Sunday, March 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

"If all the animals along the equator were capable of flattery, then Thanksgiving and Halloween would fall on the same date."

Respect will be given to the person who can identify the movie that this quote was from without looking it up.

Far more respect will be given to the person who can come up with the most plausible and/or entertaining explanation of what that means.

We've had no guesses, so I'll just give up and say here you go:

Ninja Warrior

Occasionally I'll be flipping through the channels and will find myself stopping on G4 to watch Ninja Warrior. It's a Japanese show in which contestants have to run through an obstacle course in under a certain amount of time. It's kind of like a serious version of MXC. And unlike MXC, Ninja Warrior regularly has world class athletes on the show. I've seen several former Olympians and some professional athletes, not your standard uncoordinated people.

Sure, some of the appeal is seeing people wipe out while attempting these feats, but it's actually more entertaining to see someone complete the course. Some contestants make it look very easy, and some make it look impossible. I can't help wondering how I would do. And it also doesn't hurt that there are frequently cute Japanese women on the show.

But don't just take my word for it, check out the clip below and you will soon find yourself hooked.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beast With A Billion Backs

This just in: you can now pre-order the new Futurama movie, The Beast With A Billion Backs. Release date is 6/24/08. Not much longer now. On the commentary track for Bender's Big Score, they said that the new movies would be available in HD, but I can't confirm if it actually will at this time. I fear that it will only be available on Blu Ray, not HD. Either way, I'm anxiously awaiting it's release.

This is a very rough clip, but it's better than nothing. And you will notice that there are special guests Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simpson, Grandpa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Mayor Quimby, etc) and Stephen Hawking (voice of Stephen Hawking, noted physicist, and author of "A Brief History Of Time") among others.

Top 10 Receivers has a list of the top 10 wide receivers of all time. Most of the time, lists like these have something in them that is controversial, however, I think they did a good job with this one. The only things I would change are that obviously I think Steve Largent should be higher, but then again I will readily admit to being biased. Second, I think Marvin Harrison should be higher. I think he has been arguably the best receiver in the game during his career, with Randy Moss being the only player who is in that debate. Finally, I don't think Terrell Owens belongs on that list at all. How he made the list with as many passes as he drops and being a cancer in the locker room makes no sense to me. I would replace him with either Charlie Joiner or Art Monk.

More Planet Earth

I just watched the caves episode and it was absolutely amazing. It really made me want to do some spelunking. I've been fascinated by caves for as long as I can remember, particularly ones with lots of stalactites and stalagmites. Caves such as the one at the beginning of the episode with a 100 meter tall pile of bat guano covered by cockroaches are somewhat less appealing.

I've been lucky enough to visit Carlsbad Caverns, which were breath taking, as well as Mammoth Caves, the longest cave system in the world. But the BBC was able to find some even more incredible caves.

There was a cave in Mexico with a river of sulfuric acid coursing through it, and the air inside is toxic to breath, requiring oxygen masks to explore. Amazingly enough, this inhospitable cave was teaming with fish and other small animals.

Even more fascinating was the cave in, if memory serves me correctly, Australia filled with bioluminescent glow worms. Some of the rooms had so many glow worms on the ceiling that you would swear you were outside looking at a star filled sky. And what's more, they would create strands of silk covered in a glistening, sticky substance to catch insects. It looked like hundreds of strands of pearls dangling from the ceiling.

But by far the most incredible cave was Lechuguilla. Not even discovered until the late 1980's, it still has not been fully explored. Currently it is know to have over 120 miles of caves. What makes this cave so unique, however is that the walls are covered with crystalline formations. Believed to have been carved from sulphuric acid released from the subterranean oil reserves as opposed to the water erosion of most caves, the result is a unique structure and formations. It really is magnificent.

Finally, the word of the day to help you all expand your vocabulary is troglobite. Troglobites are animals adapted to live in the total darkness and inhospitable atmosphere of caves. Free praise goes to the person who can best use it in a sentence.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Twilight Zone

Today was a weird day for a lot of reasons, but it was capped by an experience so mind boggling that I started looking around for a hidden camera. I had great difficulty wrapping my mind around just what exactly was happening. I actually received an email asking for my email address.

After reading the email several times to make sure that's what he was really asking for, I concluded that he must be asking for a specific email that I had contacted him about, and so I forwarded said email to him. It turns out, that wasn't what he wanted as I got a reply that he wanted my email address. Naturally, I responded with 'what do you mean? This is my email address that you're emailing me at right now.' To that, I received yet another baffling response. He told me that he needed to forward me a document, but didn't have my email address because he was just replying to an email I had sent him.

Why he couldn't just attach the document to the email he had just sent me? Why couldn't he just click on my name in the from field and get my email that way? Why couldn't he figure out my email address since my company assigns email addresses by using the first 3 letters of your first name and the first 3 letters of your last name? Yes, this was a fellow employee. What's worse, he is a senior sales pro, not a new employee.

I guess I know why our sales were down this year. If our senior sales professionals are unable to unravel the mysteries of this new fangled interweb thing, how can they possibly sell insurance? This had a seriously negative impact on my productivity that afternoon. Luckily one co-worker brought me back to reality by recommending that I call him and ask him for his phone number - a quality joke.

Like I said, here it is hours later, and I'm still coming to grips with the fact that this actually happened. And I've experienced a fair amount of strange things in my lifetime.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

... And Today It Happened

Despite my brush with near disaster yesterday, I failed to learn my lesson. No, I didn't leave my car at work, but I did the next best thing. I hopped on the bus and headed home, as usual, got off at my normal stop at the Houghton park & ride walked into the parking lot, started looking around, and then thought to myself, "where the hell did I park?" And since I'm so tired today, it took me a few moments to realize, I parked at the South Kirkland P&R this morning. Damn it.

