Thursday, December 18, 2008


I just watched the trailer for the new Wolverine movie. See it here.


Yes, I am a geek. Is that a problem?

If it is, I will simply remind you that I'm a geek with a cricket bat.

Yuppie Hell

I'm in Yuppie Hell. I'm in Starbucks.

And it gets better - this Starbucks is connected with a bagel shop, so there are even more people.

Journey's car needed to go into the shop today, so she took my truck to work and I'm dealing with the repairs. I had a choice of sitting in the waiting room of the mechanic's, or going over to Star-fucks for "coffee." Since someone gave Journey a Starbacks giftcard, which she gave to me, I elected to brave the Yuppies.

I'm normally in strict opposition to Starbucks. They drive out local businesses. They over-charge for everything. And their coffee tastes like shit.

And on top of it all, I'm surrounded by the "trendy." At a quick glance, the only guys without gelled hair are myself and the men over 50 - and of course the couple of guys who have simply shaved their heads. Half of the under-50 crowd are wearing pastel colored business shirts (including a pink one). The only women without professionally styled hair are (again) the ones over 50 and kids working behind the bagel counter. And I'm counting . . . ten people with bluetooth headsets and three more with smartphones growing out of the side of their heads. (I'm not going to bitch too much about the bluetooths, simply because we bought on for me in preparation for when we get to Binghamton and I get a new phone - I know I'll be spending significant time running around for work and I'll actually need one.)

At least I've been able to grab one of the small tables near an outlet, so I don't have to worry about any of these "people" trying to talk to me. Of course, leaving the headphones on helps with that!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Joys of Moving

Well, now that we know that I have a job and we know where we're moving, Journey and I are having the fun of preparing to move. The best part? We're moving to New York in the middle of winter! Yea! So we've been weighing our options: Should we do this ourselves? Do we want to pay someone else to do it for us? If we do it ourselves, what size truck do we need and how (or are) we going to get the truck and both of our cars out there? If we pay someone else, who do we go with? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Since my new job doesn't have the money to pay for relocation costs, I'm thinking we'll end up just doing it ourselves. We know roughly what it will cost, and while I'm not trilled at the idea of driving a large moving truck with my truck on a trailer behind it, it's certainly a lot cheaper than paying someone else. So far, the only moving company whose estimate came even close to what it'll cost to do it ourselves is a company which gets absolutely horrible reviews online. As in, I found about 10 reviews and only one was positive. The rest were either 1 or no stars out of five. Yeah, we own some junk - but it's our junk and we like it. We don't want to trust it to a company who's unreliable.

There's also the matter of finding someplace to live. We've looked at home prices and we're pretty sure we could afford to go ahead and buy a home once we're out there - I'm talking 2-3 bedroom, 1.5-2 bath homes with unfinished basements and attics in the $50,000 to $70,000 range. And yeah a lot of these need some work; but a lot of that work is cosmetic: new paint, pulling up the old carpet and refinishing the hardwood floors, insulating the attic. That kind of thing we can go ourselves and can do it over time.

This does not, however, address the question of where we're going to live when we first get there. We certainly don't want to buy someplace sight unseen, or to live in a hotel for a month while we find someplace. No, we're thinking we'll find a rental we can stand and live there for 6 months. That gives us time to find a realtor, find the house we want, and go from there. So, I'm actually taking a trip out this weekend and the first part of next week to do some rental hunting and take care of some stuff for my new job (paper work, drug test, etc.). We have a few leads already, I just need to follow up with them and get a look at these places. The problem, really, is the cats. A vast majority of the places we've seen don't allow pets. That's kind of a problem. But, we'll see. I'm sure I'll be able to find someplace which will work!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Joining the Election Band-Wagon

No, I'm not talking about voting for Obama, which I did a couple weeks ago with my mail-in ballot. I'm actually referring to blogging about the election results band-wagon.

Overall, I'm fairly happy at how this election turned out. Obama won; it looks like the US House of Representatives candidate I wanted has won; and most of the local propositions went the way I wanted. Unfortunately, not all of them. Specifically, the so-called 'gay marriage ban' bill passed.

Admittedly, there was already such a law on the books, but the proposition in question defined 'marriage' in Arizona as "one man and one woman."


At least the 'majority rule' bill which I ranted on a few weeks ago appears to have gone down in flames. Given the way the county counts their votes, however, numbers may shift some over-night so I'm going to have wait until then to see for certain.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I Have A Job!

Finally, after a long time of looking and applying for jobs around the country, I was offered a position today! After Christmas (as in starting the next day), Journey and I will be heading off for Binghamton, New York. I got a job with the City and they want me to start around the beginning of the year.

And here's one of the best things - they actually going to pay me MORE than what the job originally posted!

It's going to be quite a change from Arizona, but we're looking forward to it anyway. Given the state of the economy, a job is a job. And as my field is quite a bit more limited than Journey's (she's an IT Tech), we kind of have to go wherever I'm offered a job.

Needless to say, I've spent a good portion of the day grinning like and idiot - but, I figure it's justified.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Can Relate

It is a well established fact that I tend to somehow give off this vibe that invited random people to talk to me. Usually the odder someone is, the more they pick up on this vide. Journey has commented that I am "fly-paper for freaks."

I came across this particular comic by Stefano Collavini. It seemed to fit.


Both Journey and I are big fans of carnitas - a Southwest/Mexican style shredded pork. I've finally found a carnitas recipe which we really like! The result is nice, tender, crispy pork. And the best thing about this particular recipe is that it's really easy.

4-5 lbs deboned pork shoulder, trimmed of as much fat as possible
1 qt beef broth
2 cups chunky salsa (I use Herdez brand, medium heat; chunky Pace works too)
your choice of spices (I use chili powder, cayenne, garlic, onion, cumin, and chipotle if I have it)

1. Combine pork, broth, and salsa in a large sauce pan or stock pot. Add enough water to completely cover the pork. Add your spices (as with a lot of my cooking, I don't often measure my spices - I just kind of add whatever amount looks/smells right) and a couple pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce to low and let simmer for 3-4 hours or until it pulls apart easily.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven is heating, move meat to a roasting pan with a large slotted spoon. Break the meat in to small pieces - it should shred apart real easily at this point. Drizzle a very little bit of the liquid over the meat (this will enhance the flavor and keep the pork from drying out too much). Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the meat is brown and crispy.

From here, you can do any number of things with the carnitas. Many people like to eat them in tortillas or use them to make chimichangas. You often see them served with chopped onion, cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, etc. Journey and I, we eat them just as is.

Any left overs keep really well just in the fridge. If you want to freeze them, add a little more of the left over liquid. Thaw over night in the fridge.

One of the things I like most about this recipe is the fact that you can tweak it as you like simply by changing the salsa and spices used. You can go from very mild to quite spicy if you want.

And if you haven't already figured it out, guess what we're having for dinner tonight?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Quick Note

I have added a side bar graphic from, showing the current projects for the election. Check it out!

Also be sure to check out their Animated Electoral Map. It takes all the daily predictions from June 4, 2008, to today's and animates them so you can see the shifts in the electoral map over time!

Yes yes, I know. I'm a geek. Fuck off.

Things I Do Not Understand

Okay, here's something a little lighter in nature. I've been keeping track of things I've noticed and thought about recently which make absolutely NO fuckin' sense to me. I'm sure that there are more, but these have come up recently.
  • Guys who carry around stuff in their socks - they invented pockets for a reason.

  • Adding so much stuff to your coffee that it no longer resembles coffee in any way, shape, form, smell, or taste - if you're that desperate for caffeine and don't like the taste of coffee, find a way to add caffeine to chocolate milk; leave my coffee alone!

