Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Men Are Dogs? Maybe...

You probably grew up with one of these, either in your immediately family, or at least on your street. The guy who had a man-cave space, usually in his garage. It was the place where the guys kicked back, the kids wanted to hang out, where Dad headed to when he just wanted to relax and listen to the ball game on the radio.

This morning, I was listening to the morning drive radio, and they started talking about these testosterone laden spaces, and one of the personalities mentioned that in a way, men really are dogs.

Well, more like wolves, anyway.

Why is it we like these little hideaways, these protected spaces of manhood? Maybe it's because we innately have a den animal lurking within us. We don't need a lot of space, just enough for a comfortable chair, a fridge and entertainment. When it's cold, give us a little space heater. Maybe a toaster oven or microwave for snacks. And we'll be happy!

We revel in our cozy surroundings, with the faint scent of motor oil and burnt electrical connections. All it usually needs is a "No girlz alloud" sign. From the Humane Society website:
Dogs are den animals. They need their own sanctuary that is just large enough for them to fit inside and feel secure. They need a "home away from home" where they can go when they are stressed. If you don't provide your dog a "den" of its own, it may make do with whatever is around -- a chair, the narrow place behind the couch, or the wedge of space between the bed and the wall.
A crate is an indoor doghouse that is used for brief periods of time. Its primary function is to serve as a bed or den. It can also be an ideal tool to housetrain your pet or to keep canines that suffer from separation anxiety from destroying the house while you run a few errands. However, the dog is not supposed to live in the crate. Endless hours in the crate can lead to severe social and isolation problems for your dog -- and it will no longer see the crate as a special retreat.

When you are home, your dog needs to be out with you. In fact, the crate should be kept in the room where the family spends most of its time. That way, your dog can seek refuge from the hubbub of household activity, yet still feel like a part of the family.

Once your dog realizes that the crate is a sanctuary and that no one can bother it while it is in its "den," your dog will begin to seek out the crate on its own. For more information on crate training, call your local animal shelter.
Now, every time you read "dog" in that little piece, think "man". There are some differences. The man-cave should not be in the same room as the rest of the family. Very counter productive. Otherwise, it's pretty darn close.

And while it's always the start of a joke to say that women travel to the bathroom in packs, I think we males are the true pack animals. If one of the guys has a good man-cave, we will all partake of its luxuries, enjoying our buddy's Fortress of Solitude. From the Wikipedia entry for "Dog":
Domestic dogs inherited a complex social hierarchy and behaviors from their wolf ancestors. Dogs are pack animals with a complex set of behaviors related to determining each dog's position in the social hierarchy, and they exhibit various postures and other means of nonverbal communication that reveal their states of mind.[2] These sophisticated forms of social cognition and communication may account for their trainability, playfulness, and ability to fit into human households and social situations, and these attributes have earned dogs a unique relationship with humans despite being potentially dangerous apex predators.
Again, you can pretty much substitute "man" here as well. Don't think there's a hierarchy? Most guy groups especially when assembled in the man-cave, include the jock (in charge of the sports programming); the mechanic (the guy with ALL the tools), the socially awkward dork (who also fixes all the other guys' computers) and the total screw-up who is still part of the group because he's a bro. Each has their usefulness - if only as a bad example. And they all fit into that complex social hierarchy.

As for nonverbal communication - the ladies could take lessons here. The subtle head nod to acknowledge another guy's presence. The fist bump to greet another of similar stature. The swagger of confidence - which often accompanies the loser in the group. All non-verbal cues.

We even have simplified communication, especially in the man-cave. One word is sufficient for a vast majority of communications between we human canines. "Dude". Example: Buddy opens fridge to get a beer. You say "Dude!". He looks. You give him the quick upward head tilt to signify "My good friend, I have a thirst which needs to be quenched. Please, be so kind as to obtain one of the frosty cold beverages which you have thoughtfully stocked, and pass it my way." Without a word, your buddy grabs a brew, and you sir, are doing fine. Recap: Dude. Head tilt. Receive beer. We are masters of the simple communication.

