Thursday, December 30, 2004

THE 64 OUNCE SODA

oh 64 oz soda
of frosty greatness
only in america
famous for her largeness

diet i must drink you
so as not to get so fat
afterwards the bathroom
several times I'm at

too big for a cupholder
you make my fingers freeze
if i don't drive with you in one hand
i have to hold you with my knees

a massive amount of liquid
the afternoon you last me
the best thing about you
is my coupon made you FREE

He's Back

Yahoo! News - KenJen Back Again: "'Based on the rules he was allowed to play under, he certainly has to rank as the most amazing player of all time."

Thought for the day

Have you ever wondered how many calories are in phlegm?

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Boyz2Men

It seems that some things don't change too much as we age. The other day at lunch with my coworkers, one of them, who I believe is 26 or 27, accepted a bet that he could eat five baskets of (unlimited) fries at Red Robin. Three of us at the table took him up on it, and he failed during basket three, fortunately realizing that he wasn't going to make it before he ate enough to make him sick. I've been pondering what would have happened if the bet had only been four baskets, would he have really pushed to do it?

Later that same day, we went to the mall with 2 other couples from our small group. We were in Pottery Barn, where they had a display table set up which included some cookies. I quickly determined that the cookies were real, and dared one of our friends to eat one. He accepts (of course), but as he reaches in the container, one of the Pottery Barn workers steps over and asks him not to take the cookies. She also comments as to how nobody knows how old the cookies actually are, but that they had already had to replace their supply of cookies. Which leads one to wonder if the others had disappeared on similar dares, or just because people were hungry and thought they looked good?! Either way, I think these two instances just show that sometimes things don't change much from the "double-dog dare" days of The Christmas Story, as least for guys.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Trip stuff

I am definitely not a fan of the midnight flights. It is just impossible for me to get comfortable enough to sleep on a plane. Jetblue itself was nice - they had good service and having DirecTV to watch was definitely a great timekiller, except there was not much on at 3 AM on a Saturday night/Sunday morning - how many times can you watch the same clips on ESPN?.

Anyway, when we arrived in D.C. we almost immediately went to sleep for 4 hours. But wait! I get ahead of myself. I forgot to mention my wife's escapades at the security checkpoint in Sacramento. Apparently someone didn't get the memo that you aren't allowed to carry scissors onto a plane anymore, so she seemingly brought every pair in our house, which resulted in us spending a fair amount of time with the security people. Let's just say they aren't too busy around midnight, and have plenty of time to check out every possible thing in your stuff! I even had to open my bag for a pair of fake plastic scissors that I had in my backpack for my nephews. My wife is reading this over my shoulder as I type it and disputing things, so hopefully she will comment on my blog if she thinks something is wrong. I guess that's what it takes to get her to comment on here!

Enough typing for now, I will give more updates on our trip progress soon.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Follies

The lab we are attached to here in Roseville had a big Christmas follies celebration on Thursday. This consists of pretty decent food and different workgroups putting together skits and whatnot that make fun of coworkers, management, bureaucracy, etc. We did a Jeopardy knock-off with funny questions and answers related to the above topics, which was quite well-received. Good times. I was originally supposed to be in a class Wed-Fri, but I realized I had a lot of work that I needed to get done, so I backed out of the class. However, that meant I now had to participate in the Follies stuff, so I didn't get quite as much done as I had hoped. Most of the skit stuff was managed by myself and the infamous Mr. Weaver. But, it was fun, so not too much of a loss. And I did get some pretty good work done in the amount of time I did have.

Ok, off to eat dinner now, and then tonight we take the redeye midnight flight on JetBlue out to Washington, D.C. to visit my sister. So, blogging may be slow or extremely prolific while I'm out there. Check back and see.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Follow the money

A couple of interesting sites:
www.choosetheblue.com
www.buyblue.org

As you might guess from the names, they are attempting to give you info so that you will buy from more "blue" companies. Of course, nothing stops you from using the info in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, HP is pretty heavily blue in its contributions. According to choosetheblue, 61% of its total contributions by company PACs and employees went to blue groups. Kind of surprising, because Carly is a big Bush supporter, so I would think most of the PAC money would have gone Repub. I blame employees in the Bay Area. What can't you blame on that hellhole?

Dilbert's a what?

Nobody else probably finds this interesting, but what can I say? The idea of discerning someone's political philosophy via their comic strip intrigues me. Especially that of someone like Scott Adams whose comic strip I enjoy so much (although going through a bit of a lull recently).

Incompetence

You know what I've figured out that I can't do very well? Tie my shoes! Without double-knotting mine always come untied. How did I not master such a basic skill? Maybe my 7-yr old nephew will be able to give me some pointers over Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kobe: even more of an idiot than Terrell Owens

Even though I have already ranted about this twice at work, I just can't contain myself from mentioning it here as well. Can you believe the crap Kobe is pulling on Karl Malone? Apparently Malone said something inappropriate to Kobe's wife. Kobe is all in a huff and of course runs off to the media about it like a little boy. A) This is something that should have been handled privately and that should have been the end of it. My understanding is that Malone intended no offense, but apologized to Kobe anyway. So....let it go. There's no reason for the press to be involved. B) If you're so interested in defending you're wife's honor, you might have a little more credibility IF YOU HAD THOUGHT OF THAT BEFORE YOU HAD SEX WITH ANOTHER WOMAN! WHO CLAIMS YOU RAPED HER!

Ok, I found a story that listed out exactly what Kobe is accusing Malone of saying. And, it is offensive. Of course, Malone denies it. Even if true, I think the two points above still hold, and Kobe should just have continued on his business without hanging out with Malone anymore, after their private confrontation. I'm still shocked at the idea that this needed to be taken to the press. I think it just proves that if you give an 18 yr. old millions of dollars, he never learns how to deal with people at anything more than an infantile level. In fact that's basically what Kobe is in every aspect of his life: a giant infant. What player will ever want to play with him in the future? He's alienated every good player (and Rick Fox too) that's ever been on the same team with him.

As if I didn't already have plenty of reasons to hate the Lakers!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Scene It?

Got back just a little while ago from a party at my old roommate's house. We had a great time eating enchiladas and closed out by playing the new game Scene It? I didn't have high hopes for it, because I didn't see a lot of movies growing up, but my team managed to win, aided by several highly energetic answers from my wife. She got so excited when she knew a "Back to the Future" question that she leaped forward about three feet off the couch as she shouted out the answer. Good times.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Just trying to help.

For those of you with kids, you will probably find this song quite helpful.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

What a week

1) I started off by breaking my glasses frames last week. While cleaning them. And they broke in such a way that I can't really repair them. Not even if I just wanted to nerd it up with tape. This wouldn't be really a big deal, as I can just wear my contacts, but my eyes get really dry by the end of spending the whole day working on a computer. Plus it really hampers the bedtime reading after I've taken the contacts out.

2) Playing racquetball last Thursday, I somehow injured my foot. It has really been hurting to put any pressure at all on the metarsals on the right side of my right foot. This gives me two options for limping, one that looks like a pimp walk, and one where I look drunkenly uncertain of where I am going. This proved to be quite a hassle while carting myself through the Denver and Dallas airports. Thankfully it is finally starting to feel better today, and I was actually able to do some normal walking. Wearing shoes, walking on carpet, or anything with padding seems to make a big difference in the pain level. I could probably fit a couple of the possibilities on here. Isn't the web great for aiding hypochondria?

3) I was supposed to fly back from the big D last night. I left the HP site 2.5 hrs before my flight's scheduled departure, then promptly got trapped in a huge traffic jam on 635, apparently caused by an accident to a fuel tanker. It took me roughly 2 hours to go a mile, so I ended up being near the airport at about the time my flight departed. I had to do a lot of frantic dialing on my cell to reschedule flights, hotel, and rental car. Exhausting. Plus I just hate traffic in general. So I ended up getting the 7 AM flight out of Dallas this morning instead, which meant I had to get up a little after 4. I wasn't able to get to sleep until about 12:30, so that didn't make for a very happy day today.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Inner geek

Bowing to my inner geek, I stayed up until quarter til 3 tonight to get the new expandable links section working on the right side of my blog. My collection of links was getting too long, so I figured this would be a good way to get everything I want on there without it taking up way too much space. Comments are welcome!

Oh yeah, props to this site for helping me figure out how to do this. This is the page I actually ripped the source from and modified to do it.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Join the craze that's sweeping the nation

Represent your country/state at geographyolympics.com. Everyone at the office is into this now. It's not as easy as you might think, even if you consider yourself a geography expert. There's lots of little tiny countries! My first try I got only 4 out of 10 (other first time scores by various coworkers - 4,2,2,1) But with a little studying, I have now achieved one perfect 10 out of 10, as well as some 9s and 8s. I'm bringing the US score up. Not to mention California. It was mired at 50th place out of 51 states (counting D.C) when I started a few days ago. I believe it has now moved up to 48th (I haven't checked yet today). For those of a political bent, count the red vs blue states in the top 10.

