Inside the Box

Mandy\'s avatar

Given the popularity of the Container Store, I know I’m not the only one who hoards boxes “just in case.”

Fox\'s avatar


Engineer thinking is very similar to what many call “How men think”. It’s nothing but a recursive problem-solving loop. But when the recursions start getting high, you need to maintain all that memory to bounce back to the original subroutine, so nothing else can get in the way. We’re busy. We’re in “Work mode”. Example:

-Problem Identified: House cluttered
-Call (Clean_House)
–Program Halt–Storage requirements exceed storage capacity
–Call (Expand_Capacity)
—Call (Secure_Storage)
—-Call (Evaluate_Capacity)
—-If(OK){print “OK”;Call (Gratitude); RETURN}ELSE{Call (Evaluate_Capacity)}

As you can see from the debugging, ‘RETURN’ was hit in panel 3.

This is why you don’t bother people while they’re working–you have to wait for free cycles. 🙂

66 comments on “Inside the Box

  1. Wish i had so much room to organize my belongings. My own storage space is too limited for so many boxes

  2. I can see that as a rather logical evaluation process, and I concur on the work interrupt problem. Maybe others need interrupt calls, like computer software?

  3. I’m not sure what he’s got in his hands, but it seems to involve worms and insects.

    1. A “grasshopper” peering from his left hand seems to actually be a screw, with a crease in Fox’s shirt playing the role of antenna…
      But, someone else who saves old containers? My condolences. I have more empty, clean, 2-Liter pop bottles than I can imagine a use for.
      The original idea was to have a backup supply of water…

        1. Hey, he probably means …3 or something. (Does anyone need much more water water?)

          (…please don’t answer that)

          1. Toilets need water to flush…
            My house was without water for three days, once.
            Broken pipe.
            I didn’t want that to happen again.

          2. Too bad, you get an answer anyway! 😛

            Gallon per person per day for at least three days is the baseline suggestion, and that’s just for drinking water. More is always better, s’why they suggest you fill up one or more of your bathtubs before a big storm — if you lose water/the supply gets contaminated, you’ll have some to use for things like cooking and flushing toilets without having to dip into your drinking water.

        1. WELL, that is a lot of water. I guess I will have to get one LITER

          *cries self to sleep because of puns*

        2. Nice idea, but the area where I live receives, on average, only 8 inches of rainfall annually. About half of that is actually nice dry fluffy snow, so it looks like quite a bit more than 8 inches.
          In any case, a rain catchment system might be problematic.

  4. Ah Seley…..you and I are one and the same. I’m forever acquiring various types/sizes of containers, lately it’s been the ones with moveable dividers. And if something is delivered in a particularly “future use” type box, all shipping, tracking, warning labels etc are removed and the box carefully stored.

    *Sigh*…..this all began when I started running out of things to store my re-loadable brass in…….yes, I have THAT much. *Rolls eyes*

    1. Dangit… I can’t remember where I put my .357 brass! 🙂
      The .45 Colt and .35 Remington I can find, there just isn’t enough of it. 😉

    2. I differ some on that. I usually don’t get rid of the packing materials or strip the labels. Up until a few years ago I moved so often is was just easier to keep any stray boxes on hand for the next time I’d move, and the packing materials could frequently be very helpful in keeping fragile items safe (not to mention the shipping labels don’t matter when they aren’t being re-shipped).

      1. I used to save packing materials until I got a crosscut document shredder. That makes for some EXCELLENT (if not a bit messy) packing. I strip the labels etc off the boxes because shippers and the USPS won’t accept them unless they’re covered, marked thru obliterating them or removed.

        1. I have two computers and no printer, where am I going to find the paper for the crosscut shredder (Which would work great until it’s a fully fragile item, like blown glass. I don’t have any of that, but I do have other fragile items I need to be cautious with.) and as I said before I typically kept them for moving purposes so shipping labels don’t matter. I have gotten better about not keeping as many boxes more recently though, but it’s still an ongoing improvement.

          1. About the only packing material I’ve ever saved is bubble-wrap since it’s conveniently reusable. I used to have a HYOOOOG box of packing “peanuts” but they ultimately just became a nuisance and keeping the cat out of them was an exercise in futility. As far as fully fragile items go, shreddings work very well. I’ve shipped custom blown glass Christmas balls across the country and they’ve always arrived intact.