Yes, we men are easily compared to our four-legged friends. We are proud and stand together as brothers. Defend and protect, like the the noble and powerful wolf. Why the wolf? Because I ain't no damn chihuahua.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sleepnessness and the Muse

So here it is - Saturday night at nearly 3am and I'm wide awake. Not really unusual, just really annoying. The sleepnessness, similar to insomnia, has worked its way in.

At 8 or 9 this evening, I was ready to keel over from exhaustion. I got very little sleep last night, and it looks like there's another night of that coming tonight. Why? Because about 10pm I started getting my second wind. My brain turned on, and when that happens, I'm toast. It's like I don't need soleep.

I had started doing some research online, and M sent me a text message commenting that she wished I did as much homework on everything as I did on this particular topic. It struck a chord. The topic was interesting, but I did have more energy. Got me to thinking - most of my writing and creative work is done in the wee hours. I just seem to hit my muse about midnight. And once I get going, I just seem to keep going.

Why is it my creative juices don't start flowing until after midnight? There's probably some new-agey stuff out there about it being related to the time I was born or the cycles of the moon, but I don't buy it. There's gotta be something else.

I've always been this way. When I did a lot of theater, I could pull all-nighters hanging lights or painting sets without hesitation. In my theme park employment days, Happy Hour started at midnight. I can remember being up to watch the Tonight show when I was 10 or 11 on a regular basis.

But now, I have a "real" job, with 8a-4p hours, weekends off. For most folks, that's heaven. For me, the hours are killing me. By mid-afternoon, I want a nap in a bad way. Even now, at just after 3am, I've got three or four blog posts running around in my head, I've been installing software on my laptop and mobile phone, and I feel like I want to snack in a big bad way. Meanwhile, I'm supposed to get up at about 6-6:30 so C and I can go hiking. Yeesh.

A lot of research has been done on circadian rhythms. Of course, when you see these symptoms, it gets a little worrisome:

- Difficulty initiating sleep
- Difficulty maintaining sleep
- Nonrestorative sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Poor concentration
- Impaired performance, including a decrease in cognitive skills
- Poor psychomotor coordination
- Headaches
- Gastrointestinal distress

Of these, I can tick off at least 6, maybe 7 as symptoms for me. Great.

And if course, as I write this, I'm starting to quickly fade. My eyes are tired, which helps. But by this point, I only have about three hours to sleep.

I know I'm not the only person who has these issues. My writing/blogging is an important creative outlet for me, and keeps the creative side of me happy. So how do I balance my late night muse with my early morning responsibilities?

Do you run into this problem? Is it just insomnia 0 or something more? How do you cope with it? Do you have a favorite way to get your body and mind to synchronize? What do you do? Enter it in the comments below.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some People Have Odd Weddings...

Every bride wants their special day to be unique, and that's great. Sometimes, however, unique goes a bit beyond that point to "HUH?"

DJMick has a collection of 100 pictures of brides in either strange attire, or pictures that are just plain wrong. For example, there's the picture of the bride with an out-of-focus groom zipping his fly in the background. Or the shot of the bridal party taking a ride in the bucket of a skip-loader. Or these two at left.

Bizarre Brides And Weird Weddings (100 Pics)

Just In Case You're Having A Bad Day...

Came across this site via Mashable, and realized some people have worse days than I do. Lots worse.

Badhap : House of Hell
Until I discovered to my abject horror that the landlord had a spare key to the house and would routinely let himself in whenever he wanted...and sleep on the living room sofa! No notice was ever given - it was totally random. Sometimes he'd be there on the sofa when I got up, other times he wasn't. I found this a bit strange and enquired if it was a regular thing and one of my housemates (who we'll meet later) said he'd been doing it for as long as she'd lived there.

Badhap is a site where you can share your lousy days, your ugly roommate stories, and general miserable experiences. Just 'cause you're not laughing doesn't mean the rest of us can't!

Categories on this site include:
  • I've never been so embarassed
  • I had the worst day at work
  • Housemates from hell
  • I can't believe how drunk I was

...among others. You can even rate the "badhaps" from "not so bad" to "glad I'm not you". You'll find all kinds of stories here, like the guy who was so drunk he did a cannonball - into an empty pool.

