The Coolest Most Boring Thing Ever–Cardboard Boxes

There’s nothing more boring than a cardboard box right?


Boxes are silent protectors. Guarding your favorite items, escorting them and hiding them from evil mailmen, rain, the TSA, and wild cats. Not to mention today, they are saving the earth with an average of 27% recycled material. I’ve always had a fascination with the industry and real complexity that comes from what most consider ‘boring’ items. Boxes have made men millionaires, broken others, and contributed to the happiness of each and every one of us.

What we know as a ‘box’ is really what’s known as a chipboard or corrugated box— it has three layers. Two flat pieces and one wavy flute piece, for extra protection.

For the input of one box, there’s input from marketing teams, graphic designers, executives, and engineers.

Cool facts about boxes:

  • There is actually a real museum dedicated to the cardboard box! It is located in Valréas, France, and is called Musée du Cartonnage et de l’Imprimerie (Museum of the Cardboard Box).
  • In 2004, the architect Peter Ryan, from Melbourne, designed and built a livable house made from cardboard boxes.
  • 95% of products are shipped within a corrugated box, 75% of which are recovered and recycled.
Corrugated box close up

Source: Craig Sunter

For more info about how a box is made, check this out:




What Is It With You & Aluminum Anodizing, Man?

I’ll tell you what it is with me and aluminum anodizing (man): this process slightly blows my mind. Not my whole mind, but part of it; about a third, maybe. So slightly, but not completely.

‘Cause think about it: you put aluminum stuff in a pool of the gods only know what kind of chemicals, add enough electricity to wipe out a herd of goats, and a little extra coloring sauce of some kind, and BAM! Not only is your aluminum stronger and harder than it was before, now it’s blue. Or red, or purple, or orange or yellow or green or whatever. And it’s not like you just painted it—any jerk can paint metal to make it a different color. With aluminum anodizing, you actually make the metal be a different color. With science. And electricity.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know how much electricity this process requires. It probably varies by how much aluminum you’re anodizing, or how thick it is, or something like that. But it’s probably not actually enough to kill a bunch of goats. Maybe one goat, two tops. But that would be mean. Leave the poor goats alone, dang it. All they ever wanted was to chew on stuff and have their milk be made into delicious cheese. Is that so awful? Is it?!?

Okay. Rant ended. Hooray goats.

Kev Dog the Evil Ice Man

So, if you’re like me, you ate way too much cheese over the holiday. I tried to hold back, but the Kev Dog needs him his gouda fix, braj.

Or, if you’re like me in a different way, you spent summers during your college years painting houses. It’s actually not a bad gig if you can get it. The pay is usually just a little over jack squat, but at least you get to be outside in the fresh air and you get the day off whenever it rains. Now, most of the time, the work itself wasn’t too difficult, ’cause how hard is painting? Not very.

Preparing a house for painting, however, is a really pain in the tuckus. Scraping and stripping the existing paint for 600 straight hours is not my idea of an awesome day on the job. So when I came across a website touting steam stripping systems, I immediately thought about how I could put such a thing to use in prepping a house.

I came to find out (after a bit more reading) that steam stripping is not really used for removing paint, and would be prohibitively expensive for such a task, but a guy can dream, can’t he? After spending far too much time thinking about how to make it work, I also realized that, oh yeah, I don’t work as a house painter anymore and haven’t for like five years. And even if I did, it’s the middle of winter and so cold here that the steam would probably just freeze solid, instantly killing anyone caught in its icy grip.

Hmm… maybe I could find a use for it after all. Mwa-ha-ha-haha-haha-haa!

Who’re You Callin’ A Mass Flow Meter?

So, you know how sometimes you come across a word or phrase that just inherently sounds funny, and no amount of explanation or knowledge of what it actually means will cancel out the initially humorousness of the word or phrase itself? Even if I was sick, for example, and the doctor said, “I’m sorry, Kev Dog, but you’ve got rectal cancer,” I’d be so busy giggling about the doctor having said “rectal” that the “cancer” part wouldn’t even register until it literally killed me. “Oh yeah, cancer. *gaaaack*

Well, so it is with “mass flow meters.” Discovered on another of the completely random websites I come discover on one of my incessant insomniac internet inroads, this sounds too much like a certain popular “blue” phrase. (The first two words do, anyway.) Now, even though I actually took the time to peruse the site and read what mass flow meters actually are and what they do, I still can’t say that string of words with a straight face.