  • Libertarians - period. Hey, dumbasses! Taxes pay for things like education, infrastructure, and roads. Do you really want those to do away simply because you don't want to have to pay taxes?

  • The appeal of Flavor Flav - if I want to watch a complete nut-case wearing horns on his head, I'll turn on a Vikings football game, at least that's entertaining.

  • Al Davis (owner of the Oakland Raiders) - the man has not simply gone around the bend; he's gone around the bend, down the street, gotten on the highway, driven to Crazytown, staged a coup to take over the town government, and has declared the world to be star fruit-shaped, only black and silver instead of yellow in color.

  • Popped collars - especially on guys wearing pink golf shirts. And very more especially guys who do this wearing multiple golf shirts.

  • iReporters - seriously, most of these people seem to be suffering from the worst case of delusions of grandeur since that 'American Idol' crap came on television. You really think sending in one poorly captured web-cam video of you babbling incoherently about something makes you a 'real' reporter?

Promised Political Rant

Here's what struck the most over the last few days - the absolute rabid and insane attitude which surrounds and typifies recent McCain/Palin rallies.

I know that getting crowd wound up, loud, and excited are all purposely intended results of these rallies. That's why they're called 'rallies.' What worries me is the fact that recent McCain/Palin rallies are going too far. Not in terms of what is being said by McCain (I'll deal with Palin in a minute), but rather in terms of the audience. The constant booing and people shouting "Off with his head!" in reference to Sen. Obama is just scary.

And I suspect, without anything in the way of proof beyond my own observations, that part of the reason Palin was picked as McCain's running mate was because she has a knack for getting people wound up and excited. It's a definite bonus that she can whip a crowd into a frenzy and then almost shrug it off with a quick smile and wink, almost as if she's saying "Just kidding, folks!" But the crowd reacts by getting even more wild and seems to take that wink as permission to do so. This allows the GOP officials to generate a wildly negative response to Sen. Obama that they want without doing it themselves. It plays up on the whole idea that it's what the 'public' thinks and, therefore, these officials can claim they are simply "listening to public opinion."

This is not to say that the McCain campaign is giving carte blanche at rallies. They have officially denounced the use of Sen. Obama's middle name, Hussein, saying that it is inappropriate. I have noticed, however, that this has not stopped high level McCain supporters and rally speakers from doing it anyway. The cynical side of me (that's pretty much every part of me except maybe my left elbow, by the way) wonders if there is a little bit of "Okay, don't do this anymore" *wink wink nudge nudge* going on, but again I can't prove anything.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

About Time

No political rant today - I'm working on one for tomorrow, but it's not ready just yet.

No, today's post is really a bit more mundane - weather. We in Arizona, or at least those of us in Southern Arizona, are finally starting to enjoy the onset of fall. Granted, it will probably only last 3 or 4 weeks, but that's okay. You have to understand, 'fall' in Arizona is characterized by warm tempatures during the day (high 80's or low 90's) and cooler tempatures at night (high 50's to mid 60's).

Basically, it means that you don't spend the whole night sweating and when you wake up in the morning, it's still very pleasant out. It's back to the point that we can sit out on the deck in the evening and watch the sunset. And believe, sunsets around here are often worth watching!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Don't Insult Us Because We're Young

John McCain just told a young man that he probably never even heard of Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac before this economic collapse.

And fuck you very much, Mr. McCain.

Believe me, just because we're young that does not mean we're stupid. I would bet that at least a small majority of people my age, in fact, HAVE heard of both of these institutions and have at least some idea of what they do.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A New Game To Play

Today's trip to the store was an exercise in aggravation. First, there was the typical idiots on the road, including the little girl in some trendy looking little car who was busy talking on her phone, running her hand through her hair, and tail-gating me.

Then there were the unhelpful people at the store. I was looking for something specific and couldn't. I had to go find someone to ask, and when I did locate a couple a ladies, they were annoyed at me for interrupting their conversation to ask my question. "I'm sorry, I know it's an imposition, but considering it's my money which helps keep you employed, I think you can take 20 second to listen to my question and give me an answer. And if you want to be really nice, you can hold you eye rolls until after I've walked away.

The next challenge was the other customers. Apparently, today was "walk around slowly and completely ignore the fact that there are other shoppers" day. I can understand that you're looking for something, but you really don't need to be weaving down the middle of the aisle at a pace that a snail in molasses in winter could beat.

And then there was the woman at checkout. She was in such a hurry, despite the fact there was no one in line behind me, that she managed to shred three different bags throwing stuff in them, and then was annoyed when I asked for bags without tears. Yes, I know it's a pain to rebag things, but it's an even bigger pain for me when the torn bags finish tearing and spill my groceries down the steps of our apartment.

To all of you who contributed to all of this 'fun,' I have a new game to play. It's called "Stab You in the Face."

I'll go first.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Link

I have added a new link to the right. As we get close to Election Day, it's important that we make sure we're educated on what's going on, and to that end, I have added a link to This site keeps track of a bunch of polls across the country, both on the Presidential race and Congressional races. I tend to trust it as it usually pretty even-handed in their analysis and (relatively) up-to-date on their numbers.

My New Favorite Book

I noticed this title in the list of "Other Works By" page in a Conn Iggulden book I read recently. The title alone was enough to get me interested and I looked it up online. I read off the description to Journey and it was decided that we needed to own this book.

Made to look like an old 1950s text book (it was actually published in 2007), this is a great book - I haven't done more than flip through it so far and I already know this for a fact! It includes everything from how to tie knots, to the Navajo code-talkers dictionary; coin tricks to famous battles; star maps to interacting with girls. Before you get too 'excited' about this last, it's things like "When you are older, flowers really do work - women love them. When you are young, however, there is a ghastly sense of being awkward rather than romantic - and she will guess that your mother bought them."

And with the economy the way it is, some of the things in here may be of more immediate use than simply a good laugh.

Although, I do have to agree with a question Journey had about the book. After reading the description, she asked "Why is just for boys? Those are the kind of things I wanted to know too!" Well, now we'll both know!

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's a New Record

It took McCain 10 whole minutes before he started telling war stories!

Arizona Proposition 105 - A Really Bad Idea

Okay, so here's the first of those political rants I mentioned in my post earlier today. It's specific to Arizona, but I think everyone needs to know that this kind of thing is out there.

One of the Propositions on the ballot this election is Prop 105, the 'Majority Rule' proposition (you can get both the text of the bill and the public pamphlet at the AZ Secretary of State ballot measures page). Essentially, this bill says that any initiative which will increase taxes has to be approved by a majority of registered voters.

Let emphasize this last point: "a majority of registered voters." NOT just a majority of those who voted, but of those who are registered to vote. This means that people who are registered but do not vote on an issue are effectively marked down as a "no." Given that registered voter turn out in the 2004 election was 88.4% (and that was the highest level since 1996), the "no's" already have a 12% advantage over the "yes" votes. The numbers get even worse when you look at non-presidential election years. In 2006, that number drops to 70%. Remember, these are the percent of registered voters who voted, not the percentage of eligible voters (those number are even worse). [See the Census Bureau numbers]

You can see the problem here. This measure would make it nearly impossible to get any initiative which raises taxes in any form (even if it's just to pay for something in the bill) passed.

Now, I'm all for fiscal responsibility in government. And, as should be fairly clear by now, I am a very strong believer in citizen participation in politics and government. This bill, however, is just fuckin' insane! I've people who support dismiss the concerns of low voter-turn out by saying that it will actually encourage people to educate themselves on the initiative and then vote. This is a bull-shit argument. Let's fact it - "people" are lazy idiots. They are NOT going to read up on a issue in depth and then vote on it. Some will, but many will not.

