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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

To change your socks on a daily basis.

(Yes, it's the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, but I'm having trouble mustering up any strong feelings about it. Thank Rudy Giuliani and George W. Bush. I'm all 9-11'd out...possibly for life.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Should I Smoke Dope?

Tonight we were watching a show on BBC America with that title. A woman starts smoking marijuana for some reason, I don't know. (I wasn't really paying attention.)

But seriously..."Should I smoke dope?"

Well do you have any?

This Is Not a Publicity Stunt

My Uncle Jim called me today to get my view on the Koran burning stunt that seems to be the big story these. "You have an opinion on everything," he said, so what's your take?

My take: I'm sick of stunts like this. In principle, I'm against burning books, although I'm willing to make an exception for, say, the phone book. Burning religious books? Nuh-uh. One of the cruelest legacies of the Spanish Conquest was the burning of Mayan books by Spanish priests scared by their religious content, or as they called it, witchcraft and blasphemy. If you want to get on the news and become the talk of the town, this is what you do.

If you want to accomplish something of value, not only to yourself but to your fellow human beings, you do...something else. I don't know about you, but I went to work today. It's not saving the world or anything, but it's a lot more substantial than yet another publicity stunt.

This Cracked Me Up

From the Lawyers, Guns, and Money blog, making fun of Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds.

A Special Place in Hell

Virus writers, hackers, and assorted malware developers will all suffer in the afterlife. The demonic press is reporting that Satan has ordered the construction of a tenth circle in hell just to handle the overflow. Their punishment, an eternity of virus scans and reboots.

Earlier this week I got hit with a virus. Thankfully it was more annoying than pernicious, taking me to web pages I didn't want to go to rather than hijacking my whole machine, but I wanted it gone anyway. My virus scanners weren't finding it, and I was this close to wiping my hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. Such a step is time consuming and a bit drastic, but it's also incredibly effective.

I still might do it, just for general maintenance, but for now...Wyatt, I am rolling. I do think I might have to change to a more unpopular browser, though. Firefox is becoming as vulnerable to hellbound malicious pricks as Internet Explorer used to be.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Blue Record Theme

While I'm on the subject of Baroness, their Blue Record has a repeating musical theme running through it and someone was kind enough to mix it all together into one track.

So here you have parts of three songs, Bullhead's Psalm, Ogeechee Hymnal, and Bullhead's Lament, showing off the "theme" to the record. I particularly like the Ogeechee Hymnal section, which starts around 1:15, because it's so damn heavy. You've got this kind of dirge but with these super-distorted guitars and crashing drums. It's strangely beautiful, I think.

O'Appalachia

In my constant search for good metal, I have stumbled upon a band called Baroness. They came pretty highly rated on Emusic, so I checked them out. The album cover intrigued me. The snippets I heard were interesting. So I downloaded their Blue Record.
It reminds me a lot of Mastodon, which isn't a bad thing. Complicated riffs, guitar virtuosity, rhythmic genius, weird lyrics, shouted vocals, and repeating thematic concepts. It's all very dense, and probably an acquired taste. (It didn't take me long, but then again I have a high heavy metal tolerance.)

This song, which is actually from their Red Record, is pretty awesome. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, just jump to 1:25 and tell me that's not an awesome riff.

Fantasy Fit

Last night I participated in the longest, most aggravating fantasy football draft I have ever participated in. Each round was endless. Each player, except for me, spent their two and half minutes hemming and hawing, strategizing, staring at the ceiling, doing anything but making their picks.

Me, I plan a few rounds at a time. I put together a list of most wanted players, plan B, Plan C, and last resort. When my turn comes, there's no hemming and hawing, no ponderous pauses, no hesitation. There's just picking. The process starts and ends within seconds.

Not so with my compadres. It was taking ten to fifteen minutes a round, and towards the hour mark, I was thinking, "Come on, people. There's two picks left. Focus!"

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Update on the Summons

Of course I complained to the city about the summons incident. If they hadn't towed my truck and tried to pin a theft charge on me those years ago, I might not hold a grudge. But now...if they fuck up, I howl.

