Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blind Painter

I don't know what to say about this other than it is simply amazing. A blind painter - not just blind, but born without eyes so he has never seen a day in his life - is able to create some pretty good paintings. He's a far better painter than I ever could be. Esfef Armagan has had no formal training and developed his own unique techniques. He relies on feedback from people who can see, and the results are quite impressive. It's hard for me to believe that something like this is possible, but there it is.

World's Oldest Joke

After years of gruelling research and backbreaking labor, researchers have finally uncovered the world's oldest joke, and surprisingly enough it doesn't involve a man walking into a bar. 1900 BC was a good year for a lot of reasons. Or so I imagine, I don't really know any of the reasons. What I do know is that it was the year comedy was born. It is a saying of the Sumerians, who lived in what is now southern Iraq and goes: "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap." Maybe something was lost in translation, but somehow the humorous part of that joke was lost on me. Perhaps that's what took researchers so long - I imagine there were heated debates about whether or not that was actually a joke or not. Yes, comedy has come a long way since then, but I have still been unable to determine when high brow humor was invented. Not until much later I imagine. But this reminds me of an age old question I've struggled with for a long time. If you had the option of hearing a joke so funny that you would die of laughter, would you want to hear it? The more I think about it, the more I think I would want to hear it because it would be better to die of laughter than to die of curiosity.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Forest Overcrowding

If you ever thought that fighting forest fires led to them absorbing less carbon dioxide from the environment, then you are smarter than the average scientist. New research suggests that extinguishing forest fires leads to thicker underbrush. This thicker underbrush ends up competing for resources with the larger trees effectively choking them out. The larger trees end up with stunted growth or die, resulting in forests full of smaller trees.

So I guess in the long run, we're better off just saving the resources and manpower to fight forest fires, and simply let them burn off all of the underbrush. I like this plan in particular because easier. Yes, I'm delighted when laziness turns out to be the best solution to one of life's problems. Often times there is brilliance in simplicity. And I also believe that the planet got along just fine without human intervention for a long time and this is just more evidence that we should take a more hands off approach to the environment. The earth is incredibly resilient and can take care of itself.

Meet The Seagals

No real commentary here, this picture is just provided as a public service. Every year I have to pick a favorite, and since my favorites from years past are all gone it's time to pick a new one. After a great deal of research, I've come to the decision that this year it is Gena despite the fact that she attended WSU. It was an agonizing decision and I'd like to offer a heartfelt apology to all of the other ladies. Actually, upon further review I think I'm going to change to Marianne. In addition to being a UW grad, she is very short and to the point in all her descriptions of herself, I admire her brevity. The award for most interesting goes to Shelly though, who races motorcycles in her spare time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I was looking at an unusual ornament on a woman's necklace today when I suddenly became concerned that she thought I was staring at her cleavage. I quickly averted my gaze, but then got to thinking, maybe that's why women wear necklaces. The magic of gravity tends to turn a necklace into an arrow of sorts pointing directly at the aforementioned cleavage. Is it possible that this has been the intent all along? A way for women to subtly direct your attention downward? Is it possible that it is entirely subliminal on their part? When this occurred to me today, I was absolutely shocked that I had never considered this before. Perhaps it is this very obliviousness (I'm not sure I didn't just make that word up) which has resulted in my perpetual singletude (I'm pretty sure I did make that one up). But if the light is finally starting to turn on, then there is hope for me yet. Not much, but a faint glow at the end of a very long tunnel.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bon Odori

After the trials and ultimate triumph with my brakes, I headed out to the Bon Odori. It's always at the same time of year as Seafair, and I guess I don't really know why I like going except that when I was a kid my Grandparents always took me. I think it's part nostalgia, and it's also that I enjoy seeing the taiko drums, dancing, Japanese people in traditional attire, and of course the good food. I really like somen noodles. This year I also realized that I like feeling tall for a change, it's quite a novelty.

I usually go to the event in downtown Seattle, but this year I headed down to Auburn to the White River Bhuddist Temple. It's a little smaller gathering, but it was nice not to have to deal with the crowds. I noticed that there aren't many people my age at the Bon Odori. It's mostly older people and kids. I don't remember it being that way in years past, but maybe that's just Auburn. I will say though that there were tons of adorable young kids running around in their kimonos this year. I think if I ever have kids I want to have a Japanese kid because they are just so cute. I've heard that there is some DNA or something involved that may prevent this, but maybe that's just one more sign that I'm not meant to be a parent. Anyway, it was a good time and even though it's over this year, remember this next year and maybe I'll see you there.

New Brakes

They say that there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be had in doing something yourself. Well, after changing my brake pads this weekend, I realized that I would have taken more satisfaction out of paying someone else to change them for me while I sipped on a cup of coffee and watched tv. I've never been fond of auto maintenance or repair, in large part because of my aversion to getting dirty, but decided to undertake this but of repair. I've changed brakes before and remembered that changing drum brakes is a pain, but had it in the back of my head that changing disc brakes wasn't too bad. Well, I don't want to spoil the surprise, but it didn't turn out to be as easy as I had expected, and despite my best efforts, I still ended up pretty dirty. It took a prolific amount of scrubbing to return my skin to it's natural pasty white hue.

