Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Blogger Is Getting Annoying

Boy, this is probably the longest break between posts I've had in a while. We've been busy with a number of different things that could be cited as excuses for not posting, but, in all honesty, it's really just a simple blend of laziness and distraction.

Mandy's parents are nearing the finish of their world wind tour of the United States as seen from the vantage point of two chrome horses. They bought a simple (and surprisingly effective) mini-DV camera from eBay and have used it to create a video diary of their trip. I plan to boil a pot of editing juices and render those tapes down to one, 30-40 minute biking adventure that can be enjoyed by all. As one of the last stops on their trip, they have been camping out at our apartment in Hamilton! for the past few days. Their visit has been most welcome. We've spent many hours catching up and swapping fun travel stories, checking out the city, and trying new foods. Originally, I was going to cite their trip as the cause for not posting, but it's not really true. I have had a lot of free time these past few post-free days, I've just thought it better to spend it hanging out and chiz-illin' with the in-laws than writing.

Not a single person replied to an important, previously stated question, so I'll ask it again in the hopes that at least one of you responds: Is it more desirable to post shorter, more frequent posts or longer, less frequent posts? Do you want daily updates with less content or maybe twice-weekly updates with more content? Let me know.

I'm planning a face-lift for the blog and possibly mirroring it on MySpace, to see if people dig the change. I hope to incorporate more media-rich content (audio, video, and spinning "under construction" signs) to make the blog more fun. Among several other problems, I can't seem to get the "Phone Audio" updater and the RSS-Feeds to work on Blogger. These issues, along with the integrated content management system at MySpace are two of the main reasons for the mirror. There's a new "improved" Blogger service that is currently in beta, but I can't get DropMyStraw to transfer over, so I don't know whether the changes will be good or not.

MySpace provides much more flexibility in the direction of media-rich content, and, from what I understand, it's much more reliable than Blogger, so who knows. Since we started the travel-blog project, we've gotten a ton of really positive feedback from friends and family. It's encouraging, and we thank you all for it.

My goal over the next few weeks is to get my business site installed and customized. I'm also going to start putting together a gee-whiz wow-bang demo reel to show potential client and ad agencies in the hopes that I can land a job that will pay me to do something I enjoy (what a novel concept). To do these few things, I plan to rebuild the RAID array on my computer (or, rather, pay Kleiner-One-Niner with beer to do it for me) and possibly upgrade some of the components with a little of the money I made doing video work for clients back in GR. In this way, hopefully, I can keep moving towards my long-term video goals and write the money spent to upgrade off as a business expense in the process (gotta love being incorporated).

That's it for now. I'm still planning to post the terrible and wonderful music video montage as well as some pics of the apartment. Stay tuned, great things are in the works!

(What is it with me and midgets?)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Slow News Night

Not much... Except this: Our love for Big Trouble In Little China knows no boundaries.

("Who?" "Jack Burton! ME!")

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tastes... TASTES...

Good on da' bun!

In honor of all things musically dandy, I present a simple and straightforward post. "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Even Worse" was the first CD I ever owned. My dad bought it for me ($29.99 at the time) to play on his brand-new CD player. Years later, the CD player ended up going to fuxupyo's dad. His dad (Pastor Joe) rewired it. He added a skip and random-play feature by wiring it to his computer through a parallel cable. Amazing guy with an amazing brain.

I loved "Weird Al" long before I loved the true launching point of my interest in music; Pink Floyd. I will love him long after the four remaining members of the London psychedelic quartet have set their respective controls for the heart of the sun. Al is brilliant, zany, and filled with just enough social satire to make his humor slightly relevant.

With that in mind, check out this link, and listen to the whole song before reading on: Don't Download This Song

When I listen to this song, two points become very obvious:

1. "Weird Al" Yankovic sticks to very socially acceptable humor.
2. His music is intended to make middle-schoolers laugh.

While these two ideas may seem innocuous at first, consider the underlying message of his song. He claims, in no uncertain terms, that the copyright and legal moguls of American (RIAA, BMI, and others) have stepped so far beyond the bounds of rational discourse that no one, save the hopelessly misguided, could actually think they are serving the interests of the artists they represent.

Now, this guy isn't John Stewart, Michael Moore, or any other far-end leftist humorist who has an axe to grind (BTW, I love John Stewart, Michael Moore, and, really, anyone who has an axe to grind about pretty much anything). This is "Weird Al" folks. This is the guy who parodied Michael Jackson's "Beat It" with "Eat It." He's not trying to be taken seriously, but therein lays the real beauty of the song. "Weird Al" sings to entertain middle-schoolers, not their parents. He writes lyrics kids understand because they are juvenile to take the line, "I accidentally shot Daddy last night in the den! I mistook him in the dark for a drug-crazed Nazi again!" as mere hyperbolae.

It demonstrates that middle-schoolers understand how ridiculous it is for the RIAA to sue children. Kids have highly-tuned bullshit radars, and they hate, hate, hate hypocrisy. Al is cashing in on it by making fun of such a bleedingly simple target: enormous corporate conglomerates who only fool the feeble-minded into believing that people sharing music with their friends is akin to flying planes into the world trade center. It makes a good case that the humor in the song is so universally understood to be ridiculous (like the OJ Simpson trial or the sounds of bodily functions) that a 13-year-old would understand the joke and laugh.

So, what does that say about the rest of country and the state of corporations manufacturing consent? Who knows?

