Of Friendships and Heaters

Rufus and Jerry were at war, there was no simple way to say it. Rufus wanted to triumph over Jerry, dance a jig of joy on his losing carcass and then parade it through the streets of town, loudly proclaiming his victory. Jerry might have felt similar, but he wasn't going to let such emotion show through. Rufus was going to beat Jerry in might and Jerry would best Rufus in mind, but neither was going to lose. With so much at stake that much was certain.

Rufus and Jerry were friends. Long time friends. Friends that drank Kool-Aid together and sang songs about cattle rustlers on the open range. The kind of friends that would sell a brand new water heater to the other for only fifty bucks. If they only knew, that water heaters sold at such a bargain often feel indignant. "I'm worth more than three hundred bucks. How insulting!"

As such this water heater made a decision. Work like a 50 dollar water heater. Once a water heater sets its mind to something there is little to be done. Any competent repairman will tell you that. They tend to very hot headed and stubborn, oddly enough. And so a conflict between the two friends was born.

Rufus was scalded several times while showering, hot water sprayed out from faucets in spurts and generally he began to feel that Jerry and he were not going to be sharing anymore Kool-Aid together. In fact, he began to get very hostile with Jerry. Demanding his fifty buck back, so that he could stock up on bandages and burn treatments from the local drug store.

Jerry, of course, took offense to this. I mean, he paid four hundred dollars for this heater and sold it to Rufus at a great bargain. So the insults flew.

"Thief! You sold me a broken water heater! It's totally unsealable!"

"Oaf! You broke a perfectly good water heater. What do I want with it now?!"

"Moron! You always make the Kool-Aid too sweet!"

"Idiot! Kool-Aid is suppose to be sweet!"

As these things go, so too this one went. Until one day they squared off and decided to settle it like men. In a Kool-Aid drinking contest. The first one to go to the restroom, had to pony up to their side of the bargain. Either Rufus would eat the fifty bucks and hate Jerry forever, or Jerry had to pay it back and hate Rufus forever.

After twelve cups a pieces, there was little chance of turning back. And so it went for two and a half hours in this crazed Kool-Aid showdown. Filling up their large metal steins. Chug. Chug. Chug. Of course it didn't end pretty. After nearly four hours of this madness both men fell into a severe sugar coma. Neither man awoke.

They were buried side by side with tongues and lips showing bright pink stains. The water heater was discarded in a neighbors back yard, along with their mugs. Years later when these artifacts where unearthed, someone was bound to ask. "What madness could this be about."

It's nothing really, just a sad story of friendships and heaters.

Washing Your Hands Of It

Look at the alternatives...

Tug Of War

"What is this?"

"It's a hardware store. Just look around!"

"I see unwashed men in baseball caps. What are we doing here?"

"We're looking at tools! Just take a gander at this beauty!"

"LOOKING AT TOOLS! What in the world! We don't belong here!"

"Why not!?"

"Because we should be at home, playing a skirmish in Supreme Commander. Every second in this place deadens us and steals our edge. How are we going to take on two adaptive AI's by standing in this lumberjacks den?"

"Wait a minute, I want to have a peek at the router bits."

"Router bits?"


"Okay, both of those words are in my vocabulary... but for some reason I'm not following you."

"A router is a device-"

"-that serves a gateway between two networks. I know. I'm the geek, remember?"

"Yes. But this kind of router shapes edges and removes material based on various cutters or 'bits'."

"Bits are knives? Wait...you want something to cut at wood? Is this a parallel dimension? What is this all about? Do I have to explain how hard it is to type with splinters and a freaking callous graveyard all over your fingertips? What could you possibly know about cutting at wood with knives. Even saying that sounds ridiculous."

"Bits. Well I've only just started, but I have to admit, it's kinda fun."



"Fun is hacking a home grown script or installing a new computer network from scratch. Fun is not cutting at wood with a shaper thingy.""

"I disagree. I've really been enjoying it."

"Is that why you've been in the garage instead of the office?"

"Right. I've been working with wood. Because it's 'fun.'"

"Cutting at wood like a beaver isn't fun! Fun is spending thirty hours in an immersive world, rendered at a blazing 10.8 billion pixels per second on a rocking video card in a system with dual quad core processors over clocked to 50% their normal specs and regulated with a liquid cooled processor mod."

"Whoa! That's quite a system. I can't afford that!"

"Not if you spend all your money on plaid t-shirts and chewing tobacco!! Should I start calling you Jeb?"

"It's just a new hobby, and right now I sort of like it. I'm not saying I'm ditching my video games. I'm just saying I like spending a few hours a week in the garage."



"You have a dust allergy!"

"It's getting better."

"Are thinking about getting tan, because if that's the case I'm never talking to you again! I mean it buddy we're done!"

"Well... I'm not avoiding the sun..."

"Baseball caps?"

"I haven't gone nuts!"

"Well, at least there's hope."

