Sci-Fried Eggs Episode 69 #140827

sci-fried-eggs-logoThis week the Sci-Fried Eggs broadcast from the newly completed Stunt Compound at Bathurst Manor.  Chuck and Cher start by sharing their ALS Ice Bucket Challenge stories.  Then Doc and Cher review the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  Chuck tells us about his Loot Crates.  Then Chuck brings us another edition of Crap Chuck Found on the Internet.  And then Doc and the Bathurst Manor staff has set up some charity stunt challenges for Cher and Chuck!

Sci-Fried Eggs Episode 69 – Click to Listen or Download

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 69, Segment 1
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 69, Segment 2
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Review

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 69, Segment 3
Loot Crate Review

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 69, Segment 4
Crap Chuck Found on the Internet #5

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 69, Segment 5
Bathurst Manor Stunt Challenge

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Why You Should Vote for Me for President of the United States

I’m running for President of the United States.  That’s right!  I’ve joked about it for long enough.  I’m finally putting my money where my mouth is (not to mention I’m finally old enough) and I’m running (well, more like briskly walking) for President.  Now I’m sure all of you are wondering why I would make a great President.  Well, I’m glad you asked!

Let’s face it, I’m totally cut out for politics.  I’m interesting.  I don’t care what people think about me or my policies.  I have amazing hair.  I look dashing in a suit.  I have just enough skeletons in my closet to be a field day for the media.  But those are just some of the obvious reasons you should vote for me for President.  If you’re not already convinced, allow me to really sell you on why you want me as the leader of the 4th geographically largest country in the world.

I’ve been working on a sweet platform that will make the Presidential election a slam dunk for me.  The first plank of my platform is daily nap time!  That’s right, everyone gets an hour nap every day!  I know, that’s badass, right?  And if you’re at a job, it will be a paid nap time!  Yup, everyone is going to be much more productive because they’re going to be well-rested!  Then there’s also an hour lunch.  That’s right, jobs have to give you a paid hour lunch!  Now I know what some of you are asking, “Doc, can I just nap for two hours and not take lunch?”  And I say that this is America and you’re free to spend your lunch hour and nap hour however you like!  You can even work for those two hours if you really want to, but you won’t be punished if you don’t.  I’ll make sure of that.

Now that’s just the beginning.  Check this out!  I’m going to get this country back on track with taxes!  I know what some of you are saying, “But Doc, I already pay a lot in taxes.”  Well, that’s about to end for some of you because if you make less than 100,000 dollars a year, you don’t have to pay taxes!  That’s right!  I’m cutting out all the tax loopholes for the rich and big businesses and letting them pay the taxes for a while.  And I know what you’re saying, “But Doc, those rich people won’t vote for you.”  And I say, “Who cares!”  There are way more people who make less than a hundred grand a year than people who make more than a hundred grand.  That’s just simple numbers when it comes to voting.  And I’m pretty sure with my new percentage tax plan, I can get this National Debt knocked out in no time.

Now I know this is already a sore spot with some people, but I’m going to fix this Healthcare system once and for all.  The United States Healthcare System needs an efficiency overhaul.  When it comes to how much bang for our buck Americans get for Healthcare costs, the United States does just slightly better than Serbia and Brazil.  And is worse than China, Algeria, and Iran.  The only country that spends more than the United States per person on healthcare costs is Switzerland.  But Switzerland ranks as one of the top ten most efficient healthcare systems.  That means the United States is spending a lot of money on healthcare and not getting a lot for it.  Sort of like when you sign up for a magazine subscription but then you quit reading the magazine but they still keep sending it and you’re too lazy to cancel the subscription.  Well, I’m not sure how we cancel our healthcare subscription and get a better one, but I’m going to figure that out.  And just know that you’re not going to have to pay a butt load of money every time you go to the doctor.

At this point, I’ve probably got the election by a pretty solid landslide.  But why stop there.  If you’re going to win a popularity contest, then you gotta make sure you’re the most popular create change and make a country better, then you shouldn’t just stop once you’ve won an election, right?  That being said, it’s about time we had free internet for everyone.  That’s right, we are going to free Wi-Fi the crap out of this country.  No more having to guess your neighbor’s password or having to pay a daily charge at certain fancy hotels that shall remain nameless.  We are going to take a lesson from Hooters and McDonald’s and other classy restaurants and offer free Wi-Fi across the entire country!  This is America for goodness sakes!  There is no reason every citizen shouldn’t have Internet access any time they want it.

Now I don’t know how this one’s going to go over, but I’m seriously thinking about bringing back smoking sections in restaurants.  I’ve been watching a lot of Mad Men lately on Netflix and it seems like this country was a whole lot better when we had smoking sections in restaurants.  Now, before a bunch of people get all up in arms about this one, it’s just a working theory.  But if I can figure out the connection, you can bet your ass smoking sections are back.

