Tuesday, December 27, 2011


 I saw this picture accompanying an ad on Facebook telling me to browse church girls on christianmingle.com.  Maybe it's just me, but 'church girls' isn't the first thing that springs to mind when I see this photo.  Nor does it make me feel like I'm the target demographic, unless it's suggesting I can expect to find myself in a good, wholesome threesome.  Granted, it is fairly tame by Facebook standards, but still not the image I would think most churches would be advocating. 

Also, I'm now considering starting a band named Wholesome Threesome. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Grinch

Last night my Christmas viewing spree continued unabated with How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  The original cartoon version, not the terrible Jim Carrey version.  Anyway, the point is that early on in the show, the narrator kept going on and on about how what the Grinch hated most about the Whos down in Whoville is the noise.  Quoth the Grinch, "That's one thing I hate! All the noise, noise, noise, noise!"

Well, this reminded me that on nearly a daily basis, I complain about the noisy people in my office.  But rather than feel like a Grinch, I found that this made him more relateable and sympathetic.  The Grinch wasn't really a bad guy, he was just a private man who enjoyed quiet and solitude but was continually pestered by his noisy and inconsiderate neighbors.  Yes, I would gladly steal Christmas from some of my co-workers if it would get them to shut the hell up. 

This got me thinking:  a lot of offices have a 'secret Santa' program around this time of year where people anonymously give gifts.  Well, I think I'm going to start a 'secret Grinch' program in my office.  I am going to go around and anonymously steal people's roast beast and whatever other things strike my fancy, while leaving behind a business card saying, "courtesy of the Grinch."  I realize that publicly stating this may reduce the anonymity somewhat, but that's a risk I'm willing to take if this thing is ever going to catch on.  And since I don't work with any children, only adults that act like children, there are no Cindy Lou Whos to guilt me into giving stuff back and making my heart grow 3 sizes - a serious medical condition known as cardiomegaly, by the way, which claims lives each year, yet more evidence that the Whos are insidious - I won't be giving anything back.  Anything I take will be mine forever.  Eventually I will have some peace and quiet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dorito Taco

News has just reached me that Doritos and Taco Bell have joined forces to create the healthiest food in North America:  the taco made out of a Dorito taco shell.  Taco Bell had to tone down the spices it usually puts in it's "beef" for this concoction, presumably to prevent any flavor attacks or flavor overdoses.  Still, I don't see any way this could go wrong, other than orange fingers, heart disease, obesity, etc.  You know, the usual. 

Were there a Taco Bell within walking distance of my office, I would have tried one of these already.  Circumstances as they are, however, you will have to wait until an unspecified later date for a full report.  If anyone has already tried one of these, or if any Taco Bell employees happen to read this and are willing to offer me a free one in return for a full review for an audience of at least 4 people, contact me immediately.  That said, I may have to hit up Taco Bellevue on the way home tonight.

Happy Hanukkah

Today marks the official start of Hanukkah, so happy Hanukkah to any and all Jewish friends out there.  In an attempt to learn more about the holiday, I recently watched The Hebrew Hammer.  Adam Goldberg stars as an orthodox Jewish hero nicknamed the Hebrew Hammer who is on a mission to save Hanukkah after Damian Claus (son of Santa) vows to eradicate the holiday after murdering his father and seizing control of Christmas.  Unfortunately I didn't learn much about Hanukkah from this movie, but I did learn a lot about what makes a movie bad.  After sitting through the whole mess, I decided to go to Wikipedia instead, hopefully the entry there is accurate. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

"It's [Christmas] a poor excuse to pick a man's pocket every 25th of December." - Ebenezer Scrooge

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Conan The Barbarian

The original Conan the Barbarian was a masterpiece.  Since remakes of classics are typically sketchy at best, I approached this remake with trepidation.  The horrible reviews and bad trailers only added to the concern and lowered expectations.  As it turns out, my expectations were not low enough, Conan was absolutely abysmal in every way. 

I didn't expect or even want a scene for scene remake, but the only things this disaster had in common with the original are a character named Conan whose parents were killed by marauders and leaving him to spend his life in pursuit of vengeance.  Apart from that, the remake is completely unrecognizable from the original. As a matter of fact, that's pretty much the only plot involved.  All plot development could have been squeezed into less than 10 minutes.  The movie consisted of 2 minutes of plot followed by 20 minutes of boring and pointless action, repeated for 2 hours. 

How can action scenes be boring?  No character development.  If you don't know and/or don't care who the characters are, you really don't care who they are fighting or why.  For example, in one scene a sorceress casts a spell causing 'dirt people' to rise up from the sand and attack Conan.  They all looked exactly the same, and when one would get killed, it would dissolve back into sand and another would rise to replace it.  It didn't take long before I started wondering, "how many of these things does he have to kill before we can get back to the story?"  The answer is:  way too many. 

The endless waves of disposable characters who look the same and you know nothing about is endemic of the lack of character development.  Conan is the only character I can name.  All we ever learn about him is that his parents, along with everyone in his village, were killed and he is seeking revenge.  They were killed by some guy, probably meant to look scary but he's not, who had a magic mask with which he plans to take over the world.  Among his minions is his daughter, a sorceress who is given a laughable hair style and costumes and covered in tattoos, also most likely in a failed attempt to make her look scary.  Her persistent posturing and scowling results in her coming across more as an emo/goth teen though.  There's another big, scary villain played by Bob Sapp, former University of Washington offensive lineman (and Bear and Viking) turned pro wrestler turned mixed martial artist.  He was the best part of the movie despite the fact that I know nothing about his character. Rounding out the characters in descending order of memorability are the damsel in distress turned love interest, the villain who had his nose cut off by Conan, and the thief.  None of them with any back story, name, or any other information about them.

With a large budget, you'd expect at least quality special effects and costumes, but again you'd be disappointed.  As previously mentioned, the costumes that were meant to make guys look intimidating instead made them look ridiculous.  The special effects are passable, but not what you'd expect from a big budget movie.  Some of the scenery and monsters looked good, but others looked obviously fake. In all, the result is worse than an episode of Hercules or Xena Warrior Princess.  The acting and script in this mess weren't even up to par.  So if you're a Conan fan and hoping that the reviews are mistaken and you can re-capture some of the magic of the original, give up hope.  Conan The Barbarian is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.


Friday I got home at a reasonable hour but wasn't in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I decided to whip up something quick & easy: pizza. I started with Flat-Out™ flat bread, covered it with olive oil instead of tomato sauce, then added colby/jack cheese since I don't have any mozzarella. To complete the masterpiece, I threw on pepperoni, bacon bits, onions and olives. Then sprinkled parmesan over the works and threw it in the oven. Turned out great. 

