Saturday, May 30, 2009

Beautify Your Hole, Beautify Your Soul

I've been meaning to do my spring cleaning since, well, spring 2008. Since I haven't done a good thorough cleaning, the clutter has piled up and to quote the immortal Spinal Tap, I'm living in a hell hole. To quote the visionary Moe Syzlak if you beautify your hole, you beautify your soul. I need to get rid of the dank. I just can't seem to find the motivation. It's just so much easier to go somewhere else. There is just so much tidying up to do that it seems overwhelming. I think it might be time to start looking into maid service.

So right now I'm trapped in that eternal dilemma. On the one hand I'm anal enough that when I look at my place I'm repelled by the clutter but on the other hand I'm lazy and just don't seem to have the energy to do anything about it. I've been going with the doing a little bit at a time approach but don't seem to be making a dent. I've considered the time honored tradition of suckering friends over under false pretenses to enlist their aid in cleaning and straightening, but frankly I'm a little embarrassed to have people see my place in this condition. At this point I'm beginning to think that I just need a long enough stay at home vacation that I get bored enough to clean it all up. Until then, I guess my mantra will remain, "maybe next weekend...."

Top 10 Workout Songs

Borrowing a page from the Shelvis playbook and his love of top 10 lists, or list lust if you will, I bring you the top songs to get your blood pumping for a good workout. The order is subject to change without notice, but as of today here's how it all shakes out.

10. We'll start with the classic Eye of the Tiger. If it's good enough for Rocky, it's good enough for me. The one down side to this one is that thanks to one anonymous co-worker, it now reminds me of work. When I complained that his standard motivational catch phrase, "leverage for excellence" had grown stale and he needed to come up with something new, he obliged and made the switch to, "Eye of the Tiger." Hopefully this will not ruin the song for me.

9. The Jurassic Park Theme. I absolutely love this song and think that John Williams is hands down the greatest composer of our generation, if not of the century. It also doesn't hurt that conjuring images of running for my life from dinosaurs helps me kick the workout into an extra gear when I'm wearing down. It could be argued that his songs from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or any of dozens of other films are better, but this one to me is particularly beautiful and emotional. The way it starts out slowly and by the end builds into melody is masterfully done. I never get tired of hearing it.

8. A Change of Seasons. I love Dream Theater, they have been my favorite band for years, and A Change of Seasons is one of the most amazing songs I've ever heard. But since it's 23 minutes long I can't find a full length clip of it, so here's Puppies on Acid instead.

7. Ten Thousand Fists is just a good, old fashioned rock song that gets the adrenaline pumping.

6. Tool has a lot of songs that are up tempo and motivating, but in my opinion Jambi is the cream of the crop. It's unbelievably intense and heavy. I have absolutely no idea what it's about and have no interest in reading the interpretations of the crazed Tool fans. I made that mistake when trying to get to the bottom of 46 & 2 and decided to never again step into that trap. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, do yourself a favor and fast forward to the 3:58 mark and listen up through 5:25 or so for a good taste. Actually, you should probably just listen through to the end from there, you won't be able to stop once you start. Shine on benevolent son.

5. I've never been a big fan of Ozzy, but love No More Tears. Zakk Wylde turns in perhaps the greatest guitar solo in history in this song. And I absolutely love how the song slows at about the 3:30 mark to some melodic piano as whale sounds are added, then orchestra, then Ozzy speaking some gibberish building up into the solo.

4. Them Bones. Local boys Alice In Chains philosophical musings on the transience of life is short and sweet from the first note to the last grips you and doesn't let go. "Some say we're born into the grave, I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile of them bones." Kierkegaard couldn't have put it any better himself. Come to think of it, he probably could have.

3. The Korn songs that get me pumped up may change from day to day, but as of this moment I can't get enough of Evolution. I don't necessarily agree with their view on mankind's animalistic nature, but it is still a good song.

2. Panama. Van Halen is arguably the greatest rock band of all time and this is my favorite of their songs.

1. Too Close To Hate. I love Sevendust and this song about negative people trying to bring you down is one of the greatest songs I've ever heard. 'Nuff said.

