Friday, May 30, 2008

The Voices Behind The Simpsons

I found this video today of Dan Castalleneta and Harry Shearer on the Conan O'Brien show and it's good fun. It's amazing how many voices these two actors do.


For some reason I got the Queensryche song Last Time In Paris stuck in my head today. Naturally, I came home and looked up the video on youtube. I was about to post it but then I thought I might have posted that one before. So instead I'll put the other song up that's been stuck in my head the last few days. Here's some Dream Theater to help you through your day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

External Fixator

I finally got my bandages removed and got a good look at the device holding my finger together - the external fixator. As it turns out, taking a picture of my hand, particularly an in focus picture turned out to be more of an ordeal than I had planned on and this was the best I could do. Being unable to get this thing wet for the 4-6 weeks I have to have it attached is already proving to be a difficulty. Washing one hand is really a challenge. And other simple tasks like getting my keys out of my pocket are troublesome.

The good news is that the pain is mostly gone now, even after my first physical therapy session today which I had expected to leave me in tears. If I don't want to end up with significant loss of motion though, I will have to start bending it as much as possible as soon as possible. I've been trying to bend it the last 2 days and really can't move it very far without pain. Right now I'm just hoping for a little more each day. Unfortunately I'm told I can expect a 10-20% loss of range and arthritis. I'm going to push it as much as I can to get back to as close to normal as I can though.

I'm still struggling with the psychological implications a bit. Being unable to participate in my black belt test, now a little over a week away is hard to come to grips with. And the last few minutes alone in the hospital before they wheeled me into the operating room it was just really hard to believe that I was going through all of that over a broken finger. One fluke accident blocking a kick, something I've done a thousand times before, and my black belt was being taken away from me, I was in a hospital about to be put under, and I was going to have to endure weeks of pain and discomfort. I'm slowly getting over that, but I don't know how long it will take to get over it completely.

I am off the pain killers though and am hopeful for a successful recovery. And I can type reasonbly well. It seems that keeping it clean and free of infection will be one of the most important things from here on. If I get some better pictures, I'll throw them up.

Indiana Jones

I'll start out with the negatives. Yes, the movie starts out at Area 51. Yes there are aliens. Yes that was a huge wedge of cheese. It really went too far to the jokey, light hearted side and made me miss the seriousness of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The CG was overdone and unrealistic at times, particularly the scene with the swarms of ants. The Russians unloaded wheelbarrows full of machine gun ammo at Indy and company from 10 feet away and never hit a thing, A-Team style. The action scenes were unnecessarily long and drawn out.

I know that's a lot to overcome, but it still managed to be a fun movie. Indy is still an enthusiastic, albeit not very good, archaeologist that I can't help but love. Like the previous installments, it mixes just enough fact with folklore and story telling to spin a compelling yarn. I still love ancient civilizations, and when you throw in the Nazca lines and some great looking pyramids and ancient ruins it really sucks me in.

In my mind, this most closely compares with Temple of Doom. Shia LeBeouf is a little older and less annoying than Short Round, but the plot is a little thin. Not great, but still enjoyable if your expectations aren't too high.

Memorial Day

Due to my lack of interest in typing lately, I've delayed my Memorial Day post. Once again I'd like to thank all of the soldiers and veterans who have risked or given their lives to defend this country and the world.

As has become my tradition, I watched some war movies. I find that I'm partial to WWII movies, and this week I have made it through about half of Band of Brothers. If you haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to watch it. Particularly the episodes in Bastogne. It's based on actual events from the 101st airborne, easy company. What these men put themselves through to save the world from Hitler was truly amazing. In the Battle of the Bulge, they were in the Arden forest in the snow with no cold weather gear, short of ammunition and food, with no artillery, air support, or reinforcements, and yet they dug in and held off a larger German force. I can't even imagine what that must have been like.

