Category Archives: Al Observes Things

And now for a post about death

So I was watching Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey this afternoon as part of my personal quest into self discovery when I thought to myself, “hey, how’d they get the guy from The Seventh Seal to also be in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey”?

Yes that’s right, I’m talking about death!

The Seventh Seal is kind of a big deal. You know that because it’s in the Criterion Collection. It seems like it’d be a big step down to appear in Ingmar Bergman’s seminole work (The Seventh Seal was actually about Native Americans) in 1957 and then appear 34 years later in a Bill and Ted movie.

But through a little Internet sleuthing, I figured out that in both cases, it’s not actually Death but actors playing Death that just happen to look alike.

Specifically, here’s a photo of actor William Sadler dressed up as death in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey:


And here’s a photo of President Dwight D Eisenhower playing Death in The Seventh Seal:


See? Not the same! And now we know.

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Facebook just changed your profile photo to a picture of a cat

Cat pictureJust a day after Facebook decided to replace everybody’s email addresses with email addresses, Facebook decided to release an update that replaces everybody’s profile pictures with a picture of a cat without your permission. This is likely part of Facebook’s ongoing agenda to haz a cheezburger.

For those of you that do not want your profile picture turned into a cat, just follow these simple instructions:

  1. Hover your mouse over your profile picture and click “edit profile picture.”
  2. The “profile pictures option menu” should appear and look like this:
  3.  Click on the circle and select “hidden from timeline.”
  4. Extremely Important: Click “Save” at the bottom of the menu. If you do not click save, Facebook will think that you were just joking, and your profile picture will be turned into a picture of two cats playing with a ball of yarn.
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This is what I made at work today

When I’m running on very little sleep, everything seems funny to me.

Here’s something I put together at work today:


It’s like I never left Microsoft!

The pQCT machine

Today, I had the privilege of sticking an arm and a leg in a machine that looks like this:


The entire time, I was thinking, “man, I hope this is the right machine, and I didn’t just stick a limb in their ‘automatic amputation machine’ which was for some reason designed to look identical to the pQCT scanner!”

Also, ever notice that you’re all relaxed and stuff until someone tells you to “hold still”? I was already holding still. Now I’m all nervous!

For those of you who are curious as to what a pQCT scanner is, it’s a time machine. My ankle and wrist have been transported back to the 1920’s where their bone density will be analyzed by a panel of British boffins. The results will be stored in a vault and opened in exactly 3 days from now.

Al 1, All the Kings Men 0

Dear Mice,

Thank you for leaving a small plate of cracked egg shells on the kitchen counter for me before you left for work. Obviously, as you knew, I have been working unsuccessfully on what I have called “Project Humpty Dumpty” for the past few years, but now with your generous contribution, I have finally been able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Al 1, All The King’s Men 0

However, what I did not count on was the true story behind Humpty Dumpty. You see, Humpty Dumpty was not just an egg that enjoyed sitting on walls (as we all do). Humpty Dumpty was actually an egg-warlord, and now that I have reconstructed him, he has raised a small army and is now commanding them using egg puns.

He is currently in your room with his fellow eggs-patriots, and they will spare no eggs-pense to eggs-punge you and Tootsie from the room. He’s looking through your belongings for embarrassing things to use for eggs-tortion, and he has no plan to stop until you agree to an eggs-ile far, far away (as he also plans to eggs-tend his domain over to Jeet’s room as well).

Fortunately for both of you, Tootsie and I don’t take shit from eggs, so we dealt with the problem. That’s why there are now broken eggs splattered all over your room.

You’re welcome.

The best roommate,


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Stop it with all the gimmicks!

Ever notice that everywhere you look, someone’s peddling some gimmicky weigh loss program? There’s lots of programs that’ll say stuff like:

  • Here are 15 easy exercises that will absolutely TORCH fat and don’t really require much work!
  • Don’t diet. Just detox by drinking a bunch of diuretics!
  • It’s not what you eat – it’s when you eat: any time you hear Al Roker’s voice!

