Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Relief

Yesterday, it was 107 degrees in Memphis with a "feels like" temperature of 121.

Today in Redmond it's 66.

It's a vacation from the heat if nothing else.

UPDATE OK, it got up to 78 today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thought for the day

Anyone who ever says anything approaching a similarity to the following:

We need to think about rebranding our organization.

should be punched in the face and kicked in the groin.

Don't blame me

I don't know what you'd be trying to blame me for; just don't do it, OK?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Backs suck

So, I can’t blame a lack of posting entirely on my back – I have been laying around a lot because of it – but I’ll blame a lack of blogging material on that very fact.

I have recurring back pain. Last year it was a bulging disc (also slipped or herniated disc, but I like to say bulging). I figured this time around it was going to be the same thing. It sure felt similar. But I was wrong. This time it was a messed up sacroiliac joint. Appears the joint on my left side doesn’t line up right. The practical upshot of this is that I get to take a pretty neat muscle relaxers and pain killers for a couple of weeks.

That’s pretty much it. Back pain is not fun. But I am heading off to Redmond, Oregon, Tuesday night to hang out at my sister-in-law’s house for a few days. My wife’s been out there for a few days already and got to have some fun white-water rafting. Not sure if I’m jealous given my current state of back-suckitude. However, I am certainly jealous of the time off.

Hope you all had a better weekend than me.

Crossposted at Temple of Suck.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stating the obvious

Children are great blogfodder, and when you don't have much else to say, pull from real life. I wish I had a picture of this to share, but hopefully my words will capture the essence.

Yesterday, I took the kids to Baskin-Robbins for some ice cream. The degrees of mess varied as much as their ages. Daughter #1 was almost as clean (if not cleaner) as her daddy. Daughter #2 had a bit of an ice-cream mustache going on, but was otherwise cleanly. The boy, however, decided to coat both his face and hands in ice cream. The stuff melted down his right hand, it stuck to his left, and it covered his face from nose to chin and cheek to cheek.

This covering happens in the time it takes me to give him his ice cream cone and for me to get mine and sit down. So coated, he looks at me, eyes full of sparkle, and says, "I love chocolate, daddy."

Of course I had to laugh as I applied a handful of napkins, attempting to staunch the tide of rocky road.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Holy parallels, Batman

One thing I forgot to mention in my review of The Dark Knight is one rather personal funny that my movie-going crew was able to share.

Earlier yesterday, J-mom took our son to get his 3-year-old checkup. Of course, this included shots. He seemed to take them well enough. J-mom says he screamed right when he got the shot, but then he was done. At the end of the appointment, he said "Thank you" and "Have a nice day." However, once outside, he told J-mom, "Never do that again."

This, of course, provided quite the chuckled for the family.

So, we're watching Batman a couple of hours later and there's a scene involving Batman and Maggie Gyllenhal and at the climax of the scene she turns to Batman and says, "Let's never do that again." Of course we bust out laughing. No one else seemed to get it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight: Solid Summer Fun

Finally made it to The Dark Knight today and it is a very good film that fills the action void and even makes you think a little bit. However, I'm not sure that it's as good as everyone seems to be making it out to be. Yes, it's a good film, but there are folks out there claiming that it's on par with The Godfather, and, I'm sorry, it just ain't there.

So, plop down your movie-ticket money for a good flick, but don't expect anything glorious or uplifting. It's summer people.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Geekgasm

Fans of Watchmen get to Ain't It Cool News right now!

Polling sucks

I am in the middle of tabulating the results of a readership poll that I sent out in one of my publications. The publication goes out to several hundred thousand people. We received about 40,000 responses. I was a little bummed about that. I was hoping for at least a 10 percent response (so, it goes out to more than 400K - got that?) but now that I'm having to do data entry on all this crap, I'm happy we didn't get any more than we got.

I've brought in two reservists for two weeks to assist in tabulating the results, but, so far, things are not going well. I cannot tab 100 percent of the time. In fact, yesterday was the first day I had to do any tabulation. I completed 500 cards. My reservists have done about 500 total combined from Mon.-Wed. I doubt I'm going to get through 40,000 by the end of next week. I'm not sure what to do. I don't know how to make people go faster.