So once again, thank you to all of the soldiers and veterans, and go watch Band of Brothers.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There Will Be Snoring

.... and there was. I fell asleep during There Will Be Blood and had to backtrack. Kind of wish I hadn't wasted the time now. I really don't get the hype of this film. Really boring. Not a word of dialogue in the first 15 + minutes was my first clue that there would be no plot development or character development. And oddly enough, almost no blood.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Today I went in to see the hand specialist, and the first thing he said after looking at the x-ray was, "this is just about as bad a fracture as you can have in your hand." As you may have deduced, this was not a good visit. I had hoped to hear that I could just keep it in a splint for a couple weeks and it would be fine, but the ruling on the field is surgery. 9:00 am tomorrow morning (Friday), I have to go in and have pins inserted.

What the doctor described to me sounds a little unusual. I have to have 2 pins inserted, one above the knuckle, and one below. They will go all the way through the finger and protrude from both sides where they will attach to some sort of external brace. This is the least invasive procedure. He said there is about a 5% chance that he will not be able to align the bones properly with this technique and will have to open up the finger and insert screws, and there is about a 1% chance that the bone chip will be to badly broken to reattach and he will have to remove it and take a piece of bone from another part of my hand an insert it. That really concerns me.

The big problem is that I chipped off a part of the bone right at the joint. The additional problem is that the two bones in the finger are no longer aligned properly. One of the bones is "sublimated", and it looks a little like a fault line. I wish I had a picture of the x-ray I could post, it's a little difficult to describe.

So, I'm a little concerned about the surgery, and unfortunately this also means I will be unable to participate in my black belt test which is now 2 weeks away. My ever caring sensei suggested I ask the doctor if he can amputate the finger and keep it frozen until after the test and then re-attach it. And while that may seem like a good idea, I'm not sure it's the way I want to go. But all the typing is starting to get to me so I think I'm going to come to a grinding halt here. This also means that there will be no Indy review today. I did see the film today, but don't have it in me to continue typing. Stay tuned.

End Of An Era

The Safeco tower is officially gone. On the UW web site, you can see some of their photos of the signs being changed. For some reason, despite the fact that I'm completely sick of working at Safeco, it still makes me feel a little sad. I don't really know why. It kind of feels like losing a landmark. Anyway, in addition to the 'official' photos, here is the view from my office taken with my crappy camera phone.

And here is another from down the street when I took a stroll up to Trader Joe's.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ouch Part II

I finally got a doctor to see me today and after an x-ray, he told me I have a slightly displaced avulsion fracture at the proximal, volar aspect of the middle phalanx. In English that means a broken knuckle on the right ring finger. It also means that I have to go see a hand specialist to see if it will heal properly on it's own or if I'll have to have a pin put in. It also means that the letters o, l, and . will remain difficulties in my typing for a while longer. Good times. And to quote Dom Deluise in Cannonball Run, it only hurts when I point.

On to today's Indy trivia! In the zeppelin scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery both were not wearing any pants because the set was too hot that day.

A Brief History Of Coffee

I love coffee and really enjoyed this article on how coffee changed the world. As it turns out, coffee houses were once known as 'schools of the wise', a term I plan to bring back to prominence. Also interesting to note is that the now famous insurance company Lloyds of London originally was a cafe. Perhaps Starbucks will one day expand operations to include insuring celebrity body parts or offering alien abduction coverage.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Indy Trivia

At the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy is in a night club meeting some of Lao Che's men to negotiate the sale of the remains of a Chinese emperor. He is subsequently poisoned and meets singer Willie Scott. For 1000 points, name that night club.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Indy Trivia

Alfred Molina, who went on to fame and fortune as Doc Oc in Spiderman 2, had a small role in Raiders of the Lost Ark. You may recall seeing him get impaled after stepping into the light in the cave at the beginning of the film.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Prepare yourself for some random, unrelated topics here. Let's start with the fact that posting will be pretty light for a while since I either broke or dislocated a finger, can't bend it at all, and it hurts like a motherf^^&* to type. See, that's one hell of a typo right there.

This injury caused me to miss out on a double header in my softball league today. Or at least I tried to miss out. Due to circumstances, I still got roped into playing one inning and despite being unable to grip the bat with my right hand, I'm proud to say still managed a single. And that was while playing in loafers because I didn't come to the game prepared to play.