This entire bill is predicated on the Libertarian idea that government needs to be reduced as far as possible, mainly be doing away with as many taxes as possible. Get a clue people! We NEED taxes! Yes, April 15th sucks every single goddamn year. But it IS necessary. Know what taxes are used for? Roads, fire and police, schools, basic infrastructure. Taxes go away, so do all of these things!

And that is exactly what Prop 105 would result in.

But, given my previous statement about people being idiots, I have a real free that this will pass anyway.

Some Respect for Chris Rock

I was just scanning some of the transcript from Chris Rock's appearance on Larry King yesterday. I don't watch Larry King (mostly because our TV is on rabbit-ears), but I do occasionally hear or read something from his show which interests me. This is one of those times. Here's the particular exchange:
KING: You must be ... proud that at this stage in our history a black man is running for president on a major ticket.

ROCK: Um, you know what? I'm proud Barack Obama's running for president. You know? If it was Flavor Flav, would I be proud? No. I don't support Barack Obama because he's black.
This emphasizes the point that it's not a person's race which should be considered, but rather their character.

Oh, and by way of fair warning, I will posting some political rants over the next few weeks as we get closer to the election. And I'm sure I will probably end up offending someone at some point.

And if you aren't registered to vote, REGISTER! As long as you've thought out your reasoning, I really couldn't give a damn who/what you vote for. I may disagree with you, but I will respect your choice to have done so. But you can be the smartest person in the world and if you can't be bothered to take a few minutes to register, educate yourself on the people and issues, and then actually vote . . . well, then, I'll just have to remind you that I have a cricket bat and then I'll remind you just how easily the human kneecap can be shattered!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Still Alive

Well, we all still seem to be alive this morning.

And no, this is not going to be some 9/11 anniversary post. There will be plenty of others writing those if you want to go find them.

No, this is post is actually about the fact that we all woke up yesterday. Yesterday, the giant particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva was powered up and run for its first experiment. Yes, I am a geek, and yes, I find this cool!

Without making any claims at being fully knowledgeable about CERN and particle accelerators, in basic terms, as I understand it, they use a bunch of very strong magnets to send atoms flying around a giant underground circular tube, 27 kilometers long. And then they smash these atoms together to see what happens. They measure the results with uber-powerful lasers. They're hoping to find out more about the way gravity works, what the universe looked like one-trillionth of a second after the Big Bang (the cosmic one, not the Annabel Cong one - no, I'm not going to tell you more about that, you're going to have go look it up yourself!), how time works, and other physicsy type things.

While all of this is certainly very interesting and worthy of pursuit, what I find fascinating is the CERN project itself. For example, did you know the lasers they're using have enough energy to punch though a ton of concrete? True. The most interesting, however, is what they expect to happen - they have NO idea! That's right, when they fired this thing up, they didn't have any idea of what was actually going to happen! Hence, my statement about us still being alive.

If you want to check out more, here are some links:
The CERN website
The CERN Wikipedia page
A recent TimesOnline article

And for a more humorous take, PhD Comics is running series on CERN, based on artist's tour of the facility. Start here. This is a five part series, which started on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Today's Quote

"There are countless religions in the world that are happy to judge you. Why do you need one on your computer?"

"Simple . . . this god actually gets periodic updates."

From this Something Positive by R.K. Milholland

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


So, yesterday after I finished my oral boards, I made a quick stop by one of the libraries on campus to drop off some books. I opened the big metal door - and in the process somehow managed to crush my hand between the door handle and something on the wall - I think it might have been one of the those handicap buttons, but I'm not sure, didn't really look.

Hurt like hell!

Now, I'm hoping that I didn't do something stupid like break anything in my hand. Even almost a full day later there's still some significant swelling and pain, especially when I curl my fingers. At least if I did break something, it's not stopping me from using that hand. And at least it's my left hand and not my right. I would be really fucked if it were my right.

The moral of the story? Slamming your hand with a big metal door really fuckin' hurts - try not to do it!

And Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program

And Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Well, after a hiatus of about 3 1/2 months, I'm back. Sorry for the long absence, but there were other things which required nearly all of my attention. And as much as I enjoy blogging, and I do (I mean, where else can I go off on random, anger-inspired rants about shit no one else really cares about but want to listen to any way . . . besides the Republican National Convention), there are times when you simply have to make priorities and stick to them.

In my case, the biggest and most immediate priority since my last post was that whole getting married 'thing.' Yes, Journey and I have finally married! And we couldn't be happier. There were a few little glitches during the ceremony, but nothing we couldn't deal with and nothing BIG went wrong. That's about the best one can ask for, really. So, a few little snags aside, everything was great. Even the weather worked with us, which was good because we got married and had the reception outside. Tucson is normally in the mid- to high-80s by mid-May (we got married on May 17), which is livable, was still warm. The day of the ceremony it actually topped out in low-80s, and since we had the ceremony early evening, things were absolutely perfect. Not too warm, not too cool, and only a slight breeze. Everyone had a good time, and there weren't any wedding crashers or anything like that (given that this was same weekend as the University of Arizona's graduation, this was actually a bit of a concern).

After the wedding, Journey and I were off on out honeymoon for two weeks. We started with a couple of days in Vancouver, BC (yes, yes, that is in Canada) before getting on a cruise ship and heading up the Inside Passage of Alaska. Journey and her family had done this a couple of years earlier for a family reunion. I wanted to go, but couldn't secure the time off until after the cruise was already all booked. This did NOT make either of us real happy. So, when it came time to plan out honeymoon, she really wanted to go on the cruise again so we could both do it. And that's what we did. We had a great time and saw a ton of cool shit and even had some time to relax, which after the previous few months, we really needed. The cruise ended in Anchorage, where we hand another couple days to just kind of relax and check out the town.

Since we got back, I've been spending most of my time either looking for jobs or preparing for qualifying exams. On the job front, I've had several interviews, even a couple where they've flown me out for a face-to-face. But I haven't been offered anything yet, and it's starting to piss me off. I know times are tough - I did decide to try to enter the job market right as the economy went to to shit, after all - but that still doesn't help much. I know I'll land something eventually, but in the meantime, it sucks.

And then there were my qualifying exams - "quals". These are the final exams of the PhD program before they let start working on your dissertation, taken after you've finished all of your course-work. For my program, the way they work is you are emailed a list of 6 questions. You then have exactly one week to write your responses to 4 of the questions and email them back. Each response is to be 10-12 pages in length, for a total of 40-50 pages. Basically, this is intended to test your ability to speak knowledgeably about your field based on the reading which you've done over the last few years. This is your opportunity to prove that you can pull everything you've learned together and show that you have a broader understanding of everything that going on in the field. This actually harder than you might think. It's entirely doable - you just have to carefully plan it all out and be able to access the information quickly and accurately. After you've finished the writing and emailed it back, you have to wait a couple days to see if you've passed. If you haven't passed one or more of the questions, you have a chance to retake the question, but if you fail again . . . well, let's just say you've effectively wasted a couple years of your life and money. Thankfully, I passed all four questions on the first try. This didn't mean I was done, however. Oh no, not quite. There is also an oral component to quals. You have to sit down in front of your evaluating committee and and talk about what you wrote. Basically, it's intended to make sure you can also present your knowledge when you're put on the spot. The questioning takes about 30-45 minutes, and then you have wait out in the hall while they discuss you.

The waiting sucks far beyond the questioning. Believe me.

I made it, though! So, now I get to start working on my dissertation (more or less - there are still a few hoops jump through, but they're not as bad as the quals).

