Sunday, December 31, 2006

Coming into the home stretch

We are getting close to being finished with the second floor of the house. This flickr gallary is just the latest record of the progress. Yeah, I know it really looks like we've made a giant mess, but we really just have a few coats of paint and a few new lights and we will be done.

In defense of the personal blog

I'm well aware that many people feel the personal blog is vain and a pathetic attempt at fame. In some cases that might be the correct. I however believe that the personal blog fulfils an alternate cultural niche. With the demise of the letter and post card the personal blog has become our way of preserving our own history. Yes I realize that what I write here is mostly mundane and of little importance to all but a very small circle of folks. This is my attempt to record my own personal history and leave something for posterity. I realize that I've written posts like this before, but I need to say it again every once in a while, to keep myself honest. ;-)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We're engaged bitches!

I'm happy to announce that as of Monday December 18th 2006 Jennifer and I are engaged. I asked, she said yes, that's all there is. Stay tuned. I will tell you more when we know more.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Funny Spell Check Suggestions

Last night, as I was spell checking something, I managed to snap this screen capture of the funny spell checking suggestions for the word jonesing. In what world is Indonesia a good suggestion for jonesing?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why I don't talk to my family

Recently, my brother related how he had to explain some fairly difficult information to my Paternal Grandmother (Grandma E.). This difficult information consisted of why she hasn't heard from me in about 15 years and hasn't heard from my Sister in about a year. My Sister's story I can't shed a whole lot of light on, but I can on my own reasons for not talking to my extended family.

For those of you who don't know, my father died about 20 years ago. I was 12 at the time, my brother would have just turned 8 and my sister would probably have been 3 or 4 at the time. We were all pretty young. Being the oldest, I'd had the most time to get to know our Father and without being presumptuous I think I can say that, of my siblings, I was probably the closest to him. At that point in time, he was my best friend. As you might expect his death was catastrophic to my immediate family. I won't presume to speak for the rest of my family, but I was devastated. My best friend and one of my only male role models is suddenly taken away. The thing that I would have hoped would have happened at that point in time is for my extended family to help fill in the gaps left by my Father's absence. Oh, they tried, some of them more than others, but ultimately we were left to rely on my Mother's side of the family for support.

My mother is proof positive that mothering skills are inborn and not learned. The reason
I say this is that her nurturing skills were not taught by my maternal Grandmother (Grandma W.). Grandma W. is about as warm and comforting as hugging a frozen cactus covered in ants, bees and broken glass. After my Father's death we spent a lot of time at her house while my mother worked. It was pretty clear that my brother, sister and I were lower on her list than her other two grandchildren (Julie and Bud). I don't really begrudge them that, but her treatment hurt anyway. Eventually, I was old enough to stay at home by myself. Being a latch key kid was far preferable to spending time with Grandma W. I do feel sorry that Zakk and Emillie were left to their own devices at her house.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I'd reached an age where I was fairly autonomous but still in need of some guidance. My mom did the best that she could, but she was only one person. I had free run of a widening radius for the next 6 years. I spent a large part of that time with my friend Bob. He was in a remarkably similar situation. Bob was a few months older than I was and his father had died only months before mine had. He was the only friend of mine that showed up for my Father's funeral. Up to that point we'd been friends, but things changed after that. We were more or less inseparable from that point in time until we found girls. Then we just spent a lot of time with one another. Bob will forever be like a brother to me.

Over those 6 years I was hell on wheels. I did things that if I'd been caught would have sent me to juvenile hall and if I'd been a little older to jail. I think eventually both Bob and I developed a sense of what is right and wrong, but that was our own doing and not because we were taught by anyone.

So what's my point? Where the hell was my Father's family this whole time? We'd see them on holidays and sometimes get a card on birthdays, but that was about it. The one uncle that did try the most was my uncle Jack. He'd stop by on occasion to see how we were doing and for the first few years he remembered birthdays. The fact that he did anything was amazing because he probably had more things to deal with and more family problems than all of his brothers and sisters combined. His wife (my aunt) was more or less bedridden from MS.

Over time I began to feel more and more abandoned by that side of my family. The only interaction that I would have was on holidays. For gods sake, I was only 12 years old and have just lost my father. Show some compassion and have some sort of role in our lives.

Over time I began to realize that I really wasn't getting anything from having an extended family, so one by one I quit talking to them. I'm not sure it was even intentional at first. It was just easier to ignore the fact that they existed. I did this to both sides of my family. I think the last time I remember seeing Grandma E. was at my high school graduation. She'd shown up and I was a little surprised. It was like pulling teeth to get her to come to our side of town. The last time I saw Grandma W. was right around the time my Grandfather passed away. I think I was 19 at the time. He had cancer-of-the-just-about-everything but my Grandmother had the guts to say that he'd died of a broken heart over something my Mother had done. Could she be any more cruel? I think I got a call from Grandma E. a few years later but all I remember talking about was how I never called her. I'm sure there was more but that was all that I recall. Oh well.

By that point in time I'd had a chance to see a very different view of what an extended family could be. I'd been spending holidays and family functions with Danielle's family. It was an amazing difference. At first I was freaked out. Her family tree is a giant gnarled mass of divorces, remarriages, siblings, half-siblings as well as first second and third cousins. The first few times we'd go to a family function she would have to spend the first half of the thing explaining who was married to whom and which kids belonged to what parents. Eventually, I gave up trying to remember it all and just concentrated on names. By the end of our marriage, I'd more or less gotten it figured out but it was a mess.

What made it even harder is that for all of their flaws there was no apparent differences between people. It didn't matter if you were a brother, half-brother, brother-in-law, somebody's boyfriend, cousin, uncle, friend or just a plain vagrant off the street, they treated you like family. I'd never been treated like family, not even by my own family. Every time I was at one of her familes' home, I felt welcome. I'd never had that feeling. In visiting any of my own family I always had an awkward unease, as if I really wasn't welcome there.

I used to really dread and enjoy visiting her family. I'd dread it because it was pretty alien to me but I enjoyed it because it was always nice to wallow around in all of those hugs from a grandma and slobbery cousin kisses. I was genuinely jealous of her family. That's not to say that they didn't have their problems, but that never seemed to dampen that sense of family.

By that point in time I had three examples of extended families: My mother's family who where distant, emotionally stilted and counted the cost of every hug; My father's family who seemed to drift about one another with no sense of center; and Danielle's family. My jealousy about my own extended family in comparison to hers made me even more bitter about my own. What had been a general disregard for keeping up ties with my own family became a willful avoidance. Interestingly this seemed mostly mutual. There were a few occasions where small attempts were made, but nothing to speak of.

So why am I writing about this now? Two reasons. First, families are addictive. After my divorce from Danielle I lost the only real extended family I'd ever had. I got a taste of a big family again and I realize that I'm hooked. As if I needed another reason to love her, Jennifer's family is huge. I've really only met them once, but I'm already jonesing for Christmas. The second reason that I'm writing this now is that I've got a Christmas card sitting on my couch. It is from Grandma E. It showed up yesterday and I just put it down. I haven't opened it up yet, and I'm not sure when I will be able to work up the guts. See, I've always felt guilty about not trying harder with her. I really don't care if I talk to Grandma W. again. Grandma E. on the other hand was never mean or cruel, maybe just not as caring and concerned as I wish she would have been.

Among the piles of my personal papers there are probably three unfinished drafts of letters to her. I can never seem to finish them and get them in the mail. It looks like I'm about to start another one. I might wait a day or two before I open the card. I've got a cold now and I'm not sure I've got the mental stamina to go back over the 20 years of history right now.

Nihilism or why I like squirrels

I always get a chuckle from reading the web comic xkcd. If you can't read the comic here you can click on the image to go to the post page.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It is quiet. Too quiet.

I just moved two computers from my living room up to the third floor of my house. I knew they were noisy, but it is hard to believe how noisy they were. I walked into the living room and was nervous. it was eerily quiet. It took me a few minutes to realize what was wrong. Here's to silence.