My saga begins with a trip to my local neighborhood Napa. I knew I should have gone to Schucks from the moment I stepped out of my car and saw a rather rotund Napa employee bent over the hood of a car, inspecting an engine, and displaying an impressive 8-10 inches of exposed ass crack. I thought of snapping a picture for your enjoyment, but quickly thought better of it. Once inside the store I found that it was busier than I'd ever seen it before. After waiting in line for several minutes I realized that the line wasn't getting any shorter and decided to head to Schucks.

The wait for help at Schucks was much much shorter, but the help I got was from either one of the dumbest people I've ever talked to, or he was stoned. I dutifully recorded the conversation for posterity and it went exactly like this:

Me: I need front brake pads for a 99 Mercury Cougar.
Him: ...Uh, what year is it?
Me: 99
Him: ...Uh, that was a Cougar?
Me: Yep.
Him: ...Uh, what did you need for it.
Me: Front brake pads.
Him: ...Uh, all we have is the standard semi-metallic pads for $22.
Me: Ok, that's not what I want, I'm going to go somewhere else.

Next stop Autozone. There was no wait at Autozone, and the guy working there wasn't a moron, so immediately it was a step in the right direction. Sadly, I quickly found out that all they stocked were bottom of the line brake pads there too. Since I consider stopping to be a relatively important thing, brakes aren't something I want to skimp on, so at this point it was time to take a moment to weigh my options. I could go online and order the parts and try again at a later date, or I could head down to the Napa distribution center by Southcenter where I knew they would have quality parts for me.

Not wanting to put off the repairs and risk being unable to drive my car, I opted for the distribution center. The wait there was quite lengthy, but my number was finally called (it was busy enough that you had to take a number), I told the woman there what I needed and was asked, "do you want cheap brakes or do you want good brakes." I told her I wanted good brakes, that I wanted ceramic brakes with electronic wear sensors. A little bit of tapping on the keyboard and she told me the cheapest brakes they had that met my specifications were $90. I had done my research online beforehand and knew I could order the brakes I wanted for $60, so I had another dilemma on my hands: pay the extra money and get it done today, or wait and do it later. I bit the bullet, paid the extra money and was on my way.

Thinking that the repairs would be easy, I began taking my car apart. The first setback came when I found out that the bolts holding the brake calipers on were so tight that I had beads of sweat rolling down my forehead and stinging my eyes as I fought to get those damn things off. My hands are still sore today from wrestling with the wrench. Once I got them off, I discovered that they had been glued in place with some locktite. Damn you Mercury!!!!

I removed the old pads and that is precisely when I realized that I am more talented at taking things apart than I am at reassembling them. The new pads just did not want to get in place. I wrestled with them, cursed at them, and just when I was about to the point that I was ready to throw something, I finally coaxed them into place. I threw the wheel back on and headed to the other side.

The ability to learn from our successes and failures is one of the things that separates us from the animals, and with the knowledge still fresh in my mind of what needed to be done to complete this task, I knew this side would be easier. First step: go to the local hardware store and get a longer wrench with more leverage for those damn bolts. That made a huge difference. Putting the new pads in their homes still proved to be a challenge, but overall this side was much easier.

So after approximately 5 hours, including all the trips to various stores, and innumerable profanities (something I learned at an early age from my Grandpa is an essential component to auto repair), I was back in business. I took a couple victory laps around the block to make sure everything worked properly and there were no surprises.

Final step: bragging about my accomplishments. I called up my Dad to let him know that I was able to successfully pull this feat off without any complications. Here is an excerpt from that call for your enjoyment:

Me: I can't tell you how hard it was to get those damn bolts off. I only found out later that they had locktite on them. I really wish I had an impact wrench.
Dad: I've got an impact wrench here.
Me: Yeah, that's really helpful at this point, thanks a lot.
Dad: That's what I'm here for.
Me: I think if I had a pneumatic wrench, I could have saved myself at least half an hour.
Dad: You probably would have saved a lot of vocabulary too.

So if you were ever wondering where I got my smart ass tendencies from, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Now I'm back in business, and I think that the next time this comes up I'm just going to pay a mechanic to do it for me. If you are planning on a do it yourself brake job though, I did learn one very useful tip from the internet: when compressing the pistons to fit the new pads on, take the cap off of the brake fluid reservoir. It makes all the difference in the world.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hi There

Ok, the Peter Gabriel classic Big Time has been running through my head for almost a week now. It all started on Saturday the 19th. The Mariners were having an 80's night, and in addition to them wearing some ugly throwback uniforms, they played Big Time every time Brian LaHair got up to bat. Well, by the time the next day rolled around I had forgotten about it, and it wasn't until Monday or Tuesday when I received an email that started out with "Hi There" and it all came back. Since then it has been in and out of my head all week.

I always loved this song, and despite the weirdness, I loved the video too. It is a good 8% less weird than Sledghammer, and at least 15% less likely to cause a seizure. So watch away knowing that the chances of any unfortunate side effects are minimal. Peter Gabriel had such a unique sound that I don't know really how to categorize it other than 80's music. He managed to weave together some pretty complex rhythms and use instruments uncommon in most popular music, but despite it being unusual, it really worked. He has since faded into anonymity and I can't help wondering where he is now. I also can't help wondering just what the hell Shock the Monkey was about.