That’s about all I’ve got.  Oh, one more thing.  I’m always going to dress in black suits.  I’m going to be completely non-partisan.  None of this blue tie/red tie crap.  I’m the President of the United States of America.  I’m not a Democrat or a Republican.  I’m an American!  And I’m doing what’s best for America!  And if you’re not voting for an American like me then I guess you’re voting for the terrorist to win.




An Open Letter to the “Future”

Dear Future (currently the present),

I’m a little miffed at you.  Actually that’s a lie.  I little more than miffed.  I’m angry, but the kind of angry where someone cuts in front of you in traffic when you clearly didn’t want to let them into the traffic flow.  That kind of angry.  The kind of angry where you get mad and use swears but have no intention of actually doing anything about it.  But that’s my issue, Future, not yours.  Here are the issues I have with you.

I’m not going to candy-coat this at all.  You’re a flat-out liar.  You promised all these amazing things, and you haven’t delivered on any of them.  Seriously, I don’t know what you were smoking in the ’60s to come up with all these outrageous claims, but, Future, you should have been in politics because you talked really big and produced very little.  And I’m not talking about the big things.  I’m talking about the little stuff.  Let’s discuss, shall we?

Okay, I went to Dairy Queen the other day to get a Confetti Cake Blizzard®.  And the rest of my afternoon/evening was ruined because guess what Dairy Queen was out of?  That’s right, confetti cake!  My big question here is how?  Come on, Future!  You’re telling me that we are still dealing with restaurants running out of stuff?  For reals?!  I mean, seriously, everything is like computer controlled now.  Inventory is checked by computers.  Things get scanned.  It’s super hard to steal office supplies from your job anymore.  And you’re telling me that we haven’t designed a system that alerts a restaurant when they are running low on something.  Or better yet, just automatically orders it!  I’ll tell you this, 1-800-Contacts knows exactly when I should be out of contacts.  And the DMV sure does keep up with when my vehicle registration is due.  And I don’t know if you’ve been to your local DMV lately, but those people couldn’t give a shit if you were on fire (I’m guessing their apathy is a result of their job environment.  I’m sure DMV employees are very nice people in general).  So if the DMV can keep up with something, Dairy Queen and other places (Cheddar’s, I’m mostly looking at you) need to get their act together too.  Future, I blame this issue on you.

Also, have you not designed something to deal with the common cold yet?  Or I’ll even ease back on this one, Future, and just leave it at not designing something to keep our noses from running.  Honestly, why are we still dealing with runny noses?  That’s kids stuff.  It’s not something adults should have to deal with!  All this from the same planet that practically eliminated Polio, and we can’t keep our noses from running.  Future, I think you’ve been too focused on dealing with big issues to handle the things that the planet really needs.  Yeah, the space program is great, and I know you have really been on about that since the ’50s, but I’d trade velcro and weightlessness (both things which I rarely use) for not having to blow my nose every 30 seconds any day of any week.

And where are we on robots and artificial intelligence?  We’ve been working on these things for years and we still don’t have anything close to a robot that can handle household chores or yard work?  You gave us the Roomba, which is okay, I guess, until it goes under your couch.  Then you never see it again.  You haven’t even given us an R2-D2, and that’s essentially just a big trash can on wheels.  The best we’ve gotten so far is a robot that can dance.  Dancing robots.  Great.  Fantastic.  You’re basing the entire research plan for artificial intelligence on imitating part of a Michael Jackson video (Billie Jean if you were wondering).  At this point, I’d be happy with a Chani from Devil Girl from Mars.

Now I know this was Hanna-Barbera’s promise, and not yours, Future, but where are we on a car that folds into a suitcase?  You’ve had how many years to figure this out, and the best you’ve brought us is the auto-folding side mirrors for parking?  That’s it?  We haven’t even moved forward with car door technology.  Scissor doors, pocket doors, rotary drop doors (look up rotary drop doors; they are super cool), Future, you just looked at all of those and decided that the best solution to door dings is a half-inch piece of rubber molding.  Way to phone it in.  It’s like you didn’t even try.

Granted, you have been working pretty hard lately on driver-less cars, and that’s better than nothing.  And I’ll give you a pass on not having a flying car, because, let’s face it, that is probably the best call for everyone involved.  People have a hard enough time driving in two dimensions, much less trying to handle three.  And I’ll also give you a free pass on not designing a workable jet pack.  I only know like maybe seven people on the planet who are smart/responsible enough to give a jet pack to.  So good call on sitting on the jet pack.  But with all the other stuff, I’d really like to see a little more effort on your part.

Cordially yours,


Sci-Fried Eggs Episode 68 #140820

sci-fried-eggs-logoThis week the Sci-Fried Eggs broadcast from the Food Court at Bathurst Manor.  The Eggs start by discussing the rise of boutique theaters.  Then Chuck reviews two movies, Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods and Wish I Was Here.  The Eggs talk about the Union Street Guest Hotel and their odd policy and Artist and Producer Michael Gross is leading a campaign to Flip Cancer.  And then the Eggs give you some back to school geek tips.