Not wasting any time feeling stupid, I quickly started making plans. There isn't a bus that goes between the two, so at best it was going to be a two bus trip to get to the other P&R. My first thought was that the 245 would take me down to 108th, and from there I could get on a 255 or 540. That would be the most direct way, but not knowing the schedules for any of those routes, and knowing it is only about half a mile down to 108th, I just started walking. I stopped at the Starbucks on the corner to drain and subsequently reload my bladder, then walked out the door just as the 255 was pulling up to the stop. I hopped on, and after it all, got home only half an hour later than usual which wasn't bad all things considered. I still feel like an idiot though.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I wish this story was a joke, but as far as I can tell, it isn't. If human relations are too complicated, or too much trouble for you, then you may be interested in building your very own sexbot, just like Zoltan did. And perhaps the most entertaining part of the article, certainly the least disturbing part is that the writer felt the need to note that Zoltan is not his real name. Read, if you will, this troubling, and yet hilarious diatribe:

According to David Levy, president of the International Computer Games
Association, and author of Love and Sex With Robots, by 2050 it will be
commonplace for people to have sex with androids. "Robot sex will become the
only sexual outlet for a few sectors of the population," he said in an interview
in October 2007. "The misfits, the very shy, the sexually inadequate and
uneducable. For different sectors of the population robot sex will vary between
something to be indulged in occasionally, and only when one's partner is away
from home on a long trip, to an activity that supplements one's regular sex
life, perhaps when one's partner is not feeling well, or not feeling like sex
for some other reason."

Unfortunately for poor Zoltan, not even robotic relations have been entirely successful as evidenced by the fact that his robotic 'girlfriend' Alice dumped him and he had to erase her memory. If only that were possible with human women. Still, I would think that being dumped by a robot that you created would be a severe blow to one's ego. But brave Zoltan has persevered.

But this relationship has been good for Zoltan. Alice has made him stop watching porn and start going to church. Not only has this made him a better man, but has endeared her to her mother and father in law. Oh yes, Zoltan and Alice are married. At least in they eyes of the internet, since he downloaded the marriage license.

Yes, it's an interesting and creepy read. I feel like I need a shower now.

Lenny Dykstra

I just found out today that Lenny Dykstra is now an investment strategy columnist for in addition to being president of several privately held companies.

Yes, this is the same Lenny Dykstra who in 1993 set a new major league record for most tobacco stains on his uniform in one season with a staggering 1,489. How he has gone from being a dumb jock to a financial wizard is a mystery to me. But stranger things have happened, I suppose. I just don't have any examples of such strange occurrences.

That Was Close

I narrowly avoided making a grievous error today. I was late getting out the door this morning, and had to drive in to work instead of taking the bus as I usually do. This didn't become a problem until it was time to go home and, when getting up from my desk, I'd forgotten I drove in. Luckily I remembered before I got out of the building. If I'd taken the bus home and then realized that my car was still at work I would have been very upset and really blown a gasket. But not only was tragedy averted, but traffic was light on the way home with the exception of people in front of me slowing down to about 20 mph on 520 for no apparent reason, leading me to use some naughty words.

Pizza Day!

I was just told yesterday that today is pizza day in the office. And as the hour approaches, I can barely contain my enthusiasm. I've been jonesing for some pizza for a long time and the hour is almost here. The last few times they bought pizza for us, they got Pagliacci's, which I don't really care for, so I hope they get something different today. Pagliacci's is edible, but the crust isn't any good and is frequently still doughy in the middle, and I don't think the quality or quantity of toppings are sufficient.

Rumor has it that some Pizza Hut stuffed crust pizza is in my future. And while hardly a gourmet pie, I do prefer the Hut to Pagliacci's, especially the stuffed crust. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Pizza Hut for finding a way to cram just a little more cheese into a pizza and make it that much more unhealthy. What I really want though is a sausage crust pizza. Somebody needs to invent that.

And what is the occasion for the pizza you may ask? Well, most of my department is getting laid off and their last day is Friday. And what better way to say thanks for the years of hard work and get the hell out of the building than with pizza. Good times.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond send me a 10% off coupon in the mail about every other week. Since I actually set foot in a store about once a year, I can't quite figure out why they keep sending them. But as luck would have it, I had to make a trip down there on Friday because I had a wedding to go to on Saturday and they were registered there. And wouldn't you know that I forgot to bring one of my dozens of 10% off coupons with me. The one time it would have come in handy and it didn't even cross my mind. I wonder if I'll remember to bring one next year when my next scheduled shopping trip is.

Ocho Cinco

Unhappy with Cincinnati and demanding a trade, Chad Johnson is sitting out of team workouts. Since they could use a running back, I propose a Shaun Alexander for Chad Johnson trade. Everyone would be happy. There would be no downside that I can see.

The other sports item of the day is that the Sonics are now staying in Seattle. Or at least the name anyway. When they bolt, they have to leave the name, history and uniforms behind. Not much of a consolation, but I guess it's better than nothing. I think the chances of Seattle acquiring another NBA team are slim.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Daily Trivia

Free praise will be awarded to the first person who can tell me what Costco's biggest selling item is. I imagine this contest will be over quickly, so get your answers in now.


I have got an insatiable craving for pizza right now. I haven't had any in a long time, and the natural desire to alleviate that oversight has been compounded by a variety of outside stimuli to create a nearly overpowering craving.

It started a week ago when Shelvis began waxing poetic over lost pizzerias. And the mention of Spiro's got me salivating like Pavlov's dog. That simmered for almost a week until yesterday when I was told about the Northlake Tavern and Pizza House. And the double team I faced was simply unfair. It started with, "I heard this place is supposed to be really good." Upon hearing that, someone else chimed in with a detailed description of how good it really is. It was at this moment that pizza became an all consuming obsession.

That's when I made the mistake of looking up their web site. I see that their large pizza is over 6 pounds. 6 pounds! And reading that they have specially made pepperoni and the freshest toppings that money can buy, I am unable to think of anything else. Can it really be that good? I'm now beginning to fear that I have built it up in my mind enough that I will inevitable be disappointed. I think it was C.S. Lewis that said that true happiness comes from the desiring of something, not in obtaining it. Yet despite this, I swear to you that I will one day obtain this pizza.