I just know that there really are some people who stand behind the RIAA saying, "Yeah, we should totally sue people for sharing music they legally own!" But the mere existence of this song shows that a new generation, one not so hopelessly dependent on "voices of authority" to tell them what is and isn't morally acceptable, is looming heavy on the horizon. "Weird Al" is onboard for the long the ride. When I was a kid, it was funny to make fun of Michael Jackson and gun control. Al is still pointing towards the obviously absurd, only now, most if the adults aren't in on the joke. And that's may be the saddest part of all.

God bless the Glorious Weirdness. It takes a true luminary like Mr. Yankovic to show us the absurdity of our ways… even if it was already painfully obvious to 10-year-olds.

“Let me tell sonny, let me set you straight. You kids today ain’t never had it rough. Always had everything handed to you on a silver plate, you lazy brats think nothing’s good enough.”

-Weird Al Yankovic

Image 5 in "Whose Wax Baby Pictures Towards Which The When Picture HAPPY???"

(This is one of the truly funniest pictures ever. This poor cat looks like a victim of some late-night Camelot party.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Life's been good this side. The days have been very pleasant, bordering on hot. It's strange how the air is so dry. It'll get really hot temperature-wise, but it won't be that cloistering, stagnant hot that Michigan is so famous for. I would guess it's because Ohio is lacking in the being-surrounded-by-enormous-lakes department, but who knows? It's probably aliens or a Democratic conspiracy.

There isn't a whole lot to report on our side. Mandy and I went to dinner at the Taj Mahal, an excellent Indian restaurant down the road from us. We hooked up with a guy we went to see The Illusionist with and good food and a good time was had by all. We're still going strong on the veggie thing with no real end in sight. I was skeptical of my ability to be disciplined enough to withstand the shimmering, lard-coated meats (so juicy and tender) for more than a week, let alone a month. But, it turns out, like everything else, if you plan for it and keep at it, even strange things become the norm.

It's amazing how adaptable people really are. We get pissed (well, I do) when our daily schedules are interrupted by a traffic jam, and act as if it were the end of the world, but we can adapt to crazy, life-altering events with the same grace. I keep thinking about the poor people in Lebanon and Israel, fighting over ideas and beliefs, and it seems so detached from my daily experiences that I assume I'd probably spontaneously combust if presented with a similar situations, but I wouldn't. Life would go on, it would just be totally different. I'm amazed to see how my friends have recently dealt with life-changing events with grace and courage that defies rational explanations. People can adapt and draw strength for any number of different sources, including themselves.

I'll close this post with a very interesting tidbit of trivia that Kleiner-One-Niner sent me today. Mandy and I live in Hamilton, OH. It's a little suburban area near expressways, financial districts, and lots of residential shopping. It's not very bohemian, but it is, at leat, close to everything. Anyway, it turns out that in the mid-80s, the city renamed itself from "Hamilton" to "Hamilton!" (with the exclamation mark). The city we live in (and this real, not a joke) is called "Hamilton!"

Two sources that prove this are: Wikipedia.Org and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The hippies and art-types may have their cool loft apartments, their art galleries, and their "drugs" but do they live in a city that demands the speaker exclaim in a proud, trumpeting voice that they live in "Hamilton!"? No. They do not.

So, come visit us in Hamilton! someday. We'll strut around, clap a stranger on the shoulder, and scream, "Hamilton, damn it! HAMILTON!!!"

Picture #4 in the "Funny! Pictures! That! Are! Funny!"

(I dedicate this picture to all Wack Nasty Grunge Rumblers, for they, truly, would get the joke.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Weekend Wrap-Up

Been a fun, fast weekend. I think we're starting to get settled. Two weekends in a row we've been here, working, shopping, meeting people, hanging out. It's been fun and very educational. It's very neat to see how the vibe and flow of an area is similar, yet different from the area I grew up in. Now that I've been working for a little while, I've again come to love the upcoming weekend and dread its passage. I honestly can't believe that most American companies only allow their workers two weeks of vacation a year. Somehow people have come to accept this insanity and work, literally for years, with 14 days of 354 that they can take off of work. That's craziness! If everyone woke up and realized that this is all you get and banded together and demand large corporations give them more than two weeks vacation well, then... the company would fire them and outsource the jobs.

So maybe that's not the best idea, but I'm standing for this two weeks a year crap. There are other ways to make money and live a life that don't involve actually living on the weekends and working for five days for 30+ years.

Friday: We hung out at home then went out for dinner at a local place PF Chang's. It was a kind of upscale Chinese restaurant that carried more than the usual take-out fare. Mandy and I were talking about how it's difficult to find a Chinese restaurant that isn't a simple take-out place. This was really good. The prices were reasonable (only $8.99 for a pan friend noodle). The tea was incredible. It had a smoky, black tea flavor to it.

Saturday: We slept in, went out to breakfast at a Red Squirrel (a local chain sort of like a Big Boy) and went to Old Navy. I needed to get a couple pairs of hole-free pants for my job. That night, we met up with a couple people and headed down to Newport on the Levy. Newport is a lot like Navy Pier in Chicago. It has some cool attractions, but it's mostly a large attraction for white people who are too leery to wander around the more seady parts of the big city. We went there because they were showing "Snakes on a Plane" and had a highly recommended pizza place.