Picture of the Day!

And here it is ladies and gentlemen, your weird picture of the day. Sure to be popular among the Star Wars nerd fans, I present to you a storm trooper in a bikini hoola hooping. All I can say about this is, "...huh." I guess I haven't seen it all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Links

I've found a couple of new entertaining web sites that I have to bring to your attention. These are going in my regular rotation. First up is Failblog. Brought to my attention by the ever entertaining Mistress of Shenanigans, it is full of pictures and videos of anything that could be appropriately described as failure. Included below for your enjoyment is an example.
fail owned pwnd pictures

But wait, there's more. 1000 Awesome Things has many awesome things for you to read about. 1000 as a matter of fact. Old, dangerous playground equipment (awesome thing #980) is my favorite so far. I want to take a ride down a blistering hot slide right now.

Not being added to my links is Daily Cuteness. There's only so much cute one person can tolerate.

The Dumbest Generation

If you aren't part of the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomer Generation, or even Generation X (the x makes it cool), chances are you're part of the Dumbest Generation. This according to Emery University Professor Mark Bauerlein in his new book: The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30). Yes that's an unnecessarily long and unwieldy title, but I have still reserved my copy from the King County Library System because it looks interesting. I think I'll just carry it around with me all the time so that when all the young idealistic idiots in the U district who are trying to get me to sign some petition, I can just whip that book out and say, "you don't know a damn thing, talking to you is just a complete waste of time. See, it's right her in print."

Actually I think that his conclusions are probably incorrect. I think that typically most people under 30 are or were pretty self absorbed and ill informed regardless of what generation. I think that's just the nature of youth. But it's just nice to be able to look down my nose at another generation instead of being on the receiving end of the condescension. Still, he's got some interesting points.

Maybe I'm a Jerk

As I was walking from the bus stop into the office this morning, I saw a guy wearing a Luke Ridnour Sonics jersey, and my first inclination was to say, "hey, the Seattle Sonics don't exist any more you idiot, why don't you move to Oklahoma City?" But before I opened my mouth, I realized he was a pretty big guy - maybe 6'2" 260 or so - and thought that if he took offense to my remarks and wanted to start a fight, I would end up exerting way more energy than I had planned on at this time of day. I sure don't need that in my life. And so I kept walking but began to wonder if maybe I'm a jerk. I pondered this for another block and that's when I saw an indigent man on the other side of the street wearing a plastic Safeway bag as a hat. I found that odd and it distracted me from thinking about being a jerk. I then turned the corner, briefly wondered how much longer I would wander around before extracting the pebble from my shoe (it wasn't a very big one, just mildly annoying) and then walked into my office where I will no longer have the opportunity to ponder whatever nonsense pops into my head. Maybe that's for the best, I don't really know. All I can say for certain is that once I arrived at my desk, I removed the pebble from my shoe and at least that won't concern me anymore.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I've been making some progress in my physical therapy. Today I was able to get my range of motion up to 97º. Sure I was in some of the worst pain of my life and was squirming like ... uh, I don't know, something that squirms a lot. Maybe a kid trying to escape a high chair. No, that's no good. How about like Barry Bonds testifying before congress. No, that's too dated. I'm just too sore now to come up with a quality simile.

But the point is ... I guess I forgot that too. I guess the point is no pain, no gain. This has been a long, drawn out ordeal and my goal now is to one day punch Alvarez again. That, and I guess regain normal use of my hand. It just seems like it is taking an eternity to approach normalcy, and I could still have a month or more of physical therapy still ahead of me. I want to get out and try golfing and tennis soon.

And since I made the mistake of turning on the Mariner game, I've completely lost my train of thought and let me just say this: these guys sure hit into a hell of a lot of double plays. And a lot of them are really slow. And they really need to get rid of Vidro, Washburn, and Batista.

Happy Birthday

To everybody who has ever worked in an office: take a moment to wish a happy birthday to the cubicle. 40 years ago, the cube revolutionized the office environment. Though hated by many and considered a symbol of soulless corporate oppression, I actually don't mind cubes at all. They give me a little privacy and they certainly beat the alternative of rows of free standing desks. Rock on cubicle.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Text The Vote

Politicians are always looking for ways to get young people out to the polls. That's the genesis of my latest hair brained scheme. Certainly a step up from the idiotic "Rock the Vote" campaign though, I think you should be able to text message your vote. Instead of having to make a trip to the polls, you could vote wherever you are whenever you have a few minutes handy. You could piss me off and text in your vote in the middle of a movie, or you could multitask on your commute home like the dumb girl that almost ran me off of 520 recently by text messaging while she was driving.

This has been another public service message from Craw Fu - your number one source for innovation.

The Dark Knight

Saturday night I rounded up some friends and headed down to the brand new theaters at Southcenter to view the much awaited Dark Knight. Things started out inauspiciously as the escalators running up to the theater were down, meaning that we would have to wait in line to be crammed into an elevator that smelled like an armpit to get our tickets. Tickets in hand, we wandered off to grab a bite to eat before the show (tickets were purchased a few hours in advance). Then the tragic occurred: we were a little late getting back to the theater, I was tasked with finding some seats while one friend got on the phone and tried to locate the 2 members of the party who had yet to show up. Being the fat tub that I am, I was unable to pass up the free small popcorn that they were offering to every ticket holder and headed straight to the concession stand despite being full from just finishing dinner (I am virtually powerless to the lure of fresh popped popcorn, the only thing saving me from its clutches typically being exorbitant prices).