Sci-Fried Eggs Episode 68 – Click to Listen or Download

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 68, Segment 1
Boutique Theaters

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 68, Segment 2
Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods and Wish I Was Here Movie Reviews

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 68, Segment 3
The Union Street Guest Hotel Policy

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 68, Segment 4
Michael Gross and Flip Cancer

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 68, Segment 5
Back to School Geek Tips

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Silverware and Utensils I No Longer Need

I’m really good at a lot of things.  I’m not going to list all of them (partly because I’m modest and partly because that would be a whole other essay).  But I will mention one of them.  Eating.  I’m super good at eating.  I don’t look at a meal as just something to sustain my body.  And I don’t look at a meal as a social get-together.  I look at a meal as a battle in the war on food.  My job is to eliminate the enemy without discretion.  I attack my plate with the fervor of a barbarian and the piety of a crusader.  And in any battle, the weapon you choose is of the utmost importance.

I use a spoon.  It is my weapon of choice in the war on food.  Every food that I eat I can eat with a spoon.  And if I can’t eat it with a spoon, I just choose not to eat it.  And there are very few foods in general that you can’t eat with a spoon.  Some people say steak.  But if a steak is cooked right, I can cut it and eat it with a spoon just like any other food.  So since I always use a spoon for eating, it has come to my attention that:

1. Lots of restaurants don’t automatically give you a spoon and you have to ask for one, and

2. I don’t have a use for a lot of other silverware or utensils.

Number two is what I’m really focusing on here.  I have a lot of silverware and utensils that are just taking up precious drawer space that I could be filling with saltine crackers and peanut butter cookies.  So as I stand here in my kitchen going through a drawer of what I mostly assume is junk that is preventing me from conveniently storing crackers and cookies, here is a list of silverware and utensils that I’m pretty sure I don’t need any more.

• Forks – Let’s start with the obvious here.  If I’m eating everything with a spoon (and my steaks are cooked correctly), then this pronged waste of metal can hit the bricks.  I used to think I needed a fork, but after a while, I realized I don’t.  I have two hands and if I need to hold something to cut it, then a fork just makes needless holes in my food.

• Knives – Now some knives do have their place and purpose, like my Ronco Six Star 25-piece cutlery set that I bought late one night from Ron Popeil.  It’s  literally the best thing I’ve bought from a late night infomercial (and trust me, I’ve bought a lot of junk from late night television).  But butter knives and other knives that can’t cut through tin cans and still slice a tomato paper thin are worthless to me.  The back of a spoon does a great job to spread mayonnaise and honey and peanut butter and jelly.

• Slotted Spoons – All the awesomeness of  a spoon with all of the liquid holding capability of a fork.  What a friggin’ waste.  If you cut the end of this slotted spoon off, do you know what you have?  That’s right, just another fork.  Slotted spoons, meet my trash can.

• Spatula – This is just like a slotted spoon that someone flattened.  And almost just as useless to me.  Besides, I flip eggs and pancakes with the flick of my wrist like a real man.  Spatula, you’re outta here!

• Melon Baller – Why do I even have one of these?  Someone must have given this to me.  I haven’t bought a melon in…well, I can’t even remember it has been so long.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever even bought a melon.  I’ve had them gifted to me, but usually I either re-gift them (if I don’t like them.  Cantaloupe, I’m lookin’ at you) or slice them up (with my Ronco Six Star 25-piece cutlery set that I bought late one night from Ron Popeil).  This melon baller is garbage.

• Can Opener – Okay, I’m keeping this.  I’ll probably need this.  I haven’t figured out how to open cans with a spoon.  Yet.

• Corkscrew – Wine is for chicks and kids.  I have no need for a corkscrew.

• Whisk – I’m not sure why I have one of these.  Which means that I’m also not sure why I would ever need one.  Bad news for you, whisk.

• Biscuit Cutter – There are like 50 biscuit cutters in all shapes and sizes in the back of this drawer.  No joke!  Seriously, like 50.  I’m not sure why…oh, wait, I remember why there are so many biscuit cutters in here.  I used to collect these for when I made Jell-O.  Hmmm, I can probably hang on to these in case I go through another Jell-O shapes phase, but let’s put them in the back of a cabinet where I will forget I even have them.

• Potato peeler – Peeled potatoes are for chicks and kids.  See ya later, potato peeler.  Say hello to the corkscrew for me.

• Potato Masher – Mashed potatoes are for meatloaf and gravy, both of which I like.  Congratulations potato masher, you live to mash another day.

• Cheese Grater – The only thing this rectangular metal tube of slicy death is good for is scraping the skin off of your knuckles.  Besides, I spent three easy payments on a set of really nice knives, and, because I called in the “next 15 minutes,” I got a second set of knives for my boat or RV or to give away as a gift and I only had to pay the shipping and handling.  So I don’t need a cheese grater.  And now that I think about it, I got several other free gifts with those knives which may explain why I had a melon baller.

