Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sucker Punched

Is it wrong that I'm pleased to hear the news that Notre Dame quarterback, and queen of the douchebags, Jimmy Clausen was sucker punched outside a bar late Saturday night/early Sunday morning? Just take one look at this guy and tell me he didn't deserve it. This is him displaying his arrogance by calling a news conference to declare his commitment to Notre Dame at the College Football Hall of Fame. Now I know it's not right to revel in the misfortune of others, but I think an exception has to be made in his case. The thought of him hiding his black eye behind sunglasses and a darkened visor on his football helmet just makes me smile. I hope this turns into a tradition - him getting punched following every game. Kudos to you anonymous assailant.


Last Thursday I went out to play some volleyball, and at home later that night I discovered that my wallet was missing. So I thought back and tried to think about where it might have been lost. My first thought was that I must have set it down somewhere out of the ordinary when I got home. I searched high and low, even going so far to look in drawers I haven't opened in months and looking in the refrigerator to see if I had grabbed a drink and inadvertently set it down there. This did not provide any results. From there I thought it must have fallen out in my car. A thorough search ensued and again left me empty handed.

I had the wallet in the pocket of my sweat pants, which I had on over my shorts. I took those off and put them in my gym back while I played, and was fairly certain that I checked the pocket when I put them back on after the game to make sure it was still there. If it had not fallen out there, the only other possible losing place I could conceive of was in my friend's car who I had carpooled with, or in the parking lot at the park & ride where we met up. A text message to my friend turned up nothing, and a Friday morning call to the gym was also a dead end. So Friday I went back to the park & ride and took a look around and again, nothing.

And so I took the day off work Friday and got to spend the time instead doing wonderful things like waiting at the DMV for a couple hours, and calling banks and pushing buttons to get through the phone tree, only to be disconnected when it told me I was going to talk to a real person. After going through that a couple times, I finally got to have a few lovely conversations with gentlemen with thick Indian accents. Good times.

And so, Monday morning rolled around, and armed with nothing but a temporary id and a few bus fare tickets which I was lucky enough to have laying around, I headed off to work. Once there, I received another nice surprise - a replacement bus pass would set me back $50. That hit me like a kick in the crotch, but what choice did I have? At least that allowed me to get back and forth to work.

A brief ray of light shined on me Tuesday night when I got home from work to find a post card from Metro telling me that my wallet had been found at the park & ride and turned in to a bus driver, and that I could retrieve it from the lost & found downtown. I breathed a big sigh of relief and went down to the Metro office today (Wednesday) hoping to put an end to this ordeal. That's when I discovered that Metro is closed today. Why they are closed the day before Thanksgiving, I'll never know, but several curse words later I resigned myself to the fact that I'll now have to wait until Monday to be whole again. But at least I'm relieved that it's not still floating around God knows where and that, presumably, I don't have to worry about identity theft any longer. I assume someone honest enough to turn it in is honest enough to not steal my identity.

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of this ordeal is that a few months ago I'd read an article stating that scientists in Edinburgh recently did a study and found that people are significantly more likely to return a wallet if it contained a baby picture. Specifically, their research found that 88% of wallets with a baby picture were returned, compared to 53% for a picture of a puppy, 48% for a picture of a family, 28% for a picture of an elderly couple, 20% for no pictures but a charity card, and worst of all, 15% for none of the above. After reading this, I immediately contacted my cousin to get a picture of my adorable little niece to put in my wallet. And so I credit little Lillie for the imminent return of my lost wallet. I now owe her something, perhaps a tiny little Seahawks jersey.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rude Awakening

I guess it technically wasn't an awakening since I was already awake, but I was still in bed at 9:30 this dreary Sunday morning when the fire alarm went off in my building. I stuck my head out in the hall and didn't see any smoke and considered just waiting it out inside, however it was so loud I just couldn't tolerate it. So, without planning ahead enough to grab a coat, I went outside into the cold, drizzly parking lot to wait it out. I was surprised by how many people there are in my building that I don't recognize. I ended up shivering for about 15 minutes before the fire department gave the all clear to go back into the building, and it turns out that some ass hole pulled the fire alarm on the 3rd floor. I don't know who is responsible, but someone deserves a beating for ruining my morning.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alcohol May Have Been A Factor

I'm not quite sure what it is about a drunk 'ninja' impaling himself on a fence that he is attempting to vault that I find so amusing, never the less, I am amused. As an added bonus, it garnered national attention for my beloved Seattle.