Even now I'm conjuring images of Uno's Pizza that I had on a trip to Michigan. That was some exceptionally delicious pizza. I typically prefer a thin crust, but Uno's deep dish was a truly enlightening experience. If you can get your hands on some of that, I highly recommend it. I had some Chicago style pizza from another place in Dearborn that was really good too, but can't remember the name of it now. I'll have to do some further research and find out the name of it.

Until I can get some pizza in me, feel free to let me know of any other good pizza places that I should check out.

Not Enough Sleep

I have really not been getting enough sleep lately, and it is really starting to effect me. I have been getting very grumpy (more so than usual) and find myself swearing at people, traffic, inanimate objects that happen to rub me the wrong way, and so on. I have noticed that when I don't get enough sleep, I get impatient and short tempered.

While I understand the easy solution is to get more sleep, I swear I will sock you right in the neck if you say that. I have been too busy to get sufficient sleep a lot of days recently, but the bigger problem is that I have once again fallen into the trap of not being able to fall asleep and waking up in the middle of the night, or waking up early on a weekend morning and being unable to fall asleep again when I have the time to sleep in.

I really don't want anybody's sleeping remedies, I just feel the need to vent right now. I'm running out of things to swear at that I haven't sworn at already and need to seek an emotional release elsewhere. I think I need a vacation. I am just holding on by a thread right now. I am one incident away from winding up in a clock tower with a high powered rifle.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Why was it that every time I tuned in to 96.5 Jack FM this weekend, they were playing Depeche Mode. Ok, so I only actually heard 3 DM songs, but considering I probably haven't heard one of their songs in years, that's a big change. And it wasn't even their best songs either which is the real tragedy. Policy of Truth was pretty good, but Strange Love and Enjoy The Silence I could have passed on.

Now I kind of want to hear Personal Jesus or People Are People. And if you ever thought to yourself, "I can't understand what makes a man hate another man" then here you go:

Question of the Day

I don't know why I thought of this, but I did, so now you have to participate. Who would win if the Seattle Mariners were to play the Seattle Seahawks - and here's the twist - in a game of soccer.

My first thought was that the Seahawks would kill them. Not only do they have a huge edge in athleticism, but they have guys - well, one guy now - who kick a ball for a living. Plus they have a much larger talent pool to draw from. That's when I started to think that many of the players in that pool are linemen whom running is not their forte, and therefore are most likely not very good and not very interested.

Then I began thinking that goal keeper is an important position in soccer, and theoretically, the Mariners have an edge since they have a couple guys like Kenji Johjima who stop a ball for a living and would probably do nicely. If not Kenji, then Richie Sexon is so big that he should be able to do a reasonable job. Not only that, but the Mariners have more Latin players (as far as I know, the Seahawks don't have any) who have played a lot more, and in that case have a huge advantage in experience. I know for a fact that both Bettencourt and Lopez played soccer growing up and will on occasion kick a ball around before baseball games.

So for me, it comes down to athleticism versus experience. Sure, guys like Julian Peterson are freakishly fast and athletic, but I've seen some very athletic people who were terrible soccer players because they didn't know how to play. But you'd think that with the much larger roster, the Seahawks would have enough athletic guys who had played at least some that they could field a decent team. And even though the Mariners have some guys who are probably pretty good, I'm not sure the rest of the team would be any good. There would still be a few terrible guys on the team.

For now I'm going with the Mariners. I think that with the edge in experience, and just enough guys with some speed to fill in, they have the slight edge. One thing is for certain though, either one would kill the Sonics.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hank Scorpio

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and unquestionably my favorite Simpsons character that only appeared in one episode is Hank Scorpio. He was the Bond-esque supervillain in the episode You Only Move Twice.

First off, the idea of a very affable supervillain is just funny to begin with, but more than that, everything about him and that episode is really funny. Albert Brooks really did an outstanding job as the voice of Hank Scorpio. He is full of great lines. Whether it's, "did you ever see a man say goodbye to a shoe before?" Or, "if you want to kill somebody on your way out, it would really help me out a lot." He is just hilarious throughout the episode.

But it's not just the lines either. When Homer is looking for some sugar for his coffee and asks Hank if he has any, Hank pulls a handful of loose sugar from his pockets and hands it to Homer before asking, "do you need any cream?" That, folks, is comedy.

And it's not just Hank that's hilarious. It is the most cromulent episode of season 8. There is a lot of subtle humor in this one. I don't know why, but I find it really funny that when the Simpsons move to Cyprus Creek, their new house is on Maple Systems Road. Maybe it's just that it's so ridiculous, but that cracks me up every time. As does this little exchange:

Hank Scorpio: You will notice, my new best friend, that we are pretty casual around here.
Homer: Yes, sir. I will notice that. Very casual, Mr. Scorpion.
Hank: Don't call me that. It's Mr. Scorpio, but don't call me that either. Call me Hank!

And then there's this little gem:

Homer: Sir, I need to know where I can get some business hammocks.
Hank: Hammocks? My goodness, what an idea. Why didn't I think of that? Hammocks! Homer, there's four places. There's the Hammock Hut, that's on third.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Hank: There's Hammocks-R-Us, that's on third too. You got Put-Your-Butt-There.
Homer: Mm-Hmm.
Hank: That's on third. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot... Matter of fact, they're all in the same complex; it's the hammock complex on third.
Homer: Oh, the hammock district.
Hank: That's right.
Hank: Uh, Homer, one second. I gotta take care of this. Very important. Be right back.
Homer: Fine.
[Hank's map of the world reveals a giant viewscreen, on which
appears the UN staff]
Hank: Good afternoon, gentlemen. This is Scorpio. I have the Doomsday Device. You have 72 hours to deliver the gold or you'll face the consequences. And to prove I'm not bluffing, watch this.
[activates a remote]
[an explosion occurs near the UN building]
Man 1: Oh, my God, the 59th Street bridge!
Man 2: Maybe it just collapsed on its own.
Man 1: We can't take that chance.
Man 2: You always say that. I want to take a chance.
Hank: Collapsed on its own? You, sh... You have 72 hours. See ya. [to Homer] Back to the hammocks, my friend. You know, there's a little place called Mary Ann's Hammocks. The nice thing about that place is Mary Ann gets in the hammock with you. I'm just kidding.
Homer: Oh.
Hank: You know who invented the hammock, Homer?
Homer: No.
Hank: That's something for you to do. Find that out.