Don't bring the U.S. score down. Study here first. This is actually probably a great tool for kids learning geography. I went on this site and worked through the continents until I could do them with no mistakes. Now my only weakness at geographyolympics is the Pacific Islands, because this site doesn't have those on there to study.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Life in the box

Check out this post from eWeaver's blog for the latest shenanigans involving his cubicle. This made me realize it would only be fitting to also display the even better pranks pulled involving his cube.



eWeaver cube 2003 Posted by Hello

For a couple of years we had about double the number of cubes that our team had people, due to the fact that instead of our team expanding as planned, we ended up having people get laid off. By 2003, the empty cubes had accumulated tons of trash. Eventually we were required to compress our cubes down to the same number as our team size. This coincided with the same time Mr. Weaver went on vacation. Where should all the trash go? Hmm..... As an extra nice touch, it was his birthday on the day he got back to find this waiting for him!



eWeaver cube 2004 Posted by Hello

The next year we got even more creative. This might not appear so at first glance, but this was actually a lot more work. We changed the level of the desk all around his cube. The highlight was when he returned and actually worked a couple of days at the raised up computers, via sitting on his chair which was set on top of a box. You could see him and his computer sticking up out of the cube all the way across the building. Hilarious, but probably too much work to ever try this again.

We don't have a picture of this one, but I also came into work one day to find my entire cubicle moved down into the cube next to mine (empty at the time). I defeated this evil prank by leaving everything there for six months and just working as if that were my cubicle.

A tip to avoid having this sort of thing pulled on you is to return early from your vacations. When I went on my honeymoon earlier this year, I had originally thought I would get back to work on a Tuesday but ended up coming in on Monday instead. They were only just getting geared up to demolish my cube, which I was able to prevent. I laugh.

Monday, November 29, 2004

We don't need no education

Inspired by the frequent C.S. Lewis references on the all kinds of time blog, I have pulled out some old books of his that I have owned for a while, but never read. Right now I am working through The Abolition of Man. I'm only about 50 pages in, but already I have found quite a bit to ponder, particularly this:

"Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought."

Quite a different view than we have today, I would say. Yet this is exactly what schools ARE doing even as they seek not to, by essentially teaching students that they CANNOT make judgments about most anything, and that value is entirely subjective. Anyway, read the book to see what I'm talking about (it's short!), because I'm certainly not going to say it better than Lewis.

Also, Lewis's skewering of relativism (using many philosophical traditions, incidentally, not merely Christianity - ha ha! Get it?) came to mind as I read this article today as well. John Leo makes some points that I have been trying to make in discussions with friends for weeks. When people say moral values are the number one thing affecting their vote at the polls, I say "No kidding!" EVERYTHING we vote on is based in moral values. If you are for or against "animal rights", that is based on moral values. If you are for or against the war in Iraq, that too comes down to moral values. Believe it or not, your position on taxes comes out of your moral values as well.

Those who resent religiously based arguments often present themselves as rational and scientific, whereas people of faith are dogmatic and emotional. This won't do. As professor Volokh argues, "All of our opinions are ultimately based on unproven and unprovable moral premises." No arguments are privileged because they come from secular people, and none are somehow out of bounds because they come from people of faith.

Firefox review

After about a week of using Firefox, both at home and at work, here are my thoughts.:
- Can't play some of the games on zone.msn.com. Big surprise on a Microsoft site! I think they must have engineers at work specifically to find ways to make the games exclude firefox and other non-IE browsers. They even have a big warning that pops up when you access the site not using Internet Explorer.
- Doesn't seem to work well with roll-over thumbnails (don't know if that is the right term). The example I have is on real estate sites. When looking at a home listing, they often have a row of thumbnail pics of the interior of the house. When you roll your mouse over one, the larger image should be displayed above it. In Firefox, I can't seem to get this to work.
- The aforementioned(see previous post on Firefox) long time to load PDF files. Apparently more a fault of Adobe Reader 6.0 and present somewhat in IE as well. Use the also aforementioned PDF speedup file to help alleviate.
- Still having a couple of problems with handling security certificates on the portal at work. May just be because I don't have settings configured correctly, but nonetheless I am forced to click through a lot of stuff that I didn't have to on IE.
- Sometimes the back button takes me back to the top of the page I left instead of where I was on the page when I left it.
+ WAY fewer pop-up ads then in IE, even when I had Google and Yahoo pop-up blockers. This alone almost makes the switch worth it.
+ Loads most sites faster than IE.
+ Love the tabbed browsing.
+ Actually works better when I check my comcast e-mail through the web before I POP it to my home computer. IE sometimes has trouble with this for some reason.
+ Not susceptible to all the viruses written to exploit security flaws in IE.

So, I'm loving Firefox, but I still keep IE around for a couple of uses.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Conservative Humor

If this site is as routinely funny as the few stories I've read so far, I'll probably add it to my links section.

Doom and gloom

Check out this negative story on the effect Chinese manufacturing, etc., is having the on the US economy.

"There is a myth that the U.S. would remain the knowledge economy and China the sweatshop," says BCG's Hemerling. "Increasingly, this is no longer the case."

Saturday, November 27, 2004

If you don't like that ...

...you don't like NBA basketball!!!

My father-in-law and I just got done watching the Kings beat the Lakers. Any King's win is nice, but beating the Lakers is even sweeter. This weekend has been great because I don't feel like I have a ton of things hanging over my head. It's been so nice to just relax and not worry about all the other things I should be doing. I think tomorrow I might even have time to catch up on some things that have lingered on my to-do list forever, go to the gym, and then do some recreational reading. Big plans!

Friday, November 26, 2004

First Thanksgiving

Due to some unexpected circumstances, instead of my wife and I going up to her parents' house in Oregon for Thanksgiving, they ended up coming down here and having it at our house. We also had over her aunt and uncle and grandmother, and also one of my friends from college who now lives in the Bay Area. Thankfully my wife's mom did all of the cooking, so that wasn't too stressful on us. However, we did have quite an episode with our sink to liven up the pre-Thanksgiving festivities. I gave the ok to put potato peels down the garbage disposal, on the rationale that we had never had any trouble with anything we put down there before. Lesson learned, you can't do that. The sink completely clogged up about 2 hours before everyone else was supposed to arrive. I spent the next 45 minutes trying to plunge the sink to pull back up the potato peels that were clogging it. This was in combination with running our garbage disposal, which usually only seemed to transfer water back and forth between the two parts of the sink. The only drawback being that sometimes when I ran the disposal, a jet of nasty water and bits of food and who knows what would shoot out and get all over the kitchen and/or me. Eventually, I did get a ton of potato peels back up and threw them away, but after a while we deduced I was mostly just cleaning out the pipe that goes between the two parts of the sink, and not removing the clog that must be down in the elbow. Meanwhile, my wife is constantly suggesting that we call a plumber, whereas I am very clear on the fact that we are NOT calling a plumber on Thanksgiving. We'd probably have to take out a second mortgage to afford that. Eventually she and her mother have to take some dishes off to wash them in the bathroom while her father and I regroup at the sink. Apparently there is supposed to be a way to access the pipes to the sink from outside, but when we remove the cap outside, it is sealed off with a plastic piece on the inside, so no luck there. We briefly consider trying to remove the elbow, but didn't figure out a good way to deal with all the standing water that is still in the pipes. These pipes are basically not draining at all! We decide to first try Liquid Plumber gel, before we go too far down the path of actually removing pipes. I bail out all the water I can with a cup, and then we pour all the Liquid Plumber we have down the drain. Then we wait. We can actually see the stuff on the top of the standing water in the drains, so we don't have a lot of hope. However, after about 7 minutes, we hear a single glurp and then everything drains. Hallelujah! I rush off to take a shower and nothing seems to be any worse for the wear, other than the kitchen and I certainly required cleanup, I was much hungrier than usual due to the plunging workout (almost as good as going to the gym!), and I had a headache later from Liquid Plumber fumes, I think.

After that little fiasco, a fun time was had by all and all the food was delicious! My wife's mom had even e-mailed my mom to figure out what I really liked for Thanksgiving and made that. How cool is that? And it tasted just like Mom makes it!


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Best Buy

A post that has been lingering as a draft for a little while ....

