Friday, December 22, 2006

12 Days of Christmas - Hawai'ian Style

("Tutu" is Hawai'ian for "grandmother" and everything else is said phonetically)

Numbah One day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
One mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Two day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Two coconut, an' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Tree day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Foah day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Five day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Five beeg fat peeg... foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Seex day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Seex hula lesson, five beeg fat peeg (that make TEN!), foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Seven day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Seven shrimp a-swimmin', seex hula lesson, five beeg fat peeg, foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Eight day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Eight ukulele, seven shrimp a-swimmin', seex hula lesson, five beeg fat peeg (that make TWENNY!), foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Nine day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Nine pound of poi, eight ukulele, seven shrimp a-swimmin', seex hula lesson, five beeg fat peeg, foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Ten day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Ten can of beer, nine pound of poi, eight ukuklele, seven shrimp a-swimmin', seex hula lesson, five beeg fat peeg, Foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

Numbah Eleven day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Eleven missionary, ten can of beer, nine pound of poi, eight ukulele, seven shrimp a-swimmin', seex hula lesson, five beeg fat peeg, foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree.

(Numbah Twelve day of Christmas the bes', and the bes' stuff always come

Numbah Twelve day of Christmas, my tutu give to me
Twelve TELEVISION, eleven missionary, ten can of beer, nine pound of poi, eight ukulele, seven shrimp a-swimmin', seex hula lesson, FORTY steenkin' peeg, foah flowah lei, tree dry squid, two coconut,
An' one mynah bird in one papaya tree!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Still Here and Kickin'

Yes, I am still alive. Sorry for the prolonged silence. I spent all of last week fighting a nasty chest cold which had gotten the better of me. When I wasn't trying to cough up a lung, I was making and eating soup and trying not to cough some more. Yeah, that was a lot of fun.

And most of this week has been spent getting my new toys ready at the office. While The Overlord may be demanding at times, there are benefits to working for him. Specifically the fact that he always has a ton of money to spend on his projects. And since I'm his primary tech guy, he turns to me to spend his money. This is a good thing. So, I've been spending his money over the last few months and we finally got all of our equipment in. The university techs have prepped and returned it, so now it's just down to me getting everything else set up and ready, installing software, etc. And the best part is that The Overlord always wants us to have really good equipment. There are benefits to working for a man with more money than God.

And then today, my day off, I managed to survive the crowds at the mall to finish off the very last of my Christmas shopping. Now, I'm not a big fan of malls in general, but during the holidays they are absolutely evil. If I can avoid them, I do. Sadly, this year, I could not. Luckily, I managed to make in and out in under an hour and survived to tell the tale.

One more thing to bring people up to date on. As of last Friday, I officially have my M.A. After all the crap that went down at the end of the summer and having to delay my graduation until this semester, I just glad to have it all done.

Well, now that every one is all caught up, I want to wish all a happy (or at the very least, survivable) holidays. I'll be out of touch until after the first of the year. Assuming that it's not snowed under, I'll be flying to Denver on Saturday, and then we're going out to Hawai'i for a week. We'll be in rural Hawai'i with only dial-up, so online things just aren't going to happen. But I'll be back in Arizona late on the 3rd, so I'll see you all then (metaphorically speaking anyway). Peace!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006



I have just finished the final paper for one of my classes. And I am happy! This class has been a bit of pain in the ass all this semester. It's one of those classes you only take because it's required. We've spent the entire semester looking at different theories and methodologies for the practice of history. As a public historian, this is not of that much use to me. I understand why they want everyone to take it and I accept that. But since it's not that important to me, and given that it's a fuckin' pass/fail class, I've spent much of the semester asking "Why should I care or put too much effort into this?" That's not to say that I've slacked off in the class or anything like that, but other things have taken priority on my "To Do" list.

One of the most aggravating things about this class has been the professor. She and I have not always seen eye to eye on things, and (personally) I have found her style a bit grating at times. She is very intelligent and very invested in making the class do what it's supposed to. No question about that. There have just been a few times that she and I have had fundamental disagreements on things, with neither one of us willing to give. From my perspective (and I want to make this clear - this is how I view things, so this is totally biased), she is one of those people who seems to feel that because of who she is, where she comes from, and how she was trained as a historian, she has some kind of special insight to all aspects of a few things. Without going into details, suffice to say that she seems to think that she has the authority to speak on all aspects of gender, religion, and the practice of history. On this last one, she has basically come out and said that she thinks that public historians are incapable of being objective in their research because they are working for clients. This, of course, annoys me quite thoroughly. I have tried to point out that historians working in academe also have clients, it's just that our clients pay us with money and their clients pay them with tenure positions, book and article publications. (She didn't much like that statement.) Now, I am more than willing to admit that my being annoyed is a big part of the reason I am so unwilling to back down on some things.

So, back to the final paper. This was to be 12-15 pages on "What is history?" The way the assignment was written, we could either focus on how people have thought about history over time, or how they have practiced it, realizing of course that there is a great deal of overlap between the two. I chose the second, focusing on how the practice of history has slowly but continuously moved away from being a strictly academic one, and toward being public focused. In other words, as historians have expanded their subject areas to include more than just dead white men in politics and the military, they have been forced to also expand their methods of presentation to include more than just teaching undergrads and writing wordy monographs for other academics.

Needless to say, my paper is a Big Fucking Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. But, the pin has been pulled (the paper is done) and it has been lobbed (and has been turned in to her box). Now we just wait for the fall out!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An Important Anniversary

Today is a special day, whether you know it or not. It was on this day, 73 years ago, that the 18th Amendment was repealed. If you don't remember the 18th Amendment off the top of your head, allow me to refresh your memory. The 18th was the amendment which prohibited "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States." In other words, Prohibition. The 18th Amendment was in effect from January 16, 1920, until December 5, 1933, when it was repealed with the passage of the 21st Amendment. In honor of this day, here is an old Irish folk song which seemed appropriate:

Of all the money e'er I had, I spent it in good company;
And all the harm I've ever done, alas was done to none but me;
And all I've done for want of wit, to memory now I can't recall,
So fill me to the parting glass, goodnight and joy be with you all.

Of all the comrades e'er I had, they're sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts e'er I had, they wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot that I should go and you should not,
I'll gently rise and softly call, goodnight and joy be with you all.

If I had money enough to spend and leisure time to sit awhile,
There is a fair maid in this town who sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips, I own she has my heart in thrall,
So fill me to the parting glass, goodnight and joy be with you all.

~ "The Parting Glass," Traditional Irish Folk Song

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fuckin' John Madden

Every time I watch Sunday Night Football, I find myself more and more annoyed by John Madden. I know he's been in football for years, but that still doesn't stop the guy from being a complete idiot. When he's not stating the obvious, he's making comments which are just idiotic or wrong. I wish he would just shut the fuck up and go away.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What Made You Think You Could Get Away With Something Like This?

One of my colleagues is teaching a freshman survey class, US History to 1865. As part of this class, she has assigned a short book on women in the antebellum South (and by "short," I mean about 100 pages). Students needed to write a 3-5 page (double spaced) review on the book. No exactly a hard assignment.

As she was grading them, however, she came across one which struck her as remarkably familiar. Almost like she had read it before. Then she realized she had. It was a review which had been published on one of the online history networks. It's not even like this guy "borrowed" a sentence or two and didn't cite them. The entire paper was the same, word for word. The only thing which this student had written himself was the last two sentences, which were complete crap. The only other thing this student did to try and hide his plagiarism was to change a few words here and there. It really looks like he simply used the synonym tool on Word. For example, the original review used the word "champion" (as in champion a cause). Well, this student's paper had "gladiator" instead. Yeah, like no would notice that.

And in the course of grading, she has found a couple others, although none quite so egregious. Of course, my friend was more than a little pissed off. She feels that these students are treating her like she's stupid. Well, she's not. And now she's gunning for these students (I offered to walk into her class with one of my other friends, who's just a little unstable, and threaten to break the fingers of anyone who did this sort of thing again - she laughed but did not accept the offer). So, she brought this situation to the attention of the department chair. He looked at the paper, looked at the original review, and said "Give him an 'XE' for the class." Here's how the university defines "XE":

The grade of "XE" denotes failure through academic dishonesty and may not be appealed through the grade appeal process. The grade "XE" shall be recorded on the student's transcript with the notation "failure due to academic dishonesty." The grade "XE" shall be treated in the same way as an "E" for the purposes of grade point average and determination of academic standing.

An XE cannot be expunged from a transcript. It stays on there forever! Good luck ever getting into grad school, dumbass! And this guy is a business major. Companies often look at transcripts specifically for things like this. Worse case scenario, the dean can decide to expel this student, with no change for re-enrollment.

People like this often confuse me some. I can understand that you can get busy and may feel like you need to cut corners to get things done. Remember, I've been there and felt the same way - in fact, there are days I still feel that way. But to think that you can get away with plagiarism is just mind-boggling.