I actually tried it out over my Xbone headset last night whilst squaring off against my cousin Paulie on a game of Madden. For our dear ol’ Granny’s sake (and at our mothers’ behest), Paulie and I are making an effort to use less foul language around the holidays this year, so instead of my usual salty sailor speak, I called him a “mass flow meter.”

After a brief silence, during which he sacked my pixelated QB for an eight-yard loss, he barked back at me, “Who’re you callin’ a mass flow meter?” Good stuff, Paulie. Good stuff.

Faster Than You Can Type III Anodizing

So, I keep going back to this anodizing well, for some reason. I can’t quite pinpoint why, exactly, but the whole “electricity and special sauce makes metal better” thing is fascinating to me. And, if electricity and special sauce weren’t enough, it turns out there are multiple variations of the anodizing process.

Regular anodizing uses chromic acid. At least, I’m going to assume it’s considered “regular anodizing,” because it’s referred to as Type I, and I can’t imagine why you’d call anything that wasn’t essentially the default setting “Type I.” I don’t really know what chromic acid does, but I’m going to guess that it’s probably the dangerous kind of acid that could actually melt your face off, rather than the fun kind of acid that only makes it seem like your face is melting off.

Bump that deadly danger juice up a few notches to sulfuric acid, and you’ve got yourself Type II and Type III anodizing. From what I can tell, Types II and III result in thicker coatings than Type I. Type III is commonly called “hardcoat anodizing,” which leads me to believe that the resulting coating is harder than what you get with other Types. (I’d look it up to find out for sure, but Google is all the way over there.)

One can also replace the chromic or sulfuric acids with other acid flavors, including phosphoric acid and organic acids. If organic acids are anything like the organic vegetables at the green grocer’s, they’re really just the same thing as the non-organic kind, but with more dirt on them. Also, processes using these other types of acid don’t get their own number, so there’s no Type IV or Type V or Type XXXVIII or whatever. Somebody really dropped the ball on that one, like when Mission: Impossible IV lost the numbering and was called Ghost Protocol instead. Dumb.

Magic & Mystery Abound

So, I’ve seen some pretty random stuff for sale on the ol’ interwebs in my day, but this one just might take the cake. And I do realize that the products I’m referring to here are actually quite useful, and are downright essential to certain jobs. But they seem like the kind of thing that people who actually need them just automatically have—like how no one’s ever actually gone out and bought a stapler. Everyone that needs one just has one, somehow.

“Jeez, Kev Dog,” you’re likely saying right about now. “Your killing me with the suspense over here. Just what in the H-E-double-stuff-Oreo are you talking about, man?!?” Well, I’ll tell you…right after this.

*advert for chewing gum*

And we’re back! So, the items in question? Clothing tag attachers (sold by AndFel [?] in this case)—the little plastic pistol-looking things that you attach tags to clothing with (it’s more than just a clever name). Like I said above, obviously these are quite useful to the right people. Having worked in a retail clothing store in the past, I can attest to their worth. But, honestly, has anyone ever needed to purchase one? Or, upon realizing you needed such a thing, did you find that you magically had one in a drawer or closet already?

That’s what I thought. It just appeared, and you have no idea from whence. Magic and mystery abound…

Well, Color Me Anodized

This one ties in my last post, if you care to read that one. I actually wrote this one first, but then “misplaced” it on my laptop for a while, somehow. Anyway…

So, you know those little carabiner clips? Like the one you probably have on your key chain? The ones that rock climbers use to clip to their rope and such? You know how you can find them in all kinds of crazy colors? Have you ever wondered, “Gosh, how do they make this metal pink?” (Or green or blue or whatever.) I always assumed is was just something that was added after the fact, like some kind of fancy paint or something. Well, we all know what assumption does*.

Turns out that “fancy paint or something” is actually infused into the metal itself. (Also, just for the record, those colorful carabiners are made of aluminum, for the most part.) How does the coloring get inside the aluminum, you ask? Through a process called “anodizing”. I don’t 100% understand how it works, but it’s something to do with putting the completed aluminum object is a special solution and adding electricity.

