Free Falling Funeral

Dear Funeral Home,

I decided to start planning the inevitable…no better time than now and I’d rather have all of my own funeral arrangements made now so that my family isn’t burdened with the decisions that come at the hardest time of their lives – when I die.

So, I’d like to have a sky diving funeral.  Wouldn’t that be cool?!  We could fly…say…20,000 feet and everyone jumps out and the last person pushes my coffin out before they jump.  Then you would all have a very brief time to conduct the funeral services.

It would be nice if everyone gathered around my coffin as we are free falling…but just make sure that I’m strapped in good.  It would be embarrassing if I was flopping around and then the casket popped open and someone had to grab me and shove me back in.  And if my brother had to shove me back in…he’d probably push my head in where my feet are supposed to go.  Gross.

Anyway – if you had a strong enough coffin, you probably wouldn’t even need a parachute for it.  You could just aim it for my burial plot and let it drop into the hole.

So what do you say…is this a great idea or what?!  P.S. -none of my family knows how to skydive, so you’d have to give a quick 5-minute lesson before the “service”.


Dear Vending Machine Guy,

I love the Little Debbie® Double Decker Oatmeal Crème Pie Sandwich Cookie (LDDDOCPSC for short).  Wow – I love them!  Which is why you must get rid of them.  I can’t stop eating them.  They have more calories and fat than anything else in the machine.  I’m trying to lose weight, but with the dopamine rush that I get from a LDDDOCPSC, I don’t stand a chance.

On one particular day of weakness, I ate THREE of them!  THREE!  After the second LDDDOCPSC, I felt shame…but then justified that I might as well go all out and eat another.

I see that there are 7 of them left in the machine, and although at the moment I have decided not to eat any more, I secretly know that I have already determined to eat the remaining 7 before the week is done.

Please…my gut runneth over. Have mercy and replace LDDDOCPSC with something disgusting, like gummy bears.   Kind regards.


Veggies on Pizza? – no…just no.

Nobody likes veggies on pizza.  It is a scientific fact.  Want proof?  Next time you are at a pizza party, note that there are significantly less pizzas with veggies on it than there are without veggies.  When all people have eaten enough pizza to hate themselves, take note of what kind of pizza is left over.  Veggie pizza and supreme pizza (with veggies).

Some of you will claim “I love vegetables on my pizza!” and those people are why the veggie and supreme pizza is ordered in the first place.  But take a look at their plate.  You will see the ONE token slice of veggie pizza on their plate (the smallest, thinnest piece they could find) and a half dozen meat laden non-veggie pieces of pizza along with it.  Then they look at you as if to say  –  “see…I love veggie pizza…I have a piece right here on my plate.”

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:  If you really want vegetables with your pizza, then get a side salad.  You don’t put veggies on top of a steak and eat it…no, you have a side salad that goes with the steak.  Same goes for pizza.

Also – pineapple.  Fruit does not belong on pizza.  Ever.  As soon as you put a single piece of fruit on pizza, it is no longer pizza.  Hawaiian pizza?  Please… No one ever went to Hawaii for vacation and said, “I can’t wait to try their pizza!”  It’s like going to Mexico and looking forward to eating Chinese food.


Blulink Hearing Aids – A Review

I’m only 44 but needed hearing aids.  Since there are very few reviews of hearing aids on-line, I’ll spare you the details of my hearing loss and get right down to the review.  I purchased the BluLink™ II H110v2s hearing aids through Avada.  These are units that fit behind my ear and have a thin wire that goes to the ear bud that fits into my ear canal.  The total cost was $4,600.00 and included 3 year warranty, free batteries for the next 3 years, and free ear cushions.  My hearing loss is a reverse slope meaning I don’t hear the low frequencies as well as the high frequencies (just the opposite of what most people experience with hearing loss).  I have had them for one week.  Here is my assessment so far:


  • I hear much better
  • Small
  • You can have your phone or TV play through your hearing aids (with the purchase of a separate unit that hangs around your neck)


  • Expensive
  • Batteries will last about a week (depending on how much you use them)
  • You must buy a separate unit to have your phone or TV go through your hearing aids. I did not purchase this.