          2. My luck never runs that good. If I don’t take an extreme degree of precautions something is going to get broken. It’s happened a few times.

        2. Just a thought–if you run out of packing material for fragile stuff, disposable plastic grocery bags work pretty well.

  5. I have one cabinet that looks like that! I just can’t stand to throw away all those sherbet and butter tubs! (and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff ;-))

    1. I have an easy time getting rid of those, but then again I have a friend whose mother was in danger of losing her apartment at one time due to hoarding them. Seriously, she had the extra storage bays for three apartments full of them, along with soap bottles, detergent bottles, and even toilet paper roll cores. I don’t normally leave much for left overs when I eat, and when I do I just put the pan and all in the fridge and eat it at my next meal, which is why I focused on containers for longer term storage and moving.

      1. Whoooof……detergent bottles and TP roll cores……I’m a bit of a pack-rat but not THAT bad. Funny thing is that I save stuff that I’m sure I’ll use in the future……but just how FAR into the future is the question. :-/ I’ve got stuff I acquired in the USAF nearly 40 years ago that I’ve actually NEEDED and used in one project or another within the past couple of years. 😉

        1. At least you’re actually using the containers. Some people just keep hanging on to them and accumulating more but rarely if ever use them.

          1. 1 and 2ltr soda bottles make EXCELLENT throwaway funnels for motor oil, tranny/power steering fluid, and a host of other things, and can be cut to any size or configuration. 20oz bottles do well for smaller jobs. I do NOT use drinking water bottles because they’re too thinly made and tend to collapse when you try to hold them in place after you’ve cut the bottom out of it.

          2. *Addendum* Soda OR water bottles also make excellent ‘reactive’ targets when you fill them with water…..or better yet, TANNERITE!!

          3. A 2L plastic bottle, filled with water, shot by a 240 grain .44 magnum hollow-point at 100 yds… It is a thing of beauty.

          4. However, a 20oz bottle filled with Tannerite gets EVERYBODY’S attention when you nail it. You can only guess what a 1ltr bottle full sounds like.

          5. My chili recipe calls for about a dozen butter tubs for freezing chili. 🙂

      1. Awwww…..Fox ya shoulda at least let her get a little bit further along on her spiel….I mean she had an entire presentation ready……and just LOOK at all the examples she had to choose from. 😉

  6. Feel the same logic applies to game mode, except you never want to interrupt them as they want to stay focused and not risk them yelling at you, unless it’s REALLY REALLY important… like beer.

    1. I love that “no body” rather than the expected “nobody”. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. Does not compute with teenage boy. Floor space = storage space. No seriously, my room is a disaster

    1. Uuughghg! I have a 17 year old brother that’s always pissed at me for using his bedroom space as storage since I have no where else for my bookshelves and art desk. Yet he Explodes all over the room. You literally can’t see his floor. -__-

  8. So… Fox is either an engineer or has some incidental experience in the area?

  9. So is no one else going to comment on the whole other path this strip could’ve taken?

  10. Floor space is good useable space. I’d need a lot of boxes for all my stuff. I estimate my motorbike spares alone equate to just over a metric ton. I’m not kidding. Fortunately there’s room for engine casings, seats and a petrol tank under my bed as the sheds and garage are full…

  11. I’m not sure which made me laugh more the comic or foxes commentary. Such a simple software routine.

  12. This doesn’t look like a safe loop. At “ELSE{Call (Evaluate_Capacity)}”, you could be potentially stuck in an infinite loop if Evaluate_Capacity can’t find a properly sized container. Either that or, hopefully, the program halts when the function throws an runtime error after checking against a built-in recursion limit. That final check for OK should probably be in a Try-Catch statement and… Why is everybody looking at me like that?

    1. My AI professor once told me that if a program purporting to be behaving human behaves better than the human, then it needs to be rewritten.

      1. Wait, you mean a program that can learn and adapt to a situation without nearly getting itself destroyed doesn’t pass muster?

    2. You’re right, it definitely needs an extra line of code to prevent getting stuck in an infinite loop.

  13. Those boxes need to get used more. Youll be amazed how quickly you’ll run out again (hint: there’s no such thing as an unbreakable box)

    1. True, but there is also no such thing as an unfixable box – Duct Tape man, its the bomb

      1. Agreed…….About the only thing you CAN’T fix with Duct Tape is STUPID!!!! 😉

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