Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hacking the Life Hackers

Without further ado, here are some of the weirdest Life Hacks I've seen recently.  As is usual with helpful hints, they reveal the bizarre inner workings of the minds of their creators and leave me wondering about the state of humanity in general.

"less effort to do?"  Well, never mind.  Maybe they never finished grade school.  The real humor here is in the typo where the author means to say you can get "more" sleep, not less.  Because the truth is that if you drink more water you actually will get much less sleep, due to getting up several times at night to pee.  And also this just isn't true on any level.  I'll just keep drinking when I'm thirsty.  Thanks.

Um, I guess you could do this.  Once.  And then spend the next several months living with the smell of burnt cheese whenever you make toast.  Clearly, if you're doing this you have electrical power, which means your oven works, which means you could do this in a frying pan, but sure, yeah.  This is the kind of thing that only seems like a great idea if you're drunk and really stupid to begin with.  Also good for drying wet hair.  Uh huh.

First, yes - your ass does look huge in those pants.  And you didn't find that hole: someone else found it.  And how about wearing some underwear, chubby?

You could also wear skin-colored pants in the future.  There's a hack for you.  Or no pants at all, but then you wouldn't have anywhere to carry a Sharpie.

Maybe you really just shouldn't leave the house.  I'm sure the rest of the world would vote for that.

Yes, and it also guarantees you'll be told to pull ahead into one of the reserved spaces, where you will wait for at least 30 minutes.  Then you'll be given someone else's nasty food, but you won't know it until you get home, because now you're late and the children are starving.  Too bad you never learned to cook, isn't it?  I guess you're just a pathetic person.  

"Yes" what?  Yes, you now have made yet another thing no one will eat?  Yes, weeks from now you will find the sticky residue from this between the sofa cushions where your guests shoved it?  Yes, this would make a much better insulating and/or packing material than a food product?  Yes, this looks like molded chopped liver?  Yes, this will smell like vomit from the minute it's made until you finally throw it out?  Yes to all of the above, and thanks for the brilliant hack.  Maybe add some chocolate chips next time?

Wow, what a great idea!  Maybe if you stopped having fist fights in the house you wouldn't break light covers?  And of course we all have lovely blue Mason jars sitting around.  So why not use them creatively?  What?  What's that you say?  You want me to keep a broom and dustpan nearby so when the jar explodes from the heat build up I can keep things tidy?  Well, I call that a double hack, sir!  Well done!

This is a take on the old favorite of making dinner rolls out of actual bunnies.  Your guests will be expecting rabbits, but they'll get dough!  How very witty!  As in the original recipe, all you need is a cookie sheet and a sharp pair of scissors.  Much less mess with this one, and trapping the dinner rolls isn't as difficult.

One possible issue is that although these look like rabbits now, once they bake they look more like bread blobs with bumps at one end.  Why not add a decorative tuft of genuine rabbit fur decoration to make them more realistic?  You're welcome, hackers.

And finally, because we all know the Zombie apocalypse is right around the corner, I share the following public service safety message:

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Scent Pollution in a Stinky, Stinky, Stinky World

Dear friends, colleagues, and people who stumbled in here by mistake:  STOP STINKING UP MY AIR.  I'm not talking about your personal body odors.  I'm referring to scent pollution, which is a very serious topic.  And so, please, let's not allow any humor into this discussion.

Oh, grow up.  I'm not talking about this!

Scent pollution is a serious health problem.  In the last ten days, Mr. Sprockets and I have been forced to leave several establishments due to overpowering horrible odors coming from patrons and the establishments themselves.  

1.  The library.  We no sooner step in than I'm virtually thrown to the floor by an overpowering odor of "L'Air Du Stink," also known as "I bathed in it."  A woman walking by me had left a toxic cloud of VOCs in her wake.  My stomach turned over.  My tongue began to tingle.  Next to me, Mr. Sprockets started coughing and could not stop.  We had no choice but to leave.  

2. Our optometrist.  After waiting two weeks for an appointment to try to determine why the glasses they made me weren't right, we were punched in the the face by a cloud of Death Gas in the waiting room.  "What is that smell?" we asked.  "Smell?" the receptionist inquired politely, her olfactory sense obviously reamed out and scarred by constant inhalation of VOCs.  "Oh, you mean our French Vanilla Serenade Plug-In! Don't you like it?"  

Like it?  Sister, do you know what's in that stuff?  The thing does plug in (and is a fire hazard, but that's another subject) but there is nothing even remotely French or vaguely vanilla about it, and that ain't no serenade.  

Studies have shown that the odor in about 95% of all scented products -  perfumed, candles, washing powders, dryer sheets, cleaning products and all cosmetics - is derived from petrochemicals.  Oil.  Bubbling crude.  Texas Tea.  Brought to you by the makers of gasoline.  The only exceptions to this are cold-pressed essential oils.  And some of them are overpowering, as well.  If a smell makes me nauseous, it's not good for my health.  

I believe in personal freedom.  If you want to smear it on your body, or eat it, wear it, or even marry it, be my guest.  But when you pollute my air with your choices, that's where your freedom ends.  The noxious chemicals you're choosing to spew into my air go  into my nose and my lungs and my brain.  Studies have shown these VOCs are often more dangerous than second-hand cigarette smoke.  Google it.

We left the optometrist after making an appointment for next week, when they will have presumably taken steps. . .such as what?  The office windows don't open.  The VOCs have permeated the upholstery, the carpet, the drywall.  Their decision to allow this pollution means that I have two choices - breathe it in some form or find another office.

In response to continual and pervasive scents, we've had to modify our behavior somewhat.  The local Jo-Ann Fabrics puts their faux cinnamon-scented pinecones in the lobby area, between the two sets of sliding doors.  This allows them to build up such an amazing concentration of VOCs that I can smell them 15 feet from the front of the store with the doors closed.  So we hold our breaths coming and going.  Still, the crap gets on our clothes and in our hair and on our skin. . . .and it's poison.  Apparently (and you can Google this too) employees at various branches of the store have complained about their constant exposure to this rank and unhealthful miasma. Jo Ann has reacted with their usual lack of sensitivity and compassion, and they have chosen to increase the torture period.  This year, the pinecones were placed in our local store in mid-September, and will no doubt remain there until well after the new year.  

Many employers are adopting scent-free workplace policies after receiving complaints from suffering employees. There have even been lawsuits, because some unreasonable people don't want to be forced to find another job because of a coworker's pollution.  I don't know how an employer could guarantee a scent-free and VOC-free workplace, especially when the employer is always painting and putting down new carpet while people are working.  While it's entirely possible to mandate that employees not wear scent, what about the scented washing powder they use, and those abysmal dryer softener sheets?  What about acrid and poisonous dry cleaning fumes?  Scented moisturizers, cosmetics, etc.?  Few people are willing to forgo their scents.

Here at Sprockets Inside, we live a scent-free life.  We have to, because of my multi-chemical sensitivity and Mr. Sprockets' allergies.  Our choices work for us until we go out into the stinky, stinky world.  It's a world where, by and large, people do not understand about scent pollution and act like we're completely out of our tree when we object to it.  These people are inured to smell, and they are unaware that they are breathing in an ocean of petrochemicals and VOCs.   Being desensitized, they use more and more scented products.  Many of these items are highly toxic to pets and children, and therefore to all of us.  

Some people wear charcoal-filter face masks.  I'm testing a new mask to wear when I go out.  In fact, I'm wearing this lovely prototype now as I type.  I sure hope I don't call attention to myself, but if it makes small children run away screaming I'll be pleased.