If these folks were doing well, they'd get all kinds of effusive praise from me to their reserve commander. As it is, I'm wondering if I might need to call him and ask for better troops.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Unclaimed baggage

On the internet, everyone carries a purse. Or an attaché case, I guess.

What I’m saying is that online, everyone brings baggage to the table. Everyone’s showing off what they have, attempting to hide some of it, or criticizing other people because their own baggage is too oppressive.

Imagine this … there’s a guy in a public place, let’s say a park. He’s sitting at a picnic table. He has a gym bag and he’s calling over some folks to look at his stuff. “Hey, look what I got here! It’s a doohickey!”

Some people go and see what he’s talking about. No one really says anything, but generally just take a look. A couple of days later, there are three people -- the gym bag guy, a guy with a briefcase and a woman with a handbag. They’re all showing off different things out of their bags and they’re telling each other how much they like each other’s stuff or how it makes them think of a certain time in their life, etc. Then some other people in the park come over and start looking at their stuff and start talking to them as well. They also say things about how nice the stuff is or how it reminds them of something they once did, etc.

The picnic table show-and-tell goes on for a bit and everyone’s enjoying themselves. The sharing can be freeing and looking can be entertaining or thrilling. But one dude comes along, pushes his way through the crowd, looks at the guy with the gym bag and calls him a whiny douche for complaining about his knee pain when he jogs. He calls him stupid for even coming out to the park to call attention to it and questions the guy’s manhood, intelligence and common sense. It never seems to occur to this individual that these criticisms are even more applicable to the person who’s making them than to the target, but he makes them nonetheless.

Suddenly, the picnic-table show-and-tell is a bit more guarded. Those who do show up are far more careful about what they decide to share and those who talk about the stuff are far more careful about what they choose to say.

Maybe this has been a stupid analogy because I really don’t think I could see myself going to a picnic table and unloading all my stuff to strangers. The picnic table lacks the anonymity that the internet does. The fact that we can reveal as much or as little about ourselves that we want to is exactly why people blog, chat and comment. And the guys who come up and bitch and moan or arbitrarily strike out would never do anything like that in real life, or, at least, those who do are obviously douches.

Going back to the park analogy, it’s like that critical dude coming up and saying, “How dare you show me your stuff!” It just doesn’t make sense, but that’s exactly what these people are doing.

My hypothesis is that people, when reading other people’s blogs, get a feeling of connection that may or may not be there. There’s the feeling that you “know” the person you’re reading about as opposed to knowing only what they’re telling you. This anomalous connection leads some people to lash out when they read something they don’t agree with. They’ve invested time and energy into making a connection with this internet person (who is, even at internet full-disclosure best, only a fraction of who the person really is) that there is a sense of betrayal when they perceive something to be counter to who they have come to believe the internet persona is.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to get at here. I’ve written and rewritten this post a few times over the past two days. I’ve read at a couple of different blogs how the site owner feels insecure about sharing certain things because of viscous commenters, and that kind of sparked this rant. But I don’t know that I have a conclusion other than to say what just about every internet user already knows: Here there be stalkers!

Something in the Way

So, Wunderkraut posted something about Nirvana the other day. He talks about how much of an impact Nirvana had on popular music of the day. I can't argue with that. Nirvana and all the bands they brought with them certainly revamped radio and MTV in the late '80s/early '90s.

But what Nirvana was not, is different. Yes, they spoke to the disaffected youth of the day with their disaffected message, but they pulled their sound right from (most obviously) the Melvins, the Pixies and JFA. So, of course, the influences of these bands play a role in Nirvana's sound -- Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin, most punk, etc.

I'm not trying to diminish their importance at that moment in time. They were quite important and served as a signal in the change of popular music. I was a fan at the time (though when I went to see them live I was going to see the Breeders and not them). These days I find them hard to listen to. Just seems like Cobain was trying too damn hard to be poignant. I'm not moved. I find it ... well, just listenable, I guess.

This is not a singular event in my revisiting the bands of my late teens. I find that I can't listen to Nine Inch Nails any more. I freakin' loved them at the time. I saw them in New Orleans when they were touring on The Downward Spiral and I still consider that to be one of the best concerts I've ever been to (prior to 2007, the best concert was Rush, but last year I saw G3 and that was amazing). I guess my problem is that these bands just don't speak to me like they once did, but there are others from that era that do. I don't know if it's just that bands like Nirvana and NiN spoke to a mindset that I grew out of, or if I've just changed so much that I no longer appreciate their music. I think Nirvana and NiN's subject is pretty limited, so I tend to think it's the former.

