Tag Archive: stop that it’s silly

We have a floss pick pack that has the following written on it and formatted like so:


Buildup and Plaque


Fight Tooth Decay.

However, my mind keeps removing the line-breaks in the formatting which changes it to mean something very different:

Removes buildup and plaque helps fight tooth decay.

And I keep thinking, “My, that’s awful nice of plaque.  I feel bad now because I always tried to get rid of it.”

I may just be really odd.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

The Bathroom Oasis

I work at a hospital, so one of the things that are plentiful are bathrooms.  However, most of these bathrooms are for patient use, and being a busy hospital these bathrooms tend to see a lot of traffic.  As such, whenever I have a chance to visit a part of the hospital I’ve never been to before (big hospital so there are many parts that I’ve never actually been in), I always assess the bathroom scene and catalogue it for future reference.

This has lead to the recent discovery of what I call the Bathroom Oasis.  On the fifth floor, across from our cardiology department, there is a section of the hospital set aside for doctor’s offices and conference rooms.  It’s very low traffic and has a few “employees only beyond this point” doors guarding it.  Being an employee who needed to use a conference room, I discovered a wonderland of bathrooms behind those doors of secrecy.  Looking back in the hospital’s history, the area in question used to be a gastro department so the bathroom density in the area is pretty high.  In the one wing of the hospital (probably 30 rooms, 3 of which are conference rooms the rest offices or storage) there are 6 single-occupancy bathrooms and 2 multiple-occupancy.  This is like the holy grail of bathroom availabilty, and as I do much of my work in the Cardiology department (across the hall) I have ready access to this oasis for a large portion of my day.

It’s wonderful, if one bathroom is full I simply have to walk 10 feet down the hall to the next one, and so forth.  It’s the best kept secret where I work, and finding it out has been like finding that one perfect parking spot on Black Friday.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

A short one today people (*SNERK*), and just a tad vulgar: the penis game.

For those unfamiliar (those who never spent any time as an adolescent boy), the penis game is pretty simple. When you have a group of people in a fairly public place, you take turns saying (or shouting) “Penis!” The loudest exclimation of male genetalia wins, if such a thing can be considered winning.

My best friend and I used to play it while fishing when nothing was biting. You can get some nice echo going off all of those water-front properties.

-Confusion is a state of mind… PENIS!


Apparently I’m infamous enough to be recognized online. Not from my blog here, I’ve got but 6 or 7 fans, but from my daily snark over at YSaC.

One of the things I’ve established pretty well online is the handle “TacoMagic.” As I mentioned in my “about” section, I’ve had the handle for years now; 12 years in fact. I’m TacoMagic over at YSaC, I’m TacoMagic here, and I have TacoMagic as my nickname/handle on many a gaming site.

Yesterday I was over on one of my favorite free flash gaming sites Kongregate playing Swords and Potions, a shop simulator (I live the wild life, woo doggy). Anyway, I was stirring up trouble in the chat room, mostly looking for improvement trades, helping newbies, and being sarcastic, when I get a private message from another player:

“Are you the same TacoMagic that comments over on “You Suck at Craigslist?”

The odds that somebody would recognize me in a chat room for a shop simulator on a gaming website that has tens of thousands of games is… apparently pretty good. It’s a weird kind of pseudo-fame where I can be playing random flash games and be recognized as “Hey, you’re that guy over at YSaC, aren’t you?”

-Confusion is a state of mind, for sale now!

Web Browsers: Hipster Paradise

Over the years there has been a lot of arguments over which web browser you should be using. A lot of the things you’ll be told about your current web browser are probably wrong, and the reasons you’ll be given to switch will really boil down to preference. So today, I’ll give you some real* information about browsers:

Internet Explorer:
The browser that everyone loves to hate. However, it’s not nearly as bad as everyone would have you believe. It’s gradual fall from glory is mostly due to a successful slash campaign by the Firefox fanboys and that most exploits are written with IE in mind.


  • Comes with windows based platforms.
  • It’s a commercially supported product made by a global company


  • It’s rather bulky and takes quite a bit of ram to run these days.
  • It’s made by Microsoft, so therefore uncool to use… even/especially if you have an Xbox 360 sitting under your TV.
  • Least secure browser

This used to be the secure web browser of choice, before it became popular. Unfortunately as it’s become more popular, its “security by obscurity” has worn off. In objective security tests over the last 3 years it has continually under-performed everything except Internet Explorer.


  • It’s the cool browser to use.
  • Multi-Platform
  • Free
  • Updated often
  • Highly customizable: specifically there is a wealth of established plug-in support for FF.


