Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Time of No Microwave

Dad! The microwave's on fire!

Those were the words that heralded a new era in our home: The Time of No Microwave.

How, you may be asking yourself--or not asking yourself, I really don't care, but this kind of writing works better if it seems like I've got an easy rapport with you--did we manage to survive without a microwave? Turns out it's pretty easy. In fact, we still don't have one, and we don't want one, either. Microwave ovens, along with HFCS, are part of the Axis of Fat that's turned America into the Home of the Lard-asses. They are an insidious evil and must be dealt with accordingly.

These, then, are my top reasons for not owning a microwave oven:

  1. They're a safety hazard. Anything in the kitchen that can bust into flames is bad news. I have only my own experience here from which to draw, but I'm a quick study when comes to getting burned up.
  2. They make coffee an all-day habit. Not only is this hard on the nerves, it costs money, too. Topping it all off, I'm an insufferable asshole when I've had too much caffeine.
  3. Here's the most important reason for getting rid of your microwave: They only cook junk. OK, sure there are some things you can cook in a microwave that might even be considered gourmet fare, but most of the crap that comes out of them is either wrapped in a tortilla or covered in nacho cheese. One word: hot-dogs. And, again, not only is that stuff bad for your body and mind, it's hard on the wallet, as well.
  4. Microwave ovens suck down a lot of juice. Besides the wattage they draw when they're in use, most microwaves have LED clocks and other internal electronics that never shut off. This one kind of pisses me off. Where do these manufacturers get off introducing features that cost me money without telling me about it? And, it's not just your microwave that's leading power and money, but that's another rant.
  5. Your microwave is just another damn thing you have to clean.
  6. You don't really need the thing. Water boils on the stove top as fast or faster than in a microwave. Fresh coffee tastes better. Pizza actually tastes as good as when it was delivered if you reheat it in a regular oven.
  7. Microwave popcorn tastes like crap. Invest in a hot-air popper and melt the butter (not that poisonous margarine) on the stove top. And use as much salt as you like. Your sodium intake is way down since you stopped eating hot-dogs and microwave burritos.
  8. They take up counter space. Unless you've got a built-in. In that case they take up potential cupboard space. And, there's no way to unplug the energy sucking beasts if they're built right into the wall.
  9. They're noisy. Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Bing!
  10. Radiation! OK, I know it's not ionizing radiation and won't harm me in any way unless I actually get in the microwave, but I just had to throw that in there.

Photo, which has nothing to do with a burning appliance but does show a microwave out of its natural environment so it kind of fits, by Beige Alert.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"A fresh cup of really hot tea"

From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

The Infinite Improbability Drive is a wonderful new method of crossing vast interstellar distances in a mere nothingth of a second, without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace.

It was discovered by a lucky chance, and then developed into a governable form of propulsion by the Galactic Government's research team on Damogran.

This, briefly, is the story of its discovery.

The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of course well understood - and such generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the molecules in the hostess's undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance with the Theory of Indeterminacy.

Many respectable physicists said that they weren't going to stand for this - partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn't get invited to those sort of parties.

Another thing they couldn't stand was the perpetual failure they encountered in trying to construct a machine which could generate the infinite improbability field needed to flip a spaceship across the mind-paralysing distances between the furthest stars, and in the end they grumpily announced that such a machine was virtually impossible.

Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up the lab after a particularly unsuccessful party found himself reasoning this way:

If, he thought to himself, such a machine is a virtual impossibility, then it must logically be a finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one is to work out exactly how improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea ... and turn it on!

He did this, and was rather startled to discover that he had managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite Improbability generator out of thin air.

It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute's Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn't stand was a smartass.

Theremug from Kyle McDonald on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 13, 2008