Monthly Archives: June 2015

Sir, Please Step Into the Vehicle (Part III)


The saga of the Owner’s Manual continues and I have been churning through the pages since my last post.  For more context Click Here to catch up and for the Part II (I’m told it’s pretty funny) Click Here.  Reading all of these warnings has made me feel a little bit like this:

Suffice it to say, as promised, here are ten more Warnings and Cautions that made me wonder/ponder.


CAUTION:  Do not apply a total load of more than 4lb (2kg) to the luggage side hook.  Doing so may cause the hook to break.

I’m trying to think of the last time I packed a piece of luggage that weighed less than 4 lbs.  I’ve packed lunches that weighed 4 lbs.  Heck, a small fish would break a  4 lb line pretty much by simply taking the hook. Think they should have called it something besides a “luggage hook.” Any ideas?


CAUTION:  Do not place intelligent key near an electric appliance such as a television set, personal computer or cellular phone.

Really, a cellular phone? Does this mean I am going to have to go out and buy a satchel?


CAUTION: Do not place the Intelligent Key for an extended period in a place where the temperatures exceed 140  degrees F or 60 degrees C. Do not allow Intelligent Key to come into contact with  water or salt water, and do not wash it in the washing machine.  This could affect the system function.

Got it.  Don’t toss in fire, the ocean or washer, and expect to drive the vehicle again…ever.


CAUTION: Be sure to carry the Intelligent Key with you when operating the vehicle.  Never leave the Intelligent Key in the vehicle when you leave the vehicle.

Soooooo….the key makes the car go…interesting.  And if I leave key in car when I exit car, neither key nor veee hickle  may be there upon my return.  Thanks Nissan.

Clearly Nissan has more confidence in its key than its user.


WARNING: Failure to operate this vehicle in a safe and prudent manner may result in loss of control or accident.

However, failure to operate vehicle in a safe or prudent manner will yield no negative consequences.


WARNING: Wet ice and freezing rain, very cold snow or ice can be slick and very hard to drive on.

What about dry ice or less than very cold snow?  What about plain ‘ol rain?  How about oil? Or butter. Or catfish?  Seems like they left a bunch of slippery stuff off the list.


WARNING: Never get under your vehicle after it has been lifted by a tow truck.

Good advice.  Send your child to crawl under it for you.  No doubt, the smaller, the better.


CAUTION:  Never remove dirt, sand or other debris from the passenger compartment by washing it out with a hose.

Hmmmm, I guess that means pressure washers too.


CAUTION: Do not substitute anti-freeze coolant for window washer solution. This may result in damage to the paint.

It’ll do nothing for your windows either.


CAUTION:  Be careful not to allow children to swallow the battery and removed parts.

I wouldn’t recommend that anyone swallow batteries or other related parts, but if you want to, that’s is your business.

Got any more to add to the list?  Feel to add below. Thanks for reading, OTTOOH.


Sir, Please Step Into The Vehicle (Part II)


So if you missed the last post Sir, Please Step…(Part I) for context.

And if you read the last post or don’t care about context, here are the first top ten warnings/cautions that may make you wonder and/or ponder…

To level set, WARNING = ‘Death or Serious Injury’ & CAUTION = ‘Minor or Moderate Personal Injury or Damage to Car’


WARNING:  IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION REMINDERS FOR SAFETY!  Follow these driving rules to help ensure a safe and comfortable trip for you and your passengers.

  • NEVER drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • ALWAYS observe posted speed limits and never drive too fast
  • ALWAYS give your full attention to driving and avoid distractions
  • ALWAYS use your seat belts/child restraint systems
  • ALWAYS provide information about the proper use of the vehicle safety features to all occupants of the vehicle.
  • ALWAYS review this Owner’s Manual for important Safety information

There is just so much meat in this one.  For instance, for what other reason would “Important Safety Info. Reminders” be included but for “Safety?”  And what about the safety of other drivers and pedestrians NOT in the vehicle?  While I have no issues with the common sense of the first 4 bullets, if you are going to print those why not throw in the Ten Commandments for good measure? And the last two bullets just crack me up.


WARNING:  Certain vehicle components contain or emit chemicals known in the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. In addition, certain fluids contained in vehicles and certain products of component wear contain or emit chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Do not eat, drink or snort battery acid, wiper fluid, brake fluid, steering fluid, the upholstery or any other car part.  Any of these actions will kill you long before they cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.   If you live in any other state, we assume you are intelligent enough to neither be reminded nor diapered by your state government.


