19 December 2007

The Erratic, No Where Near Annual, Just 'Cause I Feel Like It Awards.

Since the year is hurtling to a close, I wanted to get my awards recommendations in before I forgot. Call these the "I Wish I'd Invented That" Awards, or the "Hey, Cool Idea" Awards, or even the, "How Did I Ever Live Without This" Awards. Totally subjective, based on criterion I make up as I go. No monetary prize, in fact, no prize at all, except the glow of satisfaction that comes with knowing someone else's life was touched by your product/invention/idea. And if you're dead, well, sorry, but I'm afraid I'm a bit of a procrastinator. If you're in the afterlife of your choosing and want to comment, please refrain from doing so at 2:00am and scaring the dogs.

So, in no particular order, my favorite inventions of the past few months, or millennia.

The mute button on multi-line phones. I never knew how important that little button was until I got a job that involved conference calls. Lots of them. No longer are you reduced to merely rolling your eyes at idiotic comments. With the all-inclusive mute button, now you can snort, guffaw, choke, roar, and raspberry. All without the party on the other end being the wiser. With the flick of a button a well-planted, “Oh, I agree”, or “What do you think the long term ramifications of this plan will be” ensures another round of discussion that you don’t have to take any part in! Sheer genius, I tell you…

Next is the automatic light sensing rearview mirror in my car. I love this partially because I have bad eyes that have difficulty to adjusting to changing light levels, but mostly to dim those annoying truck lights that are set on “bright enough to illuminate the surface of Mars – from Earth” and successfully blind the general public for moments at a time. Not to mention most of the vehicles behind me are huge pickup trucks with headlights on level with my back window. My nifty rearview mirror automatically adjusts and tones the searchlights down to a tolerable level, thus reducing incidents of temporary blindness and road rage on my part. Believe me, when you drive a car in a mega truck town, you need every advantage you can get.

Food processing machines. I blame this fascination on the Food Network, and programs like Unwrapped. Who thinks up machines that can not only slice and dice, but coat, dip, sort, wrap and package every sort of food stuff under the sun? Rube Goldberg would be proud. Luckily for us, the machines haven’t taken over yet. They still need humans to dump the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, etc. into the hopper and push the start button. But if machines ever figure out a way to take over our candy making, they could bring us to our chocolate covered knees.

The person who figured out that the bean from the plant family Rubiaceae, when dried, roasted, and combined with water made an interesting and stimulating beverage. Elixir of the gods, writers, and procrastinators everywhere. Coffee. Enough said.

Easy Mount stirrups - Stirrups that lengthen for mounting are the greatest invention. I'm short, and the prairie is devoid of convenient tree stumps. If I get off a horse to scope out some particularly interesting rock or plant, Mr. Horse isn’t going to kneel down to make my life easier. Nor is he going to be thrilled when I have to clamber up his side, pulling on the saddle and thunking him in the sides with my elbows and toes. If Mr. Horse is in a bad mood that day, I could be in for a long walk home should I fail to haul my butt back into the saddle. I’m getting older, muscles aren’t as flexible. I’m not a circus trick rider is all I'm saying. Don’t look for me to be making a flying leap into the saddle any time soon. (I may not be able to, but I’ll make darn sure at least one of my fictional characters can leap onto tall horses in a single bound. Call it writer’s revenge.)

So those are things I thought of today on my wander about Wyoming outreach drive. How about you? Any run of the mill invention that you can’t live without?


Gabriele C. said...

You need special stirrups to get onto a horse? And what was that about riding to battle uphill both ways? :)

I'd like to nominate inventions we could do without. Ok, maybe you don't see that one in Wyoming, but what I hate are those loud, stinky devices that blow dry leaves into a heap. People have used rakes for ages, and now suddenly they don't want to move their arms any longer and just hold that anti-vaccum thingie in direction of the offending leaves and howl, roar, pffft, the leaves are somewhere else. Not necessarily where thy belong.

Cell phones are another one. They may have some uses, but I hate it that everyone has his/her ear stuck to the devices everywhere. You can't go shopping without being surrounded by people babbling and sometimes shrieking into those bloody things. On the same range are those MP3 players that assault you with heavy metal loud enough to be heard on Mars.

Constance said...

Remember, I said in my younger days - uphill- both ways- In my older days, downhill - both ways - or mounting block. *g*

Everybody on my street has those leaf blowers. I hate'em too. I either wait for the wind to blow the leaves to South Dakota, or I suck up and rake. It's not only exercise, but the dogs then go crashing through the piles and have a ball.

Cell phones- what is so hard about mastering the mute/vibrate function? I really don't want to hear your loud obnoxious ringtone. Oh, and answer it within 7 verses, otherwise I won't be responsible for my actions... Geez, touch a nerve much, Gabriele? :)

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, I didn't think you'd need leaf blowers in Wyoming. That place invented wind. :)

I can so see the dogs having a field day with the leaves. And then look all cute and innocent. Me, I haven't done nuthing, it was all the wind, really.

Anonymous said...

The laptop computer would be my choice for an award.
It's my portable entertainment center at my comfortable dead end boring state job.
I have all my music on it,and can distribute songs to my portable devices or entertain co-workers with music genres they usually avoid.
I can keep in contact with mt tentative fiance and friends via e-mail.
I can surf the internet,and spend money online like a potentate.
OH...and of course I can post my timely witty pertinent oh so funny comments to my sister's blog!

Constance said...

Yes, doG forbid you actually write or CALL your sister. :P
I have a computer at work, but since they leashed me with another cell just for vet work, they talked of adding a laptop for my outreach. Just think, pretty soon I'll look like the guys in the movie Twister with a car full of whirling, beeping electronic gadgets. Which is okay, because I still can't get reception 60% of the places I go!

You'll have more music for your laptop after Christmas. I'm not going near the post office until then. Celtic, this time.

Carla said...

The one trouble with the mute button is that some people confuse it with the hands-free button, to the great entertainment of everyone else on the call :-)

Happy Christmas and best wishes for the new year to you, the Corgis, the cats, Anonymous and everyone else.

Constance said...

Carla, we of the raspberry persuasion are verycareful with the awesome power and responsibility of the mute button. *g* We only use it for ridicule.

Thanks for the wishes! Happy Holidays to your side of the pond. :)