May 9th, 2008

Plumbing the depths of the unknown

I have spent some 15 years pondering one of life's enduring mysteries, but for so long, I have kept quiet. Well, quiet I shall remain no longer. It's time for the rhetorical "why?"

Compact disc "jewel cases": A lovely storage medium. Jewel case packaging: not so lovely. First, you have to remove the outer plastic wrap, which isn't too big of a deal, but can be a pain if you don't have nails of any substantial length. But what truly vexes me is the sticker that holds the top of the case closed. You know what I mean -- it's that long piece of plastic with adhesives along its longitudinal perimeters that also serves the dual purposes of displaying the artist/album name, and being a royal pain in the rear to remove.

Sometimes you'll see a little leading/trailing tab with "pull here" written on it. Ostensibly this is supposed to aid in removal. Practically speaking, I think it just teases and rubs salt in the wounds.

  1. Material Science has endowed us with a wide variety of adhesive types suitable for many different applications. Why do CD cases have to come with a type that shreds and splits into numerous pieces when one attempts to remove it, all while leaving a trail of obstinate residue that often lingers many years after a CD's purchase?

  2. More importantly, why do we even need that sticker at all? How is the outer plastic wrap insufficient?

Hey, just doing my part the ask the obvious questions. Especially those which never seem to get asked for some reason.

Now back to my adhesive residue removal.

Apprehending assumptions run amok

Anytime you deviate from the norm, you risk engendering misunderstanding and misconceptions at the mercy of the assumptions people use to comprehend familiar environmental input. I realize I've dealt with a lot of these, and some are very frequent "customers." I've decided to consolidate a few of the best ones here.

And now, somewhat in the style of The Far Side:

    • What I say: "I'm from New York."

    • What people hear: "I'm from New York City."

    • What they think: "I'm a hardened street thug from one of the boroughs of NYC -- The City, and the ONLY city worth being called 'The City.' Don't mess with me or I'll pump you full o' lead like any northeasterner would. Oh, and I also twawk funny."

    • What I say: "Actually, I'm from a small city."

    • What people hear: "I'm from the suburbs."

    • What they think: "I'm from the sprawling land of cul-de-sacs, white picket fences, perfectly manicured lawns, and anal-retentive housing assocation housewives/househusbands/PTA crusaders driving minivans to and from soccer practice with their 2.5 children having a food fight in the back seat and getting slushies all over the dog."

    • - or -

    • What I say: "Actually, I'm from a small city."

    • What people hear: "I'm from out in the country. Small-town rural America, baby."

    • What they think: "Ah'm from out in the middle of the country. I's a small town boy, ok y'all? And what's this four-wheelie thingamajig y'all drive around? My cousin/brother/dad/nephew Billy Bob Joe had one o' those but it was pulled by them thar hawses."

    • What I say: "My degree is in Communication."

    • What people hear: "My degree is in Communications." (Ask me sometime if you're really curious, and I'll explain the difference.)

    • What they think: "I'm a hands-on media nut working in journalism, broadcasting, or visual production."

    • What I say: "I drive a Subaru."

    • What people hear: "I drive a Subaru Outback wagon."

    • What people think: "I drive a rusty old Subaru Outback wagon, completely splattered with mud, fitted with a roof rack holding (at any given time) some combination of bikes, a canoe, and all manner of camping gear, and with a few lesbians in the back seat sporting tie-dye, hemp, and Birkenstocks."

    • What I say: "I like some bands that would be classified as gothic metal, progressive metal, melodic metal, and/or symphonic metal."

    • What people hear: "I like heavy metal and death metal."

    • What people think: "I regularly head-bang to screaming, shrieking, cacophonous, eardrum-Cuisine-Art-ing death metal. My oath of allegiance to Satan and all his unholy minions is reaffirmed daily, if not hourly. Now, get out of my way; I have been given new orders, and it is unwise to keep Him waiting. Bark bark bark, all night long."

I'll update this list if I think of new examples. I had enough fun with this one for now.