Thanks to the Mariners winning 2 of 3 this weekend, they are now 5-4 in games I've attended. I am obviously good luck for the hapless M's and they should pay me to go to games. Oh wait, they already do, well they should pay me more.

I LOVE the warm weather we've had and am absolutely heartbroken that it won't be staying around longer. Wearing shorts and tank tops has been so nice. And on Saturday I braved the blistering temperatures and huge crowds and went down to Alki. There isn't a much nicer place in the world when it's hot outside. Any time anybody reading this is planning a trip to Alki, invite me along. I'll take just about any excuse to go there.

With the new Indy movie release less than a week away, I will try to get a new Indy trivia question each day this week. Today's question: What is the name of the snake in the cockpit in Raiders of the Lost Ark?

I watched an episode of Sports Science on FSN today, and one of the tests they performed was shooting a man in the crotch with a 95 mph tennis ball. The numb nuts (he sure wished they were numb) that volunteered for the job did so for the princely sum of $50. I don't know how much money it would take to get me to do that, but I guarantee it would be a whole lot more than that.

Finally, one huge helping of praise to the person who can answer this bonus trivia question: In the Simpsons, how did Marion Anthony "Fat Tony" D'Amico, head of the Springfield legitimate businessmen's club, say that his wife died?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dire Predictions

This is why I find it hard to believe environmentalists. Everything they say is alarmist, and like the boy who cried wolf, even if they were right about something, nobody would believe them. When you see predictions like this, it's easy to laugh them off, but we're getting the same kind of predictions today:

At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind." C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed."

And this is just one of many crazy predictions including that food shortages would be so bad that the US population will have dropped to 22.6 million by the year 2000 and England will have ceased to exist. Since the outlandish predictions have not stopped over the years, they've just morphed into different outlandish predictions, I'm honestly a little surprised that some of them get as much credibility as they do. I'm sure that in another 30-40 years, a similarly amusing article will be written talking about An Inconvenient Truth. And that movie is revered by the environmentalist community.

So I have to assume that either environmentalists are delusional if they actually believe their predictions, or they are pushing another agenda by preying on an uneducated public. The earth is far more resilient than environmentalists would have us believe, and if they really want to win over public opinion, they better start being more realistic. Give people a little more credit, they aren't all that gullible.


I just saw this picture of the Chaiten volcano erupting in Chile. That is one of the coolest pictures I've ever seen. I don't have any commentary, just enjoy it and be glad you aren't in the vicinity.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I just finished watching Cloverfield, mostly because of all of the positive reviews I'd seen for it, and I'm here to tell you it's terrible. It can best be described as Godzilla meets the Blair Witch Project. How can combining aspects of two such highly acclaimed films go wrong you ask? Well, where to begin...

First of all, the movie is all about a freshly hatched 300 foot tall monster that is spooked and terrorizing Manhattan. Where did it come from, the ocean depths, or maybe space? Nobody knows. If it's that big, how is it that nobody noticed an enormous egg, or an even more enormous mother? How does something that size just appear out of nowhere in the most populated city in the country unnoticed? What the hell does the name Cloverfield have to do with anything? No attempts are ever made to explain any of these questions.

And like a Godzilla movie, the entire plot consists of running from a big monster. Actually it had less plot than Godzilla. And like Blair Witch, the entire movie is shot from the perspective of a group of idiots with a hand held camera. They aren't quite as annoying as Blair Witch, but they are still exceptionally annoying. And though the acting quality is better than Blair Witch, it is still deplorable.

But the biggest problem for me was the hand held camera. I really hate shaky hand held camera shots that film makers seem to be in love with these days, and this movie was entirely filmed in shaky cam. It may have had the best special effects ever, but I'll never know because I couldn't see anything that was going on for the majority of the film. Had I known about that going in, I would never have watched it. If you are prone to sea sickness, I imagine this movie will make you nauseous. I can't begin to express my hatred for hand held cameras.

