Humor

Come on, Microsoft!

I’ve been taking notes in the archives, and to save time, I decided that I wouldn’t worry about my spelling mistakes as I went along, and that I’d go back at the end and correct everything.  Then, a couple of weeks in, Word interrupted me with this message.  (I knew my spelling was bad, but damn.)
X Too Many Errors for Word

And I want to know, who the hell at Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to put the “rename” and “delete” buttons right next to each other?! (Oh, let me just update this right quick – OH MY GOD! THERE GOES 5 YEARS OF WORK!)  
X Rename & Delete

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Bundles of Joy?

Kids are just precious, ain’t they? 

X Baby & Paint

You’r going to have to click on this one, and then you can zoom in.  It’s worth it.

X KIDS!

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Need a Laugh?

X What Your Beer Says About You

Why You Can't Lose Weight

X SHE let the dogs out

X Slow down!

Most of the time, I’m a pretty open-minded person.  But every now and then you come across a human being so ignorant, that I want to hand them these simple instructions:

X What do do with your opinion

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Grad Life: A Story Etched in Stone

During my research year in Germany, I came across a number of epic statues around the city, and they spoke to me.  Below is the story of graduate school as depicted by the sculptors of old Europe.

In the Beginning

IN THE BEGINNING: 

This depicts your undergraduate advisor, guiding the young, naive, and still idealistic version of yourself to the hallowed grad school applications.

The First Semester

THE FIRST SEMESTER:

You enter the arena that first, exciting fall semester, and are armed with the basic history-grad student essentials: historiography, the latest edition of the Chicago/Turabian manual, cheap alcohol, and a diminishing sense of self-worth.  If you’re lucky, a more advanced warrior (otherwise known as “ABD student”) will take you under his or her wing and help shield you from some of the pressure of the academic battlefield: conference deadlines, seminar presentations, nagging undergrad students, and absentee advisors. 

In the Valley

IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH:

Woe unto you: You enter your readings/qualifying exams year with determination, only to emerge as a shell of your former self 9-12 months later, barely clinging to an ABD status and letting all other accomplishments and pride fall to the ground.  Exhausted and with your soul crushed, you begin to wonder why flipping burgers or sleeping under a bridge is such a bad thing. Luckily, the angel known as Jack Daniels is there to lift your spirits and give you the motivation (delusion?) to carry on.

DSCN1858

JUDGEMENT DAY:

Supported by research grants, significant others, friends, family, and more whiskey, and armed with the spear of bitter determination, you finally slay the dissertation beast that has ruled every waking moment of your life for the past decade.  Having been safely sheltered inside the confines of the Ivory Tower during the entire duration of your epic quest, your doctoral committee signs off on your dissertation and you pass your defense.  At long last, you receive validation of your life’s purpose! 

 

DSCN1860

GLORY ON HIGH:

You can finally sheathe your sword, for you are done.  Now that you are [far too] old and wise – symbolized by an awesome, manly beard – Academia places the honor of three little letters behind your name. (The actual ceremony involving hoods, cloaks and funny hats sounds just as fantastical as this statue is epic).  Now you are free to face the world as a revered Doctor of Philosophy, free to lead some other innocent soul to grad school applications. 

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Die Wäsche Waschen!

The front door to my apartment building in Neukölln, Berlin.

The front door to my apartment building in Neukölln, Berlin. My favorite part is the second “5” peeling off the address label. But, through this door and up 87 stairs, is a quaint little apartment that I call home!

I’ve been in Berlin for a week now, and I’m finally settling in.  I know my way around my neighborhood, so I feel comfortable with standing at a street corner and thinking, I should be able to cut down this street and end up on Sonnenalle.  And then, I follow my gut and end up exactly where I thought I would!

(By the way, you can click on any picture to zoom in and get a better look.)

A glance down my street.

A glance down my street.

A burger joint that would make American chains jealous, the BerlinBurger International (BBI) name is a play on Berlin's over budget and delayed project to build a new airport, Berlin-Brandenburg International (BBI)

A burger joint that would make American chains jealous, the BerlinBurger International (BBI) name is a play on Berlin’s over budget and delayed project to build a new airport, Berlin-Brandenburg International (BBI)

On the other side of this bar, there was another sign that said "Had a good day?  Have a drink!"   Either way, you're having a drink!

On the other side of this bar, there was another sign that said “Good day? Have a drink!” Either way, you’re having a drink!

Moreover, I was at the Hauptbahnhof (Central Train Station) yesterday and decided to walk to my archive.  It was a 20 minute walk, a little longer than I anticipated, but I didn’t end up lost in Poland or anything, so I take that as a victory.

Berlin's billion euro, glass Hauptbahnhof.

Berlin’s billion euro, glass Hauptbahnhof.

When you walk inside, there are trains coming and going above, beside, and below you. And of course, you can get a taste of America's finest cuisine: McDonald's, Burger King, & Starbucks.

When you walk inside, there are trains coming and going above, beside, and below you. And of course, you can get a taste of America’s finest cuisine: McDonald’s, Burger King, & Starbucks.

VERBOTEN: Damnit, you can't grill out on the front lawn of the Reichstag (the seat of Germany's parliament).  The Germans take the fun out of everything.

VERBOTEN: Damnit, you can’t grill out on the front lawn of the Reichstag (the seat of Germany’s parliament). The Germans take the fun out of everything.

But, this is the State Institute for Music Research, and I think this high-stepping, dancing Federal Eagle makes up for the ban on grilling in front of the Reichstag.

