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Showing posts from December, 2004

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

I changed my mind. I didn't get my SoundDock for Christmas, but I did get to choose what I wanted for my birthday. Now that we were being serious, I decided to read some reviews and figure out what would be best for me. Thanks to the iPodlounge GearGuide, I found a better alternative: the JBL OnStage. According to the reviews, it has clear, balanced sound and it will accept a normal line in, so you aren't tethered to the iPod as your only source of music. I don't see myself necessarily using it any other way, but it's nice to have the option.

The best part about it is that it costs about $190 less than the SoundDock. Since I apparently don't have a group of people waiting to pool their money and get me something extravagant, this price tag seems much more palatable.

Not to mention, with the horror happening across the world right now, extravagance seems a bit harder to justify. I gave the difference in price, and then some, to the Red Cross for the tsunami…

You'll be sorry you asked

OK, as requested, here's another "how's the novel coming?" status update. Read it at your own risk, since I can't promise that it will be anywhere near as entertaining or thought-provoking as previous updates. Fair warning: I may have repeated some of this previously, but since I'm the only one reading it, I don't really care. The history helps to put things in perspective.

After several years of saying, "I really should write a book about this," I finally bit the proverbial bullet this year and started writing in January. In fits and starts, I have kept going all year, and just finished chapter 8 this week. Word count-wise, I'm at about 40K, so if my estimates are correct and I really am somewhere between one-third and halfway done, then this will be about a 100K-word book. Right in the sweet spot for satirical fiction: not so long as to excite comparisons with Twain, but not so short that it's filed with the Bathroom Reader serie…

Trackbacks now added!

I just added Haloscan commenting and trackback to this blog. Now I can get into long arguments with people I have never met and -- if I'm lucky -- probably never will meet. Technology is a wonderful thing.

I think I'll go find someone and pick a fight.

Marion Fights Back

Marion Jones Sues Accuser Over Steroid Allegations

Now Marion Jones is suing Conte over his claims that he witnessed her using steroids. This is shaping up into the greatest "He said, she said" battle since Monica and Bill squared off. Well, at least as far as the sports world is concerned, though I expect it will have about as much impact on the rest of the world as the Lewinsky story had on sports.

Now that this is going to a civil trial though, my question is: how does Marion make her case? If you can't prove a negative, how does she prove that Conte was lying? I guess they can try to force him to give specifics about the incident and then prove she was elsewhere, but that's a dangerous game. They did meet in person, and all he has to do is use some of those meetings as the basis for his story, assuming he's lying. If he's telling the truth, then Marion doesn't want this to get anywhere near a trial.

Filing the lawsuit is a good move, but going th…

Oy, that's early!

I had to be at work by 4 AM today (don't ask why, it's a long story). It's a surreal experience driving to work at 3:00 in the morning, just you and a couple of semi trucks. Heck, even the truckers were mostly sleeping at that time. The convenience of having the road to myself was tempered by the fact that I had to slow down or risk outdriving my headlights. And did you know that the rest area McDonalds only offers a limited menu in the wee hours? It's somewhere between late-night burgers and breakfast.

It's also really hard to get gas at 3:00 AM. Only the rest area station was open.

I was ready for lunch by 9:00 and now that everyone else is getting lunch I'm ready to go back to bed. Call it the swing-and-a-half shift.

All I want for Christmas

Now, this is what I want for Christmas: the new Bose SoundDock. I can't think of a better way to fill the room with those holiday favorites. Family, are you listening?

Just Write

"Good," "great," and "stinky" writing are all relative, and are primarily a function of practice. Just being capable of putting words together in an order that other English-speaking people are able to understand, with relatively few typos or misspellings would put someone ahead of many people with whom I work on a daily basis, even if they didn't consider it a God-given skill. This ability can be honed, just like any other ability, only through practice.