Needless to say, by the time I got into the theater, there were only scattered single seats thanks to people who are unwilling to sit next to someone else knowing full well that it's a sold out show and sooner or later they are going to have to, and a few seats together in the front few rows. So we grabbed a few seats here and a couple there and began discussing exchanging our tickets for a later showing. Right about then, the idiot (I suspect drunk idiot) in front of me who was wearing a Batman mask stood up and began shouting things like, "it's my friends birthday today, let's all sing happy birthday to him." That was enough to push us over the edge and the theater was kind enough to exchange our tickets. As we walked out of that theater, 2 theater security personnel walked in, presumably to shut up the dork in the mask. I like to think that they pummeled him mercilessly with their night sticks (theater security has those, right?).

Theater #2 was smaller, but more to our liking as it was still empty enough to accommodate us. There were 2 empty seats to my right and on 2 occasions, a couple sat down for a few minutes, and then got up and moved, giving me a complex. I'm still not sure if I smelled or something, but the third couple finally stuck around. The next issue was that there was a group of about 6 junior high age goofballs directly in front of me who wouldn't stop giggling and playing with their phones. I feared that before the end of the show, I would be forced to take a life. Luckily for me, the entire group got up and walked out of the theater for reasons unknown to me, and probably them as well. In the approximately 2 minutes that they were gone, and opportunistic man immediately swooped in and sat right in the middle of all the now empty seats. The kids came back shortly and froze in horror, jaws on the floor, to find that they had just lost their seats. The man, to his credit, felt no remorse and sat motionless as the kids looked on in sorrow and that man made a new friend in me. Sadly, there were far too many underage patrons there who had no respect for anyone else there and throughout the duration, I kept hearing the new text message noise, and I kept seeing phones turn on, which in a darkened theater is very distracting. They might as well turn on a flashlight. Irritating! That being said, I'm not sure I can stomach going to another movie that is not rated R because I don't think I can stomach being around so many inconsiderate asses.

And now after that extended preamble, on to the movie! Batman Begins was not an uplifting movie by any stretch of the imagination, but the Dark Knight was still a lot darker and more depressing movie. It really hammered home the point that mankind at it's core is wicked, corrupt, and self serving (and too damned inconsiderate to turn off their phones and not disrupt the viewing pleasure of others - sorry, I can't seem to let that go). The Joker is not the fun loving prankster from the previous movie or tv show, he is someone whom Bruce Wayne has trouble understanding because he has no motivation other than to create chaos and anarchy. As Alfred (Michael Caine) put it, "some people just want to watch the world burn." The Joker truly is terrifying, he seeks nothing but to hurt others. Unfortunately, I do think that Heath Ledger played it too over the top though. He really hammed it up, which at times elicited eye rolling from me rather than fear. That being said, he still managed to pull off a respectable performance all in all.

Aaron Eckhart really stole the show as Harvey Dent though. The idealistic district attorney on a mission to clean up the city was the one ray of hope in a Gotham City filled with despair. His charisma even managed to win over Bruce Wayne despite some personal issues between them to the point that Bruce is willing to let himself, as Batman, be seen by the public as an unsympathetic villain so that the citizens can still maintain hope in their 'white knight', even after his downfall and transformation into Two Face. And this in my opinion is the real crux of the story - is it more heroic to continually swoop in and save the day, or take misfortune upon yourself for the good of others. Batman really shoulders the burdens of the city and allows others to revel in the glory for the greater good of the city. But it did really leave me wanting to see more of the Harvey Dent/Two Face story.

The Dark Knight is not for everyone. It's violent and depressing, but if you can stomach that, it's really an intriguing examination of morality, as characters are repeatedly faced with dilemmas of how much they are willing to compromise their beliefs in order to achieve their objectives. Some are able to resist the lure of the easy way, and some are corrupted by it. Christopher Nolan really is a masterful story teller, and is in my opinion making a name for himself as one of the greatest directors of his generation. Despite it's brutality, this is a great film, and I get the feeling that this Batman saga is following the same story arc set forth by Star Wars - the first installment is hopeful, the second dark and depressing since the night is always darkest just before the dawn, and the third about redemption and resolution. I think we will see one more Batman movie that leaves on a happier note. I just hope there are no Ewoks.

After spending a little more time thinking about it, I think one of the most appealing aspects of Batman is that he is the antithesis of the modern man. In a society where everyone is occupied with looking out for their own best interests, often at the expense of others, Bruce Wayne is a man who has everything you could ever want according to society's standards: nearly limitless wealth, youth, good looks, attractive women hanging on his arm if he so desires - and yet he is willing to risk everything for the good of others. He is one of the more selfless and altruistic characters you will find in cinema today.