So - if you're having a bad day, just check badhap. You're bound to find someone who had a worse one!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Little Spacecraft Falling Down, Go Boom

Kaguya Will Impact the Moon on June 10 | Universe Today
Kaguya Will Impact the Moon on June 10

The Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya will end its two-year mission with a controlled impact on the Moon’s surface on June 10th at 18:30 Universal Time. The impact location is near the southeast limb at 80ºE, 63ºS. If you live in Asia and Australia, you may have the opportunity to observe the impact event, and the Japanese Space Agency –JAXA – wants to hear from you if you plan on watching for the impact. The event may be visible with a bright flash or plume.
Those of us in the in the northern hemisphere won't get to see this event, but it will likely be tracked and filmed by multiple agencies.

It's not often there's an opportunity to witness such an event, but I do kind of feel like this is our way of dumping trash on the moon. Isn't dumping it down here bad enough?

As we continue to explore the realms of space, moving away from our own planet, we should be making sure we don't abuse the resources of other terrestrial bodies. Yeah, that's a bit melodramatic, but we've done such a great job of fouling things up down here that we really shouldn't be exporting it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How Long Has THAT Been In There?

StillTasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide - Save Money, Eat Better, Help The Environment

George Carlin had an old bit about stuff in the fridge. Could be meat...could be cake. Maybe it's meat cake.

And how many times have you heard the old "smell it and see if it's still good" line - which invariably leads to a strong whiff of something that's bound to test your gag reflex.

Well fret no more, good reader! Now you can get a good idea whether it's even worth peeling back the aluminum foil at Just type the "food" in question into the search box, and you'll get info as to how long it will last in the fridge, the freezer, and some tips on making if last.

For example, I entered "pizza" and was given the choice between frozen pizza and take-out. I chose take-out, as there's a foil package with week old (give or take a few days) pepperoni in the fridge. StillTasty says it's only good for a day or two in the fridge (should have put it in the freezer - 1-2 months there!). In addition, they recommend that it should be refrigerated within 2 hours of purchase. So much for that pizza box that was left on the coffee table all night.

So, check your fridge, then check You may end up with a lot more room in there...


Skittles and Booze

Shark Fin Drink

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Kid Would Never Get To Play With This

EyeClops Toys Change the Way Children See the World

These are some serious cool toys. And as the original poster says, they're even better when the kids are leaning and don't know it.

The toy line features video microscopes, including a version with its own LCD screen. They are also devices to capture and examine bugs, and even a set of night vision goggles that are kid priced.

Kids will love playing with this gear. It looks fun, and they'll never know that there's an actual educational element to it.

Then again, they may have a hard time wrenching them away from the grownups...


I Want One Of These Little Guys
Shark Fin... Drink?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

When The Sign Says "Don't Feed The Bears"...

Skittles and Booze....Mmmmmmm

And I thought Apple Schnapps could be evil...

Skittles Vodka Tutorial | Mix That Drink
Skittles Vodka Tutorial

Infusing vodka with Skittles is a very popular trend right now. There are a couple of different ways to do it. My way involves separating all the Skittles into their separate flavors and making five different bottles of Skittles vodka.
This could be either really good, or really evil.

But I can see a whole host of mixed drinks made with this stuff. For example, instead of an "Appletini", how about a "Vodka Skittletini"?

I have a hunch that one big drawback of these liquors is that you shouldn't serve them to people who can't properly hold a drink. These bad boys will likely stain just about anything that it touches. Ever had a Skittle "melt" a bit in your hand? Now make that into a tasty liquid.

Nevertheless, this could make for a great party drink - just be sure to have plenty on hand!

Related Articles

Shark Fin... Drink?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Shark Fin... Drink? (UK) : Shark Fin Ice Tray : Gadgets - Free Delivery

Shark Fin Ice Trays at Play.comThese should be in every fridge!

Forget boring old round or cubed ice cubes. And crushed ice? Who needs it? Just freeze up some of these fins and serve in your favorite beverages. The shape is designed to float with the fin up, making for a great conversation starter.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Now I Want One...

We've all seen the endless commercials about the new Capital One cards where you can choose the image. This guy finally found a fun way to make use of it (from The Smoking Gun):
Unfortunately, he was forced to send it back. But man, I bet he would have gotten a laugh out of every merchant that saw it...