My final complaint is that for an action movie, the first 25 minutes of character development are plodding and torturous. Most of it comprised of an idiot walking around an awkward party with a camera interviewing bad actors. I would gladly take 25 minutes of water torture over watching that again. This movie had absolutely no redeeming qualities that I can think of. One of the worst movies I've seen that didn't have Jim Carey in it.

Return of Griffey

Speculation is running wild that somehow, some way, Ken Griffey Jr will return to Seattle to play out the remainder of his career. While this wave of nostalgia has overtaken the city, I really hope it doesn't happen. The last thing the Mariners need right now is another old, broken down, overpaid has been taking up space on the roster. Unless the Reds are willing to take Sexson and/or Vidro off our hands in return, I don't see how bringing him back could be anything but a disaster. The club would certainly see an initial jump in ticket sales, but when they still couldn't win any games, that wouldn't last.

Currently he is hitting .252 with 4 HR and 19 RBI. Hardly worthy of the $8+ million he's making this year. And you can expect those numbers to drop when he comes back to the AL and no longer gets the soft NL pitching to pad his numbers. Do the fans in Seattle really want that?

I have no doubt that the worthless and increasingly desperate Bill Bavasi will do anything to save his job, and that includes making a terrible trade that will hurt the team in the long run. All I can hope for at this point is that Howard Lincoln's hatred of Griffey is strong enough to block any such move. And even with all of the misguided nostalgia sweeping the region right now, I guarantee you that these same fans will be booing him by the end of the season if he comes back. Write your congressman, call the papers, do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn't happen.

Dream Analysis

I don't remember a lot of my dreams, but I've been remembering several of them lately. Some of them have been weirder than others. Here is last night's:

I was boxing an attractive former co-worker. This was not just screwing around in the yard or in the gym boxing, this was in an actual ring with a referee and the whole nine yards. I was very slow and sluggish, but was still dominating. And throughout the whole thing, I was most concerned with the fact that she was a terrible boxer. She couldn't land a punch to save her life, and no matter how many times I punched her in the face, she wouldn't keep her hands up. I wasn't hitting her hard, and I was trying to give her pointers, but I still kept punching her in the face.

Well, after a round with her, she stepped out of the ring and somebody else stepped in. There was a long line of people waiting, and I took them all on one at a time, and none of them was good enough to land a punch, but I didn't know any of the rest of them.

Why would I have a dream about repeatedly punching an attractive woman? Is there some hidden meaning? Is this just one of those weird dreams that doesn't have an explanation? I'm open to suggestions and theories. And even though the woman in the dream is never going to be reading this since I haven't seen or talked to her in well over a year, I would like to publicly apologize. And I would like to say that you really need to learn how to box. I'd be happy to give you some pointers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jedi Attack

After a brutal attack on the church of the Jedi, further tragedy occurred as Darth Vader was given a suspended sentence and avoided any jail time. Some might say that the group of uber geeks deserved the beat down from the dark lord for their inability to separate fantasy from reality. In fact, I might say that. I will publicly say that if you found a church based on the teachings found in a movie, you should watch your back because you really do need a solid dose of reality.

As you may have guessed by now, alcohol was involved. Darth Vader allegedly consumed the better part of a 2 1/2 gallon box of wine before the attack, an amount sufficient to leave him with no recollection of the events. Either that or the Jedi used some powerful mind control techniques, for as you know, the force can have a strong influence on the weak minded. That may be what ultimately stopped the attacks.

Despite no memories of the attack, Darth has expressed contrition. Comforting news I'm sure for the remainder of the Jedi order. The attack was caught on video, and as luck would have it, is now available on the internet! The video is posted here, but I have to warn you, it's pretty disappointing after what I had imagined. I actually can't believe that charges were filed after this.

Gas Saving Tips

With gas prices so high, I'm sure that, like me, you are all getting forwarded emails with tips on how to save gas. Also like me, I assume you don't believe most of them. Some of the tips sound plausible, but some are pretty far fetched.

CNN has stepped up to the plate and reported that most of these are indeed myths. For those of you too lazy to follow the link, here they are, without the accompanying explanations.