Details are not clear on who he was sent to assassinate, but my guess is Greg Knapp -the Seahawks defensive coordinator - after the abysmal effort shown by the defensive unit on Sunday. Regardless, staying true to his ninja creed, he is not divulging any information despite what I assume is intense police interrogation. Typically, a ninja would swallow some cyanide if caught and take his secrets to the grave. One can only assume that this particular fellow dropped his cyanide tablet during his attempt to scale the fence, leaving him unable to do the honorable thing. More details will follow as they become available. Until then, be wary of ninja attack. Since it's unclear who the target was, it may have been you, and the ninja master is sure to send out another assassin to finish the job.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Progressive Work Week

For quite some time I've realized that the closer it gets to the end of the week, the less concentration I have. By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, I forget what my job is and think it's surfing the internet. It wasn't until recently that I devised a possible solution for this problem. I call it the progressive work week, and it works like this:
Monday - work 9 hours
Tuesday - 8.5
Wednesday - 8
Thursday - 7.5
Friday - 7

By front loading my schedule, I will work more productive hours during the week. Other alternative work schedules work for some people - Four 10's or a 9/80 - but I'm not sure either would work as well for me. I fully expect this new plan to revolutionize the corporate world and bring about a new golden age.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanks For The Memories

Thanks go out to my brother for bringing back this wonderful memory. What you see here is the result of a motorcyclist riding at an estimated 85 mph when a VW driver talking on a cell phone pulled out in front of him. The rider of the motorcycle, driver of the car, and passenger in the car were all killed on impact. The force of the impact was great enough that the car rolled over and was found 20 feet from the point of impact.

Now I was not involved in any way in this accident but did have a similar yet less dramatic incident of my own. It was probably close to 15 years ago that I was riding my motorcycle at the time - a much slower Honda CM400T. And I was not sailing along at 85 mph, I was cruising down a residential street at 25. And the driver of the car was not in a VW, rather a Geo Metro. Cell phones were not prevalent at that time, but the driver claimed the sun's glare on his windows prevented him from seeing me. I suspect alcohol may have been involved, but only one guy knows for sure. Anyway, he backed out of his driveway right in front of me and I swerved, but not enough, and ended up hitting the back of his car. As luck would have it, I was not killed so I am now able to relay the story first hand.

The bike knocked off the rear bumper and I ended up shattering the rear window with my right forearm while the remainder of my body put a sizeable dent in the hatch back. I caused enough damage that I nearly totaled the car, which I'm rather proud of. Anyway, I bounced off and slid off to the side of the road and skidded to a stop face down. I took a deep breath and exhaled and got up. A woman came running out of her house across the street and asked if I was hurt and I said I didn't think so, but did a quick pat down just to make sure. That's when I saw some blood dripping off of my fingertips. I didn't feel any pain but pushed up my sleeve and saw a gash down to the bone. A wave of queasiness washed over me and I immediately looked away but still felt no pain.

Fortunately for everyone reading this, this is also the story of my first (and hopefully last) ambulance ride! That's right, it's buy one get one free story day! So it wasn't long before some paramedics showed up. They asked me what hurt and poked me in a variety of places. I told them that the only problems were the gash on the arm and a cut on my toe where something had sliced through my shoe. So they handed me a neck brace and instructed me to put it on and hop up on the gurney. They proceeded to strap me down completely and tape my head to the gurney so that I was completely incapacitated. They loaded me up in the ambulance where I had a lovely view of the roof and nothing else since I couldn't move at all. They decided to stop off somewhere on the way to the hospital, but I'm not sure where since, again, I couldn't see anything but the roof. Legend has it though that they stopped at 7-11 to pick up a few slim jims and a 6 pack for later.

