Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rock Beats Scissors

But comically huge stick beats hammer.  This is unquestionably the most funny robbery I've ever seen.  I can't adequately describe it, just watch and enjoy. 

Un.Be.Lievable

Going into this year's Holiday Bowl, I fully expected to see Nebraska blow out the Huskies.  I don't know where this defense has been all year but they held Nebraska to an amazing 7 points after being humiliated at home earlier in the season surrendering 56.  I'm still having a hard time believing what I just saw.  And for the record, I love Chris Polk.  That guy very well could end up being the best running back in UW history.  He's only a sophomore and he is dominant.  Behind a questionable line no less.  I think this will end up being the biggest upset of the bowl season.  What an unbelievable game.  Go Dawgs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ode To Lunch

After much deliberation this afternoon, I decided on a gyro for my lunchtime pleasure.  I couldn't have made a better choice.  For starters, when I walked down to Gyro's Place, there was a wonderful gentleman outside the Tully's who was kind enough to give me a sample of some freshly brewed Mocha Java.  Don't worry, it was a Tully's employee, not just some random guy on the street handing out coffee.  This was just a prelude to a good lunch. 

Fast forward to several minutes later when I am back at my desk with my gyro - as I devoured it like a starving man rather than the fat, out of shape tub I've become in recent months, I nearly fell to my knees and wept for joy as the tzatziki sauce ran down my arm and my taste buds were overwhelmed with deliciousness.  The lamb was cooked to perfection and was very juicy and flavorful and the pita was nearly unable to contain it's delicious cargo.  Despite being very full right now, I'm pretty sure that if someone were to set another one down in front of me I'd find room for it in my stomach somewhere.  That gyro made my whole day worthwhile.  Now I just need a power nap.

In unrelated news, also while on my lunchtime excursion, I witnessed a pick up truck with it's bed completely filled with nothing but rolls of toilet paper.  Sadly I was unable to get out my phone and take a picture of it in time so you'll just have to imagine it.  The point is, though, that I can think of but one word to adequately describe said vehicle & cargo - curious.  What need could there possibly be for that much toilet paper?  The quantity was enormous even if someone was supplying one of the downtown high rises.  Is it possible that I just witnessed the greatest toilet paper heist in recorded history?  Was someone planning on eating lunch at a mobile taco stand and simply preparing for the consequences?  These are questions that will never be answered and most likely will haunt me for the remainder of my days. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Concussion

Yesterday I watched an episode of The Office in which Dwight was concussed and I realized something: head trauma is comedy gold.  The physical comedy staple - the blow to the groin- is pedestrian by comparison.  The kick in the crotch is the comedy of the masses while the frying pan to the face is much more cerebral (pun intended).  So if things are getting too serious in the office and you need to lighten things up, I recommend you smash a chair over the head of an unsuspecting co-worker.  I guarantee that would be an incident that would not soon be forgotten.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve In Seattle

You never know what you're going to see. Today it was a gentleman sleeping in the ferry terminal McDonalds with an open bible and some paintings of UFOs on the table in front of him. Interesting...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Great Steak

Yesterday for lunch I decided to try the recently opened Philly cheesesteak restaurant just a few blocks from my office, Great Steak.  I decided to try the Original Philly Cheesesteak accompanied by some cheese fries.  It's a little pricey, $5.99 for a 7" sandwich and $7.99 for a foot long.  But for that price, you do get a tasty sandwich, and the 7" version was packed with enough meat to satisfy my appetite.  While the sandwich gets the coveted Craw Fu seal of approval, the same can not be said of the fries.  By the time I got back to my office the fries were stone cold and completely flavorless.  What's worse is that the extra fifty cents that you pay for the cheese fries over standard fries only buys you a small container of liquid cheese - not enough to dip all the supplied fries in.  I'm not a big fan of fake cheese. 

So I can heartily recommend the sandwiches and will sample some of the other menu items in the future.  I think one of the sandwiches with provolone sound delicious.  But if you make a trip down there, make sure to get a different side.  They had a salad on the menu, I think that's probably you're best bet. 

The Ohio State University

Ever since the days of Maurice Clarett I have been saying the the Ohio State football program is dirty.  I knew that sooner or later they would get caught for some violation.  Now it's happened.  6 players have been suspended for receiving improper benefits, 5 will be suspended for the first five games next season and the 6th will only be suspended for one game.  At the moment it appears that the University will not receive any sanctions, however I still think it's just a matter of time before they dig up more violations.  A storm is brewing in Columbus Ohio.  I don't think we've heard the end of this yet.

Christmas Newsletter

Since everybody here pretty much knows what's happened to me in the last year, I'll spare you any more unnecessary reading.  Just know that next year should be a lot more fun and exciting.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Hate Comcast

I really do.  The current saga began in early November.  I received an offer in the mail to upgrade to Comcast's triple play service (TV, internet, and phone) with the monthly rate for the first year lower than I'm currently paying for just TV and internet.  It seemed like a good idea to me so I called to sign up.  The first CSR I talked to said he couldn't give me that deal because it wouldn't lower my bill, but he transferred me to customer service to talk to somebody who might be able to.  The person he transferred me to was completely clueless and couldn't find, or at least claimed she couldn't find that deal.  Eventually she agreed to give me said deal, however the earliest she could schedule an installer to come out and hook everything up was December 4th, nearly a month later.  Fine, whatever, I just wanted to get off the phone by this time.  My time wasted getting this done:  just over 25 minutes.

As you may have guessed, December 4th came and went with no contact from Comcast or the installer.  At one point my phone rang one time but the caller hung up before I could answer.  It was from a blocked number so this may or may not have been the installer.  Since this time I have been looking at other options from Direct TV, Dish Network, and Frontier Communications.  The only problem is that I'm extremely lazy.  I don't want to interrupt my service and I really don't want to have to change my email address.  Comcast is over priced and has unquestionably the worst customer service I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with, but switching service is just such a pain in the ass.  I can't bring myself to call Comcast and spend another half hour on the phone talking with clueless people who hate their jobs and probably their miserable lives and really couldn't care less about my satisfaction.  Is it worth my time to email Comcast and threaten to cancel my service if they don't make things right, or should I just switch service without giving them another opportunity and just consider myself lucky that they didn't murder me which seems to be an increasingly common occurrence?

I welcome all advice and if there's one thing that you should take away from this, it's that Comcast blows. 

Web Filter

I've decided today that somebody needs to develop a web filter that automatically erases any references to certain topics when I surf the net.  For example:  what made this come to mind was one too many links popping up today regarding Wikileaks and Julian Assange.  I've heard enough about that and would like it to go away.  And go ahead and delete anything about Mark Zuckerberg while you're at it.  I don't want this filter to block any page that has these topics, simply delete these words from any page that I surf to.  All you web developers reading this, get cracking.  There's a cup of coffee in it for the first person with a working prototype.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Teriyaki

Today I decided to wander over to Happy Teriyaki for lunch.  They don't have the best teriyaki in town, but at least it's happy.  Anyway, I walked in the door today and noticed that all of the employees were Mexican and speaking Spanish and that Mexican music was playing.  I found this almost as disconcerting as the time I had a Mexican chef at Benihana.  Is it racist to want to get my Asian food from Asian people? 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

"It's truly a gift to like cheap food." - Steve Leavitt

Take that all you food snobs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waffles

Today I surrendered to my waffle craving and headed over to Sweet Iron Waffles for lunch.  Looking over the menu, I decided the strawberry waffle was the one for me.  For $3.99 I received the pictured waffle.  Note the fork has been provided as a reference point for size.  As it turns out, four bucks doesn't buy you a very big waffle, so if you're going to eat there, you should have a contingency plan for additional food to fill you up.  I know what some of you are thinking - how did it taste - afterall, that's a very important factor to consider with any food purchase.  Well, it was ok.  I've had their bacon maple waffle before and thought, "meh" and that's why I haven't been back for more waffles in months.  Kind of the same thing here.  The waffle tasted kind of doughy and didn't have enough flavor to suite me.  I think it would have been better if it were a thinner, larger diameter, crispier waffle.  In addition, it could have used more strawberries and less whipped cream.  Overall, not great but certainly edible.  I'll probably return to this establishment on occasion but not frequently.  If you want some other opinions, here is what folks are saying on Yelp.