1. Fill your tank in the morning
2. Change your air filter
3. Use premium fuel
4. Pump up your tires
5. Turn off your air conditioner
6. Use a bolt on device or fuel additive.

Monday, May 12, 2008

If You Were A Zombie

There's no denying that the zombie problem in this country can no longer be ignored. Hollywood has repeatedly documented the infestation, but it hasn't been until now that someone is finally doing something about it. If you saw a zombie, would you be able to recognize it, or would you mistake it for a disheveled man with deplorable hygiene? Would you know how to kill a zombie when you came across one?

This web site has take up the cause of educating and preparing the world, or at least the English speaking part of it. And you too can make a difference. Send someone you care about an e-card that says 'If you were a zombie and I had to kill you, I'd be sad'. If you wait to tell those you care about, it may be too late.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

I just came across this little rumor today. Sources say that Bruce Willis is being considered for the role of Hannibal Smith in the upcoming A-Team film. I don't know about this one, I don't really see Bruce as a good fit for this role. I'd kind of like to see Arnold make his glorious big screen return as Hannibal, but maybe that's only because, like Hannibal, he smokes cigars.

I assume that B.A. Barracus will be entirely CGI since no actor can successfully fill the ample shoes of Mr. T. Michael Clark Duncan is the only person that springs to mind right now that I would consider for the role. I sure hope we don't end up with someone like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, or worse yet, Vin Diesel.

I think they are going to have to update them to Iraq war veterans since Vietnam vets would be too old now. I could see "Howling Mad" Murdoch being played by that super annoying actor that played Shaggy - Matthew Lillard I think his name is. I would rather see someone else, but for some reason he's the first name that popped into my head. And even though he's probably too old for the part, I think I'd like to see Owen Wilson as Face to round out the cast. Or maybe Jackie Chan. No, forget that, Owen Wilson it is.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I find intelligent graffiti to be amusing. Virtually all graffiti is vulgar and/or moronic, so even though this is still defacing public property, I can find some enjoyment in it.
This picture didn't turn out too well, but just 75 feet away from a vile smelling vagrant in a sleeping bag is this tag reading 'true wealth be knowledge of self'. Not true, but at least it rhymes.
I forgot to mention that my all time favorite graffiti is still the one I saw in the Suzzallo Library at the UW. In one of the men's room stalls, someone had scrawled the words "WSU degrees" on the toilet paper dispenser. I still chuckle when I think of that.

Cuddle Party

The first rule of cuddle party is don't talk about cuddle party. No wait, that's fight club. The first rule of cuddle party is keep it in your pants. This is one of the weirder events I've seen in a while. If you want to go to a pajama party, but have realized that you're older than 12, then this is the thing for you. I really don't understand the appeal of this, unless you really want public verification that someone is willing to touch you. Or perhaps if you always wanted to be involved in a non-sexual orgy then you are now in luck. Spooning with someone, or perhaps someones, in a group setting just sounds strange to me. Count me out.

Vocabulary Builder

Today's word of the day - introubulating - is brought to you by Kent Brockman. As in, "One Springfield man is treating his wife to an extra-special valentine's day this year, and introubulating the rest of us."

Do your best to incorporate this word into your everyday lexicon.

One of my favorite aspects of both the Simpsons and Futurama is their use of made up words, slipped into the conversation as if they were real words. I attribute this phenomenon to David X Cohen, also sometimes credited as David S Cohen. Perhaps he's not responsible for all of the created vocabulary, but I think it's primarily his idea.

Anyway, I found a wonderful compendium of such terms, which I have learned are known as neologisms. There you can find some of my favorites, such as onetuplet, cromulent, crisitunity, and even assal horizontology. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More Proof That Kids Are Dumb

A 13 year old son of a lawyer (no, that's not a derogatory phrase, his father is a lawyer, but perhaps it should be) in Texas ordered a second credit card from his father's account and proceeded to go on a spending spree. Now if you said that he rented a hotel room, ordered a bunch of junk food, called an escort service and had them send over two $1,000 a night hookers, told said hookers that they were circus midgets, and proceeded to play Halo on his Xbox 360 with the aforementioned hookers, then your powers of insight far surpass mine. But wait, it gets better! This kid said that he one day hopes to be a politician. Sounds like he should be a shoo in.