Function:  they do help me hear better.  So far, I have only been to church once since I have had them (give me a break – its only been a week!), but when the church service was over, I turned to talk to a friend.  The sanctuary is very loud after the service but I was able to hear him very clearly.  Without the hearing aids, it would have been impossible to understand him.  The sound in a loud environment is not a natural sound, but it is not bad either.  It sounds like I am listening to a recording.  I still have to pay attention to hear what someone is saying, but I can at least hear and understand them now.  An improvement to be sure.

In normal noise level environments, the sound it much more natural and does not sound like a recording.  I have noticed that I am able to hear others talking when I would not have been able to hear them before.  My wife commented that she likes it when I wear my hearing aids…interesting observation considering that I have only had them a week.  She has already noticed the difference.

The TV is a notable improvement.  I don’t have to turn the volume up nearly as much as before.  When I am in my room and the TV is on, I notice a dramatic difference when I put my hearing aids in.  I have to turn the TV down a bit.

Comfort:  This has taken some getting used to.  For the first three or four days, my ears itched and bothered me.  But now I forget that I am wearing them from time to time.  They are much more comfortable.  Although I do wear glasses, they slip next to the hearing aids and I don’t get bothered by them.

Social Factor:  I have not had anyone comment on my hearing aids.  I was asked if anyone noticed that I am wearing them.  Perhaps they have and did not bring it up.  When was the last time you asked someone about their hearing aids?  If you noticed someone started wearing hearing aids, would you ask them about it?  Perhaps a close friend.  Guys tend not to ask.  Even close friends.  So it is difficult to tell if anyone has noticed without me asking them directly – which would call attention to it.

I assume that people have noticed.  Although the hearing aids are discreet, I have noticed that many people wear them…but I have never brought it up.  I decided not to worry or care about it, but I must admit, I do feel a bit ashamed to have to wear them.  As if I did something wrong and now have to wear hearing aids as punishment.  One could argue that I did expose myself to harmful noise levels which is why I have to wear the hearing aids… OK…point taken…and I already feel shame for it… no need to pile on.

Other things:  When I whistle certain notes, I hear a reverb effect.  I kinda like it.  I whistle those notes a lot.  I have not experienced any whistling or feedback in the hearing aids other than the whistling that I do myself.

I have been outside several times when it was a bit windy, but the hearing aids did not pick up the wind (like the sound of blowing into a microphone) unless they are directly exposed to the wind.  Still, it is not a severe distraction.  I can move my head a little and the noise goes away.

I can still wear ear bud headphones (the kind that do not go into the ear canal).  I listen to pod-casts when driving, so I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to wear ear buds anymore.  But they do just fine if I gently put them in my ears (key word here is “gently”).


I am a drummer by hobby and I have only played my electronic drums (Roland TD-4) once since I have had my hearing aids.  I was a bit distracted by playing and did not notice one way or the other if the sound of them improved.  I’ll try to be more attentive next time I play. I have not played my acoustic drums since I got hearing aids, but because of the excessive volume that they put out, I will remove my hearing aids and put on hearing protection before I play on them again.  Also, when I was walking past a band doing a sound check, the drummer was hitting his bass drum which sounded amazing!  Low chest-thumping with a hint of reverb.  That could have been mic placement, drum tuning, speaker size and brand, sound guy who knew what he was doing with the right kind of equipment, or a combination of all of those.  But for sure, the hearing aids enhanced the experience.  I wanted to hear more of it, but couldn’t stick around to listen to the band.

I have only adjusted the volume on the hearing aids once and that was for a couple of hours before I adjusted it back down (via buttons on the back of the hearing aids).  I think I’ll experiment a bit more with that over the next week to see what works for various scenarios.

The batteries lasted one week.  They both gave out about 4 hours apart from each other.  When they have about an hour left of power, they will give a little beep in your ear every 15 minutes or so until they drop off line.  When they drop off line, there is a tone that plays to let you know that they are gone.

I took the advice of the audiologist and put the sticker from the battery on my calendar.  I’ll keep track of how long they are lasting.  My advice: keep a pack of batteries at work, home, and in the car.  You will be covered in most cases when your batteries go out.

I’ve got to figure out what to do with the dead batteries.  Yes…yes…recycle.  But there has got to be something else I can do with them as I assume that I will accumulate quite a few of these little buggers.


Dear Vending Machine Guy,

Short Story:  I lost $0.95 in your machine.  Please refund.  Thanks.

