Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I'm no hero, I just like to hit people in the head."  -  Nelson Muntz

God bless you Nelson Muntz. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Once In A Blue Moon

That once is coming on New Years Eve.  Thursday December 31st will be the second full moon of the month, officially making it a blue moon.  Blue moons occur once every 2.7 years, the next one not scheduled until August 31st 2012.  By that time the world will have ended according to the ancient Maya, so this is your last chance to see one.  Hopefully it will be clear enough. 

Since the moon obviously doesn't actually turn blue, I scoured the internet in search of the etymology of the term, but like my search for the origins of the term "egg nog" this also proved futile.  The best I could come up with was Wikipedia which has a myriad of explanations, each less interesting than the last.  I really didn't make it through many before giving up out of boredom so I won't subject you to any of my findings.

What I did find interesting is that certain atmospheric conditions do occasionally cause the moon to appear blue.  When smoke and dust particles approximately one micrometer in diameter are in the air, the longer wavelenghts of light are scattered, allowing only the blue spectrum through.  As a matter of fact, after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, the lingering volcanic ash caused the moon to appear blue all around the globe for approximately 2 years.  Hopefully at some point in my lifetime the human race will get together and pollute enough for me to see the moon appearing blue.  All these green bastards hate the color blue and are conspiring to prevent humanity from having it's blue moon.

Finally, all this talk has managed to get the song of the same name stuck in my head and all I can think now is:  bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba dang da dang dang da ding da dong ding.....

They just don't write songs like that anymore.


I took this picture of the sunrise this morning, playing around with the sunrise/sunset feature on my camera phone.  The colors didn't turn out as vibrant as I had hoped, but all and all it isn't too bad.  I just wish I could have taken it from somewhere with something in the foreground other than a freeway and street lights.

Today's Points Of Interest

According to this article, the median income in the US is currently just $32,879, which seems shockingly low to me.  And the official poverty threshold for a single person is $11,201.  I can't help thinking that the cost of living must be extremely lower in other parts of the country, because there's no way you could live on that little in Washington state.  And though I make more than half of my countrymen (which surprises the hell out of me), I couldn't even dream about owning a home around here.  Even if I were in the top 25%, making $66,532, I'm not sure I could afford a home without moving a long way from the city into a rural area, and even then the cost of commuting would be prohibitive, or I would have to find another job in the rural area which wouldn't pay as much.  I just don't see how these numbers are possible. 

The other interesting bit of news I found is this article.  The theme is that in order to bridge budget gaps, the Golden Gate Bridge is planning on offering "behind the scenes" tours of the bridge.  I'm not sure how much appeal that really has, none to me, but the writer of the article went one step further and asked what would people pay for.  Go to Estee Lauder and create your own perfume?  Pay Burlington Northern to let you conduct a train for a day?  Pay Caterpillar to get to operate one of their giant pieces of construction equipment?  The last one isn't bad, but what I really want is to find a demolition company that will let me push the plunger and blow up a building.  Blowing up any building would be fun, but more specifically, I would love to blow up Fenway Park.  When the Red Sox decide it's time to build a new stadium, instead of burdening the taxpayers of Boston with the bill, they should hold a lottery to blow up Fenway.  Within minutes of tickets going on sale, they would make more than the cost of a new stadium from Yankee fans alone.  I think this will become the new financial model for all new stadium construction.

Other things I think people would pay for include: 

Riding shotgun in a NASCAR race.  I would personally rather ride in a Formula 1 car, but there is a distinct lack of available space for a passenger.  I'm not a NASCAR fan, but as far as I know they, along with some of the IMSA vehicles, are the only ones that could accomodate a passenger and I could tolerate hicks for the chance to fly down the front straight at 200+ mph.

Firing people on behalf of Donald Trump.

Riding in a tank, or any large military vehicle for that matter.  Particularly if you can go out on a range and fire the cannon. 

