On the World Cup

June 16, 2010

I’ve been spending my days lately waiting to get married.

On Monday, I hung around the house and waited to get married.

On Tuesday, I hung around the house, did some laundry, and waited to get married.

And today, I brushed my teeth, and I’m still waiting to get married.

I never knew waiting to get married could take up so much of a man’s time.

I keep myself occupied one way or another. The crossword puzzle. Sudoku. And now, yes, the World Cup.

I  thought that having the World Cup scheduled right before my wedding was a wonderful idea. Gives me a great way to pass by the days.

However, I reckoned without the vuvuzela.

Give one guy a vuvuzela, it’s some kind of Kodak moment.

Give 5,000 crazy South Africans vuvuzelas, you’ve got an angry beehive.

They emit a sound so loud that it’s been linked to hearing loss. Ear plugs are the hottest commodity in South Africa these days.

Players are angry because they can’t concentrate on the field, and can’t get any rest at the hotel because of the “instruments.”

It makes watching at home a trifle annoying, and watching at a sports bar nearly intolerable. They’ve had to keep the matches muted in order to keep their patrons from clutching their ears in pain.

South Africans are equally angry about the rest of the world not respecting their culture.

“We’re the hosts and we’ll do whatever we want,” seems to be their attitude. It’s like being stuck in the back seat of the car with your annoying kid brother on a road trip.

If they keep it up, I’ll be ready for this trip to be over. Hope they don’t bring it along next vacation.

Facebook group against vuvuzelas. (250,000 people and counting)

Sportswriter’s column about the vuvuzela.


An E-mail to BP

June 7, 2010

We’ve been hearing a lot about the oil spill.

It’s always on the news, in the newspaper.

While a few people are rushing forward to help with the cleanup, even more are rushing forward to help with ideas for the cleanup.

More than 10,000 inventors (ahem: crackpots) have sent suggestions to BP on how to clean up the oil spill.

I’m not the brainiest guy around, but I know how to come up with a good scheme or two. So I sent this e-mail to BP:

“Dear BP,

First off, sorry to hear about the oil spill situation you’ve got going on. I’m not all that angry about it. Accidents happen. You’ll clean it up. Everybody might be carrying on now, but it’ll be all right in the long run.

So, I’m not writing about oil spill solutions. I think we all know how to clean up an oil spill, and you don’t need my help for that. However, you and the rest of the energy industries might be looking for a way to clean up your public image, which is usually more difficult to clean up than an oil spill.

Oil spills are easy. All you need is grit, spit, and a whole lotta Brawny paper towels (Have you seen how absorbent they are? Amazing!)

Public image, not so much. Which is why I’ve come up with an easy 3-part plan:

Step No. 1: Sell all of your oil wells, oil rigs, and oil refineries. And pretty much anything to do with oil and gasoline.

Reason: this will earn you bunches of $$ (nice!).

Step No. 2: With the kaboodles of money you’ve just made, slap solar panels on top of all of your gas stations. In fact, while you’re at it, buy or rent a few solar power plants or wind farms. Las Vegas can do without electricity for a while.

Reason: people love the idea of solar cars, but not cars with solar panels on them. And they’re not going to pay thousands of dollars to have solar panels set up at their home in order to keep it charged. So why not a solar station?

Corollary: and say your stations aren’t getting enough solar energy, that there are too many cloudy days. Well, just ship contained electricity in tanker trucks, much like you do gasoline today.

Step No. 3: Partner with an automaker who is constructing an electric car. An electric car that can now be refueled at BP Solar Stations!

Hedge your bets: by getting the government to sign on to provide subsidies for anybody who buys an electric car (I call this “Cash for Clunkers, Part II”). And you can still sell gas at your stations, too, if you like.

Conclusion: by providing a cheap, clean, safe alternative to oil and gasoline, BP becomes the leader in the global energy industry. And the people will love you for it.

Risks: you’ll be selling off most of your reason for existing, and going with something that is mostly unimagined and untested. A lot of money would be on the line, but the potential profits (and patents) would be astronomical.

Our world today needs revolutionary innovation, and somebody has to lead the way. Care to give it a go?

Respectfully yours,

Joshua H. Nederveld

p.s. if this sounds appealing, I would be modest enough to accept oh, say, 2% of the profits.”

No response yet, but I’m hopeful. These things take time.

In the meantime, I’m sending a lot of paper towels to the Gulf. This is going to take more stamps than I thought.

The World’s Most Entertaining Traffic Cop

June 4, 2010

So I got to spend some time yesterday in the comedy of errors you might be reading about in the morning paper today.

I was headed over to Winter Haven on Thursday, via Bartow Road to Winter Lake Road (important detail: pay attention). And as I headed over there, a humungous thunderstorm headed over here.

By the time I was near the Parkway, the storm had done it’s damage. 15 power lines just south of Winter Lake Road had been snapped in half and were laying across the southbound lanes.

We didn’t know any of that, of course. All we could see is the dead traffic light. And the world’s most entertaining traffic cop.

I had to sneak past the Parkway off-ramp, which was filled with all kinds of impatient hooligans, but eventually I was able to use the shoulder to weasal my way up to the left-turn lane, where I had a front-row seat to the show.

A traffic cop was placed in the intersection. She meant to direct traffic away from the southbound lanes.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t a good traffic cop. She knew all the motions and everything. But for the people in my lanes, they took an additional level of… persuasion. Here’s how it played out.

She would motion them to the left.

They would start going straight.

She would glare, then motion them left.