1. Because I apparently can't count, Queensryche gets to share #1. Jet City Woman is one of my all time favorite songs. I love everything about this song, from the opening base line I'm hooked. The guitars join in and are followed by Geoff Tate's haunting vocals. I think he may have the greatest voice I've ever heard. This is a song I have to listen to whenever I'm away from home for more than a week. I absolutely love the video, with high speed camera views of the Seattle skyline with wispy clouds flying by overhead. It always reminds me of home. And seeing this song played live was an amazing experience. And getting off tangent just a bit, seeing Queensryche and Dream Theater share a stage was absolutely unbelievable.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Awesome vs Awful

I've done some more research on the awesome / awful debate, well, as much research as you really can do in about 5 minutes (the video is just over 4 minutes). But that's all I needed to find a lesson on English word origins from someone who speaks English as a second language. Don't let that dissuade you from believing her though. Just one look at her tells me I would sit riveted to the edge of my seat for hours on end listening to every bit of wisdom she has to impart. See for yourself.

Stuffed Olives

My latest obsession has become stuffed olives. I never liked pimentos, but when garlic stuffed olives began appearing on store shelves I was compelled to try them. Now I am truly hooked. It started with just an olive here and an olive there, but eventually that wasn't enough. I was eating them almost daily. And like any drug, this was just a gateway to harder olives. The next thing I knew I was eating bleu cheese stuffed olives and now feta stuffed olives. I've even considered buying some jalapeno stuffed olives. Where will the madness end? I found this site with seemingly no end of various items stuffed in olives. Some sound good, like almond stuffed or Parmesan Romano stuffed. Some sound terrible like mushroom stuffed or anchovy stuffed. And some are downright confusing, like the kalamata olive stuffed. That's right, an olive stuffed inside another olive for that double olive goodness.

Through all my internet searching, there's one item I am unable to find stuffed inside an olive. The holy grail of stuffed olives if you will. And it's so obvious that it should be on every store shelf in the world. And by every store shelf, I mean not just grocery stores and convenience stores, but at your local auto parts store, tanning salon, Christian book store, and Radio Shack. Anywhere with a shelf really. I can only be speaking, of course, of bacon stuffed olives. My only conclusion is that were such a product to exist, it's inherent deliciousness would threaten every other food product known to mankind. The only thing I have been able to find is a recipe for bacon wrapped olives. I may have to whip up a batch of these soon, but it's just not the same if I have to make them myself and if there are toothpicks involved. They should come premade in a jar for me to easily remove and pop in my mouth.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pork Rub

And now for the low brow portion of today's blog. I saw this product at the store today and couldn't help but chuckle to myself. Yes, for a mere $7, you too can 'rub with love'. Some may do that for free, or may find that vaseline, hand lotion, or some other lubricant may be cheaper, but I can only imagine that the additional cost will make it worthwhile.

I apologize for the crudity and will now return to regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Don't Ask For Much In Life

All I really want is a steady job that keeps the bills paid, a roof over my head, food on the table, and of course a flaming sword with which to smite my enemies. Luckily for me, easy to follow directions can be found right here! Right now the only thing keeping me from running screaming down the street wielding one of these bad boys is the fact that I don't have a sword. As soon as I am able to remedy that problem, watch for me on the local news.
There is but one word to adequately describe this: awesome.
Getting off on a tangent here, why isn't awful better than awesome? Shouldn't being full of awe be better than just having some awe? Seems that way to me at least.

Ow My Toe Says Joh

That's right, Kenji Johjima broke his toe and is back on the DL. At first I thought this could turn out to be good news in that it would force the Mariners to give some playing time to one of their catching prospects, preferably Jeff Clement. But in yet another head scratching personnel move by the team, they instead called up Guillermo Quiroz from AA. Quiroz, at 27, is no longer a prospect, and in 96 career major league games has managed a paltry .187 average. The one wild card I didn't know about was that Clement is suffering from a knee injury which is limiting him to DH, so calling him up wouldn't make much sense, but calling up rising star Adam Moore would. And just so you don't think I'm crazy, the USS Mariner agrees with me for once. But who knows, maybe Quiroz will prove everybody wrong any play great. One can only hope.

The Godfather

Over the weekend I had the honor of becoming the Godfather of my beautiful little niece. Technically it's my cousin's daughter so she's a second cousin once removed or something, but that's too complicated so niece it is. Anyway, like most women, she cried most of the time she was around me, but I've become accustomed to that reaction and continued on undaunted. I put the Godfather trilogy into my Netflix queue to brush up on my responsibilities, but to the best of my recollection I will be putting lots of disembodied horse heads into beds, whacking goombas (I'm not sure if this term is offensive or not, so if it is I'll change it to something else), and making people offers they can't refuse.

