Aren’t They All, Technically?

So, as you may know from reading this stupid little blog (Hi Grandma! Hey Paulie, you dink.), I often determine that things I find on the interwebs are Weirdohead not because of the product itself, but simply because of the name. Last night’s insomniac excursion yielded another of these finds.

A company by the name of Troy Technologies (who are not based in Troy, Michigan, luckily for them) sells what they call “travel wheelchairs.” Which is all well and good, they seem like pretty dang nice wheelchairs, really. But my quibble (or maybe “my question” is more accurate) is this: aren’t all wheelchairs travel wheelchairs, technically? I mean, if you didn’t want to travel in one, wouldn’t you just get a regular chair?

Upon closer inspection, it appears as though these travel wheelchairs are specifically designed for long-distance travel, and are made to fold up for easy storage on airplanes and such. So I guess it makes more sense when you put it that way. But still, it seems a lot like saying a car is a “travel car”–of course it travels, that’s the point!

Ah, the stupid things you think of when you’ve been awake for almost three days straight…

Helium Harry, the 400-Lbs. Gorilla

So, don’t get me wrong. Drug and alcohol abuse are certainly no laughing matter(s?). And kudos to folks who admit they have problems and go into recovery programs. Better to kill your addiction before your addiction kills you. Now, having said that…

I stumbled upon a web page about helium recovery, and the first thing I thought of was someone who got addicted to breathing helium so they could talk with a squeaky voice nonstop. “Paul, this is an intervention. Your helium abuse has gotten out of hand, and, though we love your hilarious Meatwad quotes, it’s ruining all our lives.”

For once, I did a little more research into the subject, and it turns out that the we’re pretty close to running into worldwide helium shortage. Ridiculous though it may sound, I assure you that last sentence is not a joke. We are actually running out of helium. This may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but apparently helium is not used just for birthday balloons. Turns out it’s pretty important for a ton of different scientific processes.

So, ultimately, the “helium recovery” devices this website was shucking are to help people capture the helium they use in…whatever kind of tests they’re doing so it can be reused.

I feel like helium recycling is the kind of environmental cause that could really benefit from a lovable mascot like Smokey Bear. Maybe “Helium Harry,” the 400-pound gorilla with a high-pitched voice and a funny t-shirt. Just as a jumping off point. We’ll workshop it.

Customized, Schmustomized

So, I’ve found at least three metric craptons of random stuff on the interwebs since I started this blog. (Not that anyone has really noticed; I’m pretty sure me and my grandma are the only two people who read it. And maybe my cousin Paul, but he doesn’t count ’cause he’s a doofus.) And, in discovering all these random, Weirdohead things, I’ve noticed that many of them are “customizable.” You can get customized sneakers, customized belts, customized windbreak fences, customized wiring harnesses…Heck, I once found a company called Pneumadyne that will build a customized air manifold for you. If you were to need such a thing for some reason.

But the big question is, why? Why are so many products nowadays customizable? Whatever happened to making do with what you’ve got? Not to sound like an old, crusty, get-the-hell-off-my-lawn type, but I definitely remember a time when, if you needed something specific, and you couldn’t find exactly what you were looking for, you’d just buy the closest thing you could find and just make that SH work.

Maybe that’s part of the problem with ‘Merica today. Everybody wants every last little thing to be just exactly perfectly specifically precisely the way they want it. Nobody just buckles down and makes do anymore. Everything’s too easy-peasy and perfect and custom made to people’s stupid little hipster dipSH whims.

We need to start taking a cue from Dr. Seuss, folks: “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

And how about another cue from Tim Gunn: “Make it work.”

Ridiculous Specificity Will Get You…Somewhere?

So, I realize that there are tools specific to every job, no matter what it may be. And, of course, some jobs require more specialized tools than others. But holy frijoles, sometimes the level of specialization in these tools can be straight up ridiculous.

I have found quite a few examples of this in my insomniac internet investigations, but this particular item not only takes the cake, it eats the whole thing in one sitting and doesn’t share with the other kids in class. Check it out:

Who DOESN'T need a brush like this?

Who DOESN’T need a brush like this?

That, dear reader, is a 3/8” diameter body, goat hair fill, 0.063” orifice, male thread, high-pressure flow through brush. FIFTEEN words used just for the name of that bad boy. I would maybe—maybe—expect that level of specificity when calling out a piece of medical equipment, or perhaps some kind of high tech electronic component, but a brush? How over the top precise does a brush need to be, for any purpose?