Monday, November 27, 2006

They Promised Us Jetpacks and We Got Blogs: The God Delusion and Complicit "Respect"

They Promised Us Jetpacks and We Got Blogs: The God Delusion and Complicit "Respect"

I suspect that I'm the friend that Space Cadet is speaking about. I too am reading The God Delusion. So far, I'm satisfied with the factual treatment and position that Dawkins takes. As for his tone, I am a little less satisfied. I agree that the logical and factual free ride that religion has had up until recently has to end. All "truths" must to be questioned. One of my favorite all time quotes is this one by Thomas Jefferson:
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than
that of blind-folded fear.
Maybe there is a need for Dawkins' tactics. He could possibly be the Bad Cop in a Good Cop / Bad Cop approach. However, I think that his tone is likely to piss off the ones that are most likely to be persuaded by his arguments. Once they are pissed off it is unlikely that they are listening any more. Once that has happened any further discussion is at best masturbatory. Ideas are not subject to respect, but individuals are. I am perfectly capable of translating Dawkins' harsh statements into the velvet covered bat that will make them palatable to someone else, I just think Dawkins' failure to do so means to that his message will go in one ear and out the other of those with whom it will make a difference. If that is the case he is left preaching to the converted, or unconverted in the case of his message. By tailoring his message to get through the filter that people have erected in their minds to protect their sacred ideas, he has a better chance of undoing the work of the meme that has taken hold.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shane MacGowan RIP?

On the way home from Home Depot I was listening to NPR. I was delighted to hear that they were playing a Pogues song. I'm sad to say that I wasn't surprised to hear the announcer say that Shane MacGowan was dead. He didn't say how he'd died, but I was willing to bet that he'd died of some complication due to alcoholism. MacGowan is a notorious drunk. I have to say that I've never seen MacGowan sober. I was curious, so I decided to jump onto the internet once I got home. I'm actually not finding any recent news of MacGowan. The most interesting thing I could find was an article about MacGowan loosing two of his remaining teeth in a drinking mishap. Let's hope he's still alive and let's hope that he sees his 50th birthday next year. If you aren't familiar with The Pogues or Shane MacGownan you should check them out. Yes I know his voice sounds like the drunken lovemaking of a chicken and a cat, but consider some of my other favorite singers (Tom Waits, Mike Doughty).

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Well, it would appear that it is all over but the shouting at this point. I'm happy, but I'm not sure how much good it will do. The tshirt at the right sums up how I feel. I also like this guy's ideas.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Death of Saddam Hussein

It is really odd. I think my feelings about how the war in Iraq has gone have colored my thoughts on related issues. I find it funny that I feel a little squeemish about Hussein's execution. That's not because I think he doesn't deserve it. While I have to admit to having very little exposure to the trial itself it would appear that there are few questions about the facts in the case. It would seem that in some cases Hussein even confirmed the damning facts themselves. Based upon that alone he probably deserves to dance at the end of a rope. I guess what bothers me a little is that this execution will buy so little justice and will surely do nothing to promote peace in the area. I'm sure that some will make him into a martyr and he will be lioninzed after his death. His death will probably be used as an excuse to kill more innocent people.


I voted today. I am embarrassed to admit that this is the first time I've voted since I moved to the new district. Yes. I know I'm an dumbass for not participating, but for most of the previous few elections I either had something come up that prevented me from voting or I didn't really have something that would draw me to the polls. Why bother voting for or against something that doesn't effect you? This time is different. I suspect that this will be one of the highest voter turnouts in years. I also suspect that next time will probably be back to the status quo. I'm wondering if a system like Oregon's mail-in ballots might help to alleviate voter indifference. It is my understanding that Oregon can boast one of the highest voter participation rates in the country. I'm sure that I'd vote more often if I automatically had a ballot mailed to me and all I had to do was fill it out.

One of the other things that I noticed was that the required distance between the poll and electioneering is only 25 feet. That meant that there were weirdos next to the poll entrance trying to convince me to vote against proposition 2. It also meant that there were signs right outside the door. The funny thing was that there were competing signs right next to one another.

Finally, there was a lot less privacy than what I'm used to when voting. Not that I care if people see what I voted for, but I thought it was supposed to be a secret ballot. We just went into a gymnasium and filled out our Scantron ballots. We weren't shoulder to shoulder, but if I wanted to, I could have looked up and seen exactly what the guy next to me was voting for.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ayn Rand is an asshat

I've read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and now I've just finished watching The Fountainhead. Even if you make alowances for the dramatic style of the times, this is probably one of the most painful movies I've ever seen. Why must such interesting ideas have such a horrible champion? Rand's writing and characters are melodramatic and self important. Her conception of humanity is too simplistic. Yes, I believe in the virtue of selfishness, but her statement of the concept is flawed. I'm just ranting. Please ignore me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stem cells, Michael J. Fox needs them.

For the record, there are two ways to have a celebrity endorse a cause. The wrong way:

What a turd of a commercial. Who wants to wait 15 years for a cure? Possibly people whose disease takes longer than 15 years to kill them. GRRR.

The right way:

I really only posted on this subject so that that link so I could post a link to an article on Fark entitled, "Rush Limbaugh says Michael J Fox exaggerates his symptoms in commercials. Michael J Fox shakes his fists... accidentally" Is it wrong to laugh at that? Yes, I know if you have to ask, you probably already know the answer. It is wrong to laugh at another's misfortune. Limbaugh is still an asshole. I find laughable the notion that a collection of cells no larger than the head of a pin is causing this much of an uproar. An embryo is not a human. If experimenting on small collections of cells shows promise in curing cancer, spinal cord injuries and diseases of the brain, then go right ahead.

Updated (10/26/2006 8:22 AM): To correct my idiotic grammar.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Late Night Ramblings.

It is late at night and I can't sleep again. There is a lot going on and I should be sleeping, but I can't seem to nod off even though I am yawning as I write this. Things on my mind:

I ran across these pictures and I find them breathtaking:
Shuttle Launch Seen From ISS. Those pictures are taken from 220 miles. That is about 30 times higher than I've ever flown. The discernible horizon and the deep blackness of space above is amazing.

There seems to be quite a bit of furor lately over religious matters. Wired's cover article is about a new breed of atheists who are no longer willing to quietly coexist with people of faith. Here is a quote from the article that sounds eerily familiar, "Contemptuous of the faith of others, its proponents never doubt their own belief. They are fundamentalists." I recall very recently being called one of these fundamentalists. That's OK, I regularly get told that I'm paranoid and that I should be wearing a tinfoil hat. I'm used to it, but I think both are unfair. I will leave the defense of my so called paranoia for another day. For right now let me ramble on about my spiritual side. I believe that I have a soul and that by extension other human beings do too. Kind of a poor man's Cogito Ergo Sum followed by an inarticulate man's rejection of solipsism. I don't know whether our soul has any existence outside of our observable physical existence and by extension I don't know if that soul is immortal. (It is a nice dream to think about sometimes.) I believe that we are an imperfect reflection of the divine. I believe that we are capable of approaching a beautiful perfection, but due to our flawed nature we are destined to fail. What is most beautiful about our souls and our divinity is when we reach for that perfection. That brings me back to the pictures of the shuttle launch that I linked to above. Those pictures, to me, represent what is most divine about humanity. It is our meager yet triumphant attempt to reach beyond our limited environment. Finally, I do have faith. I have faith that humans, while flawed, are a reflection of the divine. Furthermore I have faith that humanity on average wants to be good and that if given the right conditions we are happy to be good and fulfill our potential. It is my sincere hope that we all work for a world where as many people as possible are given that opportunity.

There has been a lot of chatter about atheism lately. It probably has something to do with Richard Dawkins promoting his new book as well as a lot of other authors out there doing the same for theirs. Here is an interesting clip from The Colbert Report. As always, you are never sure who wins the debate in the end. Maybe that is why Colbert is so good.

On a completely tangential note, I spent most of this weekend tearing up carpet and sanding floors in the front part of the second floor of my house. It is surprising how much difference the little work we've done has made. I've probably got another couple of hours of sanding left to do, but I can already see the difference. I will post some pictures when I get a chance.

OK. I might be able to sleep now, so I think I will just run a quick spell check and hope this makes sense.

Good night.