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Again I got home late and didn't have time to cook. As soon as I got home I headed to Costco which, for the record, was the least crowded I've ever seen it. I walked right up to a cashier without waiting in line. It was awesome. At least until I got back to the parking lot where idiots were still plentiful. Lazy people were still stopped waiting for a parking spot even though parking was plentiful. One woman was blocking the parking lot and cars were backed up to the street when someone finally drove around her. This prompted the woman in the minivan to start honking lime crazy, floor it up to where the guy parked one aisle away and gave him the finger and started yelling. What is the matter with people? From there it was straight to the dojo for a work out. Long story short, I didn't get home until 9:30 and at that point I just cheated and ate the Caesar salad I got at Costco. The only addition I made was slivered almonds.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Monday & Tuesday nights I got home late and didn't have time to cook and just reheated leftover pulled pork for fajitas again. It's all gone now though so I was forced to cook up a little stir fry. Some chicken, carrots, peas, and broccoli simmered in hot chili oil and eventually drown in general Tso's sauce. I wish I had some chow mein noodles to throw on top, but alas I have none. Also no egg rolls or gyoza on the side, but maybe next time after I've done some shopping. For now this will have to do.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Volume II: What Else Goes In Me

Tonight I just finished eating some baked chicken breast.  I added broccoli, cauliflower, and garlic cloves before baking.  I sprayed the whole works with a mist of olive oil, then added seasoning salt which, according to the label, is comprised of sea salt, pepper, garlic, onion, carrot, chives, and chili powder.  It tasted wonderful.

Breakfast Salad

I've been considering this for a while now, and with various lunch foods making in roads to the breakfast menu, I've got one more that I think should make the transition.  The breakfast salad.  Burritos and sandwiches have become mainstays of the breakfast menu despite having no business being eaten before noon, so why not the salad too?  The way I see it, there will be a base of lettuce, topped by scrambled eggs, a little bacon or sausage, croutons (since they are essentially toast), and topped with a little gravy.  I'm a little iffy on using gravy instead of salad dressing, but if gravy is acceptable for other breakfast foods (grits 'n gravy, biscuits 'n gravy, on top of chicken fried steak), then it seems a more logical choice than ranch dressing or raspberry vinaigrette. 

In order to provide full disclosure, I'll admit that I have yet to try such a concoction, it's only in the theoretical phase of development at this point.  One day soon, however, I expect to see it on restaurant menus as a healthier breakfast alternative to a breakfast burrito.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

What Goes In Me

In what is currently planned as a week long series, I will document what I eat for dinner each day. Why, you ask? Because I'm bored and no longer have anything else worthwhile to share. Also because you are what you eat and some may wonder what exactly makes me so great. Oh, and also to dispel the myth that my mother seems to gave that all I eat are frozen pizza, microwavable burritos, hot pockets, ramen noodles, etc.

On the menu today are fajitas. Made from pulled pork with some onions & bell peppers sauteed in hot chili oil to make them a little spicy. Some shredded cheese is thrown on top before the whole thing is wrapped up in a low carb tortilla. Delicious.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My Dream

Listening to Rich Eisen talk about the 500+ roster moves that Pete Carroll and John Schneider have made for the Seahawks since they took over less than 2 years ago (and the 40-50 more that he estimates it will take to make the Seahawks good) reminds me of a dream of mine that was born less than 2 years ago. I want to be signed and released by the Seahawks. I don't have to play, or even practice with the team. It doesn't need to be during the season. I don't even need to get paid for my time with the team. And there are no other caveats or contract demands from me, although I would enjoy getting to meet Walter Thurmond. I just want to be able to say I was a Seahawk. If. Anyone has some connections within the Seahawks organization who can make this happen, let me know. And if coach Carroll or GM Schneider happen to stumble upon this, how about it guys?  I'll make you proud.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What Has Happened To The History Channel?

I can remember the days when the History Channel was home to some quality programming.  When history was actually mentioned on the channel.  But now it's gone the way of MTV, airing one terrible reality show after another in a race to the bottom to appeal to the lowest common denominator.  Just look at their line up:

American Restoration
American Pickers

Pawn Stars

Big Shrimpin'
Hairy Bikers
Ice Road Truckers
What is this garbage?  How do any of these shows have even have the remotest relevance to history?  This is an absolute joke.  This is nothing but gawking at the lower class.  The channel should change its name to the Red Neck Reality Show Channel.  Anyone employed by the History Channel should be filled with shame.

Heartbreak Ridge

For Veteran's Day I did manage to find a Granada film to watch - Heartbreak Ridge.  Clint Eastwood plays a surly, troubled Marine Corp gunnery sergeant who, when he's not picking fights, finds himself in jail on drunk and disorderly charges.  Mario van Peebles co-stars as a terrible actor pretending to be a flamboyant marine who moonlights as a horrible singer/guitarist who thinks he's going to be a rock star.  Truly one of the worst performances I've seen outside of a B movie.  I had to fight the urge to shut the movie off every time he referred to himself as, "the ayatollah of rock & rolla" which he did several times.  Clint is a certified bad ass - a congressional medal of honor winner for his service in Korea - and is assigned to whip a platoon of cocky, entitled, insubordinate marines into fighting shape. 

The portrayal of the force recon marines - the marine corp special forces - was one of the most unrealistic things I've seen in a film.  They were completely undisciplined, spending more time goofing off and trying to act like macho tough guys than doing any actual training.  They are insubordinate, repeatedly ignoring direct orders and telling their commanding officer 'you can't tell me what to do'.  One of them even picks a fight with Clint (and loses badly).  If any soldiers really acted like this, I'm sure they would be dishonorably discharged.  It's an insult to anyone who has ever served in the military.  Some people have suggested that it is a satire of gung-ho war movies but I really didn't get that impression.  Any satire present was completely unintentional and I think calling it a satire is making an excuse for a poor movie.

This movie was a failure on nearly every level and I couldn't find anything to like about it.  It fails as a war movie with an hour and a half buildup for a 10 minute battle which was hugely anticlimactic.  The superior officers are a bad cliche - incompetent dim wits who hold a grudge against Clint and are constantly setting him up to fail.  If you're looking for some insight into the Granada conflict, you're better off reading the Wikipedia entry since this doesn't tell you anything about what led up to the invasion, what happened during combat, or the aftermath.  It may as well have been a fictional conflict.  There is no character development and no depth to any of the characters.  The dialogue is laughable.  The plot is eye rolling.  The only thing I can imagine that anyone might enjoy is if you're looking for a movie where Clint is a tough guy who beats people up and thumbs his nose at authority, and you don't care about anything else, then this might be the movie for you.  Otherwise you're better of staying away.

Just watching this trailer again makes me cringe.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day

It's time once again to thank all of the brave men and women both currently serving and retired from active duty who have risked their lives for my freedom and safety.  Nothing I can say will ever come close to expressing the gratitude I feel. 

Usually I observe Veterans Day by watching a war movie, however I don't know if there are any left that I haven't seen.  I watched Band of Brothers again earlier this year and its companion series The Pacific (which was disappointing in comparison).  I watched Patton on Memorial Day.  It's been a while since I've seen The Longest Day or A Bridge Too Far, but I feel like I need something other than WWII or Vietnam.  I don't know if there are any films about the Grenada invasion, I couldn't find one on google.  I kind of feel like watching Tropic Thunder again, is that too disrespectful?  Maybe I should watch We Were Soldiers, I haven't seen that in a few years.  I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Smooth Criminal

At some point last week a terrible cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal came on the radio.  What made this cover so bad was that the band performed it - Alien Ant Farm according to the internet - turned it into an alternative song.  This is exactly why I rarely listen to KNDD - I don't want bad music burrowing into my head like the worm that Khan put into Chekov's ear in Star Trek II.  And if you're wondering, yes I did shriek in agony just like Chekov when I heard that song.  The problem here is that I heard just enough of it that it keeps getting stuck in my head.  And here's the weird part - it only happens at work for some reason.  I don't know what it is about this desk that it torments me with bad music, maybe it's possessed. 