They called me yesterday and then followed up with this e-mail message:
It is my understanding that Officer [Redacted] from the Aurora Police Department spoke to you about this incident. I wanted to follow-up to let you know that the city contracts with private individuals/organizations for this service, and we have contacted the person who incorrectly delivered this summons to ensure this doesn't happen again.
Italics mine.

No wonder this country is in such dire shape. Too many contractors, not enough accountability.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

World's Dumbest

The world's dumbest cops work for the City of Aurora.

Last night I'm hanging out at home. At about 8:30 at night, there was a knock at the door. I was already in bed because I'm a grumpy old man. I almost stayed in bed, but I decided to see what the hell was up. If someone's knocking on my door unexpectedly after dark, then it must be important.

By the time I got clothes on and went to the door, whoever was knocking was gone. I saw a car in front of the house, and a piece of paper sticking in the sliding glass door.

It was a summons and complaint notification. A red light camera's air space had been violated.

Not by me, of course. Not by anyone who lives at my address. No, it clearly stated on the summons that the offending vehicle was registered to 1665 Macon Street, whereas I live at 1670 Macon St.

It's not even the same side of the street!


Strike 1: Relying on traffic light cameras. It may not be greed, it may not be laziness, but red light cameras are something and it's nothing but bad.

Strike 2: Serving notices after dark on Labor Day. It's a holiday, for Christ's sake. Leave people alone. Serve them on Tuesday. You know, at a reasonable hour.

Strike 3: Serving notices to the wrong address. This one is important. The whole point of serving a notice is so that the people who need to know get to know. If you deliver a notice to the wrong person, you might as well have not even delivered the notice.

Luckily for the City of Aurora, I'm not nearly so dumb as they are. I delivered their notice to the right house this morning. I hope my neighbor got it. If I were them, I'd fight it.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Peaceful Warrior (Or a Random Memory)

When I was in 7th grade, I got in a fight with a kid named James Bernal. It was a big deal, looking back. We arranged it in first period, and I can't remember what started it, but I remember getting into a scuffling match over something. He was a punk kid who shoved other kids around, and for one reason or another, I decided I wasn't going to take it. He challenged me to a fight. I accepted.

Word of it spread in the halls during passing period throughout the day. When school let out, crowds streamed behind us as we stalked toward the chosen battleground, the field outside the recreation center. They formed a circle around us and egged us on.

Since I had all day to strategize, I decided that I wasn't going to slug it out with him. I was going to use a technique my brother often used on me: the merciless "choke em until they give up" strategy.

Bernal tore off his shirt and started towards me, fists curling in the air. "If you punch me in the face," he said with a hint of a sob. He finished his sentence by punching me in the cheek. He might have landed a few other blows, but it didn't take me long to get my right arm around his neck and to wrestle him to the ground.

He still tried to swing at me, hitting me on the back of the head and my shoulder blades, but the blows did no damage and I didn't relent with my grip. I squeezed and squeezed and would have squeezed until his eyes popped out if the hadn't been broken up. The crowd moaned and shuffled off. Bernal danced around like the victor, his eyes red and streaming with tears. It wasn't the exciting match all had hoped for: no blood, no clear winner.

I didn't throw a single punch. But I did get suspended later.

More Sports Violence

People are such strange, amusing creatures. Here you have two walking stereotypes arguing over...who knows what. It's amusing watching the douche-y Bodybuilder Smurf type, with his hand gestures and facial expressions.

But then the fight starts. At this point, the camera man zooms out a bit and that's when things get really interesting. You'll have to watch it a couple times to catch them all.

Watch the douche bag's friend get up and walk up a few rows and sit down. He does absolutely nothing.

Watch the hero types realize that Bodybuilder Smurfs, though short of stature and small of mind, are actually pretty strong. The redneck with the hat and blue shirt is particularly funny.

Watch the bald guy in the white shirt and khaki shorts decide to get into it. He descends from the top left corner at about the 1:40 mark, followed closely by a female companion ready to hold him back if necessary.

Here's another angle that clearly shows the lady struck first.

Listen to the lady scream, "Get it on Youtube!"