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Posts Tagged ‘Sudoku’

Men, Tools, and Gadgets


picture of inner workings

I think it's safe to make the generalization that we men are naturally drawn to tools and gadgets. We just find them hard to resist. It's something about our "nuts and bolts" kind of mind that has to know how things work and our desire to fix things that don't work or that don't work right.

With that in mind, my wife and I recently gave our son Mark and our son-in-law Jim the same gift for their birthdays (Mark January 17 and Jim January 19) - a Black & Decker Auto Adjusting Wrench (pictured below). It's a really cool tool because with the touch of a button you can adjust the opening. This would be great in some of those tight spots where it's hard to do manually.

picture of wrench

I received several great gifts at Christmas that tap into my male attraction to tools and gadgets. My daughter Nora gave me a gift card for tool purchases at Home Depot. I keep going through the store, trying to decide what to buy.

picture of gift card

And my daughter Megan and son-in-law Jim gave me an electric Sudoku game that has brought me literal hours of enjoyment. I kind of wondered if I would like it since I was so used to being able to jot things down on the paper version. But since I got this game, I have not done one single puzzle in my book! This just may be the great gift idea for that male Valentine of yours! 😀

picture of Sudoku

This past week I decided that a store I have gone to frequently has officially become one of my favorite stores in Greenville – Battery Specialists on Furman Hall Rd. near Cherrydale. Below is a picture of the store since their website lacks a picture.

picture of Battery Specialists

I have a digital watch that I bought at a large chain store whose name begins with a W. The battery was starting to go bad, so I went to W****** this past Saturday to get a new battery. I learned that they are not allowed to change batteries in digital watches any more. When I whined that I had bought the watch there and that they had always changed the battery before, the clerk told me the name of a shop I could go to and get the battery changed for $5.00. I went there, and it looked closed and many of the cases inside were empty. Hmm.... Then I thought of Battery Specialists and went there. The young man changed my battery and charged me a total of $2.64. I am happy to give this store a much-deserved plug. They carry about every battery made – it's amazing! Since many gadgets around our house run on batteries, I will give this shop lots of business!

Since this post is about tools and gadgets, here's a list of definitions for some common and some not-so-common tools.

Tool Definitions

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object you are trying to hit. Used for smashing one's thumbs, hands, thighs, knees, ankles, and even heads so the man using it can say, "I'm tough!"

NAIL GUN: Used for attaching one's own finger to ceiling joist while perched on top of a step ladder. This embarrassing event allows "the contractor" to take a LONG walk in the woods ALONE (and in pain).

NAIL PULLER: The opposite end of a short Pry Bar, used to extricate oneself from embarrassing situations such as mentioned above, even though it creates more pain.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part. Also pries into the character of people who have ego battles with hard-to-get-apart things.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing items easily cut by knives - clothing, upholstery, inflatable objects, etc.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling roll bar mounting holes in the floor of a sports car, just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel. Also useful for breaking the heads off the last five screws needed to finish the last board on the new deck at 8:59 on a Saturday evening.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand. Also used for breaking wife's wrists and fingers as she holds on to whatever he wants held stable.

PLIERS: Another tool used to round off bolt heads.

OXY-ACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for setting various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Used for setting brand new master bedroom closet on fire because the back of the brand new AC unit is in its corner and July is around the corner. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brake drum you're trying to get the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.

DRILL PRESS: A tall, upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest or flings your beverage across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouch...."

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a motorcycle to the ground after you have installed your new front disk brake setup, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front fender.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2 X 4: Used for levering a motorcycle upward off a hydraulic jack.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

CELLPHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and brake lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.

AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.

TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40 watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105 mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading. Often used to indicate to women of the house that it is time to find something else to do (maybe in another county). Oh yes, don't forget to take young children in the rush out the door!

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Is ALWAYS the OTHER kind. Normally used to stab the lids of old-style, paper and tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 60 years ago by someone in Springfield, and rounds them off.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.