If you haven't heard the cover, do yourself a favor and don't go out and listen to it.  It's worse than the heavy metal cover of Come On Eileen that I had planned years ago and, fortunately for all, never followed through on.  I still think a Canyonero cover is a good idea though.  I know a few people in bands and have tried to talk them into performing a live cover but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.  It smells like a steak and seats 35.  Since I refuse to link to Alien Ant Farm, here's the Canyonero song instead. 

Anyway, long story short, if you've got any songs that will dislodge Alien Ant Farm from my brain, let me know.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Iniative 1183

Yesterday I got home and opened my mailbox to find yet another large, glossy political pamphlet telling me to vote no on Initiative 1183, the initiative to privatize liquor sales.  Like so many of it's previous brethren, this pamphlet told me in bold print that Costco is contributing millions of dollars to the campaign and is trying to buy the election.  Ignoring the other facts that passing 1183 will mean opening liquor stores within schools, that DUI fatalities will increase at least 1000 fold, and that society as we know it will come to an end, I couldn't help wondering why, if Costco is spending so much money to pass this initiative, then why am I not getting any mailings telling me to vote yes while I'm receiving at least 2 a week telling me to vote no.  And why are 3 out of 4 televised commercials I see telling me to vote no.  And which firemen am I supposed to believe, the ones telling me to vote yes or the ones telling me to vote no? 

So I set off to find some kind of data telling me how much money the vote no folks are spending, since they are so focused on spending.  I assumed that there had to be some sort of transparency on campaign financing, but didn't know where to look.  After some digging, I found the Public Disclosure Commission web site.  Unfortunately I discovered that it's not as easy as just searching by initiative, candidate, ballot measure, etc.  You have to search by committee, and there may be (and most likely are) multiple committees for each initiative.  As it turns out there are hundreds and hundreds of committees to search through. 

While far from a thorough accounting, I did make some progress.  I found that the Yes On 1183 Coalition has spent roughly $18 million so far.  The largest contributors thus far being Costco, Safeway, and Trader Joe's.  And it should be noted that with the exception of Trader Joe's, every contributor is from Washington state.

On the other hand is Protect Our Communities.  This poor organization has thus far spent roughly $12 million to tell us how much Costco is spending.  Not as much as the proponents, but still a significant amount.  What I found most interesting, however is that the majority of contributors are from out of state.  The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Of America, Inc out of Washington DC are far and away the biggest contributors donating almost $9 million to date.  I'm sure that the well being of Washington citizens is their primary concern.  The National Beer Wholesalers Assn of Alexandria, VA is the next largest contributor.  Surely their motives are altruistic as well.  As a matter of fact it appears that 80-90% of contributors are out of state alcohol distributors, and the majority of in state contributions come from unions.  I don't know what the UFCW Local 21 or the Teamsters have to gain by rejecting the initiative, but they have donated a significant amount.

So, after all of the lies and BS put forward by the no on 1183 campaign, I am not surprised to find that nearly all of the people trying to "protect our communities" have absolutely no interest in protecting any communities, but rather are wholly motivated by lining their own pockets.  I also learned that I can't spell initiative correctly to save my life.  I spelled it wrong every time I typed it.  Thank you spell check.  I also learned that you can't trust those shifty, no good firemen.  And all of this adds up to me voting yes on 1183.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Quote of the Day

In my office there is a significant problem with noisy people.  I really, truly hate them all.  Of particular note today are a group of women who sit down the hall and are prone to start cackling like witches extremely loudly.  They could bring in a cauldron and start casting spells on people and I wouldn't care if they would just STFU.  It truly is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. 

Anyway, after an outbreak of maniacal laughter today, one co-worker who shall remain anonymous said without missing a beat, "oh good, the rhesus monkeys we ordered have arrived."  It made me laugh and is good enough to be awarded with the coveted quote of the day.

Monday, October 31, 2011


The Seahawks are becoming increasingly frustrating to watch.  For starters, there has been so much roster churn over the last 2 years that there are fewer and fewer players who have been around long enough that I give a crap about them.  I have to wonder how big a negative impact that is having on jersey sales.  Why would you buy one when there's no telling who will be here from one year to the next.  More importantly, I'm really beginning to wonder if Pete Carroll and John Schneider have any idea what they're doing.  Winning cures a lot of things, and so I gave them the benefit of the doubt last year, but this year the team is performing worse than the much maligned team they took over a couple years ago. 

I will admit that I've been impressed with the performance of the defense, particularly since they spend 2/3 of every game on the field.  They could use some better pass rushing (I'm still bitter about not drafting Da'Quan Bowers), and Brandon Browner can't cover anyone without holding and bumping them all down the field, still, the defense has been impressive.  The offense, on the other hand, has been abysmal.  The running game is worse than ever, and the passing game is a joke.  I still can't wrap my mind around how, with better quarterbacks available, management brought in bad QBs two years in a row while vociferously proclaiming both saviors of the franchise.  Is their talent evaluation really that bad?  Worse than the average knucklehead on the internet who can't complete a sentence without attempting grammar genocide (see Field Gulls for examples of barely literate know it alls)?

More troubling, however, is the questionable play calling.  I don't know if it's a play calling issue or an execution issue, but it is really head scratching how we can have several talented ball catchers on the team - Mike Williams, Sidney Rice, and Zach Miller are all very productive but somehow we can't get them the ball.  And I can't, for the life of me, understand why we aren't throwing jump balls on short yardage plays.  Mike Williams is 6'5", Sidney Rice is 6'4", Kris Durham is 6'6", Zach Miller is 6'5", can you really tell me that we can't get a height mismatch with one of them if we put them all in?  And Kris Durham had a 35" vertical leap at the combine on top of the height!  Yet we haven't even tried it.  And Pete Carroll's propensity for head scratching play calls - like running a draw on 4th down with 14 seconds on the clock and no remaining time outs - continue to be a cause for concern.  In post game interviews he always makes comments about them being emotional calls.  Shouldn't a head coach be in control of his emotions enough to make logical calls?

Penalties and mental mistakes are signs of poor coaching, and both have been plentiful this season.  There were 5 or 6 false starts in Sunday's game against the Bengals, which is bad for an away game in a loud stadium but completely inexcusable at home.  And I thought the bone-headed personal fouls would stop after we traded Aaron Curry, but we still are giving away yards with Red Bryant head butting an opponent in front of a ref and Brandon Browner flipping Jerome Simpson - during a time out!  And I still can't figure out why there was so much pushing and shoving going on with the Bengals, we don't play them often enough for there to be any bad blood.  The Seahawks are just out of control right now.  After leading the team to a playoff win, I've been willing to give Pete Carroll a long leash, but I'm really beginning to question if he has what it takes to coach in the NFL. 