I have to give props to this lady who is waging war on Best Buy. I can identify with that from my battles with the evil Surewest, the company formerly known as Roseville Telephone. Sounds like this lady's experience isn't the only weird thing going on at Best Buy. Check out their new customer strategy. I tried to link to the original story, but it requires a subscription. However, the link I do have has most of the key excerpts included. The basic idea of it is that Best Buy is attempting to get rid of customers who actually look for bargains. Hmm....if you don't want people to take advantage of bargains, don't offer them! I'm struggling with this idea a little. I understand wanting to get rid of people who are gaming the system, like people who buy something and return it and then attempt to buy it again now at an open-box price. But if you have a price-match guarantee, don't be shocked when somebody uses it! Are they hoping all their customers are rich morons? It's been my experience that the two don't often go together, at least not for very long. I guess if a fool and his money are soon parted, Best Buy is hoping to be the one that makes it happen. Ok, did a little web research, and a discussion board on slashdot(you've got to wade through a lot of useless posts on here to find anything good) helped me understand a little more. There are a few more customer abuses that Best Buy might legitimately be trying to avoid. However, there is no way that 20% of their customer base engages in these practices, so I have to think that they are actively seeking to get rid of more than just the 1-5% of people who actually engage in unethical/wasteful behavior and are really trying to force out bargain hunters.

I guess this would make me think twice about owning Best Buy stock. The move seems designed to try to excite shareholders - "Hey, we're getting rid of our worst customers and we're going to get our best customers to spend more!", but the truth is that angering a large portion of your customer base, especially the bargain hunters who are likely to be very vocal as well, is a terrible strategy and they are entering a minefield. In a year or two, I guess we'll see who is right, me or them, and if my Forbes subscription is accomplishing anything in helping me understand the business world.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Monday, November 22, 2004


mmmm...burgers Posted by Hello

For those of you who have been wondering about this pic, check out the story here.

Speed limits going down in Roseville

And they aren't just lowering the speed limits a little bit either! And not just on a couple of roads. Check out the story here. Check out the table of all the affected roads here. Some of these make lots of sense, like Galleria is definitely a little out of control. But Foothills north of Pleasant Grove? That's normally empty. Basically only us HPers drive on there and I can't see any justification for lowering it. Has even one speed-related accident occurred on this section of Foothills? Grrr.

I'm also a little annoyed by this phrase from the Yahoo story. " Last year there were seven fatal accidents in Roseville. There have been three so far this year." Since this year is practically over, it would appear fatal accidents are actually decreasing! How is that justification for lowering the speed limits?

Like I said, I'm all for lowering the limits in a few places where it makes sense due to increased traffic volume and difficult driving patterns. I already mentioned Galleria in front of the mall, where people do a lot of weird lane changes, etc. However, I don't see how this meant the limit on just about every street in Roseville needed to be lowered.

PDF Speedup

Here's a program you might find useful. I was checking out the web to see if anyone else had problems in Firefox with pdfs opening slowly. Indeed they did. One guy recommended this program, which should actually speed up opening pdfs in IE as well. Adobe for some reason loads 4581 different plug-ins when you open a pdf file in a browser. This app gets rid of most of those that are complete useless. It also lets you manually control it if you decide you need a particular one later. Give it a try and let me know. I'll be rating this one on CNET after I have a couple of days to check it out. So far all five reviews on there are very positive.

Close-minded

I have recently been noting in many conversations the irony of how liberals invariably accuse conservatives of being close-minded and insular, yet fail to see that the description often better applies to them. Witness these two consecutive columns from my favorite liberal, Ted Rall. In the first, Ted goes on and on about how 85% of New Yorkers voted for Kerry and how the rest of the country should follow its example, since it was the city actually attacked by terrorists (I don't want to get sidetracked by the horrifyingly bad logic employed there). Sample - "Some New Yorkers, reported the New York Times, said they didn't even know any people who had voted for President Bush (In both Manhattan and the Bronx, Mr. Bush received 16.7 percent of the vote.)" In the second column, Rall goes on and on about how stupid Red-staters are, using the example of his (and my) hometown, Dayton, OH. Sample - "My suburb was racially insular, culturally bland and intellectually unstimulating. Its people were knee-jerk conformists." Isn't the irony delicious? The area that has 85% of its people engaged in group-think is open-minded. The area where nobody even knows anyone who voted for Bush is open-minded. However, the state that goes 50-50 in the election is of course insular, unstimulating, and conformist(!). Nice, Rall. Further proof that the man is a total imbecile. If he weren't such a complete buffoon, which would make it a huge waste of my time, I would dedicate a separate blog just to combating Rall's one-man assault on logic and common sense.

All that being said, sometimes liberals do live up to their vaunted reputation for being open-minded. My liberal coworker (my second good friend that has been a Democrat, but the only one who still is!) is reading Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics, and is quite interested in it. That's cool. Sowell is a conservative genius and a professor of economics at Stanford. Check out his columns here. This guy is right up there with Walter Williams, in my opinion. Brilliant! (said in the voice of the Guinness commercials). And back on-topic now - I can respect someone who disagrees with me after understanding both sides of the argument, but nothing annoys me more than when liberals accuse me of being close-minded when I often know their own arguments better than they themselves and they have spent no time understanding my side of the issues.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

New browser

I've installed the new Firefox 1.0 browser at home and at work. I like it so far, particularly its pop-up blocking capability. Far superior to what I had with the Google and Yahoo toolbars. It is also faster for many things, although I found it very slow loading PDF files. Was that just a weird occurrence or has anyone else seen that? The ability to tab your different browser windows is also quite handy. Anyway, I recommend giving it a try. Firefox will import your IE bookmarks, history, etc., upon installation (very small download, approx 4MB) so you are set up to go right away. You might notice a couple of pages are rendered slightly differently than in IE, but I haven't found anything that didn't work.

Here's a review of Firefox on Cnet.com. They gave it an 8.0 out of 10. Pretty good. I just scanned some of the negative reviews, and one indicated you couldn't use Yahoo! games, where I occasionally like to dabble. I just tried it out, and it simply requires you to download a plug-in, and then everything works fine. Hmmm...so much for reviews.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Fun at the office

When we aren't busy trashing each other's cubes, this has been the focus of our non-work energies. Of course, our team has to borrow them from elsewhere right now, so feel free to consult my amazon wishlist to buy me one! You'll really be helping my whole team. I even helpfully selected the cheapest one, since I don't need the fancy LEDs, etc. that you can get. The real bonus is that it's actually sort of an exercise. You can actually feel your arms get tired.

Speaking of Amazon wishlists, I've updated the priorities on there, so you can see which items I want the most.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

"Dining for Dollars"

I've learned a new term for when a person goes out to eat with a group of people, waits until everyone throws in their cash, and then pays with his or her credit card, thus collecting all the cash and avoiding going to the ATM. That's "dining for dollars", courtesy of one of my coworkers.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Red/blue

I'm still fascinated with this whole red/blue thing (although getting annoyed with discussion of it on TV). So here's an intriguing link - http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/10173005.htm?1c

Super size me

We watched Super Size Me on Friday night. For free, because we and two other couples babysat for our pastor and they already had it out, so we watched after we put their son to bed. The free part was good, as I don't like to pay money for movies that I consider likely political propaganda, especially if that propaganda seems likely to be against my worldview. This would be the reason I have not seen any movies by the supersized Michael Moore, although I now have a coworker willing to lend me a copy of Bowling for Columbine. Feel free to place bets on whether I am more likely to blow out my eardrums and bleed to death or simply just explode upon viewing that movie. Anyway, I digress. Super Size Me turned out to be quite entertaining. As long as nobody views that as a call to action for McDonalds to be held legally responsible for causing obesity, it was fine to watch. It obviously had numerous scientific flaws in his methods as well, since as far as I can tell he performed no exercise at all during the whole month of eating there and at most meals ate way more than even I ever eat (his avg. was 5000 calories/day!). Still an amusing watch, with perhaps the most memorable scene being in the DVD extras where they did an experiment to see what happened to the food as it just sat in glass jars over time. After 10 weeks, all the food was encased in mold and just nasty, except for the McDonald's french fries. They looked as good as new! How about that? Not sure that should be going through the body! It makes me want to recreate the experiment myself just to watch it happen and to make sure they didn't doctor that in the movie with new fries or anything.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I HATE SEAFOOD

The only tolerable fish is halibut.

Speaking of dead

Has anyone else thought that Dilbert just isn't as funny as it used to be? Your thoughts on why?

Is Friendster dead?

I happened to check out Friendster again recently, only thinking of it because they sent me an e-mail for some reason. I logged in and searched around, and couldn't find anyone who had any sort of activity on their page in the last six months. I guess Friendster is sooooo 2003.

blah

I've been really swamped at work recently, which combined with whatever sickness I had for two weeks has left me drained. Hopefully things will start to turn around now that I hit several deadlines today. Plus I started antibiotics on Monday and started to feel better that night, which has been a huge lift. I so appreciate not having a sore throat that it's hard to describe. I REALLY need to start working out again, but feeling sick and tired (literally!) all the time has just made that pretty much impossible.

With no segue (blogspot didn't have segue in the spellchecker?) whatsoever, I have two big posts coming on two subjects I'm very interested in, but it takes time to do these posts right and thus far I find I only want to do quick hits on my blog - links to stories I find interesting and quick commentary on something that happened to me or in the news. The two topics are outsourcing (a topic I still don't have my position fully fleshed out on) and the election/bitterness/intelligence/geography/whatever. I've been doing a LOT of reading on this recently and I think I would like to work through some of my thoughts on the reasons behind the split - hopefully not the same crap you see on the news every day, and also some thoughts on how intelligent people can be on BOTH sides of the political divide.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Afghan Boomlet

Just highlighting a little good news in Afghanistan.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Why are liberals so angry?