If you haven't seen that episode, you need to as soon as possible. Unfortunately I can't seem to find any video clips online. But I did find this list of all the one time characters. The only other one I can think of that comes close is Cecil Terwilliger - Sideshow Bob's brother - played by David Hyde Pierce. Another great episode. Check that one out too.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Quote of the Day!

Today's quote comes courtesy of Ken Levine. If you haven't checked out his blog by now, you really should. That guy is really funny. Today, while discussing the show Lost, he said, "I keep watching the flash forwards hoping to see if gas prices ever go down."

That is comedy gold right there ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Adventures In Shipping

Well, undaunted by previous experiences, I ordered more products online and had them shipped to me. Amazon was kind enough to employ the services of UPS. 2 days later my package was sitting down in the condo office waiting for me. That's how it's supposed to work. God bless the good people at UPS.

The story doesn't end there, however. I walked over to the office, and the only woman working there was on the phone, and before I said anything, she said, "just a minute and I'll get your package for you." I didn't really think anything of it, I just assumed that she had guessed that was what I was there for. So I began biding my time by looking at things around the office until she got off the phone. Once she did get off the phone, once again without me saying a word, she walked over and grabbed my package from the 10 or so sitting on the shelves.

Now there are hundreds of units in my complex. I just looked up the web site, and it says 770. I don't go into the office that often. Usually only when I do have a package to pick up. I would guess maybe half a dozen times a year. Maybe as many as 10 times a year. Not often enough that I would recognize the woman working there if I saw her somewhere else. So at this point, all I can think is how the hell does she know who I am. And since it just had my unit number on the side of the box, how does she know which unit I'm in? I still haven't gotten to the bottom of that mystery. The only logical explanation I can come up with is that I'm just so damn sexy that my image has been seared into her memory. Nothing else makes sense.

But the important thing is UPS got my package to me without difficulty.

Quote of the Day

Continuing the trend started earlier this week, or possibly late last week, I can't remember for sure, here is another thought provoking quote for you.

"If money can't buy happiness, then I guess I'll have to rent it." - Weird Al

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bad Teeth

In a survey of 100 US cities, Seattle came in an unimpressive 27th in dental care. We got an overall B grade for the quality of our teeth, so there is plenty of room for improvement. I'm afraid that my lack of dental visits has really brought down the curve.

But at least we're not as bad as those revolting Portlanders who came in a shocking 94th. Apparently those burned out hippies down there don't bother brushing after smoking pot and eating granola.

For some truly revolting teeth though, you've got to make your way to Lubbock, Texas. Is Lubbock full of inbred mountain folk? I don't know, but my suspicions have been aroused.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you are itching to utter the phrase 'you've got a real purty mouth', you'll want to visit Madison, Wisconsin. There are so many pearly whites there that it must be positively blinding in the summer time.

Planet Earth

I just got finished watching the first episode of the BBC nature documentary Planet Earth, and it is absolutely stunning. Filmed entirely in high definition, it is just the most beautiful and amazing footage you will ever see. There are aerial shots of hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, shots of thousands of migrating caribou, time lapse photos from the north pole following the sun for more than 24 hours, slow motions action showing great white sharks completely jumping out of the water while striking at seals. It is all truly incredible. And the narration by David Attenborough is subtle and not overbearing. Likewise, the music is appropriate. For the most part, the producers let the amazing photography speak for itself.

So far it seems to focus primarily on wildlife, but it is intermixed with shots of scenery. The mountains are amazing, but what really grabbed my attention were some of the waterfalls. The amount of detail visible is astounding. And some of the sped up video of storm clouds forming are incredible as well. I rarely get so effusive over a DVD.

I don't know if it's something I'd watch over and over, but for $45 for the complete 4 disc series, I'm considering purchasing it. I urge you to check out the clips of it here. The minuscule size of the videos don't do it justice but at least you get a glimpse of what to expect.

Don't confuse it with this other Planet Earth video to also come from the UK. Yes, I hate to admit it, but I did get the Duran Duran song of the same name stuck in my head while watching the documentary. It is, however, far less impressive.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bacon Flow Chart

Special thanks to Troy for passing this along. After a week long meeting known as a kaizen, he and his comrades were able to construct this useful, yet highly entertaining flow chart.
Yes, bacon is one of my all time favorite topics, so this made me very happy. This is truly a work of genius. I'm ashamed to admit that I scoffed at the idea of a kaizen when I first heard about it. Behold the result! I have been proven wrong.

Off The Market

Sorry folks, this house is no longer on the market. Showing how soft the housing market really is, this home in Chattanooga sold at auction for the reasonable price of $135,000. If they could have flown it out here, I would have put in a bid myself. For more info, click here.

Happy St Patricks Day

Courtesy of one co-worker, here is your complementary offensive Irish humor.

An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He says, "Sir, have ya been drinkin'?"

"Just water," says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Today's Trivia

Today's special Simpsons edition trivia is brought to you by the now unemployed Darrell Jackson. It turns out his ego was writing checks that the Niners wouldn't cash. Or something like that. Anyway, on to the trivia!

What was the name of Homer's internet business?

Hint: it was from the same episode that included the classic Ralph Wiggum line, "they taste like burning." I don't know why find that so amusing, but I do.