Million Dollar Idea

While at the horrible Mariner game tonight, I was reminded of one of the brilliant ideas I had a while back but had forgotten about. I've forgotten more lucrative schemes than I can remember. And while that statement may seem obvious, if you really think about it, it turns out it doesn't have any deeper meaning.

But I digress. You see, tonight I found myself next to 4 of the most hyper, noisy, geeky, unbelievably annoying kids you could ever hope to not meet. And like so many horrible parents I've seen before, these particular ones decided to handle the situation not by telling them to be quiet or something that would seem reasonable, they bought each of them the largest size Mountain Dew available. What better way to deal with hyper kids than to get them jacked up on sugar and caffeine.

I know what you're thinking, but no my idea isn't to tazer kids like these and ship them off to Guantanamo Bay to be treated as the terrorists they are. As good an idea as that may be, it is a money costing idea and not a money creating one. My idea is to create candy and soft drinks that instead of being loaded with sugar and caffeine, contain sedatives. It all seems so obvious now that I can't believe that such a product isn't already on the market.

This brilliant idea is being offered free of charge. I'm not even asking for recognition after you've become independently wealthy. The simple knowledge that I've made the world a better place is reward enough.

Quote of the Day

The most intense joy lies not in the having, but in the desire. The light that never fades, the mist that is eternal, is only yours when what you most desire is just out of reach. - C.S. Lewis in the movie Shadowlands

I don't know if this is something that C.S. Lewis actually said, or if it's just a line in the movie, but I've always thought it was really interesting. The first time I heard that, I scoffed at it, but the older I get and the more I think about it, the more I think that maybe there is some truth in that. Attaining what you desire typically only brings momentary joy, and in an attempt to continue to feel that joy, addictions are formed. Statistically, the people with the highest rates of depression are those that can have virtually whatever they desire. On the other end of the spectrum, the happiest people tend to be the most impoverished.

I'm not sure this necessarily means that acquiring what we desire in itself leads to depression, but rather, what we desire is not necessarily what will bring us joy. Perhaps it is that when we get what we desire, we realize that it does not bring us happiness, leaving us in despair. Conversely, the inability to attain what we desire may allow us to focus on other aspects of life that will ultimately lead to joy. So in this scenario, it is not desiring something unattainable that brings us joy, but rather giving up our desires.

I don't really know what to believe, as it varies from day to day. Regardless, I've always found this to be an intriguing quote. One that leads to a great deal of thought and introspection.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I like to cry at the ocean, because only there do my tears seem small."

Free praise to the person who can correctly identify that quote.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Koei Kan

Check out the fancy, professionally made video for my dojo. I wasn't there that day, so you don't have to watch me.

Plus I've been playing around with embiggening the video. Be honest, isn't that much better than your standard tiny video?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Inside The Fire

I love this song, but have to caution you that the video is a little disturbing. The song is about suicide and the video is a little graphic. Consider yourself warned.

Safeco Sale

I promised that I’d pass along the crazy speech from our behated (I just coined that term, it's the opposite of beloved and I demand royalties when it is used) CEO when the sale to Liberty Mutual was announced. I’ve been waiting for them to post the audio or a transcript of the speech like they claimed they were going to, but I think they must have reconsidered after hearing what she actually had to say. I wanted the actual transcript because it was way more bizarre than I can actually retell. Not only that, but I fear that without a transcript, it is going to come across as embellishment. Anyway, here we go.

To the best of my recollection, this is how the story went: she received an email from a friend of hers who is an Orthodox Jew, and he washes dead bodies for a living. His job is to clean the bodies and prepare them for burial in accordance with the Orthodox guidelines. And these guidelines forbid defiling you body in any way, whether that be tattoos, piercings, or other scarification. Well, this guy decided it would be funny if he got a tattoo. Because it is his job to prepare the corpses, he thought it would be a great practical joke so that whoever is washing his body after his death would discover the tattoo and be shocked.

