Wednesday, February 18, 2015

the lunar holiday begins

I'm still on vacation, so this makes little difference to me, but here in South Korea, we're at the beginning of a three-day national holiday known variously as Seol or Seollal, i.e., the Korean lunar new year. So—Happy New Year, all! That's a bit premature, of course: the actual day of Seol is tomorrow: Thursday, February 19, the beginning of the Year of the Sheep or Goat. (The Sino-Korean word yang normally translates as "sheep," but could possibly include goats.)

For me, the holiday means I get to take a short break from my projects, two of which are done, but two of which are yet to be done. I've finished proofing my friend's novel's manuscript, and I sent in my course proposal for KMA, but I have yet to write up my syllabi and calendars for the upcoming Dongguk semester, and I still need to write up the full-length course for the tutorial that I might be teaching at the end of this month.

But those are concerns for later this week and all of next week. For now, I leave you with this link, courtesy of George Takei on Twitter, to a list of "Why didn't I think of that?"-style inventions that solve some of life's more annoying problems. Below, my brief comments on each of the inventions.

1. Clever, but sleeping in your car is still uncomfortable if you lack the leg room.

2. Again, clever, but you still have to wipe your cup.

3. I have no clue how this one is supposed to work. Can't the sand just blow onto the surface? How is this preventing things from getting sandy? And how is it any different from laying out a tarp? Plus, there's the question of carrying the extra weights that you'd need in order to hold the corners down...

4. I love this one, but (1) moving parts will break down, and (2) vandalism.

5. I laughed when I saw this invention, which is mainly for the weak and/or lazy.

6. Laughed harder at this. It might actually work... as long as the sandwich doesn't slide around underneath the "mold" print.

7. Veddy nice, veddy nice... but who keeps their cords unplugged like that? Maybe this is for people who are constantly detaching and reattaching equipment.

8. Cool, but it's a one-trick pony. Is this really solving life's more annoying problems?

9. Finally! Something I can get behind. I love this. And I want one.

10. No, thanks. A classic example of putting all your eggs in one basket.

11. YES! I've often found that my broom's "brooming power" gets reduced over time. I normally "groom" my broom by hand. Which is gross. This is much better. Another unequivocal thumbs-up from me.

12. Weird, but this has potential. I'm interested and want to know more.

13. Hands down, the most awesome thing on this list. You'd have to use it outside, though, or in a bathtub, to minimize the effects of splashing. Otherwise, I think this is a blessedly creative solution to a long-standing dog problem.

14. The title above the picture is wrong: that's a dryer, not a washing machine (the door is too weak for that machine to be a front-loading washer). And a cloth like that doesn't necessarily have to go onto laundry equipment, per se: you could spread it anywhere.

15. What a waste of creative effort. I didn't think the inability to see your toast while it was toasting was a huge problem. Besides, you can just stand over your normal toaster and do what I do: look down into it. There—was that so hard?

16. My response to this is that you can spend a fraction of a cent to buy one of these.

17. I love this—at least for when it's cleanup time, but it's no guarantee that the Legos won't get scattered during playtime. And don't think I didn't catch the "Lay... Go/Lego" pun.

18. Heal while you cut. That's just weird, but I think it's got potential S&M applications if you can somehow make it relevant to human skin.

19. Oh, good Christ. Really? Really?

20. I'm not sure how this is supposed to work. The guy wearing the shirt has to have an exact knowledge of how every part of that grid maps onto every part of his back, right? And if the shirt is at all loose or billowy...

21. At first, I thought this was awesome because it eliminates the "toothpaste asymptote" problem by shooting the goo out both ends. Then I saw that the author of this article saw the double-ended tube as a solution for couples. Which left me confused. Are women grossed out at the thought of using a man's toothpaste tube? That'd be kind of rich, especially if she's just enjoyed a mouthful of penis.

22. Sorry, but this just doesn't wow me. Because I wind my own extension cords up in a fairly consistent manner, I don't normally worry about kinky cords tripping me up. The other key to not being tripped up is, of course, to look where you're walking.

23. This looks more like a conversation piece than actual, serious kitchen equipment. But, hey: I admit I might take to it if it really does what it purports to do. And if I ever encounter pizza that hasn't been pre-sliced.

24. This is all kinds of awesome. As an experienced hiker and camper, I can vouch for this without even having used it. Yes, yes, yes—I want one for my next hiking/camping trip. Does it come with a clothesline, or do I still have to bring my own nylon cord?

So out of 24 inventions, I'd give, oh, four of these my seal of approval: 9, 11, 13, and 24.



Charles said...

I'm with you on most of these. I was also confused about the sandless mat, but the product website has this tidbit: "Used in military applications to contain sand and dust when helicopters land and take off, the mat is made from two layers of patented woven polyurethane that instantly filter sand to the beach as soon as it falls on its surface. The specially woven polyurethane acts as a one-way filter to prevent sand from reemerging through the bottom of the mat."

So now I'm curious about that.

As for #7, I think the cords are unplugged just for show--the idea, I believe, is that it keeps your cords separated so that they don't get tangled up. I guess. Not really sure what the point is.

Re #23: if you make your own pizza, you've always got to figure out how to cut and serve it. That being said, we have a pizza cutter and a pizza server, and never once have I thought to myself, "You know, I wish these two tools were combined into one!" Now, after seeing this... yeah, I still don't really see the point. Seems like it would be more hassle than it's worth.

Personal favorite: #9

Kevin Kim said...

That product description is very interesting, but what it comes down to is that the mat is capable of protecting itself, not protecting the items on top of the mat from windblown sand.

re: #7

It took me a moment to even realize that the plug they show in that picture is a 220V one, not a US-standard 110V plug. I've been away from the States too long.

re: #23

Point taken. Those who make pizza at home do indeed have to slice their own pizza.

By the way, have you ever seen Gordon Ramsay's rendition of homemade pizza? It's amazing. Here. Only problem is that you need a broiler.

re: #9

I love that one, too. Easily deployable, simple to use, and small enough not to crowd your counter.

Kevin Kim said...

Correction: Ramsay might not have been using a broiler. His recipe is similar in principle to this one here, which also doesn't use a broiler—just a really hot oven that can hold a cast-iron skillet.