Monday, December 20, 2010

Important Safety Tip

Today, I'm going to do something must unusual and talk about a good warning sign. This particular sign came with a pressure relief device. Now, when you first hear that phrase, you might think of some piece of complicated machinery that controls excess pressure through means so arcane that it requires one of those artificial intelligences that are always going rogue in movies. Well, you'd be right about the device showing up in movies, at least.

Remember the climactic scene in all those movies where someone has pushed the Big Red Button that says "Doom everyone after a dramatically appropriate waiting period" next to it? When all the dials start going into the red zone, things start bursting and spewing steam, and there's an epic fight scene going on. You know the one. A "Pressure Relief Device" is actually just a piece of metal that is designed to rupture when a certain amount of pressure is applied. That's right, they are the things that burst and let the steam out to add intensity to that final battle scene in movies, or to keep bad chain reactions from happening and turning your multi-million dollar facility into a crater, in real life.

Now, I don't know how likely someone is to notice this warning sign in it's intended usage scenario, since lots of Bad Stuff™ is happening, and there are likely to be distractions. But at least the sign will be there trying to warn people that they shouldn't stand in front of the piece of metal that is about to turn into a cloud of metal fragments flying at the speed of ouch. That's a nice safety tip.

This sign can even be useful when applied to other dangerous objects, and I think that's the true indicator that you have a winner of a warning sign. Anything from bombs, to ill-behaved children in restaurants, to your weird new coworker, Grog, could benefit from having this sign pasted to them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Warning for Industrial Workers Everywhere

"Everybody loves to get information in cartoon form, right?" That seems to be the line of thinking that led to this being included in the instructions/warnings sheet for an industrial electric motor.

What sort of people are they expecting to work around their motors, exactly? After looking over a warning sheet made up entirely of cartoons like this one, except less amusing, it seems they expect them to be the strong but not too bright type.

"Motor no work right. Grog hulk out and smash motor with hammer until it work right! HRRRRRRR!" appears to be how they expect things to go without their intervention. Only a cute little motor with a face, enormous hands, and bony elbows will stop the metal-bending rampage. "Poor leetle motor. Grog pat it on head and hope it feel better tomorrow." That's a much better result. Thanks, warning page guys!

So, this is my warning to industrial workers everywhere: Manufacturers think you are like unto a cross between a cave man and the Incredible Hulk. Figure out a way to take advantage of that. Walk off with their stuff and refuse to give it up. They'll probably just let you keep it. Either because they figure you don't know any better, or because they don't want their desks smashed.

A secondary warning: If Grog starts making friends with your industrial electric motors, take away his comics.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Beware the One Winged Chicken Man

Products are covered in warning labels. They're important. They tell us not to do foolish things, or at least not to blame the manufacturer when we do foolish things and they don't turn out well.

Companies don't want to spend a lot on these warnings, and who can blame them? It shouldn't be necessary to warn you not to aim devices designed to burn things at yourself. Detailed written warnings are clearly out. If you need them, you probably can't read anyway. Thus companies turn to pictograms, and their fabled equivalent word count, to convey information.

The "Don't lift me, I'm heavy and will break your spine" warning pictogram is perhaps one of the oldest known to exist. It's use dates back to the Pharaohs, who had it inscribed on the enormous stones they liked to make piles of. This was to ensure that no foolish peasant would injure himself attempting to impress the womenfolk with his heroic strength. This pictogram has survived into the modern day and serves much the same purpose, though it is being applied to increasingly less weighty objects.

With the traditional pictogram being so overused that one wouldn't be surprised to find it on the wrapper of a KitKat, there are some who seek to design a new one that will make people take heed. The picture you see above is an example of what can go wrong when a misguided company and a brilliant artist come together to flaunt tradition.

The picture seems to indicate that merely touching the object will have results that, while clearly detrimental, leave their exact nature up to interpretation. Will I turn into a one-armed one-winged chicken man? Will my pants explode? These are not the questions you want to conjure in the mind of your customers. You may discourage your customers from even coming near the product.

If any warning label designers are reading this, please learn from this mistake. Stick with the traditional. It doesn't mean much, but at least nobody can sue you and they won't be afraid of your product. If you really want to be useful, though, maybe just put the weight of the object on the label. Believe it or not, some people can safely lift things that weigh over 35 pounds all by themselves.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Food for the Soul, By the Soul... Made of Souls?

Pardon the lateness of this missive, dear readers, but I have been sequestered in a bunker for the past few days, for fear of finding my soul furnished to those who would  think it fine dining.

You might think this an odd fear, and I would have thought so as well until I spotted the disturbing bit of advertising you see to the left whilst innocently perusing the oracle of weather, which some refer to as

Bangkok may seem far away, but if the souls of entire cities are being captured in bowls of apocalyptic proportions, I reasoned that my own soul might be in no insignificant danger.

However, since I peered out today and found the landscape not to be blood red, I presume the danger has been averted by some enterprising and most likely under payed hero. If you spot this hero, please tip them. They bear more similarity to waiters than you might think.

Or perhaps it was just a hoax perpetrated by a company that thought capturing souls for consumption and apocalyptic skylines made for good advertising. More on the peculiar ways in which companies choose to communicate with us coming up in the next few days. Maybe. Unless I fail to write something again. I should really build up a buffer so this can be more regularly scheduled.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Review of Surveys

Facebook surveys. Sometimes I look at them. Sometimes I take them, if they can be filled out in a fashion that I find amusing. Often there isn't a great deal of variety in the questions, particularly in genre of surveys that claim to be asking "weird" questions. Often the pictures are more amusing than the survey itself, as well as being quite misleading. The picture on the left, belonging to the survey titled "Have You Ever Survey No. 8", is a perfect example of this.