WARNING:  When leaving the vehicle, be sure to turn it off.

What about the doors?  Do I need to close them too when leaving the vehicle?


WARNING: Do not fold down the rear seats when occupants are in the rear area.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  I am sure my mother-in-law will appreciate that I read that one.


WARNING:  Your brake system may not be working properly if the warning light is on.

Interesting.  Never would have thought about that.


WARNING: Do not allow occupants to use the seat heater if they do not have the ability to feel pain in those body parts in contact with the seat.

If they can feel no pain, can they not also feel heat?  What am I missing here?


WARNING:  When cleaning the seat, never use gasoline, thinners, or similar materials.

Really? Probably shouldn’t smoke either if you are inclined to clean the upholstery with gasoline.


CAUTION: Avoid abrupt starting and braking when the cup holder is being used to prevent spilling the drink.  If the liquid is hot, it can scald you or your passenger.

Thank you Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants


WARNING: Keep the sunglasses holder closed while driving to prevent an accident.

And don’t fill it with scalding hot coffee either.


CAUTION: Do not leave sunglasses in the sunglasses holder while parking in direct sunlight.  The heat may damage the sunglasses.

In other words. Don’t use the sunglasses holder for anything but warming coffee.

So that’s it for Part II.  Now I have to go read the rest of the manual for more life saving pearls of wisdom.  But first I need to rest.

Sir, Please Step Into The Vehicle. (Part I)


Several weeks ago my wife bought a new car, which is a pretty big deal in our world because the last one she bought was ten years ago.  It’s also kind of big deal for us because we bought a Nissan Leaf, which is a total electric vehicle.  It is well-known, like world-wide, that I am the cheapest guy on the planet (although I might argue, “thrifty” as a better word choice) and the idea of not paying for gas was kind of appealing.

As a guy, I would not normally be inclined to read an owners manual…because…well…I’m a guy, and also because the manual is more than one page long, which in my mind, means it’s going to be hard.  It’s a car for crying out loud.  Pretty much anyone with $25 and four brain cells can get a driver’s license, so why must the manual to operate the thing be 20 times longer than the study guide for obtaining a license?

Putting my rising blood pressure aside for a moment and replacing it with my colorful cap of both optimism and pragmatism, I have to say the car is pretty nifty.  It’s loaded with all kinds of groovy technology, has a lot of moving parts, it’s fast, and while I wouldn’t describe it as sexy, the first three items appeal to my stereotypically manly nature.  Soooooo, after driving the car for a few days and staring at the phone-book-like mass of an owner’s manual, I figured, since the car is jammed with all kinds of technology they weren’t stuffing into mini vans 10 years ago; perhaps it might make sense to take a crack a the owner’s manual.

For the past three weeks, each day whilst eating my lunch, I’ve ploughed through a few more pages of the book.  The pages are not numbered, but I figure there are between 300 and 400 pages in this sucker.  As of today I’m about half way through.  If you are actually still reading at this point:  First, thank you; Second; please post a comment that acknowledges you read this far (you will probably be the first to do so); Third, there is a point.

The point is this.  Common sense is not a requisite for operating a Vee Hickle.

Although I have not completed the entire compendium, I went through the manual and counted 194 “Warnings” and “Cautions” called out in the book.  There are so many warnings in the book, they stop printing them in color after about 50 pages. I am pretty sure, by the time I finish the manual (IF I finish the manual), I will probably also be qualified to operate a lunar landing module, a Trident class nuclear submarine, or possibly an SR-71 Blackbird.

Clearly my wife’s new car is one dangerous and bad mother but I am not going to bore you with 194 mind numbing warnings. I am going to pick 10 choice Revelations from the first half of the book, and then, if I finish the book, another 10 from the second half that may make you:  A.) Wonder why you didn’t consider more seriously getting your law degree and B.) Ponder the wisdom of allowing anyone with 4 brain cells behind the wheel of anything that moves.

So on that note, I’m off to curate.  Please stay tuned for Part II of “Sir, Please Step Into The Vehicle.”

Train Pain


Sometimes taking the subway is just part of an average Tuesday. Today it was herculean struggle for survival.

I get on the train at my usual stop. Slightly more crowded than usual, but nothing I haven’t seen before.