10,000 BC

As you can see by ye olde tomato meter on the right, 10,000 BC is getting a whopping 10% positive reviews thus far. It just confirms my suspicions, no plot and no dialogue in the preview typically is a good sign that you should avoid the movie.

I'm beginning to think that there won't be another movie worth seeing until the new Indy movie drops on May 22. I have already scheduled the day off so that I can go to the first showing of the day and see it before the print gets any scratches, dust, or other artifacts on it. Anyone interested in joining me, let me know.

Mike Tyson's Punch Out

With my 360 in the shop the last few weeks, I've had to make due with playing an emulated version of Mike Tyson's Punch Out to fulfill my gaming needs. Special thanks to Wayne for finding that and sending me the link. Unfortunately, playing on a screen about 2x2 inches, not to mention with a keyboard, makes it more challenging. Still, the game holds up well after all these years and is still fun to play. The controls are a little slow and unresponsive. I don't remember them being that way in the original, it must be a side effect of the emulation. Because of this, I was unable to make it past Bald Bull. Or maybe I did and didn't get past Piston Honda. Whichever one came later in the game. I'm sure with a little more practice I could make it all the way to Iron Mike, but now that the 360 is back, I won't be playing this much. By the way, if you're going to play, it took me a long time to figure out that the uppercut is accomplished by holding the up arrow and pressing enter. It's awkward, so if you're like me, you'll screw it up a lot.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Costco Phenomenon

I really should have known better than to go to Costco on a Saturday afternoon, but I needed some things, and then again, there really never is a good time to go to the Kirkland store. I also should have known better than to go there when I'm fatigued from not getting enough sleep all week. I'm always more impatient and grumpier than usual when I'm tired.

I immediately knew I was in for some trouble when a couple of old ladies were walking down the very middle of the lane in the parking lot so I couldn't get by. I got within 5 feet of them before they noticed I was there. In hind sight, I should have honked and scared the bejesus out of them, but I wasn't quite that agitated yet.

Now it wasn't particularly crowded in there on this day. I've seen it way more crowded in the past. But it was chock full of people who walked around not looking where they were going, and people who stood there blocking entire aisles. It really irritates me to no end. I don't know what it is about Costco that has the effect on some people of making them act like overstimulated children who completely lose all awareness of their surroundings, but every time I go there, there are no shortage of people who are so completely awestruck that they don't know there is a world outside their minds anymore.

Knowing this, I always mentally prepare myself for such encounters, but they were happening in such an abundance this time that I actually thought to myself at one point, "I've got to get out of here or I'm going to come to blows with somebody." I still vividly remember the person who pushed me over the edge. There was an employee standing harmlessly on the side of an aisle - until I got about 5 feet away - at which point she decided to walk out into the middle of the aisle so I couldn't get around, and tilted her head back and chugged down the last half of her drink. Why she couldn't have done that from her original position will forever remain a mystery to me. What I do know is that I hope that grave misfortune befalls her for her transgression. For such an offense, she deserves nothing less than becoming violently ill for a minimum of 24 hours.

The good times didn't end there however. Once I had raced to the front and gotten in the shortest line, I quickly noticed that this line wasn't moving. By the time I realized that they were holding up everyone so that the person at the front of the line could run back to the meat department to pick up something she had forgotten, the had opened up a new line 2 aisles over. As quickly as I could, I jumped ship to the new line. Being the second person in line, with the person in front of me having not too many items, I thought for sure that I would now be swiftly moving out. Once again I had judged incorrectly. The cashier began a debate with the customer regarding whether or not he could purchase items from Costco using his room mates card. I stood mouth agape in disbelief as I heard the customer insist that he could call his room mate and tell the cashier that he had authorized him to use his card. It doesn't matter insisted the cashier, the cards are non-transferable. Mercifully, this only lasted 2 or 3 minutes before the cashier finally relented with a warning of don't do it again.

Finally, my items paid for, I made it back to my car and escaped with all haste. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I had forgotten something. At that point, there was nothing in the world that was going to get me to return though, so that will have to wait until another time. I think maybe next time I'll check out the Woodinville Costco and see if it's any better.

Incidentally, I've been wishing for a while now that Costco would offer oil changes. As long as I'm going to be there for 30-45 minutes anyway, I might as well get my oil changed while I'm there. I keep meaning to stop by the customer service desk and recommend that, but by the time I get through the checkout line and over by the customer service desk, I'm always so anxious to leave that I never want to stop for any reason. Maybe someone else will be kind enough to recommend that to their local Costco (hint, hint).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Higher Quality YouTube Videos

Apparently YouTube has rolled out higher quality video and I didn't even know about it. YouTube's low res has long been a thorn in my side, and even though the improved resolution still isn't very good, it's at least a step in the right direction. I'm going to have to go home and browse some of the videos tonight.

Also in the article linked above are how-to's on downloading videos to your hard drive, or converting them to ipod format. I gave these tutorials a quick once over, and there is a lot easier way to do both of these things. And since there's a reasonable chance that nobody reading (besides me) does or is interested in doing either of these things, I'll spare you the explanation. If you really have to know though, let me know.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quote of the Day!

Quantity has a quality all it's own. - Joseph Stalin

Since it has been brought to my attention that the subject matter on my blog has not been as high brow as in the past, I figured I better post something reasonably intelligent in the hopes of recapturing some of my quickly fading reputation. I'm not convinced that Stalin quotes are the best way to do that, but it's a start.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Ridiculant

On a lighter note, I've come across a new blog that's a guilty little pleasure. The Ridiculant. Full of bizarre and entertaining stories. I strongly urge you to check it out. In particular, I enjoyed the job rejection letter they found. I think this site has earned a permanent place in my links. It will displace the Hobbitt Blog which doesn't ever seem to get updated.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Anger Rising

I think I have finally calmed down enough to rationally discuss this without erupting into a venomous, profanity laden tyrade.