Friday, October 20, 2006

ChildCare Action Project (makes me giggle)

I stumbled upon this site this afternoon and it was the cause of many giggles. I don't dispute their right to review movies for content and I agree with their assessment that the current (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC17) rating system is flawed. What I do have a problem with is their claim of impartiality. Read some of the reviews for yourself and tell me what you think. Here are a few things they find offensive (the parens are my comments and most of the incomplete sentences are theirs):

  • Nacho Libre
    • Impudence/Hate
      • "flatulence, repeatedly"
    • Sex/Homosexuality
      • "man pinching his buttocks together in tights to influence/entice a woman"
      • "attention to posterior"
      • "below navel skin threatening to expose that which follows"
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    • Sex/Homosexuality
      • "sexual innuendo about a little girl not touching a male squirrel's anatomy"
  • Dogma
    • Impudence/Hate
      • "facial piercing" (WTF?)
      • "flatulence"
      • "series of pity me because I'm black"
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
    • Offense to God
      • tale of man not being the most intelligent life on Earth
      • claiming man is an ape descendant, repeatedly
      • Darwinism
  • How To Eat Fried Worms
    • Impudence/Hate
      • lots of energy spent on vomiting
  • It's A Wonderful Life
    • Wanton Violence/Crime
      • near drowning
      • light adult tantrum
      • adult tantrum before children
    • Impudence/Hate (I)
      • meanness
      • mischief
      • lie to keep bad news to self
  • Meet the Fo...s (They can't even spell out Fockers)
    • Impudence/Hate
      • "man on commode"
      • "Always question authority"
  • Monsters Inc
    • Impudence/Hate
      • little white lies to protect
    • Sex/Homosexuality
      • implication of nudity
      • crotch hit (what kind of freak considers this to be sexual?)
  • Napoleon Dynamite
    • Impudence/Hate
      • drawing of flatulence
      • five uses of the euphemism for the most foul of the foul words (WTF does that mean?)
      • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary (that statement alone contains two and three of the same)
  • Office Space
    • Wanton Violence/Crime
      • a death to heart attack (How is this violence or crime?)
    • Sex/Homosexuality
      • gamming -- maximizing exposure of upper legs in a dress while sitting (Oh My!)
      • pornographic background music (what makes music pornographic?)
    • Offense to God
      • hypnotherapy to alter character and integrity (WTF?)
  • Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes) -- Foreign language version of Vanilla Sky
    • The reviewer couldn't be bothered to finish the movie because it was subtitled:
    • Open Your Eyes (R) was a subtitled movie and the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model does not lend itself well to subtitled movies. The CAP Model requires the Investigator to annotate the findings for input to a computer application which generates the scoring and influence density. While this system of recording findings is well suited for non-subtitled movies, in the sometimes incredibly fast pace of presentation of ignominy, the Investigator cannot afford to lose the time or attention it takes to read the subtitles. However, when subtitled movies come out on video tape, which enables pausing of the movie to record findings, the CAP Model can be well applied. I will offer that which I was able to gather in the few minutes I was there. No scoring had been computed.

      The first scene was one of a nude male in bed (covered), followed soon by his nude paramour (partial nudity). Foul language, including the most foul of foul words, was printed to the screen. Constant in the first few minutes was a strong theme of malcontentism. That is all I can tell you about "Open You Eyes."
  • The Passion of the Christ (I include these because the wording makes me laugh)
    • Wanton Violence/Crime
      • continued beatings/whippings of our already mutilated Lord
      • kicking our near-dead Lord
      • hand/foot impalement with spikes (I bet he was surprised to see that)
      • spear impalement with exudates (exudates? blood maybe)
    • Impudence/Hate
      • flash nudity, clearly non-sexual but nudity nonetheless (clearly)

What I find most funny is the notion that flatulence and face piercing are examples of impudence and hatefulness and that nudity while depicting the asskicking that Christ recieved before he died is clearly not sexual when in any other movie it would have been categorized as sexual. How I love the prudes. They make me giggle.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I am the Cheese Weasel

There never was a truer statement than:
"Weasel is a funny word. You can improve the humor value of almost any situation by injecting a weasel into it." -- Dave Barry

This is born out by so many things. Futurama for example. Who wouldn't love a spice weasel. What about an ice weasel?

Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come. -- Matt Groening

or how about

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines. -- John Benfield

it would appear that the weasel is a truely great animal

Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel.Matt Groening

Then there is this classic by Hunter S. Thompson.

Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether. -- Hunter S. Thompson

With HST you never know, did he think that there were really weasels closing in or was it a metaphore for the what J.R "Bob" Dobbs would call pinks. As you can probably tell I'm in a weird mood and my humor is veering into the juvenile. Oh Well. Goodnight all.

Monday, October 02, 2006

An interesting demonstration of the butterfly effect?

This article provides an interesting demonstration of the butterfly effect or rather the notion that remote events can have far reaching and unforeseen consequences. It would appear that the recent breakup of one of the Antarctic glaciers was due to a winter storm in Alaska. The waves from the storm traveled nearly from one pole to the other in order to wiggle a very big chunk of a glacier off into the ocean. It is always interesting to see phenomenon that I've known about since highschool demonstrated some 15 years later on a very large scale. Granted, it was a winter storm and not a butterfly flapping its wings, and the propagation of a wave through water is pretty predictable, but I'm sure a butterfly was involved somewhere in the picture.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Is it all or nothing?

While reading a fellow blogger's post about a documentary on bible focused children's camps I came across a statement that made me think.

In one interview a camp mother shares her thoughts about science and evolution. She explains how science really doesn’t explain anything and is a big waste of time. She was doing this on tape, in a house powered by electricity, with a television and the comforts of modern life in the background. If science is so fucking bad, go back and live in a cave. These people often forget that the people they are throwing stones at usually are the people either saving their life or at least making it more entertaining.

Let me first say that I've not seen this movie, but I plan to. For that reason, for the time being, I will have to accept Lady M's description of the scene as being accurate. With that out of the way, Lady M's statement got me thinking. Is science an all or nothing thing? Can someone reasonably at the same time accept the fruits of science while rejecting the basis under which they were developed? Having said that let me pose this question: Is it right to deny the fruits of science to those that actively work to destroy its basis? Yes, yes, I know that Ayn Rand's ghost is jumping for joy. (Ayn Rand was a fool. Not because she was wrong for wanting the kind of society that she wanted, but because she thought that sort of society is possible. But I digress.) Rand's idea was for the human engines of society should not be coerced into supporting those individuals who are unwilling to work for themselves. Her story "Atlas Shrugged" portrays the near collapse of society when these engines decline to participate anymore. Since they were the ones holding things together for so long, without their efforts society begins to collapse. Can and should a similar principle be used in relation to the anti-intellectual movements afoot in the world today? Is it morally wrong to turn the lights off on someone who actively tries to destroy the basis for scientific research in society? Some might say that the point is a bit too obscure and that those that are affected would fail to see the point. I can concede that. I realize that this is all really just ridiculous, but it is fun to run the gedankenexperiment and imagine the anti-intellectual religious zealot attempting to pray the lights back on. So to answer my own question, "Is it all or nothing?" probably not, but I can dream can't I?

Update: To make the thought experiment more relevant I'll change the conditions. Rather than turning off the lights let's deny access to the fruits of modern genetics. Since the field of genetics (by way of neo-darwinism) is dependent upon the principles that many of these anti-intellectuals rail against it makes a more appropriate target for denial. This would include the field of molecular biology and the advances that are likely to be seen in disease control and prevention. Advances in the treatment of Diabetes, Alzheimers disease, Cancer, Haemophilia, Leukemia and a number of other disease that have a genetic component. How would people react if they were told that they couldn't have access to these lifesaving advances? Most of those advances are still hypothetical but will be available in the very short term. Even closer would be the genetically created products like human insulin and human growth hormone and the hepatitus B vaccine. OK. I'm done.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


A pearl of wisdom from The Office:

You don't call retarded people retards. It is bad taste. You call your friends retards when they are acting retarded. -- Michael Scott (Steve Carell)

A pearl of wisdom from My Name is Earl:
Do monkeys worry about their looks? -- Randy Hickey (Ethan Suplee)
If monkeys worried about their looks they'd wear pants.-- Earl Hickey (Jason Lee)

In other news, today was my company's day to attempt redeem our collective souls for the damage that we do to our society. Today was the day that my company donated it's employee's time to Christmas In October. We were told that it was going to be organized chaos. That was the truth. I'm not sure exactly how many houses we did, but I think we took on a total of eight houses. I spent some time working on two of them. The first was a large family's house. We spent most of our time painting. I hate painting so I looked for something else to do. The bottom two of their basement stairs were loose and likely to kill someone if they didn't know it. Me and a coworker spent most the morning patching together new bottom stairs. When they were done, they were functional, but by no means pretty. Fortunately for us the whole mess was covered by carpet. After we'd finished with that, most of the painting was done, so I wandered off to find something else to do. The other four houses in our neighborhood were in about the same shape. There were just a few jobs and in most cases there were twice as many people as needed working on them. Most of us were just standing around picking our noses. At about that time, the organizer of the event drove up and asked if anybody had a hammer. I raised my hand and they asked to borrow it. They said they needed it to rebuild a porch. I told them that I had a screw gun and a bunch of decking screws. At that point they nearly dragged me into their SUV and whisked me off to the other house. That is where things got pretty miserable. The rest of the day was spent pounding together a porch for a little old lady. It was raining the whole time and we were all wet, tired and miserable by the time it was over with. The little old lady ended up with a very nice astro-turf covered porch and bead board wainscoting on half of her kitchen. I then spent about 45 minutes trying to retrieve all of the tools that I'd brought to the house. One of the things I hate most about these types of events is that if you have tools you are always asked to bring them. On top of that there is the expectation that you will allow other people to use them. People are never as gentle with your tools as you'd be. I'm now missing one extension cord and am now the proud owner of three stripped driver bits. Oh well.

