Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Spay or Neuter Those Bastards!

On the Pet Peeves topic, I am dismayed to the point of looking away as if you have some horrible green goo seeping from your eyes and I don't want to be rude, when I visit a web page and the person writes like this:

"i wOuLd LiKE to aSk jOHn tO thE prOm BuT"

:::shuddering in pain:::

Pet Peeving

Don't use a number in the middle of a word, like se7en.

Makes no damn sense.

That's right up there with backwards R's.


Merrily Bubbling In A Pot of Nerdly Glee

I'd heard rumors six months or a year ago that Christopher Eccleston - aka 'The Shizzle' - was going to be the new Dr. Who.

All right, now that 99% of the readers have clicked away to another web page, I can continue.

I've always enjoyed Dr. Who. It's smart, quirky, irreverent and it's gone through so many incarnations over the years that no matter who you are, you can find a Doctor that you like. (The Doctor is an alien, and he metamorphises into another 'life' and appearance when he dies, a convenient method of bringing in new actors to play the role)

Tom Baker, Best Doctor Ever:

Each Doctor has a different personality, and the show usually gets a revamp and different look with each new Doctor.

The Doctor (for those of who you don't know) travels through time and space in a time machine - natch - that is giant nearly unending series of rooms on the inside and small on the outside (He's a high tech alien).

The time machine has a cloaking device which is supposed to function to blend the unit into the surroundings of where-ever it arrives. Early on, the cloak stuck on the form of a UK Call Box, and that has become its static form.

Like So:

Every week, The Doctor and his companion(s) end up on some planet, space station, etc where some great terrible thing is happening or about to happen, and must be stopped or the universe will come to an end, etc.

These companions are typically of the low-tech average peeps sort of person, so that The Doctor can explain esoteric stuff to the companion, and to the viewer.

So I was surfing the web and came across the fact that the new Dr. Who series IS in production, and Christopher Eccleston is indeed playing The Doctor. (Though it seems Chris is already leaving, and David Tennant - of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire fame, is taking over...)

I watched the trailer and was literally giddy with excitement as I heard all the old sound effects and the new take on the theme music. Dr. Who has great capacity to be a very good sci-fi series. The show is all about witty dialogue, and much less about action.

Even though I'm not nearly the sci-fi fan I was growing up, I'm very pleased that the show is getting a new chance.

One of the biggest problems with the older versions of the show were its awful, strongbad special effects. Now with 3D computer FX and blue screen, they can accomplish a lot more.

There are no airdates yet for the show to play in the U.S., (despite 2 'Coming Soon to ABC Trailers' - which on further research turns out to be Australian ABC TV) but I'm looking forward to at least getting the new episodes from Netflix, eventually.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Steam Cleaner, Yowza!

This is a very handy product!

I went to Cindy's work a week or two ago, the day before she had a store inspection by her District Manager, and helped her out by scraping the gum off her wood floor.

How it's possible that many store patrons drop the chewing gum out of their mouths so that it ends up on the floor is beyond me. Hopefully it's very young children. But of course, the gum gets smooshed flat and dries hard as a rock and you're on your hands and knees trying to get it up with GooGone and a scraper.

After 2 hours, I gave up. I was only about 1/3 finished, and my thumb was really hurting from all the scraping. And I just kept thinking that there had to be a better way, a better tool.

I kept thinking about the steam cleaner I'd had my eye on for a month or two, for use around the house. I don't mind cleaning as long as I have good tools. And hot steam probably would easily rehydrate and melt dried floor gum...

And so I bought a steam cleaner, the model you see above. It's a 'Shark' brand steamer, they run about $100. There are a number of different attachments that come with it.

The bottle holds 800CC's of water and that will spray steam for up to 15 minutes, depending on what head you're using. It takes about 5 minutes to warm up the water. The unit is pretty well designed, but the trigger is a bit clunky and should be a lot more responsive than it is.

There's also an indicator light on the side of the steamer, which tells you if you're about to spray steam of optimum heat, or if you should wait a moment. Green=Go, Orange=Should wait. This light should be either on the spraying handle or on the top of the unit. As it is, if you're on the wrong side of the bottle, you have no idea if the next volley of steam is ready.