December Morning

As I was standing at the bus stop this morning, looking up at the clouds, seeing the dark ominous clouds in the distance, some whispy clouds closer, and a smattering of blue sky skattered about I realised something: it is damn cold outside today. I think that had I touched my ears they would have broken off.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monsoon Season

Well, the heavens have opened above Seattle and the wrath of God has manifested itself in a class 5 kill storm. It's rain like this that makes me glad to live on the 4th floor. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that within a week the entire county will be under water and that in centuries to come Seattle will be mentioned alongside Atlantis in discussions of antedeluvian civilizations. And no, I am not over reacting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Goodbye Dave

Saturday afternoon I took a trip down to Safeco Field to attend a memorial ceremony for Dave Niehaus.  It was a nice ceremony and a classy move by the Mariners organization to allow fans to come and say their goodbyes.  Even though I never met him, losing Dave is like losing an uncle.  He was there to make you love the Mariners even when they were terrible which, sadly, has been for most of the team's history.  I have to admit that I got a little choked up when they replayed the greatest moment in team history - game 5 of the 1995 ALDS.  It's sad that we will never again have the opportunity to hear that enthusiasm again.  Baseball just won't be the same without him. 

In my opinion, the most poignant statement of the afternoon came from Rick Rizzs:  he quoted Jackie Robinson who said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."  Rick went on to say that few people have impacted as many lives as Dave did.  Thanks for the memories Dave.

Ultimate Fighting

Tonight I went over to a friend's house to watch UFC 124.  As many of you already know, I have virtually no interest in watching fighting of any kind, this was purely a rare social event for me.  And for those who have heard my rant about fighting before, get ready to hear it again.  As I watch any fight, whether boxing, mixed martial arts, or even wrestling, I'm constantly reminded that it is nothing more than modern day gladitorial combat.  Sure there are a few people who will admire the technique and athletic ability of the fighters, however for the vast majority of viewers it is pure, unadulterated blood lust.  The crowd absolutely goes nuts whenever someone gets hurt.  It's barbaric.  Roman leaders put on shows of gladiatorial combat, dangerous chariot races (NASCAR is the modern day equivalent), battle re-enactments, feeding Christians to lions, etc in order to placate the masses and distract them from the issues of the day.  It's a shame that society has not progressed any in 2,000 years.  Blood lust is alive and well.

Going off on a tangent, while I was watching Georges St. Pierre batter Josh Koscheck until his eye swelled shut, I couldn't help wondering if the original St. Pierre was the patron saint of tight pants.  I assume he was.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Mission

What does it mean if every time I attend church I get this song stuck in my head?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Holiday Bowl

The Washington Huskies have been rewarded for their improved, yet still mediocre, season with a trip to the Holiday Bowl.  Unfortunately for the Huskies, they will be matched up with the also unfortunate Nebraska who beat the bejezuz out of the Huskies 56-21 earlier in the season.  Not much of a reward for Nebraska who finished the season with a respectable 10-3 record and a #18 ranking.  The earlier meeting was as much of a one sided domination as I have seen any college team other than Washington State take.  What's worse is that it was a home game for the UW.  There's no reason to think it won't be a worse beating in a neutral location.  Still, if anyone were to offer me free tickets and transportation to/from warm San Diego I'd be there yelling myself hoarse.  And even if it turns into the severe beating I'm expecting, it's still better than not being in a bowl.  Hopefully the extra practice and extra television coverage will help the team be more experienced next year and help with recruiting.  I'm hoping that this is a sign of better things to come next year and into the future.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surgery Pictures

As long as I've got some free time today, I decided to finally upload my pictures from surgery.  The first 4 are from my first surgery on 8/11 and the last 2 are from the second surgery on 11/3.  Luckily the doctor labeled them, otherwise I would have no idea what I am looking at.  My physical therapist described it as looking like a bunch of crab meat.  I don't know how doctors can know what they are doing looking at screens like these but I find it pretty interesting to see what they see through the arthroscope.



What's interesting about the below picture is the bottom left picture.  It seems there was a chunk of bone floating around inside my knee that the doctor couldn't figure out where it came from.  Not very reassuring, however it may come as no surprise to hear that my knee is operating a lot better without that in there anymore.


Snow Day

I got up this morning and headed out the door to catch the bus to work.  As luck would have it, the bus was running late which gave me time to call the office closure line and that's when I found out the office was closed.  I looked out the window before I left and the roads didn't look bad so it didn't occur to me that the office might be closed until I got down there and saw that there was almost zero traffic.  I decided to take this opportunity to snap a few photos.  It's a class 5 kill storm!



I was trying to frame the nearly full moon that was in the background but it didn't show up in any of the pictures so you'll just have to imagine it's there.  It was as clear as could be to the naked eye, I'm just not a good enough photographer to know how to capture it. 

I also decided to take the opportunity to search youtube for videos of people driving in the snow and found this gem:


And also this unrelated video which I had to watch:


Stay home and be safe and warm.  It's time for me to make some coffee to warm myself up, it hasn't broken the 20ยบ barrier at my place yet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dreams

I rarely remember my dreams but I had a very vivid one the other night.  I dreamed that I went downtown and when I arrived I saw that there had been some terrible accident and the Space Needle was badly damaged.  Part of the base had been damaged and the entire building was slanted like the leaning tower of Pisa.  In addition a large section of the disc section at the top had broken off and said disc was also tilted at an alarming angle.  I never did quite figure out what caused it but somehow reached the conclusion that it was the result of an earthquake even though no other buildings were damaged.  What really bothered me though was that while I stood there staring at it in shock with my mouth agape, the rest of the people in the city seemed to have accepted that accidents happen and were going about their day more or less unaffected.  And after staring for a while, I accepted it myself and moved on and found myself in a part of town I was unfamiliar with that seemed to be filled with nothing but Mediterranean restaurants and I ate a gyro.  It was good.  I don't remember the rest of the dream or perhaps there was no more.  I don't know what it all means.