Unfortunately, I am standing VERY close to a man with very bad breath. My fl, what did you eat for breakfast….LAST TUESDAY?  His hand, which is above mine on the steadying pole, keeps accidentally touching mine. I’m sure you’re a nice dude, but that coffee mug (filled with vomit) you’re holding says it all.

I begin to become woozy from the scent that surely would chase the flies off Mt. Fecal.  Trying to steady myself, we reach our next stop and a DELUGE of people get on.

Suddenly, I feel as though I’ve fallen prey to a boa constrictor.  The people around me have wrapped me in their clutches and are squeezing me tighter and tighter until I run out of already fouled air and die.

I am now wedged in the dead center of the train. On the left, we have my pal with Nightmare on Elm Street breath. To the right, I have been pressed against a man who is James Browning through his salmon-pink button down shirt. Sweat which I can feel on my bare arm.

In front of me, is the tallest woman I have ever seen; clad in an all-black, floor length ensemble as though she is about to strut down a Gothic runway. Her pasty lobes and dainty wrists are adorned with large, silver bangles, which blind all around her except for herself.  Naturally, she has on sunglasses.

Why does anyone would wear sunglasses on the subway. I’m always oddly tempted to cry out, “Honey! Don’t you realize we are under the ground?! You don’t look cool, you look like the animated version of a mole!”

(…See below for reference)

Anyhow, this incredibly tall woman is leering down at me like the angel of death come to end my life on this crowded, suffocatingly hot subway. I am growing more woozy and trying not to panic. MUST NOT BE GIRL WHO PASSES OUT ON TRAIN.  I feel short of breath.

But as I’m attempting to calm myself down, the door opens and even MORE people shove their way on. A small Asian woman is crammed in behind me and acts very irritated by the enormity of my purse.  She punishes me for it by elbowing me in the ribs and nudging me even closer to Mr. Sweatstorm, who at this point is simply going to look like a piece of slimy sushi by the time he arrives to work.

Inexplicably, the N train then slows to an absolute crawl, and I legitimately start to visualize my death. I attempt to breathe deeply, but no matter how hard I try, I inevitably get a whiff of the noxious odor coming from Barf Breath’s mouth. When I breathe deeply, my lungs expand, causing my purse to shift and Small Asian Woman to elbow me in the ribs. This in turn pushes me to the right and leaves my arm slickened from Mr. Sweaty McSweatface.

Finally, FINALLY my stop arrives, and I practically shove my way out of the car. I feel some small sense of triumph for having survived, as though I have just single-handedly fought my way out of a burning building (the fumes, heat, and lack of oxygen are certainly comparable.)

And yet, all I have done is succeeded to make it to work. I have fought an unspoken battle  my coworkers will never know of. To them, it is merely Tuesday morning, and I am just the receptionist. But to me, I am the doomsday survivor.

Super Hero or Villain? Please, Please, Please.


Seems like every summer we catch a wave of jacked up comic books at our local theaters where, for about $60, two people can explode, chase, battle, scheme, swing, launch, fly, blast, swim their way through nearly 120 minutes of saturated popcorn and a bladder expanding soda.  Heck, for $2.50 I practically get that riding the subway to work each day, plus, for no extra charge, it comes in odorama, which, thankfully is hard to duplicate on the big screen.

But what of these “super” heroes and villains?  It’s got me to thinking…

A man who is a spider.  Does he take all his meals through a straw?

A man who is a bat? Lazy bum sleeps all day.

A girl who is a bat?  Seriously, how does one tell the difference?  Boobs?

A man who is made of Iron.  Now that’s just absurd.  He’d be house bound like those with morbid eating disorders.

A man who is an ant.  Wouldn’t think twice about stepping on him.

Captains Marvel, Universe,  America, Planet, etc., etc., etc.  Why just Captains?  Why never promoted?

And what about the Doctor’s?

Dr. Strange.   “Yes, I’d like to make appointment with my gynecologist…Dr. Strange.”

“I’m sorry, Dr. Octopus is unavailable.  He’s in surgeries right now…”

“Yes, I need to get my Prozac refilled, could you please ask Dr. Doom to call that in for me?”

Dr. Manhattan. What, is his specialty, Mixology or something?

A man made of plastic.  Perhaps he could be sent to do something about the Pacific Ocean’s Trash Vortex?

The Flash.  Why am I seeing all of those black spots?

Robin. Poor fella.

A man who is Super.  Popular on Pride Day no doubt.

Man of steel (see man made of Iron above).

