have the ability to give advice on being a better writer. I have the ability to give advice on just about anything and everything else, including how to choose a tomato (no skin flaws and it should smell like a tomato), but being  better writer? Well, I suppose I could try, if that’s what you’d like.

Expensive Equipment Helps Create Better Prose

I think this is a gimme. You need the most expensive writing equipment you can find. Take out loans. You need top of the line everything. There’s a pen for sale at the local mall for $10,000. You need that pen. Everything you write with that Bic you stole from a waitress is pure crap. Gerbils can’t even be bothered to shred the paper you write on with your less-than-10k pen. You’ll also need a top of the line Mac laptop, iPad and an iPhone 4. As for the latter, if it isn’t white, you should go turn in your MFA.

Live in a Home with a Real Working Fireplace

If you can’t simulate the working conditions of Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte, what hope do you have of ever convincing a soul that your writing is even passable? You need the sound of a crackling fire as background noise. You need to poke at the embers when you’re having a hard time trying to come up with a new way to describe the angst of the twenty-something. You should just stop writing and call a Realtor. Now.

Burn Candles that Smell Like Lemons

This is a controversial one. I know there are people who would argue with me on this, but you’ve come to me for useless writing advice, so you had best listen to me. Get some lemon-scented candles. You see, what these will do is to trigger strong memories of your mother/aunt/grandmother with the Lemon Pledge obsession and you will get some great material out of remember how much you hated that your mother/aunt/grandmother couldn’t cook/clean/express love. It’s great stuff!

Buy New Camera Equipment

I don’t know that it will really help your writing, but I’m trying to justify a few purchases I’ve made in the past year, so just indulge me, would you?

Get a Metric Ton of Sleep. Nap Like You Mean It.

I can’t say enough about naps and sleeping. I bought flannel sheets and I could live in my bed for the rest of my life. I could be Grandma Georgina, and we would start to wonder again how the four elderly people who never left the bed went to the bathroom after eating cabbage soup 3 meals a day. I promise not to eat cabbage, but I still will probably need to go to the bathroom. Some things can’t be helped.

I think this will help you write better. I won’t know, because I’ll be too busy sleeping to read your book.

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Useless Writing Advice

I do not have the ability to give advice on being a better writer. I have the ability to give advice on just about anything and everything else, including how to choose a tomato (no skin flaws and it should smell like a tomato), but being  better writer? Well, I suppose I could try, if that’s what you’d like.

Expensive Equipment Helps Create Better Prose

I think this is a gimme. You need the most expensive writing equipment you can find. Take out loans. You need top of the line everything. There’s a pen for sale at the local mall for $10,000. You need that pen. Everything you write with that Bic you stole from a waitress is pure crap. Gerbils can’t even be bothered to shred the paper you write on with your less-than-10k pen. You’ll also need a top of the line Mac laptop, iPad and an iPhone 4. As for the latter, if it isn’t white, you should go turn in your MFA.

Live in a Home with a Real Working Fireplace

If you can’t simulate the working conditions of Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte, what hope do you have of ever convincing a soul that your writing is even passable? You need the sound of a crackling fire as background noise. You need to poke at the embers when you’re having a hard time trying to come up with a new way to describe the angst of the twenty-something. You should just stop writing and call a Realtor. Now.

Burn Candles that Smell Like Lemons

This is a controversial one. I know there are people who would argue with me on this, but you’ve come to me for useless writing advice, so you had best listen to me. Get some lemon-scented candles. You see, what these will do is to trigger strong memories of your mother/aunt/grandmother with the Lemon Pledge obsession and you will get some great material out of remember how much you hated that your mother/aunt/grandmother couldn’t cook/clean/express love. It’s great stuff!

Buy New Camera Equipment

I don’t know that it will really help your writing, but I’m trying to justify a few purchases I’ve made in the past year, so just indulge me, would you?

Get a Metric Ton of Sleep. Nap Like You Mean It.

I can’t say enough about naps and sleeping. I bought flannel sheets and I could live in my bed for the rest of my life. I could be Grandma Georgina, and we would start to wonder again how the four elderly people who never left the bed went to the bathroom after eating cabbage soup 3 meals a day. I promise not to eat cabbage, but I still will probably need to go to the bathroom. Some things can’t be helped.

I think this will help you write better. I won’t know, because I’ll be too busy sleeping to read your book.

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