The couple we hung out with were really interesting. For the purposes of this post, it's only important to mention that the woman is an Art Director for a large ad agency here in town. Her job consists of drawing, working with creative teams, outlining videos, and enjoying the weekly martini Friday afternoon. Like other graphic designers I know, she had access to various foosball tables, free lunches, and incredibly flexible working hours. This instantly made me angry. Again, I was reminded of far, far away I am from doing something I remotely enjoy. I have the degree and the talent, I have only to keep applying to jobs and building more portfolio until I hopefully land a job where I too can enjoy a martini while editing the next Death Cab For Cutie music video.

Snakes on a Plane was... about snakes on a plane. It was great to see its second open night because the crowd was totally in on the joke. There were lots of hoots and hollers and uproarious cheers when Samuel L. Jackson delivered the hallowed line, "I have had enough of these motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane!" Good stuff.

Sunday: We hung out at home. Mandy some delicious breakfast thing consisting of eggs, cilantro, chili oil, and other herbs and spices. 'Twas delicious. We met up with a friend and had a three hour conversation about health care, marriage, and bad Ohio drivers over a cups of fantastic chilled coffee. It was miserably hot and humid Saturday, but today it was perfect. Sunny, around 80 degrees, and a light but constant breeze. The perfect day to rest. We went shopping at Jungle Jim's, stocking up on our weekly supply of vegetarian thingies. We're heading into our fifth week of no meat (apart from occasional fish and shellfish). It's been fun, but I haven't really noticed any particular health benefits other than my left arm growing back after losing it in that terrible, terrible plane wreck. So, there's at least that. I think I'll continue on with it until I come across a really good opportunity to eat a steak or some sweet, sweet bacon.

Life is good, but we miss everyone back in GR. Friend and family are really important to us and the separation is taking some getting used to. We have to miss things like birthdays, movie premiers, and the occasional Founders brew, but it's a price we have to pay for a new adventure. It's very fulfilling and hard - it's strange how often those two aspects come packaged together.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


($0.42 goes to anyone that can figure out where the subject line came from)

Quick update tonight. Not much going on in the Big Cin other than toiling for the man. Both Mandy and I headed off to work, worked, and returned from work. We ate some delightful pasta and headed off to a Borders Books nearby to pick up a copy of CityBeat.

Three major things I'm working on for the blog are A) A series of photos and possible video of the apartment B) A quick 2x2 analysis of the videos I edited for a client back in GR and 3) A revamp of the layout of the site with a couple of new features.

Also a quick question: Is it better to post detailed (possibly video) responses that occur only occasionally or to post shorter but more frequent articles? Let us know in the comment section.

Three funny things:

1. This guy is my new hero.

2. Today at work I sat listening to q Coast to Coast AM podcast when a woman called in asking host George Noory for some information on a topic he mentioned in a previous show. Here's a link to a couple minute clip of the call. For those of you who are C2C fans or just enjoy listening to how gullable some people can be, you'll get a kick out this. A couple months back I posited the question, "Can people really be gullable enough to believe the majority of what people say on a late-night radio show that is dedicated to alien abductions, government conspiracies, and time travel?" The answer is self-evident.

3. The third in my continuing series of, "Funny Pics That Are Funny"

(No, wait. This is guy my new hero. 1943, apparently, was a very good year.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Got a little moto, always sees me through...

When you're good to Citybeat, Citybeat's good to you...

Went out last night. A local magazine, CityBeat, had a posting for a free advanced-screening passes to the film The Illusionist. Both Mandy and I responded to the ad, hoping to up our chances of scoring the tickets. We ended up both getting accepted. The film company sent us each three passes (good for two entrances) to the 7:30PM showing. We invited the dear Kleiner-One-Niner and a couple people we've met through the glorious forum Craig's List. The meeting went well, everyone seemed very laid back and into probing the little knooks and crannies of the Big Cin, so I'm sure we'll all find ourselves puttin' on the Ritz in short order.

The film was good. Beyond that lame and untelling word, you'll have to read my review on MindSplint, which, at this point, does not exist. Keep checking back. I'm sure it only be a matter of months or years before it finds its way out there.

The main thrust of this post isn't the film, new friends, or even cleverly reworded lyrics from the musical "Chicago." No. It's about a strange phenomenon that happened just today. A phenomenon that I haven't witnessed in about 3 years. At the time printing, I couldn't find a technical term for it on any of the myriad collections, indexes, and glossaries scattered through the 'net. So, for lack of a better term, I'm dubbing it, "DistroBombing" and it really is cyber-living proof of how spammers make money by sending out incredible amounts of email. The reason I haven't seen it in years is due to the fact that it's effects can only be seen in a network environment that is both A) Large enough to have large distribution lists filled with non tech-savvy people and B) Mail administrators that are inept enough to leave corporate-wide distribution lists open to anyone who wants to send a message. It goes like this:

1. Bob sends a legit email (Message A) to another person in the company, while accidentally CC'ing the message to a distribution list that contains every person in the company.
2. A copy of Message A appears in the inbox of everyone in the company because everyone was on the distribution list that Bob accidentally sent his message to.
3. Everyone in the company opens the email, realizes that they have no idea what Bob is talking about, and click "Reply to All" to let him know. They click the send button, transmitting their reply to Bob and everyone in the company again, because the corporate-wide distribution list is listed as a recipient.
4. The process repeats over and over. Every time anyone replies to the message, everyone in the company receives the reply and starts responding.

In the past, I've seen this DistroBombs go one for months. People would return from a long vacation, see a 200 messages in their inbox, and reply to it saying, "What is this all about, Bob?" Then everyone would start replying with the message, "Stop replying to the message!" which everyone receives ad nausum.