You can see why I haven't exactly been around to blog in past few months. Like I said, little busy. But now that thing's are going to settle down a little, I hope be able to get back to writing on a more regular basis. And on that note - let the insanity resume!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm Alive But Not Really Back

I know it's been almost a month since my last post, and I apologize. But before anyone gets excited (yeah, right, like my posting or not really has that big an impact on your daily lives - it does right?), I'm not really back just yet, but I'll get to that in a minute.

First, why the long delay in posts. Simply put, I've been too damn busy in the last month. I was finishing up course work - not just for the semester, but forever! That's right, I am finally done with the course work for my PhD! Naturally, however, that meant that I've been incredibly busy during the day the last month or so. During that time, I've also been looking and applying for jobs. Now that my course work is done, it's time to get a real job. I've had some interesting leads, but nothing has panned out yet. It will, but job hunting is just a huge pain the ass. In addition to finishing course work and applying for jobs, I've been doing what I can to help with something of far greater importance - Journey's and my wedding! We're down the last few days (weddings on Saturday) and we've been scrambling to get the final details in place.

Which brings to why I'm not really back yet. As you might suspect, I'll be kind of busy the next few days with wedding stuff and then Journey and I are heading off on our honeymoon pretty much immediately (well, the next morning actually, but you understand). We're going on the Alaska cruise, with a few days in Vancouver and a few days in Anchorage on either end. Even if I were to have internet access, sorry folks but posting on here would be a very low priority!

So, hope things are well out there in the blogosphere, and I'll try to start posting more when we get back!

One more quick thing - I came across this earlier this morning and found too funny to not pass on!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Sense of Entitlement

Holy fuck! I just spent half an hour trying to explain to someone that they are not special, and despite what they think, they are not entitled to anything. This person was talking about how they felt insulted that a college they had applied for a position at sent him a rejection letter by email. While I agree that a form letter is more courteous, he clearly felt that they should have sent an individualized, signed letter which outlined exactly why they hired the other person instead of him. He justified this by saying, "Well, this very small school in Nebraska where I was a very close second did this, so why shouldn't this much larger school do the same?"

The simple answer? Time and money.

When I tried to present this argument, he countered by saying that someone on the faculty should take their own time and money to do this. And his reasoning for this extra time, effort, and cost? Because "you should be respectful to other professionals." Yeah, you should. But you are asking a busy professional to do something outside of their normal responsibilities and at their own personal financial cost because you think it's "nice." Speaking as someone who doesn't exactly have a lot of time or money, my answer is more like "Yeah, right! Sorry, but I simply don't the time to do that." As far as I'm concerned, they don't owe you much beyond a "Thanks but not thanks" statement, even if it is by email. And this is coming from someone who has been applying for jobs for months now! (I'll write on that at some future point, but not right now!)

On to Round Two!

Final Series Score: Avalanche 4, Wild 2
Next Up: Detroit or Dallas

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Who Knew?

Apparently, Mitt Romney has a sense of humor.

I didn't (and still don't) agree with a lot of his politics, but when I saw Mitt's "Top 10 Reasons for Dropping Out of the Race" I had to pass them on!

10. There weren't as many Osmonds as I thought.
9. I got tired of corkscrew landings under sniper fire.
8. As a lifelong hunter, I didn't want to miss the start of the varmint season.
7. There wasn’t room for two Christian leaders.
6. I was upset that no one had bothered to search my passport files.
5. I needed an excuse to get fat, grow a beard and win the Nobel prize.
4. I took a bad fall at a campaign rally and broke my hair.
3. I wanted to finally take off that dark suit and tie, and kick back in a light-colored suit and tie.
2. Once my wife Ann realized I couldn't win, my fundraising dried up.
1. There was a miscalculation in our theory: "As Utah goes, so goes the nation.”

Monday, April 14, 2008

Idiot Wind

Dylan was lucky when he wrote this song; he only had one idiot wind to deal with. Around campus right now, however, there are three of them.

Here's deal - apparently, one of the bus drivers for the free shuttle was playing a local radio station which was currently broadcasting a show by a rather outspoken and conservative host, who has been known to offend people in the past. A student complained to ASU, first back in October and then again last week. ASU decided the station had to be either turned down or turned off while they investigate the incident. The radio station, KTAR, cried foul, claiming ASU was trying to censor free speech, and they spent today broadcasting from campus.

If I may, I'd like to offer a little advice to all three parties (and quite frankly, even if you think I shouldn't, I'm going to anyway).

To the student who complained: Welcome to the real world. People are going to say, and you are going to hear, things you don't like and don't agree with. That's life. Deal with it. If you don't like it, ask the bus driver to turn it down. Don't go whining to the university. And quite honestly, even if you don't like or if you find it offensive, you might want to listen to anyway, because there will be others out there who do like it and if you've heard it yourself, you're better prepared to counter it. This is a university - you're supposed to confront ideas and opinions which are strange and uncomfortable to you.

To ASU: Quit hyperventilating. Just because one student complained, that doesn't mean there's some widespread problem. This is one person, all you had to do was tell then you would talk to the drivers and ask them to use some more common sense with their radio choices. There, problem solved.

To KTAR: Quit playing the righteous martyr. You know damn well that ASU asking their drivers to turn the station down while they look into this isn't "censoring free speech"! They aren't saying that it can't be played, simply that the drivers should use some discretion and common sense while ASU figures out what happened. I've actually listened to this particular host before, and I've found him offensive on many occasions. But he has every right to say what he wants to say - just as I have every right to turn it off!

Everyone involved has taken this whole thing and blown it way out of proportion. And knowing the other idiots in the area, I can almost guarantee that this will be all over the news for the next few day, which means I'll keep hearing about it. If you want to hear some more about this, here are a few of the things which have already come out.

ASU Student paper: Story #1
ASU Student paper: Story #2
AZ Central: Main stream media's take
KTAR: Their take on it

And just exercise my right of free speech, *ahem* You are all being fucking idiots! Knock it off, there are better things to be dealing with right now!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Now, I Find This Funny

Absolut Vodka ran an advertising campaign in Mexico, using this image. Needless to say, a bunch of people in the US got very upset. Personally, I just find it damn funny! Now, I can understand why some people are upset, but lets face it folks. Mexico got screwed in 1848. And a lot of people are still real sensitive about the whole thing. So, to have the Swedes of all people come out with an ad like this just makes me laugh!

Just Now Getting To My Coffee

I've been in the office more than an hour already - yes, I'm in my office by 7:00 AM - and I'm just now getting to my first cup of coffee. I've sent the last hour dealing with a bunch of financial stuff as part of one of my jobs. I got an email last yesterday saying that a bunch of receipts for purchases I made needed to be turned in. What the fuck?!? I make a very deliberate point to turn in purchase receipts within 24 hours. Always! (It's part of the little touch of OCD, and a bit of simple common sense!)

So, to find out that it appears my receipts weren't turned in is a problem. I had the fun of spending a while talking to the finance guy in the department (who is also in very early) and we got everything straighten out. Apparently, the statement he was given was for different credit card than he had been told, meaning that when he went to check the statement with the book for that card, it didn't match up. Now, since both cards belong to the same person (not The Overlord, but the other professor I work for at the same time), and since I usually place the orders on both, it's maybe not too surprising that this mistake was made. But it means that we had to spend a bit of time figuring all this out.

I've also spent a good deal of time this morning dealing with customer service on another order. I placed this order more than 2 weeks ago and hadn't heard anything. So I called them up and talked with one of their reps, who really was very helpful but far too perky. It seems that the order got "hung up" in their system and never processed. Well, that would explain why nothing has been delivered. I had to re-place the order, but this time I got her to enter in manually, which should help. Again, got it all squared away, but it took time. (The confirmation email just came through, which is a good sign.)