FIST: Used by overtired, thus easily frustrated man to make hole in drywall before installing.

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How about your household – do you have any favorite tools or gadgets?

By the way, I'm highly recommending an Internet tool that some of you need to try out - the Firefox web browser. There's a link in my sidebar for downloading it. (36% of my readers are already using it.) I've been a little frustrated that Internet Explorer reformats some of my blog posts, putting things where they aren't supposed to be. Firefox keeps everything just as I post it, every time.

Also, the very next comment made to my blog will be comment number 1,500! Who will it be?

quotation...

"Your plans cannot thwart God's plans." - Dr. Chris Barney

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Don't force it! Get a larger hammer!


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(Non-)Olympic Moments?


You would have to have your head totally in the sand not to know that the Olympics are going on. We've followed the first week and a half far more than we thought we would, but the remaining events really aren't our faves.

Undoubtedly the dominant name has been Michael Phelps. The mainstream media has proclaimed him "the greatest athlete of all time" and the debate will rage on until the next "greatest athete of all time" comes along. Michael has definitely achieved wonderful feats in a very tough sport and seems himself to have a good attitude of humility, but there are still many who are asking, "Well, what about __ (fill in the name of their favorite sports figure)?! Is Michael really a greater athlete than __?!"

I found a terrific comic online this morning that I want to share:

Michael Phelps' dominance

For today's iv, I'm sharing two stories - one funny and one thought-provoking - about some runners, Olympic or not.

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Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house an older woman was looking out her kitchen window, watching the two men as they checked her gas meter.

Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one.

As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong.

Gasping for breath, she replied, "When I saw two gas men running as hard as you two were, I figured I'd better run too!"

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In the late 1990s at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with determination to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry, slowed down, and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them.

One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. More important than winning for ourselves in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

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A friend told me that, upon reading my last post about becoming empty-nesters, he thought it sounded like I was saying, "Well, life's all over ... now we can die." I laughed and told him, "Far from it! Let me tell you about Friday of last week...." My wife and I decided to take the day off and "head for the hills" for the day to do some of our favorite things - a last hurrah before my teacherly duties began this week. We headed to Flat Rock, NC, to a shop called The Wrinkled Egg. That day we weren't interested in the shop as much as in the new barbecue place right behind it. It's called Hubba Hubba, and let me tell you - HUBBA! HUBBA! We definitely found a new favorite - or as my wife Becka put it, "yet another reason to go to Flat Rock!" We picked up a cranberry-apricot scone at the bakery in the back of the Wrinkled Egg for dessert/mid-afternoon snack and headed for Carl Sandburg's house. We didn't want to tour the house on this trip - we just wanted to see how this year's baby goats were doing. We took the hike to where the goats are kept and enjoyed petting them. Here's a picture of Connemara (the Sandburg's house) and a picture of Becka with several of the kids.

pic of Connemara

Becka and three baby goats

After that we headed to a quilting shop Becka really likes in Hendersonville. What a nice place - they have an area with rocking chairs and magazines for husbands! I had actually brought along my own entertainment a Sudoku book to pass the time pleasantly, warding off dementia while Becka touched every bit of fabric in the place (of which there is a lot!) After that we went to Lyda farms to get some produce and some early apples. From there we headed off to the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC, to go to Sliding Rock. It was really crowded, and so I had to wait in line for about a half hour before I could slide down the rock into the 55 degree water in the pool at the bottom. Below is a 10 second video clip of Sliding Rock (viewable on the blog itself, not in e-mail or blog readers).

Here's a picture of me ready to begin my trip down the rock...

Rob on Sliding Rock

The line was even longer by that time and we had some other things we wanted to do, so I changed into warm, dry clothes, and away we went!

On the way back to Brevard, we stopped at the ranger station across the road from the Davidson River Campground. They have done a lot of renovation on the ranger station, and there's a lot for children to enjoy inside. One thing we enjoyed outside the ranger station was watching hummingbirds visit their two feeders. After that, we went shopping at four different stores in Brevard (and bought something in each) before having dinner at the Pisgah Fish Camp. While eating dinner we decided to drive back to the ranger station to take some pictures of the hummingbirds - something we hadn't thought to do earlier.