The one downside of the whole event was that it involved a trip to Oregon and I'm really not a fan of long distance driving. By the time I hit Olympia I'm ready to call it a day. And while the state patrol was doing an impressive job of creating revenue, they weren't out in enough force to keep every knucklehead in line, but what can I really expect. I must have seen a dozen people pulled over on the way down. The one ray of hope that made the journey tolerable was the discovery of Portland radio station 105.9 which played commercial free 80's rock all weekend long. That and the other station somewhere in the neighborhood of 107 that had their own marathon going - cleverly named the Organ Trail. Nothing but organ music for hours on end. I have a new found respect for Oregonians.

Sadly, I didn't make it out to Tillamook to eat cheese. I guess that will have to wait until next time. And hopefully by then my little buddy will no longer weep at the sight of me. And I believe that the only pictures that exist of me holding her this weekend she has tears streaming down her little cheeks.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New And Improved Hubble

If you're a fan of space photos like the Sombrero Galaxy shown here, then you owe it to yourself to check out some of the pictures taken by the newly upgraded Hubble telescope. Some of them are pretty spectacular.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who I'd Like To Meet

In the inaugural edition of who I'd like to meet, my subject is Preston Tucker. Best known for starting his own auto company, the Tucker Corporation and the car that bore his name. Unfortunately only 50 of these innovative cars were ever produced. The Tucker Sedan or Tucker Torpedo as it was also known, featured several innovative design and safety features, some of which were adopted by other auto manufacturers, some that weren't. Before other cars, it had disc brakes, fuel injection, seat belts, and 3 headlights: one in the center that always faced forward, and 2 that would turn with the wheel, allowing the driver to better see around corners. All this and it outperformed other production vehicles. As a matter of fact, when test driving his cars, Tucker was known to outrun and out handle police that were trying to chase him down and ticket him.

The car was not his only achievement. He designed an armored combat vehicle for the military which was ultimately rejected because it was too fast, hitting top speeds of 115 mph. But it wasn't a total loss, the motorized ball turret that he built atop the combat vehicle was licensed by the air force and used in bombers.

In a premise put forward by the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream, he was forced out of business by overly aggressive government investigators in the pockets of the threatened big 3 auto makers. I don't know how much of that is truth and how much is Hollywood, but what is known is that government officials prosecuted him with a religious fervor and though he was eventually acquitted of all fraud charges, he was left bankrupt.

What I find fascinating about Preston Tucker and men like him is his combination of having a vision of something better and a drive and ability to overcome obstacles to realize his dream. I can't even imagine starting with nothing and building your own auto company - it is completely incomprehensible. And having the will power to know what you want and find a way to make it happen is the American dream. This country is all about people making something out of nothing, and Preston Tucker very nearly succeeded at building something tremendous from the ground up. He was an amazing man and someone I would have loved to meet. As soon as I get my hands on a time machine, I'm heading back to 1948 Detroit.


Anyone who knows me can attest that I'm not one to hold an irrational grudge or to hate someone without good reason. That's why it should tell you something when I say I hate Chone Figgins. What bothers me so much about him? Well, the fact that he has the nerve to pronounce his first name "Shawn". It has been suggested that "choad" is a more appropriate pronunciation and I think there may be something to that.

Regardless, this brazen assault on the English language is offensive. How dare he, or more likely his parents, cobble together a random assortment of letters and pretend it's pronounced in a way that no literate human being would pronounce it? It is no less than giving the finger to everyone with the ability to read. And so it is your duty to relentlessly heckle him at every available opportunity. That is letting him off easy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Today's Random Thought

I think I'm too lazy to have an OCD. I have thoughts and concerns that bother me and could well develop into an OCD if not for the fact that I think about how much effort would be involved. Let me give you an example: I'm concerned about germs. I can't stand to have my hands dirty. The primary reason I don't like to work on my own car is that the thought of getting grease or oil on my hands makes me cringe. And the last time I did any work on my car I went through about 6 pair of latex gloves and still ended up having to spend a solid 5 minutes scrubbing afterward. When I'm in public, I make an effort to touch as few things as possible - railings, door knobs, etc - particularly when I'm going out to eat. I would dearly love to have my carpets spot free, not a speck of dust on my counters, the floors, toilet, sinks, and tub sparkling. But then I think about the effort involved in keeping them that way and decide I can live with a certain amount of filth. I don't have the energy to constantly be scrubbing, mopping, and vacuuming. Just the thought makes me want to take a nap.

I can't help thinking that were I a wealthier man, I could afford to hire a maid to be OCD for me. If I could just win the lottery, I would have the means to hire as large a staff as necessary to sterilize my home, and to go to the store for me to do the necessary shopping. The outside world will always be filthy, but my staff would eliminate the need to have to venture out.

