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!