What intrigues me about the whole scenario is how effective it is. One person sends out a message with a large distribution list on it and soon, everyone in the company is getting messages, inboxes fill up with alarming speed, mail servers crash, and geeks like me spin in our chairs placing bets on how many messages will circulate before the chain stops. Total pandemonium, in other words. The effectiveness is not a defect of the mail system. It behaves just as it should, sending mail to the inboxes the user has designated. The whole bombing process only succeeds because of the users inability to understand what is happening. Even after several emails containing a subject and body that only reads, "DO NOT REPLY TO THESE MESSAGES" people will still reply asking, "What message?" or "Please stop this Bob! I'm trying to work!"

I guess I shouldn't be amazed that professionals working for a large company do not possess the basic skills necessary to prevent something like this from happening. Haven't worked for a company where my sole responsibility was convincing grown adults who had paid hundreds of dollars to own their own ecommerce "business" that yes, indeed, their keyboard came equipped with a num-lock key. But still...

Anyway, if anyone knows what the technical term for the scenario above actually is, let me know. If there isn't one, I'm going to create an entry in the Urban Dictionary for it.

And last but not least, the second in my continuing series of "The Funniest Picture Thingies Evah'!!!"

("AHHHH!!!! BURGER!!!!"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bikin' In Da Rain

Not much goiong on today. Went off to work. Nothing to report there. Went to an interview after work; that was pretty cool. That whole thing is under wraps for the time being, but I'll post more as it becomes available.

In the meantime, I have been listening to the podcast EscapePod. I would highly recommend it if you're a sci-fi fan. The stories are great (many of them Hugo and Nebula award noms and winners) and it's great fodder for coming up with stories for use in, say, a film, short stories, or your own podcast. The more I listen to the pod-o-sphere, as it's sometimes called, the more I want to get involved. The great thing is, like the better part of the internet, it's free, distributed, and anyone can contribute. I haven't figured out how or when I'd have the time to do anything with it right now, but the idea is definitly there. I like to write, voice-act, and do cool audio thingy-jiggies. I think a serial story would be something more fun than a news update or a "today in sports" deal. It would have a set length and I could make sure to have at least half done before I started to publish any. I dunno. If anyone is interested in doing something along those lines, email or comment here. I think it would be good fun.

In the meantime, here's a picture in a series of posts I like to call, "Funniest Damn Pictures Ever"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Badger, Badger, Badger

It's been a busy weekend. Friday we headed off into town to check out an open-air Seafood Festival in Newport. Newport is on the Kentucky side of the river, and they've spent a ton of money fancying it up. They hold festivals, built an enormous purple bridge that literally leads nowhere, and built a bunch of uppity restaurants. The festival was fun, we ate a some fried fish, shrimp, and chips. Then we headed to Hofsbrau Haus for a European-styled beer. It was pretty good. Not as wonderful as I remember my one golden sip the winter before, but we both drank the seasonal brew, so we'll have try the others some other time.

Saturday, we mostly hung out around our apartment. We went to a festival (there's always festivals around here) in West Chester, near where we live. Instead of getting to the festival (which had a $5 charge for the 'free' parking the advertisements promised), we ended up checking out a really neat wine shop. They were have a wine-tasting, so we hung out with owner and chatted about the area and what's going on. We ended up heading home and making some really good pesto-stuffed pasta with a fresh, spicy marinara sauce. Then we spent the night in usual geek fashion: Surfing the internet and listening to down tempo lounge music.

Sunday (today) is errand day. We bought a ladder and some pleasantly-scented items. We cleaned up around here and did our weekly vegetarian grocery shopping. It's strange that this coming Tuesday, we'll have hit our goal of two weeks with no meat. It hasn't been that hard. The only times I've noticed is during breakfast when haven't been able to dive in a steaming mound of sweet, sweet bacon. Ah well. I don't know how long I'll keep it up, but it really hasn't been that bad.

Today, on our way out to breakfast this morning, we saw a badger scurrying down the road. We slowed down to get a look at it, and sure enough, it was Mr. Badger. We pointed and honked and drove past. Here is a good link to commemorate the occasion.

Oh, also, on Saturday Mandy and were driving somewhere when we stopped at a red light. A random car pulled up alongside us. The driver looked over at me and in this mocking-serious tone said, "Go Buckeyes." I waved. We drove off. I'm guessing that he was inspired by our blue Michigan plate to talk to a complete stranger at a light, but it's only one of many, many occasions of such things happening. For example, every single time I would go running down Burlingame, random people would shout totally unintelligible gibberish at me as a I ran. I would tell Mandy this, but she would claim (and rightfully so) that I often embellish my stories, and it can't really be true. But then she ran with me a few times, and it happened every single time. I've often wondered what it is about me that causes random people to shout nonsense. Is my firm, proud buttocks? My wavy locks of golden hair? I don't know. It's very strange.

Also, I promised some photos of our apartment by this weekend and, yes, I lied. The apartment is finally cleanish, the boxes put away, and the random junk arranged (somewhat). I'll try to get the pictures done tomorrow and post them.

Peace n' love, y'all.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Flaming Lips f. Sonic Youth & The Go Team!

(Doesn't this look Wayne Coyne in his Christmas on Mars gettup?)

So here it is.

I left for Detroit about 10:00AM on Friday August 4th. I stopped for gas and breakfast sometime around 11:00AM in Sidney, OH. The breakfast was brief and not worth any kind of comment. I bring it up only because it was the only food I ate for the entire day.