The URL for the survey is, if you are both interested in it's contents and have a Facebook account. But you'll be disappointed. They could have done so much with the "Have You Ever" theme and that picture. Just a few examples:
  • "Have you ever worn a giant butterfly instead of a hairband?"
  • "Have you ever kissed someone so hard that a rift in the space-time continuum formed and it rained cartoon stellar matter?"
  • "Have you ever high-fived during a kiss, only noticing afterward that your invisibility serum had partially worn off and there was nothing to high-five about?"
  • "Have you ever drunkenly kissed a princess, then later found yourself pursued by an odd shapeshifting Italian plumber?"

But no. They just want to know if you're a gun-toting schizophrenic narcissist transvestite lambaster of the elderly who sings karaoke at parties. Actually, if that describes any of my readers, I would appreciate being informed as well. Post-haste. Karaoke isn't a good idea.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Benign Passerby, or Sinister Vanguard?

I was strolling along happily one day when I chanced to meet this little fellow in my path. I thought little of it at first, merely a fellow excursionist at the zoo. Probably there for research purposes, much like my self. I found his expression somewhat peculiar, but concluded he was fearful of being trampled, so I made my apologies and moved on.

But a few steps later, I encountered another leafy traveler. This one appeared to be attempting to devour a fallen seed. Caught in the act, it froze in a position that reminded me greatly of a fellow by the name of Pacman. Amused by the similarity, I almost paused to photograph the event.

Fortunately for you, dear readers, the full weight of the situation was realized in my mind before I made that foolish mistake. If one of these fallen leaves would consume a fellow denizen of the trees in such a way, what would it do to me? It was with that thought in mind that I noticed the number of leaves in the area was much more than it had first appeared.

There I was, surrounded by a veritable gang of greenery, and I had been foolish enough to travel without so much as a match for protection. Had I dwelt upon my dismay, I have no idea what would have become of me. Fortunately I beat a hasty retreat, and survived to warn you all. Beware of leaves in fall. They are far more sinister than they at first appear.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So You Want to go to the Zoo

That's great, but there are some things you should know first. I'm here to enlighten you in regards to the rules of the zoo with my vast knowledge (I went to a zoo on Saturday, and I read their rules). Before you shrug and walk away, allow me to remind you that if you break a zoo rule, the zookeepers have the right, nay, the duty under the law, to crush you with a rhino. It's true. Look it up if you don't believe me. But that would take a lot longer than reading this, wouldn't it?

Rule #1: "Outside food and drinks are NOT ALLOWED"
Because it makes their weird mutant water bottles uncomfortable to be around norms. Plus, you might be a jerk and wrap your food in something other than standard issue Saran™ wrap. Or even gasp re-usable containers of some kind. You could choke a duck with those.

Rule #2: "Please bring all necessary medications required for anyone in your party. Zoo personnel are not allowed to administer medication."
That's right. Monkey drugs are not the same as people drugs, and zoo personnel aren't allowed to administer them to you. This is a good thing when you think about it. Otherwise they might have a little too much fun with tranquilizer darts.

Rule #3: "The zoo is the animals’ home. Please treat the zoo and the animals with respect."
Sadly, this does not mean you get to cool-guy fist bump any of the animals. I know. I was disappointed too.

Rule #4: "Glass fronts are for your protection as well as the animals’. Please look through only."
So no crashing through the glass. I'm looking at you, Koolaid Man.

Rule #5: "Observe all posted signs."
Bonus points if you pull off a Steve Irwin accent while observing the signs in their natural habitat.

Rule #6: "Slow down! Walk only on the provided public walkways and paths."
That's right, the zoo saw you running there while reading it's rules. Slow down. Stop walking on walls. And no blazing your own trails. I don't care if you got a shiny new machete for Columbus Day.

Rule #7: "Flowers and trees make our zoo beautiful. Please respect nature and our staffs’ efforts."
That means no laughing at any plants. That includes the leaf that looks like Pacman. Ahem. *innocent whistling*

Rule #8: "For their safety, please supervise children in the restroom."
Supervising children is only required in the restroom, however. Few people know this, but the restrooms are actually the most dangerous area of any zoo.

Rule #9: "Have fun, be entertained, gain education."
That's right. Fun and entertainment are mandatory at the zoo. And get yourself educated, you ignore-a-moose.

List of rules from the website of the Cameron Park Zoo. Which is actually quite nice. I just felt the need to make fun of their rules.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Introducing... That Guy

No, not me. That guy up in the left corner. I may get around to introducing my self or this blog some day. No promises. But that guy is awesome, so I'll talk about him first. I realized I could edit him out of one of the odd warning label pictures I've been collecting for a little while now. It was only after I did so that I realized I wasn't precisely sure what he was doing, even though I made him.

Is he kicking a box while raising his arms behind his head, or faced majestically away from the box he has just smartly discarded with a heel? I just don't know. But he inspired me with one feature I hope to make a regular on this blog: offering explanations for inexplicable pictures. Plus now he looks like he's scaring the birds of this shamelessly stock theme.

Ideally I'll find enough funny little signs at work to keep the feature up for awhile. If I run out, I can always start manufacturing them, and claim I'm going back to my roots if anyone complains. Tune in at this same time next week for some other guy. In the mean time, I may or may not put up any other content. Oh yeah, and long live That Guy.