Anyway, go listen to some Mudhoney or Dickies and be happy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Monday funny

I was looking through some older posts today and came across this post and I laughed and laughed.

Miley, don't "go ho." Too late now, it seems.

Big birthday


We had our youngest's third birthday party on Saturday. It was a busy day. He doesn't really turn three until tomorrow, but we had to do the party on a day we could put everything together. We had a pirate-themed party.

So, what you got here is our pinata. We've done a pinata for every child on their 2nd or 3rd birthday. Nothing terribly difficult; some paper mache over a blown-up balloon. Then paint it, hang it and bust it. Painting the pinata was my contribution to the party. I got a stencil for the skull and crossbones. Came out pretty good, I think.

J-mom made a treasure chest cake and that was a big hit.

I admit that I was skeptical of the cake, but the final product was quite good.

These things don't get any less busy the more times you do them.

Friday, July 11, 2008

This pt. 3

What do you get when you take two American rock guitarists who married Japanese women and lived in Japan for a number of years?



Bucketloads of awesome, of course. Take notes. There will be a quiz.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Synchronicity

I was re-watching the mega-awesome Grindhouse: Planet Terror last night and I didn't see the whole thing with Jesse Jackson until this morning. But given the good reverend's comments and Naveen Andrews' obsession in this movie, I'd say that was some damn fine planning on my part.

This post really wasn't meant to be post about Jackson's gaffe, but it provides a good segue to talk about the movie. When I first went to see Grindhouse on opening day, I was a gushing fan boy. I was very happy with how well Planet Terror stands up to a repeat viewing with more than a year separating viewings.

One thing, I was very critical of Rose McGowan in the movie, and, while I still think there are many actresses who could have done just as good (or better, a job, she did just fine. I'm pretty sure I was still geeking over Gretchen Mol from The Notorious Bettie Page.

It was also fun to see Josh Brolin in this role after having watched No Country for Old Men just a few days ago. How versatile is this cat? He really deserves some obsessing.

Still a fun movie.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

This Pt. 2



And that sums up my thoughts on that.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

This



And this


That is all.

Tunnel. Light. Sigh.

One class left to go and the rest of the summer is mine.

The last book we're reading is Public Opinion by Walter Lippman. It is an important book in the formation of communication theory, or so I've been told. It was written in 1922 and, truth be told, is quite ahead of its time in many regards. Lippman seems downright prescient in many of his theories. But it's difficult reading. Lippman didn't have a natural flow to his prose, so when describing difficult passages it makes it especially hard to read.

I'm really looking forward to this class being over. It's not been a particularly difficult class or semester, but it's been very busy. I am anticipating not having to plan my life around these classes and being able to focus more time on the family and our new dog.

At least until fall.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The newest member of the family

This is Max Uno (Lastname). We picked him up yesterday. He is an 8-week-old, full-blood Beagle. His previous owners called him Uno, but our little boy wanted to call him Max. Since Bo-Bo's birthday is about a week away, we let him change the name. Seems fine. The dog answers to it just fine.

Beagles are very pack-minded, so there was a little bit of whining, but it wasn't as bad as anyone made it out to be. The dog did get up a couple of times in the middle of the night, but that's to be expected -- he is a baby after all.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy belated Independence Day

This photo is from last year at the Independence Day celebration in Albany. I don't get to take pictures here. Not that that's a bad thing. Just different. I do miss it.

We weren't busy yesterday or anything, I just didn't get online much. Didn't do much of anything, actually. It was wonderful. Just lounged, napped, couch surfed ... it was really nice.

J-mom and the kids went to the Independence Day celebration in town Thursday night. She went with some friends we have in the neighborhood. Our big draw was that we had the Nelson brothers performing before the fireworks. Yeah. Weird. Apparently they're childhood friends with our admiral. Anyway, we had them do all the TV and radio shows here in town before the festival. It went over quite well. Wish I could have been there.

Our friends, who are a few years younger than us, just didn't get the music. The Nelson's are on a tribute to Ricky Nelson kick right now and our friends just though it sounded like "bad country." J-mom found that kind of hard to fathom, you know, because Ricky Nelson helped start rock and roll and all that. Anyway, happy Fourth, guys.