"I tell you what. I'll build you a shelf to hold all your software. That way its all organized."

"With your hands!?"


"What if you cut one of them. I need all your fingers. You understand that? Nod your head. Don't look at me like that!"

"Come on."

"Promise me! Have you ever tried to wire cables with 3 fingers. It wouldn't be pretty! Those fingers are still your livelihood, 'woodchuck'."

"I'll be careful. I promise."

"Sigh... I hope this is just another one of your stupid phases..."

Confessions Of Buffalo Winger

"Hello, my name is Peter and I'm addicted to buffalo wings."

Group :"Hello Peter"

"It's been five days since my last buffalo wing-"


"-and while I feel good about that, I believe it just gives me an excuse to have them again shortly."

There is just no getting around it. I'm addicted to buffalo wings. It all started a young age, my father found this place on the drive home from work one day. The buffalo wing shop place. He brought them home one Friday night, and the whole family was instantly hooked. That was about sixteen years ago. I've been eating them every since.

What is it about chicken wings, with next to no meat, doused in hot sauce that is even remotely appealing? I mean, it's like the least worthy part of the animal. The wings. Next to the feet, is there a less appetizing cut of poultry? It's basically a spicy chicken bone leftover. Even now, just typing this out, I find myself salivating.

I'm like some rabid animal driven mad with desire and I'm not even sure why. Strike that. I know exactly why. It's the sauce. It's obviously laced with heroin. That can be the only explanation for why it is both so addicting and enjoyable. That's it. I'm a buffalo druggie. The worst part is I don't have any remorse. Sure I hurt the ones I love with constant trips to the wings shop, upset stomachs and the continual odor of hot sauce, but I don't care. I just need them!

There are days I can go without thinking about them, or thinking I would give them up but those days are far and few between. Mostly I'm just muscling my way to the front of the line to get the wings! MUST HAVE WINGY! Even if you don't go for buffalo wings, you can get behind the sides. Celery, blue cheese (or ranch) dressing, and buffalo chips. Not those kind! These are deep fried thick potato slices. UMM....

There is nothing even remotely healthy about this meal. It is a total heart stopper. Yet another sign of a serious addition. Welcoming death and paying out a premium in gas and cash to assure that you arrive at your great reward ahead of all your family and friends. Should I stop the indulgence? Yes, but I'd rather cut off a few years at the end of my life, then live in a world without them.

This isn't a plea for help or a petition for your intervention. I'm not looking for your help or your pity. I know what I am and I gladly embrace it! So don't worry about me, I will continue down this path that I have forged.

This post is just confession of proud and very happy buffalo winger.

Paper Clips

Ah yes, the vast and mostly unexplored world of paper clips.

"Paper clips? What in the world is he launching into now? How can he possibly write a post about a piece of spring steel."

Yet you read on. Out of sick expectation, morbid curiosity or more likely just the sheer boredom of a slow Tuesday at work. Possibly your computer has crashed and you cannot close the page. Whatever your excuse, you're still here. So sit back relax and enjoy the complex undoing of everything you thought the paper clip was for!

Paper clips, like many ingenious innovations, were created long before people had a use for them. The first paper clip was invented on a lazy Sunday afternoon by a crazed cooper who, after a long day of barrel making was trying his best to pass the time. He roughly shaped an iron band into a clip shape in hopes of having something to hold all his order requests together. It should be noted, since this was 1535 and paper was an expensive commodity, most of his orders where written on tree bark and leather strips. It was a clumsy solution at best.

Also consider that when he tried to sell these iron clips of his, due to there sheer weight they could only be packaged in pairs. A brace of clips was roughly 70lbs. His business soon folded due to expense he had to pay out in postal stamps.

It wasn't till sometime in the later 1800's when some finally got fed up with the way his desk looked, that the paper clip idea was once again reborn.

"I hate the way my desk looks. I'm going to invent the paper clip." And so he did. Now we have them once again and at a much more manageable weight to boot. Additionally we could cram a lot more in a box. This way they all jumble together and take an hour or so to undo before you are able to use one. Hence modern efficiently was born.

I have heard that only one out of every ten paper clips are used to clip papers together. From my personal perspective I imagine this statistic is accurate. I use mine in many useful ways.

Such as cleaning out dirt from under my fingernails. This is a personal favorite. Not a scary as a pair of scissors or a sewing needle, the paper clip is a excellent substitute. Additionally they are invaluable for bending into funny shapes during meetings, making desk art and sticking into electrical outlets, 'just to see what happens.'

I also know from hours of hours of television, they should be able to assist you with picking locks to free yourself from handcuffs or prisons, and well as making complex electrical bypasses i n complicated circuitry. I've yet to have any real success at either of these, not that I haven spent hours trying. I have used them to fill the void left by a missing battery or fuse, though it's not a recommended practice.

I'm sure there are loads of great uses I haven't though up for this highly versatile, extremely diverting little wire invention. For instantce, a good topic for a much needed blog post!