• Ladle – Hmmm, this is like the ultimate scooping spoon with a very inconvenient handle.  I bet if I bend this handle out of the way, this would make the best spoon ever.  I’ll hang on to you, ladle.  We have work to do later.

• What is this?  An egg slicer?  No, wait, maybe it’s a pastry blender.  Whatever, it’s not a spoon, so it’s going in the trash can.

• Pizza Cutter – You’re cool.  I like pizza.  You get to stay.

• Why do I have a concrete gauging trowel in here?  Oh, hold on.  This is probably a pie server.  But it looks just like a gauging trowel, so I’m going to put it out in the garage so it can get some real use.

• Baster – Baster, you’re not a spoon, but you are really fun to play with when I wash dishes.  You’re in.

• Garlic Press – Pressed garlic is for chicks and…well, you get the idea.  Junk it.

• Zester – My stupid ex-wife bought this because she watched Rachael Ray make something with a zester and we had to get a zester.  And do you know how many times this zester got used?  That’s right!  This zester is practically brand new.  It’s never been used.  It’s been gently cared for and practically undisturbed in this utensil drawer for almost a decade.  I’m going to sell this zester on Craigslist.

The only thing left in this drawer is a set of measuring spoons (Spoons with a specific purpose?!  Clearly keeping those!), three crazy straws, and a brass brad.  Not sure why there is brass brad in here, so that’s trash.  But I think I’ll keep the crazy straws.  I don’t have nearly enough fun when I drink.


♠ The title for this essay is courtesy of Brandon Echols.  If you have an essay title you’d like to suggest, email it to  You might see your essay title in one of my books, and I’ll be sure to thank you in the book for it!

From the Files of Spencer E. Spencer, Sci-Fi Private Eye: File #231

This office is a mess!  Ransacked!  They broke my coffee mug.  Those bastards.  Sure, my office had been tossed before, but most of the goons had a little bit of respect for a man’s coffee mug.  I opened the bottom drawer.  They even took the whiskey.  Yup, that settles it.  These are some Grade A, USDA choice bastards.  But my broken coffee mug and missing liquor notwithstanding, a tossed office means I’m getting close.  That’s right.  I’m on the heels of this case.  I got a little too close.  I made someone uneasy.  And they sent some goons to see what I really knew.  Honestly, I didn’t think I knew a damn thing.  The last couple weeks seemed like I had been chasing my tail.  It was one dead-end lead after another.  Just spinning my wheels and not going anywhere.  But apparently the truth of the matter was I had been going down the right road all the time.  That’s the problem with  relativity.  It’s relative to the object of motion you are on.  And that’s the issue I was having.  I was going somewhere, but from my own particular perspective, it didn’t look like I had moved at all.

I picked up my office chair and sat it back up right.  I sat down and started picking up papers from the floor and putting them on my desk.  Cleaning up and filing would be a job for Sandy, my secretary, when she got here in the morning.  And I can tell you she was going to be none-too-happy about that.  I turned to the window and lifted the blinds.  The third sun was setting.  We were almost to nightfall.  The city of Gliese took on a more reddish hue than normal when the last sun was setting.  And Gliese was the only namesake that reminded us of the history of this planet.  Originally called Gliese 667Cc when it was first discovered by scientists way back in 2011, it was affectionately called Mars II for a while, until the Galactical Aeronautics and Interstellar Tribunal of 2130 sent the first ship there and renamed the planet Xihe after the Chinese sun goddess.  The first settlers called the first city Gliese after its original designation.  And ever since that first group got here to find out how red and rocky and barren this place was, there’s been nothing but riff-raff here since.  They would send miners to dig the minerals out of this planet and send to other places.  People who wanted to get away from all the rules and regulations of the “more civilized” planets would find a home here.  It became like a second America, a melting pot of space.

There are three other planets that Earthians have settled, Tau Ceti, Gliese Prime, and Kapteyn.  Tau Ceti is a beautiful planet with rich green landscapes and crystal clear waters.  And Gliese Prime is a wonderland of forests and rolling plains and scenic expanses.  But if you aren’t lucky enough to live on one of those two planets, then you’re stuck with the icy graveyard of Kapteyn or the brownish-red ruins of Xihe.  I wasn’t lucky enough to live on Tau Ceti or Gliese Prime.  Both places are too rich and well-to-do for my blood.  Earth is just an overcrowded play pen of politics.  And I’m not really a fan of huddling next to a furnace to keep my ass from freezing off at night.  So Xihe it is, in all its red rocky glory.  But all that is idle rambling and reflection.  The issue now is that I’m closer to cracking this case than I realize and my disheveled office proves it.