Evidently the fun times of the sixties are over for the liberals. Now they are just angry, crotchety, bitter and grumpy.

Check it out here.
"I have family in Idaho, but I told my wife we're not going to visit them now. It's all Republicans there," said Ron Schmidt, a public relations executive. "We have family in Indiana and I don't want to go there either."

Ridiculous - how small minded is that? I'm conservative and I actually manage to LIVE next to their communist utopia. I'm pretty sure these losers can manage to VISIT the great state of Indiana, especially so they can see family! This is taking it even further than their empty threats to leave the country.

Here would be another example of a liberal tirade, albeit a little funnier. But still with 100% of the bitterness intact!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Not to brag ....

But indeed I did call the election for GWB back in September and never wavered from that opinion, even after the debates and even as the early exit polls were coming in showing Kerry the winner (Just like FL in the last election is what I thought). In fact, my optimism had actually earlier increased when I saw that Australia re-elected John Howard, in the face of much the same media commentary as GWB was facing.

Here's one of my original prognostications. Granted, I was wrong in the fact that I thought George W. Bush would surge ahead in the debates instead of losing ground like he actually did. However, I think this was due more to mistakes in the Bush campaign as to how to handle the debates rather than that Bush was incapable of winning them and putting Kerry away. Although to Kerry's credit, he performed better in them than I thought possible.

And check out the counter at the bottom - we've crossed 1,000 visitors here! Of course, half of those are probably me.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Funny

Bush Expends Political Capital

What is he doing?

That's a question many of you may be asking if you looked at the timing of my first post today, as 9 AM on a Saturday is not a time I am well acquainted with outside the comfy confines of my bed. However, I appear to have recaught the nasty cold I first acquired in Dallas almost two weeks ago, and as such I cannot sleep very well - especially because my throat REALLY HURTS. Plus it leaves me exhausted at the end of the day so I am going to bed very early. I bought Shrek 2 with my wife (using a gift certificate from our wedding) yesterday and we tried to watch it last night, but only made it about halfway through before falling asleep a little after 10. That would make me feel old, but I take solace in knowing that it is due to being sick.

On a totally unrelated note, we also caught a matinee showing of The Incredibles yesterday. I took off work a little early as I have a ton of comp time from the Dallas adventure. Anyway, it was the two of us, one other couple that looked like they were on a date, and approximately 34,012 kids and parents in the theater. None of the kids were actually very poorly behaved, but neither did anyone really sit still. There was a lot of squirming and moving in the audience. It was kind of a different experience for someone who's not used to going to the movies with kids. Nevertheless, I found The Incredibles a very enjoyable movie, despite having to fend off numerous rude comments and laughter from my wife as to how the out-of-shape and retired Mr. Incredible looked like me. Example: at one point in the movie he crams himself into his tiny car to drive home from work and just looks ridiculous. My wife pokes me and says, "That's how you looked in your Corolla!" and then giggles for several minutes.

Pet peeve of the week

I work in a Dilbert-like cubicleville. As such, we receive an astonishingly high number of communications regarding the fact that we need to keep the aisles between the cubes clear in case of emergency, etc. What is even more astonishing is that it appears that most highly educated people have no idea what the difference between an aisle and an isle is! In fact, I don't think I have received an e-mail or seen a sign using the correct word, "aisle", in more than a year.

To combat this rampant grammatical ignorance, I offer up the correct definitions here:

aisle

isle

I think work would be a lot more relaxing if there really were an island between each row of cubes!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Interesting effect of obesity

Yahoo! News - Feds: Obesity Raising Airline Fuel Costs: "Through the 1990s, the average weight of Americans increased by 10 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The extra weight caused airlines to spend $275 million to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel in 2000 just to carry the additional weight of Americans, the federal agency estimated in a recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. "

"The extra fuel burned also had an environmental impact, as an estimated 3.8 million extra tons of carbon dioxide were released into the air, according to the study. "

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Why don't these liberal idiots who threaten to leave the U.S. if Bush wins ever actually leave? Interestingly, I don't think I've ever heard a conservative say the same thing about Kerry.
Hmmm.... and then people wonder why conservatives think they love their country more than liberals. Because we do.

Monday, November 01, 2004

If you are ignorant ...

...please do NOT vote. Contrary to the asinine assertions made by P. Diddy and his Vote or Die! ilk, it is better not to vote than to make uninformed votes.

Clearly it is better not to drive your car, than to drive your car not knowing what you are doing and where you are going. Certainly driving your country (essentially what voting is) is even more important than driving your car. If you have no idea what's going on and what a candidate stands for, and you are voting based on how your parents or your friends voted, or based on one commercial you caught in the middle of a soap opera that made you feel good, then you should stay home and not potentially help ruin the country with your ignorance.

This in no way means I want only people who agree with me to vote, as I certainly know some well-(mis?)informed Democrats.


OpinionJournal - Featured Article

Seriously, ask yourselves these 5 questions to pick a leader and then tell me how you could possibly vote for John Kerry? Actually, just based on the first question, how could you vote for Kerry?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Rental Cars

I can't say enough good things about Hotwire.com as a place to rent cars from. I've used them several times and always gotten a great price and had no problems with a car. On my trip to St. Louis, I rented through hotwire and got a car from Hertz for $13/day! Granted, you aren't getting a flashy car for that (I got the crappy Chevy Malibu), but what can you expect for $13 a day? It got me where I needed to go.

When in Texas, my rental car (also from Hertz but not through hotwire this time since it was paid for through my job) was a Ford Mustang. I was excited about that at first, but it ended up being a huge disappointment. The Mustang was uncomfortable to sit in, had very little trunk space (I had to force my big suitcase in there) and had almost NO power. I swear that car would have had trouble beating my old Toyota Corolla in a race, and wouldn't even begin to compete with our Highlander. Ridiculous for a sports car.

Life in Dallas

Well, I just got back Friday from spending eight days in Dallas. It was a lot of long hours (15+ hour days sometimes) at work, all on the computer, so this accounts for how I didn't feel much like blogging last week.

So, some thoughts on Dallas and my trip:

Very humid and hot for October. Plus it rained almost every day I was there, I think. Anyway, it was freakishly hot outside, but then inside our building at work it was literally freezing. I had to wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts and often a jacket to stay warm while I was inside. That might also be somewhat attributed to the fact that I got sick with a nasty cold while I was there. One of my coworkers had it first and infected many others like a modern-day Typhoid Mary.

Housing prices were phenomenal. Pretty nice houses available for $190-210K! Wow! Amazingly low compared to California.

People seemed generally nicer in Texas, and I didn't see many signs of the slowness of things that often goes along with that. For example, the last time I was out there, we had a really friendly server at one restaurant, but it took forever to get drink refills or anything because she talked to EVERYONE. None of that this time, so it was all upside and no downside in that department.

I stayed at the Radisson hotel in Richardson. Pretty nice and for a decent price. Although I will say that when you stay in a place for 8 days, you notice a lot of "little" things that you would probably just overlook on a 1 or 2 night stay. Like the fact that there was no light switch that I could reach from the door. Given that we worked late virtually every night, I would get back to my completely dark room, have to set my laptop, etc. down and then stumble around in the dark to get to a light switch. That gets old fast. So, I left a very detailed comment card of the good and the bad that I experienced there. Overall a pretty nice experience. Except one more thing - they didn't have FoxNewsChannel on their TV!!! What is that about??? They had MSNBC, but not the number one rated cable news channel? Ridiculous.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Two sentence movie reviews

The Manchurian Candidate: Have you ever been to a movie where every single person that saw it walked out thinking that they could have made a better movie from the same general storyline? Now you have.

Home on the Range: Lame, family-friendly fare. Lame animation, lame plot, lame singing: lame.

Saved!: Mostly entertaining look at how people view Christians, and the stupid things a lot of us do to bring that view on. However, I don't really agree with the preachy, politically-correct, tolerance-fest that the movie concludes with and which was possibly its main point.

Man on Fire: Good movie, but did anyone else notice you have to wade through 2 hours of mostly fluff to get to where Creasy starts kicking butt and taking names and spewing out a couple of great action-movie lines? Did anyone else have to watch the movie twice to actually see the whole thing through once because they kept falling asleep?