Two-Face.  Yep, knew him in high school.

A woman who is a Wonder.  Now that is one I completely get.

Hey, as far as I am concerned, the only Caped Crusader I care about is:


Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please… Rinse, lather repeat.

It’s a bird.  It’s a plane.  Good God. it’s Soul Brother #1, the Godfather of soul, Mr. Dynamite, Mr. Please, Please, Please. Jaaaaaaaaaaaaames Brown. Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaames Brown.  Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaames Brown.  Superhero of Soul, Funk, Rock and Roll.

It Takes a Village (Idiot)


We are living the “it takes a village” adage.  My in-laws live several houses down the street and my sister in-law lives around the corner.

Last Wednesday, my mother in-law kindly (“Mookie”) offers to come stroll my 18 month old over to my sister in-laws so my daughter can play with my sister in-laws one year old son.

On the approach the following conversation plays out:

My daughter:  “Look Mookie, my see Bobby’s house!”

Mookie:  “It’s, I,  see Bobby’s house, Gracie.”

Gracie: “My see Bobby’s house”

Mookie: “No, I, see Bobby’s house.”

Gracie: “My see Bobby’s house.”

Mookie: “I, see Bobby’s house Gracie.”

Gracie: O.k. Mookie, YOU see Bobby’s house.”


Wandering Sidewalk Meanderers of New York City


It’s time to address what I feel is a very serious problem in New York City: The Wandering Sidewalk Meanderers.

Never heard of them? Allow me to raise your awareness.

A Wandering Sidewalk Meanderer comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms, but they all have one defining quality: slowly walking in the middle of the sidewalk, occasionally veering to one side or another, usually just as you’ve increased your speed of walking in hopes of passing them.

These Meanderers will keep you trapped in their wake for blocks on end, seemingly knowing exactly which side you’re going to attempt to pass on and when you’re going to do it. They keep their leisurely pace, not considering the fact that perhaps the people stuck behind them are late for work, hurrying to brunch, or trying to catch a movie. No no, these Wanderers are quite determined to single-handedly slow the pace of New York City, one harried walker at a time.

Generally, they take the form of old people, which is almost excusable. As you approach one such Wanderer, you momentarily slow down on your own accord, taking the care not to interrupt their calculated steps or accidentally knock them off balance. You briefly marvel at their gumption and strength to continue living in such a busy city at such an age, much less to keep on walkin’ along instead of succumbing to easier modes of transportation. But beware, unsuspecting sidewalkers. These little old people are devils in disguise, for I believe they think that if THEY have to slow down, the whole world must slow down with them. It’s as though their age has ripened their intuition, and they make a game out of blocking your way, knowing full well you’re too conscientious to barrel right past them. They gracefully shift back and forth, confusing and frustrating you until you give up and feel like a horrible human being for getting annoyed with a sweet old lady in the first place.

Another majority is tourists. You know the ones. Hoards of school groups on walking tours, families with cameras and maps in hand, couples madly in love on vacation. Even tourists by themselves. You can always spot a tourist because they are either:

  1. Not dressed appropriately for the climate. At all.
  2. Proudly and smugly sporting NYC apparel as though all New Yorkers proclaim their New York-ness to the masses
  3. Looking up at the buildings, mouths agape like some sort of trout.
  4. Wandering around the Sidewalk

Now usually, the final factor is the product of a combination of the first three. They are overwhelmed by the sweltering heat and sweating through their jeans, so they can’t walk quickly. They’ve never been here before, so they don’t know where they’re going or how to get there. They’re in awe of their surroundings (which is cute, but frustrating all the same) so they stroll like it’s Sunday in the park. NO, TOURISTS. You are the reason why New Yorkers hate Times Square. Honestly, the tourists are even worse than the little old perpetrators, because they usually walk 3 or 4 across, further inhibiting your ability to scoot around them. And they don’t have the added benefit of being cute and wrinkly.

And sometimes, it’s simply random: a housewife on her phone, a dejected college student who had a hard day. I understand the need to walk slow, but don’t weave about! We CANT HAVE THIS, people! Imagine the havoc that be wreaked if people in cars did this as well, driving slower than the speed limit and weaving all around the road. Horns would be blared, wrecks would be caused, thousands of dollars in damages would be accrued. It’s too bad we don’t have little sidewalk horns we can honk…perhaps we should make sidewalk rules and regulations! Or perhaps I’m just becoming just another impatient New Yorker.