The answers to this case are out on the street, not in this office.  I grabbed my fedora and my trench coat and headed out the door.  The cool night air was filled with light brown dust.  There air here almost always had dust in it, unless it was right after it rained.  But then after a few hours, the dust would be back.  As the wind blew, the dust stung the side of my face.  I turned up my trench coat collar and headed to the one place that I thought might have some answers.

The Venus Club was nestled between two large office buildings in the business district of the city on 39th Street, just off Niven Avenue.  The bright neon sign above the entrance to the club produced an eerie and hazy glow through the dust-filled air.  It was the only thing open in the business district this time of the evening.  All of the other office buildings had closed up hours ago as the suits headed home to their families.  But a lot of those same family men stopped by for a drink or cocktail.  Some looked to discuss bluer water cooler topics, while others looked for more exciting conversation with any variety of ladies who frequented the establishment.  Some of the ladies were employees, waitresses, dancers, exotic entertainers.  Some were just financially-minded broads who were gold-digging for their next ex-husband.

As I walked up to the door of the club, a monstrous man stepped out from the alcove of the club entrance.  Tidoe was one of the biggest bouncers I had ever had the pleasure of meeting.  He was a native Xihetite.  I was a normal 5’11”, but Tidoe towered over my by almost a foot.  And was at least three times my size.  A virtual giant, but still quick and nimble.  When he saw me, he chuckled and said, “What’s up, zero?”  He was one of the only people who called me that.  A zero was someone who was born in space.  My father was a miner and him and my mother came to Xihe to take part in the promised wealth of mining the planet.  I was born along the way, in a space ship, in zero gravity.  Hence the slang term zero.  Most of the time, calling someone a zero was frowned upon slur.  But I wasn’t going to argue with Tidoe over something like that.  If I wanted to get my ass kicked by that giant, it would be over something worth getting my ass kicked over.  I gave Tidoe my regular reply, “Nothing.”  Tidoe smiled and a guttural belly laugh escaped from his mouth, enjoying the pun in my reply.  I walked by Tidoe and into the club.

The inside of The Venus Club was nothing less than immaculate.  Businessmen spent money.  And that meant that the club spent money as well.  Everything was lavish and ornate.  There wasn’t a woman working in this club who was less than a hard nine.  And most of the broads who hung out here weren’t less than an eight.  There was an in-house band that played a variety of music.  The soft cords of an old jazz song filled the room.  Smoke hung heavy as big men smoked big cigars and demure women gently sip the smoke from thin cigarettes.  There was a main bar that ran across most of the back wall of the main ballroom.  And there were two smaller bars on the sides.  I walked up to the smaller bar on the left.  A girl stood at the end of it.  She was long and tall, her four-inch heels making her all that much taller.  She was dressed in a bright blue corset and a short blue skirt that gleamed in the low light of the club.  Her short spiky hair was a deep, alluring blue, almost black in certain light.  Her slightly tanned skin created a mysterious countenance.  She turned and looked me up and down as I approached.  “Well ‘ello there, Spencie.”  Her voice was sharp like a fillet knife.

“Hey there, Sindee.  How’s it going?”

“Pretty good.  I been keepin’ busy.  What’s about you?”

“Same ol’, same ol’.  Say, anything interesting been going on here lately?”

She rolled her eyes, “It’s The Venus Club.  Ain’t nuffin’ but borin’ ol’ suits that comes in ‘ere, darlin’.”

“Well, if you see anything outta the ordinary, let me know, okay?”

She pick up the drinks the bartender had sat in front of her and neatly arranged them on her tray.  Then she turned to me and put her hand on my shoulder.  “Sure will, suga.  You be careful out there, Spencie.”

I nodded my head.  She picked up the tray and waded through the tables and chairs to deliver drinks to paying customers.  I headed for the door and back out into the street.  I was getting hungry, so even though I knew there weren’t any leads there, I headed toward Howard’s Diner.  It was just a few blocks away.  And the best part was, I could probably talk the waitress out of another coffee mug.

The night air was cool, but heavy with dust.  Every car I passed had a fine reddish-brown layer on it.  Footsteps on the sidewalk and tire tracks on the roads were clearly marked.  A few cars passed here and there as I headed toward the diner.  A large brown sedan passed by once.  Then again slower.  Then a third time at almost a crawl.  The windows were tinted and the darkness of night made identification impossible.  The tags were city tags.  It was a local vehicle.

And now the fourth pass.  I heard the car screech around the corner.  Much faster this time.  I didn’t have to look to know it was the brown sedan.  I burst into a full run.  If I could just make the next alleyway, I would be okay.  I could hear the suspension of the car grunt as it mounted the curb.  The heard the engine growl as the car lurched closer.  I looked to my left to see the hood of the car passing by me and looked back forward to see the alleyway, only a few yards from me.  I wasn’t going to make it.  The solid steel passenger door swung open and connected with the back of my body sending me tumbling to the ground.  I was disoriented.  I was gasping for breath!  Where was my hat?!  A large creature picked me up like a rag doll and laid me in the trunk of the sedan.  I saw a scaly, four-fingered hand reach up and grab the trunk lid.  A slam.  And the world went dark.