Finally, I was in attendance at Sunday's game and didn't get any kind of explanation why the Bengals didn't get the ball on the 1 yard line after Andy Dalton threw it at the ref in the second quarter.  I can't, for the life of me, figure out how that was not either a fumble or a backward pass, but for some inexplicable reason the Bengals ended up with the ball at the original line of scrimmage (somewhere around the 17 or 18 if memory serves me correctly).  For the love of God, can somebody explain to me what the hell happened?  Did the officials rule it a forward pass despite the fact that it unquestionably went backwards (several yards backward)? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dunbar's Number

I was reading about Dunbar's Number today which, briefly, is a number theorized by anthropologist Robin Dunbar which is the maximum number of people with which people can maintain a social relationship.  The theory is that the number of people that you can know on more than a superficial level is limited by the size of your neocortex, and that while the exact number is debated, the generally accepted value is 150.  That being said, I feel I've hit my quota and as a result will not be extending or accepting offers of friendship unless one of the following criteria is met:
  1. There is a loss of a current friend or acquaintance, thereby making room for a replacement.
  2. A birth or marriage involving someone who I’m not willing to sever a relationship with occurs, forcing me to accept a new individual.
  3. I meet a woman who is attractive enough that I would be foolish not to befriend her.
  4. Someone is extraordinary in some way, and a social relationship would add to my enjoyment of life.
Now should one of these conditions be met, I will need to re-evaluate my acquaintance structure to determine who should be released in order to make room for the newer and better talent.  Objective metrics have not yet been developed for this friendship evaluation, and based on my laziness, will not be developed until necessity forces me to. 

Ultimately, I feel that I will improve my quality of life and the quality of my social relationships by actively limiting the number of people I associate with and stratifying my friendship hierarchy.  And as always, bribes will effect the seeding of said friends.  As a point of reference, I would like to note that acceptable bribes include but are not limited to: bacon, tickets to sporting events, cash or liquid assets, electronics, vacation packages, etc. 

In conclusion, I didn't really plan this post out well and can't come up with a solid conclusion to wrap it all up, so I'm just going to stop and see how it turns out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Word of the Day

Today's word of the day - 'snackify' - is brought to you by PepsiCo.  Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi recently stated, "We see the emerging opportunity to ‘snackify’ beverages and ‘drinkify’ snacks as the next frontier in food and beverage convenience."

Yes, the company is referring to taking snack foods and liquifying them so that you can drink them.  Sounds delicious, does it not?  This bold slaughter of the English language comes on the heels of the announcement of their new line of drinkable fruit purees.  Also mentioned are some drinkable yogurts, along with plans to mix in grains and nuts in future iterations. 

Lunch time is quickly approaching for me, so I'm going to wrap this up so that I can go do some serious snackification.  You can read more here.

*note - blogger's spell checker recognizes both snackify and drinkify as real words.  Yet somehow it still does not recognize internet as a real word. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Fighter

This weekend I watched The Fighter, a movie based on the real story of working class boxer Micky Ward and his struggles outside the ring with his family.  His overbearing mother wants to manage his career and does a poor job of it.  He has a crack addicted older brother who is in and out of jail whose claim to fame is having knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard before losing the bout on points.  His sisters hate his girlfriend and see her as coming between him and the family.  Through all this he questions his commitment to a career in boxing.

Mark Wahlberg plays Micky Ward and having grown up with a similar childhood, does an admirable job of portraying Micky.  He even does a respectable job of appearing like he can box.  Christian Bale steals the show, however as Dicky Eklund, the crack addict older brother.  Bale underwent a startling physical transformation for the role, looking gaunt and quite haggard.  I think I could take him in a boxing match though.  It is the relationship between the brothers that is the heart of the movie.  It's difficult to see the effect of drug addiction on a family. 

What I found most interesting was that Dicky proudly told everyone who would listen that he was the subject of an HBO documentary.  He tells everyone the subject is his comeback, but in reality the subject is crack addiction.  I managed to find the documentary online here, and while a nice addition to the film, it is heartbreaking to watch.

I recommend both the movie and the documentary.  Together they present a nice one, two punch.

Friday, October 14, 2011


The word on my word origins calendar yesterday was agritourism, which is a type of travel in which a visitor spends time on a farm to learn about the local agriculture. The calendar claims that it's wildly popular in Europe and gaining traction in the US. Other than the episode of the Office where Dwight was trying to turn his beet farm into a Bed & Breakfast, I've not heard of anyone in this country wanting to spend their vacation that way.

That said, I have an idea for a new form of tourism which I think will catch on quickly - agro-tourism. This is where a traveler goes to another city and flies into fits of uncontrollable rage. The thought being that it's better to vent your frustrations with life and the world somewhere other than where you live, thereby keeping your home town friendlier. We have already been shackled with the label of the ugly American so why not perpetuate that myth? It can't make things any worse.

*foot note - the Urban Dictionary defines agro as being angry or hostile for no reason. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

Rent Movies While They Are Still In Theaters

Would you like to be able to rent movies and watch them in the comfort of your own home while they are still in theaters?  Soon you will be able to if you are a Comcast customer.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  Only until you see the $60 price tag.  After I stopped laughing, I realized that for large families this might be a financially viable option, but for most people the concept is ridiculous. 

The theater experience isn't very enjoyable for me since I've officially become a grumpy old man.  Frequently the picture quality isn't as good as on my TV at home, and dealing with the hassle of other people talking and making noise during the movie, or pulling out their phone and sending text messages (they may as well be turning on a flashlight) is irritating.  So for the right price I'd like to watch movies at home, however that amount is significantly less than the asking price.  I'm not sure I'd pay $10.  Then again I'm surprised that there are people that fork over the $5-$7 currently being charged for On Demand movies, yet the price remains so some people must be paying it.  I'm interested to see how long this experiment lasts. 

Chicken McNuggets

About 20 years ago I swore off chicken mcnuggets for good.  Every time I ate them I felt bad afterward, not to mention they didn't really taste very good.  As a matter of fact, I got some for lunch one day and said a quick prayer before digging in, "Dear God, please don't let these kill me."  I proceeded to bite into one only to discover that it was a chunk of breaded fat.  I couldn't find any actual meat in it.  That's what caused me to swear them off forever. 

Some of you may have already guessed where this is going, and you're right.  I took my life into my hands yesterday and strolled down to the ghetto McDonalds on 3rd & Pike.  Luckily I didn't see any drug deals or police activity, nor was I harrassed by the Scientologist next door.  It wasn't all good news, though, the creepy cross dresser was working that day.  But I digress.  I went there with the best of intentions - to get a nice healthy grilled chicken bacon ranch salad.  That's when I fell victim to marketing.  I saw the huge sign saying that 20 piece mcnuggets were only $5 and thought, what the hell.  Obviously they didn't kill me, and I'm happy to report no ill effects to my digestive system.  And I'm happy to report that the chicken to mystery ingredient ratio has improved drastically.  However I was reminded that they still don't taste very good and I can now go another 20 years without eating them. 

Now that I've conquored that fear, Kentucky Fried Chicken - or KFC as they now refer to themselves since the presence of actual chicken in their food is questionable - is trying to lure me back.  That's another place that I only visit every 3-4 years as that is the approximate amount of time required for me to forget how unbelievably greasy their chicken is.  But they keep advertising 4 extra pieces of chicken free in their buckets, and I struggle to resist the lure of free food.  Since I have been there within the last year to try the infamous Double Down, however, I may have been there too recently to fall for it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

No Place Like Dome

I don't know why, but as a kid I always wanted to live in a geodesic dome. Now that I'm all growed up, they seem wildly impractical. There ia very little, if any curved back furniture so furnishing one would be problematic unless you only placed things up against interior walls. Still, I see one right next to 520 in Clyde Hill on a daily basis and there are still days when I would at least like a tour.

*Edited to add pictures for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Last night I sat down to watch The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.  It's a documentary about product placement, marketing and advertising.  Completely funded by product placement, marketing and advertising. 