The gum results. The next time Cindy had a store-closing shift, I showed up with my new toy and tried it out on the gum. It took most gum deposits off in 60 seconds or less, and with zero scraping. Some more ancient gum took 2 minutes, still with no scraping.

It's really all about having the right tools.

Star Wars Episode 3

I skipped a few hours of work this morning.
I went to see Revenge of the Sith.

As I was standing in line at 9:30am in the blazing California sun, I looked at my fellow line-waiters.

Buncha nerdy white dudes. Every computer programmer and IT professional in the area was in attendance. And while I am pale white man, these folks were even whiter than me, if that can be believed. It was like we were all contestants for a Powder look-alike contest. There's gonna be a lot of pink skinned computer programmers at work tomorrow!

The movie theater should have been selling sunscreen along with tickets. They would have made a handsome profit.

If you enjoy Star Wars at all, you'll likely agree this movie is good - better than EP1 and 2 put together. I don't know if I agree with Kevin Smith's glowing review, but it's a good flick.

Yoda is the star of this movie, and the coccles of my heart brimmed with joy every time he showed up on-screen. Everything regarding Yoda was very well done.

All the necessary bits are in there, but the execution is awkward. I think Lucas is a lot better at drafting a storyline than he is at dialogue. He probably should have left the detailed writing to more practiced hands.

There was about 50% Cheese Factor in ROTS. For every "ooh!" there was a corresponding "ugh".

The movie feels too compressed, even at 2.5 hours, and could have been expanded into 2 movies easily, and for the better. All the necessary pieces are here, but they're put together without much grace.

The battle on the Wookie planet seems tacked on. We all love Wookies, but can't we be told why this is an important battle? What will we lose? What have we to gain? And on another planet, Obi-Wan starts riding around on a giant lizard for no apparent reason. And on cue, the clones start behaving like droids, and mindlessly following orders.

In the span of 10 minutes, Anakin goes from fretful Jedi to child-murdering Sith Lord, and without the necessary buildup. Killing an adult is an easier transition for a newly-bad guy. Killing kids like it ain't no thing should take years of downward spiraling.

I complain, but I love. This would be a very hard movie for anyone to make. This is the summation of six movies, and as a wanna-be writer, I can almost feel the amount of pressure that had to be on Lucas.

I don't mean pressure from fans, but rather from the story itself. The story has a life of its own at this point, and a strong will. I can easily imagine Lucas at a typewriter, and not even pressing keys, just looking at the paper.

And as he stares, indelible shadows of the letters and words and actions and scenes bleed right out of the paper, because really this has all been preordained, (except the random lizard riding) and all you can do is fill in between the lines, like a coloring book, with the fruit-scented marker of your choosing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Do It For The Children

Dear Brian Grazer,

You're a great guy, and I really enjoy most of your movies.

But you're in your 50's now, and there's really no excuse for you to have spiked hair 6 inches high all over your head.

You've got to be a millionaire at the very least. Come on, a new hairdo will cost you like $100 tops. If you get highlights. Not that you need highlights.

Highlights are over-rated.

You know, just a trim. I could come over tomorrow afternoon and hit you up with a few swipes from my Maverick(TM) Trimmer. I'll bring Scoops and guacamole, we'll have fun.

You'll be a new man.

Call me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What I am is what I am are you what you are or what

If I were in prison, on death row,
And they asked me what I wanted for my last meal...

I'd want Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes and Corn on the Cobb.

That's right -
Dinner with The Colonel would send me off into that good night.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

WCF - The Yolk or the White?

I was reading my morning CNN, all trusting, and I came across this:

New Species of Rodent Found
"The long-whiskered rodent...represents an entire new family of wildlife, the Wildlife Conservation Society said.

The kha-nyou, as local people call it, was discovered by a team of scientists in a hunter's market in central Laos, according to a news release from the New York-based group.

"It was for sale on a table next to some vegetables. I knew immediately it was something I had never seen before," Robert Timmins, a WCS researcher, was quoted as saying of his find."