Good Day For Seattle Sports

Following a weekend which had the Seahawks spanking the Cardinals and the Cougs pulling off the surprise upset over Oregon State, today Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young award and the Huskies stomped UCLA in Jake Locker's final home game.  As if that weren't enough, despite predictions of traffic jams of biblical proportions because of the Husky game starting during rush hour, this was the smoothest, easiest commute I've had in a long time, and my bus crosses 520, right where the worst of the traffic would have been.  This has to have been the best week in Seattle sports in years.  I'm just surprised that former Mariner Cliff Lee wasn't in the running for the Cy Young.  He was on of the most dominant pitchers I've seen in years for most of the season.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

RIP Dave Niehaus

The Mariners were finally bad enough that they killed Dave Niehaus.  It's a sad day for the Northwest and a sad day for all of the sports world as class an act as Major League Baseball is no longer with us.  It breaks my heart that he didn't get to end after a good season.  Baseball will just not be the same without him. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Juice

I got some delicious Cranberry Pomegranate Juice recently and was looking at the label today.  The #1 ingredient:  apple juice.  I was checking to make sure that it didn't have high fructose corn syrup (it doesn't) but didn't expect the apple juice.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours

...and this isn't even a post about the weather.  With all that's been going on in my life recently, I just can't help wondering what's next.  About a week and a half ago I received a jury summons, which with all the time off of work I've had lately I really don't see how I can possibly squeeze into my schedule.  Luckily I've got a good excuse.  Last week my doctor told me that my recovery isn't going as well as hoped and I have to have surgery again next week.  My range of motion in my knee seems to be stuck at 85 degrees, so I get to go under the knife again and have scar tissue removed.  Thankfully this can all be done arthroscopically so it is not nearly as intense or invasive and should only put me out of commission for 2 weeks.  I guess I have to have a set back before I can make any more progress.

Friday night I kept hearing sirens going up and down my street.  It seemed like about every 10 minutes for 2 hours another emergency vehicle would go by.  It wasn't until the next day that I found out that there was a 2 alarm fire in one of the buildings in my condo complex.  It was way on the other side of the property so there was no danger of it spreading to my building.  But the interesting part of the story was that police were already on the scene responding to a bomb threat.  I've had my arguments with the office staff before but I'm going on record now stating that I made no threats.

Finally, or perhaps not finally, my bike was stolen out of my parking spot either Saturday night or Sunday morning.  I'm obviously not going to be riding a bike any time soon and to be honest never did ride much so it's not a big deal.  It's just disappointing because I thought I lived in a better neighborhood than that.  So sooner or later I expect something good to start happening in order to make up for all this crap.  I'm just hoping that it's sooner rather than later.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Black Rain

Ah Soundgarden, how I missed you.  I heard the new single Black Rain on 104.9 for the first time today and it is simply awesome.  I haven't heard Chris Cornell wail like this in years.  It was a crime to deny the world this musical talent for so long.  Sure, Audioslave had some ok songs, but this just blows them all out of the water.  And what's more:  the incredibly bizarre video which accompanies the new song is available in glorious HD.  Watch it now, don't wait another minute.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Poetic Justice

This video clip almost had me believing in karma for a minute and then I remembered that it's simply poetic justice, karma doesn't exist.  Still, keep in mind that this is what happens when you send inappropriate text messages.  And what's worse, all of your team mates will go about their business as usual and not be the slightest bit concerned that you are writhing in pain on the ground.


If only Brett Favre could have made the same sound effect as below it would be comedy gold.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back On My Feet

Today I did something that I haven't done in two and a half months, and to be honest I wasn't completely sure I'd ever be able to do again.  I walked without crutches.  And even though I'm a little out of practice, I remember it being a whole lot easier.  I've been crutch-walking for a couple weeks now as I've slowly worked my weight bearing up and that was pretty easy.  But with no crutches at all it takes a lot of focus and a lot of effort to keep from falling over.  It is pretty alarming how much muscle mass I've lost - my right leg looks like I have polio - so it takes all the strength that I can will in order to walk.  And in addition to having cadaver parts in me, I now shuffle along and groan when I walk like Frankenstein too so I guess there's no question what my Halloween costume will be.  It's pretty nice to be able to carry my own coffee cup now though and I'm sure that my strength will start to return pretty quickly. 

Also I decided to get behind the wheel today for the first time since my injury.  I only drove down to the condo gym and never got above 15 mph but it was a lot more enjoyable than hobbling down there on crutches.  And again, progress is good.  I'm not confident that I could react quickly enough in an emergency so I'll stick to the condo property for now.  But driving on the street doesn't seem to far off anymore.

Quote of the Day

"Saying things like “I just don’t have time to watch television” only makes you sound like a jerk."

I saw this little gem over at Woot in regards to a DVR.  So don't be a jerk and go watch some more television.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Chips

A wiser man than myself once said, "life is one crushing defeat after another until you just with Flanders was dead."  Truer words have never been spoken.  That's why, when life decides to throw you a bone it's cause for celebration.  So gather around one and all as I regale you with the heart warming tale of the 3 bags of chips. 

This Thursday began as a day like any other.  Actually that's not really true, it began as a pretty miserable day (which I guess is like any other day) but I decided to be a bit poetic.  It sounds better that way don't you think.  But I digress.  This afternoon, during my customary coffee break, I felt a might peckish and looked into the vending machine to see if anything struck my fancy.  Nothing did, however an unprecedented opportunity presented itself.  Wedged up against the glass of the machine were 3 bags of chips.  Clearly others had attempted the traditional jostling of the machine to no avail. 

Examining the situation from many angles and doing some rudimentary calculations, factoring in friction, gravity, wind velocity, inertia, and so on, I decided it was time for a gamble.  I knew full well that putting my money into that machine might very well result in a 4th trapped bag but I also knew that fortune favors the bold.  As you can plainly see, fate was on my side this day.  Had I selected the wrong bag of chips this endeavor would undoubtedly have failed, but I chose wisely.  While the 4th bag (the one I actually paid for) got stuck, it did manage to dislodge the other 3.  Not one to be greedy or look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, I rejoiced in my triumph and was happy to leave a 2nd bag for the next person who would come along.  As I sat at my desk, fingers oranged by cheese dust, I contemplated this glorious occurrence and decided that this is unquestionably the best thing to ever happen to me at work. 

And for those of you scoring at home, the illustrious hand model seen here is none other than the famous Ace - his nearly severed thumb having healed nicely.  In the spirit of full disclosure, Ace was offered payment of one bag of chips for both witnessing the event for posterity and for services rendered as a hand model but turned down the generous offer. 

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Luck

I know that a black cat crossing your path is very bad luck.  Last night, however, I had a raccoon cross my path while a menacing swan followed me honking and flapping it's wings.  Is that bad or good luck?  Or possibly indifferent luck?  I suppose it was good luck since neither of the animals attacked me, and for those of you who are thinking that a swan can't be menacing, know this:  they are large enough that their heads are at a very convenient crotch biting height.  I've never had a swan take a poke at my junk and I'd like to keep it that way.  I've met a few people that have been attacked by water fowl and I've been told that geese in particular can inflict some pain if they bite you.  Since swans are bigger I assume they can inflict just as much pain.  I got off on a bit of a tangent there, but feel free to weigh in on the luckiness or a raccoon and a swan crossing your path.