But, this is the State Institute for Music Research, and I think this high-stepping, dancing Federal Eagle makes up for the ban on grilling in front of the Reichstag.

But, that’s not to say that I haven’t had my moments of utter confusion here in the Bundesrepublik.  And one might think that an episode at border control, or instances of digging though archival material, or even trying to maneuver Germany’s trash/recycling system, might provide some moments of confusion.  But, NEIN!  I’ve got those down pat by now.  The two things that have completely stumped me are far more sinister and complicated than that.

Come, let me spin you a tale…

I’d just spent 4 hours, pouring through German newspapers, journals, and leaflets in the archive, and by the time I got home, I was tired and just wanted to plop on the couch and catch up on The Voice.  So, instead of cooking anything, I pulled out the trusty frozen pizza from the freezer, set the oven to preheat, and then went to get my computer set up so I could just veg out for the rest of the night. About ten minutes later, I headed back to the kitchen to plop the pizza in the oven only to realize that the oven’s not hot.   At all.  At first I thought that the whole thing was broken, but I refused to give up so easily.

Now, let me back up a second.  This stove/oven is German, which means that it’s overly-complicated and you must be able to control it to the EXACT specifications of your choice (Ordnung muss sein!).  To even get to the knobs that control the heat, you push these little buttons, and the knobs for the stovetop or oven pop out. I found the one for the oven, and turned the temperature to 200 Celsius.  But, like I said, nothing happened.

But, upon further inspection, I realized that there was a sixth little button, so I pressed it and another knob popped out.  And then, tears welled up in my eyes as anger and frustration took over, because I didn’t want to answer these riddles – I just wanted cheap, unhealthy, frozen Hawaiian Pizza!

Oven from Hell slash Germany

The encrypted oven from hell/Germany

There were 9 different options for this new knob (10 if you’re counting the off position), and being that the manufacturers of this wunderbar machine decided to go back to hieroglyphics instead of the written language, I had no idea what these settings did.  There were options for a mountain range, two mountain ranges, what I could only guess was melting snow, then there were some Tetris lines, something to do with nuclear fusion, and bio-hazard symbols next to mountain ranges.

So, as much as I hate to admit it, I had to come back to my bedroom and Google “How to use a German oven.”  Again, Germans just need to control exactly how their food is cooked, I guess. Because, as it turns out, these are controls for regular heat (but it can come from the top, the bottom, or both), convection oven (by itself, or with regular heat from top, bottom, or both), and broilers (you got it – from top, bottom, or both). So, once you get that all set and call Cape Canaveral for clearance, you can choose your temperature and then it’s go for throttle up.

Luckily, the pizza was worth it.  Plus, the folks I like on the Voice nailed it, so I was done being bothered by over-complicated German contraptions.   Until the next morning.

Because the next morning I decided to do the laundry (die Wäsche waschen).

I thought that I was so smart because I had planned ahead:  most Germans don’t use a dryer, so I knew that I couldn’t wait until I was completely out of clothes because it’d take a day or two for my clothes to dry since the sun has decided to go on it’s winter hiatus.  Feeling smug in my intelligence, I shoved my clothes in the washer, and then finally paid attention to the control panel. Familiar pangs of frustration rose from deep within…

Ordnung muss sein!

Ordnung muss sein! (There must be order!)

Damnit if there weren’t an infinite number of setting combinations for your washing.  I’m used to “Colors, whites, or delicates” and “start.”  There was no way that I was going to Google “How to use a German washing machine” (though, I was kind of hoping that the NSA would be snooping on me and send someone to help out!).  So, I just opened the drawer to pour in the detergent.  And, you guessed it: over-complicated.

DSCN1104

So, I just did a quick game of eeny-meeny-miney-mo, poured the detergent in, pushed a couple of setting buttons (I chose “Energy Saver” in the hopes that the German gods would grant some of their green, eco-friendly love and favor down on me), and just hoped for the best!  The machine ran for a little over two hours, so I was sure that my clothes were being ripped to shreds or merging into one, greyish color.  But, as it turns out, they’re alright!  They’ve been hanging on their drying rack near the window for two days now and are almost 40% dry! At this point, I’ll get to wear them again next week.

I consider myself a rather intelligent person (if, at any point, I feel my intelligence threatened, my go-to defense is: Oh, yeah?! I’m working on my PhD!), but these machines damn near had one up on me.  Advanced degree or not, waschen the Wäsche can be a humbling experience!

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Grad Life

If you’re a grad student and you haven’t checked out the folks over at Ph.D. Comics, you definitely should.  They have some great comics that pretty much capture the life of a grad student.

Here are some of my favorite ones that I’ve come across lately:

Work Output

Your Graduation

Ask a Question during a Seminar?And lastly, while Ph.D. supposedly stands for Doctor of Philosophy, here are some alternate meanings:

PhD ?

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For a Laugh

Lick the Dentist

 

Not Funny

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This is All I’ve Got

 

Finally, the mystery is solved!

lint = dead socks

This is why I just stay at home most days…

Resist Punching People

When you give a play-by-play update of your life on Facebook…

Searching for a fuck to give

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‘Murica

waterboarding = baptism in freedom

 

 

 

Knock Knock Freedom

 

 

 

Kids in North America

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Grad School Stress

Stressed = dessert

Coincidence? I think not.

College Owl

How freakin true is that?

Text Symbol

Made me think of my earlier post: OMG, like LOL!!!!!! :))):):)!

Picnic Bike

Having this awesome picnic bike could cure some of my stress!

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