Dodgeball: Low expectations were the key here. Funny cameo by Lance Armstrong.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Book Review: Red Rabbit

I haven't been reading as much recently, so that's why there have been no book reviews on the blog. I decided to do a little fun reading to get things kick-started again, especially since I've been on planes a lot recently, where I find I have a harder time doing heavier reading. So that being said, I just finished up reading Red Rabbit, by Tom Clancy, on my way out to Dallas (where I am now). Echoing the sentiments of the couple of reviews I read on Amazon, this is definitely his weakest book. It was still an interesting read and I was eager to finish it, but it just wasn't up to his normal brilliance. First off, any time you do a prequel you are definitely operating under some constraints, and those are certainly in evidence here. Secondly, is the man going senile? I swear there were several instances of him making the exact same reference to things twelve times throughout the book. How often can Jack Ryan be thinking about how he likes to fire a .45 better than a 9mm? Maybe he did this in his other books as well, but it has never stood out to me as much as it did in this one. Honestly, the pacing of the whole book seemed a little stilted, whether that was due to the aforementioned prequel constraints or not, I can't say. However, this is still an excellent book, just not masterful like his better works have been.

Here's an author who's books WON'T be getting reviewed or read by me anytime soon: John Le Carre. Look, you can certainly dislike foreign leaders, but it's a whole different game to be telling citizens of a different country how to vote. Especially if you're a pseudo-intellectual with no understanding of how the world actually works. Ridiculous. I've actually lost quite a bit of respect for him from this little stunt. And, while I would never have considered myself a huge fan of his, I have read three or four of Le Carre's works. No more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Restrooms

Has anyone else noticed how airports always seem to be at the cutting edge of restroom technology?

Here's what makes a good restroom.
1) Can enter and exit without having to touch a door handle (so you don't touch the same thing as the guy before you who didn't wash his hands. Why would you not wash your hands? What's wrong with these neanderthals?)
1b) for smaller spaces (can't have the entry walkway that airports have so that you can get in without a door and still be private), it is acceptable to have a trash can near the door so that I can open the door with a paper towel and discard it as I go out.
2) No levers/buttons to press to flush the toilet
3) No handles for the faucets
4) Nothing to press to get paper towels. Automatic blowers are NOT an acceptable alternative. Nobody wants to stand in the restroom for the 6 minutes it takes these things to dry your hands.

Most airports have all of these! Why can't more places use the motion sensors for everything? It seems that in the long run this might even save money, as nobody can ever accidentally leave the faucet running or anything.

O'Hare even goes a step further in the cleanliness genre with what I affectionately refer to as the automatic toilet condom, that wraps the toilet seat in plastic for each user. That's more than is necessary, however, as the normal boxes with the safety seats (aka "butt gaskets") in them are ok.

Yahoo! News - Edwards Chides Rice Over State Speeches

Hmmm....isn't this ironic, don't ya think? "'George Bush will go to any length to cling to power, even if it means diverting his national security adviser from doing her job," Sen. John Edwards. That might have a little more meaning if you'd shown up in the senate in the past year, John.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Illinois

There's been no blogging since Wednesday because I left EARLY last Thursday morning to fly to Illinois for a wedding. I had to get up at 4 AM. For those of you that know me, that wasn't easy. Then we stayed up that night until 4 AM talking. The wedding was for one of my college roommates, so all of us that were friends in college had a lot to talk about. Plus we played EUCHRE!! Double-deck euchre!! It just doesn't get more exciting than that. One of our other friends (who I was supposed to share a rental car with) had his original flight from Newark to St. Louis cancelled and had to route through Chicago instead. So he got into St. Louis way late, and got a speeding ticket on the way up to where the wedding was (about a 2 hour drive). So he didn't roll in until 1 that night. I had not waited around for him that long, so I was in long before that.

Friday was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, but before that we went shooting. I got to shoot an AR-15, which I can't do here in CA. The dinner was outside under a tent (where the reception was the next day), and it got a little cold. Everyone else complained a lot, but I was loving it! I've waited a long time to be cold. I don't like it to be cold a lot, but sometimes it just stays hot for too long out here. There was a hayride beforehand, which was fun, but would have been even more fun if my wife had been with me.

The wedding was on Saturday and was very nice. I didn't get a lot of sleep Friday night either, but didn't really feel that until after the wedding. I was a groomsman, and it seemed like a really long time to stand. I think that means I need to lose weight again. That was not helped by the huge amounts I ate this weekend! The reception was a lot of fun, though still a little cold. The best part of the whole reception was when they drove off....in a tractor! That was awesome! And the DJ was blaring "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy". Good times.

I got home LATE Sunday. It was nice that the later flight let me sleep in a little later on Sunday, but I would have preferred to get home a little earlier. I had a very long layover in Minneapolis. I watched the Sunday night game while I was waiting, but I was surrounded by Vikings fans while I semi-rooted for the Saints, since I have fantasy players on the Saints.

I spent the whole weekend without internet access, so that's why there were no updates.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Another pet peeve

Here in California, we have these nice lanes where you can just turn right without stopping at a red light because YOU HAVE YOUR OWN LANE EVEN AFTER YOU TURN. You just have to merge in later. However, sometimes people still stop at the light, causing me to almost run into them. DON'T STOP FOR NO REASON!!!! ARRRGGGHHH!

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Doctor Is In: Debating Federal Tort Reform

This is pretty much exactly what I thought when Kerry said that stupid "But it's less than 1 percent of the total cost of health care" line in the debate the other night about the effect of medical malpractice lawsuits. And it's from a doctor, so he's a little more credible than I am.

Man, I'm really liking this guy's whole blog. Check out his post on prescription drugs from Canada too.

CBS, NBC cash goes to Democrats

Another "shocking" story that might lead one to think there is a little media bias. Even the employees at FoxNews, typically portrayed as a right-wing bastion, only gave about a fifth of their donations to Republican causes. NBC? ZERO% of $146,585 to Repubs.

King's game

Hey, we got free tix to the King's preseason opener last night. Fun time, even though the Kings lost. Didn't matter as it was preseason and they were obviously rusty. A lot of anticipation passes where the guy would end up running the other way and the ball would just go straight out of bounds.

My wife's uncle has season tickets and gave us his for the night, even including free parking! Got to love that.

Apple Hill Harvest Run

Check out where I'll be running November 7th - Apple Hill Harvest Run. I'm not anticipating a fast time or anything as I am totally out of shape. This will be a good motivator for me to get going with running again. My long term goal is run a 5K in less than 25 minutes, but right now I struggle to maintain a 10 minutes/mile pace. This race is a little longer than 5k (it's 3.5 miles) and very hilly, so I will have pretty low expectations for it.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Yahoo! News - THE ABC OUTRAGE

Oh really? SHOCKING!

Do you believe in miracles?

Niners Win! Niners Win! Although they lost Julian Peterson for the season. As if they didn't have enough problems.

Tradition

In keeping with the fact that you grow up just like your parents, I made pancakes this morning for breakfast. My Dad used to make pancakes or waffles (and sometimes omelets) every Sunday morning for as long as I can remember. I've actually done it a few times, although it's harder for me b/c I don't like to get up very early.

Weird

Not sure what happened with the last post. I thought I posted it on Friday, but I guess it crapped out and never made it. So blogger saved it as a draft and I finally got it posted today.

Anyway, I didn't get everything on the list for Saturday done, but I did most of it and some extra. When I got the edger, I got one that is actually an edger and a weed whacker, so I both edged our driveway (which looks a lot better, but I think you can tell I was learning how to use one) and trimmed around the entire back yard. Our backyard has a concrete edge around the whole lawn that separates the plant/bark section from the lawn. It looks really nice, but it makes it kind of a hassle to mow parts of it, especially in one corner where there is no way to get the mower in there. But the weedwhacker took care of all of that handily. I did end up having to trim back a couple of bushes that were there too - a rose and some kind of berry bush. I wasn't able to finish the whole lawn, because part of it was quite swampy. Our backyard doesn't drain very well, and it rained at about 3 AM yesterday. I also trimmed back the two trees using the new lopper. All together, I spent about 7 hours on this stuff yesterday, counting the time I spent going to Lowe's and getting the stuff, assembly on the new trimmer, and actually doing everything else.

So that leaves mowing the swampy part of the lawn, which I'm leaving for tomorrow when it will be warm enough to burn off the water there (hopefully); I have all the backyard sprinklers off in the meantime. I also then have to fertilize the lawn - the backyard in particular because we have a couple of bare spots. Plus I still need to wash the highlander.

That was probably way more than you ever wanted to read about my adventures in yard care, but if I can spend all day working on the yard, you can spend 3 minutes reading about it!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Busy week

Sorry for the few updates this week. Had a busy week at home and at work, so just didn't have time. I led our couples' Bible Study this week on Wednesday on John 13:1-17. I think it went well. We did this little exercise at the end where we wrote down an idea for something we were going to do to serve our spouse over the next week (following with Jesus' example in John 13) and then the paper is going to be handed to your spouse next week to see if you did it. Service and Accountability - two of our big goals for life groups!

Tuesday night I did get a chance to watch the VP debate, but then immediately had to run to soccer (actually caught the end of the debate on the radio). We lost our consolation playoff game, so we ended up finishing fourth in our league. I can't believe we finished so poorly, as I remain convinced we have the best team in the league, particularly because our girls are so good. We just suddenly lost the ability to put the ball in the net.