The drive up was totally uneventful. It took right around 4 hours (Google Maps was right again) and I arrived and was parked a block from Comerica Park and State Theater about 3:15PM. I packed up my change of clothes, my camera, car stereo, and a couple bottles of water in my backpack and headed out. I wandered around downtown for about an hour, conversing with various concert goers, and snapping pictures.

Chad, Andy, and Jon showed up a little after 4:00PM. The four of us promptly headed into a nearby bar and drank a few beers while discussing film, showing off various geek gadgets, and our recent move to Cin City. This lasted for about two hours. Over the course of the two hours, the place kept getting progressively more filled with concert goers, baseball goers, and drink goers.

We all headed out of the bar around 6:30 – 7:00 and got in line. Actually, before I got in line, I went up to a bouncer and asked if it was cool if I brought in my backpack and camera. The guy gave me a thumbs up and I got in line. The guard at the door went through my back to make sure I wasn't sneaking in a gun or crack or something. Not finding any, she put a bracelet on my wrist and I went in the building. I picked up a cool Lips t-shirt and we headed to the main house which was about half full to its limit.

Here's where the fun begins.

The first thing I did, after drinking a beer, was take out my camera and begin recording some of the crappy footage you can see in the previous post. I had to hold the camera over my head to get a clear shot of the stage. I recorded two 30 seconds clips and turned to a friend to say something when I got a tap on my shoulder. I turned, expecting to see Angie or Mark (they were on their way over from their hotel) only to see a scowling security guard.

Over the din of the band (The Go Team!) the guard shouted and gestured towards my camera. Instinctively, I turned it off and put it one of the many pockets lining my cargo shorts. He kept scowling and angrily jabbing his finger at my pants. As the song died down, the voiceless motions of his mouth began to scream.

"Whatcha doing? You shootin' video?? Video?"

Of course I was.

"No. Of course not!" I said. "It's a still camera. I thought we could bring cameras in."

"You can, but not video cameras." He said.

"It's not a video camera." It was. "It only shoots stills." It doesn't.

"I saw a little red circle on the screen. A recording symbol." Damn. He was an observant security guard. While we were arguing another, older, guard came up and stood by us.

"There's, uh, a little red light that lights up on the outside before it flashes…" It was a stretch.

"You know, I was going to let you off, but now you’re lyin’. You must think I'm a retard. Show me the pictures you took." I did think he was retard, but would go so far as to say he was an observant retard. I sighed and handed over the camera, turning it on for him. In video mode, the display only shows the first frame of the video so it just looks like a still. Thankfully.

"See? It’s just pictures. I didn't know we couldn't take pictures." I said again, reaching for the camera.

"You can take pictures, not video.” He said, turning the camera over apparently looking for the slot where the DV tapes went. The older guard stepped over and took the camera from the young punk and handed it back saying, “Here, just take pictures of the walls or I'll have to confiscate it." I immediately stuffed in my backpack and walked back to the couch I had been sitting on.

Narrowly avoiding my camera getting yanked, I treated myself to a beer and forced my way to into the crowd to watch Sonic Youth. They were surprisingly good. I think I had always confused them with Sublime or something, because when they started playing long, minimalist-influenced rock songs with few words, I was taken aback. They played a long, very interesting set. By the time it was done, I desperately in need of some food.

I left the theater and headed down a block to a nearby Subway I had seen earlier in the afternoon while I wandered around. However, when I arrived there I discovered it friggen closed at 6:00PM on Saturdays. 6:00PM??? That’s crazy talk. So I turned back around, tummy all a-rumblin’ with beer and… well, that’s pretty much it. Just beer.

When I got back to the entrance of State Theater, I approached the same guard and flashed my badge expecting to just breeze past. Instead she put up a meaty hand in halting gesture.

“What?” I asked.

“Need to go through your bag.”

I showed her my bracelet and flashed my most charming smile, “I was just in here. Five minutes ago.”

“Put the bag there.” She gestured at a ledge. My smile needs tweaking, or something. I handed her the bag tempted to say, “Put it there yourself, lemonhead.” But I restrained myself.

She started rustling through bag much as she had done before, brushing past my toothbrush, underwear, and socks. She stopped on my daily pill organizer. Damn (again), I thought.

“What’s this?”

“They’re heart pills. This is my overnight bag.” Both were true.

“We have to have them tested.”

“Tested? Tested for what?”

“Hey, I’m just doing my job. A lot of people put things in people’s drinks…”

“And they usually bring in said drugs in pill organizers?” She gave me The Look, so I shut up. My heart pills look like Advil and I happened to have a couple Advil mixed in with them, so when she spotted these, she asked, “Are these Advil?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Ok, enjoy the show.” I took my bag back and wandered into the theater. The place was absolutely packed. In retrospective discussions with various people, we came to the conclusion that they must’ve oversold the show because it was so crammed.

The Lips (which are kind of a Rock N’ Roll band crossed with a stage performance) were incredible. See the video in yesterday’s post.

After the concert, Chad, Andy, and Jon all headed back to GR. Angie and Mark reserved a hotel room in Auburn Hills (normally 20 minutes away) for us to crash at after the concert. The idea was they would get drive their yellow Aztec to the hotel and would follow. Do I need to say it didn’t work out as planned?

I did follow them. That part worked out okay. It was the part about 20 minutes that didn’t work out very well. Basically we had to get on I-75 and drive straight until we hit an exit, then drive to the hotel that is actually viewable from the interstate. Instead, the city of Chicago completely shut the interstate down. They didn’t collapse it down to one lane, no. They completely ended the expressway by forcing all of the 12:30AM Sunday morning traffic onto some side street in the absolute ghetto with sparse to no detour signs.