One other interesting aspect I saw while reading the review on Cinemagogue: Bruce Wayne has changed in this movie. No longer is he a vigilante motivated by fear and vengeance. He has transformed and is now motivated by love. The love of a city so corrupt that most of the world has written it off as unsalvagable. And yet he still sees something virtuous in this city that is worth fighting and risking everything for.

Dream Time

Today's episode of dream analysis with Scott actually occurred about a week ago, I've just been way behind on my posting. This dream started out in an office, where I was dropping off a resume to apply for a job (something awake Scott really needs to do sometime soon). I wanted to hand my resume to the hiring manager of the position I was interested in, but he was not in the office that day and instead I gave it to another manager who was on duty. He gave it a quick once over and was so impressed he offered me a job on the spot without even interviewing me. He offered me more money than I'm currently making, but the catch was he wanted me to work for him in sales. I didn't want to work in sales, so I debated in my mind whether I wanted to accept the position which would give me a raise and allow me to work closer to home, or roll the dice and wait for the job I was more interested in.

As I deliberated, an attractive woman that I used to work with bumped into me and invited me back to her place to watch a baseball game. Without a moments hesitation, I forgot all about my job dilemma and immediately followed her home. To my dismay, when I arrived at her place, I discovered that a current coworker of mine who is particularly outspoken regarding his political opinions was already there. Instead of enjoying a pleasant evening with an attractive woman, I spent the evening arguing with my coworker about John McCain. The woman quickly grew bored with our antics and fell asleep. I was devastated.

The next day when I went to work, I relayed this dream to my coworker and expressed my displeasure with him for ruining my imaginary date. He has promised not to do it again, but at this point I don't know if I can trust him anymore. He is, after all, a devious one.

Stay Awake

This is why you don't fall asleep or pass out at a party. You just never know when your 'friends' will decide that it's funny to douse you with cologne and set your crotch on fire, giving you second degree burns on your nuts. Until I saw this, the worst pass out prank I had heard about came from a high school acquaintance. While passed out, some of his friends had written the word 'dickhead' on his forehead with a Sharpie. After sleeping through that, they shaved off one of his eyebrows, not both. When he came to and realized what happened, he proceeded to chase those responsible until the police stopped by and arrested him for being drunk and disorderly. He got to spend the night in prison and have a mug shot taken with one eyebrow and profanity scrawled across his forehead. So let that be a lesson to you. Don't pass out unless your alone.

Look Both Ways

The notion of looking both ways before crossing the street is so ingrained in my psyche that I still look both ways before crossing a one way street. Even when I'm thinking to myself 'this is a one way street, nobody can be coming from that direction', I can't seem to stop myself from looking anyway. And I'm pretty sure that once I'm able to overcome that mental hurdle and not look, I'll get run over by somebody going the wrong way.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Useless Trivia

Who brought the first bathtub to the US?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Streak Is Broken

Yesterday I realized that not only had I worn a white shirt to work every day this week, I had also not spilled anything on any of said shirts. I don't know why I've been continuing to wear white shirts, it must be a subconscious thing or maybe I'm just in a white kind of mood. Anyhow, I ended up in a white shirt yet again today, but this time the tasty tasty gyros I had for lunch got me. I bit in to the deliciousness and a tomato bit covered in that cucumber sauce made a break for freedom and jumped out onto my shirt leaving a little yellowish spot. And my Tide pen that I bought for just such an occasion failed me and seems unable to remove the spot. I guess I should have known better than to push my luck, but in the early morning when I'm barely awake, I don't yet possess the decision making skills to select a shirt that won't show up so much if I spill on it. And I still contend that I'm at least 134% more likely to spill on a white shirt than one of it's colored brethren. It's one of those universal truths, like a dropped piece of toast will always land buttered side down. Anyway, we'll see if my sleep deprived mind will go for an unprecedented 5th straight day in a white shirt tomorrow morning. Don't stay tuned because there most likely won't be an update as it isn't really that interesting.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Who Resurrected The Electric Car?

According to Newsweek, it's Elon Musk. Best known for founding PayPal, he's also chairman of Tesla Motors. Currently all Tesla offers is the super cool, but also super expensive ($110k) Roadster. Elon claims that within 4 years, however, Tesla will offer a fully electric car for under $30k. I have to think that would be huge for the auto market. That's affordable enough that I have to think that they would be selling faster than they could manufacture them. Particularly if gas prices don't let up. And if they could find a way of building a solar panel into the roof or hood so that it charges itself, that could potentially significantly change the market. Something like these flexible solar panels. And as a side benefit, we could see the end of the hypermiling goofballs.

That being said, I'm still waiting for someone to come along with an electric motorcycle. A quick search yields an ugly bike from Enertia that has a top speed of 50 mph, a maximum range of 45 miles, and costs $15k. Back to the drawing board for this one I think. The only other one I could find was a much better looking bike from Hybrid Technologies but still one with only a 50 mph top speed and I can't find range or price details for the model in the video here. They do offer a much uglier but somewhat more practical bike on their web site that gets up to 70 mph but only has a range of 40 miles and a price tag of $17.5k. It looks like we've still got a long way to go before I'll get to ride an electric bike.