And I had to place yet another order, only to find out they no longer carry the product we wanted. Given that I was trying to order paper - yeah a little annoyed at that one. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find heavyweight (45 lb), matte finish paper? Surprisingly difficult. Glossy is easy because people use it in place of real photo-paper. They don't matte, so it's not stocked as much. We, on the other hand, need it print certificates of completion. For us, shiny is bad!

Okay, in the course of writing this, I've made it about 2/3 of the way through my first cup of coffee, and the world is a much better place. Back to work now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ranting At Random Annoyances

It feels like a while since I just went off on a good little rant. I've decided it's about time! And to that end, I've been making little notes to myself over the last few days on things which have been annoying me. Not major things; just the little stuff which bugs me.

Skater Fucks: Not all skaters by any means. Most of them make little to no impact on me simply because they're off doing their thing, and I'm doing mine. No, the ones I'm talking about are the ones who go cutting through crowds at a high rate of speed - these are the skater fucks. There are a number of these skater fucks on campus, which is not really a surprise. Now, theoretically, there's no skating or biking in the interior of campus, but no one really pays attention to that rule. Usually, it's not a big deal because most people are paying just enough attention to notice that there are other moving objects around them and avoid them. But when these skater fucks go flying by nearly clipping people, I often have to fight the urge to put out my arm and clothesline them just to see one of them go flying in a whole new way.

The Library Elevator: Just one of them - specifically, the middle one. For some reason, and apparently no one knows why, it always stops on the first floor (our library is weird - you actually have to go underground to get in, so the main level is actually referred to as "Circulation" while the ground level, which is one floor up, is still called the first floor). Anyway, the elevator always stops there, even if the button hasn't been pushed. And I know it's not just me - I've talked to other people about this and they've all noticed the same thing.

People Who Don't Understand What A "Turn Only" Lane Is: Yes, I know that the actual road continues for another block, but they have it striped (and signed) that way for a reason. And no, you are not important enough or special enough that you just get to just ignore those stripes and signs.

People Who Won't Move Over For A Fire Truck: Personally, I think the fire fighters should be allowed to either ram them out of the way, or show up at their house later and use the fire axes on the offender's car. Either way is fine by me.

People Who Think The Traffic Signal Doesn't Apply To Them: Admittedly, I've been known to cross against the light, but I always make sure I'm not going to hold up traffic or put anyone at risk. The people I'm talking about here are the drivers who speed through right after the light turns reds, or the pedestrians who just kind of wander out into the street and saunter across like they're the shit. They're close - they're A shit, not THE shit.

Allergies: It's that time of year when something around here blooms and I spend a couple weeks sniffling and sneezing and rubbing my eyes. Even with the allergy meds. A day or two is fine, but after more than a week, I get tired of this shit.

Changing My Network Password: Now this is actually a really important thing, and I know why it's done. I accept it. The problem is that, as is well established by now, I have some OCD tendencies. I get used to following a specific routine when doing things, especially in the office. So when my password changes, this throws things off for a couple weeks until entering the new password becomes the routine. This is definitely one of the smaller annoyances, but it still results in an "Aw fuck!" every time I enter the old password and the computer beeps at me.

I think that's about it for now. I'm sure there will be more things to annoy me later, but this is good for the moment.

Okay, one more thing. This isn't an annoyance, but I just saw this news story. And I just have to ask, who really thinks it's a good idea to use a fucking gun to install a satellite dish?!?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Random Quote

"Schadenfreude is chocolate for the soul. That's why ours are full of cavities."
~ Davan, from Something Positive, by R.K. Milholland

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke: 12/16/1917 - 03/19/2008

Perhaps most well known for his 2001: A Space Odyssey, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke has died. He died Wednesday at his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka (for those of us in the US, that would have been Tuesday afternoon).

Arthur C. Clarke Quotes:
"Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering."

"They tell us absolutely nothing about intelligence elsewhere in the universe, but they do prove how rare it is on Earth." (Discussing UFOs)

"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale."

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum."

"A hundred years ago, the electric telegraph made possible - indeed, inevitable - the United States of America. The communications satellite will make equally inevitable a United Nations of Earth; let us hope that the transition period will not be equally bloody."

"The inspirational value of the space program is probably of far greater importance to education than any input of dollars."

"It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value."

And finally, Clarke's Three Laws:
1. "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

2. "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

3. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blah . . .

I feel like crap this morning. I didn't feel too good yesterday either. The worst part is I can't tell if I'm just having really bad allergies right now, or if I'm coming down with something. I'm hoping for the first, but thinking it's the second. I don't really have time to be sick right now (okay, so I haven't really had time to be sick anytime in the last four years or so, but you know what I mean). And I can't afford to take the time to deal with sickness in my preferred fashion - namely, a pint of whiskey (yes, it comes in pints) all at once and being nearly unconscious for three days. It's the unconscious for three days that's the problem. As long as I'm conscious, I can still get work done, even if I don't feel great. Too much to do to be out that long. Fuck.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Love Spring Break

And it's not because I'm going anywhere. In fact, one of the reasons I love Spring Break is precisely because I don't really go anywhere - but a lot of other people do! It means that despite the fact that I didn't coming into the office until 8:00, I wasn't fighting a bunch of (mostly undergrad) idiots for room on the road or spots in the parking lot. When you're school has nearly 65,000 students, over 50,000 of whom are undergrads, there are a lot of idiots to avoid on a daily basis. During Spring Break, however, a significant number of those students go out of town - especially the ones who get a big allowance from Mommy and Daddy. They head off to Mexico, or the Keys, or some other place where they can get drunk and try to hook up with someone they're probably never going to see again. "Spring Break and Alcohol: Working Together to Bring You New Idiot-Larva Every Year!"

Not really my scene. Never has been.

Thank you, I'm going to stay here, try to get some work done and maybe hang out with a small group of friends. I don't need (or want) to go drinking with hundreds of perfect strangers, most of whom think American Idol is the single greatest achievement of mankind ever and that a good person to model their lifestyle on is Britney Spears. These people (and I do use the term "people" loosely here) are hard enough for me to deal with when they're not drunk and are just going about their daily business (which mainly consists of trying to be more trendy than those around them - kind of like peacocks, only with cars, cell phones, and sun glasses instead of feathers). Put them someplace with little or no supervision or accountability, and then mix in lots of alcohol and sun? Oh. Hell. No. But if they want to do that, it's their right - I just want them to go somewhere else to do it. And conveniently enough, they oblige.

Maybe it's just that I'm in a good mood today; maybe that's why I'm not threatening to beat people with my cricket bat, although I'm quite sure I'll run into at least a few today who probably deserve it. I had a good weekend in Tucson with Journey. I got some extra sleep last night, and came into work a little later than normal this morning (that's how I celebrate Spring Break). And the weather was nice enough that I rolled down the windows on my way and turned up some Led Zeppelin. Unlike some other people I had the joy of experiencing back in January (1/14/08 post), when I impose my music on strangers, at least it's good music!

Whatever the reason, I find myself in a good mood on this, the first morning of Spring Break. So, my most heartfelt "Farewell" to all you Spring Break partiers! Go. Drink and romp to your hearts' content. Just make sure you "go" to do it!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hockey Gets Some Respect

As most probably already know, I am a huge hockey fan. I often end up talking hockey with people trying to convince them of the greatness that is hockey. Too often, however, people kind of shrug and say "meh." Well, there is hope yet.