For what purpose does one use this very, very specific brush? One half elephant, one half rhino: ‘ell if I know. But I will venture a guess and say vacuuming a model railroad. That strikes me as the kind of activity where a dude could get super wrapped up in having every last little detail just right, and as such would require a brush that has fifteen words in its name. Not because it has fifteen words in its name, but because it just has to be that very, very specific type of brush. Model railroad dudes are finicky like that. Probably.

Drum-Tight Hipster Jackets A-Go-Go

So, I recently came upon a website for a company that refers to itself (themselves?) as “coating applicators.” Through my bleary, insomniac eyes, this was misread as “coat applicators,” which made me think: Why would you need someone to apply your coat for you?

This brought to mind hipsters. Grrr…hipsters—perhaps the worst subculture in human history, they of the “ironic” rat-tails and waaaay too tight jeans. It was the jeans in particular that made this connection make sense. Or at least it made sense to me at the time. (I don’t/can’t sleep much. Have I ever mentioned that?)

With pants so frightfully tight, it stands to reason that, occasionally, a hipster may need assistance putting on those pants. And, what if a hipster wanted a matching and equally tight jacket? Like the pants, that jacket would be too small to get into on one’s own, so the assistance of coat applicators is a must.

The coat applicators arrive, probably two of them working as a team. One of them would guide the hipster through a series of yoga stretches to prepare for the ordeal to come. Meanwhile, the other coat applicator prepares a special, quick-drying, low-residue lubricant to help the hipster’s arms slide into the sleeves of his or her drum-tight coat. This lubricant must be mixed on the spot, because science. (Again, this made sense to me at the time. Now, though…maybe not so much.)

Then, with the careful use of small levers and pulleys, the coat applicators lift, twist, turn, and otherwise contort the hipster until he or she emerges, triumphantly sporting his or her stupid jacket. Getting that jacket off is his/her own problem.

Upon closer inspection and “research,” I found that these coating applicators actually do abrasion resistant coatings (or something like that—it’s fancier and tougher than paint, whatever it is) on metal parts and equipment and such. Much more useful that a putting-on-your-dopey-jacket service, but far less fun to rage-rant about. *sigh* The internet never lets me do anything fun…

Electrical Equipment, or Evil Robot Ding Dongs?

One of the (many) problems of nigh constant insomnia is the astonishing level of punch drunkenness one reaches after a certain number of hours. When you’re as loopy as I often am after two or three straight sleepless nights, things start to look, shall we say, a bit askew.

Recently, my incessant internet inquisitions lead me to a site that sells toroidal power transformers. I really have no clue how these things work—the webpage said something about “lowest radiated magnetic fields” and “1,000 volts hipot,” but that doesn’t really clear things up. I have some inkling of what power transformers do, but what the H-E-double-stuff-Oreo “toroidal” means, I haven’t a clue (I’d look it up, but Google is all the way over there).

Anyway, the function of these devices isn’t what got my goose in a gander, it’s the form. Take a look:

The stuff of nightmares, this.

The stuff of nightmares, this.

And that’s one of the more mild-looking ones. These suckers look like someone took a good old, all ‘Merican Hostess Ding Dong and crossed it with one of those little robots that crawled into Keanu Reeves’ belly-button in The Matrix.

At this point, not only could I not sleep, I was also feeling goofy and borderline hallucinatory enough to be terrified of just such a thing as I described above. And, since the only thing that keeps me from falling over when I’m battling the arch nemesis that is my insomnia is sugary baked goods not unlike those peddled by the Hostess folks, I was nearly starved out by the time I actually did get some sleep.

So, thanks a lot, guy who designs toroidal power transformers. You’ve ruined snack cakes for me, possibly forever. How do you live with yourself? HOW???

Human Lawyer > Internet Robot Lawyer

So, I know I keep harping on this, but, really, this is one of the most bizarre “services” I’ve ever seen offered on the interwebs…

Imagine, if you will, that you’re not only unfortunate enough to live in Michigan (Go Bears!) but that you also have done something stupid and lost your driver’s license. Is the internet really the best place to look for help in getting it back?

I know that the ol’ World Wide Web has basically taken the need for any actual human interaction right out of the equation of modern life—and, believe me, no one appreciates that more than me, because everyone in the world is, in a nutshell, awful—but online legal help, really?

“Dang, dude. I just lost my driver’s license. Better hit up teh Googz and see if any one can help me get that schwa unrevoked.” Has anyone ever thought that was a good idea? I’m pretty sure lawyers are best dealt with mano a mano.