Girls of Olive Garden

In a move that I believe signals that they are officially out of ideas, Playboy's web site is now featuring a girls of Olive Garden feature (link is safe for work). I don't know if they just picked a restaurant out of a hat, but I guess I should just be glad it isn't girls of Denny's. I could see the logic behind a pictorial based on a restaurant like Hooters which is known for being a little risque and having an attractive staff, but the Olive Garden thing I just don't get.

For the record, let it be known that I exercised great restraint in not going off on a long girls of [fill in the blank] rant. Turns out I can resist the dark side on occasion. I thought I had more to say about this topic, but as happens so often, I got distracted and that's the end of that. I wonder if something is wrong with me. Let me clarify - I wonder if something is wrong with me that is wreaking havoc on my attention span. Whew, I think I dodged a bullet there. That almost assuredly would have turned into one long list.

I'm Ashamed To Admit It

....but I don't think I can tell the difference between spearmint and peppermint. And wintergreen is a pretty subtle difference as well if you ask me. Perhaps my palate isn't as refined as it should be.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Brett Favre

I think that Brett Favre is tarnishing his image by wanting to come back for one (or two or three) more years. But the biggest tragedy of the whole thing is that he's taking up valuable airtime that should be used to discuss/show other sports. I'm tired of everybody talking about him, so of course I'm talking about him too. I personally thought he should have hung up the spurs 3 years ago instead of having 2 lousy years before one resurgent year. Last year allowed him to retire on a high note and salvage some of his reputation, but he seems intent on ruining that reputation. He just isn't a very good QB anymore, and the chances that he's got another decent season in him are pretty slim. It's time for him to ride off into the sunset.

Dark Knight

As you all know by now, The Dark Knight hits theaters this Friday. Due to other plans along with the fact that I don't really want to fight the crowds to see it opening night, I will watch it another night. But that's not the point. The point is that in preparation for The Dark Night, I will be watching Batman Begins this week in all it's HD glory. I haven't yet decided on what day, but it looks like Monday, Tuesday and Friday are out. So if you're interested in swinging by and watching it with me and have a preference between Wednesday and Thursday, let me know.

I know this is not going to be a popular thing to say, but I actually think that Heath Ledger looks pretty annoying and not at all scary in the clips I've seen. Acting crazy has to be every actors dream because it's the easiest thing in the world - you just do whatever irrational thing comes to mind - but Heath seems to be heading into hammy, Pacino-esque overacting territory. The whole make up/costume I don't care for either, but that's not really his fault. He looks more like a crazy prom date than a scary villain. But the put on voice is more annoying than anything else. His portrayal seems a little campy to me and reminds me of the old tv show. I thought modern comic book movies were trying to distance themselves from that style.

I have developed a man crush on Christopher Nolan though and have faith in his abilities, along with the rest of the cast (I'm turning into a pretty big Christian Bale fan and I love Michael Caine) to make this yet another great movie. On a tangent, I've realized recently that I have a lot easier time describing what I don't like about movies (and everything I guess) than what I like about it. I can write a really long review of a movie I hate and go into detail of exactly why I hate it, but I have trouble writing reviews of movies I love. I'm working on that, but based on expectations, you shouldn't expect to see more than 2 paragraphs from me after seeing The Dark Knight. I don't know if that means I'm a negative person or if that's the way everyone is. Perhaps I'll never know.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Beast With A Billion Backs

My copy of Futurama: Beast With A Billion Backs finally arrived today and I immediately sat down and watched it. Better than Bender's Big Score, it still didn't seem to pack as many laughs per minute into it as most standard episodes. The story seems to jump around too much and seems to be trying to cram too much plot into the movie at times, but is not difficult to follow. The plot turns pretty religish (a term I just now coined) and may be off putting to some. Still, this is a must see for any Futurama fan, and I firmly believe that anyone who enjoys comedy or entertainment would enjoy this.
Some series mainstays are present in this. Low brow humor from Bender. Some nerdy math, science, and sci fi jokes. Zapp Brannigan is back and more Shatner-esque than ever. And there are some quality guest stars. Stephen Hawking makes an appearance and is quite entertaining. Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpson) shows up as the robot devil, and the less entertaining David Cross and Brittany Murphy also have significant roles.
The animation looks great and I love seeing it in widescreen. For all your Futurama needs, as well as a longer review with a different perspective, go here.

Giambi Pornstache Night

In an attempt to secure the final AL All Star roster spot for Jason Giambi, the Yankees with the aid of the American Moustache Institue (huh?) have organized the Jason Giambi moustache night. Rather than ridiculing him for looking like a 70's era porn actor, they have decided to celebrate how completely horrible he looks. If he had any self respect, he would at least grow himself a big handlebar moustache as opposed to the monstrosity he's sporting now.