Recently, ESPN has been running a "Greatest Highlight of All Time" poll. They started with 100 highlights, eventually narrowing it down to 16, which were voted on by viewers. The final two were Boise State's "Statue of Liberty" play, and Mike Eurizone's goal against the USSR in the 1980 Olympics. Well, given my title to this post, you can probably figure out which one won out. This makes me happy!

Here's the link to ESPN's Greatest Highlight page.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Idiots Around The World

My dad send me a story this morning. Apparently, two young men in Sydney, Australia, decided to rob a bar. Not the smartest thing in the world to begin with, but these two took it one step further. The bar they decided to rob was a biker hang-out. That's right - they walked right past all the motorcycles lined up out front, went inside, pulled knives and a machete, and started demanding money. Well, the bikers, who were in the other room, heard this and came in carrying their own weapons - chairs, tables, and pretty much anything else that wasn't nailed down. One of the robbers jumped through a plate-glass window in an attempt to escape (he was caught by police a short time later). The other tried to run out the back door and was tackled by some of the bikers, tied up with electrical cord, and left for the police.

I mean, really, how dumb do you have to be to try and rob a biker-bar? As my dad put it, not quite Darwin Award caliber, but it comes pretty close!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

First Forsberg, Now Foote

I just received a call from Propsqueen, informing me that the Avs have also once again picked up Adam Foote. Here's the story! Suddenly, the Avs are looking a lot like they did back in 2000-2001, when we last won the Stanley Cup. Things are getting very interesting as we approach the trade deadline today (which, I believe, is at 3:00 PM EST).

Again, picture is the from the Avalanche website.

Monday, February 25, 2008

News To Me

I just received an email from my father, informing me that apparently the Colorado Avalanche and Peter Forsberg have reached an agreement and he will return to the team! The last I had heard, Forsberg had decided not to return to the NHL this season. Guess he changed his mind! And if you don't believe me, here's the link. And in case there was any doubt, I an thrilled to hear this. Forsberg, despite the injuries he's had, is still one of the all time greats. And with the spate of injuries the Avs have had this year, we need all the help we can get!
(I got this image from the Avalanche website.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I just got word that one of my classes for tomorrow has been cancelled! Now, I don't want to rejoice at the fact that the professor has come down with the flu - I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But the unexpected free time is a definite bonus!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Idiots Who Don't Know What They're Doing Need To Stop Fucking With My Shit

A command has been passed down from on-high, by someone who doesn't know what they're doing, which (potentially) will cause a proverbial shit-storm. I can't actually talk about it right now, because I'm not actually supposed to know just yet and the decision has not been finalized. But I can say that if it happens the way I've heard it will, there will be many many angry people (me being one of them at this moment) and all kinds of bad will happen.

I. Am. NOT. Happy.

On a side note, I know there have been several times lately when I've started to talk about something only to back off and say "Sorry, can't talk about it. Hush hush and all that." I do apologize for that. I would far rather just come out and say what's going on, and really rant. The problem, as many of you will understand, is that anything I say on here is public - anyone could, and can, read it. The reality of the world we live in today is that you have to be very careful what you write. This isn't like a private, hand-written journal which no one else is ever going to see. This is open to the world. And in the interest of not starting a shit-storm of my own, there are simply occasions when I can't talk about things. Just know that when say something like that, it's because I really can't, but feel the need to rant some anyway.

Email Hell

Email takes up more of my time in the day than it should. I just spent my first hour and a half replying to critical emails - not all my emails, just the most critical.

Of course, it really doesn't help that I have three accounts I need to keep track of: a personal, a work, and a professional. There's actually a fourth, but that's just a junk account for when I need an email to sign up for something - it just needs emptying once a week or so.

Maybe I could acquire a minion of my own, just to reply to emails.

Friday, February 15, 2008


There is a certain level of amusing irony to have "Sweet Home Alabama" come on, and to be turning the volume down right as it's telling you to turn it up. Yes, that's the kind of state my mind is in right now. No idea why, either.

I'm guessing it has something to do with a rather long, but pretty productive city committee meeting last night, which was followed by an informal "meeting" of a couple of us committee members over beer. While I won't talk about the particulars just yet, let's just say that if we get our way and carry out a general plan we discussed last night, things are going to rather dramatically change for our committee and for our place in the city government.

The planning of coups over beer is fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

*Twitch Twitch*

I really hate it when I get harassed about incorrect information on something when that incorrect information is due to someone else not really doing their job. Then it's demanded that I get things corrected and back out right away. Why do you think I sent the information request to you last week?

Monday, February 11, 2008

People Can Really Suck

I've actually waited a couple days to post this simply because I wanted to have some time to reflect on things before I wrote anything. I think I can do that now.

So, Friday night, I ended up going down to my usual bar in Chandler to hang out and hear the band (who were actually pretty good, although I never did catch their name). Turns out, there were a bunch of people I know from the bar there that night and we got to hanging out and having a good time. I took off my glasses and set them on the bar right next to my beer. I do this on occasion - and not just when I'm drinking, but when I'm hanging out and don't have to actually focus my eyes on anything more than about five feet away. My eyes aren't so bad that I need my glasses for close conversation, so this just happens sometimes.

Anyway, my friends decide to go outside for a smoke break. With plans on joining them in a minute (for the outside bit, not the smoking), I head off to recycle some of the beer, leaving my pint and glasses on the bar. When I came back, however, they were gone! Both my beer and my glasses! Now, I'm pretty well known around this bar (this is the place I've been going to watch football on Sundays for last three years), and I've actually done this on a number of occasions with no problem. This time, however . . .

I immediately checked with the bar tenders, the bouncer by the door, and some of the people sitting in the immediate area. None of them saw anything - which doesn't actually surprise me. It's a Friday night, things are a bit busy, and really, how often do you pay attention to other people's things on the bar? I checked with my friends outside as one of them in particular has a reputation for pulling little pranks on people. Things like taking someone's pack of cigarettes while they're away and turning all of them around in the pack and then setting it back, or stealthily pocketing someone's lighter and then passing it off to someone else for "safe keeping" - and I admit that I have taken part in some of these jokes on past occasions. But Tim was innocent and equally concerned. And as he pointed out, if he had taken my glasses, I would have found them sitting on top of his head. That's the kind of prank he would pull.

I can understand someone taking my beer. While thoroughly annoying, it makes sense. But taking my glasses? That's just asshole-ish.

So I checked around with everyone who might know something, but to no avail. My glasses were just gone. I left my number with the bar tender, Sarah, in case they turned up, but not expecting much. I made it home alright, although I made damn sure to take some time at the bar drinking water before heading out to just help avoid any potential problems. And I'm proud to say that I kept my anger in check until after I was home - driving without my glasses was bad enough, but driving without my glasses and in a blinding rage would not have been good.

Luckily, I still had my previous glasses at home. Unfortunately, the prescription on those is probably three to four years old. They were fine for driving to the glasses place to get an eye exam and a new pair, but that's about it. And that's how I spent most of my Saturday morning - getting new glasses. And in all honestly, it had been about a year and a half since my last eye exam, so I was past due. But that wasn't really what I wanted to spend my Saturday morning doing. And since my old ones are so out of date, I kind of had to go to one of the "1 Hour" places, which are always more expensive. But I couldn't really function without new glasses, so I sucked it up and shelled out for 'em.

I related all this to Journey Saturday afternoon. I think I may have concerned her a bit. At one point she said, quite correctly, that whoever did this was not worth my time and energy. And she's right. I seriously doubt that this was intended to be a malicious attack on me or anything like that. It was simply a bar-room prank, probably fueled by a good amount of alcohol. So, I'll try to be cool and calm about it (hence, the waiting a few days to post). Should the bar ever figure out who it was, however, then they may be worth my time and energy. Not in the "cricket bat to the knee" sense (although that will undoubtedly cross my mind), but I would probably try to recoup some of the cost of replacing my glasses out of them. Not all - as I said, it was kind of past due anyway. But maybe the difference in cost between the one hour place and what I would have paid at some place that takes a week to get them done. I kind of doubt that day will ever come, however, so I won't worry about until/unless it comes up.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hey! It's ASU!