Let me start by saying that I find the concept completely brilliant, but I've seen brilliant concepts before that failed miserably in execution.  Fortunately Morgan Spurlock, best known for Supersize me, followed through here.  He begins with a discussion and demonstration of how product placement deals are made, allowing the viewer to sit in on negotiations with ad execs.  I found this particularly interesting, notably the reluctance of any companies to sign a deal until some other companies are on board first, as well as the concern as to how their brand would be portrayed.  Many marketers seemed overly concerned that Morgan would make the company look bad, despite the fact that they would be paying his salary.

In the second act, the documentary moves on to a discussion of the ubiquity of advertising in society, it's psychological effect, and it's effectiveness.  One marketing firm went so far as to administer MRIs to subject while showing them various ads in order to view the effects on the brain.  I had no idea that so much effort went into selling me products.

What really made this movie most enjoyable, though, was Morgan Spurlock's humor.  Even during negotiations he wasn't afraid to crack jokes and keep things light.  It was laugh out loud funny at times and contained more humor than a lot of comedies.  It is well worth an hour and a half of your time. 

In the extras on the DVD, Morgan Spurlock asked a lot of people what their favorite commercial of all time was.  Some people mentioned the famous Apple 1984 ad.  Others the Coke ad where Mean Joe Green gives a kid his jersey.  Others the Wendy's 'where's the beef' ads.  For me, however, hands down the best commercial ever made was the Tivo ad starring Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott.  I still use the phrase 'boy howdy' from time to time as a result.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuna Tang

I recently became aware of tuna flavored Tang.  Since clam juice exists, the concept of a seafood beverage isn't unheard of, however it still doesn't seem too appealing.  The good news is that no fish were harmed in the making of this beverage.  The truth is that 'tang' is the Mexican word for the fruit that grows on a cactus.  And from the picture on the package it's plain to see that it's a fruit of some sort.  The bad news is that, from what I've read on the internet, it would taste better if it actually were fish flavored.  I must admit that I am now somewhat curious, so if anyone has a trip to Mexico in their future, be on the lookout for a packet of tuna Tang and smuggle it back across the border for me to try.  I'll report back with a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HDR Photography

I recently downloaded an HDR photography application for my new phone which takes 3 pictures at different exposures and then combines them into one image.  Theoretically this should create more vibrant colors and things won't be hidden in shadows.  I was playing around with it a little at lunch time today and this is the result.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Basketball TV

This is the dumbest thing I've seen since the hamburger phone.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Suck For Luck

I've got a couple new money making ideas for you.  I've been watching the Seahawks and wondering why in the world Pete Carroll has been starting the completely horrible Tarvaris Jackson.  I'm convinced that it's a plan to lose enough games that we can get the top pick in next year's draft and replace him with Andrew Luck.  So I'm thinking about printing up some t-shirts with Jackson's picture emblazoned with the phrase Suck for Luck and selling them outside the stadium.  The should go like hotcakes.  Speaking of which, are hotcakes still the big seller they were in the past?

Moving on, today a coworker suffering from a cold informed me she was running across the street to Bartell's to get some Airborne.  That's when inspiration struck.  I now have plans to manufacture and market a cure all boldly named Placebo.  The catch phrase will be, "it will cure whatever ailment you think it will."  I think the general population is so willing to buy placebos already that brazenly naming it Placebo will make it irresistible.  I think I will make the primary ingredient sugar for two reasons.  Sugar pills have been historically used as a placebo, and also I figure the sweet taste will make it that much more pleasing to the suckers, uh, customers. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

AJ Jacobs Trilogy

I recently completed reading AJ Jacobs 3 books (to date).  Since I'm pretty lazy, I'm combining all 3 reviews into one big, magical review.
Several months ago I read The Guinea Pig Diaries, the basic premise of which is that he would spend a month or so experimenting with a new lifestyle or behavior and see what effect it would have on his life and those around him. 

A couple examples:  my favorite, in one chapter he outsources his life. He hired some personal assistants to respond to his emails, answer his phone calls, do his shopping, read bedtime stories to his children, argue with his wife, etc.  In another chapter, he practices 'radical honesty' which basically entails not just telling the truth 100% of the time, but going one step further and removing the filter between your brain and your mouth and simply saying whatever pops into your head.

Not only is the subject matter interesting, but AJ presents it in an entertaining manner.  He's got a great sense of humor and weaves a lot of personal anecdotes into his narrative, effectively demonstrating the utility, or lack thereof, of the experiments.  You really get a good idea of how people will/do react to an unfiltered mouth, or how a spouse would/does respond to being referred to a personal assistant.  AJ definitely steps out of the theoretical and jumps into practical application with both feet.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the Guinea Pig Diaries, I followed it up with The Know It All.  In an effort to learn all there is to know, AJ embarks on a quest to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and shares the journey along the way.  This was his first book, and it shows.  It has it's moments but overall lacks the polish and fails to captivate in the way his later books do.  As you may have guessed based on the subject matter, it is a little dry.  This book comes across as you would imagine one penned by Cliff Clavin would.  There are some interesting facts, but a lot of the book is just tedious. 

Finally, I made my way to The Year of Living Biblically.  Like his other books, this is an account of a sociological experiment.  This time he undertakes spending a full year following the bible as literally as possible.  I really admire him for his dedication in taking the assignment so seriously.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, he goes all in.  In addition to growing a full, bushy beard and walking the streets of New York for months donning old testament garb, he goes so far as to stone an adulterer.  Don't worry though, the guy had it coming.

This book is amusing at times, but what I really found interesting was his earnestness in truly trying to not just follow a set of rules, but to understand the mind set of people with very different views from his.  A liberal agnostic, he could have used this as an opportunity to mock the religious but instead attended church and prayed with snake handlers and invited a Jehovah's Witness to his home and had a frank and genuine conversation with him until said Witness had had enough and called it a night.  The effort put into this book is admirable, and it really is a valuable insight into the mind of someone truly trying to understand an opposing viewpoint.  The world would be a better place if more people put in the effort into understanding others.  The Year of Living Biblically was well worth the time to read.

Seether - Country Song

Even though I hate country music - it's the devil's music - I have to admit that Country Song by Seether is pretty catchy.  Every time I hear it though, one particular lyric really bothers me.

I can't stand the taste of your mouth
This sublimation's out of my hands

What the hell is that supposed to mean?  It makes no sense at all.  Sublimation is the process of something changing states from solid to gas, completely bypassing the intermediate state or vice versa.  The most common example being snow - water vapor solidifies without ever becoming liquid.  How can that possibly apply to the taste of someone's mouth?  Until I can get an acceptable answer to this question, I can't purchase any Seether music out of principal. 

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Hemp Latte

You know you're in a hippy town when the coffee shop has a hemp latte on the menu.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Warren Buffett

In honor of Warren Buffett's 81st birthday, here are some of his best quotes:

"In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497."

"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price."

"Over the years, Charlie and I have observed many accounting-based frauds of staggering size. Few of the perpetrators have been punished; many have not even been censured. It has been far safer to steal large sums with pen than small sums with a gun."

"Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."

"I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will. "

"Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken."

"A girl in a convertible is worth five in the phonebook. "

"Beware of geeks bearing formulas."

"Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction."

"Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway."