Monday, September 18, 2006

An empty house

I'm faced with a novel prospect. In about a month's time I will be living alone. My roommate of two years has decided to move out. What is odd is that this is going to be the first time in 13 years that I've lived alone. I have mixed feelings about this. It will be nice to have the place to myself. Not having to worry about walking around the house in my boxers. Being able to schedule something on TiVo and be sure that it will be there where I want to watch it. I only have half the mail to bring in. I will probably have a third of the trash to take out. ;) There won't be any more cat hair tumble weeds rolling around the house. I will be able to start working on the house without worrying about cramping someone else's style. Those are all the good things. There are a few things that I will miss too. I will miss having someone who will always go to Chipotle with me. I will miss having someone to talk to at all hours of the night. I'm going to miss someone to steal rice cakes from when I've managed to run out of food. Pretty soon I will have nobody to tell me that I'm dead on the inside. Her words, not mine. It will be really weird living in an empty house.

On a house related note, I'm sitting here watching the movie Life as a House. It pisses me off that a movie like this can choke me up. I have two things to say. First, Mary Steenburgen is smoking hot for being 53 years old. Second, Hayden Christensen is still a horrible actor who's voice is a perpetual whine.

Barry Goldwater

I just watched an interesting documentary on Barry Goldwater. I find it fascinating that one of the patriarchs of the modern conservative movement would likely have been vilified as a Liberal today. Pro choice? Pro gays in the military? Scared of the Religious Right? To bad he's dead along with the spirit of what he stood for.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Meth Addicts

I'd like to send a big giant, "FUCK YOU, YOU MOTHER FUCKING METH ADDICTS!!!!" It is your fault that I can't get enough allergy medication to last me a week. I have allergies. Bad Allergies. Spring and Fall are miserable for me. My immune system goes about rejecting any and all contact with the outdoors. The only thing that helps me is drugs. I've gotten experienced enough with the phenomenon to know more or less what helps me. I've come to rely upon a triple cocktail of pharmaceuticals. I'm lucky that two of the three are prescription and are easily obtainable in quantities to get me through a month without a return trip to the drug store. The third just so happens to be Loratadine combined with Pseudoephedrine Sulfate (Claritin-D). The pseudoephedrine is the key ingredient. It is what keeps me sane and it means the difference between a snotty slobbering miserable monster and the normal grumpy Aaron. Believe me, by taking this stuff, I'm doing society a favor. This was all well and good until three things happened. First the FDA made it so that you could get Claritin-D over the counter. This has good and bad effects. Good is that I can now get it without a doctor's prescription. Bad is that my insurance will no longer pay for it. The second thing that has happened is that many/most state governments have implemented a limit to the amount of drugs that contain pseudoephedrine that you can buy and they require that you provide identification when you buy it. Finally, you can now only get this medication in packages of 5 - 10 days worth. All of the restrictions around this are due to the fact that pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in the making of meth. Meth labs will grab tons of this stuff and brew up a big giant toxic batch of methy goodness. Our government wants to protect us from ourselves, so it is trying to make it more difficult to get access to these meth precursors. I'm a victim of this new setup. Every five days I have to make a trip to the pharmacy (my dealer), hope that they have some claritin-d in stock, prove that I'm not a criminal and then skulk out of the pharmacy with five measly days of my life giving drug. FUCK! I'm sure that I should probably read and spell check this post, but I'm too pissed to care. You get it in its full unadulterated misspelled angry glory.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Please just assume that I've written a heartfelt and or sarcastic goodbye to Steve Irwin here.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Twelve Angry Men and the Benny Hill theme song.

I'm sitting here watching one of my favorite movies of all time. Twelve Angry Men. I love this movie. Henry Fonda and E.G. Marshall are incredible in this. Jack Klugman is also pretty amazing as well. I love this movie because it depicts such an awesome story. The triumph of reason over emotion. There are also some great quotes:

Juror #11: I beg pardon...
Juror #10: "I beg pardon?" What are you so polite about?
Juror #11: For the same reason you are not: it's the way I was brought up.


Juror #10: Bright? He's a common ignorant slob. He don't even speak good English.
Juror #11: Doesn't even speak good English.


Juror #11: Oh Come on, you're like everybody else. You think too much, you get mixed up. You know what I mean.

This movie is such a fascinating exposition of our prejudices and how we can so easily be lead by our emotions.

On a happier note, I got back earlier this week from visiting my family in Portland. I always feel refreshed coming back from Oregon. Seeing my niece Abby and listening to her shouting for me to play the Benny Hill theme song again. "Play the Silly Song! Play the Silly Song, uncle Aaron!" She'd started calling it that after I'd played it on my cell phone. I think we spent about four hours bouncing on the air mattress that I was sleeping on. By Tuesday night, it was nearly deflated. It was such a privilege to be able to read her a story before she went to bed. I got to hold my new niece Charlotte a couple of times. She's so new that she is still mostly a giant screaming poop factory. I suspect that by Christmas she will be much more interesting.

Just before watching Twelve Angry Men tonight, I watched the last bit of the Buena Vista Social Club. I got a chuckle out of the fact that the Cuban musicians couldn't identify a JFK doll while wandering around New York, but new about and could identify the Statue of Liberty.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

An observation

Has it become a cultural shorthand for "monster" if we refer to someone by their full name including their middle name. John Mark Karr seems to be the latest example of this. I'm not saying that everybody who uses their middle name is a monster, but has the media picked this up as a way to trigger the "monster" reaction in our minds? If So, I have two more names for you:
Billy Ray Cyrus
George Dubyuh Bush

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Dirty Shame

So, this afternoon was spent waiting on two repair people. Both of them were disappointments. The first because he turned down the work. He turned the work down for two reasons. First because my house is too far out of his district. The second because the work was three stories up in the air and he wasn't insured that far up. Both of them were reasonable excuses and he was nice enough to suggest some other people that would be better equipped to take on the work. They will undoubtedly be vastly more expensive, but what's a guy to do. The second workman called an hour before he was to show up to tell me that he couldn't make it because he was too busy at another site. He was nice enough to call, but I'd already left work and hung around home to meet him. I'm only pissed a little bit. I used the afternoon to catch up on some work and a few movies. I finished watching "A Dirty Shame" and I'm still in the process of watching "The English Patient". The first was passable and the second has been fascinating so far. While doing that I've managed to get some work done. Some might say, "How can you get away with leaving work early so often?" I'd counter by saying that I already work more than 40 hours a week, so I feel at liberty to not always spend time in the office. Is that bad? Too bad.

Recently at work I've had to pick up some new technologies lately. The first is Visual Studio. I've got friends that use this tool on a day to day basis, and swear by it. I find it to be clunky and cumbersome in comparison to the corresponding Java based tools. This is of course of no consequence, but I wanted to take the chance to bitch.

It's 12:34 again

I know I've talked about this before, and I will talk about it again. 12:34 is the time that I get back to my car after having lunch with a beautiful girl. It is also the time that I get a text message from the same girl telling me good night. I love 12:34.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Two things that make me happy

Two little things that make me happy.

First and foremost, I am an uncle again. Zakk just called and told me that I now have two nieces. The first is of course Abby and the newest is Charlotte Louise. Charlotte or "Little C" as I will be calling her is 20 inches long and 7 pounds and 6/10ths of an ounce. I will post pictures as soon as I have some.

The second thing that makes me happy is this clip. It of course pales in comparison to the news of my niece's birth, but I'm smiling anyway.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Check out my new toy

So, I've recently decided that using my work computer for personal stuff is no longer a good idea. To fix that problem I decided to buy a new computer. Tada!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Good lord, What the fuck has happened?

So it has been a while since I've written here in anything other than oblique references to unseen events. (That sounds more ominous than it should) There's been a lot going on, but I have a dilemma in writing about it. Nothing ever happens in a vacuum. What I fear is that in writing about things that are still in progress I will change the outcome. For that reason all I will say is that big things are about to happen. In the meantime, I'm going to just sit here and yammer on about random crap until I'm too tired to write. Let me start with one of my favorite activities, fawning over the Pixies. I don't know what I like about them. Not one of their damned songs makes sense. They are all fat, bald or both. Black Frank/Frank Black screams rather than sings. I don't know what it is, but whenever I hear the pixies I want to stick my rock fist in the air, close my eyes, bob my head and jump up and down like a maniac. As I write this, I'm watching the concert movie made from footage of their reunion tour. There's one thing that struck me as I watched the first five minutes of it. They were playing through some song; I don't remember which one, maybe Bone Machine. As I watched they footage jumped around between different venues, what struck me was that the audio didn't jump when venue changed but the audio remained synced with the video. I sat there slack jawed through maybe five or six venue changes within a single song. Not once did I hear the audio hiccup. I listened harder and finally I caught one. Whether it was due to hours of hard work or just amazing serendipity, I'd like to tip my hat to the editor and sound guys on the DVD, what a good job.