How that does what it does, I have no idea—everything I know about it, which admittedly is not much, I learned from a website offering aluminum anodizing services that I randomly came upon a few weeks ago. Hooray for the rare occasion when I happen upon information that can actually answer a legit question I previously had in my noodle.

And hooray for anodizing, I guess…

* It makes an @$$ out of you and umption.

If Anodizing Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It

So, “hard anodizing” is a thing, apparently. I came across a company’s site that touts their hard anodizing capabilities, and I naturally assumed they meant it was a difficult process. Maybe it is, I suppose, but it turns out what they meant by “hard” was that it’s physically harder than regular anodizing, like how a diamond is harder than a cheeseburger. It’s probably not that extreme a difference; just how hard regular anodizing is, I haven’t the foggiest, but it’s clearly not as hard as hard anodizing.

Despite being punch-drunk from lack of sleep, and regular drunk from copious rum, I did manage to retain some information from this site. Anodizing, you see, is the process of adding a protective coating to things made of aluminum. Color can also be added in anodizing. You know those little red or blue or green or yellow or whatever color carabiners, the little spring-loaded clippy things people use to keep their keys or other stuff on? Those are made of anodized aluminum.

You know, one of these thingamabobs.

You know, one of these thingamabobs.

Still, as usual, I prefer willful ignorance, as life is generally more amusing that way. So I’m gonna go with “hard anodizing” being the more difficult version of regular anodizing. What makes it more difficult? For one, there are rabid badgers everywhere in the facility. Two, the instructions for the anodizing machine are written in Sanskrit. Three, all workers must wear pants that are either two sizes too small or five sizes too big (their choice). Also, the anodizing plant is inside an active volcano and run by a tribe of cannibals. And the soda machine in the break room charges 85¢ a can and the only option is room-temperature Mello Yello.

THAT, my friends, is hard anodizing.

Sorcery vs. Science?

So, I’m no engineer. That much is obvious. But I do know a little bit about how physics and mechanical devices work, so I was more than a little perplexed by my latest Weirdohead discovery.

Right angle gear boxes do not seem like they’re physically possible. Gears just don’t work that way, do they? I mean, obviously they do, because such a thing exists, but it seems to contradict everything I know about gears. Although, admittedly, that’s not a heck of a lot.

But still, how do these abominations of science and logic work? Clearly, there’s some sort of sorcery going on here, yes? Or, you know some sort of really well thought-out design. One of the two. I, preferring amused ignorance over scientific understanding (because it’s much, much easier), choose to believe it’s sorcery.

And, until somebody brings me one of these fancy right angle gear box thingers, cuts it open, and shows me exactly how it works, I am going to stick with sorcery. Because you know what you can do with your stinkin’ logic and book learnin’?!?

Go to college. Get an engineering degree. Build yourself a homemade right angle gear box as a thesis project. Then bring it here and explain how it works. THAT’S what you can do with your stinkin’ logic and book learnin’.

Distillation: Inspiration for Blogification

So, I’ve come across quite a few strange devices in my incessant, insomniac internet inspections, but these ones are real humdingers. Specifically, humdingers in that the description of what they do is not nearly as interesting as what they actually do.

These gizmos I came across are called “distillation and purification systems,” which sounds awesome, because, yes, please, distill me some booze. And I guess purify it, too, so it tastes better, or whatever. Whaddaya got? Whiskey? Vodka? Scotch? Gin? Doesn’t matter, pour me a glass!

Anywho, it turns out these devices are used to remove solvents from water. Not sure what kind of solvents, exactly, because once I realized they weren’t meant for bootlegging hooch, I skedaddled. Curse you and your deceptive wording! And curse your deceptive wording for not really being all that deceptive because it actually is an accurate description of what the product does! So, really, curse the English language for having words that mean more than one thing! And, ultimately, curse the word “distillation” in particular, because it really does mean the same thing in both cases, but one way of interpreting it is way more fun!

And while we’re at it, curse the internet in general—thief of time and sleep! Just kidding, internet. I love you.