My books need no one to accuse or judge you: the page which is yours stands up against you and says, "You are a thief." ~ Marcus Valerius Martial, Epigrams (bk. I, ep. 53)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back in the Desert

Well, April and I managed to survive Thanksgiving with one of side of my extended family. It was a fun trip overall, but large family get-togethers like this are often a little stressful. Here's the general run down of the trip:

We left Phoenix early Wednesday morning. When I say "early" I mean that our flight was at 8:00 AM, which is just an ugly time of day to be traveling. Luckily, check-in and security went fine. The flight was uneventful - April "slept" (you never can really "sleep" on an airplane) and I read my book. At least the small children did not get fussy until right at the very end of the flight. My brother and mother picked us up at the airport and we went back to their house to pack up everything and then hit the road. My mother's general habit with this sort of thing is to go horribly stressed out during the whole prep time, but then calm down once we've actually gotten out of the house and there's not much she can do about things - and she was true to form again this time. My parent's took the truck, while April and I took one of their cars, a fact for which we were most thankful. It meant a little space to ourselves.

We also had two different cabins in Estes Park, which was very nice. It meant that April and I did not have to spend every minute with the extended family. And this was April's first exposure to most of the extended relatives on this side of the family. While I like most of my relatives, even I have to admit that they can be goofy at times - and often are. But, overall, things went well. The weather was a little cold (no surprise, huh? Colorado, in the mountains, in early winter, who would have thought it might be cold?), but that didn't stop April and I from walking around Estes and looking in all the shops.

The trip back to Phoenix was the only place we hit a real snag of any kind. Besides getting stuck with middle and window seats on the plane, I was an idiot and forgot to take my knife off my belt and pack it in my checked bag. Didn't realize this until I tried to walk through security. Airport security is not real thrilled with you trying to carry a jack knife with a 4 inch blade through the metal detector. (I actually did get away with this once - I had forgotten again, but when I walked through I didn't set it off because, I think, the knife had a thick rubber grip on it. I didn't realize this until I reached for my handkerchief during the flight. On the way back, I packed it.) I had to fill out a form and put my knife in a little plastic bag, which will be mailed back to me. Of course, this costs money, but it's still less than buying a new knife. I guess if that's the worst of the trip, that's not too bad.

Hope Thanksgiving went well for everyone else. Now, BACK TO WORK, SLACKERS! (and yes, I count myself in that category)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Running Away

Okay, not really. I'll be back - I promise. Actually, my fiancee and I are headed off to Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with my family. And this year we're doing Thanksgiving at a cabin up in Estes Park, which means no internet - actually, I'm kind of looking forward to being off-line for a few days. Means The Overlord can't get a hold of me! I'll be back Sunday afternoon. Hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving be it with friends, or family, or simply taking some time off!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Annoying Co-worker

As most of you probably know (or have figured out) at this point, I basically live at my University. I am a grad student after all, so this is probably not too surprising. While it means I get a lot done, spending so much time in my office does have its downsides as well. One of them is that I end up seeing the same people all the time. In most cases this is not a big - I generally like the people I work with. There are some, however, who have made me occasionally want to bring in either a 2x4 or about 2 feet of lead pipe and "adjust" their attitude. One such person has come across my path several times in the last few weeks.

Prior to entering the graduate program here, this particular person had spend a number of years (about 20) teaching at a community college with an M.A., but had finally reached the limit of what he could earn without the Ph.D. So he decided to go back to school and get one. Fine - I'm all for people doing this. But he makes it seem like, because he's spent time in the "real world" he should get some kind of special consideration. For example, it's a mandatory part of the Ph.D. program for people who are planning on teaching post-secondary history classes that they take PFF (Preparing Future Faculty). No exceptions, even for people who already have experience. This is because there are new techniques and theories of history education being developed all the time, and the department feels it's important for teachers coming out this program to know these. The particular co-worker bitches and complains endlessly about having to take this class. Three words: Deal. With. It.

Just now, I overheard him complaining about the fact that he would have to spend next semester grading papers as a TA. He felt like if he had to grade undergrad papers he should be able to work with the person he wants, or at least in an area of history he's interested in. Well, sorry, but the system doesn't work that way. TA-ships are assigned based on a number of factors including the professor's other classes, class sizes, past use of TAs, etc., etc., etc. Long story short, neither professors or TAs get to pick, so complaining isn't going to get you anything. Plus, to my way of thinking, the department is not only waiving your tuition, they're paying you as well! And this means you just do the job they tell you to do. Take me for example: I specialize in Public History and historic preservation. I'm not planning on teaching any time soon (maybe 20 or 25 years down the road, but not now). And yet, for my first two years, half of my TAship every semester was grading - often in fields outside my own. I've graded for classes on Western Civ, Jazz and culture, and Russian history. Russian history! I've never even taken a class on Russian history. The closest I ever came was having a roommate who spent 6 months in Russia one semester during my undergrad. What the fuck did I know about Russian history?!? Nothing! Now I have some understanding, but I sure as hell didn't going into that class.

So, to this particular co-worker, get over yourself. You're nothing special around here and people are sick of all your bitching and complaining. Grow a pair and get to work.

Ever Hear of a Little Thing Called the First Amendment?

I just read about a town in Nevada, Pahrump specifically, where they have made it illegal to fly a foreign flag unless you also display a U.S. flag above it. Apparently, a man by the name of Michael Miraglia proposed and championed the ban because he was upset by people waiving the Mexican flag during the immigration debate demonstrations a few months back (well, that and the fact that all the Mexican food places in town were closed). For fuck's sake, people! You may not like the fact that people are waiving the flag of a foreign country, but cannot deny the fact that they have a Constitutionally protected right to do so. This sort of idiocy just pisses me off.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wish I Had Thought of It

Yes, I'm still alive. I know it's been a little while since I last posted. Things have been busy here. One of the projects I've been working on for The Overlord had its official launch Monday. Since the launch, we've had 606 hits, from 422 unique visitors. Not too bad. So keeping track of that and dealing with problems which have come up since have been taking up much of my time. The rest of it has been focused on preparing for classes. One of my classes, a directed readings class led by the department chair, finally met for the first time yesterday. I've also had to prepare for a couple of discussions on gender theory for one of my other classes. I've already thrown out one hand grenade in the discussion on Tuesday, and I'm thinking I might two or three more which I might throw out today. So needless to say, I was really up for a laugh this morning when I got into the office.

One of the professors here is extremely anal about noise. He happens to have an office in a poor location, as it's near one of the conference rooms and the break room. In an attempt to keep things to his liking, this particular professor has posted a note on the break room white board reading "Please keep the door closed!" This particular professor has pissed off and/or annoyed a number of people (both grad students and other professors) in the department, just because he's such an ass about this sort of thing. Well, starting very soon after he first started writing this, someone started erasing part or all of the message on a regular basis. This, of course, only pissed him off more. Well, early one morning last year, I was in my office working when he stuck his head in and basically accused me of being the one to do this. I denied it simply because it wasn't me. His reasoning for accusing me, I was in early every morning. Yeah, that makes sense. Naturally, this pissed me off. I figured that if I was going to be convicted of the crime, I might as well commit it. So I started erasing parts of his message. I'd do things like erase every other letter, or erase the top or bottom half the message. Basically, I was making a point of doing it in such a way that it was clear that this not simply someone erasing his note, but someone trying to piss him off and make fun of him. Honestly, I was hoping to cause him to have a mental break down. It hasn't happened yet, but I think today's incident might just do it. When I came in this morning and went in the break room to get water for my coffee pot, I saw that someone (NOT me!) had altered his note. Someone had replaced the "keep the door" with "hold me" and altered the d in "closed" into an exclamation point. It now read "Please hold me close!" Again, I would like to emphasize that it was NOT me, but I certainly wish I had thought of it!

UPDATE: Monday 11/20
Apparently, one of my friends managed to snap a picture of this on her cell phone. So here it is:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The "Dee Dee Dee" List

Inspired by Carlos Mencia (watch him here), this list is intended to keep track of various people who have proven quite clearly that they are, in fact, Dee Dee Dees. These are the people you walk by on the street, sit near in meetings, or have some contact with, and you find yourself thinking "Goddamn, I hope they never procreate!" As I, or someone else, come across these people, I will add them to the list (newer ones towards the top so people don't have to scroll through the whole list).

Wednesday 11/08/06: A British man has been hospitalized after lighting a firecracker which was in his ass (story on Apparently, he and his friends had decided that this would be a good way to commemorate Guy Fawkes' day. How he could think sticking a lit firecracker in his ass and letting go off was a good idea, I have no clue. I wonder which of his friends (who of course filmed this with their mobile phones) was the first to yell "Holy shite!"

Monday 11/06/06: I overheard someone on the bus this morning, complaining about how the police had treated him over the weekend. Apparently, some one called the police, saying that a group of young, hispanic males were trying to steal tires. As it turns out, this guy matched the discription and was in area. So the cops rolled up on him and his friends. They told him to get out of his car. He refused because "it was cold out." His brother was also there and, after they finally got out of the car, he refused to remove his hands from his jacket pockets. Needless to say, this did not exactly makes the cops happy. And now this guy is pissed off because the cops were treating them bad. Hello, dumbass! You did everything you're not supposed to do with cops short of pulling a gun or running!