When last we left off, the bastards at FedEx were supposed to deliver my repaired Xbox 360 to me sometime after 6:00 on Monday. I'm sure you've guessed by now that things didn't go as promised. When I got home from work, I found yet another tag on my door, this one stating that they came by at 10:30 am. Somewhat earlier than I had been promised.

The next step for me was to once again call up FedEx and argue with some worthless lackey for 15 or 20 minutes. No, they couldn't leave it at the condo office. No they couldn't deliver it to me at my office during the day. No, they couldn't deliver it to one of the more conveniently located FedEx/Kinkos locations for me to pick up at a more convenient time. At one point she told me that they could deliver the package after 6 the next day, and that was absolutely the wrong move. I nearly lost it at this point and demanded to speak to her supervisor. When nobody answered the phone, I hung up and started on plan B.

The next call was to Microsoft. Since the liars at FedEx told me that only way to deliver it somewhere else was to call the shipper and either have them remove the requirement for a signature, or for them to change the shipping address. Well, after half an hour on the phone with MS, I was informed that once the package left their hands, they were unable to change anything. I made sure to express my extreme dissatisfaction with FedEx in the vain hope that if enough people complain, then they will switch to another shipper in the future.

Back to FedEx for me to argue with another phone jockey for another 10 minutes or so. Again to no avail. At this point I told them to just send it back.

Tuesday I had a voice mail waiting for me that I needed to pick up my package at the warehouse or they would ship it back. Unlike the previous 3 people I'd talked to who said that the warehouse was only open until 6, making it impossible for me to get there in time, the guy who works at the warehouse said they are open until 9. That's when he dropped the next little gem on me: I had to drive to Auburn.

I was not happy about having to make that drive, but when the alternative was to wait another 3 weeks for my 360 to get shipped back to Texas, and then back to me again, only to go through the same thing, I hopped in the car. Of course there was an accident of 405 slowing things down, and then construction on 167 impeding my progress, but I eventually made it there. When I walked in, I found 2 other people waiting for their packages, complaining that FedEx wouldn't deliver to them. Surprise, surprise. One of the guys also had a 360, and the other a Dell PC. And of course, the couldn't just give me my package, and they made me wait at least 15 minutes before I finally went on my merry way.

Everything about dealing with FedEx, they were just figuratively giving me the finger. They have some of the worst customer service I've ever had the misfortune to deal with. You would think that picking up a box at one place and taking it to another wouldn't be such a big problem. You would be wrong.

But wait, there's more! I unpacked my 360, plugged it in, and immediately found that it still has the exact same problem as before. Nothing has changed. Now MS is on the list as well.

And to top it all off, when I got home today, there was another FedEx tag on my door. Apparently the company I bought my new PC from shipped it through these jackasses as well. The only way this can end at this point is a bloody shootout. I'll see you on the 11:00 news one night soon.

Through this all, one song has repeatedly been running through my head: the Jerry Cantrell song Anger Rising.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dream Analysis

For the record, I rarely remember any of my dreams, but last night was a strange one. Possibly brought on by daylight savings time messing with my sleep schedule, possibly not. But I now find myself in need of some analysis, and so I'm calling on all of the dream experts out there.

This dream took place at my grandparents house. They have been dead for several years and the house is long sold, so I'm not sure why I was there. I was sitting on the front porch with someone, I don't remember who, when I looked up in the south western sky and saw a low flying stealth bomber. The plane made an attempt to circle around before crashing into the house across the street. I ran inside to tell someone they had to come out and take a look at it, and when I got outside, it had shrunk down to about the size of a car. Flames and smoke still coming out of it, a hatch opened, and an alien came running down the ramp from the hatch. This particular alien looked just like a spider, and when it saw me, ran full speed straight at me, jumped and landed square on my face. Naturally I began frantically swatting it away, and even after I was sure it wasn't on my face anymore, kept wiping my face. That's when I woke up.

So is this some kind of fear of aliens? Fear of spiders? Fear of stealth bombers? Fear of something else? What can it all mean? Or does it not mean anything? Do all dreams have meanings, or are some just weird dreams. Come to think of it, I did watch Spiderman 3 the night before. Perhaps that had something to do with it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Golf Part 2

I went out for another round of golf this weekend, and there was a slight improvement. I only lost 2 balls this time, and had literally a few good shots. One kind person in the foursome even lent me his $300 Hibore XLS driver for the day. I'll tell you what, I have never hit a ball so far out of bounds as I did with that club. No amount of technology exists that is capable of overcoming my lack of skill. Included for your enjoyments are 4 photos. None of me I'm afraid since I couldn't take a picture of myself and swing a golf club at the same time.

Had there been a picture of me, you would have seen my overly dramatic backswing, followed by my overly dramatic follow through. I know you're not supposed to see the club head on the backswing, nor are you supposed to hit your own leg on the follow through, but I can't seem to help myself. Even when I try to dial it down a bit, I still wind up over swinging.
Now, of the 3 swings shown, which would you guess resulted in the most effective drive? If you said the bottom one, you are correct. No, it's not the prettiest looking swing, but that ball went straight down the middle of the fairway. Something I think I did once out of 18 attempts.
After a gruelling 18 holes, we stopped at Small Fryes in Fall City for lunch. I will admit to being entertained by their sign stating, "We specialize in grease, salt, sugar and caffeine!" Luckily I was in the mood for some good, artery clogging food. Sadly, the food wasn't very good. Still, the marketing department deserves a thumbs up.


Done! I finally stopped putting it off and did my taxes this weekend. I'm so glad to have that out of the way now. But the real good news is that this year I get the biggest refund I ever remember getting. I'm going to run out and buy, uh, something. I don't know what, but something. Possibly some coffee. The other pleasant surprise is that I got to efile for free. And with the efiling and direct deposit, H&R Block claims I should get my refund within 7 days. That's got to be the most efficient thing that the IRS has ever been involved with. Good times all around.