Magazine Turds

The first thing I do whenever I get a new magazine is thumb through and fish out all of the postcards inside for subscribing or various advertising.  It gets in the way, it's annoying, and it's completely useless.  Does anybody actually look at them?  I assume someone must or they wouldn't keep putting them in there, but I never even look at them.  The worst offender, at least that I subscribe to, seems to be the Smithsonian.  I enjoy the magazine, but I opened up the most recent issue and had to tear out no less than a dozen of those before I could move on to actually reading the magazine.  That is the very definition of excessive.  I can't imagine that anything I could say to the publishers would have any effect, so instead I do what I do best, go online and complain about it.  If anyone has a better plan, preferably one that doesn't involve any amount of effort since I'm pretty lazy, I'm interested in hearing it.  This will not be tolerated any longer!  Unless of course I have no choice but to tolerate it or stop reading magazines.  I suppose getting a Kindle or some e-reader and downloading electronic copies would be a solution, I just don't particularly want an e-reader.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Feed My Frankenstein

I was watching the latest episode of Chuck on my DVR on Saturday and they played Alice Cooper's Feed My Frankenstein which has been stuck in my head since.  I don't think I've heard that song since Wayne's World was new and had to look up the video online.  That's when I noticed something I never noticed before.  I swear that's Nuno Bettencourt playing guitar up on stage.  I've never heard that Nuno played with Alice Cooper and don't know if it was just this one song for the movie or what the story is.  I did some googling to see if I was imagining things, afterall his hair is covering his face a lot and he's not playing his signature model Washburn N4.  I found one message board with someone saying it's Nuno along with Marty Friedman.  I hadn't picked up on Marty in the video at all.  Anyway, I swear that's Nuno but it's a surprise to see him with Alice Cooper.  Wikipedia says that Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Nikki Sixx play on the album version but it certainly isn't them in the video. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Freakonomics: The Movie

I just finished watching Freakonomics the movie and the verdict is that it was ok.  Would I have liked it more had I not read the book first?  It's hard to say.  What I will tell you though is that the movie felt like a Cliff Notes version of the book.  While the movie was interesting, it simply didn't go into adequate depth on most of the topics discussed.  I continually found myself wanting more data after they had moved on to something else.  I suppose that this is a problem endemic to the movie format, making it not the best medium for the topic at hand.  That being said, if you prefer the quick and dirty version, then this is the film for you.  Completely standing on it's own merits, the film is adequate.  Each segment is directed by a renown documentary film maker, however due to my limited knowledge of documentary film makers, the only one I've heard of is Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me fame).

For those of you unfamiliar with Freakonomics, it is a "rogue economist exploring the hidden side of everything."  And by that it means that Steven Levitt applies economic principles to tease out the contributing factors to things that are not normally paid much attention.  For example, does giving your child a particularly ethnic sounding name like Deshawn have a negative impact on his or her future?  Does giving your child an unusual name have an impact, for example: did Robert Lane's sons Winner Lane and Loser Lane live up to their names?  Is the sport of sumo wrestling rife with cheating and fixed matches?  Can children be bribed to perform better in school?  The answers lie in the data and it's a pretty interesting ride getting there but ultimately lacks the depth I would prefer.

In other brief movie reviews, I recently watched Kick Ass which exceeded my expectations.  Perhaps it was the low expectation I had going in that made it easy to exceed, however I will admit to enjoying the movie.  It had a few twists and turns that I didn't see coming.  If you're bothered by the concept of an 11 year old girl who has the foul mouth of a sailor and kills people, then you're better off skipping this one. 

Also recently watched was Live!, the fictional tale of a sleazy network executive who tries to boost the flagging ratings by televising 6 people playing Russian roulette.  A lot of the characters were stereotypes and cliches, but I still enjoyed it.  I may have been influenced by the fact that I was dangerously low on sleep at the time I watched it (in the middle of the night while I couldn't sleep), and the fact that it starred Eva Mendes who in my humble opinion is one of the most attractive women in the world. 

City Life

Where else but in a large metropolitan area does one come across bizarre behavior on a regular basis?  Today while waiting for the bus I saw a man in his early 20's standing on the corner waiting for the cross walk.  But that's not even the weird part.  Clad in board shorts, socks but no shoes, a sweatshirt tied around his waist but no shirt worn, and a backpack.  Completing the ensemble, he was holding a strip of bubble wrap over his eyes and talking in his best robot voice to no one in particular.  I tried my best to get a picture but people kept walking in front of me and I came away empty handed.  Anyway, as I watched him I did my best to discern whether this was a case of mental illness, brain damage, or heavy drug use.  He appeared to otherwise be in reasonably good physical condition so I ruled out the first two.  People in those categories seem to have a more disheveled look to them or at least less awareness of their appearance.  So in my professional opinion, this was some douchebag frat boy stoned out of his mind.  Possibly also with brain damage resulting from the aforementioned drug abuse.  Just one more reason I have to get a job on the East side - too much lunacy in Seattle.

Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act

Following just over two centuries of abusing it's citizenry, the US government is finally considering legislation to aid it's citizens.  The CALM Act, which would limit the volume of television commercials, has already passed the Senate and is headed back to the House.  In a rare moment of compassion and common sense (for a Senator), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, "TV viewers should be able to watch their favorite programs without fear of losing their hearing when the show goes to a commercial."

It's hard to believe that government intervention was required to resolve this issue, but it's about damn time somebody did something.  I'm surprised that tv manufacturers never shipped models with compressors, but now they won't have to.  It's a glorious day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Impaled

Well there's a frightening injury that you don't see every day. I've seen lots of scary injuries in sports but this is a new one for me.  Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin had to be taken to the hospital after being impaled by a shattered bat in front of what appears to be a sellout crowd.  The wound is being described as "fairly deep" and a tube had to be inserted into his chest to prevent his lung from collapsing.  He will remain in the hospital for a few days for observation, but his season is over. 

This is the scariest thing I've seen since Paul Abbott got hit in the face with a broken bat several years ago while on the mound for the Mariners.  I don't think he was concussed, but he did have a hell of a black eye afterward.  Anyway, here's hoping for a speedy recovery for Tyler Colvin.

Monday, September 13, 2010

You Know What I Hate?

After watching approximately 72 hours of football over the last 3 days, I'm reminded of how annoyed I am by measuring for a first down.  The refs just estimate when they set up the chains.  They eyeball the spot of the ball when the runner goes down.  Then they have to waste my time putting on a show by bringing the chains out to the middle of the field to see if there is a first down.  Why can't they just keep the damn game moving by looking at the spot and making a judgement call, or at least getting out a laser sight and pointing it at the side line?  When instant replay was first introduced there were repeated complaints about it slowing down the game, but in my opinion the measurements are far more disruptive, partly because they are more frequent.  I just wish the NFL and the NCAA would get rid of measurements.  If anybody has Roger Goodell's email address, pass it along.  There are other things I need to discuss with him, not just this. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Welcome Back NFL

Like a beloved friend that I haven't seen in 6 agonizing months, the NFL has returned.  Oh how I have missed you NFL.  And after sweating it out for a quarter of the Seahawks looking absolutely terrible, they suddenly put the pieces together and dominated the 49ers for the remainder of the game.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief and will admit to a great deal of trepidation heading into this season following several confusing months of Pete Carroll and John Schneider's mad scientist act.  I didn't think, and honestly still don't think that they have any kind of plan.  It will take more than a week to convince me they aren't just blindly tinkering.  But I will say that today the season outcome looks more promising than it did yesterday.  Here's hoping that the moves pay off and the team continues to play well. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What's The Word

I know that anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to animals, but what is the word for adding human body parts to an animal?  I was watching Donnie Darko last night and the mascot of the school Donnie attends has the body of a human and the head of a bull dog.  There should be a word for combining human and animal bodies into one, like the Sphinx, I just can't think of what it is for the life of me.  I searched around the internet a little to try to find it but had no luck.  I did learn, however, that the word sphinx is derived from the Greek word meaning "to strangle" and that the word sphincter is derived from the sam word.  This fact, unfortunately, is not very helpful and not what I was looking for.  I also tried looking up mermaids in Wikipedia to see if there was a mention of the term there but again no luck.  In the unlikely event that no term exists, I suppose I'll have to make one up.  And on a side note, the word for making up new words is neologism. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Freakonomics: The Movie

Having read Freakonomics, which was kind of interesting, and Superfreakonomics, which was very interesting, I'm intrigued by them turning the book into a movie.  Based on the subject matter I'm not sure they can turn it into an interesting movie, but there is a trailer out and it looks promising.  The movie is already available to download from itunes, but I'm not paying them $11 to watch it.  The theatrical release isn't scheduled until 10/1.  Anybody interested in heading to the theater with me, let me know.  Until then, here's the trailer.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

You Have No Marble

I saw a highlight of this catch from a Japanese baseball game the other day and a) I can't believe it's legal, and b) I can't stop thinking about the abysmal Major League 2.  I assume the player spent the rest of the game saying, "you have no marble!"