Actually, I guess unless you live with Al Roker, the last bullet point probably will help you lose weight, but my point is: I’m here to tell you to stop it with all the gimmicks! What you really need is:

Mike’s Gimmick Free Workout Plan

Mike’s Gimmick-Free Workout Plan guarantees weight loss with:

  • Minimal effort (most of our workouts are performed sitting down)
  • No calorie/carb counting (we don’t even know math!)
  • Unlimited cheat days (consecutively!)


Why should you trust Mike’s Gimmick-Free Workout Plan? Because Mike is his own customer!

mikefat mikekilomanjaro
Mike always looked displeased when he was climbing mountains.
Mike summits both a literal and metaphorical mountain… of gimmick-free weight loss!

How does Mike’s Gimmick Free Workout Plan Work? It’s simple. We take advantage of Muscle confusion – your muscles are going to be like, “hey wait… why aren’t you making me exercise? I r confused”

So sign up today for Mike’s Gimmick Free Workout Plan!

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A Life Lesson About Flexibility

I received an email today from my gym saying, “hey everyone, great news! We’ll be doing some construction so the weight room is going to be closed for a week.” That’s minus 5 points to my gym for inconveniencing me, but it’s plus 4 points for making it sound like good news that I’m being inconvenienced.

Anywho, I was annoyed about my missed workouts for that week when I realized that it was ridiculous that I would get so upset just because someone threw a wrench (literally???) into my plans (okay not literally). What I really needed to exercise was a little flexibility.

So while the weight room is under construction, I’ll be in the group fitness room stretching to work on my flexibility. Then I’ll make a triumphant return to the weight room when it’s re-opened to move some heavy objects and the return them to their original positions.

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Re: your newegg package

Dear Mike,

As you may have noticed, you received a package in the mail today from Newegg, and since you are currently in Miami, I took it upon myself to pick it up for you. Upon opening it (to check for security threats), I noticed that it was a piece of computer hardware, and in an act of altruism, I promptly installed it into my computer (to prevent it from oxidizing).

Unfortunately, after installing the hardware into my computer, the hardware, in the tradition of almost every episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” where someone installs a piece of hardware into something, became sentient and fused into my computer. Looking more closely at the fused parts, I, as an aspiring doctor of both computers and people, have decided that the computer part cannot be removed without “killing” a sentient life form, and therefore the only ethical way forward would be for you to purchase a new part from Newegg. To prevent this from occurring again, please schedule the shipment for a time where you will be in New York to receive the package.

The Best Roommate,


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It’s nice that speech is free

Otherwise we’d have a financial incentive to put thought into the things we say, and that just sounds taxing.

So what’s the right amount of thought to put into your speech? The answer: just enough so that you think you’re clever. As long as it passes your own “oh, yeah, this can’t possibly be wrong” gut-check (which can’t possibly be wrong), you’re good to go.


How much ram is enough?

dual-opteron-mb-ramAs a former software engineer at Microsoft, I often get the question of “how much RAM is enough?” Since I imagine that this is a pretty common question, I figured I’d address it on my blog.

The real answer is, “it depends.” It actually depends on a lot of factors: are we talking about raising sheep for subsistence or commercial farming? Are you mainly using them to breed more sheep or are you planning to sell ram mutton? Are you concerned about inbreeding or are you intentionally trying to minimize genetic variation?

Rams, also known as the luckiest male animals on earth, can actually breed with up to 100 ewes in a single mating season (approximately 3 to 4 per day roughly), but it’s generally recommended to maintain a ratio of 1:30 rams per ewe. For those of you planning to start a commercial farm of more than 500 sheep, this means that you’ll likely need closer to 20 rams. However, for those of you looking to maintain a small farm of maybe ~10 sheep, one ram is probably “enough.”

If you’d like to learn more about sheep breeding, here are a few of my favorite sheep breeding resources:

  • Sheep101 – Click to learn more about what’s considered a “satisfactory scrotal circumference” for rams.
  • Things to consider before you get sheep – This is probably my favorite one as the guy talks about buying sheep like we’d think about starting a new diet or getting a tattoo.

Hope this answered your question!


And by the way, no, I don’t think it’s that gross.

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