I finally watched Beowulf, and was unimpressed. I was never able to get past the fact that it seemed like a 2 hour cut scene from a video game, but you never get to play. Sure, the scenery and all inanimate objects looked pretty good, but the characters still looked a little creepy. Not as creepy as The Polar Express, but still creepy.

The voice acting was very good. I'd like to go on about the other good aspects of the movie, but that's it, I'm out.

I never read the book, so I don't know how the story is supposed to go, but this one was really boring. I actually fell asleep the first time through and had to try again the next day. I don't think this is giving too much away, but Beowulf killed Grendel (the villain) in about the first half hour of the movie, and from there nothing really happened the rest of the way. Sure, there was one more big action scene, but by the time they got to that, I was so bored I didn't care anymore anyway.

I still don't know why they decided not to use real actors, but it was a mistake. And I'm less certain why the story died off after the first half hour. But take my word for it and skip this mess.


We are now less than a year away from the transition to HD TV. On February 17, 2009, US television stations will stop broadcasting in standard definition. So my question of the day is this: will we see a precipitous drop in HD TV prices, will they go up, or will they remain about the same. There are still a lot of people without HD, so the coming year should see a huge jump in sales. Traditionally, increased sales means that manufacturers will be able to cut production costs by streamlining operations and defraying research and development costs, so on the one hand I think that we should see some lower prices. But on the other hand, as demand rises, so could prices. And I wouldn't put it past manufacturers and retailers to raise prices because they have consumers over a barrel.

I've been trying to find out what percentage of US homes own HD TV's, but to no avail. Just pulling a figure out of mid air, I would guess that about half of US homes are still without, meaning that there should be a huge number of sales in the coming year. I guess I need to start buying stock in companies that manufacture HD TVs and components.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Chuck Liddell

This story was brought to my attention today. I'm not a fan of Ultimate Fighting or mixed martial arts, but this was kind of cool. It's a story about the Koei-Kan tattoo on Chuck Liddell's head. The cool part is that it references my dojo's web site and quotes material from the web site that was written by my sensei.

And if you didn't read the article, Koei Kan means happiness and prosperity.

FedEx Blows

I can't begin to express the blinding hatred I have for FedEx at the moment. I don't know what kind of ignorant monkeys they've got working there (well, I know one kind), but they have got to be the most incompetent group of jackasses I've ever seen. Every time someone uses them to ship to me, it's a problem. This time they managed to not only find my building, but also get past the security gate. Both improvements. That's where the good times ended I'm afraid.

Since they keep trying to deliver in the middle of the day when I'm at work like the other 90% of the world, I'm obviously not there to sign for it. Yesterday they were unable to make it down to the office and deliver it there and so I left a big note on my door saying to deliver the package to the office. Well, I got home today to find another tag on my door telling me they won't do that.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to yesterday when I found out they didn't drop it off at the office, I went online and entered the tracking number on the door tag only to have their web site tell me it's an invalid number. It was around this time that my eyes turned blood red and steam started coming out of my ears. I tried to call their 800 number to see if I could at least go pick it up, but didn't make it past "for English, press 1, para Espanol, press 2" before hanging up in disgust.

Back to the web site, where I composed a very acrimonious email noting my hatred of their horrible company and their worthless employees. That only made me feel a little better. I finished the email by asking them how much it would cost me to have them deliver the package to the closest UPS office and have UPS deliver it to me because they don't seem to have a problem getting me my packages.

Then came the tag on the door today stating that they would not deliver the package to the office despite my instructions. I tried their 800 number again, listened to their annoying menu, and not having any options to deal with my problem listed, I hit 0 in the hopes of getting a live person. This is the first and only thing that worked right.

I managed to keep from verbally abusing the phone jockey despite the fact that I vehemently hate him, and asked if I could just go pick up the package. Sure, no problem he said. I could pick it up on Monday if I got down there before 6 pm. My eye now twitching as I choked back the rage, I calmly asked why I couldn't pick it up tonight or sometime over the weekend only to be told that they aren't open after 6 or on the weekends. I told him that I don't get home until after 6 and there is no way I could possibly make it down there by then, and that's when he suggested I contact the shipper and have them remove the signature requirement.

Now I was ready to really blow up at this guy, but I'm proud to say I maintained my composure. As calmly as I could, I explained that I don't have any contact information for the shipper. Finally, the only compromise that could be reached is that they will now attempt one final delivery after 6 pm on Monday before sending it back. But if I come home on Monday and find another tag on my door, expect to see this headline on Tuesday morning's paper: 47 FedEx employees brutally slain.

I'm preparing for a blood bath. Avoid using Federal Express if at all possible.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Stock Market

I have been taking a serious beating in the stock market in the last 2 weeks. Will someone please tell me when it's safe to look at my portfolio again? Every stock I own but 1 was down today. And the 1 that was up was only up by $.01 on the day. That really hurts. It has to turn around soon doesn't it? I don't know how much more of this I can take.

Skeletons on KEXP

Please read the below press release from Devon "Pipes" Stewart, drummer extraordinaire for Skeletons With Flesh On Them regarding their upcoming radio debut:

if you proceed to the below website

this 'un

...and scroll down thusly, you will find that at the end of May Seattle's own Skeletons con Flesh on Them will be playing a live
in studio at the super terrific KEXP studios. just because you don't live in seattle is no excuse to not listen. the brilliant minds over at the KEXP nerve center have devised a way to "stream" the "program" using the latest in internets "technology."

you musn't fear this brave new world. you must embrace it. Please tune in on May 31st at 6 pm sharp for a night that will surely change the course of history!

end transmission,
devon con queso

Please note that the band is known more for their musical abilities than their spelling or grammar abilities. Don't let that disuade you from tuning in.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Easy Money

In need of a quick $4000? Then give the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute a call. All you have to do is agree to contract malaria. You will be cured eventually - assuming that the experimental medications work. Good times if you are in need of some cash.