You really might just see something like this around ASU in particular, and the Phoenix Valley in general. At some point (likely when I've been out drinking with friends) I might just have to respond in a similar fashion.


*Said in a creepy Mr. Burns voice.

I just finished a meeting with my advisor. I've been struggling with how I'm going to write my dissertation, and what my topic is going to be. I originally had one plan, but was going to scrap it in favor of expanding my Master's thesis in an attempt to just get the damn thing done. She advised against that on the basis that, given what I would need to do, I wasn't going to save any time. So, I went back to my original idea, which is much more in my professional field. The problem was back to how I was going to think about it and how I was going to structure it.

Well, last week, I had an epiphany one morning in the shower, before I was fully awake. It was in that nice little window of time when thoughts are just free-form in your head, but you're not to the point of really thinking about them yet, if that makes sense. This was one of those moments where the light-bulb goes on, but this time it was a big enough light-bulb that, had this been a literal occurrence, I would probably be dead from the amount of power flowing through the damn thing. Anyway, everything suddenly clicked - and I was completely awake. I ran my idea through my mind again, now that I was really functioning, and became convinced that it would in fact work. And it would actually be far easier than I originally thought it might be (this is a vast and great thing!).

Today was the first chance I had had to actually sit down with my advisor and go through the whole thing to see if she thought it would work - and more importantly, be acceptable to my committee. The answer was "Yes." There is still a lot work to be done to actually do the whole thing, but now that there's a structure and direction to it, things are far happier in my world.

Before anyone asks, however, no - I'm not going to tell everyone what my plan is. Academia is highly competitive, and ideas are usually jealously guarded for fear of someone stealing it. Don't believe me? Start with this PhD comic and the rest of the story arc (about 10 of them) - Jorge Cham knows what he's talking about! Now it's not that I distrust anyone who might actually read my blog on any kind of regular basis - it's that anything which goes on the internet lives forever, and can spread. I'm sure all of my readers are fine and could be trusted - with the possible exception of Propsqueen . . . But I don't know who else is down the line. With a few exceptions, you'll find out when I finish and defend the thing!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Distractions and Amusements

I received an email from one of my friends last night condemning me for having introduced them to Anywhere But Here. She is now apparently addicted to it. My response, of course, was to laugh and send her a link to another comic I find greatly amusing. This got me thinking - specifically about how much you can tell about a person based on what they find amusing or entertaining. So, to give you a picture into my slightly twisted mind, here's a list of some of my current five favorite web-comics.

Anywhere But Here - The story of a jazz-playing, chain-smoking bastard who is stuck in North Dakota for school. He deals with this by physically and physiologically abusing the people around him. It has a very dark sense of humor, so I naturally enjoy it quite a bit!

Sequential Art - Focuses on a group of roommates: Art, the artist; Kat, the cat-girl photographer; Pip, the British, porn-addicted penguin; and Scarlet, the hyper-active, possibly genius squirrel with a noted lack of concentration. The comic's navigation is a bit of a pain, but it has a great sense of humor, which has been known to cause people to laugh until they can't breath.

Least I Could Do - A bunch of mid-20s friends, each with a unique personality. Lots of jokes about sex, movies, drinking, family, and llamas. No I won't explain the llamas - you'll have to find that out for yourselves. The current story-arc is a flash back.

Something Positive - One that has been around for a long time, and is still going strong. R.K. Milholland has an incredibly twisted sense of humor, but can do serious with the best of them. Plus, there's a cat without fur or bones which can consume nearly anything.

Sinfest - Another one which has been around a while without losing its touch. The very first strip shows the main character, Slick (think Calvin with a tie and sun-glasses), walking up to a booth with the Devil sitting behind it. The sign above the booth reads "Anything You Want: Your Soul". After a moment of thought, Slick sits down and says "What the Hell". You get the idea.

Today's Annoyance

It appears the already crap-tastic sound card in my office computer is starting to fritz out. I've been losing sound on the right intermittently all morning. I know it's not the speakers because I've already tried changing them out with another set. This means it's the card. I'm enough of an audiophile that putting up with sound from only one side is not an option. Even if the speakers are only about 18 inches apart, I can hear the difference. I'll have to talk the boss into letting me replace it. I don't really want to deal with the people at Dell because they'll just send me the same card again. I'd rather spend a bit of money and get a decent one which won't have this same problem again in a year.

I did spend a bit of money for a new keyboard recently. This is my money simply because I know at some point I'm going to want to replace my desktop at home (my current one, which I basically don't use anymore, is about eight and half years old), and I decided I'd want a good keyboard for that anyway, so it makes sense to buy this myself and just take it with me when I leave. I decided it was time for a new one because I sometimes get some pain in my right wrist. I know it's a combination of spending so much time at the computer and playing bass some evenings. Journey recommended that I think about getting an ergonomic keyboard to spare my wrist undue aggravation. So, I did some looking and found a wireless one for pretty cheap - I like the idea of being able to literally put my feet up at work and still be able to get things done. That's suppose to show up sometime today. Hopefully that will distract me from the damn sound card for a bit!

Monday, February 04, 2008

I Hate Clip Art

I was just send a group of file to be put together into a PDF - a fairly regular occurrence given I have Adobe Pro and can actually do that quickly and easily. This group, however, includes a bunch of fuckin' cheap, low-quality clip art as their images. You want a picture of the White House on your file? Fine - use a good one. It's not like they're hard to find! And there are far, far better images to use for a section on Pearl Harbor than a fucking generic anchor clip! Hell, part of what I'm paid to do is help with designing and putting together things like this. All they had to do was drop me an email with the pages and say, "hey, could you track down some good images for each topic?" I would have been happy to - and I could have done with far better results in almost no time!

Oh, well. They didn't ask, and I'm sure as hell not going to take the time or effort to do it now. But, really! Just because you're a public school teacher does NOT mean you HAVE to use clip art!

Giant Upset

Okay - yes I know that all kinds of people are using this pun to describe last night's Super Bowl, but I'm still a little tired this morning and don't feel like trying to be real creative right at this morning. I must say, however, that I am quite pleased with the outcome of the game. As I said the other day, I'm just not a big fan of the Patriots. I'm not a fan of the Giants, either, but I don't actively dislike them so I was happy to see them win. And while this wasn't my favorite Super Bowl (that would be the Broncos/Packers game in '98), at least the 4th Quarter was exciting!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super (-Hyped) Bowl

Now I will readily admit that I am a big football fan. I love hanging out with the folks at my favorite bar, drinking beer, bull-shitting, and watching football on Sundays. For my money, this is a great way to relax for a few hours.

That being said, however, I am really ready for the Super Bowl to be over and done with already. While most football fans have been thinking about/dealing with the Super Bowl for the last month or so, those of us in the Phoenix area have been dealing with it for over a year now! As you probably know, the big game is here this year.

Anyway, now that we're down to the last few days before the game we have the added fun of all the fans and celebs descending on the Valley to see and to be seen. As I have mentioned before, Phoenix traffic is bad enough to begin with, but with the addition of thousands of out-of-towners who are here specifically to party . . . well, let's just say that my normal low level of tolerance for idiots has been worn away completely. I swear, if it weren't for that whole "getting arrested" thing, I would seriously consider going up to Scottsdale (where most of the celebs and trendies are) and just start cracking people's knee-caps with my cricket bat. Not enough to kill them, but certainly enough to make them want to get the hell out of town. Unfortunately, I want to hang out with friends and watch the game - hence you see my problem. The cracking of knee-caps would make me oh so happy, but would almost certainly result in my missing the game because of said incarceration. Not to mention the fact that Journey would be none too happy with me.