If man is five and the devil is six then god is seven. This monkey's gone to heaven. My, isn't that convenient.

On another equally banal note, I'll mention that I bought a laptop and it shows up tomorrow. I'm staying home to meet it. Invariably when I do this, the delivery will show up in the 15 minutes when I run to taco bell to get some lunch. Not tomorrow. I have a Cup O Noodles and some oatmeal set aside for just this type of occasion. It's not actually Cup O Noodles brand but rather some upscale crap that I paid 5 times more than the standard 75 cents. Hey, it comes with extra flavor packets. Here's to noodles and computers, a match made in heaven.


Friday, July 07, 2006


I just screwed up big time. I've just committed to get a tattoo seven years from now. By now I mean 10:37 PM July 7th 2006. That's right. If certain conditions are met I will be getting a tattoo at 10:37 PM July 7th 2013. Of what and by whom is yet to be seen. I will keep you informed.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I always cringe whenever I get the question, "What are you doing tonight?" Invariably I think to myself, what now, and what lie am I going to have to tell to get out of this. For once I'm glad I didn't manage to come up with an excuse. I was luck enough to get to see Devotchka. How to describe them? This is a tough one. Imagine a four piece who play 16 instruments among them. Now imagine that same group playing a song where that four piece manages to make their way through 8 of those instruments. Now imagine that those instruments include: guitar, tuba, theramin, stand up bass, bouzouki (I don't know what that is) and accordion. Now imagine a whole set of torch songs sung by a crooner with an amazing set of pipes. Now throw in gypsy, eastern European and Spanish rhythms and you are getting close. All in all it was a good night.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Where is my mind?

whoohooo. whoohooo. whoohooo. whoohooo.

There's just something about Kim Deal's voice that makes me want to cry and smile all at once. Up front I should admit to be a bandwagon Pixies fan. I wasn't there from the start. Like so many out there I found the Pixies through the people that they influenced or from exposure to Frank Black and Kim Deal's post Pixies projects.

Recently I've been on a Pixies kick. It is obviously something that I missed out in my youth or rather my early youth. I'm not quite ready to give up my youth. To be honest I'm not sure I was mature enough at the time they were big to appreciate what they were doing. Since then I've been making up for lost time. In the process I think I've fallen in love with Kim Deal. What did it for me? I think it is her ability to (in concert) sincerely deliver an angst filled lyric with a crazy look in her eye, a smile on her face while obviously trying to suppress a laugh and enjoying herself the whole time. What an awesome recipe for happiness.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sprechen Sie Englisch

So here I am. I've been in Germany for about 12 hours. So far I've done nothing but make an ass of myself, and take a few pictures. I've been to one beer garden, one Irish pub and one English pub. The Irish pub seemed to be the most authentic of the three and that isn't saying much. I swear I went into each of them hoping to get food. The problem is that most of them seem bound and determined to serve beer with their food. I've recently come to the realization that my body does not deal well with alcohol in the beer format. It usually gives me a horrible hangover and horrific flatus. I'm praying for just the hangover, but I suspect that the flatus is soon to come. Here is a link to some pictures I took on the way to the hotel from the airport. There's nothing impressive about any of them other than the fact that they were taken in Germany.

I've been a horrible tourist. I've made no attempt to learn the language other than the phrase "Sprechen Sie English?". I've made it my goal to survive on that phrase alone. How's that for the ugly American? Hey you sons of bitches, if you don't learn my language, you won't get my American dollars. I went to an ATM and got some euros. I accidentally fucked up and tipped the bellman in dollars. He gave me a funny look. For a second, I couldn't figure out why. "What, ain't my money good here?"

Here are the things I've learned so far:

1. Don't make your first meal in Germany Sauerbratten, it will go right through you. You will be crapping purple cabbage and dumplings the minute you can find a seat.
2. Everybody speaks a little English. If they don't, then just shout at them. This will anger them so much that they will find someone that does.
3. It is possible for German person to speak English with an Irish accent.
4. You can only watch free German porn on the hotel tv for about 10 minutes before they turn it off. Hey it's free porn, you don't change the channel.
5. The German Countryside looks like Missouri.
6. Germans don't use sheets, just blankets.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Believe it or not, I'm still glad I live here.

It has been reported that Iran has taken steps to propose and enforce a dress code that specifies distinguishing marks for people of religious minorities. Until recently I was ambivalent about Iran. It's nuclear ambitions seemed to me to be mostly just posturing in such a way as to gain some sort of leverage and possibly concessions in the world forum, aid and increased relations with the US possibly. I'd been willing to overlook the antisemitic rhetoric from their leaders as nothing new and primarily targeted at the common middle east whipping boy Israel. I feel as if Israel's handling of it's own internal problems are the source of many of it's external problems.

This measure however, signals to me a very disturbing change. The idea that Iran and Israel hate one another and that they exchange barbs in the international forum doesn't bother me. The fact that Iran doesn't get along with most of the West doesn't really bother me either. But, rather than focusing it's anger externally it has decided that it will move to isolate the Jews and Christians who I'd imagine are proxies for Israel and the West in the eyes of many Iranians. The fact that Iran wishes isolate it's own citizens does bother me. This is a symptom that, if ignored, could be a red flag of a coming problem. A situation like Afghanistan, Rwanda, Sudan or on the extreme end of things Nazi Germany.

In my opinion most religions, as practiced by most people, amount to little more than an organized superstition combined with a really nice social club. Having said that I'm 100% behind everyone's right to believe and practice their religious beliefs without having to worry about isolation and persecution from neighbors or the government. Having to wear a badge, patch or visible external sign goes a long way towards making this impossible. This movie by the Iranian government makes me nervous and should frankly scare the shit out of the religious minorities that live within the borders of that country. I hope that those effected by this policy, if it is enacted, have the brains and the wherewithal to get the fuck out of that country. I guess if you can't get out, let's hope there is enough sanity within the country to point out that this is a ridiculous law that has no place in any modern society.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I'll keep digging.... Till I feel something.

Last week I had a little blast from the past. I've been a big fan of the band Tool for a long time. They are now touring to support their new album 10,000 Days. When I saw that they were going to be in KC for a date I jumped at the chance to get a ticket. The show was visually pretty spectacular. The light show consisted primarily of 4 large screens that showed either menacingly psychidelic swirls or equally menacing clips from Tool's videos. All of this combined with the motion controlled lighting to produce a pretty stunning visual experience. Add to that the nice effect that the band was constantly back lit to hide their actual appearance. This effect has been achived at previous shows using makeup or costumes. It was nice to see them still being coy about their looks but changing how they were doing it. Set in the tiny Memorial Hall it was a little too loud for my taste, but that may just be the fact that I'm getting older. I could have used a set of ear plugs. The set and encore were pretty good. I have to admit that I don't have the new album and I'm sure that the songs that I didn't recognize would be found there. The new songs were all certainly Tool songs so they don't seem to have strayed from their strong points. While a little dissapointing it is understandable, nobody would accept it if they brought out an album heavy on dance beats or an accordian. All in all it was a good concert. I tried taking a few pictures with my phone and this was probably the best of the lot.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The benefits of being bald

So, I've been bald, or nearly so for six days now. There are a few things that I've learned.

  • Your hair provides more insulation than you realize. My head has been cold non stop for the last week. The weather hasn't cooperated much in this area either. I'm going to need a sunny day soon.

  • The number 666 wasn't tattooed on my scalp. I'm only a little dissapointed.

  • I know a lot of very generous people. With the help of a lot of generous people, I've been able to raise $6000 so far.

  • Apparently, I bare some resemblance to Billy Bob Thornton.

  • It also sounds as if my original hair do wasn't doing a whole lot for me.

  • My hair grows really fast. It looks my scalp will be back to it's original level of visibility in a week or two.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Why is it that I can eat food that is so spicy that it capable of delivering a chemical burn and never suffer from heart burn, but I can eat a turkey sandwich and have excruciating heartburn? For once I'd like to be able to eat a food that doesn't burn one or both ends of my alimentary tract.

Friday, May 05, 2006

They talk by flapping their meat at each other

I've read this short story before, but had completely forgotten it.

By the way, this is the first time I've used youtube to display a video, so tell me if you have any trouble seeing it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The direction water goes down the drain.