Apparently he was trying to show up his team mate who made this catch a few weeks earlier.

Monday, August 30, 2010

18 Game Season

It seems all but a certainty at this point that the NFL owners are going to switch to an 18 game season in 2012.  Obviously the owners favor this because it means more money for them, however it doesn't seem like a good idea to me.  It's hard enough to keep players healthy for 16 games, and adding two more seems to me that it will have more negatives than positives.  I think there will be an increase in injuries and careers will be shortened not to mention that getting to the post season will be more about who has roster depth than who has the best players and team work.  Not to mention that with 2 extra games all of the current records will become meaningless.  I don't see this as providing a better product for NFL fans but rather a diluting of the current game.

The other issue is that adding 2 regular season games presumably means cutting 2 preseason games.  This means that developing and evaluating young players becomes that much more difficult.  Without this playing time, it's not just possible but likely that future stars will not get the opportunity to make it on a final roster.  Would players like Tom Brady and Kurt Warner who began their careers as back ups have made it into the league without adequate playing time to learn their trade and showcase their skills?  What future pro bowlers and hall of famers will we be denied because of a shortened preseason.  Granted, preseason games are less interesting for fans since the outcome isn't important, but a better solution would be for greedy owners to charge lower ticket prices for preseason games instead.  Charging full price for exhibition games seems to me to be a bigger point of contention for fans than the number of games. 

From what I've read, the players' union is opposed to the expanded regular season so with any luck they will have the leverage to put this bad idea out to pasture.  In the end though, I fear that they will be bought off with more money and expanded rosters.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed though that this isn't as imminent as it seems. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In The News

Actual headline:  Woman recovering from "Blackberry thumb" surgery

According to the article, a woman who spent 12 hours a day texting people on her iPhone developed pain and inflammation serious enough that it required surgery to correct.  Why this isn't called "iPhone thumb" I'll never know, but it seems kind of obvious to me that if you are repeating some activity to the point of pain that you should stop.  Apparently that isn't obvious to everyone though.  The woman said the texting was for her job, but I have a hard time imagining that a job would require that.  If you are communicating that frequently with people wouldn't you invest in a computer or at least something with a keyboard at some point?  At any rate that doesn't sound like a job for me.

No Crying In Baseball

I watched more of the Little League World Series the last few days and unfortunately today Auburn's run came to an end.  They were ahead of Pearland, TX for the better part of 5 innings before coming unglued in the last inning and a half and losing 7-5.  It was a nice run while it lasted, nice work guys.  But the one thing I learned from watching is that somebody needs to remind these kids that there's no crying in baseball.  There should be a placard in the dugout or something.  Granted it's been a while since I was 13 so my memory may not be entirely reliable but I don't remember crying that much at that age.  Kids would get hit by a pitch and cry.  They would make an error and cry.  They would bump into another player and both would cry.  These kids cried at the drop of a hat.  It was kind of shameful and they really need Tom Hanks out there yelling at them every time they cry.  Hell, I destroyed my knee and didn't even feel the urge to cry.  I don't know at what age crying is no longer the natural response to pain, but I could have sworn it was before 13.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Little League World Series

I've never been all that interested in the Little League World Series, but for some reason I have been really enjoying watching the games the last couple days.  I would even go so far as to say I was excited to see Auburn come from behind to beat Minnesota.  I am disappointed, however not surprised, that none of the Auburn kids listed a Mariner as their favorite player.  One kid said Ken Griffey Jr but that's as close as anybody got.  Anyway, good luck to the Auburn kids and I hope they continue to win.

What I found even more interesting while flipping around today was that the Junior Softball World Series was also televised.  But that's not the surprising part.  It turns out that it was being played just about 3 miles down the road from me in Kirkland.  I'm in no shape to go this year, but if it's there again next year I would enjoy attending a game or two.  I watched as the girls from Puerto Rico won a close game against the girls from Tampa, FL.  It appeared to be high school aged girls.  I'm not sure how much of an award it is for girls from Florida and Puerto Rico to get to go to Kirkland, but congratulations anyway.

Yes or No

Every so often you hear about doctors operating on the wrong body part - the left shoulder needs surgery but they operate on the right shoulder by mistake or something along those lines.  Well, I'm here to tell you that a fool proof system has been developed to make sure that doesn't happen.  It involves a sharpie.  Please forgive the quality of photography, it's the best I could do taking pictures of my own knees with the added level of difficulty of being heavily medicated.
Yes

No
As you can plainly see, it works like a charm.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Drinking & Driving

The Scots have come up with a compelling argument in favor of drinking and driving.  After 2 years, researchers at Napier University have filed a patent for a new biofuel based on the biproducts of manufacturing whiskey.  This fuel can be used directly in gas powered engines with no modifications, however the creators see it more likely being blended with oil based petrolium in a 5-10% mix to reduce the use of oil.  Unlike other biofuels, whiskey biproducts already exist and require no additional growing, which is appealing to environmentalists who fear the consequences of land being repurposed to grow other biofuels.  According to Richard Dixon, the Scotland director of WWF, "Whisky-powered cars could help Scotland avoid having to use those forest-trashing biofuels."

At the moment I don't see a down side to this, so next time you're knocking back a few shots of whiskey, know that you're doing it to save the environment.  Let's all have a toast for the planet.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Useless Trivia

Every day, more money is printed for the game Monopoly than for the U.S. Treasury.  The company that owns monopoly, Parker Brothers, prints about 50 billion dollars of Monopoly money every year.That works out as 15,140 dollars of Monopoly in each Monopoly set.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Christian Okoye

Thanks to the Chuckman for bringing back memories of Christian Okoye.  He was one of the most incredible power backs I've ever seen.  I had to look up some videos of him on youtube to re-live the glory.  I found a nice documentary about him that is about 8 minutes long.

Not to mention one of the greatest hits in NFL history when he met up with Steve Atwater on Monday Night Football.

We won't see any hits like that tonight in the Seahawks first game of the preseason, but with the way baseball season has gone, football season couldn't get here soon enough.

Early Retirement

I saw the surprising news today that San Francisco 49ers running back Glen Coffee unexpectedly retired today after just one year in the NFL.  As an Alabama fan I always liked Coffee and hoped that the Seahawks would draft him, but it turns out it's a good thing they didn't.  Coffee didn't have any injury problems, the article I read stated that he told the team that his heart simply wasn't in football - that dating back to college he didn't really enjoy playing.  I guess I could see that but he's still walking out on more money than he'll ever make doing anything else.  I doubt he made enough to retire after just on season.