Last night I ran home and tried to do some home stuff - mowed the front lawn, cleaned out my old car that we're getting rid of, did a wash, looked for plane tix for Christmas at my sister's, etc.
Saturday looks to be another full day - starting at 9:30 AM helping a friend move, then going to Lowe's to use gift certificates from our wedding to buy lawn fertilizer, an edger, and tree loppers (is that the scientific term?) - the thing with the rope that lets you cut really tall tree branches. I trimmed one of our trees last Saturday, but didn't get the top stuff done because it is WAY up high and I fell off the ladder working on the lower stuff and didn't really want to be off balance cutting and trying to reach limbs up at the top. Then I need to use all the stuff I bought - edge the driveway, fertilize the lawn, and trim the top of the big tree and all of the other tree. Plus I need to mow the back lawn, as I have kind of let that go for a few weeks and it is definitely getting pretty long. I also need to wash our new car - starting to get dirty. I also need to make some phone calls to people (stay in touch using my free weekend minutes). Then I will collapse and fall asleep probably. I guess I will be missing OU-Texas, which I would kind of like to catch. Oh well, I had to give up college football a long time ago.

NO NO NO

Changing the Constitution for no reason is BAD. And I even like Arnold, but I have no idea why we would want to change something that hasn't been a problem for 200+ years. I generally err on the side of assuming the founding fathers knew what they were talking about.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

RIDICULOUS

Why would we ever want to be like Europe? This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. If this story makes sense to you, I'm pretty sure I know who you're voting for in November.

Are the Swedes going to be fair and charge extra taxes for things women do that are worse than men? Perhaps it should cost more for a woman to register a car since they are historically worse at parking? Yes I know it's a stereotype. That's the point. The whole thing is ridiculous.

Where have you gone, Joe Montana?

Wow. The 49ers have just looked AWFUL recently. I feel foolish for even mentioning the possibility of a 5-11 season. Based on statistics, I have to assume they will win at least two games, but that isn't because I see any matchups that they should probably win. Playing Arizona at home this week should be one of their better shots.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Best Commercial of 2004

I don't want to only focus on the negative here, so thought I might mention that my favorite commercial so far this year has been the Starbucks commercial where Survivor sings (to the tune of Eye of The Tiger) to the guy as he is going to work - "Glen's the man, going to work, got his tie, got ambition....", etc. That ALWAYS is good for at least a smile from me.

Late thoughts on debate

Well, I haven't had time to blog my thoughts on the debate until now, so I probably will have nothing to say that you haven't already heard a thousand times before. But it's my blog and I'll type what I want to.

First off, I missed the first 15 minutes of it due to getting out of work a little bit later than I was planning. Definitely a drawback of living on the Left Coast. So, given that caveat, here are my impressions.

1) No clear winner
2) K seemed smooth, much better than anticipated. But what did he really say?
3) President George W. Bush seemed less confident (lots of umms and uhs) than the aura he normally projects. Baffling.
4) No one really got in any humorous zingers. Thought this was one area where President George W. Bush would really be able to stand out from K, who looks like he might not have a humorous bone in his body.
5) Bush definitely hammered on the point that K is not fit to lead, due to waffling and statements made that undercut support of troops in Iraq. Hammered those points almost to the point of being annoying.
6) Ummmmm......what exactly does K stand for on Iraq?? and how is it really any different than what George W. Bush stands for? I STILL DON'T KNOW.
7) I think most of the debate brought up nothing new for even the most casual follower of the elections race (Bush: K can't lead, is a waffler. K: Bush has made mistakes (Iraq), can't admit them, time for a new leader blah blah). What I hope some of these casual followers do pick up on is the difference in belief in national sovereignty. As George W. Bush correctly pointed out, K's belief in the international test or whatever, his support for the international criminal court, and his ridiculous and slavish devotion to having the French, Germans, etc validate everything we do really do indicate someone who believes the United States cannot simply act in its best interest. That person is not fit to be our president.


Everyone knows I had high hopes for George W. Bush, and the only way I can see people think he lost is that he didn't meet those expectations and K exceeded the low expectations everyone had for him. However, what of substance did K accomplish? Nothing! Bush was the front-runner before this debate and will still be after the debate. The gambling line has moved a little towards K, but not much. I don't think the debate really influenced anybody too much as to how they will actually vote (even among those who think K won the debate). So, GWB should easily be able to correct his presentation mistakes in the next two debates, and then K won't be able to win on substance or style.


Worst Commercial of 2004

Are the stupid McDonald's Chicken Select ads where the people defend their Chicken Selects from imaginary foes the worst ones of 2004? I can't think of any that have been more annoying.

Friday, October 01, 2004

More on Country Music

Further proof that country music is not just bad, it's bad for your health:

"One student who knew how to track down radio station play lists helped Gundlach and colleague Steven Stack discover that people who listened to more country music were indeed more likely to commit suicide."

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Pet Peeve

I think that if I see one more person type "loosing" when they mean "losing", I might chew off one of my own toes.

Here are some helpful links for anyone who might be confused between the two:

Loosing (from loose)

Losing

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Common sense in California??

Is it possible that common sense showed up in Oakland in the form of Jerry Brown? He put an end to the suspension of DUI checkpoints that were discovering too many illegal immigrants driving without a license (See previous story in my "Crazy in California" post).

I don't necessarily know how I feel about DUI checkpoints for other constitutional reasons (since I never get drunk, do they really have the right to stop me? Shouldn't there have to be some sort of probable cause? Plus they are a big hassle, as they can tie traffic up for some time). However, I know for sure that the checkpoints shouldn't be stopped just because they were turning up illegal immigrants driving without a license!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Libraries

As someone who has long complained about the incredibly sorry state of the California library system, this table will illustrate my point. The state I mostly grew up in, Ohio, had its library system rated #1 for both of the past two years. California came in at 43 and 41. Ouch!

Several people have told me that this is due to Prop 13 limiting homeowner taxes, so there is no money for libraries. This would make sense in older communities where residents lived in their homes for a long time. However, in the county I live in, houses are springing up left and right, and I would say the majority of the homes in the county probably didn't exist 10 years ago. Thus, taxes should be sufficient for libraries, right? Especially since the values of the houses in this area have quadrupled in the past 5 years and the county should be rolling in money. SO WHY ARE OUR LIBRARIES TERRIBLE?

Football update

I will win both of my fantasy football games this week barring a major setback, since I am ahead in both and have Clinton Portis going for both teams.

This will put me at 1-2 in my free league and 2-1 in my pay league.

We also started a survival pool at work, wherein you pick a winner of one game each week. If they lose, you're out. You can only pick a team to win one time. Most of our league ended up picking Atlanta over the hapless Cardinals, me included. Thankfully the Falcons came through with a giant 6-3 win. So we have three people eliminated (one guy picked the Niners over the Seahawks as his lock?!) and nine people still in.

Crazy in California

Could someone explain to me the thinking behind this?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

New cell

Got a new cell phone today. I also switched from Sprint to AT&T wireless, but thanks to number portability, my number is still the same. The 6820 looks pretty cool so far, although I had some problems with the power button at first, which magically cleared up once I took it into the store and waited in line for an hour. This left me phoneless for a while today, since we don't have a home line, my Sprint phone had already stopped working, and I couldn't use the new AT&T one. But everything worked out pretty quickly. I'm still going through the hassle of porting over all the numbers from my old phone.

Friday, September 24, 2004

George Bush

The google ads on the side of my blog keep putting up pro-kerry ads all the time. Since these key off of what I talk about in the blog, I thought maybe I was mentioning JK too often, even though negatively. Or else, "Kerry" is easier to scan through and return ad hits for than Bush, since the word "Bush" has alternate uses. Hence I will now attempt to only reference George W. Bush in my blog, in hopes of skewing to more pro-George W. Bush ads. If that doesn't affect things, I guess I will be forced to assume that the JK campaign is just advertising on the internet or through Google more than the George W. Bush campaign?

George W. Bush

Dan Blather

What is there to say that hasn't already been better said here? The whole situation is just unbelievable. "I know this story is true..." because a fairy told me in my dreams! What in the world?

Grumpy old man

I can't wait until I'm old enough to be a professional grumpy old man.

In the meantime ...

I just heard two instances of the word "freshmens" employed on ESPN Sportcenter in 3 minutes tonight. RIDICULOUS. Why do we even bother having school at all?

And from Forbes.com(!), this lovely snippet:

Quentin Lawson, NABSE's executive director, exercised his First Amendment rights not to answer the committee's questions on the grounds that he might incriminate himself or interfere with an "ongoing investigation."