Sci-Fried Eggs Episode 67 #140813

sci-fried-eggs-logoThis week the Sci-Fried Eggs broadcast from the Bathurst Manor Science Center!  The Eggs start by discussing the Ebola outbreak.  Then the Eggs give you some Dragon*Con tips and tricks.  The Eggs talk about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  Then the Eggs bring you a Teenage Mutant blast from the past with an interview with some of the original TMNT voices, Robbie Rist and Hal Rayle.  Then the Eggs discuss what kind of supers powers they would like to have and which ones they wouldn’t.

Sci-Fried Eggs Episode 67 – Click to Listen or Download

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 67, Segment 1
Ebola Outbreak

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 67, Segment 2
Dragon*Con Tips and Tricks

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 67, Segment 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 67, Segment 4
TMNT Blast from the Past: Robbie Rist and Hal Rayle Interview

Sci-Fried Eggs: Episode 67, Segment 5
Super Powers We’d Like to Have and Not Have


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Why You’re Going to Wish You Were My Date Next Year on Valentine’s Day

I’ve already decided that next year I’m going to totally rock out Valentine’s Day harder than anyone else.  I wrote it down in my New Year’s resolutions, and I fully plan to make good on that.  And seeing as how most of my other resolutions (I make a lot of resolutions) haven’t gone so well, this is a great time to settle the score with my overactive resolution-making self and put a point on the board.  And a score of 1 and 334 is better than zero and 335 (I said I make a lot of resolutions).

So how am I going to totally rock out Valentine’s Day harder than anyone else?  Well, I haven’t quite got that far in my planning yet.  But I’ve got a lot of ideas I’ve been jotting down on post-it notes, cocktail napkins, and on the back of Aldi receipts.  What are some of the awesome ideas I’ve got?  Well, I’m not going to ruin all the magic (or give all the guys out there my entire, completely badass, awesome, guaranteed-panty-dropping plan), but I will give all the lovely ladies out there a glimpse of the awesomeness that will be being my date for Valentine’s Day next year.

First off, I hope you have something classy in the red color family to wear, because I’ve got a sweet red suit!  I actually bought the suit like four years ago on clearance at K-Mart.  I can remember when I saw it, I thought to myself, “One day I’m going to need this sweet red suit.”  And next year on Valentine’s Day is going to be that day!  It is the classiest, most dope, red suit ever.  It’s this deep red color with black piping all around the edges.  It’s got matching red pants and a matching double-breasted red vest.  The guy working the register at K-Mart said he bought the blue version and assured me that this was the kind of suit that looked great on a hot college girl’s dorm room floor.  And for just $18 on clearance, that makes it literally the perfect suit for this epic occasion.

Now I’m sure there will be some flowers involved.  There will be a great dinner at a fancy restaurant like Cracker Barrel (seriously, who doesn’t like Cracker Barrel?  And if you don’t like Cracker Barrel then, honestly, you’re not really the right speed to be my date for Valentine’s Day).  And there might even be some romantic music if I can find my best of Hi Tek 3 cassette tape.

But one thing there will be a lot of, and you can count on this one, is chocolate!  I mean a lot of chocolate!  Don’t even think I’m bluffing either because when I say a lot of chocolate, I mean like Willy-Wonka-factory-chocolate-river a lot! I’ve been buying up chocolate at after Easter sales, after Halloween sales, and after Valentine’s Day sales for the past few years.  I had to buy a whole other refrigerator for 35 bucks off of Craigslists and run an extension cord onto my front porch to store all the chocolate I’ve been collecting.  I’ve been carrying a book bag so that when I’m anywhere there is free chocolate, (like at a doctor’s office or a kid’s birthday party) I can load that book bag up!  And that fridge on my front porch is almost full of chocolate!  It’s actually getting hard to close the door the thing is so damn full.   And ladies, the only two words you need to know are–CHOCOLATE JACUZZI!  It’s okay, I too just got a little teary-eyed/aroused/hungry just typing those two words together.

So I hope all of you, especially the ladies (you know who you are), are ready for 2.14 because it is going to be the end-all-be-all of Valentine’s Days!  Don’t you like how I wrote the date like that, 2.14, like big/action-packed/crappy movies do it.  I had to write it like that because you all need to understand just how big/action-packed/not-even-crappy I’m going to make the next Valentine’s Day.  So don’t forget–wait, why am I even saying that?  You’re not going to forget.  Not with all the advertising I’m buying on the CW.