I will say that today I did have the time and energy to sweep my deck. The entire thing was coated with a layer of pollen, leaving an insidious yellow hue on everything. I was alarmed by the dust clouds the formed with each stroke of the broom. But after a thorough sweeping, followed by spraying clorox on the railing, I couldn't help thinking that the screen door and sliding glass door were still filthy. Alas, those will have to wait for another day. Or my maid.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yeah, We're Runnin' A Little Bit Hot Tonight.....

This week seemed like it would never end. Constantly struggling with heavy traffic, courtesy of I-90 construction, and bad weather, not to mention being short staffed thanks to people out sick and on vacation, it has been difficult to find the motivation to make it to work every day. But that all melted away when after an interminably long bus ride, I disembarked at the park & ride, hopped in my car, rolled down the windows, opened the sun roof and Panama came on the radio. Nothing could have been more cathartic than having the warm sun in my face, the wind in my hair, and the Van Halen cranked loud enough for everybody within a 2 mile radius to enjoy.

What a perfect way to end the week. I did what any reasonable person would do in this situation. I reached down between my legs and eased the seat back......

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Movie

Apparently the new Star Trek movie hasn't gone over well with some die hard fans. See the below report for their surprising reaction.

In Search Of .....

No, this has nothing to do with Leonard Nimoy or the fantastic show by the same name that he narrated years ago. In fact, what I am in search of is a good charity. I have 2 old pcs that at this point in their lives do little more than take up valuable space in my apartment. For many months I've been meaning to wipe the hard drives and take them to a pc recycle place, but a week or so ago I thought that perhaps there was a charity that could make use of them. The problem for me is that I don't know how to find such a charity. Does anybody know of a charity that would want old computers? I assume that if there are charities that will take old cars that may or may not run anymore and make use of them, that the same may exist for old computers. If so, I would appreciate somebody letting me know.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


What has me most outraged today is companies who put advertisements on DVDs. Nothing irritates me more than spending good money on a DVD and then being forced to put up with previews or that irritating anti-piracy commercial. As though you were planning on pirating a movie but the poorly produced commercial dissuaded you. I'm getting angrier just thinking about it. As for the movie previews, it's one thing to put them on the disc so that you can watch them if you want, but forcing you to watch them pisses me off. I popped in my Chronicles of Narnia DVD the other day and swear there were 8-10 previews for crappy films that I had to skip over. Disney and Fox seem to be the worst offenders, so I refuse to buy any more of their DVDs until they change their evil ways. Screw them.

Weekend Movie Roundup

Over the weekend I watched two movies, so today movie reviews are on special, buy one, get one free. I'll start with:

The Wrestler
Mickey Rourke does a very convincing job of playing over the hill professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson. Physically broken down and barely making rent at his trailer park, he now wrestles at small local events, trying in vain to relive his former glory. After a heart attack forces him into retirement, he struggles to adjust to a "normal" life, working in a grocery store deli, trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter, and trying to build a relationship with an aging yet still smoking hot stripper (Marisa Tomei).

This is a very character driven drama, which normally appeals to me, however for me the subject matter was not all that interesting. I'm not a fan of wrestling, and I found the miserable, beaten down by life Ram to make for a pretty depressing story. It had some interesting moments, of note the relationship with Cassidy (Tomei) and the parallels drawn between the two careers, both using their bodies to perform for an audience and struggling with aging. All in all it just didn't captivate me, although I can see the appeal to others. Ultimately I found it to be a depressing, mediocre story.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This concept seemed pretty interesting in theory, however since the director turned an 11 page short story, which you can read in it's entirety here, into a 2:45 minute film, it goes without saying that it was plodding. It also turns out that living life in reverse is not all that interesting. The only additional challenge being the isolation of being unique, and inherently alone for most of your life. Other than that, life is still life and you still face the same struggles being born old and aging in reverse that everyone faces, you simply face them at a different part of your life.

A substantial portion of the movie consisted of a woman reading Benjamin Button's diary to her elderly mother as she wheezed nearly inaudibly while laying in her death bed. I personally feel that all of those scenes could have been cut and it would have resulted in a better film. They didn't add anything to the story and as a matter of fact I felt they detracted.

All of this considered, however, the film was not without it's charm. Brad Pitt turned in a solid performance and there were moments of interest. Ultimately it just felt insubstantial and slow moving. Not all bad if you've got plenty of time to kill, but there are better options out there.