This is when Paula began to get choked up and said that even though she is not courageous enough to get a tattoo herself, she will always have Safeco tattooed on her heart. That even though she has only been with Safeco for 2 years, the company is so important to her that she will always have it tattooed on her heart.

Well, this is the short version of the story. She actually elaborated enough that the whole thing dragged on for at least 5 minutes. And as I was in a conference room listening in on a conference call with 12 other people, the confused looks and gestures in that conference room continued to grow as the story progressed. I believe there were a few comments like,”what is she talking about” and I personally asked at one point, “is this story going somewhere?”

Of course there was a great deal of conjecture afterward as to the meaning of the story. Did Safeco represent the corpse? Now that she had successfully killed the company, she had defiled it with a tattoo before it was to be prepared for burial? Or, like her friend, was this her practical joke on the way out?

The point of the story was never quite determined. I assume she had one when she started talking but it somehow got lost along the way. The point I got out of the story, however is that I need to find another job.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Global Warming

After the coldest winter in decades, I find it amusing that global warming proponents are coming up with ever crazier theories to support their claims. And while one cold year is not enough evidence to base any theories on, or disprove any theories, the best thing to come out of this winter is the fact that we are finally putting an end to all of the global warming talk, and we are finally getting some major media outlets reporting the other side of the story without fear of ridicule. Honestly, I don't know how reliable this newspaper is, but the do claim to be "Britain's No.1 quality newspaper website."

Now there has been so much B.S. on both sides of this issue in recent years, that trying to wade through it and get to the truth has been quite a chore. But this article had some very interesting things to say:

The most dramatic evidence, however, emerged last week with an announcement
by Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that an immense slow-cycling movement of
water in the Pacific, known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), had
unexpectedly shifted into its cool phase, something which only happens every 30
years or so, ultimately affecting climate all over the globe.

Discussion of this on the invaluable Watts Up With
website, run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts, shows how the
alternations of the PDO between warm and cool coincided with each of the major
temperature shifts of the 20th century - warming after 1905, cooling after 1946,
warming again after 1977 - and how the new shift to a cool phase could have
repercussions for decades to come.

It is notable that the German computer predictions published last week
by Nature forecast a decade of cooling due to deep-ocean movements in the
Atlantic, without taking account of how this may now be reinforced by a similar,
even greater movement in the Pacific.

And maybe it's just me, but NASA has a little more credibility to me than politicians. And since politicians have been at the forefront of the global warming debate, that has been one of the main reason's I've found it difficult to buy into any of their arguments or dubious data. And that's one of the reasons that these few paragraphs really struck a chord with me.

On one hand our politicians are committing us to spending unimaginable sums
on wind farms, emissions trading schemes, absurdly ambitious biofuel targets,
and every kind of tax and regulation designed to reduce our "carbon footprint" -
all based on blindly accepting the predictions of computer models that the
planet is overheating due to our output of greenhouse gases.

On the other hand, a growing number of scientists are producing ever
more evidence to show how those computer models are based on wholly inadequate
data and assumptions - as is being confirmed by the behaviour of nature itself
(not least the continuing non-arrival of sunspot cycle 24).

The fact is that what has been happening to the world's climate in
recent years, since global temperatures ceased to rise after 1998, was not
predicted by any of those officially-sponsored models. The discrepancy between
their predictions and observable data becomes more glaring with every month that

It won't do for believers in warmist orthodoxy to claim that, although
temperatures may be falling, this is only because they are "masking an
underlying warming trend that is still continuing" - nor to fob us off with
assurances that the "German model shows that higher temperatures than 1998, the
warmest year on record, are likely to return after 2015".

In view of what is now at stake, such quasi-religious incantations
masquerading as science are something we can no longer afford. We should get
back to proper science before it is too late.