This stop meant that by the time we got to the hospital, my brother was already there waiting for me. This also meant that he got to see them almost drop me while unloading me from the ambulance since there was a problem with the wheels dropping. They wheeled me into a nice quiet room where I waited about an hour before a doctor showed up. That's when I got to have one of the most memorable yet unpleasant experiences in my life. It turns out my arm was broken, but that wasn't the best part ... I had bits of glass, paint chips, dirt, and God knows what else in the wound. Enough paint chips that the doctor said, "that was a green car you hit, right?"

This was when the pain started. If you have never had debris removed from an open wound, don't. I had to lay face down so that the doctor could get a good angle to work with and again was unable to see anything that was going on. And in retrospect, I probably didn't want to see anything. I don't know exactly what he was doing, but he wasn't gentle. He was poking around in there vigorously enough to shake my entire body. Plus he would periodically whip out his scalpel and cut off various bits of skin and other soft tissue, and use a variety of tools to extract all of the extra bits that were in there. I don't remember exactly how long this lasted, maybe my brother does, but it was at least an hour, and seemed a lot longer than that. They kept injecting me with more novocaine, but I couldn't tell that it made any difference. I spent most of the time gritting my teeth while sweat literally dripped off of me. I don't have the words to describe how unpleasant it was.

By the time they finally stitched me up, I was feeling ok though. They couldn't put a cast on me until the laceration healed up, so they made this weird plaster splint and wrapped an ace bandage around it to keep it on. Less than a week later I played a softball game where I'm proud to say that I had 2 hits pretty much swinging one handed. I couldn't really hold the bat with the splint on. It's all back to normal now except for a scar which even that is barely visible anymore. And I didn't experience that degree of pain again until a year and a half ago when I began rehab on my broken finger. Hopefully I'll never have to experience anything like that again.

This story doesn't really have a moral, but in order to wrap it up nicely, I guess I have to come up with something. So, if you're riding a motorcycle, try not to get hit by a car (or hit one). Oh, and wear better protective gear than I had.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Thank you to all of veterans as well as those currently serving in the armed forces for risking your lives to ensure the freedom the rest of us take for granted. As I sit here at work, I can't help thinking it's a shame that corporate America doesn't do more to recognize our veterans. If you know any veterans or soldiers, buy them lunch or do something kind for them today. Many veterans, even decades later, still have trouble talking about their experiences in combat, and deserve a great deal of respect and recognition for subjecting themselves to emotional trauma, not just physical trauma.

And I would like to take this opportunity to recognize one particular veteran - Gene Morgan. Gene was a good friend of my grandfather and was a very nice man. I still have fond memories of being in high school and college and going to UW football games with my grandfather, Gene, and another friend of theirs named Irv. Anyway, Gene was on the USS Indianapolis in WWII and was asleep at the time the ship was torpedoed and sunk. For those unfamiliar with the story of the Indianapolis, there were 1,196 men on board when it was sunk, approximately 300 went down with the ship, and the remaining 900 floated in shark infested waters with no food or water for 4 days, and by the time they were rescued, only 316 were still alive. I've never personally heard Gene talk about his experience, but you can listen to an interview he gave to the Discovery Channel a few years ago for a special they were doing about the Indianapolis. So thank you Gene for enduring this horror for my sake, and thank you to all of the other men in uniform as well.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Delicious Art

Throughout history, artists have experimented with many different mediums: oil on canvas, chalk on sidewalks, Elvis on velvet. It wasn't until today that I discovered a new and deeper appreciation of art. What makes these particular paintings unique is that former barista Karen Eland, in what can only be described as a stroke of genius, decided to recreate masterpieces by using coffee instead of paint. Not only am I drawn in by my love of the world's most delicious brewed refreshment, but the paintings themselves turned out surprisingly well. I don't know what these sell for, but I would be proud to have one hanging on the wall of my humble abode.