Ok, first thing.
If you find it on a table for sale, you can't say you "discovered it".
That's like dropping a tampon in a teacup and calling it "found art".

Second thing.
If the indigenous people have a name for the animal, you didn't discover shit, aaight?

If you discover something that no one has ever seen before, even if it's a new microscopic bacteria, I'll be impressed.

Otherwise, go 'way kid, ya bother me.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Afternoons are really just a waste of my time. Mornings, I have nothing but energy and motivation. But after lunch, I'm useless. I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

Maybe I need a siesta after lunch.

I should be writing, but I'm not feeling it. Got to be in the mood, got to be able to concentrate. And my mind is just in 'veg' mode.


And lunch isn't appealing either. I want cakie goodness, pie, cookies and milk. Starch and Sugar.

Maybe I'd be more productive after a little starch and sugar.

Friday, May 06, 2005

I'm Trying To Be Good, Really

For lunch I ate veggies (including carrots, cauliflower and broccoli) and chicken breast, which was very tasty - and with every bite, I was thinking how even though it had been five hours since I'd eaten, I wasn't hungry.

And that all I really wanted was the Hostess Cherry Pie and the Milk that I had waiting for afternoon snack.

So I put my lunch away, ate my pie snack, and then immediately wanted three more.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Dr. Foxworthy Will See You Now

I was exploring some info on diabetes online the other day.

Just about any normal bodily state can indicate that you are diabetic.

Are you tired a lot?
You just might have DIABETES!

Are ya thirsty?
You just might have DIABETES!

Do you have pee after you drink water?
You just might have DIABETES!

Do you get itchy?
You just might have DIABETES!!

It's like the Ellen Degeneres routine,
where she talks about medicating depression:
"Do you ever feel sad?"

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


It's two hours and twenty minutes before I can go home from work.

If you can call this work.

And I am so done.
You know when you blink, and you look at the screen, and you realize
"I am done."

This is one of those times.
I don't even have the wherewithal to surf the web.

That's bad.
Just tired I guess, but why?

Home Safe From the Land of Port

Cindy and I are home safely from our trip to Portland. Everyone we talked to about the trip assumed the same thing:

"Oh you have family there?"

"No, we're just going there for the hell of it." We reply.

The second, third, and fourth days in Portland went well. The second day was all about Powell's City of Books, as we are geeky freaky about books.

Have I mentioned yet that there are trees everywhere? There are.

We left the hotel hungry for breakfast, and not knowing where we'd eat. We just started walking toward the bookstore. We came upon a Baja Fresh across the street from Powell's, and cheerfully got our tortilla on. I had fish taco's, Cindy had a cheese quesadilla.

How cheese between two tortillas can fill someone up is beyond me. I must regularly devour the flesh of a recently living creature in order to survive.

We spent a good three hours in Powell's, and didn't see everything by a long shot. It's like Disneyland. You gotta spend two or three days to properly see everything. But who has the patience for that?

It's a great store. It's huge, and it has new and used books shelved together in a beautiful array of in and out of print stuff. Well worth the trip to Portland, just for the visit to this bookstore. We only spent about $75, which I think shows real restraint. Did I mention that Oregon has no sales tax? It's true!

We even bought Powell's t-shirts, which is saying a lot because we don't indulge in souveniers, ever.

I had a vague interest in the Portland Museum of Art - if just to do something beyond wander the streets of downtown. But I picked the wrong day, which was Monday, which is the day they are closed. Oh well.

As we wandered the streets each day, we took many pics, and it's a beautiful city, I gotta tell you. And five of the men we spotted were wearing skirts. They look mighty comfy, but I just don't know.

There were also a good ten folks wandering around with the vision-impaired white canes. I don't know if there was a convention, or if Portland is a visually-impaired friendly city, or what...

One thing I thought was cool about Portland was that there are water fountains on nearly every block. Not the typical kind you'll find anywhere else in the U.S. - these have four fountaining heads, each with their own bowl, and you can get your sip on at whim. And I did. It was cold and delicious!

Sunday, May 01, 2005


This is our first day waking up in Portland, Oregon. The area is seriously considering hitting us with a rainstorm - this is the Pacific Northwest, after all. So far it has not rained, we've been lucky.