I wouldn't go so far to say that we shouldn't be spending money on reducing emissions and researching alternative fuels, but I would like to see less reactionary policies from the government, and more thought and research in general before committing public funds. I don't know if the cold winter is a signal of the start of a cooling trend, or if it is merely an aberration, but if it will put a damper on all of the Chicken Little "the sky is falling" overly dramatic propaganda coming from the likes of Al Gore in recent years, then the heating bill was worthwhile.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Over the weekend I read both an article about the widespread use of sleeping pills in this country, and a story about the widespread use of heartburn medications, and it triggered something that I've been thinking about for a long time. We spend unbelievable amounts of money on the war on drugs, but the reason it hasn't had any effect is that we've been going after dealers when the root of the problem is that Western civilization has an underlying mentality that pharmaceuticals are the answer to all our problems. Have a headache? We've got a pill for that. Can't sleep? We've got a pill for that. Can't get an erection? We've got a pill for that. Sad, too tired, too fat, can't stop smoking? We've got something for all those too.

When the answer to every ailment is some sort of medication, is it really any surprise that so many people self medicate to solve their problems? I'm not claiming to have any solutions. I don't think that holistic medicine, acupuncture, meditation, or any of the other alternatives currently available are necessarily the answer, but somewhere there is a common ground. One of the main reasons that health care has gotten almost prohibitively expensive is that it is entirely within the grasp of the pharmaceutical industry.

I don't know what can be done to break this mind set, but even as I'm writing this, I've seen in one commercial break, commercials for an energy drink, heartburn medication, and Gas X. We are constantly bombarded with it. It has gotten to the point that even the drinking water in most metropolitan areas is contaminated with a cocktail of antibiotics, mood enhancers, hormones, and who knows what else that couldn't be filtered out. It's kind of scary to imagine what the long term consequences are, both to humans as well as fish and wildlife.

I will admit to using my fair share of drugs. I can't start my day without coffee, and I will take advil from time to time. But I have made a conscious effort to cut back on everything. I will use ice packs or heat packs instead of pain killers, and have switched to half caf. Maybe one day I will live a chemical free existence, but for now the caffeine dependency is too hard to break. I really do love coffee. As far as society is concerned though, I don't see an end in sight. From birth, everyone is taught that the answers to all your problems are in a pill, a shot, an herb, etc. I don't know what can be done to break that trend. Even 'health food' shops are filled with nothing but pills and dietary supplements. I guess all I can really do is change my own lifestyle.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New Indy Trailer

I originally had planned to avoid all of the Indiana Jones info up until the release of the movie so that I could watch it with a clean palate and no preconceived notions. Well, obviously the temptation proved too great. Now I have seen a brand new trailer, and even though the premier is less than 3 weeks away, I don't think I can wait that long. At this point I would sell my first born to see a sneak preview.

I had concerns that Harrison Ford is nearly a fossil at this point in his career, and that the introduction of Shia LeBouf or whatever the hell his name is would mess up the dynamic, but from what I've seen, the movie looks amazing. Harrison is still nimble enough to pull off some stunts. I don't know if they used some kind of special effects to make it look like he can still move or not, but it looks great. I highly recommend viewing the new trailer, conveniently located on your right. Preferably the HD version. It's worth the 2 minutes.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Slash vs Zakk Wylde

This is fun. I enjoy seeing multiple good guitarists getting up on stage together. G3 was one of the best concerts I've ever been to, and it featured Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, and Steve Vai sharing a stage. Robert Fripp was there too, but I don't remember him joining the other three. I also loved seeing Dream Theater and Queensryche playing a couple songs together, with Scott Rockenfeld joining Mike Portnoy on his massive drum kit. And in that tradition, here are Slash and Zakk Wylde getting together to play Voodoo Child. It's kind of an unusual song for them to pick, but it turned out ok.

Note: The spell checker found a record number of unrecognized words on this post.

Useless Trivia!

Who was the first boy scout to become president of the United States?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Picture of the Day!

Sure, this picture had a story to go along with it, but it wasn't an interesting one I'm afraid. I'm just terribly amused by this picture. And I'm not entirely sure why.

Confusing Headline of the Day!

Mexicans seal gang war hospital

Top that. I'd swear that was just a string of random, unrelated words.