Wednesday 11/01/06: A Boston lawyer was arrested because he was dressed up as Osama bin Laden and waving around a fake gun. Apparently this was his way of protesting a proposed change in tax law. According to the Ruerter's story, he said "I didn't expect to be arrested. Obviously I touched a post-9/11 nerve." No shit, Sherlock!

Tuesday 10/31/06: reports an Orlando Magic fan has been banned from all NBA games for this season for calling Dikembe Mutombo a "monkey." The fan says he simply used "poor judgment." Gee, ya think?

Monday 10/30/06: A man in Ohio is suing "Discount Drug Mart," saying that the orthopedic he bought from them were so tight they caused him to have three toes amputated. Here's a hint, dumbass, if the shoes are starting to cause physical damage of this kind of severity, QUIT WEARING THEM! Read the local new story.

Thursday 08/10/06: Maurice Clarett. I ranted at length about him here. What else can I say?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

It's Election Day, so it seemed appropriate to have a few quotes from important people.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.: The freeman casting, with unpurchased hand, the vote that shakes the turrets of the land.

Daniel Webster: Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and heart to this vote.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.

Ayn Rand: Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

William E. Simon: Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

John Q. Adams: Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.

Anon.: No matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Ted Haggard

Now, I'm not going to harp on Ted Haggard, the disgraced Evangelical preacher from Colorado, or anything here. I just have one quick thing, which I have already posed a couple people and they seem to think I have a point. Haggard admits he bought Meth, intending to use it, but then flushed it away. And that this was the only time he's bought Meth. Now, I know a number of people who have used drugs of various varieties, including Meth users. NONE of these people have just woken up one day and said, "You know, I think I'm going to start doing Meth today!" All of them have had prior experience with other drugs. Meth is simply not a drug, in my experience with people who do this sort of thing, you start with! Makes me wonder, that's all.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Disappointments and Traditions

Well, I have to say that I'm disappointed with the kids in my neighborhood. We had a total of three trick-or-treaters last night - and they all came at the same time. Which means my roommate and I have a bunch of candy we really don't want sitting around the apartment. I'm thinking I'll unload a bunch of it in the break room at work. You leave anything edible with a sign reading "FREE!" in a university break room, and it'll be gone in short order!

On the plus side, I maintained my own personal Halloween tradition of great (or simply greatly bad) movies. If Halloween falls in the middle of the week, I usually don't have the time or energy to do anything on Halloween night (plus there's the whole handing out candy to kids, or at least trying to). So I hang around the house and watch Halloween appropriate movies. I usually try to pick one which great for being so cheesey, one which is a little more . . . polished, maybe, and then one which is an all time cult classic.

For my great cheesey movie, this year I picked Evil Dead II. If you have not seen this, you must! It's an all time classic bad horror film, complete with demons, zombies, and even has blood in three different colors (red, black, and green)! As if all that wasn't enough, it also has some great lines and physical comedy. Let's face it, the idea of Bruce Campbell having to cut off his own possessed hand and replacing it with a retro-fitted chainsaw is too good to pass on.

My more "polished" film for this year was The Crow. After all, it's an enjoyable film with some pretty good acting and a decent script. And as it takes place on the night before Halloween and involves people coming back from the dead, it's entirely appropriate.

The all time classic cult film to which I referred early is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I have watched Rocky nearly every Halloween since I was about 13 or so. I have been to live showing of it, and I know the proper responses to the film (for example, when Dr. Frank-N-Furter calls for a toast, you throw toast, or when you yell "BACK ROW" as loud as you can during the opening song). And, having watched it so many times, I can safely say that no man (and I do mean "man") on Earth can pull off a black teddie and five inch heels better than Tim Curry. Plus there's the whole watching a young Susan Sarandon run around in her underwear the whole time.

So, I was disappointed with the kids, but I watched a bunch of great movies and was, in the end, fully amused. Hope Halloween went well for everyone else and happy Dia de los Muertos!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Too Strange To Be False

I caught this story through today. It's about a man in Ohio who is suing a discount drugstore because, he claims, a tight pair of orthopedic shoes cost him three toes so far, and possibly more. He says that the shoes were mis-sized, and he was told that they simply needed breaking in. Okay - first of all, you're buying fitted orthopedic shoes from "Discount Drug Mart." I guess I can accept the whole wanting to save money thing (I mean, I'm an engaged grad student - I know what it's like to be short on money). But still, Discount Drug Mart? Can't you at least spring for Famous Footware or something? Second, you would think somebody would be smart enough to figure out if your shoes are so tight as to start causing this kind of damage, you should probably stop wearing them! We're not exactly talking rocket science here - hell, we're not even talking high school science!

I think we have an excellent candidate for the Carlos Mencia video I posted.

UPDATE: TUESDAY 10/31, 12:50PM

We have another person to add to this list. reports (here) that an Orlando Magic fan has been banned from all NBA games for the season because he called Huston Rocket's center Dikembe Mutombo a "monkey." The fan says he simply used "poor judgment." Gee, ya think?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Long Day

So tired. I've been here at work since about 7:30 this morning (AZ time, so 10:30 eastern). I'm still here at 5:30. And I have at least another two hours to go. And today was not one of the days when I spend half my time just reading. No - it was real work today. At least this means I can put in a few less hours on Friday and spend time with my fiancee and one of my friends from Colorado who's coming down for a visit. Thank the gods I still have some coffee in the pot in my office.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Words, words, words

A little while back, I was involved in a debate/argument with someone over the whole "Islam is not a religion of violence" thing (read my thoughts on it here). During the course this debate/argument, one of the things which became increasingly clear was that we were using the same words without speaking the same language.

For the last few weeks, I hadn't really given this debate any further thought. But today I came across an article on which brought it back to mind. This article takes on this problem of language, what Jurgen Habermas might describe as "systematically produced misunderstandings." CNN senior producer Henry Schuster's piece, "Words in War" does a far better job of explaining the problems associated with using the word "jihad" than I was able to. I wish I had this handy during my earlier debate (not that I think that person would have really changed their position, but you never know).

Herbert Spencer once wrote, "How often misused words generate misleading thoughts." After all, words carry with them more power than we often realize and, as such, need to be treated with great care. Once they leave your mouth (or fingers in this case), it becomes hard, if not impossible, to get them back.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Randomness for October 18, 2006

Random Quote: "All you teenagers out there. The big mistake you're making is that you listen to all that bad advice from kids your own age. You should listen to your parents. They’re entitled to give you bad advice." ~George Burns

Question of the Moment: Where did I put that book?

Current Mood: relaxed
Current Music: Lucero, "On the Way Back," Rebels, Rogues, & Sworn Brothers

Fall in the Valley

It appears that fall has finally actually arrived in the Phoenix Valley. How can I tell? Well, there are a number of signs.

  • The a/c is not running constantly.

  • You can sit outside in the day without wanting to set yourself on fire to cool off.

  • People are leaving their windows open all day.

  • You think about putting on a jacket or wearing a long sleeve shirt in the mornings and evenings (you probably don't actually do it, but you at least think about it).

  • The D-backs are done; the Coyotes have started; the Suns are about to start; and the Cardinals have proven that they, once again, suck.

  • You can drive around without your a/c.

  • Sitting outside actually sounds like a good idea.

  • You open the sliding glass door and close the screen door on your porch - resulting in your roommate making a fool of himself by walking into the screen door when he goes out to smoke.

  • The number of "trust-afarians" (young adults, usually white, who dress and try to act like rastas/hippies, but have rich parents who will send them money while they try to "find themselves") increases on a daily basis.

  • The snow-birds are starting to come back.

  • You hear tourists say "You know, I could stand to live here."

  • You start to get both hot and cool water from your taps.
There are other signs, of course, but those are the ones coming to mind right now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How Much Must it Suck to be Neil Rackers Right Now?

Honestly, how much must it suck to be him right now? For those of you who did not watch the Cardinals/Bears games last night or the Cardinals/Chiefs game last Sunday, Rackers has missed game winning/game tying field goals two weeks in a row now. Last Sunday the Cards were down 23-20 with 2 seconds left on the clock. They lined up for a 51 yard field goal to tie the game. Admittedly, 51 yards is a long field goal, but Rackers is more than good enough to make that kick. And then last night, the Cardinals were down 24-23. Matt Leinart had done his part getting the Cards within field goal range, setting up Rackers for a 41 yard with 53 seconds left. And he missed again! The Cardinals, a team who is almost always competing for bottom of the barrel, almost beat Da Bears, who won the game without scoring an offensive touchdown all night. I just hope some over zealous fan doesn't try to do something stupid to him - and believe me, even the Cardinals have some over zealous fans.

UPDATE - 1:11 PM, 10/17/06
As part of the fallout from last night's game, it was just reported that the Cardinals coach Dennis Green has fired offensive coordinator Keith Rowen. He has appointed quarterbacks coach Mike Kruczek the new offensive coordinator. Green says that he is talking to Rowen about what other position he might agree to in the organization.

UPDATE - 8:00 AM, 10/18/06
I just saw this quote on An Arizona Cheesehead's Thoughts and decided it had to be shared!
"I really admire the optimism of the Cardinal fans but, when you're in an abusive relationship, eventually you just need to get out of it."

Friday, October 13, 2006

OCD or Lazy?