Call Me "Suede"

"So my name is Johnathan Fredericks"

"Nice to meet you Johnat-"

"No one calls me that though. I go by Suede."

Well isn't that interesting. Makes you wonder a few things. First of what's up with the whole nickname thing? How do you get a nickname? And of course, How is it a guy who goes by Kludge feels like he has the right to cap on anyones alter-egos.

So we were watching a movie last night, and as the credits roll by I see this Johnny "Suede" Lewis, one tick off. For some reason it just struck me funny. I sat there pondering it for a bit, then turned to my wife who was getting ready for bed.

"Patricia," I queried, "How does one get a nickname like Suede?"

To which she responded something about the time, why I even ask these questions, and then ended the conversation with, "How can a guy who goes by Kludge even ask that question."



Clearly I was going to have to solve this puzzle by myself. So I put my thinking cap on and went to work. The first thing I figured out is how many names we already have. I mean, don't the majority of us get three right off the bat? And who really uses their middle name?

Most people don't even know that they have a middle name, unless they have to fill out a form or something. For me there is always that pause...middle name....right. I used to get a refresher course frequently when I was a child in my parents house. They were always using my middle name, and it was never a pretty sound! Seems wrong to invent a new name for yourself when a perfectly good one is lying fallow in the middle of your name.

"Oh, so you don't like Patrick eh?"

"Well I just thought "Dry-Rot" had a better ring to it. You don't mind that I never used you in quotes do you?"

There is also the simple point of communication. If everyone has thee or four different names, it would get confusing.

"Have you seen Headrush?

"Which one is he?"

"Short fellow with red hair."

"Oh! Boy Wonder! He's over by Suede"

"Which one is Suede-"

Which begs the next question, How do you get a nickname? Do you earn it through feats of strength, cunning or wisdom? How does it work? Do you pick one for yourself? Is it purchased online or at a nickname shop in the mall?

"How much for that nickname... uh 'QuailBoy'"

"It's on discount today. Surprisingly enough"

I have been given a fair share of nicknames in my life. Some I liked and some, well not so much. Kludge though is not a nickname. Its a web handle. I use it for computing use, and nothing else. I suppose it's similar after a fashion though. Maybe I need to get a good nickname though...Something really out there like 'HardHat' or 'Thumbs'. Just to make people wonder...

How did he get a nickname like that?

Bottling Bob

Bob Bipschwitz was buried this morning. Bob was a bottler back before machines did the jobs of men. Bob had a knack for keeping things in bottles, things like soda bubbles, bobbles, beads and bows. Bob loved to bottle. It was his calling. When he was eleven 'Big Bobby Bip' as he was known to his friend, bottled bees and beetles. Even then he was a master. Friend Freida Freud said, "He sure does like to put things in bottles."

Bob never had any formal training, just a rash of empty beer bottles due his fathers prolific hobby. Big Bob senior was a master drinker. He was unaware of his sons penchant for bottling, as he spent most of his evening passed out under the families porch. This was fine with Bob. The more bottles the better.

As Bob grew up he tried to showcase his talents, but no one really understood him. Mostly people just yelled at him as he walked about town with two belts loaded up with a bunch of beer bottles. He would bottle anything left alone for a minute or two. Such was his skill, and so fast was his trade that most folks didn't even see him at work.

"That little nutter wearing a brace of belts loaded with beer bottles, just bottled up my car keys and about two dollars and fifty cents in loose change! What's wrong with him!"

Never leave anything lying idle when Bob was on the scene. Not unless you wanted it sealed in a beautiful brown thick bottomed bottle. So when he sought employment at the bottle company he was a perfect fit.

He walked in and bottled up the bosses wallet faster than you can scream "What in tarnations are you doing boy!" Yes, once the boss laid his eyes on Bobs skill and his speed, he though. "This kid will work weekend for next to no pay." He was hired that day and worked straight through till morning , then he put in just one extra shift. Bob was content and came eagerly to work everyday of the week, and of course he brought is own tools.

Bob Bipschwitz bottled at Bette Bottle Barn for 30 odd years before automation blew his bottle capping days away. Where does a lifetime bottle stuffing Bob go after that? No one else really had use for his skill. So after months of looking, Bob Bipschwitz did the only thing he could think of. He bottled himself.

The neighbors found him in his backyard, smiling contentedly sealed in the biggest bottle they had ever seen.

"He seemed very happy. I mean, he sure did like to bottle stuff, it just seemed fitting. Given his skill he should be well preserved for a number of decades."

So Bob Bipschwitz was buried this morning, bottle and all, like some sort of strange time capsule to the boy who never really adapted to a world who couldn't use him. Sealed up for eternity, a happy Bob floated off to that great bottling plant in the sky.

Out Of Office

Office full of empty boxes? What my boss found when he returned to his office after April 1st 2008. Thanks to a prankster co-worker and a load of empty tech boxes.