A Chat with Courtney the Advance Auto Parts Chat Representative

I have been looking for a power steering pump for a ’68 Cadillac.  I know what you are saying, “Those are easy to find.”  And if you are saying that, I can tell you that you haven’t looked for one, because that is hardly the case.  The ’68 Cadillac Deville power steering pump can be ordered in two ways, with a reservoir and without a reservoir.  Now finding a pump without a reservoir is easy.  They are all over the place.  They are like the McDonald’s of power steering pumps.  However, finding one with a reservoir on it is quite a different quest.  It’s like finding a McDonald’s that serves steak and crab legs and gives you free back massages and after-dinner mints and doesn’t automatically add gratuity.

“So why don’t you just buy the power steering pump without the reservoir?”  Because I need the reservoir.  It’s what holds the power steering fluid.  And if I have a power steering pump with no power steering fluid, I might as well just leave the broken pump on there because it would be the same big stupid useless part creating the same big, heavy, virtually-unsteerable sail barge.

“Why don’t you just switch the reservoir to a new pump?”  Great question!  That, you see, is a complicated process that is far beyond my comfort zone of automotive repair and requires the expertise of someone who can rebuild the pump.  So that leaves me with trying to track down a power steering pump with a reservoir.

Advance Auto Parts had one listed on their website.  And I was going to order it.  But there was an issue with calculating the shipping.  After three attempts to get the shipping to work, I got a prompt for a chat box.  Now normally I don’t chat with websites because most places just give you the run-around.  But I’d had a long day and figured what the hell, this might be entertaining.  And I was correct.

The chat conversation went a little something like this:

Thank you for choosing Advance Auto Parts.  A representative will be with you shortly.  Thank you for holding.

Thank you for chatting with Advance Auto Parts and Batteries.  You are now chatting with Courtney.  How may I assist you today?

Courtney:  Hello! How may I help you today?

Doc:  Hey, Courtney.  I’m trying to select a shipping option.  I chose standard shipping, but when I click “apply changes” it doesn’t change anything or show any shipping.

Courtney:  I understand your concerns.  I’ll do my best to help you out today.

Doc:  It just brings up a box that says “select any of the shipping options.”

Courtney:  Would you mind holding for a few minutes while I look into this for you?

Doc:  Sure.

Courtney:  May I have your zip code to check availability, please?

Doc:  28056

Courtney:  Thanks.

Doc:  No problem.

Doc:  Are you able to see my order screen?

Courtney:  I check and no stores have it in stock, nor the warehouse don’t have it at this time.

Courtney:  Yes I see it.

Doc:  So no one has the part?

Courtney:  No not at this time.

Doc:  Well that, and excuse my language here, blows.

Doc:  So while I’ve got you here, why does it list the part on the website if no one has it?  Is it something that can be special ordered?

Courtney:  You will need to go to the store and they will special order it for you.

Doc:  Oh, so it can be special ordered!  Awesome!  Courtney, you are the best!

Courtney:  You’re welcome.

Doc:  Will it cost the same to special order it or will it be more?

Courtney:  Good bye and thank you for chatting with Advance Auto Parts.  Join us on FaceBook!

Courtney:  Would you be willing to please complete a short 5 question survey of the service that I have provided you with today?  If you click on the End Chat button it will prompt you to complete a survey in reference to the service you received.  I would appreciate your feedback.  We will use your responses to provide even better service in the future.  Thank you for chatting with Advance Auto Parts.  We look forward to serving you in the future.

Doc:  Whoa, hold on, I wasn’t finished!

Courtney:  That has to be done at the store only.

Doc:  Oh, so it may cost more to special order it?

Courtney:  I can’t answer it has to be done at the store only.

Doc:  Gotcha.  I mean, it’s not a big deal.  I can’t really drive the car without it.  Well, technically I can, but steering the thing is a real sonofabitch with no power steering.

Doc:  I’ll check with my local store.  Thanks for all the help, Courtney.  Now what’s all this nonsense about a survey?

Courtney:  I do understand.

Doc:  Thanks for being understanding.  I feel like we’ve really connected in the last few minutes.  I’d be happy to fill out the survey for you and give you a stellar review.

Courtney:  Thank you very much.

Doc:  I hope you have a great day or afternoon or maybe even night depending on your time zone.  I’m in Eastern Standard Time.

Courtney:  Thank you and same to you too.

Doc:  Have a good one, Courtney!

Courtney:  Thank you and same to you too.

After I hit the end chat button I was asked to evaluate the chat service.  I was even more excited when I got to this open-ended portion of the survey which asked:

Please provide us with any positive feedback and/or suggestions for how we can serve you better:

I wrote:

Courtney did a fantastic job!  She was an absolute thrill to chat with.  She was smart and clever and got my issue solved quickly and efficiently.  I would recommend Courtney handle all your chat related issues.  And if that’s too much for her to handle, you should at least give her a raise or some sort of promotion.  Or perhaps even just give her some sort of cool gift for being a great chat representative. 