I'm reminded of attending Bobby Ayala goatee night with Shelvis many moons ago. While Shelvis opted for the stick on goatee, I did the honorable thing and grew my own. Expecting a good game, if memory serves me correctly, we saw a mediocre start from Randy Johnson, followed by a bad relief appearance by Bill Risley and topped off by a blown save from Ayala. This marked the beginning of the end for Ayala in my mind, and with any luck, this will be the beginning of the end for Giambi as well. I can't stand that roided up loser to the extent that given the choice, I would prefer to see Ayala in a Mariner uniform again than Giambi.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Independence Day

The 4th of July was another enjoyable event. I ate too much but lived to eat another day. As usual, a variety of barbecued sausages were on the menu, along with some barbecued burgers. That was enough to keep me from eating nothing but blackberry pie and apple pie all day. It was kind of a mild year on the explosives front, but not all bad. Above are the legal fireworks I picked up to indulge my pyrotechnicsmania - a term I just recently coined. It's similar to pyromania, but more volatile. Below are the less legal fireworks, mostly rockets, which I acquired in Little Boston. Some kind gentlemen on the reservation provided them to me at a reasonable price. Noticeably absent are pictures of my cousin fearing for his life down below the deck as some of the rockets lacked the propulsion to get them more than a few feet in the air before plummeting back to earth to explode. As luck would have it, this was limited to a handful of the rockets and those still managed to provide some entertainment.Lastly, thanks to my brother for introducing me to what may become an annual tradition. He claims to have picked this up from his brother in law. With the simplest of ingredients: a coat hanger, some steel wool, and some sort of fire producing implement, you can produce a fantastic ring of fire. Basically, you straighten out the coat hanger, attach the steel wool to the end, light the afore mentioned steel wool and begin spinning it with the coat hanger. Apparently with enough air flow, the steel wool will burn quite nicely. I also learned that quite a bit of flaming steel wool flies off after my brother nearly lit me on fire twice with this nice little trick. Still, it's fairly fun. I was able to find the below tutorial.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Lost Keys

I know I shouldn't find this funny, but I just can't seem to help myself. A 91 year old woman crawled under her car looking for her keys and got her head wedged under the axle to the point that she was unable to extricate herself. Two days later when the mailman noticed the prior day's mail hadn't been picked up he knocked on the door. When nobody answered he began looking around and found the poor woman confused and dehydrated. I will readily agree that the preceding isn't too funny, but what absolutely kills me is that the keys were in the car door the whole time.

Midnight Blue

Every once in a while a song pops into my head out of the blue (pun intended) for no apparent reason. I can't explain it, but today a song I don't think I've heard in years suddenly started running through my mind. As far as I know, Midnight Blue was the closest thing to a hit Lou Gramm ever had as a solo artist. It's certainly the only one of his songs that I can name. I don't know if it was because of the stylish Michael Bolton hair he's sporting in this video, the unusual spelling of his name, or if it's simply because he just didn't have the song writing talent without Foreigner behind him. All I can say for sure is that even though this song is a solid 20% cheesier than the standard Foreigner fare, the video is surprisingly cheese free for it's time. It's certainly a lot less cheesy than Steve Perry's solo stuff.

I don't know why Journey and Foreigner are forever linked in my mind other than they were both popular at the same time and were both arena rock bands. Regardless, they are linked and therefore Steve Perry and Lou Gramm are linked as well. And so for comparison purposes, I'll also say that Oh Sherrie is the only hit Steve Perry had as a solo artist and include it below. Steve is definitely cheesier and unquestionably uglier but I think has a better voice. But as the video proves, no matter how ugly you are, as long as you're rich and famous you can still get yourself a girl. I'm not sure that's the message he was trying to convey, but that's what I got out of it. And so it is that I think that I should be in a band.


I've got a weird one for your psychoanalysis today. Last night I dreamed that an enormous woman - at least 50 feet tall - was chasing me through a grocery store intent on eating me. I kept running down all of the narrow and crowded aisles so that she would have trouble following me. But try as I might, I just couldn't shake her. I guess hungry women can't be stopped. Needless to say, she eventually caught me. She picked me up in her enormous hand and as soon as I got close enough to her mouth, I took a good solid swing at her. That's when I punched the headboard and woke myself up. One bloody knuckle later I never found out how this dream was going to turn out.

I think that the large woman represents - I don't really know, my fear of large women I guess. And that would mean that her trying to eat me represents my fear of being eaten by large women. It turns out that dream analysis isn't one of my strengths.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Quote of the Day

Celebrate your nation's independence by blowing a small portion of it up!

Firework Labels

For those of you who don't think that firework labels are art, you need to check out this site. Just in time for the 4th it's got pictures of tons of labels spanning decades. My favorite is the flying King Kong. I guess firework manufacturers think that a giant rampaging gorilla isn't terrifying enough by itself and therefore should fly too.
And if that isn't enough to get you interested, be sure to check out page 2 where King Kong managed to turn the Empire State Building into a rocket and fly over the Statue of Liberty. If that doesn't say freedom, I don't know what does. It's just a shame that most of this art was blown up.
And who would have guessed that Geo'gia Cracker would be a reference to explosives, not a southern hillbilly? Perhaps there is a double entendre inferred there. And really, who hasn't thought it would be fun to blow up a red neck? It will make sense when you see it.
I'm done. With that my commentary comes to a merciful conclusion. Check out the link and have a happy 4th.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Man's Guide To Fireworks

As a community service, here is the man's guide to fireworks that was just floating out there in cyberspace waiting to be found. Now I feel I should warn you, this guide is pretty simplistic and anyone with any familiarity with the explosive arts may be disappointed by this. But I'm guessing that the author of the guide most likely lives in a city where all the good stuff is illegal. King county has really gone out of it's way to take all the joy out of Independence Day and so I can see where this guy is coming from. And that's why I feel the need to augment it a bit.