Ummm....which amendment gives you the right not to incriminate yourself? I'm pretty sure it's the Fifth and not the First. Please retake a high school government class.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Midwestern moment

I've got the need, the need for EUCHRE!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Freedom Fries

Why was it I wasn't liking Jacques Chirac? Well, here's another good reason. With one swoop Chirac has managed to hit two of the issues that could get me most fired up - taxation and firearms. Obviously the answer to global poverty is a global tax, because the natural result of more bureaucracy and more taxation is less poverty. HMMM.

I recall a famous quote from former Chief Justice John Marshall, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." Mix that in with more restrictions on firearms, and this is heading to a global government casserole that I don't want to eat.

Memo to John Kerry: I don't want the UN to run ANYTHING.

Name one thing the UN does well (i.e., without "losing track of" a billion dollars - more on the UN here).
Name one thing John Kerry stands for.


I'll still be waiting next week.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Line on Bush/Kerry

Check out this blog. He collects the gambling lines from various places on the presidential race and presents the results with pretty charts and graphs. I love charts and graphs! Anyway, looks like gamblers are definitely putting the money on Bush at this point, as they should. Barring something strange happening at the debates, I don't see how Bush can lose. I actually think Bush will pull even further ahead after the debates, as mentioned in previous posts. Kerry has no solid message to present at the debates. Even if he comes up with one, it will be easily parried with the charge "well, that's how he feels today", because he has no credibility at holding to a position.

The gambling money presented on this site certainly lends credence to the Gallup Poll from USA Today this week that showed Bush expanding his lead to 14 points, versus the poll from somebody else that showed Kerry almost even with Bush (discussed here). Ridiculous. Figures lie and liars figure, but I think gambling money probably shows which is correct. After all, the pollsters can have political agendas which affect how they ask questions and interpret results (not to mention selecting appropriate "likely voters" and sample size, etc.), whereas gamblers only care about what will make them money.

Schwarzenegger to the rescue!

Back to the California political scene: Schwarzenegger stems the tide of idiocy once again. He vetoed a measure to increase California's minimum wage to $7.75/hour.

From the SacBee link:
In his veto message, the governor said the wage boost could yield unintended consequences, driving away jobs as state government struggles for revenue.
"Now is not the time to create barriers to our economic recovery or reverse the momentum we have generated," Schwarzenegger wrote.

EXACTLY! When will these people realize that California needs to make itself MORE attractive to businesses to get out of the economic doldrums, not LESS attractive. If we're going to mandate anything, how about requiring that our state legislators take a basic economics class (not available in San Francisco)?

:'(

I miss NFL Sunday ticket!

active

You may be wondering why I have so much time to blog tonight. It's because I'm watching "When Harry Met Sally" with my wife and some friends. Which actually isn't too bad for a chick flick. Nonetheless, I have already seen it, so it's nice to have the wireless connection and my laptop.

True Fan

When I tell people I'm a Niners fan, I often get disdainful looks and comments to how terrible they are this year. It's almost as if I shouldn't like them b/c they are bad. umm...the definition of a true fan is that you root for your team even when they are awful. The worst type of fan is the one who only roots for a team because they are good and abandons them when they get bad.

My predictions for the local teams this year, so we can see at the end of the season if I am even close to correct.
49ers: 5-11
Raiders: 6-10

Can't remember if I ever updated that I did indeed win one of my fantasy football games last week. Even though I scored very few points in both leagues, I did pull that one out. Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Country "Music"

Why do all my friends love country "music"? IT IS TERRIBLE! They all seem to think that just because I'm patriotic and conservative, that I should like country. Why? As I have semi-famously said before, you can write God Bless America on a piece of poop, and I still won't want to eat it.

Even one of my coworkers, who heretofore has evinced interest mostly in techno and esoteric indie music, has now gotten into this Big and Rich country band. A sad day!

I simply cannot understand the attraction.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Good luck

I went to an Oakland A's game on a team outing from work yesterday. It got a little boring, as baseball games can often drag on, but we ended up having a good time by just shouting loudly and almost randomly. We got free A's hats, so that helped get us all in a cheery mood as well.

It was actually a very close game; the A's won by one. The Rangers jumped out to a quick lead and the A's were playing sloppy, and the A's fans among us were a little depressed. I quickly reassured them that they had nothing to worry about - every time I attend a professional game, the home team ALWAYS wins. In fact, I don't believe I have ever seen (in person) a major league home team lose. This is even given that I may be rooting against the home team, yet they still always win. This applies to 2 Kings NBA games, 2 Niners NFL games, 1 A's game, and numerous Reds MLB games growing up. I used to get free tix to 2 Reds games a year based on my grades, and sometimes went with friends as well. And I HATED the Reds. Yet they ALWAYS won. I believe at least one of my old-school buds from that time reads the blog, so he can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I may have powerful magic! In fact, the only professional event where this ever did not apply was at one minor league baseball game here in Sac. Otherwise, it has held true even in the minors as well.

Anyway, my theory is that home teams should be offering me free tickets and trips to come to their key games to ensure a win. And visiting teams should be trying to outbid them to keep me away!




Wednesday, September 15, 2004

One more thing

I don't care what a fan says, a player should NEVER chuck a chair into the stands! This is so ridiculous I have no further comment.

Food Post - I love cereal!

And Wal-Mart has won my heart in the cereal game. It has all the cereals I love for $2.50. TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS! SERIOUSLY! THAT IS CRAZY! Even Cracklin' Oat Bran, which I love but have not eaten for years due to the prohibitive price. And Post Selects Banana Nut Crunch!! And Honey Bunches of Oats!! I am in Cereal Heaven. Whatever faults Wal-Mart may have I forgive them now!

Note: If Wal-Mart in your area has had this cereal deal for some time, then fantastic. However, it's new out here in California. Jerry Seinfeld and I are loving it! I am eating cereal for breakfast, dinner, and dessert. I would have it for lunch too, but I'm too lazy to transport all the stuff I would need to work. And where/how would I get milk?

I'm thinking of a poll, so I might try to set that up. I'm curious to see what type of milk people drink the most - skim, 1%, 2%, or whole?

While I have food on the mind, my coworkers and I tried a new pasta place the other day, Pasta Pomodoro. It's so new the location we went to doesn't appear to be on their website yet. Anyway, it was very tasty and fairly reasonably priced and had a contemporary yet classy atmosphere. It completely destroyed Pasghetti's, the other new Italian chain in town (looked, but I couldn't find a website. I'm probably spelling it wrong, but it's after midnight, so I don't really care).

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

How much is too much?

I've seen a lot of news stories on extremely obese people recently (e.g. here). Speaking as someone who has been bigger my whole life, flirted with 300 pounds just three yrs ago, and now weighs in at 265, I still just can't understand this extreme level of obesity. What I'm really struggling with is, who keeps feeding these people after they get too fat to get out of bed? If you can't get out of bed to feed yourself (due to obesity, obviously these statements don't apply to medical conditions), might one consider that as a sign to stop eating so much? I have asked my wife, if I ever start to get hugely obese, to never bring food to me! Make sure I have to get up to get it!

The really annoying thing about this article is the whole cry for the government to do more about this! THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TELL YOU TO STOP STUFFING YOUR FACE! Where is the personal responsibility?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Any news?

Seemed like a boring news day ... did I miss something? The story that seems to be getting coverage everywhere is Oprah giving away cars. Maybe I'm just having a hard time coming down from the high of the first day of football season yesterday! Things aren't looking too good for my fantasy teams. I got completely drubbed in one league and maybe will win in the other. A lot depends on tonight's game in that one.

I did have a good time showing off the new car at work today. Everyone seemed to like it. We all rode to lunch in it. Quite roomy. My freakishly tall, 6 foot 5 inch coworker could sit comfortably in the backseat!

Ok, off to watch Monday Night Football while I work out at the gym!

Brave New World

Thought provoking essay, link courtesy of my sister, on the state of American education.

Pic of Highlander

Click here to see what our new car looks like. Make sure "Bluestone Metallic" is the color being displayed. I can't take a pic of our actual car and put it on here until I get a replacement cord for our digital camera.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

It's official

We are now the proud owners of a new 2004 blue-gray Toyota Highlander!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Bush national guard

Due to the car scenario, I haven't been able to stay on top of political news like I normally would and thus cannot offer my normal insightful commentary on the Bush national guard situation. However, I did find this interesting item on the Evil Conservative blog.

Without even having delved into the whole situation, I do have one thing to say. Those idiotic commentators who are comparing this news to the Swift Boat Vet situation for Kerry are complete fools. BUSH IS NOT BASING HIS CAMPAIGN ON HIS PERFORMANCE IN THE NATIONAL GUARD THIRTY YEARS AGO! Whereas Kerry quite clearly has tried to base a large part of his campaign on his 4 months in Vietnam, which is ludicrous. Honestly, I'm pretty much at the point where I don't care that much what either one of them did in 1975 or whatever. Kerry has to try to go back that far because he hasn't accomplished a single thing since then.

Car update

Ok, we did some test driving last night.