Have you ever noticed that there are some people out there who seem to be completely incapable of doing things for themselves? For example, this morning as a friend and I were walking out of one of buildings on campus, there was a young woman in front of us, also heading out the door. She walks up, starts to push the door open with the panic bar, stops, and then reaches across her body with her left hand (she had a cell pressed into the side of her head with the right), and pushed the handicapped button. (You know, the one which makes the door open on its own.) My friend and I exchanged rather incredulous looks, and proceeded to wonder aloud if she so lazy that she didn't want to open the door herself (with the phone taking up all her attention, we weren't really worried about her over-hearing us). We reached two possible conclusions.

1. She had a little OCD and simply could not help but push the button. Possible, but not very likely we decided.

2. Yes, she was simply that lazy.

We decided to go with #2.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Answer the Damn Phone

I was trying to get a hold of one of my colleagues tonight. I left a message on their voice mail around 5:00 PM. I tried again at about 7:00, and then every half hour or so after that (I really needed to talk to this person) with no luck. Finally, a few minutes ago, she called me back. She said she hadn't answered because she didn't know it was me. Okay - fine, she didn't have my number entered right in her phone, so it didn't come up with my name. But, damn girl! Try listening to your voice mail! If she had done that, she would have heard the message I left at 5:00, in which I told her it was me and left my real number. For fuck's sake, why have voice mail if you're not going to listen to it!

And before you ask, she does not have internet access at home (really! I'm not joking here) so I couldn't just send her an email.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

He May Be On to Something Here

Dee Dee Dee Song by Carlos Mencia from the Mind of Mencia

This just amuses me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Idiots and the Ballot

Arizona is one of the states which allows for referendums and propositions to be placed on the ballot. While I think that this is, in general, a good idea, the implementation in Arizona leaves something to be desired. The problem here is that any idiot who can get enough signatures can get something on the ballot, and there is very little renew before it goes to the public for a vote. This means that there are always a number of these on the ballot each election. This time, there are 19 in all. Whatever the hot button issues are that year, there are ballot measures on it. For example, this year Arizona has 4 on illegal aliens (usually disguised as something else), the almost obligatory ban on gay marriage one, 2 on smoking laws, and 7 on taxes and monies. Let's face it, if I really wanted, I could probably get enough signatures to get a ballot measure declaring a ban on all California drivers or some such nonsense (actually, that one might be a good idea). Would it pass the general election? Probably not. But would it be on the ballot? Quite possibly!

Now, I'm not going to go into my personal view on most of these because, quite frankly, it's none of your damn business. But I will say that it is important that people understand what it is they are actually voting for, which means YOU HAVE TO READ THE DAMN THING! Simply reading the title doesn't cut it, dumbass. For example, did you know that voting FOR Prop. 207 ("Private Property Rights Protection Act") would throw out over a quarter century of US Supreme Court rulings and effective end government directed development and historic preservation in the state, all to the benefit of private developers? (Cartoon is by Herblock, and can be found with more of his work here)

Anyway, as we get closer to the election, be sure to actually know what it is you're voting for or against. It doesn't take much time and you don't have to be a lawyer to understand it. They provide you with handy little book which gives both the full text of the measure and a summary in "real world speak". Read it and go vote!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Full of Sound and Fury . . .

. . . signifying nothing. That's the weather around here this afternoon. It's been grey and cloudy, and there have been the occasional rumble of thunder. But that's it. Nothing else. It looks like it wants to rain, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to. Yep, it's fall in the Valley.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


This Guy Is Nuts!

I was listening to "All Things Considered" on NPR just now. Michele Norris was interviewing Paul Weyrich, of the Free Congress Foundation. Just listening to him, I can say that Weyrich is fucking nuts! He said, and I quote, "Homosexuals are obsessed with sex." (This was an attempt to explain why Mark Foley is the way he is.) When Michele Norris pointed out that many people might take exception to this comment, Weyrich said he didn't care if people took exception to it because it is a fact. (The audio should be available by about 7:30 ET today, at the "All Things Considered" page)

People like this make my head hurt. I just have to keep reminding myself I only have about another half hour before I can call it a day.

Randomness for October 4, 2006

Random Quote: "I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally." ~ WC Fields

Question of the Moment: How can political pundits spew more than twice their weight in verbal crap in less than five minutes?

Current Mood: unmotivated
Current Music: The Duhks, "Heaven's My Home," Migrations

Fire and Brimstone

Okay, I now better understand why people have used these words to evoke the image of a fiery damnation for centuries. I had the fun of experiencing this first-hand this morning. Not in the Biblical sense, of course, but rather physically.

Maybe I should start from the beginning. I woke up pissed off. No particular reason - it just happens some mornings. It might have had something to do with the fact that when my clock/radio turned on this morning, the radio station was playing Phil Collins. I believe I'm mentioned in the past just how much I hate Phil-fucking-Collins. He was okay when he was a part of Genesis (especially when it was still Peter Gabriel in charge), but I can't stand his solo stuff.

Anyway, after quickly slapping the radio off, I decided that I needed something to calm me down. Incense will usually do this for me, so I decided to burn a short stick of it. Well, when I struck the paper match, it flared up, leaving a nice sized chunk of burning sulfur (for those of you who don't already know this, brimstone and burnt sulfur are the same thing) on the tip of the middle finger on my right hand. I don't know if you've ever experienced this, but I can tell you it hurts. A lot. After a few choice words and much cool running water, it was bearable again.

Now, unfortunately, I have also discovered exactly how much I use the middle finger on my right hand - and not just for saluting other drivers on the road either. Typing, for example, is fun right now. Pushing radio or elevator buttons also provide good times. Trying to use the scroll wheel on my mouse, another good one. Hopefully, I've already passed the shitty part of my day. May the gods help me if not. At least I still have my good friend Jack Daniel's in the office.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What the Fuck was He Thinking?!?

During the Cowboys/Titans football game yesterday, Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth stomped Dallas lineman Andre Gurode in the head, not once but twice - while Gurode's helmet was off! While I did not see it when it happened, I have certainly seen the replay several times and the only thing I can say is "What the FUCK was he thinking?!?" The play was over, the guy was on the ground, and you decide to stomp on his head with your cleats? Personally, I hope Haynesworth gets suspended for the rest of the season for this. I know that football is a fairly physical sport and people get hurt, but there's a big difference between accidentally stepping on someone in a pile up and deliberately stomping on their head. Needless to say, Haynesworth was ejected and Gurode left the game, needing stitches. Here's the story.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event. There have been a number of deliberate assaults in professional sports. Here are a few of the most notable:

December 9, 1977: Kermit Washington, of the LA Lakers, punches Rudy Tomjanovich, of the Houston Rockets, in face. The punch fractures Tomjanovich's skull and left him unconscious in a pool of blood. Upon examination by arena doctors, it was discovered that Tomjanovich was also leaking spinal fluid into his mouth.

September 22, 1985: Yankee manager Billy Martin and pitcher Ed Whitson get into a bar-room brawl. Both blame the other for beginning it. Martin is left with a broken arm and two broken ribs.

April 30, 1993: Monica Seles is stabbed in the back by a Steffi Graf with a steak knife.

June 28, 1997: Boxer Mike Tyson bites off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear during a match.

February 21, 2000: Marty McSorley, of the Boston Bruin, strikes Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear in the head with his stick. McSorley is convicted of assault in October of the same year.

February 16, 2004: Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi sucker-punches Colorado Avalanche Steve Moore from behind, and then drives Moore face-first into the ice, shattering Moore's face mask and fracturing three vertebrae in Moore's neck. Bertuzzi plead guilty to assault, served a 17 game suspension and returned to play. Moore has not.

September 25, 2006: Stockcar driver Michael Simko, after hitting the wall during a race, ran and leaped feet-first through the windshield of Don St. Denis's car, blaming St. Denis for causing the crash. Simko then threw his helmet at St. Denis while he was still in his car. St. Denis got out of the car and the two exchanged punches. Both are suspended indefinitely.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Randomness for September 26, 2006

Random Quote: From "The Red Green Show"
Red Green: You know, the ancient Romans brewed beer, Harold. In fact, every great Western civilization brewed beer. Did you know that?
Harold: Yes, I did. And did you know that, at some point, every great civilization collapsed? Connection, perhaps?
Red Green: Harold, if it's good enough for Julius Caesar, it's good enough for Possum Lodge.
Harold: Veni, vidi, vomiti. I came, I saw, I ralphed

Question of the Moment: Is it time to go home yet? (Answer: "No")

Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Everclear, "Amphetamine," So Much for the Afterglow


Finally! I've been trying to get the IT department here to give one of the new students the right directory permissions to the department's server space so I can fully hand over the department's webmaster job to him. And I've been getting bounced from one person to another, getting different (and sometimes contradictory) instructions from each. But, I finally think we have worked it out and he has the permissions he needs. He's going to test it out this afternoon and let me know. With any (good) luck, we should be good to go and I can go back to concentrating on the other projects I'm working on.

Now, I just need one of my other clients to pay me . . .