  • Not nearly as secure as it’s advocates would have you believe.  Continually ranks just above IE in objective security tests.
  • Not as underground as it used to be, so please make sure to use it ironically.
  • While better optimized for memory usage than IE, it’s still among the more memory hungry browsers out there these days.
  • One of the worst at operating system integrating (other than Linux).

Opera is a lesser known browser put out by Opera Software and is heralded for being one of the most secure web browsers out there. In reality, this is only partially true. Security wise it’s only slightly better than FireFox but generally has two things going for it that FireFox doesn’t: First, it’s more obscure so fewer people are looking for exploits Opera in mind. And second, Opera’s turn around time for new exploit patching is 1/3rd that of Firefox and 1/10th that of IE.


  • Security by obscurity.  By being a browser of lesser popularity, less exploits are being actively found and used by the Malware community
  • Patching of exploits for Opera is among the fastest in the industry.
  • Free
  • Memory footprint is smaller than either IE or Firefox.


  • Tends not to be as compatible with all web based formats as other browsers
  • Lots of things are disabled by default and requires some configuring to get it working as best it should.
  • Plugin support is sub-par when compared to other browsers.

Safari is the Macintosh browser originally released for Mac OS only, but recently updated to also install in a Windows environment. Safari is one of the champions of “security by obscurity”, mostly because the majority of of people who use Safari are on Macs, and very few people write viruses/malware for Mac.


  • One of the more secure browsers out there, mostly due to the small browser share and high percentage of Mac users in its installation base.
  • Mac users have it installed by default
  • Very good memory usage and speed


  • Patch release turn around is the second longest, about half of IE but still double that of fire fox.
  • Plugin and extension support is rather weak, one of the weakest out there as it only recently added support.
  • Windows integration is rather poor, as it’s primarily designed to integrate with Mac.

The current “up and comer” browser. In the last two years it has wrestled away 16% of the market share for browsers. And since Google is still trying to prove itself in the market, security support tends to be very good.


  • One of the most secure browsers out there with the shortest turn around for security patches
  • Decent plug-in and extension support; though it’s recent implementation limits the number of plugins available.
  • One of the sleekest and fastest browsers out there; its memory foot print remains one of the smallest. This speed is due in no small part to the browser utilizing the fastest JavaScript engine out there.
  • Free


  • Unproven long term support.  It’s a relatively new product, so longer term support may flag as Google gets more comfortable with their place in the market.
  • There is a modest amount of data mining by Chrome.  Search terms are captured to provide focused advertisements
  • Provided by the evil Google company.
  • Flash integration and support is hit or miss depending on what you’re trying to run

My current favorite browser. It’s built on the Chrome open source code, but with the data mining portions pruned out. It’s also been optimized beyond what Chrome is.


  • The sleek, fast, and simple interface of Chrome without the privacy invasion; inclusive of plugin and extension support
  • Free
  • It’s so underground, you’ve probably never heard of it.
  • Updated and patched as often as Chrome


  • Released and supported by a third party company with no established record of long term ability to support the browser
  • Compatibility with flash is still sub-par.

And that’s pretty much it. The take home message is: security wise, FireFox is not as great as people think. It’s too often used as a band-aid by the home IT world to prevent computer infection, when really a more solid solution should be explored (real time anti-virus protection with malware prevention and periodic scans). In the grand scheme of things, FireFox IS better than internet explorer in almost all areas; but when compared to other browsers, the hype doesn’t hold up very well. And really, crutching on browser security is a pretty bad idea. If you’re going to be part of the online world, you need a solid anti-virus and anti-malware strategy. Browser security is a good front-line defense, but it shouldn’t be your only defense. Not by a long shot.

There are less popular and lesser known browsers out there beyond what I have above, but I wanted to hit the big ones. If I hit every browser out there, this post would go on almost forever.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

*As unclouded by the desire to follow the crowd and be cool as possible… while maintaining my hipster love of SRWare Iron.

The Internet, it does nothing!

So, I’ve been feeling under the weather for about 2-3 weeks now with some pretty mild yet concerning symptoms. Basically I’ve been having mild pain/discomfort in my abdomen. No other symptoms, and it’s spread out over 3 of the 4 abdominal quadrants. It feels kinda like I’ve eaten too many bowls of bran flakes… but without the bloated/crampy feeling. That’s it, no other symptoms. In the abdominal pain world, that’s apparently like saying “I found that thing at the one store the other day”. I’ve made an appointment with the doctor and will be discussing with him to see what the next step is. (probably blood tests, x-rays, and failing to find anything there, Colonoscopy/Endoscopy/Barium series! huzzah.)