And if you prefer photos to paintings, I also found this breath taking image today. I don't know where this was taken, but I want to live there.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Careers I Didn't Know About

My guidance counselors all through school really let me down. They told me about a lot of jobs I could get with the right education, how I would have to work hard to get a good job, but they informed me about opportunities like making $90k a year wearing t- shirts. There are a lot of things I'm not qualified for: doctor, lawyer, airline pilot, or even president, but I am certainly capable of wearing a shirt in public. I do that every day for free. If someone is going to pay me, I'd be willing to wear a shirt of their choice to a particular place. If you want people in the Pike Place Market to see how good your shirt looks on strapping, ruggedly handsome man, I'm the guy for the job. Hell, even if you want someone to wear a shirt that says, "I'm a wiener" to a Seahawks game, for the right price (including tickets), there is nobody more qualified than yours truly. If you want to advertise to aliens, for $90k a year I will go make some crop circles in a corn field and do my damnedest to get abducted. In conclusion, if you have extra shirts and cash on hand, gimme.

Blind Optimism

After reading an article about the beleagured Seahawks yesterday in the Seattle Times titled It could be worse, Seahawks fans: you could be in Detroit, I felt it was time for some blind optimism. Consider this: 4 of the remaining 9 games on the Seahawks schedule are against teams with 1 or 0 wins. The Seahawks can and should win all of those games. If the team can also get it's act together enough to beat the 49ers (3-4) and Cardinals (4-3), two division rivals who are also very beatable, they will finish the season with an 8-8 record and if they catch a few breaks could conceivably win the division with that record.

Now also consider this: Matt Hasselbeck is slowly returning to health and if he can keep from reinjuring himself will provide more offensive firepower than we have seen thus far this season. Also, the same 5 offensive linemen are starting for an unprecedented second consecutive week, theoretically providing more effective blocking and therefore an improved offense. I know that it's not a lot of hope to cling to, but if you close your eyes and wish hard enough, and avoid pondering reality, this season is still alive.

Of course if all this does happen, that would mean that the Seahawks would then screw up their draft picks and possibly miss out on the Jake Locker sweepstakes. NFL Draft Countdown already has a mock draft up with the Seahawks taking Locker in the first round.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

How Do You Clean A Keyboard?

Every few months I concern myself with how filthy and disgusting my keyboard here at work is. Now before you get to thinking that it's because I'm a slob, let me assure you that in fact I received a used keyboard and it was filthy when I got it. I have done my best to clean is, using disinfectant wipes, spray cleaners, and compressed air but so far all of the results have been unsatisfactory. I can only clean off the tops of the keys and try as I might, I just can't seem to get the gunk off the sides. I really want to throw this thing in the dishwasher, but that will almost certainly destroy it. Are there any secret keyboard cleaning techniques out there that I should be made aware of? I am counting on someone to save me from becoming a full blown germophobe.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Election Day

I officially did my civic duty and completed my ballot today. I have to say though that this is the kind of election that kills voter turn out. Most of the candidates are people I've never heard of running for positions that I don't really know what they do. How am I supposed to pick between port commissioners based on a third of a page written about themselves and a picture, particularly when I don't know what the duties of the port commissioner are? And I hate to admit it, but I voted for Sally Chen for the City of Redmond council position #4 for no reason other than she's cuter than the other woman I don't know anything about.

But the people are a piece of cake compared with some of the King County charter amendments. Even after reading them multiple times, I still don't really know what they are about. Even if I had a copy of the charter to read and know exactly which parts they were talking about amending, I'm sure I still wouldn't have a clue. I was torn between voting for them because they are unanimously supported by the council members and there was no dissenting opinion, or voting against them because they failed to do an adequate job of telling me what I was voting for or against. Voting shouldn't have to be this much work.

In all, the one big regret I have about this particular election is that, since I don't live in Bothell, I don't have the opportunity to vote for Patrick Ewing. Even with name recognition, however, he is fighting an uphill battle against a more attractive opponent. Perhaps in the next election I'll get to vote for Charles Barkley.

Useless Trivia

When it comes to human hands, which fingernail generally grows fastest?