Monday, September 25, 2006

There's Just No Changing Some People's Minds

I had the fun experience of trying to convince someone that Islam is, in fact, not a religion of violence, unlike Christianity which is a religion of peace. This was all precipitated when someone made a comment, saying that the Muslim reaction to the Pope's comments the other week only went show the "violent and intolerant nature" of Islam. I agreed with this person when it came to radical Islam, but I took exception to the fact that they were generalizing this to the entire faith. I tried to make the point that it was extremists who had taken Islam and perverted it into something evil and destructive for their own purposes. I pointed out the fact that Christianity could also be called a religion of violence based on things like the Protestant/Catholic wars, the Spanish inquisition, the Crusades, and the carte blanche given to European explorers in return for spreading Christianity around the world. These things have lead to the deaths of untold millions of people. And they were all authorized, in their time, by various popes. (Talk about a conversational hand grenade!)

They countered with "that was all in the past" and that unlike the majority of the world's religions, Islam is the only whose scripture actively called for "conversion at the point of the sword." Despite what so many people seem to think, the Qur`an is actually quite clear on the point that there is "no compulsion in religion" when it comes to conversion (SAQ 2:256). When it does talk about violence against non-believers, the Qur`an says that Muslims are to never start it and should cease all hostilities as soon as their attackers do. I even went so far as to point out a number of occasions in the Bible that violence is urged against non-Christians. (Oops! Hear that? There's another pin being pulled!) They came back, saying that I didn't know what I was talking about and that regardless of what might be actually said in the Qur`an, Islam is not practiced that way. I pointed out that what we hear about Islam from the media is biased toward what will sell (i.e. - the violent extremists) and that they might want to actually talk to some Muslims and see if the violent side of Islam is practiced by a majority or not. And here came the lines about "yeah, but look at all the leaders who preach violence" and whatnot. Great - now we've reached the point of circular logic.

While I could have gone on with particular "discussion," I decided to let it go because they were not going to even admit that they might be wrong. And to be fair, I will admit it. I might be wrong. I don't think I am, and everything in my experience and my education (both in school and outside) tell that I'm right, but that is not an absolute. As much I might like to claim that I'm omnipotent and all-knowing, I simply can't. But I am willing to admit as much; they were not. I tried but there's only so much I can say to someone like that.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

To the Young Woman in the Honda Civic

To the young woman in the Honda Civic behind me on the way into work this morning:

I like the rear bumper of my truck right where it is, thank you very much. I know you feel that your schedule (and probably every aspect of your life) is more important than anyone else's, but this does not (thanks to Journey for pointing out the fact that I missed a very important word here!) give you the right to tailgate me at 45 mph. A hint for you, young lady, if you're close enough I can't see your headlights, you're too damn close! Yes, I know that traffic was bad, what with the accident about a mile and a half back and all, but really. (By the way, did you notice the fact that said accident was probably caused by someone tailgating? No? I guess you were too busy thinking about yourself.) Do you really think that riding my bumper is going to make me go faster? If anything, I'm going to slow down and pace someone in the other lane just to piss you off. And when I do finally let you get by, please make sure that you actually get over into the other lane before you floor it. Like I said, I'm quite happy with the placement and condition of my bumper and I don't need you to help me adjust it.

If I haven't made myself perfectly clear by now, here's something I know you'll be able to understand: FUCK OFF AND DIE, BITCH!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Just Wrong

I just saw someone who was eating "soy jerky". Somehow, this seems wrong to me. I guess it's correct in a strict etymological sense in that "jerk" has come to refer not just to dried meat but also to the marinate itself. That aside, however, I still think the idea of soy jerky is just wrong.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Suddenly Feel Old

One of my colleagues stopped by with a handout she was given yesterday at a class for new teachers. It points out that most of the kids entering college this fall were born in 1988. It then goes on to list 75 things which illustrate the generational gap between them and us ("us" in this case primarily being people born in 1980 or before). While I won't list them all (with their numbers on the list), here are a few of my personal favorites:

1. The Soviet Union never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.

9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.

11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.

15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.

19. "Google" has always been a verb.

21. Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.

24. Madden has always been a game, not a Superbowl-winning coach.

36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.

55. They have always had access to their own credit cards.

62. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.

66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.

67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.

72. Richard M. Daley has always been the major of Chicago.

74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.

75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.

This list is put out every year by Beloit College. See the complete list and lists from previous years here.

Maybe I'm A Conspiracy Nut . . . Or Maybe Not

Am I the only one who has noticed that, in the week or so leading up to the mid-term election primaries, gas prices have suddenly dropped? There is a part of me convinced that is not just coincidence. I'm thinking that the oil companies dropped their prices as a favor to W and the GOP. If people aren't constantly pissed off at how much they have to pay at the pump, does it help Republican candidates running for office this year? I don't know, I simply raise the question.

But, let's consider a few things here:
1. There was recently another war in the Middle East, in addition to the various other on-going wars. Violence in the Middle East never helps oil prices go down. Basic concept of supply and demand. Demand stays high (or even goes higher), but the supply goes down with an increase in violence. Result: prices go up.

2. W is from an oil family and many big oil friends. Okay - so this one is a little old and tired, but there is some truth here. One of the most basic human impulses is that of self-preservation. Which in today's world usually means economic self-preservation. I just don't really see an oil man wanting to lower gas prices. Doesn't make sense.

3. The bp pipeline in Alaska has been closed down. Back to that whole troublesome supply and demand thing.

Maybe it's just me (and I freely admit that I'm a historian, not an economist so I may not have all the facts or understand all the nuances here), but none of this seems to add up to gas prices going down. So what is the explanation? I still wonder if has something to do with the elections coming up in a few weeks.

Sidenote: VOTE! I won't tell you who or what to vote for, but I will tell you to actually get up off the couch and go vote. And don't even think about giving me any of that "One vote doesn't matter" crap! Arizona held our primary elections yesterday and there was actually a proposition which was decided by ONE vote! (Peoria Prop. 400, see it toward the bottom of this page).

Anyway, I have now done my part. I've pulled the pin on the political/conversational hand-grenade and lobbed it! Let the fall out begin!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Customer Service

A few weeks back I needed to download a full copy of Real Player so I could edit some audio files for my thesis defense. Unfortunately, they make you give them you credit card information to get the 14-day free trail. You the know - the one you have to cancel before day 14 to keep them from charging you $15 a month for the program. Fine - I needed the software and this was the easiest way to get it on short notice. So, I signed up, got the software, did my audio editing and all was happy with the world.

Until today.

When I went to cancel it so I wouldn't get charged.

Despite what it looks like on their site, Real Player will not let you cancel online. Oh no, you have to call them up to do it. Fuck it, fine. I call them and get placed on hold (of course!). Now, normally, I can deal with being placed on ignore (what I call "hold"), but the "music" they had playing made me want to shove an ice-pick through my ear-drum! We're talking worse than elevator music. After about two minutes of this, I get transferred to someone. Two problems. One, he is very obviously from India or Bangladesh or some other country in that part of the world. This makes it a little hard to understand what he's saying because he has a very thick accent. Now, I had a roommate who was from Bangladesh, so I have some experience deciphering accents from that part of the world. Even so, holy fuck! I could barely understand him! Second problem, he was obviously in a very large room filled with people who were also talking with Indian/Bangladeshi accents. So we have a heavy accent and a lot of back ground noise. Great. Just fucking great.

Now, with that context in mind, here's pretty much how the call went. When I tell him I want to cancel this subscription, we have to go through the whole "verifying ID" crap. You try spelling out "roguehistorian" (which, of course, with the logon name I had used for registering to get the software in the first place) to someone who does not speak or understand English very well. Once we have established that I am, in fact, me, he asks me to explain why I want to cancel (corporate research and all that). I tell him I no longer need the program and don't feel like spending $15 a month for something I am not going to use. So, of course, he offers me a free month. No. I just want you to cancel the account and leave me the fuck alone! (OK, so I didn't say the second half of that sentence, but I sure thought it!) On the plus side, I did just receive the email which confirms they have cancelled the account, so hopefully I won't get charged for it in a few days.

I understand the idea of outsourcing low-level jobs to cut costs and (theoretically) save customers money. But when you hire people who just end up pissing off customers . . . Maybe it's just me, but this seems like a bad business practice.

I have mentioned in other posts that I am a fan of Foamy, the neurotic squirrel. There is an episode on exactly this sort of experience. Check out Tech Support at Friends of Foamy and you'll see how I felt after this whole damn thing.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Randomness for September 7, 2006

Random Quote:
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." ~ Mark Twain

Question of the Moment:
Do I really have to read Rousseau? (The answer, unfortunately, is "yes")

Current Mood: Annoyed (the whole Rousseau thing)
Current Music: Emmylou Harris & Mark Knopfler, "This Is Us," All the Road Running

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Best Weekend Ever. Period.

Sorry about the lack of posts in the last little bit, but once you hear what this long weekend entailed, I think you'll forgive me. And I think it's safe to say that this was the best weekend I've ever had. Let's start at the beginning (i.e. Friday), shall we?