I. The Prius is out.
1) No power
2) Looks stupid
3) Feels fragile
4) Hearing bad news on having to replace electronics and battery and the cost of doing so
5) My wife hated it.

II. The Murano is out
1) Higher cost
2) Having a hard time finding any used ones

III. Xterra out for the previously mentioned reason

IV. Camry is still hanging on as maybe being in consideration
1) Just can't get excited about it
2) Older models I don't fit in
3) Does have pretty good gas mileage

V. New entrant: Nissan Maxima
1) Pretty reasonable price (on a 2002)
2) Fun to drive
3) Very roomy
4) Looks pretty cool
5) Smooth ride
6) Negative - not very good gas mileage (20,26)
7) Still need to do consumer reports research

VI. Toyota Highlander
1) Decent power if you get a V6 (still nothing like the Maxima)
2) Virtually same gas mileage as maxima (19,26 I think)
3) Have to get a 2004 to get the newer, more powerful engine (same g.m.), so cost is higher
4) Can haul stuff around from home depot, etc. in it.
5) Has third row of seats if necessary


So, it's really coming down to the Maxima vs. the Highlander right now. I'm heavily leaning towards the maxima, b/c I just enjoyed driving that more, and based on cost considerations. Also, I don't yet see a real need for anything bigger right now, such as the Highlander. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

FIRE! FIRE!

Well, we had one of the most exciting nights of our married life so far on Tuesday night. My wife's car had been in the shop, so she had taken my car to work. When she got home, I could hear sort of a weird noise coming from the garage. Then she threw open the door and ran in shouting "I can't get the car to turn off!!" I hustle out to the garage, and sure enough, she has the keys in her hand, but the starter is just hammering the engine over and over and over again. I try to stop it, by turning the key on and off again, to no effect, except that when I put the key to on, the engine starts up too, but the starter continues going. If I turn it off, the engine shuts off, but the starter keeps going and going. I throw the hood up while calling my friend who knows a lot about cars and is likely to be up at 11:30 PM. Even with the engine off, it is shaking from the starter just beating on it. On the phone, we agree that it is better to leave the engine running while this is happening, and that I need to disconnect the battery so the starter doesn't have power anymore. Then we should be able to get everything to shut off. So I grab some tools to try to get the battery cables disconnected, but am having no quick success when I start to notice smoke coming out of the engine. I quickly ascertain that priority one is not to have a fire start in our garage, so I get the car out in the driveway. At this point thick black smoke is pouring out of the hood, while my wife calls the fire department. Eventually the fire or heat burns through some wires, including the battery cable, and everything shuts off. Then the fire truck shows up. Thankfully we thought to request silent approach, so the whole neighborhood didn't wake up and appear in our front yard. Nonetheless, they put up a floodlight that makes things bright as day pointed right at our house. At this point the car has pretty much stopped smoking, so I am feeling a little foolish that they are there, but the firemen are pretty cool about it. They check out the melted cables and such, and then go ahead and disconnect the battery and take off. Two days later, our garage still smells like nasty smoke. So, at this point, we have pretty much decided to get a new car. Because the Corolla would probably (at least) need a new starter, some cables and wires, a new ignition switch, and a new battery. Also, it already needed some suspension work and new brakes, rotors, and calipers. All that basically equals the value of the car. We had been entertaining looking at new cars anyway, but now it is much accelerated. It has already been a hassle to just have one car these past two days.

Current cars under consideration, certainly preferring used

Good gas mileage cars:
Toyota Prius (these seem VERY hard to come by here, rumor has it there's a 9 month waiting list for a new one)
Toyota Camry

Roomier SUVs:
Toyota Highlander
Nissan Murano
Nissan Xterra - may be out, since most reviews say this is really built for offroading, and you shouldn't buy it if you just plan to go around town.

Current plan is to visit some dealers and do some test driving over the next couple of days and the weekend and hopefully have a car by next week.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

TRAFFIC JAM

Check out the 2004 Urban Mobility Study. Looks like the data for the 2004 study is from 2002. Sacramento rated 30th worst traffic in the country, with each resident losing an average of 36 hours per year to being stuck in traffic. Since I rarely get stuck in traffic (due to living only 3 or 4 miles from work), I figure my wife must be spending about 70 hours a year stuck in traffic just to even things out.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Old News II

From the Wall Street Journal.

No surprise to the readers of this blog.

TIME magazine poll shows Bush up by 11%. The only question is how well the lead will hold up.

From recent reports, it sounds like the Kerry team is in disarray. I doubt the new team has enough time to figure out a new message that can resonate with the American people. Especially because changing message again only further contributes to Kerry's image problems as a flip-flopper and not a leader. From MSNBC, "After voting for the war, but against funding it, after saying he would have voted for the war even knowing everything we know today, my opponent woke up this morning with new campaign advisers and yet another new position,” Bush said in prepared remarks.

And there it is.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL????

FOOTBALL IS BACK!!! This means that my favorite hobby is back as well - fantasy football. I will once again be playing in two leagues this year, but I won't be running either of them myself. We are on hiatus with the league I've run at work the past three years. I just didn't have the time for it, and frankly had no desire to deal with all the whining again either. So, I will be playing in a free league on yahoo, and a prize money league on nfl.com/sportsline.com. I'll be using espn.com for a lot of fantasy info, but I don't play in leagues on there, because it costs $30 for a team BEFORE you set up for prize money.

Thursday night! God Bless America!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Low Blogging weekend

We went to a wedding of two of our friends yesterday, and we have several out of town guests staying with us for the wedding, so this is a low blogging weekend.

They had lasagna at the wedding reception. Delicious! I highly recommend it.

I read the Scripture at the wedding ... very SLOWLY, which is a struggle for me.

Ok, off to church. I hope to make a few format changes to the blog tomorrow, but that will have to come behind working on the house and working out.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Marriage = Baskets

That's what I've learned in 4 and a half months of marriage. Big baskets, small baskets, dark baskets, light baskets, wicker baskets, baskets that have a function, baskets that don't.

Some of the baskets end up making things better, like the baskets now employed on the sink in our master bath. I put all my stuff that I use everyday in there instead of just throwing it all over the place, and everything looks much nicer than before.

We also have a nice big basket in our living room next to our fireplace, ostensibly to hold wood. However, it's Sacramento and 100 degrees, so there hasn't been a lot of use for the fireplace yet, so the basket (which I actually do really like the look of) has instead been used as a place for my wife to hide things when she is in a cleaning frenzy. In particular, my flip-flops. This last time my flip-flops went missing, I quickly remembered the favorite hiding place, and sure enough they were in there. I guess she's trained me!

There you go - a post for anyone who was getting tired of mostly political commentary. Although out of the three people who regularly view this blog (I know who you are!), two have asked for more political stuff. I have to keep the constituents happy!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

BUSH WINS!

You heard it here first. This is not from watching the cheerleading of the convention, but rather from watching a surprisingly insightful interview with Dick Morris (whom I generally consider to be a complete snake) on the O'Reilly Factor. I couldn't find a transcript of the interview on FoxNews.com, so I'm having to go with these poll numbers from memory (and also this assumes the poll numbers were accurate in the first place), but they certainly make sense to me. Dick was discussing how Republicans are basically united on certain key questions, and that unity dovetails with Bush's positions. Democrats, on the other hand, are all over the map. He said Repubs were basically 80% for, 10% against us staying in Iraq. Dems were 35%/45%. Similar numbers existed for the question of whether we are winning the war in Iraq. There was another question as well that I've forgotten. Anyway, this makes a lot of sense to me. The left wing of the Democratic party is where all the energy is - anti-war, pro-socialism, etc. However, this is scary to normal people (apparently there are a few left in the Dem party), so the Democrats can't embrace those positions. Hence their convention almost sounded Republican, as they have to try to please everybody. No wonder Kerry waffles! Anyway, I think this spells doom for Kerry. How will he hold up in a debate, when just about any question he answers will offend at least a third of his base? I actually believe we may have turned the corner on a mauling here. Remember that Dukakis was ahead of the first Bush for a while as well, before being soundly beaten. Of course, we could all look back at this in a month and laugh (or cry).

Monday, August 30, 2004

527 continued

Ok, my long-promised opus on 527 groups, which were recently maligned by President Bush himself. Maybe I need to learn more about exactly what it means to form a 527, but my impressions is that it's a group of private citizens banding together to get out a message. Isn't that exactly what this country is founded on? Wouldn't the authors of the Federalist Papers essentially have been a 527? I don't understand how we would want to LIMIT the ability of private citizens to participate in the political process! No, we should be doing everything in our power to ENCOURAGE private citizens to participate. I will do more research into 527s and report back on my findings, but as of now I am extremely disappointed with President Bush and the Republican party coming out against free political speech. Especially b/c if we get rid of these groups, that will essentially leave only the media to comment on elections. Given that 90% of the media are registered Democrats, does that really make sense? We need to be repealing the ridiculous infringement on free speech that the current campaign finance laws are, not adding more restrictions to them!