With 2008 first round pick Kentwan Palmer also missing from camp, there's speculation that it's an issue with coach Mike Singletary - that players are dissatisfied with him - but that's a little hard for me to believe.  I've also seen speculation that Coffee may be heading into the ministry.  I don't know anything about his personal life so I have no idea how plausible this theory is.  Whatever the reason, I'm very surprised.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Post Surgery Update

I'm still alive, albeit barely.  The surgery ended up lasting 6.5 hours instead of the 5 that was estimated and I don't know what they did to me in that extra hour and a half but I have been pretty miserable since.  I've been home for about 24 hours now and am beginning to feel better but still am experiencing a lot of pain.  I had a femural block that is supposed to block the nerves going to my whole right leg.  It isn't supposed to block all of the pain but it must have been blocking a lot because when it started to wear off this morning I was really in bad shape.  The pain has subsided some since then to a more manageable level thank God.  In addition to feeling like my leg had been crushed, I continue to have an unpleasant sore throat.  The anaesthesiologist stuck a hose down my throat while I was under and in addition to drying it out, I suspect scratched it up a fair amount as well.  It remains painful to try to eat or drink anything.  To top it off, for several hours yesterday my right arm was killing me, which the doctor attributed to 7 hours of wearing a blood pressure cuff.  Thankfully that is now approaching normal.

I don't know if it's because of the pain or the medication but I've gotten hardly any sleep.  I feel very tired but can't sleep for more than half an hour or so at a time.  I am really hoping to be able to get some sleep tonight and hopefully wake up in the morning with less pain.  A few other quick notes:  this is my second surgery and both times I have felt deeply resentful of the nurse who woke me up.  When I am really groggy and all I want to do is sleep, harassing me to get me up and out of the office doesn't endear you to me.  The operating room had blood stains on the floor and as they wheeled me in I felt like I was about to make my appearance in the next Saw sequel or some other torture porn flic.  The way I've felt since being wheeled out of the OR I'm not sure I wasn't tortured.  The doctor was very pleased with how the surgery went, although I suspect they say that to everybody regardless of how it goes.  Still I hope he was being honest.  He took some before and after pictures with the arthroscope and if I can get a copy of them I might post them.  He showed them to my parents while I was in the recovery room but I haven't seen them yet.  I have next to no appetite so far and don't know how long that will continue but at least it means less agitation getting up to go to the bathroom.  For the record, trying to crutch my way into the bathroom while I'm whacked out on narcotics isn't a lot of fun.

In unrelated news, the Perseid meteor showers have been making an appearance this week, and tonight at 10:00 they are expected to be their most spectacular.  I'm not planning on getting up to see them, so go out and view them on my behalf.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Surgery Tomorrow

Well, tomorrow at 9:00 am is the big day.  After getting an MRI it turns out that my knee is worse than originally thought - 3 of the 4 ligaments are torn.  The orthopedist that the hospital had referred me to said that the surgery would be more complicated than he anticipated and referred me to a sports medicine specialist.  Now it looks like I'm getting 3 new (actually used - from a cadaver) ligaments for my birthday this year.  A few weeks ago that would not have been high on my wish list, but how quickly things can change. 

As of now I have pretty ambivalent feelings about the surgery.  On the one hand, I'll never be able to walk again without it, but on the other it is pretty major surgery with a lot of risks involved not to mention that I'll be in pain for weeks if not months afterward.  The closer it gets, the more nervous I'm getting.  So, any Christians I appreciate your prayers, everybody else I appreciate any well wishes.  I'm going to be in surgery for 5 hours.  They tell me it will be 4-6 weeks of crutches after that and 9-12 months before I can start jogging and 2-3 years before I'm fully recovered. It's going to be a long, unpleasant recovery.

I have the same injury that Daunte Culpepper suffered in 2005.  Since that more or less ended his career, it looks like I'll never be able to throw an accurate pass again.  I guess I'll have to start looking for sports which involve more standing still in the future.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Initial Diagnosis

I just got home from the orthopedist.  I haven't had an MRI yet, but after poking at me, bending and twisting my knee, and generally doing things to make me hurt, he told me that I have a completely torn ACL and MCL.  There may be damage to the cartilage and meniscus too but I won't know for sure until after the MRI.  So it looks like surgery for me later this week followed by a few months of rehab.  If all goes well in 6 months I might be able to start running again.  All in all, it's a worse diagnosis than I had expected, but the good news is that they gave me a brace which is way more comfortable and which allows me to bend my knee.  It also means I can now reach my toes and will be able to tie my shoes, drive, etc.

In completely unrelated news, a new study in monkey antagonism has found that monkeys hate flying squirrels.  The report from prominent monkey annoyance experts could pave the way for advanced methods of enraging monkeys.  I am currently enraged at my high school guidance counselor for not informing me that this is a field I could have gone into.  I guess this is why they will eventually rise up and enslave humanity as foretold in Planet of the Apes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Career Ending Injury


Here's how my celebrated amateur sports career officially came to an end - getting wheeled off the field on a stretcher.  Tuesday night while playing flag football, I was running a pattern across the middle when someone rolled into my leg, causing my knee to bend in directions it's not meant to bend.  I'm not sure exactly what happened since I was looking back at the QB and never saw it coming, but I'm assuming somebody just tripped and rolled into me.  What I do know for sure is that I looked down and saw that my right knee was dislocated.  My knee cap was to the right of where it was supposed to be and my tibia was to the left of where it was supposed to by.  I immediately grabbed my knee and shoved both bones back toward there normal location and they popped back into place. 

I'm not sure how long it took the ambulance to get there, but it seemed like an eternity.  Luckily for me the drivers went to the end of the field where they had to drive over about 10 speed bumps to get out of the parking lot, providing a lot of jostling fun on the way to the hospital.  At the other end of the field they could have driven out onto a surface street with no speed bumps.  The game was at Juanita High School and Evergreen Hospital is about 2 miles away so it was a quick trip there once we got going. 

Despite the fact that the ER was surprisingly empty - I didn't see anyone there that didn't work there and most of the employees looked a little bored - I was there for over an hour.  In that time they took my pulse and blood pressure, and 4 x-rays.  They told me no bones were broken but they have no idea as to the extent of the soft tissue damage.  They slapped a brace on it to immobilize it, told me not to put any weight on that leg and that I would need some crutches and could buy some at any pharmacy.  They wrote me a prescription for crutches and wheeled me out the door in a wheel chair.  My phone was still in my car, and since I don't remember anyone's number off the top of my head, so they wheeled me over to a phone and gave me the number for a cab.  Overall I have to say I'm quite disappointed in the level of care provided there for which they will no doubt bill my insurance company several thousand dollars. 

I have an appointment with an orthopedist on Monday and don't know how much more I will know then, but at least some more.  At this point I'm just hoping I won't require surgery.  Based on the diagram of the knee I found online, what I saw when it was dislocated, and what it feels like, I'm pretty sure there is damage to the medial collateral ligament (the inside part of the knee).  Hopefully it's not completely torn, although right now it feels as though, if I were to put any weight on it, it would immediately buckle and pop out of place. 