My thesis defense. Over the last two years or so I have been working on writing my M.A. thesis. After a series very aggravating back-and-forths with the University over paperwork which had disappeared ("poof!" gone!), I finally got everything settled and was prepared to defend. Most of the defenses I've been to been have lasted 30 to 45 minutes. Mine ran 1 hour and 15 minutes. But, I passed . . . with revisions. Which means there's still a little work to do, but since I've only ever heard of one person passing without revisions, I still consider it a win for me. Finally! This is a good way to end the week/start the weekend.

A (short) vacation. This is the first vacation I've really had in about 18 months. Oh sure, there's been the trips back to Colorado to see the family during the holidays, but I don't really count that as a vacation as there is not always a lot of relaxing going on. But this weekend was different. My girlfriend, April, and I planned to go down to Bisbee for the long weekend. A chance to actually see my girlfriend and relax at the same time. This almost never happens. You have no idea how much I've been looking forward to this! So, we head down to Bisbee, find our hotel, grab dinner at a pretty good "Mexican" (really Sonoran) place, go back to our room, . . . and promptly pass out. We've both had long weeks and are tired. Sleep is good.

Wandering around downtown Bisbee. Not that there's all that much of downtown Bisbee to wander around, but it's still fun to just stroll along and stop in any shop which catches our fancy. We even managed to find some Christmas presents for various family members. The weather was kind of grey and overcast. Absolutely beautiful.

Diner at Cafe Roka. Probably considered the nicest place in Bisbee and food certainly supports that. Great food, excellent service, and an absolutely stunning woman. What else could I ask for?

A slow start to the day and a little more wandering around town. We then had reservations for the Queen Mine van tour. It was just the two of us and the tour guide, a former miner from Bisbee. We got driven around the area and got the mining history of Bisbee and the surrounding communities. We also had the tickets for the underground mine tour. Naturally, it was very cool - both what we saw and the temperature. It's only about 47 degrees F underground, so I was not overly surprised when, toward the end of the tour, April kind off cuddled up and said she was cold. I do the good boyfriend thing and put my arm around her and try to warm her up. That's when she surprised me. She looked up and then ask, "Would you marry me?"

I said "Yes".

The Rest of Sunday and Monday
Spent in a bit of a happy daze. We had diner Sunday night at the Bisbee Grille, which was a little slow, but we weren't in any hurry so it was okay. Monday morning we got up and had breakfast at the Bisbee Breakfast Club, a little breakfast diner down the road a little bit. Good diner breakfast (which probably isn't all that good for you, but sure was tasty and far better than the fruit and toast they had at the hotel. From there, we headed back to Tucson, wandered around the mall, and had lunch. Unfortunately, I had to head back up here to the Valley.

So, let's recap the weekend:
1. Thesis successfully defended
2. A weekend in Bisbee with April
3. Nice weather for wandering around town
4. A great diner at a nice restaurant, with a beautiful woman
5. A couple of fun tours
6. April and I got engaged

Seriously, best weekend ever!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Some News I Bet You Didn't Know About

I am pretty sure that most of you have heard about "Ernesto" - the storm which hit Florida late Tuesday night. Sure you have, it's been on the news for days now. But here's some news you probably didn't know about. There are two other major storms, which the new has, for the most part, been ignoring.

Hurrican John is a Catagory 4 hurricane, which is currently getting ready to hit the western coast of Mexico. It's expected to dump as much as a foot of rain. Surges are predicted to reach 18 FEET above normal. Winds are reaching 135 mph.

And then there is a Catagory 5 "Super" Typhoon, "Ioke," aproaching Wake Island and might even reach the Northern Marianna Islands. Sustained winds are above 155 mph, and have been recorded as reaching as high as 185 mph.

Lets review:
Ernesto: Tropical depression, 45 mph winds, 1-3 foot surge
John: Catagory 4 hurricane, 135 mph winds, 18 foot surge
Ioke: Catagory 5 "Super" Typhoon, 155-185 mph winds, surge unknown

I am often very disappointed with the news services around here. If it's not happing to the US, to US citizens, or places where the US has an active interest, it might as well not be happening at all. If you want to hear about some of this stuff, you have to go out and hunt it down yourself.

Resources and More Information:
CNN on Ernesto: here
CNN on John: here
CNN on Ioke: here

NOAA on Ernesto: top of this page
NOAA on John: half way down this page
NOAA on Ioke: here

Japanese Meteorological Agency (in English) on Ioke: here

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reflections of a Beer Snob: New Belgium's "Skinny Dip"

Skinny Dip, New Belgium Brewing Company, Ft. Collins, CO.

This beer has a nice light pallet to it. It is a little hoppier than some other summer beers, but as they use Cascade hops, it is not over-powering in anyway. Overall flavor is a little weak, however, and it does not really hold a head too long. It is still a nice first or maybe second beer on a hot summer day when you want something which will go down fast, smooth, and clean, but you may want something a little more interesting after that.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Thoughts at the end of the NFL Preseason

As anyone who knows me is aware, I am a hockey FANATIC. But, I am also a big football fan. I have spent many a Sunday at the bar, drinking beer and watching the game. So naturally, I have been watching much of the Preseason goings on and I have reached some conclusions.

1. I hope the Tuna kicks T.O.'s ass all over Dallas. The Cowboys only have room for one boss on the field. And it must be Bill Parcells. Anything else will just lead to a repeat of what we've already seen with T.O. in San Fran and Phili. That and T.O. is just an ass. I was greatly relieved when he didn't go to my Broncos.

2. Farve needs to retire. I'm sorry to all you Packers' fans, I really am. But after watching him last night, I can't help but think this year is going to be even worse than last. Farve had a fumble and an interception in the first FIVE MINUTES OF THE GAME! And the rest of the time he didn't look much better. Now I like Farve. I think he's one of the all time greatest quarterbacks in football history, but all good things must come to an end. Step aside, let Aaron Rodgers take over.

3. Gary Kubiak is what the Texans have needed. He's a no-nonsense coach, with tons of experience both on and off the field. He's also not afraid to get the face of one of his players if they're screwing things up. One of the problems with the Texans over the last few years is that no one was willing to tell David Carr to get his head out of his ass. Instead, they treated him with kid-gloves. Kubiak, on the other hand, has flat out told Carr that he is no longer a rookie and will not be allowed to make rookie mistakes. Period. And it seems to be paying off. The Texans are 2-1 so far in the Preseason. Both of their wins have been by at least 7 points, and they only lost to the Broncos by 3. There's no way in hell they're going to win their division or even get to the play offs (the AFC is way too strong for that to happen), but they will have a much better year than last year (although, with a 2-14 record in 2005, it would be hard to get worse).

4. Hard-core fantasy footballers are idiots. I play fantasy football myself, but it's just a bit of a distraction once a week or so. There are grown men who spend hours every day working on their team. Three words: Get. A. Life.

5. The Oakland Raiders are already in deep shit if they've been forced to sign Jeff George again (he was a Raider 1997). The man has not thrown an NFL pass since 2001! Only in an Al Davis universe.

6. There has been a lot of hype this Preseason about the Arizona Cardinals. Well, here's the sad truth, Arizona. The Cards will suck this season - again. They may not suck as bad as some past seasons, but they will still suck. Here's why: Kurt Warner is incredibly inconsistent and gets shaken far too easily, and Matt Leinart does not have enough experience at the pro level to really carry the team by himself. Edgerrin James is a great runner, but the O-line isn't good enough to give him the holes he needs to be truly effective. Without a good running game, defenses will key on the Cardinals' passing game. Even if one or both of the quarterbacks were perfect, again the O-line won't be able to provide decent pass protection and the secondary will know the ball is probably coming their way, meaning they can prepare for it. Yes, the Cards' defense has looked pretty good (good, not great), but you can't really expect to win with just your defense (well, maybe if you're the 2005 Chicago Bears, but no one else). Yes, the new stadium is cool and attendance will be plenty high this year (actually, it's pretty much sold out for the entire season - never thought I'd see that happen), but the team will probably still will have a losing season. Final record for 2006: 6-10.

7. Denver running backs. It seems almost every year the Broncos have a new running back who rushes for 1000+ yards in the season. And every year people are surprised. See, there's this thing called an "offensive line" and they do this thing called "blocking." Now, when your "offensive line" is "blocking" effectively, it is very easy for the running back to get 5-10 yards a carry. Denver's offensive line has been one of the best in the NFL in the last decade. Match that with a quarterback who can throw a mile, which stretches the defense, and you have a great running game with a running back of average ability. Why do you think Clinton Portis and Rueben Droughns have not been as effective since they left Denver?

So those are the thoughts I have come away from this preseason with. For the record, here are my late-August Playoff Predictions:

AFC Division Winners
AFC Wild Card Teams

NFC Division Winners
NFC Wild Card Teams

We'll see come the first week of January!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Great Line

Heard on the radio this morning: "I'm 61 years old. Too young for Medicare, too old for women to care." Unfortunately, I missed the name of the guy who said this, but it's still an absolutely brilliant line!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

They're Back!

Once again, the unwashed masses have descended on the Tempe area. Yes, the college students have returned! This means that once again the streets will be clogged with yuppie-larva driving trendy little cars Mommy and Daddy paid for. Unfortunately for me, since I basically live on campus during the week, I have to be on the road at the same time as these oblivious little shits. And NONE OF THEM KNOW HOW TO DRIVE! They seem to think that the most important thing they can do with their life is to push hard to get one car ahead, even if that means running red lights, screeching their tires, or cutting someone off.