From the miniscule amount of research I was willing to do on this subject (which mostly involved reading the info on the website I stumbled upon), I did discover that Michigan has some of the toughest traffic laws in the country. And that Michigan license restoration is not a walk in the park (you have to go before some sort of fancy-pants committee and all that jibber-jabber). But come on, man. Get yourself a lawyer the old fashioned way.*

* It should be noted that I really have no idea what “the old fashioned way” of getting a lawyer actually is. I do, however, know that it doesn’t involve the intronets.

A Revolution for Which No One Was Waiting

So, carpet, right? It’s a pain in the tuckus to have to vacuum it on the reg, but it’s certainly a lot better than mowing the lawn. Having vacuumed literally hundreds of times in my life, I can say that I’ve never so much as broken a sweat, let alone dreamed of the day when someone would spend untold thousands of dollars on research and development to make vacuuming easier.

So my question is: Just how hard do these clowns think vacuuming is?

Now, I can appreciate whatever the H-E-double-stuff-Oreo kind of technology they use to make their vacuums suck more (one of the few industries in which your product sucking is a good thing). That’s really the gist of vacuuming, after all; to suck up all the junk that’s gotten into your carpet.

But the stupid “ball” technology they put so much stock in, and the negative-eight-pounds or whatever their little handheld vacuum thingers weigh, not so much. Again, vacuuming ISN’T HARD TO BEGIN WITH. At all. So why work so dang hard to make it easier.

Some people clearly have waaay too much time on their hands, and waaay too much money to waste on stupid things like “creating the perfect vacuum.” I wish these guys would create the perfect shut the hell up instead.

What’s All Dis, Then?!?

Not too terribly long ago, I found my way through the infinitely interconnected internet to a website that was shucking “quick connect” fittings. Last night, through a completely different series of clicks and links and jumps (well, probably completely different, anyway—I don’t keep track), I found myself back at that same website, but on a different page.

This page was promoting the company’s “quick disconnect” products. Quick connect and quick disconnect, to my sleep deprived mind, seem to go 100% hand in hand—if something connects quickly, doesn’t it stand to reason that it would also disconnect quickly? (And vice versa.)

However, in thinking about it a bit more, I determined that maybe this isn’t the case. There are, I realized, plenty of things that go one way quickly, but are much slower on the way back (and vice versa).

For example, say your shoelaces are giving you sass, so you double knot them. This is a pretty quick process, just an extra loop swoop, really. But untying a double is not that easy. (See what I did there?) Locking the door to one’s house on the way out takes but a fraction of an instant, but unlocking that door takes considerably longer—pull out your keys, select the right one, slip it in the keyhole, turn.

So, perchance a quick connect and a quick disconnect aren’t necessarily one and the same. There could well be safety features in each that make connecting or disconnecting a more involved process, to prevent accidental disconnection or… well, accidental connection doesn’t seem like it would be possible, really. But still, you see where I’m going with this, yes?

I couldn’t find out, via the website, if there is such a thing as a quick connect/disconnect, i.e. something that connects quickly and disconnects in the same way. It stands to reason that there would be, but what do I know? I wasn’t even aware that a quick connect and a quick disconnect weren’t the same thing until like 20 minutes ago.

Michigan Is A Privilege, Not A Right

If you read this stupid little blog of mine on the reg, you probably know how dumb I think the English language is. I tend to be more of a stickler about goofy grammar and syntax than most people, but I’m not always down on those errors (which may not necessarily be errors, technically). Sometimes they can be rather amusing.

For example, my incessant, insomniac internet excursions lead me to a site that was promoting “Michigan license restoration.” Upon reading just one little paragraph of the web page, it was obvious that they meant “drivers license,” but it made me think, “What if it was a license one needed in order to live in Michigan?” (I don’t sleep much. Stupid $#!t like that is pretty funny when you’re as tired as I usually am.)

Would kids in Michigan be allowed to be there only under their parents’ licenses? At sixteen, would they be issued a Michigan permit? Followed several months later by the nerve-wracking Michigan license test, of course. Pass said test, and you can keep living in Michigan; fail, and you’re shipped off to Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, or Canada. (Doesn’t matter which. Just get the hell outta the Wolverine State, pal.)

And, like a drivers license, there could be any number of infractions which could lead to someone losing his or her Michigan license. Buy your cherries from out of state? Forget your octopus at a Red Wings game? Just straight up hate lakes? BAM—license revoked!

The only solution, of course, is to track down someone who can administer your Michigan license restoration before you get glove-shoved down to Toledo.