Ringing the opening bell at the stock exchange.  Were I allowed to do this, I'm sure it would coincide with the next great crash.

That's all I've got for now.

Monday, December 28, 2009

No Respite For The Weary

The big hole in the road project continues unabated.  After suffering through all last week, the incessant jack hammering persists.  Apparently the city has not yet struck oil, found the buried pirate booty, unearthed the mortal remains of Jimmy Hoffa, or completed whatever it is they are doing.  I have no idea what they are tearing up the street for, but what I do know is that it's very noisy and there appears to be no end in sight. 

The sign on the adjacent bus stop states that the stop will be closed until February!  Hear me now and believe me later, if I have to put up with 2 more months of daily jackhammering, I will eventually go postal.  I always knew or at least suspected that my life would end amid a hail of gunfire on a national news broadcast, and I think this might be what pushes me over the edge.  I don't yet know whether I will end up chasing a construction worker with a jackhammer that I've liberated from his evil clutches or if I'll go with the ever popular high powered rifle in a clock tower route.  I'm leaning toward the latter - call me a romantic, but I'm a sucker for the classics.

I suppose sooner or later I should find out exactly what the project is, and there's probably an easy to find web link somewhere, but I currently believe it's just a government program to provide work for road crews and traffic cops.  The legislature (does the city have a legislature or just a city counsil?) got together with the mob run road crews and told them to go dig some holes and then fill them in.  I checked the WA DOT web site and found nothing and then found the Seattle DOT web site and all I can think is that it might be part of the repaving project, although I don't know why they would rip up the middle lane in order to repave it.  Don't they just add some new pavement on top of the existing, or would that screw up the curb height?  Whatever is going on, I need my peace & quiet.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Career For James Bond

I put on a new t-shirt today and found the attached sticker.  It seems that since the end of the cold war, the spy business isn't what it used to be and James Bond has had to find other work to make ends meet.  But for me that meant that I spent the day feeling suaver than ever.  So much so, in fact, that I couldn't even be deterred by made up words like suaver.  I had expected to make out with a couple hot women from an Eastern bloc country on my lunch break, but no such luck.  That must be happening later in the day.  If not, then I will have to employ my license to kill.  I'm thinking about using the watch with the high powered laser in it when it arrives.  Good times.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas

Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like putting a display up on your front lawn of a double barrell shotgun toting Jesus gunning down Santa Claus and running down Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with his pick up truck.  I don't know what spirits the creator of this display was full of, but I don't think it was the Christmas spirit. 

I'll spare you the obvious statements about misguided religiosity and commercialism, although I don't recall anywhere in the bible that described Jesus as homicidal.  No, what irritates me most about this is the opponents who are using the tried and true, "won't someone think of the children" argument.  I'm growing quite tired of people using children as scapegoats for their own personal issues.  If you don't like something, own up to it, don't use this bogus argument.  If anything it's an opportunity to talk to your children about things. 

But anyway, if you don't receive any presents this year, now you know why.  If I had kids, that's the angle I'd push - sorry kids, no presents this year. 

One last thing - if you're assuming that this is from hick town in the deep south somewhere, guess again.  This story comes to you from sunny Central California.  Good times. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

San Francisco

Blues Brothers

I guess it’s about time for me to stop being lazy and post some of the photos from my trip to San Francisco.  The fun started shortly after I disembarked from the plane.  I couldn’t get a very good picture while maintaining any sort of discretion, but believe I saw the Blues Brothers, or at least their Mexican counterparts, at the airport.  The gentleman closest in the picture had the complete look – black suit, white shirt, skinny black tie, Raybans, and fedora.  I couldn’t understand them since they were speaking Spanish, but I believe they were on a mission from God to get the band back together.

Sharks Game

Later that evening I attended a San Jose Sharks game – my first NHL game.  There were 3 fights within the first 5 minutes – apparently the Sharks and Calgary Flames don’t like each other.  In the end, the Sharks lost 2-1.