Tedious Story of the Vending Machine Woes:  I inserted $0.95 in the vending machine and selected “TGI Fridays Potato Skins Snacks Cheddar & Bacon” (TGIFPSSCAB for short).  The screw dispenser started turning and I anticipated the gentle fall of my reward.  My mouth watered.  But lo, the screw stopped and my bag of TGIFPSSCAB sat at the edge of the shelf…sitting…not falling.

“NNNNNNOOOOOOOooooooo!” I bemoaned.

To add insult to injury, one of the popular employees saw my predicament and began to snicker.  This never happens to him.  He always gets what he wants: bigger cubicle…new chair…two computer monitors…and TGIFPSSCAB.

Just as I was about to rent my cloak and pour ashes on my head, a kind co-worker said, “Oh, you need to fill out a reimburse claim ticket for that.”

What is this?  Do my ears deceive me?  Is it possible that such customer service is rendered by a form printed on an envelope to help resolve these issues?

YES!  It is possible!!  So please, for the sake of all humanity, and for the sake of my snackitiveness (yes, it’s a word…no need to look it up), reimburse me the $0.95 that I have lost to your mocking vending machine.  Kind regards.


Post #BR549

Perhaps we should number speeches.  This would allow the speaker to get their entire speech out there without actually having to tediously speak each word and the rest of us don’t have to sit through another pointless unoriginal speech.

Speaker:  “Speech #23!”

[Thunderous applause]

The audience doesn’t even need to know what the words are in the speech.   Just assume that it was applause worthy.  If you happen to feel good…applause + cheer.  Perhaps throw in a whistle or two.

Perhaps I should do the same with my blog for the same reasons.  Touché!


Roasting Coffee

I am a home coffee roaster.  I buy green coffee beans from www.sweetmarias.com and then roast them myself.  The results are amazing!

I was inspired by a former co-worker that brought in some home roast.  He cracked open his container at work and I caught a whiff sitting across the room.  I was amazed that coffee could smell so good.  I decided that I would roast my own coffee someday.

It wasn’t until 7 or 8 years later that I finally tried it.  I put a pound of raw beans on my Christmas list and my wife bought me 5 pounds of Colombian green coffee beans.  I went to Menard’s and picked up a popcorn air-popper.  Here is how it works (WARNING: this will void the warranty on the popcorn popper):

  • Turn on the popcorn popper (it has to be the kind of popcorn popper that spins the beans in a circular motion as they roast) and dump 1/3 cup of green beans into it.
  • Make sure that you are catching the chaff that blows off the coffee beans.  I use a metal colander.  Also, this will create a bit of smoke at the end, so I only do this in my garage or outside. 
  • After 7 or 8 minutes, stop the popper, dump the roasted beans into a metal cake pan, and let them cool.
  • Let your popcorn popper cool down a bit (so that the lid doesn’t melt) and start over with another 1/3 cup of green beans.

After the coffee has cooled, put it in a sealed mason jar (or some other airtight container) and store it out of direct sunlight.   After doing this successfully for 8 months, I needed to find a way to ramp up my production.

At the suggestion of a co-worker, I  found a cheap working oven on Craigslist.org and wired it up in my garage.  I use a small shop vac to cool the beans down after the roast.


I drilled a hole in the side of it and mounted a rotisserie motor to the outside of it.


The rotisserie rod goes into the oven and I modified a stainless steel pot to mount to it.


The Results:


Pot Details:

  • Purchased a $6 stainless steel pot from Wal-Mart like this one:


  • Grind off the handles on the sides and top.
  • Drilled holes in the bottom of the pot and the lid for the rotisserie rod so that it will be rotated on its side.
  • Drilled additional holes in the side to allow for air circulation.
  • Made fins out of used cans and attached them to the inside of the pot so that it would tumble the coffee beans as the drum turned.

I can roast up to 2 ½ pounds at a time.  It takes about 50 minutes to roast one pound, but I don’t have to baby-sit it and just check it from time to time.  In the near future, I plan on making a new cylinder that is made out of mesh – I think that would reduce the roast time significantly.

Most home roasters will say that the coffee has to sit for at least 4 hours before you can grind it up and brew it, but I have taken beans that just finished their roast (before the beans even cool) and it still makes an amazing cup of coffee.

Be warned – if you start roasting your own coffee, it is hard to go back to anything less than fresh-roast.