There were even more hummingbirds when we went back than there had been earlier. And the hummingbirds actually flew right up close to us to check us out! Here's a little video footage of their activity (viewable on the blog itself, not in e-mail or blog readers). Sorry for the talking in the background - Becka's on the phone with one of our daughters telling her all about it.

After that, we drove back to Greenville. Now does that sound like two people whose lives are all done and are now ready to die?! 😀

I can't figure out a way to work up a poll question to get at the following - have you decided to and actually gone ahead and tried out any of the activities and/or places that I've written about in the past several years on my blog? If so, which one/s? Since it's impossible to structure as a multiple choice poll question, please just tell about it in the comments to this post.

quotation...

"What you live for and base your decisions on has the greatest effect on your children." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have become really good friends.


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7,000 Words


Two weeks of classes, then exam week. We're all in need of prayer right now, students and teachers alike.

I have received or spotted several funny pictures or comic strips lately that I thought I'd put together as a blog post with few words. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this post is worth 7,000 words.

For some of you old-timers who remember the old black and white TV series with Jackie Gleason called "The Honeymooners"....

(For the sake of you "young things"... Ralph Kramden always said to his wife Alice, "One of these days ... one of these days ... POW, right in the kisser! Bang, zoom, straight to the moon!")

In case you cannot read the note above, it says, "Please clear any unused time off the microwave when you are finished. Some of us have O.C.D. and leftover time drives us crazy. Thanks!"

Here's a comic strip in honor of April 15 - the Ides of April....

How can fellow employees ever compete with the "Employee of the Month" pictured below?

Here's a clever ad....

Is it a bug or a feature?

Someone spotted a scene too good not to capture on camera....

quotation...

"Discontent is the penalty we must pay for being ungrateful for what we have." - unknown

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Hunt for the good points in other people. Remember, they have to do the same in your case.


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Mathematical Relationships


On the cusp of another academic year, I thought I'd share some math that might make more sense than the math we all learn in school....

SHOPPING MATH

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.

A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need.

GENERAL EQUATIONS & STATISTICS

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

HAPPINESS MATH

To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.

To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.

LONGEVITY MATH

Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.

PROPENSITY TO CHANGE

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.

DISCUSSION TECHNIQUE

A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

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This is Rob, the ivman, again.

One of my favorite forms of math lately is doing Sudoku puzzles. Here's a recent Pluggers that I found amusing.

Plugger Sudoku

Sometime recently I ran across a picture of a gift idea for that Sudoku fan in your life who has everything.

Sudoku TP

Since this post is about relationships, here are several relational things from this past weekend.

My wife Becka and I just had an extremely enjoyable weekend away from home before the new school year starts up for the faculty and staff this week. One of Becka's college roommates has been wanting us to get together with her and her husband, and we finally found a weekend that worked for us all. We had such a good time talking and laughing with Cathy and David and were utterly spoiled by their gracious hospitality at their home in the Raleigh, NC area, a place we'd never visited before. We all agreed that we're not going to let so much time go by before our next reunion, hopefully at our house next time so we can return the favor. Below is a picture of Cathy, David, and Becka.

Cathy, David, and Becka

Another nice part of the weekend was being able to attend the wedding of one of my students who just graduated. Below is a picture of Becka and me with Ethan and Sarah.

Loaches and Messiers

quotation...

"Whoever wins the next election is supposed to win. God sets up and pulls down kings and rulers." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If the shortest distance between two points is a line, why does waiting in one take so long?


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Test for Dementia


I'm getting to the age where "seniors" seem much younger than they used to! In fact, with the retirements and passing away of more and more of the "older faculty" here at BJU, a colleague and I were discussing the other day the fact that we are quickly becoming the "older faculty" ourselves! In many ways, I don't feel like I'm as old as I am, but then in other ways, my body and mind remind me of my age, with no denial possible. When I went to my campus PO box today, I had even received the latest edition of TCS (Today's Christian Senior magazine). That *had* to be some kind of mistake!