So, here's the proof that I'm a giant geek. I'm traveling right now, so I'm writing this from a room in The Hotel Monaco in Seattle. This room is pretty nice and it actually has a giant whirlpool tub. When I say giant, I mean it. This thing is deep. I was able to fill it reasonably full and be nearly ass deep in water. If you are staying in a place like this it is silly not to take advantage of the amenities. I decided that I should grab a soak in the tub.

When I was young, rather than an actual pool, many of my friend's parents bought cattle tanks to use as pools. I know this sounds pretty low rent, but it is pretty common where I grew up. The tanks are usually about twenty feet in diameter and about 3 foot deep. One of the fondest memories of these tanks is when a group of kids would take up spots along the rim of the tank and we'd all walk in circles until we'd got the water moving in a giant whirlpool. After we got the water going at a good clip, we'd plop down into the water and let it carry us around in circles. This is one of the simple pleasures that I remember from being a kid. In an attempt to recreate this experience I directed all ten of the whirlpool jets in the same direction while I was in the tub. The results were less than spectacular. I got out and dried off. After I was half dressed, I noticed that I'd left the tub running. I went into the bathroom and found that the whirlpool tub was living up to it's name. The water had formed a wonderfull little whirlpool. There was a nice three to four inch deep indentation in the center of the water. I then drained the tub and that's when the magic started. OK, not really magic, but it was cool anyway. A column of air formed from the surface of the water all the way down to the drain. The colum was at least four inches at the top and narrowed to about two inches at the drain. What was even cooler was that the funnel was completely stable with almost no ripples.

This put an idea in my head. What if the jets are pointing the other direction. Fifteen minutes later I had the jets reconfigured and the tub refilled. I wanted to see if the same results happened if the water was spinning the opposite direction. It took another ten minutes to get the water spun up with the same four inch dimple as before. Now, here's the interesting part, when I opened the drain, I didn't get the same beautifuly symetrical whirl pool as I'd gotten earlier. The whirlpool with the opposite rotation whipped around wildly and wasn't nearly as wide as the one earlier.

I did some poking around and didn't find anything conclusive to explain this. From what I've read, the corriolis effect is quite negligible. This is obvious since the tubs maintained the draining direction established by the orientation of the spin of the water. I guess the small differece made by the corriolis forces could have a destabilizing effect on the whirlpool.

So the fact that I spent almost 45 minutes filling and draining a tub to do an experiment that was nearly meaningless is probably proof that I'm just about the biggest nerd you've ever seen.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The theme from Jaws

Am I the only one who has theme music from the movie Jaws running through my head while taking care of business on the throne?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Quotes for the evening

One of the pluses of bowling is all of the wonderful things that I get to over hear durring the evening and the after festivities at Harry's Country Club afterwards. For this evening, the quotes are:

  • "It doesn't matter where you are drunk as long as you are somewhere." -- This is of course both true and a little pathetic all at once.
  • "Orgy Pile" -- I can't really reproduce the context in which I heard this, but the fact that I heard this, out loud, is all that really matters.
Finally, I got to witness a woman with her shirt off at the bar. She was wearing a blue bra. Not that this was that significant.

Monday, April 17, 2006

If you can't beat them, join them.

I've decided to become republican. It really seems to be the only sane thing to do right now. Now let's see, what radio station is Rush on?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I need one of these for my car.

My sentiments exactly.

Why blue balls aren't always a bad thing

Excuse me if you've already seen this, but it's something that I hadn't seen before. I sat nearly transfixed for almost 15 minutes just watching the balls go round. Turn your sound on while looking at this, it really heightens the effect. For an interesting contrast, now look at it this way. I found this courtesy of Stumple Upon.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Liberal Six Degrees of Sideburns.

OK. The Surreality continues. This is an almost accurate quote of a friend, "I knew I shouldn't have asked you about this, you're a liberal, you liberals don't trust the government." WTF? The world has changed so much that the term liberal, that has for so long been synonymous with big government and a welfare state, is now synonymous with distrust of the government.

Why is it that the hair in my sideburns grows faster than the hair on side of my head? Yeah, I know that my sideburns are technically on the side of my head.

And on a completely unrelated note, I've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. I don't particularly expect anything special out of this. It would appear from what I've read so far that the book will help to confirm and crystallize things that I've known intuitively for quite some time. While I was sitting in a coffee shop this evening, reading the book, I started overhearing conversations that were strikingly appropriate to the topics that I was reading about. It was as if real life was providing footnotes to the book as I read. While reading Gladwell's description of the Stanley Milgram's experiment to prove the small world theory (AKA Six Degrees of Separation). At that very moment a guy two tables over at the coffee show was talking about meeting in Mexico someone who he didn't know from his old neighborhood in his home town who was the parents of someone he did know and that he'd gone to school with. Later, as I was reading Gladwell's description of the "stickiness" of an idea the same guy was talking about the new movie Snakes on a Plane which happens to have a weird internet meme attached to it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

How to end a day.

This has been one of the weirdest days on record. What makes it even weirder is that I really can't ascribe it to any one thing. I just seem to have a continuous feeling that my soul is three steps back and a step to the right while my intellect is two steps to the left and distracted by a shiny object. Let me just catalog the oddness of today. Showed up to work late because I wanted a coffee. Nobody noticed. I had my offer of a courtesy non date date accepted. I had lunch with my ex and we jointly eradicated the crusty vestiges of our failed marriage by closing our last joint bank account that I'd managed to run up $400 of accidental overdrafts on. I was rear ended by a guy on the highway and let him go without even getting his insurance info. I had drinks with my roommate. I had drinks with the CEO of my company, one of the founders of the company, some of their family, coworkers and my roommate. I bid in an auction on a box of burritos and a set of rice bowls. I ended the day with a vodka tonic in hand watching, My Name is Earl, Samurai Champloo and Camp Kill Yourself. Quote of the night, "That Crusty Skanersoreus". Sigh.


I just watched James Lipton do a beer bong after shouting, "We who are about to die, salute you." I'm now going to bed.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Guys do it too

I love Westport. Nowhere else in KC could this have happened. Today after lunch, I got a cappuccino at the Broadway Cafe. While I was in line, the lady in front of me wouldn't shut up about the humidity. (It really isn't that humid.) Eventually she admitted that she'd gotten waxed yesterday and she was relieved that she'd had it done because of the humidity. How the fuck do you respond to that? She just wouldn't shut up about getting waxed. Eventually, she looked at me and said, "You should get waxed. Guys do it too you know." WTF?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Originally, I was going to write about my trip to Copper Mountain Colorado to snowboard. I now have a slightly different story to tell. Monday night I had what amounted to a first date. It wasn't really much of a first date. Not much to speak of. Let me say that it wasn't all that bad, but nothing special. After finishing the tea that we'd talked over we walked back to our cars. We shook hands and said goodnight. As she crossed the street she turned and said goodnight. There was something about her voice that startled the crows in the tree over me. They all took off from the tree at the same time. I was pelted by bird shit. She looked back at me in horror. All I could manage to say is, "Wonderful". When I got home, I found that I'd been hit by at least 8 birds and that doesn't count what I had in my hair.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why do I have to stick my ass in the air to get a drink of water?

Two posts in the same day. Can you tell that I'm already in vacation mode? Recently, I've severely restricted my intake of carbonated beverages. This poses a problem because I'm constantly thirsty. I need a drink in front of me at all times. I've switched to water and at work the water comes from special pedestals that have a water filter built into them. Instead of bottles, they are fed via a pipe with tap water. As I'm standing there bent over with my ass in the air filling up a water bottle, I'm wondering to myself, why the hell is the spout so low on this damned thing? It could just as easily have been placed at waist height or higher. Don't get me wrong, I understand why you'd do that with a dispenser that used water bottles, but why with this setup. I blame it on laziness and lack of imagination.

Atheists are the new Communists

It turns out that I'm considered, by 2000 randomly chosen persons, to be outside the moral boundary of our nation. I’m among a group more vilified than any other minority in this country. They hate me more than Muslims and gays. How about that? From the article, "Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism." I eat children and kick puppies as well.

I've struggled with the label atheist for a long time. I'm not sure how I feel about a god, but I'm pretty sure that whatever book you are going to point me to or whatever idea you are going to try and get me to buy into is baloney. That more or less makes me an agnostic, but I think "agnostic" is kind of a chicken shit stance. Like admitting that I don't have the balls to say that you are wrong. What really galls me is the notion that I somehow lack a moral compass just because I choose not to take my marching orders from an imaginary man in the sky. I'm done writing for now, my neighbor's dog wants to have a conversation.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Have you ever had one of those evenings where everything just seems to go right? I just did. I know by writing about this, I'm probably going to jinx things, but.... I had a date tonight. This was actually the most atypical of dates I've had in a while.