May we have many more.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

How awesome is Bobby Jindal?

Let me count the ways: 718. As in Louisiana Senate Bill 718.

More than 200 people in state boards and commissions resigned before they had to comply with the new law, requiring these people to release information about income and business dealings.

The hardest hit board in the state? The ethics commission. 11 people from the 12-member-board resigned.

To be fair, this wasn't a Bobby Jindal bill, he just signed it. It was introduced by Sen. Danny Martiny (a republican from Kenner, imagine that). Creating an environment where the state can finally get the muck-raking stench of Huey P. Long out of Louisiana politics -- for that I credit Jindal.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Books


My books make me happy. We've lived here almost a year now and still have a garage full of boxes. Many of those boxes are filled with books. At least enough to fill 2 or 3 bookshelves like these here.

Both J-mom and I brought books to the marriage and we're big on acquiring them. If we had the money, I'm sure one of the luxury items we would indulge would be a library.

Neither of us have all the books we'd like to. I tell you, while I love my novels, I'm becoming increasingly fond of the coffee table book. Something you can pick up and thumb through and make yourself smile. Or pout. Depending on the subject, I guess. In the left pic, on the bottom shelf, on the left is a book called "Guitar." It is one of my favorite books. Sometimes I just want to flip through and look at some pretty and historic six strings.

Perhaps we'll get more books up when we get ourselves some bookshelves. I really want to build some built-in shelves, but that's probably wishful thinking. We shall see.

I really dig this. This reading space is in the room over our garage -- the largest bed/bonus room. Originally, both our girls were in the room, but we moved them into one of the smaller bedrooms and converted this into a school/guest/play room. We wanted to make sure the kids had a reading area too. I would have so dug this area as a kid -- a semi-secluded spot where I could escape. Of course, the kids hardly use it.

Not to say they don't read. Kid Number 1 (just turned 9 in May) is an avid reader. She read the Harry Potter series about a year or so ago. The longest she took with any of the books was about 3 days. We were pretty impressed. Since then she's read the Spiderwick Chronicles, most of the Sister's Grimm (she just got the most recent two books last week and is finishing off the series) and the Inkheart series. Kid Number 2 (7) just finished her first "chapter book" (one without pictures, etc.). She's getting into it a bit later than her sister, but she really loved it and is ready to start reading all the things her sister is. Bo-Bo, who turns 3 in about 14 days, loves to be read to and will pick up a book any time.

While so much stuff is available on line, and I do loves me some interwebs, sometimes there's nothing as viscerally satisfying as a book.

Un meme

A diversion, a meme I found a Uzz's.

Only ONE word can be used in your answer and it can NOT be used twice.

1. Where is your cell phone? Mantle
2. Your significant other? J-mom
3. Your hair? Graying
4. Your mother? Support
5. Your father? Wiseass
6. Your favorite time of day? Dusk
7. Your dream last night? What?
8. Your favorite drink? Coffee
9. Your dream goal? Recognition
10. The room you’re in? Living
11. Your ex? Smoker
12. Your fear? Sharks
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Debtless
14. What you are not? Thin
15. Your Favorite meal? Pizza
16. One of your wish list items? Gibson
17. The last thing you did? Ate
18. Where you grew up? USA
19. What are you wearing? Boxers
20. Your TV is? Loud
21. Your pets? Nonexistent
22. Your computer? Overworked
23. Your life? Blessed
24. Your mood? Placated
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Your car? Toyota
27. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
28. Favorite store? Guitar
29. Your summer? Sultry
30. Your favorite colour? Green
31. When is the last time you laughed? Today
32. When is the last time you cried? Tuesday
33. Your health? Mediocre
34. Your children? Fulfilling
35. Your future? Unknown
36. Your beliefs? Indistinct
37. Young or old? Middle
38. Your image? Bearded
39. Your appearance? Typical
40. Would you live your life over again knowing what you know? Affirmative

Irrefutable evidence

Inspired by comments in the post below, I am reminded that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Therefore I offer this (WARNING probably not something you want to watch on a full stomach and you might need something to protect your sanity):

Keanu Reeves in Dangerous Liaisons (only the first minute or so).

And this shall be my last post on this topic.