And this kind of behavior doesn't stop when they get out of the car - not by a long shot. They continue to have a complete disregard for the people around them (unless it's one of their friends, then it's okay to notice another person). For example, there is a free bus service around campus so that students don't have to walk from the student parking in the Arizona heat. (This, by the way, is a very good thing at 5:00 in the evening when I'm tired and just want to get the hell out of here.) This morning, I get on at one of the first stops, which means it's easy for me to get a seat, where I can get some reading done. At the next stop, there are a number of kids waiting to get on, so the remaining seats fill up rather quickly and people are forced to stand in the aisle - not exactly an uncommon occurrence by any means. There are a couple of young women, however, who decide the best place for them to stand is toward the front of the bus, where there are seats on both sides, rather than back just a bit where they could stand by the back door, thereby giving everyone more comfort room. Fine, whatever, it doesn't really affect me as I'm not near the front. At the next stop, there are more people waiting to board. Well, these two young women are too busy talking about how much they hate one of their professors (and I would like to point out that classes just started on Monday) to move back or out of the way so these new people can board. Finally, one of the new passengers calls out, "Hey, could you move to the back so the rest of us can get on?" The two gossips get these really disgusted looks on their faces, clearly thinking, "Why the hell are you talking to me?" One of them grudgingly moves, but the other simply crowds over against one of the seats - I'm sure the woman sitting there really appreciated having some annoying little brat of a girl shove her ass in her face. Great way to start the day, huh? There is now just enough room for people to get by. But, of course, the person who had called out, asking them to move, proceeds to walk just beyond this self-absorbed little twit . . . and stops, effectively blocking the aisle once again. Idiot.

THIS, dear readers, is what happens when parents refuse to raise their children. You can see the early stages of this in the behavior of the little boy I mentioned the other day (read about it here). And you can witness it almost any morning (or after about 4:00PM for that matter) here at ASU.

The only saving grace here is that, in a few weeks time, these yuppie-larva will decide they no longer need to go to their 8:00AM classes, and some of this will ease. Of course, when finals get close at the end of the semester, it will start over once again.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Randomness for August 17, 2006

Random Quote:
"I shall soon be six-and-twenty. Is there anything in the future that can possibly console us for not being always twenty-five? ~ Lord Byron (The answer is "yes, fun with friends and family")

Question of the Moment:
When the hell is the university going to deliver the keys to my new office?

Current Mood: surprisingly good!
Current Music: Uncle Tupelo, "Still Be Around," Still Feel Gone

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Maybe There Are Some People Who Actually Try to Discipline Their Children

I recently received a copy of the family tree for my mother's side, which is something I had asked for in the past. This was a birthday gift from one of my aunts, and is a professional job - very nice. Well, I decided to take some time today and look into having it framed (as it turned out, the place I went is going to have a sale starting this weekend, so I'll go back then). Well, as I'm standing there waiting for the young woman behind the counter to finish up with the customers in front of me, this kid - probably 10 or 12 years old - come running around a corner, brandishing a little plastic picture stand like a gun, making little ray-gun noises. Fine - annoying, but not a big deal. I set my family tree, which is rolled up, on the counter and step to side about 3 feet to look at some of the prints the store has. This kid runs up and promptly sticks the picture stand inside the rolled up family tree. I say, "Excuse me, please don't do that, it's rather expensive and I don't want it damaged." At this point, his mother, who has been busy with the sales clerk, whips her head around, barks out his name and tells him to knock it off (amazing, a parent who actually bothers to try and discipline their child). He runs off and she apologizes to me. There's no damage done, so I tell her it's ok and let it go. Well, she finishes up with the clerk and starts getting her things together to leave. I unroll the family tree on the counter and start discussing framing options with the clerk. This little bastard runs up and pokes at the paper - you know, the whole "I'm not supposed to touch this so of course I'm going to" thing. Luckily, Mom saw this and immediately grabbed him, hauled him off to the side and started reading him the riot in both English and Spanish - and maybe something else because there were words in there I've never even heard before! She came back over, apologizing even more profusely and checking see if there was any damage. I assured her there wasn't and they went of with her dropping the classic "Just you wait until your father gets home" line. I turn back to the sales clerk, who has the rather impressed smirk on her face as she watches them walk off. She turned back and said how glad she was that some one actually was willing to punish their child for misbehaving. I agree with this and we go about our business.

Now, this is something which I have discussed at various points with other people. One of my friends has put forward the idea that parents today were determined not to raise their children the same way their parents raised them. And they haven't. The result of this is that kids today spend most of their time just running wild. I have to say that I don't think he's completely wrong. Today's experience gives me some hope, however, that this is not totally the case.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Follow Up to Yesterday's Post

In yesterday's post, I went off on Maurice Clarett, calling him a dumbass for all the stupid shit he's pulled over the last couple years. Well, I still stand by that. I also said that there might be some very good reasons for Clarett's behavior. Apparently, I'm not the only to wonder this. The judge presiding over the robbery and gun charge case, David Fais (this is not the same judge who set his bail at $5 million), has ordered that Clarett undergo a "mental health evaluation" before the trial. To quote those old Guinness adds, "Brilliant!" Why has no one thought of this before?!?

The best part, Clarett thinks it's completely unnecessary. According to a Yahoo! Sports report, after Judge Fais order the eval, Clarett said, "I clearly understand everything, and I don't know why we have to drag this thing out." Hello! Do we need to go over you list of Dumbass Moves again? I think this will be a good thing, regardless of what the results are. We'll either know he's nuts, or if he's not, they can put him away longer. Either way, it could be good.

Randomness for August 11, 2006

Random Quote:
"If Michelangelo had been a heterosexual, the Sistine Chapel would have been painted basic white and with a roller. ~ Rita Mae Brown

Question of the Moment:
Is time to go home, yet?

Current Mood: Damn glad it's Friday
Current Music: Gatsbys American Dream, "Guilt Engine," Volcano

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What a Dumbass

Now, I know that there are plenty of dumbasses at any given moment, but occasionally, one stands out from the rest. Today's is good ol' Maurice Clarett. Those of you who don't regularly follow sports and sports news might be glancing around, wondering "Who the hell is 'Maurice Clarett'?" The short of version of his bio might read, "Maurice Clarett showed great potential and tremendous ability as a freshman running back at Ohio State during 2002 season, but in the years since, his life has slowly crumbled to the point he is now facing robbery and gun charges." Fun, huh?

OK, so lets take a look at Clarett's timeline and we'll see just how big a dumbass he has been:

Jan. 2003: Scores the winning touchdown to give Ohio State the win over Miami in the National Championship game. So far, so good.

July 2003: Is accused of getting preferential treatment by a teacher at Ohio State. No so good, but it's not like this is the first time star athletes have been given a break. He was just stupid to place himself in a situation where the accusation could even come up. Dumbass move #1

Sept. 2003: Is charged with falsifying a police report for reporting $10,000 worth of property stolen from a car he had rented. Now we're getting into really bad things. Can you say "misdemeanor"? Dumbass move #2

Sept. 2003: Is suspended for the season by Ohio State for receiving thousands of dollars worth of "special" benefits. Everyone who goes through NCAA sports knows this is a violation of policies - hell, even most people who watch NCAA sports know this! Dumbass move #3

Sept. 2003: Sues the NFL, challenging a policy which states that players have to have been out of high school at least 3 years to be eligible for the draft. OK, now he has angered football personnel at both the college and pro levels. BIG Dumbass move #4

Jan. 2004: Pleads guilty of "failure to aid law enforcement" (a reduced charge from the falsified report in Sept. 2003). Still a dumbass for doing it in the first place, but at least he is taking some responsibility. No additional dumbass charges here.

Feb.-April 2004: Court rules in favor of Clarett over the NFL. The ruling in over turned by a federal court. Clarett files an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court, who refuse to even hear the case. Clarett is forced to wait until the 2005 draft to be eligible. Now he just looks like a REALLY BIG dumbass. Dumbass move #5

April 2005: Is drafted in the third round by my Denver Broncos. This is a real surprise that he went this early, as most were predicting a sixth or seventh round pick, but Mike Shanahan has been know do make some bold moves in the draft. Clarett makes the statement that he is happy to just have a chance and won't squander the opportunity. Maybe he is finally growing up some. No dumbass move here.