Anyway, the nurse on the phone suggested I was probably gearing up for an appendicitis, so seeing the doctor fairly soon was a good idea; though she said it could really be anything because abdominal pain is fun that way. If I couldn’t stand, it was ER time. Good to know.

But, as we all do these days, I decided to do a little consultation with the internet first because… why the heck not?! I’m an Engineer who works at a hospital directly on medical equipment. I’m a problem solver and fancy myself as having a pretty level head. I’m not prone to hypochondria, nor have I been historically susceptible to the placebo effect. I’ve planted myself pretty firmly in the realm of reason, so I should be able to handle information without letting it get the best of me. I figure I’m fairly safe poking around on the internet without becoming hysterical and making up diseases for myself. Turns out I wouldn’t even know where to start anyway given the number of things “light abdominal pain” could be. Probably colon cancer, if I really wanted to get hysterical, which I don’t care to.

So, searching for my particular set of symptoms I was able to narrow it down to “just about anything” about as well as the nurse on the phone was able to. Wonderful. The general consensus is that since the symptoms are mild without any secondary symptoms, most likely it’s something minor. Oh, and by the way, lots of these things can have atypical presentations that make them look like many of the other pathologies available to chose from. It could also be a wicked case of persistent gas, dysentery, or one of the many pathologies that are usually chosen at random when all the tests come back normal but you still have symptoms. Like IBS or chronic appendicitis. Marvelous.

So yeah, probably lots of testing in my future, and possibly doctors thinking I’m a hypochondriac because nothing is overtly wrong with me. Or maybe they find something right away and I have surgery/drugs/therapy to clear it up. *Shrug* So it goes. As a precaution I gave up aspartame (I’m a power user, 4-10 packets of “blue stuff” a day), just in case it might save everyone some time and effort on the off chance that I developed the poorly understood aspartame allergy. Worst case scenario is that now I have an excuse to use real sugar in my coffee for a while. Win-Win.

For those unfamiliar with the allergy, just Google it. There is a huge subculture devoted to portraying aspartame as the devil in a blue packet. Lots of the information available out there is poorly veiled hysteria mongering based on a partial/poor understanding of the chemical reactions aspartame undergoes in the body. But there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that there’s no harm in me giving it up for a few weeks just to see if I get better. That’s pretty much the test for aspartame allergy: give it up, and if your pain goes way, try consuming some again. If the pain comes back, you’ve got the allergy. Simple concept. People can become allergic to just about anything, so I don’t find it outside the scope of reason that I could develop such an allergy. Plus, you know.. SUGAR IS AWESOME! Ahem.

But what I found extremely alarming during my search, aside from all the homeopathic websites that come up when researching symptoms, is the sheer level of grammatical and spelling errors on websites that SHOULD be striving for respectability. And I’m not talking on homeopathicearthhealing.com. No, we’re talking WebMD, Mayo, and Medicinenet here! The big 3 are riddled with enough spelling and grammar mistakes that I, typo champion of YSaC, can spot them. WebMD was the best of the three when it came to being correct, but it still wasn’t perfect.

Plus, you get great lines like this:

Abdominal pain is pain that is felt in the abdomen.


No. Shit. So, I started out worrying that I was going to possibly cause an unwanted case of partial knowledge hypochondria on myself, and instead I spend 20 minutes seething about these big, medical help websites no taking a few minutes to run their submissions across the desk of an editor… or a spellchecker. I mean seriously, you may have panicked people looking for real information on your websites, at the very least you could make sure that your content gives off the airs that you know what you’re talking about. Instead I was reading sites that basically felt like they were saying “The abdomen… that’s the tummy area right?”

After a while I entirely forgot what I was looking for and was just browsing random pages looking for mistakes. That was WAY more fun and informational then looking through the nonspecific articles about abdominal pain that basically took 4 pages to say “It could be anything, see a doctor.”

-Confusion is a state of mind, or tummy?

The winner is: Gastritis or Ulcer of the stomach. The doctor poked me in the stomach this morning and I just about jumped out of the exam chair. So, two weeks on an acid blocker, and if that doesn’t work we go fishing to see if we can find an ulcer. If so antibiotics for a month. Whee. Turns out I was getting referred pain all over my lower abdomen, and the stomach inflammation was kicking up fresh hell in my lower belly. Fun times.

A rebuttal to my spam

I’ve got two rather awesome spam messages that I thought I’d share:

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There, I think we’ve got that sorted.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?