So, I guess I'll just have to put up with these wastes of oxygen for a few more days. I mean, what else can I really (and legally) do?

On top of the idiots, there's also the fact that I'm just not that interested in either teams this year. I don't like the Patriots, and I don't care about the Giants. Yes, I know the Pats are going for the unbeaten season record, but they also seem so damn arrogant that I just can't get behind them. That, and the fact that a good number of their "fair-weather" fans are assholes certainly doesn't help. As for the Giants, well . . . actually I've already said it: I simply don't care about them. Near total indifference. Who knows, maybe I'll get into the game more as I'm hanging with friends, but for now my general statement on this match up is "meh". My guess is we'll have pretty close to a repeat of the Pats/Giants game which closed out the regular season. I would like the Giants to win just to spite the Pats and those bandwagon fans, but I'm predicting that the Pats will come away with the win. Final score: Pats 35, Giants 31.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Purgatory Line

This ain't exactly hell.
It sure as hell ain't heaven.
I love you like the dickens and I miss you like the Devil.
I guess I'll do my time waitin' in this purgatory line.
Angels here are wearin' fancy new perfume,
and all the bread's unleavened.
Well I guess it'll have to do till I find you.
I don't know what I'm doin' here or why
I'm waitin' in this purgatory line.

I ain't exactly up.
I ain't gone too far down.
I'm lookin' for some answers and there ain't no one around.
I guess I'll lose my mind waitin' in this purgatory line.
If Jesus walked on water then where'd he get them shoes?
It just keeps gettin' harder to lose these walkin' blues.
I want you to come and take me home for a while.
Save me from this purgatory line.

Sometimes I can laugh.
Other times I cry.
It ain't exactly funny. My feet are both on fire.
I guess they'll just burn for a while waitin' in this purgatory line.
Lovin' you is so easy, but waitin' here just ain't.
I know I can be patient, but please don't hesitate to cross my mind.
That's all I've got for a while.
Waitin' in this purgatory line.

~ "The Purgatory Line," Drive-By Truckers, Brighter Than Creation's Dark

I hate the work-week - it means I'm not with Journey. Waiting for May to come sucks more every day.

Music Reviews

I have become increasingly annoyed with Rolling Stone's website and their music reviews. They seem to have fallen into that trap of believing that they know more about music than everyone else. Admittedly, they know a lot, but sometimes lately they seem to be dismissing a lot of fringe/alt music as not worth listening to because it's fringe or alt. Now, if you want to say that an album isn't popular because it's fringe, that's one thing. But so say that the music is bad because it's not mainstream is just stupid. Sadly, this seems to be what RS has been doing with increasingly regularity recently.

Because of this, I went in search of a new source of music reviews. I came across, which has actually been around for nearly 10 years. How I've never heard about it before is beyond me, but there it is. Anyway, one of the things I like the most about Metacritic is the fact that it's actually a compiler site. They collect reviews from a bunch of different places and put them together in a single place. This, of course, includes RS, but they also pull reviews from Billboard, The Onion, Village Voice, and many others. From these collected reviews, they give a "critics score" (from 0 to 100). Best of all, they actually explain how they go about calculating this "metascore" so you can be informed about their reasoning/logic. And of course they open things up to public review as well. This is a little more simplistic (or, rather, standard) as the "user" score is a strict average of user assigned scores (0-10).

So far I've only checked out Metacritic's music section, but they also have reviews for films, DVDs, television, books, and games. So if you're looking for reviews on something, think about checking them out. At the very least, it'll give you a quick glance at what people are saying!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Might Explain A Few Things About Vista

Am I the only one who thinks Bill looks stoned off his ass?

Losing My Mind

It's official - I'm either losing my mind or there are gremlins hiding in my office. This morning I went to look for a book I had ordered a couple months back and couldn't find it! I know I ordered it - I have the receipt and confirmation email. And this is a supplier I've used many times before, so I know they are reliable. And I'm pretty sure I remember it arriving and getting put on my bookshelf. But it sure as hell ain't there now! I know I didn't loan it out to someone - I have made a habit of keeping a list of who in the department I have loaned books to in case I need to get one back for some reason.

So, this leaves me with two basic conclusions: my mind is going or gremlins.

Luckily I don't need for a few weeks yet, but as I have some open, unscheduled time this morning I was planning on getting some it read ahead of time. Guess fuckin' not!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Interesting Video

I got emailed this video earlier today. While I'm not going to personally take a side on the "author's" argument at this time, I did think the video was worth passing on if you haven't seen it before. I'm abstaining for the time being simply because I just now watched it and want to take some time to think it over before I make any kind of real judgement on it. But give it a look and see what you think. Prior warning, it's a little long at almost 10 minutes - so be prepared.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SUV Idiot

Why do some SUV owners drive like the thing is made of crystal and will break with the slightest bump or jostle? Isn't part of the point of buying a SUV to have a vehicle which can withstand some punishment without any real problem? You know, be able to protect you? Maybe I'm just missing something here.

This morning I got caught behind one of these particular SUV owners. For whatever reason, they decided they had to creep over a speed bump. While severely annoying, I guess I can let this go. Maybe they had a full cup of coffee or a sleeping child in the SUV and didn't want to upset things. But when they did the same thing with a slight bump in the road at the next intersection - and when I slight, I'm talking a "bump" of less than an inch in height - I began to suspect that they were just an idiot! I have seen people in wheelchairs take on this particular little challenge with more aggression than the idiot in front of me! I've also seen those same people in wheelchairs get through the intersection faster than this jackass.

Once they were finally through the intersection, however, they had absolutely no problem driving aggressively. Weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, failing to come a complete (or even an incomplete) stop before making a right turn at a red light. These were no problem whatsoever. A speed bump and an empty intersection with another little bump? These apparently took as much effort and skill as climbing Mt. Everest - ass naked and blindfolded!

And I was so hoping to start today in a mood other than "severely annoyed" - guess not.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Where's My Cricket Bat?

Okay - so I actually do know where it is: in the mail. I finally found a good one at a reasonable price online and am now just waiting for it show up. But that's beside the point.

I was really wishing I had this morning at about 2:00 AM. That's when a bunch of girls (undergrads, and likely drunk ones at that, by the sound of them) pulled up outside one of the buildings in my apartment complex, all jumped out of the car, laughing and shouting at each other, leaving their music on at a fairly impressive level. What the fuck?!? Why are you out until 2:00-fuckin'-AM on a Sunday? And what makes you think that I'm interested in listening to your music at that time of "day" (not that I would ever listen to the kind of music they were playing!).

This went on for about 10 minutes or so, which doesn't sound like a long time, but when you sleep as little as I do to begin with, every minute counts, damnit. I was actually getting ready to either shout something out the window or call the police's noise complaint number when they finally finished whatever kind of prolonged (and loud) good-bye ceremony drunk undergrad girls participate in and things quited down.

The end result of all this is that I had a much harder time getting up at my usual 5:00 AM than I normally do, and have spent much of the day being slightly agrevated by the whole thing. Ah, if only I could have legally gotten away with smashing in their head-lights with my soon-to-arrive cricket bat, the world would be a much better place - for me at least!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Waiting for the Coffee to Kick In

This is me this morning. As much as I love my coffee, I very rarely actually need it to wake up in the morning. Today is one of those times.