Firework myth #1: Sparklers should only be used by kids. The fact is that sparklers are super damn hot and I would guess that a great deal of emergency room trips on the 4th are kids suffering from varying degrees of sparkler burns. Kids really shouldn't be allowed near sparklers until they are old enough to be bored by them. Don't think that this means that sparklers should go extinct, that's not true either. With some sparklers and duct tape, you can still make one hell of a sparkler bomb, although that tutorial I found recommends wrapping the sparklers in aluminum foil and electrical tape. Presumably either will work, however I can only personally vouch for the duct tape method. A quick youtube search resulted in a way too long but still impressive mushroom cloud of fire created by approximately 9000 sparklers as well as this much shorter, yet still impressive version with a mere 240 sparklers.

Firework myth #2: The guide says that you shouldn't use roman candles in firework wars. This is only partially true - roman candles make decent weapons, but for a proper war, saturn missile batteries are a far more effective projectile. Also, I can tell you that a 5 gallon drum packed with as many roman candles you can fit in makes for a fine show. Some dousing with lighter fluid or some other flammable liquid is required in order to get them all to light simultaneously though. Roman candles do play an important role in one of my favorite video clips though. I apologize for my laziness in not finding a version without some stupid commentary.

Fireworks myth #3: According to the guide, fountains are only for kids and girls. I actually like fountains a lot. If you're a full grown man and you can't enjoy flames and sparks shooting into the air, then either you've got yourself a wussy little fountain and need to find a bigger one, or something is wrong with you.

Unfortunately this guide failed to mention one of the best fireworks out there, the mortar. If you like loud explosives that erupt into a bright aerial, then mortars are for you. Also, the only rockets mentioned are bottle rockets. Those are pretty tame and I much prefer their bigger brothers. For some real fun, you've got to get the larger rockets or some missiles. The warhead launcher is an old favorite of mine.

One last story before I call it a night. Years ago, along with at least one cousin, maybe more, a covert operation was planned. Too many old people had gathered on the deck and complained too much about the fireworks going off. This was offensive to us kids since the old people belonged inside if they were going to be whining about the fireworks. And so the total sensory overload was born. Three mammoth smoke grenades were ignited, one on each end of the deck and one in the middle. This ensured that regardless of wind, the deck would be enveloped in smoke. The next step was a few whistling petes - possibly the most annoying firework ever invented (which it turns out can also be turned into a bomb). Finally, a few well placed lightning flashes provided the coup de grace. The deck was cleared of joyless geezers in a matter of seconds.

Have a safe and happy fourth!

The Devil Was Making Them Lose

After cutting the devil from their roster, the hapless Tampa Bay Devil Rays have made the miraculous transition to the unbeatable Tampa Bay Rays this year. Their recent sweep of the hated Red Sox has not only made me very happy, it has given them the best record in baseball.

I have to admit that I didn't expect this dramatic turn of events. I never thought a name change would make any difference. I thought for sure that they would continue to stink this year. That being said, its still early in the season and they could easily fall apart the second half, but I would personally love it if they won the division over both the Yankees and Red Sox. I can only imagine the spending spree that would send those two teams into.

As of now it looks like it's shaping up for a Rays - Cubs world series. And since my finger started throbbing, leading me to stop typing for a few minutes, I have no idea where I was going with this anymore. I can only assume it was somewhere worthwhile. Probably not though.

Fish Story

Now that's one big fish. According to police, this 6 foot long catfish (yes, 6 feet) suffocated while trying to swallow a soccer ball. By far the best line in the article however is this one:

"Whether the fish allowed himself to get caught up in the recent excitement over the Euro 2008 and went for the ball can't be ascertained," Bavarian police said in a statement on Monday.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right

....but three lefts do. Although I guess that should be the other way around since this story claims that UPS saved over 3.3 million gallons of gas in 2007 by only allowing their drivers to turn right. Needless to say, I find this figure to be a little surprising. While I will readily agree that sitting at a stop light idling wastes a lot of gas, I would hardly have guessed it would be so much. But there's more too it than that. Further investigation shows that a lot of that is also planning your route before hand so that you can avoid left turns. Regardless, I am now on a mission to find a UPS truck turning left. Hopefully I will have a camera handy when it happens so that I can have some solid evidence afterward.

Quote of the Day

Day 1 of having my finger back, I'm just starting to get some feeling back in it. Most of the feeling I get back is going to be bad feelings for a while so I'm not too excited about that. I did go to physical therapy this morning and followed doctors orders to, "bend the hell out of it while I can't feel anything." Range of motion is up to 85º today (up from 55 last week) which I think is pretty good considering all the swelling, not to mention the considerable amount of gauze and crap wrapped around it right now. It remains to be seen what the ROM is once the pain sets in though. I have to think that not having pins in it would almost have to increase the mobility though.

Anyway, after the PT I stopped by a sporting goods store that I had no idea was there. I saw they had some Bedard jerseys for $70 and recommended to the guy working there that he cut the price on those before Bedard gets traded. That's where the quote of the day kicked in, "I think we could drop those to $10 and nobody would buy them."