I Don't Know Why I Find This So Funny

....but I do. That's some nice police work there Lou. Now I'm kind of hungry and want a snack.

fail owned pwned pictures

Friday, May 08, 2009

Star Trek Trivia

I have yet to see the new Star Trek movie and may even wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it on Blu-Ray in the comfort of my own home. That being said, I did find this enjoyable Star Trek quiz - Star Trek character, NPR personality, or food additive? This was more difficult than you might think, particularly since I didn't watch many of the Star Trek series after Next Generation, I only listen to NPR when I'm trapped in somebody's car that is listening to it, and my knowledge of food additives isn't encyclopedic. Still, I'm proud to say that with some educated guessing I was able to score a respectable 86% (13 out of 15). Top that sci-fi, left wing, or nutrition geeks.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Tales of Stupidity

Sit back and enjoy as I regale you with a tale rife with foolhardiness, if that indeed is a word. It passes the spell check test so it must be. Imagine, if you will, that I am on my way home after yet another long day at the office. I arrived in the bus tunnel a few minutes ahead of when the bus was scheduled to arrive, and decided that a good use of my time would be to compose an email on my fancy, brand spanking new Samsung Omnia phone. As luck would have it, I was so enthralled by my shiny new toy that apparently my bus had passed me by.

I had been looking up when buses pulled up to the stop and noted that they were not the one I was waiting for and went back to my phone. It would seem that I failed to do this on the most important bus of the day, for at some point I looked at the clock and noticed that the bus should have been by 6 or 7 minutes earlier and that there were far less people waiting than there normally would be. And since I was standing right by the curb, this meant that the bus had stopped, let people off, boarded several new passengers, and driven off a mere feet from me and yet I had not seen it.

This shouldn't be a big problem though, since this route runs every 10 or 15 minutes during peak hours, right? Well, normally that might be the case, but fate had a different plan for me. You see, another bus broke down, or had mechanical troubles or something. The point is that it sat there unmoving for a good 15-20 minutes. And the tunnel's nature, being what it is, meant that any trailing buses were unable to pass, leading to a parade of buses as far as the eye could see. This included the bus which would take me home, about 5th in line. I could see it, but since it was down the tunnel and away from the station was unable to board it, and even if I could wouldn't be making any progress.

The offending bus was finally able to move, and as the log jam broke I was able to continue on my long journey home, but not before one final joy. On the above mezzanine, looking over the tunnel, an agitated man was leaning over the railing shouting profanities and yelling threats at someone who I couldn't identify, and this being downtown possibly nobody. As security was dispatched to discuss his behavior with him, my curious nature told me I should wait around for a resolution to this conflict. However the logical part of my brain kicked in and told me to get on the bus and go home before it got any later. All in all, it turns out that 2 minutes of not paying attention cost me about a half hour of commute time. Hopefully this bit of stupidity will not be repeated.

Quote of the Day

"If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain."

Winston Churchill

Saturday, May 02, 2009


All through April I have seen an abnormally high number of drivers pulled over during the evening commute hours. Granted this is a small sample size, limited to generally the hours of 5:30 - 6:30 and to primarily 520 and 405, but almost every day I've seen at least one person pulled over. Several times I've seen 3 or 4 people pulled over on 520 for driving in the HOV lane. That seems to be their preferred spot to stake out. I can only assume that this is because the state patrol is low on funds and it writing tickets left and right to increase their budget. The recession must really be hitting law enforcement.

This is also doing an unintended service to prop up the insurance industry. You get enough tickets, your rates go up. So if you're driving on the east side, make sure you're following the rules of the road or at the very least, make sure you've got a lead blocker out in front of you drawing the attention of the cops before you get there.

First Game Of The Season

Friday I went to my first ballgame of the season and the weather was perfect for it. Sunny and warm. There's no better place to be on a day like that. Unfortunately Carlos Silva, who for some reason is always referred to as the "new slimmer Silva" despite the fact that he looks exactly the same as last year, was on the mound. Well, he pitched just like the old Silva and after getting pulled before the end of the 4th after giving up 6 runs, I was ready to leave early. As luck would have it, it's a good thing I didn't. The Mariners rallied, closing the gap on a bomb by Russell Branyon and taking a 1 run lead on a 2 run shot off the foul pole by Franklin Gutierrez, a man whose name can't be spelled by the average fan according to a between innings video. Oakland tied up the game, but with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 9th, Jose Lopez looked at or swung at 13 pitches before finally singling in the winning run. It was a great game and I'm now 1-0 on the season. The other good news is that I took this opportunity to snap a couple photos with my new Samsung Omnia phone. These are some damn good pictures for a phone. All you iphone owners can suck one.

**Update** The next big event I'm looking forward to is surgical mask night. Everyone brave enough to go to a public event will receive a surgical mask with the Mariner logo on it. Sponsored by Harborview.