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting

Today I listened to the most recent Freakonomics podcast titled: The Economist’s Guide to Parenting.  It was pretty interesting, and more importantly, revived a question I've had for a long time - why do people choose to have kids?  Children are a financial drain, having children takes away free time and privacy, studies have shown that parents are less happy than comparable people without children.  No matter what angle I look at, children are a detriment rather than a compliment.  Is it simply a biological imperative - that some people have an overwhelming urge to procreate?  Is there a disillusion that children will bring happiness?  Are people lonely and think kids will relieve the loneliness?  Is it just because you need someone to mow the lawn and do the dishes but can't afford a landscaper or maid?  I've read that some people have a psychological compulsion to have offspring - feeling that it gives them a sense of purpose in life, a legacy if you will, and as such the closest thing to immortality.  But that can't be the only reason.  And of course, there are the idiots like these two creeps who are so stupid that they think that the extra $65 a month that an extra child will bring on their welfare check makes the statutory rape of a 12 year old girl a good idea.  Idiocracy doesn't seem so far fetched after a story like that. 

Long story short, despite the fact that I can't think of a good reason to produce offspring, people do it every day and I know quite a few people who have children.  Even my parents thought it was a good idea at some point.  So I welcome all feedback on what might compel you to reproduce.  I'm sure the parents I know have good reasons, but I'm sure the childless have some even more entertaining reasons for or against as well.  As for me it remains something I can't logically reason out for myself. 

On a personal note, despite the fact that I've considered this dilemma before, I've never taken the logical step of asking my parents what their reasons were.  I always assumed it was because they needed someone to do housework.  They may have a different story though.  And I'm not making any judgments about my dad, but I've never seen him laugh harder at the Simpsons as when Grandpa said, "It was your mother's job to name you, and love you and such. I was mainly in it for the spanking."  I'm just saying ...

Finally, in an effort to prevent or at the very least postpone an Idiocracy scenario, I feel it is in the nation's and the taxpayers' best interest to offer free vasectomies and tubal ligations at the government's expense.  The majority of the nation's poverty, drug, and crime problems can be linked to irresponsible parents who don't want and are incapable of raising kids but have them anyway because they are too lazy and/or stupid to use birth control.  I think the one time expense will pay for itself many times over in a reduction in future long term crime prevention, litigation, and incarceration costs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


... That elusive 500th Starbucks downtown location that we've all been waiting for. There are still places where I have to cross the street to get coffee though so they still have some expanding to do.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fortune Favors The Bold

...or so conventional wisdom teaches us.  Equally true, albeit less frequently if ever mentioned, is that disaster also favors the bold.  Taking risks without understanding or recognizing the potential downside should not be misconstrued as courage when it is, in fact, ignorance.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't be bold, but rather that judicious analysis of the risks involved is wise. 

Friday, August 05, 2011


I was made aware that yesterday, allegedly, a man perched himself upon the ledge above the Bartell's across the street from my office and threatened to jump. Police arrived on the scene and the man got some attention, which I suppose is the point. Anyway, I can't help thinking, if you truly plan on jumping to your death, shouldn't you get atop a building taller than 25 feet or so? At that height all you'll do is break your legs. I'm told that the drama came to an end when a police officer offered him a cigarette, so I suppose he was just jonesing for a smoke all along.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Quote of the Day

 Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.  - Charles Darwin

I'm in the middle of a book that, the portion I was reading this morning, discusses confidence, and more specifically misplaced confidence.  The book mentioned this quote while noting that studies have shown that the least talented people are often the most confident.  So file this little gem away until the next time you come across someone who knows everything and will never admit to being wrong or unsure about anything. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goodbye Verizon?

For months now I've been waiting to upgrade my phone.  I've been eligible for an upgrade since 12/31/10 but have been waiting for a dual core LTE phone.  Two such phones were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in JANUARY, and to date neither phone is available, and what's worse, neither phone even has a release date announced.  Both the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Motorola Droid Bionic were originally scheduled for release in April, however for reasons that were never made public, both phones have been plagued by repeated delays.  Now here we are at the end of July and Motorola has announced the the Bionic will be available "summer 2011" while Samsung has narrowed their date down to "August".  There are rumors that the Bionic will be available 8/4, but there are also rumors that it won't be out until sometime in September.  Based on it's track record, a delay until September seems more likely.  There are rumors that the date for the Galaxy S II is 8/12, but there's nothing substantial to back that up. 

Meanwhile, over at Sprint, the HTC Evo 3D is available now, and the Motorola Photon will be available 7/31 and has very similar specs to the Bionic.  Is it time to switch carriers and give up on Verizon.  Honestly, I think that if 8/4 comes and goes and the Bionic is still unavailable, then I will walk into the Sprint store on 8/5 and give them my business.  The Galaxy S II has been available in other countries for 4 months, yet we can't even get a firm release date in the US.  Frankly, I'm tired of waiting, and by the time either of these phones actually hits the market, something better will be available.  Sure, Verizon has the fastest network, but what good is that if I have to access it on an inferior phone?  Every day it's looking more and more like my days as a Verizon customer are numbered.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Electric Razors

I am in need of a new electric razor.  The batteries in my old one died and I managed to destroy the razor while trying to extract the batteries.  So I've been relying on a blade for the last several months, which means I've only been shaving about once a week since a blade is more time consuming and messy.  Anyway, I've been wondering whether the cleaning systems are worthwhile or if I'm better off saving my money and counter space and just manually cleaning my razor.  My old razor was a wet/dry model and I could just run it under the faucet which seemed to do the job just fine.  Some of the docks claim to sharpen the blades as well, but I wonder if it's just a gimmick. Does anyone have any experience with these? 

In unrelated news, I'm pretty much sold on the foil razors.  Hopefully the rotary razors have improved a lot since the last time I used one, but they were significantly louder and much more abrasive to my skin.  It's foil or nothing for me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trade Rumors

Shamelessly copied and pasted from ESPN.com:

UPDATE: It appears the Mariners are committing themselves to showcasing Figgins as they have announced Thursday morning that rookie Kyle Seager has been optioned back to Triple-A, which leaves third base wide open for the veteran for the time being. Furthermore, Figgins started in left field Thursday in Toronto.


The Seattle Mariners would seemingly do anything to rid themselves of the burdensome contract of Chone Figgins, who is due $17 million over the next two years.
In the midst of an 11-game losing streak, the Mariners Wednesday made no effort to showcase Figgins, who was picked off first base Tuesday against Toronto as the trail runner in a first-and-third situation. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says manager Eric Wedge was "visibly peeved" with Figgins and decided to keep him on the bench.

Figgins, hitting a mere .184, lately has been limited to occasional starts at third base in place of rookie Kyle Seager.

Baker says Figgins is drawing some trade interest from the Reds, who are looking for a leadoff hitter. Any such deal would undoubtedly have the Mariners eating a chunk of salary.

If there is any truth to these rumors, I say send him to the Reds.  Eat as much of his salary as it takes (short of all of it) and take whatever we can get in return.  Just get him off the roster.