I've heard that a good way to keep your mind active and to help ward off dementia is to do crossword puzzles. Almost every night before going to sleep I do either a crossword puzzle or a Sudoku puzzle. I can't really tell if it's doing any good, but ... uhhh ... what was I going to say next? Oh yeah, I recently received a test for dementia that came, as best as I can tell, from England. I some of you might want to see how you do on it.

Test for Dementia ... not just for SENIORS anymore! Give it a try. I hope it's not later than you think!

Exercise of the brain is as important as exercise of the muscles. As we grow older, it's important to keep mentally alert. If you don't use it, you lose it! Below is a very private way to gauge your loss or non-loss of your wits.

The spaces below are so that you don't see the answers until you've thought of your answer yourself.

SCROLL SLOWLY to give yourself time to think of the answer before seeing it.

OK, relax, clear your mind and begin.

1. What do you put in a toaster?
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Answer: Bread. If you said "toast," give up now and do something else. Try not to hurt yourself. If you said, bread, go to Question 2.

2. Say "silk" five times. Now spell "silk." What do cows drink?
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Answer: Cows drink water. If you said "milk," don't attempt the next question. Your brain is too stressed and may even overheat. Content yourself with reading something more appropriate, such as Dick and Jane. However, if you said "water", proceed to question 3.

3. If a red house is made from red bricks and a blue house is made from blue bricks and a pink house is made from pink bricks and a black house is made from black bricks, what is a green house made from?
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Answer: Greenhouses are made from glass. If you said "green bricks," why are you still reading these???
If you said "glass," go on to Question 4..

4. It's twenty-five years ago, and a plane is flying at 20,000 feet over Germany (If you will recall, Germany at the time was politically divided into West Germany and East Germany). Anyway, during the flight, TWO engines fail. The pilot, realizing that the last remaining engine is also failing, decides on a crash landing procedure. Unfortunately the engine fails before he can land and the plane crashes smack in the middle of "no man's land" between East Germany and West Germany. Where would you bury the survivors? East Germany, West Germany, or "no man's land"?
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Answer: You don't bury survivors. If you picked any of the three options, you really should stop here. If you said, "You don't bury survivors," proceed to the next question.

5. No calculators for this one, please - You are driving a bus from London to Milford Haven in Wales. In London, 17 people get on the bus. In Reading, six people get off the bus and nine people get on. In Swindon, two people get off and four get on. In Cardiff, 11 people get off and 16 people get on. In Swansea , three people get off and five people get on. In Carmathen, six people get off and three get on. You then arrive at Milford Haven. What is the name of the bus driver?
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Answer: Good grief! Don't you remember your own name?!? Reread the first line - the driver is YOU! Maybe you should consider retirement? From what I hear from retirees, retirement's not bad at all. Read on....

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And They Ask Why People Like Retirement!

Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday

Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.

Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.

Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% percent discount.

Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.

Question: Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer: They are the only ones who have the time.

Question: What is the common term for someone who refuses to retire?
Answer: LUNATIC!

Question: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic, or garage?
Answer: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal.

Question: What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.

Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people he used to work with?
Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.

Question: What do retirees do all week?
Answer: Monday to Friday, Nothing. Saturday and Sunday, they rest up from the week!

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Actually, I know many retirees who are anything but inactive, as joked about the Q&A above. Two retirees went with my wife and me to teach in Hainan last summer, and they're eager to do it again! We're all hoping we can go again in the summer 2008. If we ever get to retire, my wife and I would like to be like many retirees whose lives are full of service and ministry to others. I want retirement to allow me to serve the Lord in ways I am not able to currently with the restrictions that an academic calendar place upon you.

quotation...

"To God the past and the future are alike. His name is 'I am.'" - Dr. Ed Panosian, retired history professor from BJU who recently spoke in chapel on "The Providence of God in History"

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?


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