After an hour or so of driving around the hood, we were parked beneath and underpass at a red light. A very loud crashing sound was heard (I didn’t see anything) then Angie drove the yellow bus through three reds lights and headed off over a hill. At the same time, a police car hit its lights and pulled ahead about 20 feet and stopped. I was very confused. I waited until the light turned green, slowly passing the flashing cruiser. I learned later that a old, beat up truck flew past us and smashed directly into a telephone pole completely demolishing it. I missed the entire thing – my view being obscured by the Aztec and the underpass stanchions.

We finally made it to the hotel about 1:00AM, shared a couple bowls of popcorn, and a donut hole. I took a quick shower and fell immediately into a coma. I awoke about 2 hours later completely awake. Monty Python’s Flying Circus was on PBS, so I watched that for a few minutes then promptly fell into a deep, wonderful sleep.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Lips Concert - Video Update

This is the video portion of the update. It contains a small, low resolution 5 minute video of the adventure. It shouldn't take long to download and will rock your socks. You can only watch under three conditions: 1) You post some kind of comment 2) You understand that it was shot on a small camera designed to shoot single frames, not video and 3) The cameraman had a few beers and only ate a small breakfast the whole day. I think it captures the frenetic mood of the event along with how impossible it is to actually describe a Lips experience. I'll post the story tomorrow. Click the images below for the vid (you may have to 'Save Target As' or whatever the Mac equivalent is to download it).

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Working on Lips

Hey all. Still working on the Lips edit. I plan to add a cool effect for the intro, but I can't seem to get it straight yet. I also want to post the story the goes along with it because it involves nearly confiscated cameras, trucks crashing into telephone poles, and a Subway that closes at 6:00PM on a Saturday in downtown Detroit (!)

Stay tuned. (I tried to upload a picture but the form keeps timing out. I'll try again tomorrow)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Dukes of... I give up.

It's a year and a day since this was put on the web, but since I stumbled across this tonight and it made me chuckle, I thought I'd throw it up.

Apparently, Warner Brothers does not have enough researching staff to figure out all the details about the Dukes of Hazzard movie before they dump millions of dollars into it just to find out that the original rights remained with the producer of the original film (Moonrunners).

The movie looked too horrible for me to waste money and time watching, but I couldn't resist poking fun at how Warner Brothers got screwed over for not doing their homework.

Corporate Cornhole

About a month ago I was reading the much over-hyped blog Fark.com. There was a funny link to an article that talked about how a city was gathering around a beloved cornhole festival. The Fark comments were of the usual immature / hilarious variety. I was chuckling as I scrolled down the page to where the Southerners started writing about what cornhole actually is. It turns it out it's that game you played when you were at a town fair. You know, the one where you throw small bean (corn) bags into large holes cut into pieces of wood and were awarded points accordingly. You’ve seen it on the bozo show and at every circus in the world. Apparently, the game of cornhole is big business down here - the point that they sell tote bags to carry your cornbags around in. People play it all the time and, somehow, manage saying the word "cornhole" without snickering.

The title of today's entry is actually a double entendre. It refers to both me as a corporate cornhole who sucks because I've allowed myself to be swallowed up (again) in the testing suck and the fact that the corporation that has recently hired me has an entire warehouse filled with cornhole boards that nearly everyone in the company plays during lunchtime (I will get pictures of these boards soon).

I started up the working-making-money thing again today and boy, does it suck. Not even eight hours into my first workweek and I hate it. I understand its necessity (it only takes a glance at my checkbook) and its function, but it doesn't make me like it one bit more. But for now it is necessary. Take a solid year off for school and you'll have to pay the piper. And oh how the piper will be paid over these next few months. So this is it. No more bitching about my job. If you ever wonder about the job and feel inclined to ask, don’t bother. The answer is: It sucks.

Speaking of the piper, here's a little tongue-twister Mandy and I came up with on our way up/down to Grand Rapids / Cincinnati dedicated to Kliener and the humor he finds in street names for hard drugs:

How much crack could a backpack pack, if a backpack could pack crack?
A backpack would pack all the crack that a backpack could pack
If a backpack could pack crack.

Let's see. In other news. This passed weekend I went to a fantastic Flaming Lips concert with friends and family. I have a score of pictures I took as well as enough small, crappy resolution videos that I might actually blend them all together into something this blog has never seen before. A video update. Look for that later this week. Also, I am going to come through with my promise of some pictures of the apartment. While I was gone partying, Mandy stayed home and decorated the apartment, painting a section of it, and hanging some tapestries (how nice is that?) So it's definitely ready for some pictures to be taken of.... it. For which. Something.

We bought a kid tonight! Her name is Fatimata and she lives in Ghanna. Sponsoring a child is something Mandy has done in the past and wanted to do again for a long time, so we decided this would be a good time to try it out. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about picking a kid out through an internet site. It feels sort of overlordish. Like I'm some kind of space dolphin wearing a flexible clam shell as a toga reaching into a candy jar filled with African kids. Or it could be the Green Thai Curry Paste is still causing me to hallucinate. One of the two.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Looking for color, try this

The MSNBC week in pic slide show has a really interesting image of an art piece that is being displayed in Sydney. The artist is an Aussie with an eye for color - check it out: art in balls


Online! Woot! I'll post something with more substance tonight, but for now: Here's what happens when you're offline for a week and you normally live your life on the web (blue indicates new messages).