In barely related news, I'm once again renewing my plea to Rick Rizzs to, for the love of God, exercise some creativity for once when coming up with nicknames.  I can't take any more guys with a y added to part of their name, ie: Ichy, Guty, Miggy, Figgy, Peggy, Vargy, Fisty, etc.  This is absolutely shameful for someone who calls himself a professional broadcaster.  Not only is this extremely lazy, it's also too cutesy and irritating.  And not being one to criticize without offering some alternatives of my own, I present to you:
The Smoaker (Justin Smoak) - admittedly no more clever but significantly less cutesy.  As an alternative, the Smoak Monster - for those Lost fans.
Carpe Diem (Mike Carp)
Silver Bullet (recently demoted Kyle Seager) - this one may be too obscure for your average fan though
Beavis (Blake Beavan)
The Iron Fist (Doug Fister)
Peg Leg (Carlos Peguero)
The Frog (Luke French) - he's in Tacoma but still on the 40 man roster so he's technically eligible for a nickname
F Her (Felix Hernandez) - borrowing the A Rod nicknaming convention, this one may be to risque for the conservative Mariner organization.  Still, I find it amusing.
Laffey Taffy (Aaron Laffey)
Admiral Ackley (Dustin Ackley) - it's a trap!  This one may be my favorite.
Shakespeare (Josh Bard) - again, possibly to obscure, not to mention that it goes against the long standing tradition that nicknames are typically shorter than actual names.
The Red (Chone Figgins) - this one is wishful thinking.

I don't have a nickname for Greg Halman, but do think they should play Soul Man when he gets up to bat.  My mental soundtrack already queues it up for him.

There is plenty of room for improvement here, but I feel it's a good starting point. 

In addition, I can't stand to listen to Dave Sims anymore.  If there is a less passionate, less knowledgable announcer out there, I haven't heard him.  I heard him refer to 'Safeco Park' in a recent game.  Again, shameful.  He doesn't even know where he goes to work every day.  Get anybody else in there.  I'd kind of like to hear Kevin Calabro even though he likely doesn't know anything about baseball.  At least he's enjoyable to listen to.  Or how about being the first team to break the gender barrier and bring in Jenny Finch or maybe some other former member of the US National softball team.  That's close enough to baseball that they should have some valuable insights, and since Jenny Finch is married to former major leaguer Casey Daigle, she should be knowledgable about baseball in addition to softball. 

That's it, I'm done for the day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trade Deadline

I've had this sitting here half written for several days, so I guess I should finish it up.  If it's uneven, that's because I cared about it when I started but don't anymore - I just don't want to completely abandon it.

With the trade deadline roughly 2 weeks away and the Mariners all but eliminated from any playoff hopes (they still have a 2% chance of making the playoffs according to Cool Standings), they are officially sellers this year.  So let the trade talks begin.  Currently there are only 4 guys on the roster that I would be unwilling to trade:  Hernandez, Pineida, Smoak, and Ackley.  And even then, for the right price I could be talked into giving up any of them except Felix.  The problem is, other than those guys, who do we have that might bring us anything worthwhile in return?  I would say Ichiro and maybe Brandon League. I don't think ownership will ever let Ichiro go, but with him currently hitting .260 with 1 HR and 24 RBI, an OBP of .307, and a salary of $17M a year, I'm certainly willing to let him go at this point in his career.  Brandon League made the All Star team this year and his value will probably never be higher.  I don't have a great deal of confidence in him, so for the right price I'd trade him, I just don't know if any contender is willing to give us a legitimate prospect for him.

So the question in my mind is:  which position players will be with the team long term?  And I define long term as beyond the 2012 season.  The pitching staff is solid, it's just the fielders that need work.  Looking at the roster now I say Ackley, Smoak, and maybe Carp and Halman.  Beyond that it's a complete rebuild.  Nobody else can hit well enough to keep around.  And yes, I am saying that I think Ichiro is just about done.  I don't know who in Tacoma is going to be able to step into the majors next year - I like what I've seen of Matt Mangini, but the team doesn't seem to think too highly of him.  The organization seems to like Kyle Seager and have given him a little playing time at 3rd, so assuming he pans out, that leaves 5 holes to fill.  Since it doesn't appear that we will fill those holes through our own minor league system that means we have to fill them through free agency or trades.  Unloading Ichiro's $17M salary and Figgins $9M will mean we can do a bit more the free agent route, but we still have to trade for 2-3 major league ready players or prospects.  Without crippling the pitching staff that's a tall order to fill. 

Considering all this, I think the only trades we're likely to see are 1 reliever and 1 starter going.  Ichiro is the only position player that might bring back a decent return but ownership will never let him go.  Any other trades will be to dump salary or clear a roster spot to get a younger guy more playing time.  So I think we might see Brandon League go - his value has never been higher.  I'm skeptical as to how long he can remain productive anyway so I won't shed a tear if he leaves.  It's also possible that either Vargas or Fister might get traded.  It would be a shame to lose either, but with the amount of run support they have gotten I have to think either would welcome a trade.  That's it, one or two of those three, and maybe dumping some fielders who are taking up roster space.  We won't see anything to get excited about this year. 

What The Hell Is That?

I received one of these mystery fruit from a friend of mine who, in turn, received them in a bag of assorted organic fruits and vegetables.  I am as clueless as her as to what it might be.  It has a hard rind - firmer than a lemon - and roughly the same size, maybe a little smaller.  I would guess some kind of citrus.

I cut it open and it smells like some kind of melon, or at least I think it's melon scented, I can't quite put my finger on it.  Also it has seeds that look like small watermelon seeds.  
The moral of the story is, what the hell is that?  Some unholy expirement which nature never intended?  I can't identify it.  The good news is that it has led to the next innovative idea from Craw Fu Enterprises:  WhatTheHellIsThat.com.  This is a web site where you upload a photo of something you can't identify and the What The Hell Is That experts will identify it for you.  After I get it up and running I'll sell it to Google for a billion dollars then buy a Hawaiian island and retire. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


After starting out lousy today and being forecast to get suckier throughout the day, the weather took a surprising turn for the pleasant this afternoon. Sadly I've come to the realization that this all comes at a cost. Everywhere downtown is more crowded when it's nice, and of course the volume of irritating jerks harassing people for signatures or donations goes through the roof. But the often overlooked issue is the sheer number of people aimlessly wandering the streets like escaped alzheimers patients. The incessant weaving, bumping into people, or just standing around blocking a sidewalk so nobody can get by is astounding. It's enough to make me miss the rain and cold, when people walk with a purpose and a direction. I'm thinking about getting a cattle prod.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Boy Scouts

I'm on the ferry right now and surrounded by a troupe of squirrely boy scouts. Now the interesting part of this story is that one of these scouts is wearing a patch that has a guitar engulfed in flames. Now, as a kid I was a cub scout but never graduated to full fledged boy scout, so it's entirely possible that things are different, still I don't recall any merit badge for dueling with the devil at the cross roads. I assume it's the Charlie Daniels badge. I don't know if this particular kid won his duel or not, however it would be reasonable to keep an eye on him to see if he becomes the next Justin Bieber. Come to think of it, this would explain Bieber's popularity.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Great Canned Ham Experiment Of 2011

A couple months ago I saw some Spam on sale and, having not eaten any since I was a child, decided I'd try some to see if it was as bad as I remembered.  I decided to prepare it by slicing it up and pan frying it.  Over the course of 3 days I ate it for breakfast with eggs and toast.  I found it to be too salty for my taste and a little mushier than I would have liked.  After the first day, I attempted to rectify this by frying it longer, but this seemed to only crisp up the outside while it was still mushy in the center.  Thinner slices failed to rectify the situation.  Overall it was edible, but I wouldn't call it good.  Not good enough for me to buy again in the following decade.