I've been going on a lot of dates recently. Probably averaging about one a week. Is that a lot? I think so. Most of these have been pretty anticlimactic. Either she's not interested or I'm not interested or we are both not interested. On most of these dates there's been a palpable feeling in the air that one or both of us had a strong desire to run screaming from the table. This evening did not feel like that. I won't go into details because they really aren't that important, but things just seem to go well. We had a late dinner (8:30) at Lidia's. I arrived a little early and she arrived on time. The restaurant was running a little behind so we stood at the bar and had a glass of wine. At first I was nervous. Would she bolt from the bar while she had a chance? Would we ever get seated? What the heck was taking so long? About 20 minutes later we were seated. The restaurant was packed We got one of those tiny two person tables that is barely big enough to hold two water glasses and the salt and pepper shakers. Eventually, the dinner began. I won't bother to recount the details of the food. It wasn't spectacular or memorable, but her company more than compensated. We were then until well after the restaurant closed. We talked on things all over the map. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed myself. It was one of those conversations where there weren't any of those uncomfortable silences. There were a few lulls in the conversation, but none where I had that panicked feeling of, what the hell do I say now. We ate dinner and had dessert. We finished off most of a bottle of wine. We were there well beyond closing time. Eventually we decided that we'd kept the staff there long enough and it was time to clear out. On the way back to the car, as we were exchanging goodnights, she nonchalantly shook my hand and leaned in for the most chaste of kisses. I was stunned, flattered and relieved. How wonderful. It is pretty obvious that I'm not the smoothest of characters and I'd just been out smoothed by this pretty girl with the sparkling blue eyes. We then walked back to our cars. I drove home with a nice buzz and a tingle on my lips. I'm not sure how much was from the wine and how much was from the kiss. What a wonderful evening.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Confederate States of America

Everybody I know is raving about the movie, Confederate States of America. This is a fake BBC documentary that chronicles the history of the theoretical nation known as the Confederate States of America. This nation, the product of a southern victory in the civil war retains the institution of slavery. The film chronicles the history of the CSA from the southern victory to modern times. Each of the events chronicled makes use of bits and pieces of the real past and mixes them in with an interesting twist. For example, after the south wins the war an all out search for Abraham Lincoln is made by the southern armies. It turns out that he is being helped to escape to Canada by Harriet Tubman. As they attempt to cross into Canada, Lincoln is captured. To add insult to injury he's captured wearing blackface. This fact is repeatedly lampooned, but most notably in an interesting remake of The Birth of a Nation.

I've been struggling to fairly describe this movie. I didn't think it was that great, but I don't want to give the impression that it is without merit. I wouldn't want to prevent people from seeing it. I was chatting with someone about the movie and I think that conversation best expresses my feelings. I'm lazy, so rather than edit into something coherent, I will copy and paste it here and let you sort out the mess.

(11:04:14) Somebody Else: did you see the movie this week?
(11:04:24) Me: oh. yes.
(11:04:25) Somebody Else: and
(11:04:28) Somebody Else: how was it
(11:05:14) Me: I'm tempted to say ham handed, but so many people are raving about it that I feel like I'm kicking somebody's puppy.
(11:05:42) Me: I think if it had been made 10 years ago, it would have been a classic
(11:06:54) Me: The premise is still a good one, but some of the lengths that the director had to go to, to pull it off, are a bit tired.
(11:07:39) Somebody Else: interesting
(11:07:44) Me: He has to sling around as many racial stereotypes and epithets in a comical manner that it looses its power.
(11:08:02) Me: I think Spike Lee did it much better in Bamboozled.
(11:09:23) Me: But that's just me. I know a lot of people are raving about it. I think it is still worth seeing, but it definitely didn't feel ground breaking to me.

So there you have it. Once again, this movie is a valiant effort, but not a classic in my eyes.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hooray for global warming

Thanks to the recent warm snap I've had the chance to get the bike out of the garage on a couple occasions over the last few days. I even rode to work this morning. With the expectation that I'd be cold this morning, I preemptively put the liner into my motorcycle jacket. That is a decision I now regret. I was sweating my ass off the whole way in. Global warming or just a warm snap, I'm happy. If spring hasn't sprung, it is about to.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Damn it

Hi, my name is Aaron and I'm an addict. It has been 3 hours since I last bought a book. I have a problem. I am addicted to books. In the past week, I've bought 6 books. I don't know why I keep doing this to myself. I'm usually able to finish a book or two a month. That means that I should be buying at most 2 books a month. At most, 2 books. I've been averaging 5 or six books a month. I have a knee high stack of books that I don't know if I'm ever going to get through. This has been a problem for quite some time, but it has gotten worse lately. Like a junkie amongst fellow junkies, I've fallen in with a bunch of readers. I don't know how many times I've heard, "You should read book X.", where X is the most recent tome completed by the speaker. Like the good book junkie that I am I go out and buy the damned book. I thought I had a solution to the problem. I put together another pseudo blog where I'd record all the books I wanted to eventually read. I thought I'd do this instead of buying the books. If you look at the thing you will notice that it hasn't been updated recently. That's because I've fallen off the wagon. It has really just obscured the magnitude of the problem. I don't know if there is a solution for this. I'm sure that finances and space will eventually force me to get rid of some of these books, but for now, I've got a 3 story house to fill with books I may never read. I'm going to die crushed by a pile of unread books.

I'm a book junkie

Friday, February 17, 2006

China, the US, Cisco, Yahoo, MS and Google?

The recent ruckus in Congress over tech companies Cisco et. al's involvement with China has me confused. There are several congressmen who have raked the tech company representatives over the coals for providing technology that enabled the strict social and ideological controls that China has placed over its citizens to be extended to the internet. I think it is a little hypocritical for our country to extend normal trade relations or most favored nation status (NTR/MFN) to China despite their failing to qualify for the standards for those relations. The NTR/MFN status would normally be denied based upon China's human rights and emigration policies but they are given a waiver based upon executive order on a yearly basis. One congressman went so far as to compare the companies' cooperation to IBM's cooperation with Nazi policies during WW2.

Now, I'm not going to make excuses for these companies. They do what they do to make money and for the most part are amoral. On the other hand, I think to criticize them for doing business with China after lowering the trade barriers is a little disingenuous. This is morally equivalent to beckoning a chained dog from right outside the arc of packed dirt that represents the length of his chain and then laughing when he's jerked back having reached the extent of the chain. If China is so evil (I think it is), then why are we doing business with them at all. Is it OK to trade with them or not? I would argue that despite the controls that these companies are helping put in place the access that it promotes is justified.

I'm going to make a little aside here. I was about to quote Stewart Brand by saying "Information wants to be free", but I wanted to check the attribution first. It turns out that my interpretation of Brand's intent was flawed. I'd always thought that he was describing the memetic nature of information. I was wrong. He was making a statement about the value of information. The full quote is:

"Information Wants To Be Free. Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine---too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, 'intellectual property', the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better."

I was not aware of anything past the first sentence. His statement is insightful, but not appropriate to the argument at hand. Given that disclaimer, let me misuse his words. Information Wants To Be Free. Information Wants to Be Free. Information Wants To Be Free. The internet is a powerful medium. I believe that the internet is a useful tool to insure the freedom of information. The open access to information is a key in the search for truth. The more open that access, the easier the search for truth. So the restrictions placed by the Chinese government are ultimately counter to that search, but I believe that the greater good of access to the medium (though restricted) is much more valuable. Without that access, the search for truth and power and self determination are stymied. I'm of the opinion, where the internet is concerned at least, that limited access and unlimited access are or will ultimately be equivalent. Whatever barriers that are put in place to restrict access will ultimately be circumvented. That's just the nature of the beast. The flip side of that coin is that no access to the medium means no opportunities to circumvent the barriers. Example? North Korea. I also believe, that given the choice, most people will choose enlightenment over ignorance. Sometimes it is a painful choice to make but enough people will make the choice to make the difference. People just need to see that there is a choice to make.

What's the moral to the story? Make up your own.