I threw javelin in high school and college. God graced me with a strong arm, so for the first year or so I got by on muscles alone. I ran down the runway, did a few cross steps, and then basically stopped and heaved as hard as I could on that little spear. I topped out, though, at about 150 feet, which was as far as my raw strength could take me. To go any further than that, I had to find a way to convert the momentum of the run into the kinetic energy that would propel the javelin further than my ar…

Late Model CARS

Disney, Pixar delay release of last joint movie

Pixar announced yesterday that it will delay the launch of its next movie, Cars from November 2005 to June 2006 in order to maximize potential box office and DVD revenues. While analysts had several theories as to the real reason for the delay -- including production problems and stalling to give more time to find a new distribution partner -- Steve Jobs was quick to squelch any rumors.

"The truth is, that aliens have abducted Lee Unkrich, who's in charge of our first non-Disney film," stated Jobs, "and we need time to negotiate a prisoner transfer that will get Lee back and return Michael Eisner to his home planet."

Go Canadian, eh?

T-Shirt Co. Offers 'Go Canadian Package'

A New Mexico T-shirt company is offering a "Go Canadian" package, which will allow Americans traveling abroad to avoid political discussions by posing as Canadians. The kit includes a Canadian flag T-shirt, a Canadian flag lapel pin, and a Canadian patch for luggage or a backpack. There's also a quick reference guide — "How to Speak Canadian, Eh?" — on answering questions about Canada.

The product has been met with enthusiasm, leading the company to consider several other kits, including:
The his-and-hers "Go Taliban" kit: a fake beard and AK-47 for him and an all-enclosing burka and chastity belt for her.
The "Go Yankees" kit: a steroid syringe, a vacuum with an attachment that fits directly over your wallet, and a one-size-fits-all choke collar
The "Go Democrat" kit: same as the "Go Yankees" kit, only the syringe is replaced by a large "I'm sorry, world" sign
Th…

Look into the Future

Deep thought for the day: If you want to know what your girlfriend will look like in twenty years, look at her mother. If you want to know what you will look like in five years, look at your boss.

Sweet Pain

You know you've had a good workout when you have to open the locker room door with your head.

Marion Jones Juiced?

ESPN.com - OLY - BALCO chief says he gave drugs to sprinter Jones

Victor Conte is cutting loose and doing his best to take everyone else down with him. I find his self-righteous tone more than a bit laughable, given that he has been dealing in illegal drugs for the past several years. He says, "Do [I] feel ashamed about what [I've] done? The answer is, no. Because I got to a point where I realized that elite sport is about doing what you have to do to win. I've seen athletes being forced to decide whether to use or not use, and it's much more painful for them to entertain the idea of giving up their dream than using anabolic steroids. So those are the real rules. That's what's really going on. Those are the real choices that athletes face when they get to the very top of their sport."

That's like hearing a drug pusher say, "Hey, I just provide the smack. They kill themselves with it." Or maybe Philip Morris (I mean, "Altria") s…

Speaking of things you can't say...

... my only hope for polite society is that most of this goofiness is restricted to California: Yahoo! News - 'Master/slave' Most Politically Incorrect Phrase.

Then again, this is no crazier than some of the freakishly over-sensitive debates that people entered into around the time that I was in college. Don't even get me started on the Water Buffalo Affair....

You Don't Say!

Further reading on Paul Graham’s site has given me a new favorite essayist. Well, let’s be honest: I didn’t really have a "favorite essayist" before, so he’s "new" in the sense that I hadn’t ever read anything he’d written before, not because he replaced someone in my great pantheon of essaydom. Although, now that I think of it, Mark Twain and C.S. Lewis both wrote some rather famous essays, so I guess I did have some other favorites. OK, Paul is now in my Top Three of favorite essayists.

Why do I call him an essayist? Because he calls himself one, right here. After reading that piece, I realized that I, too, have been writing essays ever since I started this infernal blog. So I guess Paul’s really in my Top Four.

One of Paul’s works, What You Can't Say, really challenged me (go ahead, read it. I’ll wait). At heart, I agree with what I think is his common theme: "Question everything," or as he puts it, ABQ -- Always Be Questioning. We can’t improve wh…

Just Design It

This great essay from Paul Graham attempts to describe why Americans do some things well and other things badly. I think he's hit the nail on its well-designed head.