Having successfully survived phase one of the experiment, I moved on to Dak canned ham.  Thinking this was just straight ham with no seasonings or potential mystery ingredients, I assumed this would be a step up in flavor and quality.  This assumption was incorrect.  I prepared it the same as I had the Spam.  I don't really know how to describe the flavor other than surprisingly un-hamlike.  An hour or so after my first helping, I grew ill and threw up all of the ham I'd eaten.  As you may have inferred from the use of the phrase 'first helping' in the preceding sentence, this intrepid experimenter was undeterred by the possible contraction of trichinosis.  Allowing myself a day to recover, I indeed proceeded to round two.  This was more successful in the fact that it didn't make me vomit, however it was still not good by any conventional use of the term.  I still had half a can of ham left after two breakfasts but couldn't bring myself to eat any more and tossed the remainder. 

Following a few week hiatus, the experiment resumed with Deviled Ham.  To the best of my knowledge, I've never had deviled ham before and didn't really know what to expect.  I've had deviled eggs, which are more or less eggs with mustard, so I didn't know if this was just ham with mustard. 

Cat food?
 The first thing I noticed was that it, had I not seen the label on the can, I would have assumed it was cat food.  Based on the consistency, I clearly couldn't prepare it the same as the previous experiments so I decided to spread it on some toast.  While this was hands down the best flavor and the least likely to be regurgitated, it turns out the devil likes his ham really salty.  Saltier than I typically prefer.  I think that perhaps made into a sandwich with some lettuce and maybe relish to cut the saltiness it might be quite good, but at this time I'm no longer interested in continuing the experiment.  I think I might just be better off sticking to some sliced deli ham to fulfill my ham needs.  I don't know if there are other variations on canned ham that I'm unfamiliar with, but if there are I may or may not give them a try when I find them. 

Monday, June 20, 2011


As you may or may not already know, after a 5 year hiatus Weird Al Yankovic has a new album out titled Alpacolypse.  You can listen to it in its entirety here.  For the most part it's pretty disappointing, possibly more an indictment on the state of pop music today than on Al, but there were a couple gems. 

The second track on the album - CNR - is a parody of the White Stripes and an ode to Charles Nelson Riley.  The video was created by Jib Jab and is a masterpiece.  Note the head of Chuck Norris on his trophy wall at about :50.  This is now my favorite video.

The other one I really enjoyed was Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me.  Believe me, there are some people that I need to start replying to their emails with a link to this:

Thursday, June 16, 2011


So this morning I was stuck behind a guy walking down the sidewalk that I couldn’t get around.  It was a narrow section of sidewalk and he and his buddy were taking up all of it.  I was very tempted to say, “get the f*#& out of the way please” feeling like adding please on the end made it polite.  So if I add the word please to the end of any request, does that automatically make it polite, in the same way that prefacing any statement with, “with all due respect” makes it socially acceptable no matter how insulting the following statement might be?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ode To The Stock Market

I'm officially nominating this the official song of the New York Stock Exchange.

My big question though, is this the beginning of the double dip recession that's been predicted by some or a temporary down turn?  Historically speaking a June lull is not uncommon for the Dow, is that what's going on now?  I've read analysis suggesting that we're in for another long term bear market and others that suggest we'll be back to a bull market by year end.  I really don't know what to believe. 

On the one hand my gut tells me that this is a short term correction since there are not apparent indicators driving the market down.  Unemployment hasn't spiked in recent months.  Real estate is still struggling but hasn't dropped significantly.  Mortgage rates are low so real estate might even level off.  Speaking of which, how much percentage would I need to save in order to make refinancing worthwhile?  Retail sales are up a little.  I feel like this is a buyers market.

On the other hand, some of the crazy IPOs recently - see Linked In (LNKD) and Zipcar (ZIP) - are somewhat reminiscent of the tech bubble in the late 90s.  The market seems far too speculative - investors seem to be ignoring fundamentals and gambling rather than investing.  That makes me a little skittish.  Is this behavior going to fuel another crash? 

I just don't know which way this is going to go, but will take the advice of Warren Buffet who said, "I am a huge bull on this country. We will not have a double-dip recession at all. I see our businesses coming back almost across the board."  He also said, "we simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." Is it time to be greedy?  And even though he said, "beware of geeks bearing formulas" I don't think that applies here.  It is entertaining though.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quote of the day

"In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to the level of incompetence."
- Laurence J Peter from the book The Peter Principal:  Why Things Always Go Wrong.

For some reason this really seems apropos today.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Impending Apocalypse

Many self proclaimed Christians who have no understanding of the bible are preparing for the rapture, which they believe will come on Saturday.  That being said, if you are planning on departing the earth this weekend, can I have your stuff?

New Drink

Yesterday afternoon I stopped in Gelatiamo for a delicious gelato to enjoy in the sunshine.  While there I was salivating at the smell of the cinnamon bread they had there but when I saw that it was $12 a loaf I decided to pass.  Anyway, since then I've had a cinnamon craving.  Sipping my coffee at my desk this morning I thought that if I were to go to Starbucks I could sprinkle some delicious cinnamon into my coffee.  The drawback to this being that I didn't feel compelled to walk a block to buy coffee when I get free coffee in the building.  Necessity being the mother of invention, however, genius struck.  We have cinnamon apple herbal tea in the kitchens in the office, so I grabbed a tea bag and just like that a new drink was born - coffee tea. 

I don't know why it never occurred to anyone before to join forces of the worlds two most widely consumed beverages, but truth be told it was a little funky and I don't plan to attempt that particular combination again.  I remain undaunted though.  Just because the cinnamon apple tea didn't work doesn't mean that Earl Grey won't.  Some day when I really need to double down on the caffeine I might give it a try. 


With the weather being delightful today, I decided to take a walk during my lunch break.  I headed down toward Westlake Center, on the way passing a band of greasy hippies on 4th Ave protesting something.  I don't know what and I don't care.  They were standing in front of the Borders Books waving signs that said something about stopping mining.  I'm fairly certain that Borders isn't involved in any mining operations, but the real point of this is that I got to thinking - is there any less effective way of gaining support for a cause than waving signs and irritating people with chants?  Has anyone ever walked past a group of people who don't appear to have bathed in a week yelling poorly rhymed nonsense and said, "you know what, I don't think Borders should be doing any mining."  Or has anyone ever walked by a table with some creepy people holding signs with President Obama with a Hitler moustache drawn on him and decided, "well that changed my mind, I'm voting for Lyndon Larouche in the next election."  No, of course not, so why do people still do it?  Obviously they are misguided, but there's got to be more to the psychosis. 

Anyway, moving on from there I grabbed some food and continued my stroll.  As it turns out, the route back to my office was a little adventurous.  A few blocks were shut down by police and there was a helecoptor hovering overhead.  I snapped a few photos across the street from the Washington Mutual Tower, or I guess now the Chase Tower although I haven't heard that it has officially been renamed.  Naturally there were a lot of people standing around watching the proceedings and after stopping to ask what was going on, I found out that there had been a shooting on a bus a couple blocks from my office.  Word on the street was that a woman had been hit by a ricocheting bullet, although news reports I found after the fact say that medical response teams found no evidence that she had been hit.  So despite some fear, no one was injured and the police caught and arrested the two perpetrators shortly after. 

All in all, a pretty eventful lunchtime stroll.  It kind of makes me miss the more rural areas where your biggest concern is that the guy down the street gets busted with a meth lab in his garage.  I'd really like to find a job on the East side again where shootings and violence are rare and my commute would be much shorter.