Aug. 2005: Complains that he is not getting enough reps in practice, is injured, calls for the dismissal of a Broncos assistant coach for yelling at him, and is repeatedly heard before practices to say something to effect of "I have to get my 'goose' on" (keep this in mind for later!). Predictably, he is cut by the Broncos. So, you don't want to squander your opportunity, huh? Dumbass moves #6, #7, and #8

Jan. 2006: Is accused of robbing two people at gunpoint in a Columbus, OH, alley. Turns himself in. The turning himself in is a very good thing, but it does not out weigh the VERY bad thing of armed robbery. Dumbass move #9

Aug. 2006: Is pulled over (for reckless driving) after a short chase. Police order him out of the car. They are forced to try and physically remove him when he won't comply, and when that fails, they hit with a taser to no effect. Clarett is finally removed after being maced, which is when police discover the taser had no effect because Clarett was wearing a bullet-proof vest. In the car they discover a hatchet, an AK-47 assault rifle (loaded), three handguns (also loaded) one of which was found to have been under his leg before the police pulled him out of the driver's seat, and a bottle of Grey Goose vodka (getting his "goose on" I guess). It has also been reported by ESPN that he was within blocks of the home of a woman who was scheduled to testify against him in the armed robbery case. Dumbass moves #10 through #19

Really, how can a person make so many completely dumbass moves in such a short span of time? And I acknowledge that he has not been convicted of anything yet, but you have to admit that it doesn't look good. My roommate commented that this is probably just an example of a star athlete who had become accustomed to having everyone kiss their ass all the time and now thinks that they can get away with anything they want. Possibly so. But there have been other athletes who started out this way and managed to learn the truth pretty quick. No, my guess is that it is a combination of things. Yes, the star athlete treatment thing is a big part of it. But there is also the suspected alcohol abuse, a very clear sense of entitlement, the possibility of being a habitual liar (there were other reported instances of him lying to people when he thought it would benefit him), and a profound sense of paranoia (he has claimed to have received death threats and that his telephone was bugged - I have no idea if this is all true or not, but he clearly believes it to be). And biggest of all, I think, HE'S A DUMBASS! Regardless of what comes of these latest troubles, I get the feeling this is not the last we've heard of Maurice Clarett. I don't know, but maybe at this he'll actually be able to turn his life around. We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, Aug. 10, 2006, 1:30 PM (AZ Time)

According to, Clarett's bail for this latest charge has been set to $5 MILLION! Citing Clarett as "a threat to the community," assistant prosecutor Chris Brown, originally had asked Judge Andrea Peeples to set bail at a minimum of $1 million. She decided that $1 was nowhere near enough. Clarett's attorney, Nick Mango, called the amount excessive - No. Shit. Sherlock. That's kind of the point - you want the judge to set a low bail for someone who was carrying four loaded guns, wearing a bullet-proof vest, was in the area of the home of a potential witness against them, and tried to run from the cops? Ladies and gentlemen, I present, for your amusement, another DUMBASS!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Randomness for August 8, 2006

Random Quote:
"The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working when you get up in the morning, and doesn't stop until you get to the office." ~ Robert Frost

Question of the Moment:
When exactly did you lose your mind? (Sometime in high school, I think) And do you miss it? (Not yet)

Current Mood: amused
Current Music: The Eagles, "Take It Easy," Hell Freezes Over

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Exactly What You Don't Want to See When You Leave Work

And, no, I'm not talking about your boss with a stack of things which need to be finished before you leave - although that's bad, too.

So, here's how it went down. I leave work and head for my truck, with the plan of running a couple of errands and then heading home. Apparently, this is not what the universe had planned for me. When I got to my truck, I noticed that it was listing slightly. My immediate thought was "Ah fuck!" as I knew this probably meant I had a flat. Sure enough, one of the rear tires was about two-thirds down, and I could see the head of the offending screw. Luckily, there was enough air left that I could drive the quarter mile to a gas station and fill the tire up enough to get to the tire shop. Yes, I could have changed the tire or called AAA. But changing a tire in the middle of a blacktop in Arizona on a summer afternoon is not exactly my first choice, and calling AAA would have taken longer and been a bigger pain in the ass than just topping it off. (You know, thinking about it, I still need to get an roadside kit set up for this truck - maybe I'll try to remember to add a can of fix-a-flat or whatever the hell it's called.)

So, I made it to the gas station, topped it off, and headed off to get it fixed. Luckily, there's a place a few miles down the road from where I was, so I just went there. They got the tire fixed up just fine, but it took me sitting there for about an hour - it was about 5 PM and they were backed up some, so I completely understand, but it still kind of sucked. Of course, this prevented me from completing one of my errands (that place closed at 6, which was just about the time they finished with my tire so that one will have to happen this afternoon), but I got the others finished. It just annoyed me a bit. Luckily, the tire fix was only $12, which is about the cheapest car fix you can get.

To be perfectly honest, I would have expected something like this to happen much sooner. I've lived in my current apartment for about a year and a half, and for probably half that time the street has been torn up as they work on putting in a light rail line. Fine. I support public transit and if they get it done in time, I may actually be able to use to get to work, which would be nice. But it means that there is all the debris which goes with such an undertaking. They way my luck usually runs, I would have expected a screw/nail flat, a chipped windshield, something of that nature. I'm just surprised it took this long for it happen.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Having to Turn Down Work

Recently, I had to turn down a contract consulting job to complete a National Register of Historic Places nomination. This is a slightly odd sensation. As a grad student, I don't have a lot of money. So when a contract job comes along, I don't really like the idea of turning it down. Afterall, with a going rate of $25-30 an hour for this kind of historic preservation project, I can make a few good bucks in short order. (Just as a side note here, once you are really established as an h.p. consultant, you can charge upwards of $75-100 an hour - I know one woman who regularly charges $150/hr!) But, as a grad student, I am also very short on time. Right now I'm trying to juggle finishing a thesis, a reseach job for one of my professors, one historic preservation contract, one web design contract, and (most important) actually being able to see my girlfriend! Plus, we have a wedding to go to in San Diego this weekend. In the end, I decided that based on my schedule and when this client wanted the project done, I simply could not take it on. Too bad, as it sounds like a relatively easy nomination. It was for a single ranch house in downtown Phoenix, where L. Ron Hubbard lived when he started Scientology, which has recenly been restored to its original condition. It should have no trouble getting registered, but she wanted it done in the next 2 to 3 weeks. No way I could get that done, so I had to decline. Oh well - there'll be others. It's still odd to turn down work and money . . .

Monday, July 31, 2006

10 Things to Know When Driving in Phoenix

As a service to the public, I have decided to provide a list of 10 Things to Know when Driving in Phoenix.

1. 98% of the drivers do not know how to drive in the rain. Even little sprinkles can throw Phoenix drivers into a panic. They either slow to a crawl or continue to drive like maniacs.

2. On the relatively rare occasions a road floods, if there is a sign saying "Do Not Enter", DO NOT enter, dumbass. I don't care if you have an SUV, you probably have never taken it off-road (and no, the dirt parking lot at the local camp ground does not count) so you have no idea exactly how it's going to handle and will probably get stuck. The only people who will care that you have an SUV are the cops who are going to have to pull your dumbass out - did I mention, if they have to rescue you, they charge you for it? And that's only when they can get around to it, assuming you're not in imminent danger.

3. Turn blinkers are completely optional. If you want to change lanes, the best way to do so is to simply start to move over. If they don't move, then signal with the middle finger of the most appropriate hand.

4. The speed limit is always at least 5 mph faster than the person in front of you.

5. The police radars are set to take your picture only if you are more than 10 mph over the speed limit. This means if you suddenly brake down to the real speed limit, you are likely to either be rear-ended or flipped off, or both.

6. Fancy sports cars, Hummers, and "crotch-rocket" type motorcycles always have the right of way, regardless of any laws which may say otherwise. It's not so much a rule as a safety thing. They're probably going to take the right of way regardless, and as they obviously have more money than you, they can afford to hire a better lawyer to get them off and blame you for any accidents. It's just better to let them have their way.

7. If you're here in the summer, your car will be hot. I'm talking industrial oven hot - for example, if you leave a water bottle in the car all day, by the time you come back it will be hotter than the coffee you had this morning. Nothing you can do will really prevent this (lessen it some, yes, but really prevent, no), so get over it and quit whining. This means you do not want to leave anything which can melt in your car. This includes, but is not limited to: cassette tapes, most foods, the glue holding the clip on your garage door opener, and your hands when you first grip the wheel. Most importantly, DO NOT leave any living thing (ie - children, pets, elderly relatives) in there without the a/c on (seriously, in my opinion anyone who does this should be locked in an a hot car themselves until they look like a well cooked pot roast)!

8. Road closures for construction are the norm, here. The roads are an ever shifting slalom of cones, barrels, and potholes. Personally, I think they just keep moving the cones around to confuse people but I have no proof of this . . . yet. Along with this are the people who will try to force their way to front of a construction zone. Most other drivers will not let these people in and are often carrying guns, large tire irons, and/or large Maglites, so if you are thinking about cutting around like this, don't.

9. There will be at least one accident every rush hour, more likely 3 or 4. If you pass one, don't rubberneck unless you want to be the next one. Just accept that your drive will likely be hindered by an accident - even if it's not in the immediate area as traffic will be diverted your direction. Believe me when I tell you that "car-b-q" is a real and frequently used term.

10. People will jump on the red light just as other people are trying to sneak through. This is why one of my friends and I have talked about getting an old beat up truck, welding a roll cage in the cab, getting crash helmets and five-point harnesses so that we can cut these people off when the light goes green. We'll be fine and then we can just settle with them right there for whatever they have on them - their watch, their cash, any CDs they might have, their cell phone. If they try to complain, well, funny, my neck is starting to hurt and now my back is beginning to spasm, and you know, I think that nice BMW you hit us with might just cover the medical bills!