They would inch forward a little bit more.

At this point, she usually started hopping up and down with frustration.

They would inch forward just a bit, like a kid trying to see how much they can get away with.

For the hard cases, she would run alongside them yelling at the top of her lungs, begging, pleading for them to turn left.

So they turned left.

Mild applause would follow from the audience, and then the process repeated itself.

Just when everybody was catching on, the light suddenly came back on, and a whole new level of confusion was added to it.

The cop couldn’t see it because she was perched right beneath the light, but everyone else could.

So she couldn’t figure out why people weren’t following her instructions, and everybody else couldn’t figure out why there was a traffic cop directing traffic at a perfectly functional traffic light.

Anyway, it made for an entertaining 20 minutes. Next time I’m bringing popcorn.

Craigslist for Pleasure & Profit

March 15, 2010

(This post also appears at http://www.ylakeland.com)

As we’ve recently been shoved into springtime by a malignant institution called Daylight Savings Time, I’m finding it difficult to resist the sweet urges of spring.

Like spring cleaning, and stuff. I’ve run out of room underneath my bed. There are all kinds of archeological layers under there, and it’s time to get rid of them.

When it comes to saying farewell to items you may regret to see again (like the 47 Beanie Babies that have been collecting dust and secretly plotting your demise), I usually throw everything in a bin and chuck it out.

I don’t have the business savvy to run a yard sale, you see.

I can run the lemonade stand, but the last time I tried to manage the place, my Gameboy and about 7 games were stolen from under my nose by a kindly old grandmother and her simpering teenage accomplices (True. I would’ve beat Nana with her own cane if I had caught her).

However, if you have items of price to flog in the open market, there are a few respectable ways of doing it:

– EBay makes for the most high-profile place to rid yourself of unwanted items, but I hate having to tack on for shipping. Perhaps the UPS store people don’t trust me because I keep trying to steal their socks when they’re not looking.

– Craigslist may be a standby for a lot of people, but I’m coming to like it. I’ve used it recently to offload a few things and scope around for a few more.

Sold an old bike to a guy for $35, got rid of some Xbox games for $20, and searched the entire state of Florida for UPS socks (no luck. yet.).

The nice thing about Craigslist is that the listings are free (for most things), and you can advertise more than just items.

I also put up a post extolling my incredible HTML, CSS, and general Web Design skills to all interested parties who might wish to hire me. So far it’s just brought in a couple of spam advertisements, but I’m hopeful.

I think that one of the best things that college students can do to prevent the perpetual problem of having very little money is to always think in multiple directions.

Every little bit counts, so if you can think of more than just one way to make money, it’ll add up. All you need is a bit of industriousness, and a dash of luck.

The Elusive Newspaper Key

January 15, 2010

Here at the office (this one, remember?), we’re supposed to get a copy of the paper every day.

In a more lucrative world, we would have a valet or some kind of manservant who would deliver it to our door. Since we’re too poor for that or something, that duty falls to the intern.

I’d gladly get the paper every day though. I love reading it, and it often gives me ideas on what to blog about.

However, because we don’t have a manservant, our newspaper is held for us down in a lockbox in the parking garage. This lockbox has a key. And this key is diabolical.

The elusive newspaper key is harder to track than a greased mongoose through the Cambodian jungle, or more difficult to find than my fiancee in a women’s clothing store (That’s why I just wait outside most often).

First it was in Laura’s office. Then it stowed away on her trip to Denver, or something. Then she got back. The key, unable to escape on the trip, immediately hid itself somewhere else in the office.

It finally fell into my clutches for the first time this morning, and I skipped downstairs to go pick up our newspaper.

As soon as I pried open the lockbox, I was buried under a flood of newspapers.

Apparently those creative folks over at the Ledger don’t bother removing a paper if it’s left in the lockbox for oh, say, three months or so. They just keep on cramming more and more of them in. When I opened it up, it was like a piñata exploded.

I gathered up the newspapers from where they had landed, some even in the far corners of the garage, and staggered upstairs.

So now I have roughly a dozen or so newspapers on my hands, (which translates to about 600 hats or 1200 paper airplanes) and I have no idea what I’m going to do with them. Any suggestions?

What’s new at YLakeland

January 13, 2010

Things are going on rather briskly over at the new blog, www.ylakeland.com. I’m getting out about two posts per day, which is a lot for me, but I’ve stuffing the corners with upcoming events and reviews.

I enjoy managing a real blog and having an office. But now I’m going to have to find something new to do for my leisure time, because I get to have fun every day thinking up great ideas to write about for the blog.

Some things to look for (or comment on) if you head over there:

-Adorable Lego Guys.

-Sleek choo-choo trains.

-Bowling metaphors for Life.

-Juicy Juicy Steak.

-How to get away from bad radio commercials.

Enjoy reading, and thanks for any feedback you give me!

Under New Management

January 3, 2010

As some of you may have noticed, the dust has been gathering rather thick in the corners of the blog lately.

I took a break for the Holiday Season, of course, to be with my family (and the fiancee’s).  I’ve also been brainstorming up ideas for a new blog, called Y Lakeland, a blog for college students living in Lakeland.

I’ll be writing about 2-3 posts daily for this internship with the Lakeland Economic Development Council. Because of that, it’ll probably end up cutting my production on this site down a bit. I hope to still get a post out per week.

However, I’ve got a lot of great stuff planned for the New Year and for the new blog. I hope all of you that have enjoyed reading this one will also enjoy that one.

The address, once again, is http://www.ylakeland.com.