UPDATE (2/19/2006): I just ran across this article and I think it demonstrates my point.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Friendster, Myspace and 17 new posts

You may notice about 324 new posts. Most of them are back dated. I would get started on a post, and loose interest. Is that ADD or is it just a lack of focus? On another note, I've recently created or added to friendster and myspace accounts. I didn't do this out of any real need. It was more to see what the hype was really about. I keep hearing myspace and friendster mentioned everywhere. I didn't want to be the last one to jump on the bandwagon. Now that I'm on the bandwagon, I have to admit to not being that impressed. Oh don't get me wrong. Both sites have been giant timesucks. I've wasted an inordinate amount of time putting together profiles and looking at other peoples profiles. While I can see some of the draw. There's an odd voyeuristic quality about looking at a person's profile and noticing who they are friends with and how you might or might not be connected to them via some weird 6 degrees of separation scenario.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Requiem for a Dream

This is the post where I was going to write something insightful about having finished the book Requiem for a Dream. Having read the book, I now feel so broken inside that I'm not capable of coherent thought or analysis of the themes on the book. Some might argue that I'm not normally capable of coherent thought, and they might be right. To make up for the fact that I can't write anything meaningful, I'm just going to ramble. This book and the movie by the same name are actually an exception to the rule that the book is always better than the movie. I think in this case, they play perfect complement to one another. Once I finished the book, I decided I should watch the movie again. I couldn't do it. I got about half way in, and the foreboding sense of doom that surrounded every character made me turn it off. Maybe I can try again on a nice sunny day with nothing sharp laying within reach.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Facts, Theories and The Religious Right

In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
-- Stephen Jay Gould

Oh how I appreciate this statement. It so captures the sentiment of the social and philosophical war that is currently taking place between the side of sanity and the side of the religious right. I've been thinking about this topic alot lately. I'm very dissapointed at how gullible some people seem to be. People's willingness to accept that a supposedly loving god would willingly create a universe in such a way that the observable laws of the universe would work in a way counter to what we are told by certain believers in this god.

There are two things that are going on that I think that this quote speaks to. The first, is of course the despicable attempts to poison our science education with the notion the notion of Intelligent Design. The second is this incident . For those of you too lazy to read the article the gist of the article goes into bullying performed by a Bush appointee. There were efforts to suppress science that ran counter to the administration policy. There was also a demand that all mentions of the Big Bang be as prepended with the word theory. These subtle and not so subtle attempts to poison our nation's leadership in the sciences are despicable and underhanded.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


I don't know what it is about the time 12:34, but I feel as if it is totemic in my life. There is the obvious asthetic appeal that the numbers are all sequential, but I think there is more to it than that. For some reason I seem to notice that time more than any other. I don't know what if anything it really symbolizes, but when I do notice that it is that time, I have an odd feeling come over me. As if something significant has just happened. Aren't the little games that the psyche plays interesting?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The wonders of sleeping on the couch.

I've never been a fan of sleeping on the couch. Why bother? Even back when I was married. If Danielle and I ever had a fight, there was no way I would sleep on the couch. F that. If you don't want to sleep in the same bed with me, then you ride the couch. For that reason and the fact that she and I didn't fight in that way I don't have much experience with falling asleep on the couch. I did last night though. I managed to a fall asleep about 11 and woke up at 4. At 4 I was still so tired, that I said "fuck it" and fell back asleep, rather than get up and go to bed. That was probably my first mistake. I woke up about half an hour later and couldn't get back to sleep. I decided to schlep my ass back upstairs. I took my laptop along with me. (Second mistake) It is normal for me to be unable to sleep immediately when I go to bed, so I usually read. Rather than read one of the three books in which my place is marked by either a napkin, plane ticket or a take out restaurant menu, I decided to cruise the web. (Third mistake)

Since the internet is truly the source of all knowledge, I decided to do a little research. During dinner, a friend of mine mentioned her personal record for the number of times to have masturbated in one day. Seven. Given that my own personal best is probably in that range I was reassured that this person, who I consider "normal", was at least as frustrated/bored/horny as I'd once been. I know it is weird, but I was reassured by that. This little fact stuck in my head. How much does a normal person set aside for "me time", and how often is "normal"? Am I normal, or did I just manage to meet someone else who was sitting at the far end of the Bell curve? Yes, I knew going into this, that the search was futile, but I was bored and unable to sleep, so what else was I going to do. He he.

When I am in the midst of internet research, my first, last and usually only stop is Google. I googled around for a while and found nothing to answer my question, but like almost every trip to the internet I soon found something to pique my interest. While I do keep a blog I'm not an avid reader of blogs. This one just happened to catch my eye. The only problem was that it was on a for pay site. The site is called nerve. Most of their content is free for the public. There are however sections that are marked as "for premium members only". I managed to stumble across one and was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to see all the pictures. Just for you that don't know, nerve is one of the more cerebral adult oriented sites. Is that an oxymoron? Is it possible to be adult oriented, pornographic even and be cerebral at the same time? That is a mental exercise left to the reader. I don't really care at this moment.

OK. I'm now three paragraphs into this post and I'm not sure why I started it. The titled doesn't seem to match the topic of the post much. Oh well. I guess the point is probably a bad idea to buy a subscription to a porn site at 4 in the morning after sleeping on the couch. Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security -- Benjamin Franklin

As we sit here, our government is spying on it's own citizens

"We have to remember that we're talking about a wartime foreign intelligence program," he said. "It is an early warning system with only one purpose: to detect and prevent the next attack on the United States from foreign agents hiding in our midst."

This sounds so much like something from the red scare. "We must unite against the enemy among us!" This news story makes me happy. Let's not ever get comfortable with being spied upon. Let's also not let the spies get comfortable as well. They need to fear us and not the other way around.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Am I Pathologically Disloyal?

I came across this article by clicking on a link that said GenXers are pathologically disloyal. The article doesn't quite put it that way, but I think the statement might have some merit. Honestly, I have very little actual loyalty to my own employer. Don't get me wrong, I like my job, and while doing it, I hope that I act in a way that is consistent with the goals of my company. Having said that, I would not hesitate to jump ship if a really good job offer came along.

Does anybody else see the irony in the fact that the Me Generation gave birth to a generation so self centered that we are called pathologically disloyal.

I will say that the statement may be overly broad. As a whole, I think my generation is quite loyal on a personal level. However, on a professional level I think it is probably spot on. Is this because we are selfish? Maybe. I think it has more to do with the fact that there is often very little to be gained by loyalty to one organization. I think we have become cynical enough to realize that an organization (company, political party, government, etc) as a whole can be expected to look out for its own interest and will often do so at the expense of those associated with the organization. That type of behavior makes sense when some lofty goal is associated. I can buy into the "good of the many over the good of the few" argument when we are talking about things like universal education or a cure for cancer. I don't however see what I get out of that type of thinking about a company. What do I get if I'm loyal to a company? A gold watch? Who gives a shit? I don't even wear watches, and if I did, I'd buy my own.

As if I need another reason to distrust and fear my own country

In a fit of boredom, I decided to see Syriana with a friend this evening. I really do enjoy movies that make me think. This was certainly one of them. It runs in the same vein as Traffic (Another movie written by Stephen Gaghan). This movie follows about 40 different characters through about 5 differnt plot lines. Following the trail of American influence into the global oil market and some of the very cynical things that we do to make sure that we have all the oil that we need. Syriana may have made me think too much. As you all know, I keep my tinfoil hat in my back pocket and I have a few spares in my glove box, desk drawer and one or two hidden about the house. Syriana can only make this worse. I know that the whole story is a fabrication, but I also know that it can't be too far from the truth.

Friday, January 20, 2006

WTF does this dream mean?

I rarely remember what I dream, so when I do, it is a special occasion. This was kind of a weird dream, so I will write it down. There is tons of fodder for the Freudian in you, so feel free to interpret away. A couple of other things I should say. There is another individual in this dream, but probably nobody you know, so I wouldn't bother speculating. Second, the dream is a sex dream, not a really weird or gross one, but be warned.

I'm not sure if this dream begins "in medias res" or that's just how I remember it, but that's how I will recount it. The first part of the dream that I remember is lying flat on my back, while straddled by a very beautiful woman. She is someone I know. Have you ever known the identity of a character in one of your dreams, but have the individual not look anything like the actual person? That is the way that this dream was going.

In the dream, she kisses me. After she kisses me, I notice that I have some sort of food in my mouth. Have you ever eaten a meal, and you notice 20 minutes later that there is that little bit of food in your mouth? You can't believe the food has been there the whole time. I'm sitting there wondering if this is from my breakfast or hers. Eventually, I recognize that it is Kix cereal in my mouth. As I'm chewing even more appears in my mouth. Is it there because I didn't notice it or has she kissed me again and filled my mouth up with cereal? I don't know.

After the cereal, I notice that she has something written on her back. It is a large tattoo that written in large script letters that fill her back. The lettering is black ink with sort of a rose-colored shadow behind the letters. How I notice this beyond me, since she's facing me. I try to read what is on her back, but I don't remember what it said.

Next she says, "Let's play a game. It's called comfort zone". I look around and see a couple of dice, little cardboard and plastic game pieces are strewn around the bed. That's about when the alarm went off.

Let the psychoanalysis begin.