Winchester 1

In previous trips to the bay area, I had never visited the Winchester House of Mystery.  For those unfamiliar with the story, widow Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester Rifle fortune, believed that she was haunted by the ghosts of all of the people killed by the rifles over the years.  In order to confuse the ghosts, she had to continually build more and more onto the house – building stairways to nowhere, windows and closets with nothing but walls behind them, and second story doors that open to a 10 foot drop.  But despite all of this building, she never installed heating and it was pretty cold throughout the tour. 

Winchester panorama

Here’s a nice panorama.

Winchester 2

And here is the famous door to nowhere.


We made a trip down to Golden Gate Park where I visited the resident buffalo.  The appeared to be bored. 

Squat & Gobble

In the trendy marina district, I was fascinated by the Squat & Gobble restaurant.  Looking at the menu and peering in the windows failed to reveal any insight into the name.  Chairs were plentiful inside – no need for squatting.  The menu contained a variety of items, not simply turkey.  Perhaps I will never know what this is all about.  But since it is human nature to fear what we do not understand, I will admit to being a little scared of this place. 


One of the main attractions I wanted to see while there was the King Tut Exhibit. It was at the de Young Museum, and while interesting, was a little disappointing since approximately 75% of the items in the exhibit didn't belong to Tutankhamun. Some of the artifacts belonged to his father, King Akhenaten, some to Queen Tiye, some to King Thutmosis (the IV I believe), some to Yuya and Tjuya (I'm not even sure who they were).  Also, most of the more spectacular items like the golden burial mask no longer go on tour.  I guess I will have to take a trip to Egypt to see the good stuff. 


Nice Bench 2 Photos were not allowed inside the museum, so all of the museum photos I have are of non-Egyptian things. Things like the second nice bench. 

Nice Bench

Sure enough, right nearby was the first nice bench.  Sadly, the naughty bench could not be located. 


Had I been able to find the naughty bench, I have no doubt that it would have been near the Mezo-American sculpture of dogs mating.  This beauty was dug up near Mexico City, and though I thoroughly searched the gift shop for a replica to give as a Christmas present, I sadly left empty handed.


This thing I thought was pretty fancy.


After a lot of asking around, I was finally told that the giant thing up on the hill is a TV tower.  I was relieved to have that mystery solved before I left town. 


The museum had a nice tall tower which allowed for a 360° view of the city, and luckily an opportunity to play with the panorama feature in my phone again.




The good times came to an end with this abomination.  This plane pulled into the gate next to mine as I was boarding the plane out of town.  I don’t know if WSU had one of their teams in town to play Cal or Stanford, or if Horizon just makes some of their passengers ride on that.  What I do know is that I was happy to see the UW plane safe at home back at Sea-Tac. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flag Football Players Needed

I'm currently in negotiations to get a co-ed flag football team together. As it stands currently, we have all the girls we need lined up but have yet to round up the necessary dudes. Games will be on Sunday afternoons at scenic Juanita High School starting in mid January. It's a lot of fun, so anyone interested please let me know.

Drink More Coffee

As if you need a reason to drink more coffee, a new study shows that drinking 3 to 4 cups of coffee or tea a day will reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%. Concerned that the additional caffeine in your diet will have negative side effects? Well concern yourself no more, because the study also shows that decaf is more effective. The authors of the study are still not sure what components in coffee and tea are responsible for these health benefits, however until they are isolated and dispensed in some other form, buy some stock in Starbucks or Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and keep sipping that dark, rich, delicious beverage.

I assume that since I have been ahead of the trend once again, my years of coffee drinking have left me practically immune to diabetes. The study does not mention a length of time, but I imagine that the longer, the better. I feel inspired to try to raise the capital to open one of those bikini barista stands, um, for health reasons... I'm still unsure whether I will give myself the title of CEO or coffee pimp.