The good news is that as long as I don't move around much and keep that leg elevated, it really doesn't hurt much.  The real pain is psychological.  After spending about 10 minutes trying to get my sock off, I am frequently frustrated by how difficult it is and how much effort is required to do things that would normally be trivial.  I can't even go into the kitchen and get something to eat or drink because I can't carry anything while on crutches.  And thinking about the probability of never playing football again, and never being able to run without pain again is pretty hard to come to grips with.  I just hope the orthopedist I was referred to is good.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Write Like

Recently I found an interesting web site:  I Write Like.  It supposedly uses a statistical algorithm to analyze your writing and tells you which published author your writing style is most similar too.  Finally a means to end the age old debate of whether I write more like Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss.  I won't keep you in any further suspense - I copied and pasted a recent blog post and the result was Stephen King.  This is a little unusual since I've never actually read a Stephen King novel - I've only seen the film adaptations - so I don't know if this is complementary or not.  Is the statistical algorithm trying to tell me that my writing is not very artistic - that it is more for the masses?  Or is it that my writing invokes terror in others? 

I had originally planned to test this site but haven't yet gotten around to it.  I haven't submitted the same writing sample twice to see if it gives me the same results or if it just kicks out a random author.  I also haven't submitted multiple different samples to see how much the results differ.  The one thing I'm really curious to try though is entering an excerpt of a Stephen King novel and seeing if he writes like himself.  It would be kind of amusing if it told him he writes like Danielle Steel or JK Rowling. 

I'm also a bit curious as to how big their database is.  If I enter an excerpt from the novel I've been working on - The Big Book of War - will it tell me it is stylistically similar to Sun Tzu's Art of War?  I can't find anything on the site which mentions how extensive their list of authors is.  It could be that every truly bad piece of writing it simply tells you is like Dan Brown.  It's kind of an interesting concept and I'll have to play with it more later.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

3-1

There's nothing quite like the reflection of a full moon off of Lake Washington, illuminating the entire lake in a silvery glow.  There's especially nothing like it when driving home after watching the Mariners beat the hated Boston Red Sox and their band of vulgar, drunken thugs who call themselves Red Sox nation.  Everyone I know I'm sure has heard one of my many rants about how much I hate those lunk heads, so I'm not going to retrace that territory.  Instead I will revel in the fact that, after losing the first game I attended this year, the Mariners have rebounded and are riding a 3 game winning streak.  I'd have to check the schedule to be sure but I believe these have been the only 3 home games the M's have won this year.  I feel I'm entitled to some kind of bonus.  It was also memorable because it was the first game ever for my 6 month old niece.  She didn't seem too interested in the game and she fell asleep for a few innings, but she seemed to enjoy herself regardless.  She looked a little startled when the crowd woke her up following Michael Saunders' majestic 2 run blast but from that point on she could barely contain her enthusiasm.  I believe Saunders is now her favorite player.  I think he is going to be a solid player for years.  If we trade him, that will almost certainly ensure that he will go on to become an All Star.  Here's hoping that doesn't happen though.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pretzel M&M's

Yesterday I went to the store across the street from my office and was coerced into buying a bag of the new pretzel M&M's that were sitting by the register for me to stare at while I was standing in line. Damn you product placement! Anyway after trying them I was disappointed to find that they are too salty and they don't taste pretzely at all (yes that's a real word), they just taste funky. I would say that they taste more like malt balls than chocolate covered pretzels, and I don't like malt balls so that's not a good thing. Making matters worse, they gave me a stomach ache after eating them. And since I was dumb enough to buy the big bag I still have plenty left over today so I tried them again thinking it would be different this time. It turns out that the only difference is that instead of making me sick, they make me angry. I am filled with rage with each one I eat. And so I give a resounding thumbs down to this product and a hearty boo to Mars for creating this atrocity.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pray For Mojo


I doubt the validity of this article, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining.  Apparently the Taliban is experimenting in gorilla warfare, training monkeys to shoot automatic rifles and mortars at people wearing US military uniforms.  No word yet on whether the US is working with insurgent monkeys of their own, but hopefully some strategy is in the works to deal with this.  I think I found a new team name for future sports teams I play on though - the terror monkeys.  Or maybe the semi-automatic monkeys.  Either would make a decent band name also.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Home Made X-Wing Fighter

This is so close to awesome, but I guess if this video teaches us anything, it's that you're better off purchasing a store bought X-Wing. 

Friday, July 09, 2010

Enough Already

The cliche that needs to go away is adding the word "much" to the end of a question.  For example, the most common occurrence is it's pairing with the word jealous.  Instead of just saying, "are you jealous?" the hipster doofus who is trying to be cool will instead say, "jealous much?"  Not only is this remarkably stupid to begin with, it quickly became over used and passe.  To the best of my knowledge, it's use has yet to incite a severe beating or even a solitary punch in the face, but it's certainly deserved.  So do the world a favor and stop it.

Being the generous kind of guy I am, I will not take away one cliche without replacing it with something else.  And so I offer what I consider to be a vastly under used saying:  Crossing the Rubicon.  It is so under used in fact that I don't think it can even be considered a cliche, rather simply a saying.  It simply means passing the point of no return and it's etymology comes from Rome.  When Julius Caesar, at the time a mere general, led his troops across the Rubicon River he was effectively declaring war on Rome since the river was one of the boundaries of the city and Roman law forbade this act as being treason.  So in crossing the Rubicon, Caesar was announcing his intent to seize power from the senate and could no longer change his mind without facing execution.  He had passed the point of no return. 

Now some of you may be thinking that I'm simply being pompous by suggesting a somewhat arcane idiom, but truth be told I first learned about it many years ago when I first heard the Journey song Rubicon and had to go look it up to learn it's meaning, and I was just reminded of it today when I learned of a new show on AMC titled Rubicon.  So for those of you who claim that television and rock music have no intrinsic value, put that in your pipe and smoke it. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Take Advantage of the Heat

The warm summer weather is here (for now) and so it's time to ask:  don't you hate it when you open your car door and get a blast of hot air in the face like you've just opened a furnace?  Wouldn't it be much better if, instead, you opened the door to a blast of the smell of fresh baked cookies?  Now you can.  According to the all knowing internet, if you've got 2-3 hours to let your car sit in the sun, you can bake cookies on your dashboard.  What better way to beat the heat than to use it to your advantage.  Sure, anybody can fry eggs on the sidewalk, but then there are sanitation issues involved.  And engine block gourmets can tell you that the hint of oil isn't too appealing.  Dashboard cookies are definitely the way to go in hot weather.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy 4th of July

As we quickly approach what is probably my second favorite holiday (after Christmas) I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July.  To me Independence Day means spending time with family and friends, eating too much BBQ and pie, knowledge that once the 5th rolls around it will stop raining and warm up, and of course - to quote the Simpsons - celebrating my nations independence by blowing a small part of it up.  It's just a good time.  Hell, we even had a pizza party at work today and I found myself smiling in the office for the first time since ... maybe ever. 

Anyway, a quick reminder on safety though, take a hint from this guy and don't make your own fireworks.  I would really like everyone I know to still have their eyebrows come Monday. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Futurama

In case there are still some of you out there who are not aware, make sure to set your DVRs to record the glorious return to television of one of the greatest shows in history - Futurama.  New episodes begin airing tomorrow, June 24th on Comedy Central at 10 pm Eastern time.  I loved the show when it originally aired but will admit that my expectations are tempered a bit by the less than stellar feature length DVDs that were released in it's absence from television.  But even if the show has lost some of it's luster, it should still be far and away superior to the majority of programs currently in circulation. 