(Addendum Added 21:39 - There will not be a more substantial post tonight. Been busy. The above promise of a post... is a lie. A terrible, terrible lie. Do not be fooled.)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Weekly wrap-up

Well, I made it through a full week at the old j-o-b. I am glad that it is the weekend, as my head was too full for me to have worked another day. And for all of you that want to run out to the nearest insurance company and get a job....don't. Unless you want to be bored to tears everyday, or just a masochistic person at heart.

Anyways, as typical with many of my previous jobs I had about 2 days of training and then thrown right into the fire. I kind of like it better that way, cause then I get to work things out in my head real-time as opposed to a trainer repeating things over and over again.

I think I met like 50 people this week. Good luck if I remember half of their names. Everyone working there, that I've met, seem really nice and friendly. Be it directions to the local restaurants or advice to not eat the chili or taco salad, the people that I talk to seem helpful.

I was invited to go to lunch yesterday with a big group. We went to a place called Udipi, which serves Vegetarian South Indian cuisine. They had a big buffet, mostly with items that I have never seen before. The only thing that I recognized as eating before was the raita. I also saw what looked like mint chutney. After getting some food, I dug into the chutney only to discover that it did not taste like mint at all. It was good, but I couldn't recognize the flavor at all. Later on I discovered it was coconut. I was really shocked because I do not like coconut at all. There were a plethora of lentil options from lentils and potatoes, to lentil donuts. All of it was very good. I had a good time, especially since all of my Indian co-workers watched me as I ate things that they had specified as 'very spicey'. Many of those dishes were not in fact spicey to me, and they were very amazed.

One of my cube-mates name is Teja (short for a very long Indian name). She asked if I like the food, as she was unable to go. After I told her that I enjoyed it very much, she said that she would bring in some curry for me to eat next week. WOOT!!! Real curry from a real Indian lady!! I am really excited. I think I will make some food next week too to bring in and share.

I ended the week with a glass of wine and listening to Delilah on the radio while petting Athena and Ocyrus.

Before I end the post I want to make a shout out to my Harley parents who are traveling through Wyoming state right now!! Love you Mom and Dad!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

M&M's Flaming Lips

Tomorrow I head out of town to meet with the droogs in Detroit to watch the Flaming Lips. Though we had a ticket for Mandy, she is unable to attend due to work restrictions. It just happened to work out that I was able to secure a half-day this tomorrow, but that became a moot point when they delayed my start date to next Monday. If this concert is anything like the one Mandy and I saw in Atlanta, it will be a fun time, and I'm looking forward to it. A quick search on Google Maps shows that, essentially, I'll be taking I-75 North the entire way - for 240 miles, which is just about 4 hours. If I leave here around 10:30 - 11:00AM I should get there around 4:00PM. That should give me a few hours to find my mates, some curry, and a beer prior to the Lips showering me in confetti, giant rubber balls, and yellow smoke. I plan to take pictures of the event, if possible. I'll post them when I get back as I should have a blistering-fast internet connection awaiting my return.

In other news, Mandy and I have started our two-week experiment in eating only vegetarian meals. Since most of the meals we normally eat contain minimal portions of meat, It's been fairly painless thus far. I'll have to take Kleiner-One-Niner up on his offer of a lunch/dinner at the Taj Mahal (which Mandy have eaten at and, damn. It's good.)

The only real came last night, in the form of Green Thai Curry. A very simple recipe listed in a book of Thai cuisine led us to Jungle Jims in search of coconut milk, soy-based chicken substitute, and a small, innocent-looking tub of Green Thai Curry Paste. Mandy and I are big curry eaters and preparers, so we were very excited to try a new kind of curry. I began preparing the meal about 5:00, when Mandy returns from work. The recipe, essentially, is GTCP (Green Thai Curry Paste) mixed with coconut milk and shallots (green onions). You simmer the works then serve over rice. Simple enough. Mid-way through cutting the shallots I hear a scream from the bathroom. I stroll in to see what body part Mandy has cut off, still holding my wooden stirring spoon. I found her standing in the bathroom preparing to color her hair: Or rather, waiting for me to color her hair. The scream came as a result of her realization that she had mixed the activating agents too soon, and that I would have to start applying the coloring cream immediately. I made some grunt of approval and returned to the kitchen to stir the curry. Before returning to the bathroom, I licked the stirring spoon to get a taste of the curry. Pain erupted in my mouth like nothing I have ever experienced in my previous adventures in Mt. Currysburg. Apparently, GTCP is flavored with the essence of white-hot burning pain extracted from the Salem Witches as they were burned at the stake. I ran back into the bathroom, put on a pair of rubber gloves and got to work massaging the coloring cream into her hair while screaming over and over, "AHHHHHH!!!! IT BURNS!!!" (insert Flaming Lips joke here)

While the evening did have a slightly unkilter beginning, everything ended up fine. Mandy's hair turned out the fiery color she intended, the curry was almost impossibly hot but palatable, and we tried a couple local microbrews we also picked up Jungle Jims. Thankfully beer, popcorn, and most other things that are bad for you, are not made out of meat so I can still indulge when able.
That's it from here. I don't know if I'll get a chance to post tomorrow due to the whole traveling thing, but Mandy probably will. Saturday or Sunday, since the internet connection should be up and running, I'll post some pictures of the apartment.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


When Chad and were in Paris, we both noticed a strange phenomena. It took a few days to actually see it, since our primary mode of transportation was walking. Subtle and hidden, it lurked just beneath the surface, but due to the high frequency of events, we discovered that Parisians do not pay attention to anything when they are in motion. For example (and there are many), a man would be strolling down a sidewalk, tipping his Barrett to the local shopkeepers, or occasionally use his baggett to engage in a mock sword fight with another jaunty Parisian. Then, for no reason whatsoever, the man would make a right turn and walk directly into traffic. Some drivers would blare their horns, other would shake their fists screaming "Sacre Bleu!!" (which means, for some reason, 'Sacred Blue.') and swerve around the bread-toting pedestrian.