Now granted we only chatted for a few minutes and Courtney wasn’t exactly open about her personal life because she was focused on doing her job, but from what I gathered in our random and oh-so-short chance encounter, I created, and these are just some off the top of my head suggestions, a list of good gifts for Courtney for being such a great chat representative.
- a massage (women love massages)
- a gift certificate to a Pic ‘N Pay or TJ Maxx
- hair tie (women always need hair ties)

I certainly hope Courtney is rewarded for her service to the company.  So many companies overlook their customer service employees, which I assume is why a lot of them are in a bad mood a lot of the time.  Courtney must be just a really nice person, or maybe she just hasn’t dealt with enough a-holes yet.

My Coworkers Don’t Know Me

I’ve been working at this job for well over nine months.  It’s been long enough that I could have had a kid here (and long enough to know that Trisha did have a kid and is now on maternity leave).  And none of my coworkers know me.  They see me every day and none of them know who I am.  I really thought that taking a job at a baltimization plant would be where I would excel as a person.  A job where I would have room to learn and grow.  But that’s not the case.  For some reason everyone thinks I’m this other guy named Dirk Hirder.

Now don’t get me wrong, this Dirk guy is clearly well-liked.  Everyone says hey to me all the time.  I get invited to all kinds of parties and get-togethers.  All the ladies wink and smile at me.  It kind of makes me wonder at times why Dirk doesn’t work here anymore.  It makes me wonder why Dirk left (I assume he left. I can’t imagine as well-liked as he seems to be that he got fired).  And then I guess I also have to wonder how everyone doesn’t know that I’m not Dirk.  But those are all questions that are probably better left unanswered because having people at work think you are someone else is the best thing ever!

Granted it was kind of uncomfortable for the first couple weeks.  People would call me Dirk and I would correct them.  And then they would laugh and say, “Dirk, you’re so funny!”  So I eventually decided to lean into it.  And I leaned hard.  Because Dirk always says if you’re gonna do something, do it big!  Dirk does all kinds of fun stuff I never do.  Dirk goes sail fishing.  Dirk has been cliff diving.  When I took a week off to go see my aunt and cousin in Cleveland and spent the whole week watching reruns of Mama’s Family and The Golden Girls, Dirk went big game hunting in the heart of Africa with Lance Bass.

One weekend I was out in the yard planting some new daffodils in one of my flower beds, and, when I stood up, I lost my balance and fell directly on a hand rake, which jabbed a pretty decent size hole in my side.  I went to the hospital and they patched me up.  Luckily, that was the same weekend of the famous running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.  So I bet you can guess what Dirk did that weekend.  That’s right, that lucky sonofabitch ran with the bulls and ended up getting gently tagged by one of them.  Dirk considers it a sacred scar of the experience of living life to the fullest.

And if you saw my cubicle, you’d immediately realize that I’ve spent quite a lot of money on trophies over the past eight and a half months.  That’s really Chase’s fault.  Chase is a real stickler (a-hole).  It all started one Monday when Dirk was chatting with Cindy, Monica, and Pam at the water cooler and telling them about how he had won this big bowling tournament over the weekend (Kingpin was on TBS).  So the ladies were all impressed and giggling when Chase walked up and said, “Oh, so you won a bowling tournament?  Where’s your trophy then, Hirder?”  Well, that afternoon, I went to Eduardo’s Tienda de Trofeos near the flea market and got the biggest bowling trophy that he had!  And since I buy a lot of guacamole and chapulines from his sister’s bodega, Eduardo engraved the trophy for free!  And the look on Chase’s face when I brought in that 36 inch trophy to proudly display in my cubicle was priceless.  In fact, I sat the trophy on the top of my cubicle cabinet, so the little bowler guy on top of the trophy almost touches the ceiling.  It’s like a little miniature Chrysler building towering over all the other cubicles in of our office.  Since then, Dirk has won 38 other trophies for various events ranging from unicycle hockey to bog snorkeling.  So take that, Chase!  Cross Dirk Hirder and you get burned!

Then there is all the female attention Dirk gets.  I don’t sleep around, but Dirk has slept with casually dated eleven different women at work in the last six months.  Yup, you did the math right.  That’s a different girl almost every two weeks!  Yessirre!  Dirk is quite the ladies’ man.  And the best part is there hasn’t been any drama.  All the girls sleep with Dirk for a couple weeks and then go through this phase where they break up with him because they feel they aren’t good enough for a great guy like Dirk.  And then I, uh, I mean, Dirk gets to be all heart-broken so the next lucky lady can swoop in and console him.  And I’ve found that a woman consoling a heart-broken Dirk Hirder is a one-way ticket to make-out town!

So to sum up the last nine months of my life at my job, my coworkers have no idea whatsoever who I am.  And oddly enough, I’m totally okay with that.  Or, more to the point, Dirk Hirder is totally okay with that.


♠ The title for this essay is courtesy of Brandon Echols.  If you have an essay title you’d like to suggest, email it to  You might see your essay title in one of my books, and I’ll be sure to thank you in the book for it!


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