Friday, December 11, 2009


My gloves have begun to smell bad, so I did what anybody would do - I sprayed them with a generous dose of lysol and hung them up to dry in my bathroom. Now my bathroom smells like lysol and locker room funk. So is there any way to kill a stink other than lysol, or did I not spray them enough?
In unrelated news, I'm glad I wasn't seated next to this guy on my recent flight. According to this site, this is an actual, undoctored photo taken by an unhappy flight attendant. It's hard for me to imagine that this isn't a safety concern since he's blocking the aisle, not to mention that there is no way for the flight attendants to push the cart through. I can't tell if the arm rests fold up, or if he is sitting on it, which would be another safety concern. With the continually expanding waist line in the US, I can't help wondering how long it will be until the FAA or airlines arrive at a solution to this issue. This is growing more commonplace.

In still more unrelated news, my thumb hurts.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


I found this tutorial the other day on making your own biodiesel with common household products. It kind of makes me wish I had a diesel powered car to try it on, but alas I'm going to have to keep searching the internet for a tutorial on how to make my own 87 octane bio-unleaded before I can begin to play mad scientist. I fear someone will have to invent it first, however. And this does remind me of one anonymous relative who I'm told once tried to cook up some home made rocket fuel. And unless I've got the story wrong, it somehow involved mixing it with a shovel over an open flame. Nothing was ever blown up or incinerated, and to my knowledge the FBI doesn't have a file regarding the incident.

Anyway, in 1898, Rudolf Diesel was granted a US patent for his invention of the diesel engine but did you know that his original intention was for his engine to run off vegetable oil? He even marketed his invention to American farmers as a way for them to grow their own fuel.

Also interesting, perhaps even more interesting, is this site where you can read/view a scanned copy of the original handwritten A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Unfortunately his handwriting is so poor and there are so many revisions that it is nearly illegible. So there's no telling what the story was really about. I'm convinced that on page forty three there's something about aliens and all three ghosts playing rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock for control of the earth. If you can't make it out to Manhattan to view the manuscript for yourself, this is the next best thing.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Yesterday I got an email from my bank from the fraud alert department notifying me of a phone number change on my account. The only problem was that I'm not the person named in the account and the account number mentioned is not mine. I immediately suspected it was a phishing scam and looked up the email address for the fraud unit online and forwarded the email along to them. I hovered over all of the links in the email and they appear authentic, and the next step was doing a reverse phone number look up on the toll free number they listed as who to call if this was not an authorized change - the phone number look up returned no results.

I did all of this Monday morning and it is now Tuesday evening and I have still not received a response from the bank. My concern at this point is that the bank accidentally emailed me another customer's account information, and more to the point, that they have possibly emailed my account information to someone else. How long should I wait for a reply before forwarding the email to the Better Business Bureau, closing all my accounts, and moving my money elsewhere? It's hard for me to believe that a bank would make that kind of mistake, but if it's not a phishing scam, then what other explanation is there?

Weird Story of the Day

This one is pretty strange. On Saturday, police in Winona, MN arrested a man inside a Target store who was smashing TVs and cameras with a hammer. Witnesses say that the man was, "walking like Frankenstein" while repeating, "hammer, hammer, hammer" in a monotone voice. As if that weren't enough, while being interviewed in a mental care facility afterward, the Chicago man said he has never heard of Winona, MN and has no idea how he got there.

Luckily this incident resulted in no injuries, so you can feel free to let it tickle your funny bone. I just can't help being reminded of Happy Gilmore repeating, "Volkswagen, Volkswagen" after being hit by a Volkswagen. Hopefully this man will now get the proper care he needs, and hopefully we can keep the more violent mentally ill as far from Seattle as possible. Portland is fine, they can all go there. Or the rest of them I should say.

In unrelated news, I don't know if this is a result of mental illness or just alcohol, but this video of a drunk Russian picking a fight with a tree is pretty amusing. Enjoy.