On another occasion, a person riding a moped tricked out with a basket and full frontal weathershield complete with those rubber arm covers you always see Homer Simpson using to handle glowing green bars of nuclear material, slowly drove into the back of a parked car. The road was not particularly slippery or congested, the parked car not was going anywhere (it was parked), and the person hit it at a speed of about 10mph. After striking the parked vehicle, he got to his feet, walked the moped in reverse, and sputtered off down the road. Chad and I looked at each other then turned to amuse ourselves with the aghast expressions the crowd was surely wearing. However, no one was remotely surprised or even paused to watch the scene unfold. They just wandered around, happily walking into traffic, walking into stationary telephone poles, and driving into each other with their strange, small vehicles.

The reason I bring this up has much less to do with the apparent absentmindedness of Parisians (I can't say the same from the rest of the country, people who speak French, or people who've ever eatcheesee and wine), andmorer to do with the way Buckeyes drive. It's the same. The majority seem to drive very slowly and very dangerously. When atraffice signal turns green, for instance, most are content to wait for the light to cycle back to red. When cars stack up behind red lights, it's not in any kind of straight line: the vehicles end up pointed in completely random directions. And while pedestrians do not stop to engage in mock swords fights with loafs of hardened bread, they do occasionally stop to punch each other.

'Till next time!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Well, my soon-to-be-boss delayed my start date again. Now, I begin next Monday (August 7th) at 9 in the AM. Apparently, the person who needs to sign the forms for me to begin is on vacation, and won't be in until next Monday. Time will tell... I guess I will stay in Geek /Beach Bum mode for a few more days as shown above. (BTW: It's fugging hot down here. There's a heat WARNING until this Thursday! Heat indexes have been in the 100s for the past couple days.)

I just finished editing a project for my client in GR. Once our internet connection is up and running, I plan to post some clips of the good and bad music videos I edited. Some are really good (Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy' and Madonna's 'Get Together') and some (most) are absolutely, mind-bendingly awful. It's hard to describe how bad popular music and music videos are. I haven't had direct access to anything akin to MTV in years, and now that I'm being exposed to the pop-music scene as viewed through the hip lens of MTV, I can only weep and laugh. I feel a special kind of sympathy for Chad who was forced to endure hours of broadcast television night after night. Now that I think of it, this explains many of the more extreme problems he has. His dream to create a Foxy-Boxing / Oil-Wrestling hotel that floats in space has context now. Poor guy. Speaking of the poor guy: Today is his birthday. Send him some of those cheezy Hallmark email birthday greetings. He'd love that.

In response to Chad's comment: Yes there are plenty of independent theaters down here, I just haven't been to any yet. I don't know the difference between 'Theater' and 'Theatre' other than the spelling.

Though I have yet to find a place that sells them, there is a local magazine called CityBeat that covers the independent film, music, and midget-tossing scene. There is a 20+ year old film society that organizes meetings of local filmmakers, sets up screenings of hard-to-find films, and sends out a newsletter. I'm planning on joining that. There's also a repetory theater somewhere downtown (a theater that you join and vote on what films it will show). I had a bunch of links to different film sites, but this $*&$% computer has just refreshed the page and lost them all again. God, I can't wait till I our connection is back up. Here's a few I remember:

Underneath Cincinnati

Cinci Film Society

Esquire Independent Theater (I like the name. :)


This geek's new style...

I started work on July 26, 2006 at 8am. I came to work wearing khaki pants, a green shirt and a black jacket. I felt like a fish out of water, as most people do when they first start a job. After a quick tour, I was put in the area that I will be working. It took about 3 hours before the button on my pants decided to pop off. Luckily, it was only holding the flap on the inside of the pants, and I had a hook to keep my pants closed! After working for three days in clothes that I have worn for about 3 years, I decided that it would be best if I had some new clothes. Matt and I headed home for the weekend, and I went shopping with my sister. This time I spent shopping with her I will always remember as a good hell. The main reason is because I hate to shop in a store. Give me a computer and I am ready to start clicking. Put me in a room full of clothes and tell me to grab some and head for the dressing room, and I break out in hives.

If you don’t know my sister, you don’t know that she likes to shop. I am not usually this masochistic, but since she knows fashion and I don’t, I didn't feel I really had a choice. Unfortunately, that meant our shopping trip was going to be longer than I am used to. Normally if I have to go into a store to buy clothes, I am in for about 15 minutes. I usually pick things up on the way in and talk myself out of most of them on the way out. My purchases usually include socks and maybe a shirt (usually something I wouldn’t be able to wear to work anyhow). She fixed me up good with a plethora of snazzy outfits, shoes, and such.

The moral: if you are not the expert, make sure you ask for help. If it is an arduous task and you are not sure you are going to make it, repeat these words over and over in your head – This too shall pass.

I am very thankful that she was able to donate her time to help clothe this geek :)

Thanks Jess!