Cindy is in the shower as I type, and we'll soon be out finding breakfast. Our view out the only window is an assortment of condemned buildings with plywood over many of the windows.

If I owned The Westin Portland, I'd pay a stipend to the owners of the condemned buildings and dress the windows with curtains or blinds. If I was feeling really creative, I'd stash some kitsch in the windows, and give the building husks a lived-in feel until they are demolished. There is no sign that they will be demolished soon, so it would probably be worth it.

When you're paying nearly $200 a night for a hotel, ($170 with the in-room wireless access) you don't want your view to be three condemned buildings, that's all I'm saying. Now, I find old buildings interesting, and one of them has really cool window frames and I took a number of pictures. But really, it's a stark, somewhat depressing view.

We walked around Portland for a couple of hours yesterday, after checking in to the hotel. I took many many pictures, which I will eventually post on my web site. Very green and pretty, and there are Starbucks and a plethora of non-corporate coffee houses everywhere. And I mean everywhere. And they're all full of people, it's not like the area is oversaturated.

Lots of green, everywhere you look. Trees, grass, ivy, very nice. Even in the downtown area, very green and nice. The architecture is a liberal mix of old and new. A lot of the old buildings are well-kept and look like they're in great shape - unlike the ones in our window view.

We walked around looking for somewhere to eat something for dinner - Cindy had not eaten all day. We wanted something quick and cheap, so we stepped into a McDonalds. #2 Combo for each of us, thank you very much. It's one of the nicest McD's I've ever been in, very stylish and well-appointed.

We walked down to the Willamette River, where there was some kind of reception party going on for the local prom. Lots of young folks dressed up and giggly. Many cute little dogs of the Wishbone variety, we think they're clones someone's licensed. We'll take two yes thank you.

We walked back towards the hotel, and came across a Rite-Aid Drugstore. We stocked up on soda pop and munchies as if we were coming down off an afternoon of reefer use. I told Cindy we should have asked for rolling papers, to complete the illusion.

The cashiers at Rite-Aid were a riot. The guy who rang up our stuff started out seeming mostly normal, and then started going off, just rambling about nothing, just random quips, of the sort you might receive from an average cashier - but he wasn't content with the obligatory single quip, as per typical. He was quipping the light fandango, and would not stop.

It was like he'd launched into Standup Cashier mode. I swear, in the time it took him to ring up our 12 items, we were on the receiving end of at least 12 quips. And they weren't really funny at all. They were the nod and smile variety, and that's what I did, but Cindy was actually chuckling politely right along with him.

And there were many people in line, and he called for a second checker. A woman showed up, and she seemed normal, until she spoke, and her voice was deeper than mine. I'm not a James Earl Jones sounding guy, so it's not that hard to accomplish, but it sounded bizarre coming out of this otherwise normal looking woman. Was it a man? A woman with a voice issue? We'll never know. She seemed nice though.

After we got back to the room, we got comfy and devoured our snack goods. Then I took a long hot bath in the Heavenly Bath (tm) as I read the new book by Kevin Smith. The book is funny, it helps to know his movies obviously. The book is a series of essays, and it's good but not great. Since it was written as a number of disparate columns over a long period, there's no real cohesion or arc as you'd get from a lengthy narrative. But it's cute, he rambles about all the familiar people, and it's a fun read.

At around 10pm we dressed in our workout clothes and went down to the third floor to check out the Fitness Room. There are about 20 machines and we had the place all to ourselves. Nice! Cindy had been looking forward to trying an elliptical machine, and of course, that's the one thing this gym didn't have. Ah well, that just gives her a reason the check out the Bally's, which she's been considering.

I showed her how each machine worked and how to adjust the heights and weights and whatnot. We had a good time, it was cool that we were alone and could chat freely.

Then we came back to the room and watched tv. I spent a couple of hours writing, with precious little to show for it. I've been getting some writing done every day now, if just for an hour. At about 12:30 I lost all will to me mobile and passed out.

The beds are Heavenly Beds(tm) and they really fit the name. They are amazingly comfortable.