Now if those evil programming executives will just see the light and bring back Pushing Daisies, I'll be a happy man.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Candy

Just a quick little anecdote today.  When the decision was made to move the department candy bowl over to the table near my desk where it would be visible in my peripheral vision all day long, I was a little concerned that the temptation to eat copious quantities of candy would lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and ultimately my untimely demise.  What has happened instead is that the daily 8 hour parade of fat asses walking past my desk has been a far more successful deterrent to gorging myself on sugary treats than I ever expected.  Coming to the realization that almost no skinny people partake of the candy has been enlightening.  Of course I expected there to be less traffic from the height/weight proportional, but virtually none I did not expect.  I am now considering putting some pictures of giant asses on my refrigerator and cupboard doors at home as part of a weight loss plan.  Whenever I head over to get something to eat, I'll get that (not so) subtle reminder that maybe I'm not all that hungry after all.  That and I need to ramp up the exercise.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Public Service Announcement

I saw a car on the shoulder of the freeway today with a flat donut.  It made me laugh a little.  So for those of you who don't already know, that spare tire in your trunk is only meant to be driven a limited number of miles.  And I haven't looked at mine in a while but I'm pretty sure it also says not to go over 45 mph too.  So unless you want to get stranded somewhere and look like an idiot, if you get a flat tire, get to a service station somewhere and get it repaired as soon as possible and stay off the freeway. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Something I Never Thought I'd See

Driving home Sunday evening I was briefly stuck behind somebody driving erratically.  His speed was inconsistent and he seemed to have trouble staying in his lane.  He was driving by Braille - drifting over until he hit the lane markers and then jerking back.  I wondered if he was drunk or if he was talking on the phone, but more importantly I wanted to get away from him as soon as I could.  So when I finally got a chance to move over to the next lane and pass him I did and looked in the window as I drove by to see which it was.  It turned out to be a third option that I hadn't considered.  I could see part of a head visible above his lap.  I don't know what kind of psychosis causes people to risk their lives and those of the people around them for a moment of pleasure, but it's troubling how stupid people are.  I suppose if I had a car I didn't care about I could have hit him causing his girlfriend to bite down, but I don't need my insurance rates going up.  But I endorse anyone else resorting to vigilante justice if they happen to see this kind of activity.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Business Slippers

An idea struck me today for a product that I don't know why it doesn't already exist, or maybe it does and I just don't know where to find it - business slippers.  I would like to be able to wear my regular shoes to work and when I get to my desk, slip them off and put on a pair of slippers that look enough like business wear that I can get away with walking around the office in them when I need to get up and refill my coffee cup or go to a meeting.  Studies show that workers are more productive when they are more comfortable, and what would make you more comfortable than slippers?  And since the majority of my time in the office is spent with my feet under my desk, then who would be the wiser?  I also envision some high heeled slippers for the ladies. 

In completely unrelated news, and when I say completely unrelated I mean it, the new single from Disturbed is finally out - Another Way To Die.  I've given it a couple listens and it's not their best work but it's a solid effort.  I have to mark them down a little for being too politically correct though with their environmental themed message, not to mention rushing this to market in an attempt to capitalize on the BP oil spill.  I call bad form on that.  Anyway, watch it in glorious 720P!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

John Adams

After a week out of town, I finally got the time to finish off the John Adams mini series that I've been watching for a few weeks now.  Not being a historian, I don't know how accurate it is, however I am of the opinion that the screen play must have been written by one of his detractors.  The mini series left me wondering what exactly made him great.  The film portrayed him as being petty and concerned above all else with his reputation and his legacy.  He neglected his family to seek glory and honor in Europe prior to the revolution, disowned one son who "shamed the family name" by not following in his father's footsteps and becoming a lawyer and being a financial failure, had ongoing squabbles with Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamiltion, and worst of all, threatened to not accept the vice presidency because he viewed it as a "slap in the face" losing the first presidential election to George Washington.  I have a difficult time believing that a man who was one of the most influential founding fathers was so vain and self righteous.

I was also bothered by the fact that the series skipped over very large segments of time.  In particular they skipped over the Revolutionary War entirely, apparently deeming it unimportant in the story of one of the framers of the Declaration of Independence.  Also, on a technical note, I found it very annoying that the series constantly went back and forth between whispering and shouting.  I was constantly turning up the volume because I couldn't hear what was being said, only to turn it down minutes later because it was too loud.  It's a film making technique which is only surpassed in annoyance by the increasingly popular "shaky cam".  Perhaps worst of all, however, was that it was just boring.  The episodes really dragged.

I've had an unexplainable interest in early US history recently, also watching documentaries on Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, so I did enjoy the history, no matter how dubious, and the acting and production was for the most part well done.  Trying to get a more accurate view of President Adams, I read his entry on the White House web site and have started perusing his Wikipedia entry.  If any historians would like to weigh in on the accuracy, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Quotes of the Day

The Motley Fool was kind enough to provide several great quotes today, supposedly in regards to economics, but the best ones were more about human nature in general.  Here are my favorites:

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always rely on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

"A lie can run around the world six times while the truth is still trying to put on its pants." - Mark Twain

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." - Yogi Berra

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

"Ability without honor is useless." - Cicero

"Have a great Memorial Day Weekend" - Craw Fu

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nicknames

In an attempt to limit the pain, I have watched the Mariners sparingly this year.  What I have come to realize, however, is that the only thing more painful than watching the play on field is having to hear Rick Rizzs spew the least thoughtful nicknames ever created.  There is nothing worse than just abbreviating someone's name and adding a 'y' to the end.  It's like fingernails on a chalk board every time I have to hear Ichy, Fisty, Figgy, or the two that are so stupid sounding that the literally fill me with anger - Lopey and Gutty.  Come on Rick, how about just a little bit of creativity, and for the love of all things holy, something less stupid or step aside and let somebody with more creativity take over.  Even ripping off the A-Rod method of nicknaming and coming up with F Gut (Franklin Gutierrez) or F Her (tee hee - Felix Hernandez) is a step in the right direction.  I never liked the nickname King Felix either - it's too lazy and pretentious - but I'm going to try to remain focused on the topic at hand.

The Mariners booth has become increasingly boring in general and is really making me long for the days of Ken Levine.  I wish we would bring him back before we end up with Kotchy, Vargy, Leey, Wilsy, Aardsy, etc.  But I'm not one to take the easy way out and simply criticize without offering solutions, so here are but a few that I was able to come up with on short notice.

Jose Lopez:  No Way Jose.  This would be useful every time he steps to the plate.  Imagine if you will, "the Mariners have 2 men on and need a hit here to win this game, will they get it?  No way Jose!"

Doug Fister naturally lends himself to all manner of vulgar nicknames referencing the practice of fisting, however in an attempt to keep things clean since baseball is a family sport here in Seattle, I am considering other options.  The Iron Fist I feel is pretty solid.  I'm also reminded of the karate style Kenpo which translated roughly means the Law of the Fist.  That would make a pretty damned good nickname as well.

Franklin Gutierrez is a difficult riddle to solve.  All I can come up with is Dirty Frank, and then they could play the Pearl Jam song by that name when he gets up to bat.  I'll keep you up to date with any additional nicknames as they come to me.