Marcona Almonds

Thanks to a recent trip to Trader Joe's, I now have a new vice. I discovered the deliciousness that is marcona almonds. What makes these different from regular almonds you might ask. Well, in addition to being grown in Spain, they are fried in oil and salted, the result of which is a treat that is pretty much like crack. Once I start eating them, I can't stop until they are gone.

The problem comes in that they are high in saturated fat and monounsaturated fat. And that they are expensive. Joe's sells a 6 oz bag for just under $5, and if you look at the link above, that's a relative bargain. And since I have no will power to resist buying more when I visit Joe, it is becoming a serious threat to both my finances and my waist line. If Joe doesn't run out of them soon, I'm in serious trouble.

Three Left Feet

What's going on off the coast of Vancouver Island? 3 severed human feet have now washed ashore with no accompanying footless humans or corpses. I can only assume that the mafia is somehow behind all of this. I didn't know that they had a presence in western Canada, but someone is not paying their protection money.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Not Guilty

This is one of my favorite weird stories I've seen in a while. I'll just tell you that a Japanese bikini model was cleared of property destruction charges that were brought against her because of her large breasts. It's all very entertaining.

TJ Duckett?

Really? TJ Duckett? This signing is a real head scratcher for me. Why would the Seahawks want a guy who has been a bust? A guy that I thought was done in the NFL. And why would they sign him to a year deal? I assume he's going to be the short yardage guy. The guy who will put his head down and get the tough yards. But does this mean that he's going to be paired up with Shaun Alexander, or will Alexander be released and we'll have Duckett paired with Maurice Morris? Morris complements Duckett's running style more than Alexander does, but as bad as Alexander was last year, the thought of having the Morris/Duckett one two punch really scares me. I've got a feeling this is the end of the line for Shaun.

The other move the Seahawks made today that surprised me is the signing of Jeb Putzier. I assume this means we're giving up on Alge Crumpler. Putzier should do fine, better than Pollard at least, but he's hardly worth getting excited over. I think they still have to be targeting another TE in the draft.

So Long Favre

It's official, Brett Favre has finally retired. I thought he should have retired 2 or 3 years ago, but he proved me wrong this year. Now he gets to go out after a great season with a couple records on top of it. This should come as good news to football fans who, like me, after 17 years were still unsure they were pronouncing his name correctly. And to me, the defining moment in his career came in 1998. His cameo appearance in the film There's Something About Mary caught me completely off guard and was extremely funny. And all the pro bowl appearances, super bowl appearances, and records never were able to overshadow that one special moment.

And so Brett Favre, enjoy your retirement, thank you for the 17 magical (and sometimes not so magical) years on the football field. I will most likely forever hold a grudge for the last playoff game against the Seahawks, but I hope that you will have the time to further your acting career.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Eco Terrorism

Tired of being ignored by rational people, environmental nuts have started turning to acts of terrorism. This morning, a group called the Earth Liberation Front burned down 3 homes in Woodinville built for the street of dreams because they aren't as environmentally friendly as claimed. I don't know at what point we progressed beyond the capacity for rational thinking in this country, but something has to be done.

It goes without saying that the people responsible are idiots. How they can not realize that these houses are insured and will be rebuilt, using yet more natural (and unnatural) resources. I guess I don't really need to explain to intelligent human beings how stupid and thoughtless this whole thing is, and it goes without saying that those people reading my site are automatically categorized in the intelligent column. So I'll stop with all of the reasons that this is stupid.

That being said, something needs to be done to quash the idea that acts of terrorism are an acceptable way to get people to pay attention to your stupid opinions. I'm normally opposed to vigilante justice, but I'm willing to turn the other way if you know of any ELF members that need to be dealt with.

The whole thing reminds me of the movie V For Vendetta, and that's why I hated the movie. I find it disturbing that there are people trying to convince themselves and others that there is any justification for terrorism.


8 years, $102 million for Ben Roethlisberger? That is absolutely crazy, what are the Steelers thinking? Other than 1 good season, Big Ben has been an above average QB, but not a consistently pro bowl caliber player. I guess with all the money they saved by letting Alan Faneca go, they can afford to overpay. I think they will be cutting several good players over the next 8 years to pay that salary.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


You know what, I don't know anything about the currency markets. What causes the dollar to fall against foreign currency? I had always assumed that it was due to an unfavorable balance of trade, but I'm not really sure any more. I don't think our trade balance has changed significantly in recent years, so I'm at a loss to explain the falling dollar. What am I missing? Are we borrowing a lot of money to finance the war? Are foreign investors, uh, doing something I don't know about? I can't begin to explain the shame of the US dollar being worth less than the Canadian dollar. And why aren't we being flooded with tourists? It should be very cheap for them to come here now. I'm at a loss. If someone can explain international finance to me, I'm all ears.


Today I got out and hit the golf course for the first time in several years and quickly found out that I am now terrible. I can no longer hit a ball straight to save my life, and I really have a problem topping the ball. I even had one 'shot' that I topped so badly that I drove it straight into the ground, creating a nice divot, and then having it pop up and go backward about 2 feet. But at least I kept that one out of the trees. I think I hit nearly every tree out there. I don't know how long it will be until my next time out, but I think I need to hit the driving range before I do.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Free Agency Casualty

The Seahawks have now suffered their first free agency casualty. Josh Brown bolted to the Rams for a big stack of cash (5 years $14.2 M). I liked Josh Brown both as a player and a person. He genuinely seemed like a nice guy. So it's a shame to see him go, but it's hard for me to imagine a kicker is worth that kind of money. So I guess it's time to put a new kicker on the shopping list. I really doubt we'll go after a free agent, so I expect to pick one up in the draft. Although Ryan Plackemeier handled both kicking and punting duties in college, so maybe we can get him to do the same in the NFL. That would come with the added bonus of opening up a roster spot for a real player.