Monday, December 22, 2008

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Genuine. and I were both really excited to head home today. We've been looking forward to it for months, each of us. However, Portland, OR has been in the icy grip of a brutal winter storm for some time, so we were worried that our flight wouldn't be able to make it. Surprise - our flight was cancelled, along with every other flight in or out of Portland until Christmas afternoon. Kind of an unpleasant realization, but hey, that's the way it goes sometimes.

So we're spending our first Christmas together huddled inside around our four-foot tree, wishing we were at home. Welcome to adulthood.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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Normally, I do a best CDs of the year list around this time, but since I only really bought one CD released this year (by Vampire Weekend, and every moment you spend not listening to is it a moment forever wasted), I decided to do something different. I was thinking today that my car's CD holder has ten spots (not a CD changer, but the thing you put on your visor), so logically, I can hold ten of my favorite CDs when I drive.

The question is, if I could only ever put ten albums there, which ten would I choose?

It's a difficult question for someone who loves music like me, and especially someone with as varied tastes as I have. (Who am I kidding here? They're all indie albums.) I thought about it for a while longer, and arrived at the (slightly annotated) following ten albums:

  • OK Computer, Radiohead. Perhaps the most complete album I own. It's also one of the first albums I bought with my own money, and it hasn't let me down. (Try topping that, Soundtrack from The Saint.) One of the most bonechilling moments in my life was watching 10,000 people hold up lighters during an encore performance of "Exit Music (for a film)".
  • Funeral, The Arcade Fire. The Arcade Fire were the group that, more than any other, helped me make the transition from the indie music of 1997 to the indie music of today. I could listen to "Laika" and "Rebellion (Lies)" for the rest of my life.
  • Flood, They Might Be Giants. Fun, light, and perfect. Anyone who was a child of the '90s remembers "Particle Man" from Tiny Toons. Anyone who doesn't is lying.
  • Fisherman's Woman, Emiliana Torrini. Part of the reason I love this so much is from seeing lanada's reactions to it over a period of months, but most of it is from the heartfelt earnestness of songs like "Thinking Out Loud". Her first album leans too much toward electronica, and her third leans too much toward pop, but in the middle lies this tranquil, folksy record. (Caution: do not listen while operating heavy machinery.)
  • Come on Feel the Illinoise!, Sufjan Stevens. I know, we all remember "Chicago" from Little Miss Sunshine, but the entirety of the album is that good. I've only ever really driven across the state from St. Louis to Bloomington, but if the state is as beautiful as this album, then I'll start going house shopping today.
  • Kid A, Radiohead. Of course, Radiohead gets two spots on this list. Kid A, more than anything else I own, is meant to be listened to in one go. I usually think of it as the Kid A suite more than anything else. It's dark, morose, mournful, and stunningly beautiful at its core. Could there be a better song than "How to Disappear Completely"?
  • Loveless, My Bloody Valentine. Of course there is - it's "Sometimes". I listened to this song for an hour straight when I was trapped in the Las Vegas airport, miserable and pining for Genuine. even though we'd only been dating for a couple of weeks. Also, the rest of the album is fantastic.
  • Ys, Joanna Newsom. I know most of you out there familiar with Ms. Newsom's work think of her as a gimmicky weird voice and a harp. I assure you, there's so much more here. The average track length on Ys is nearly ten minutes, but the complex, looping structure of her songs draw you in and make it feel like only two or three. And of course, there's the textbook-length "Emily" that makes rock operas seem like couplets by comparison.
  • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel. Ah, Jeff Mangum. It's a pity he has so many demons to deal with, but it's almost worth it if he can produce songs like "Two-Headed Boy" and "Ghost". Eclectic and strange - the album features dozens of out of tune trumpets and a singing saw - this album is the 1990s at their best.
  • Weezer, Weezer. Oh, right. You can't really mention the best of the 1990s without bringing this up. I was once in a car where "No One Else" was playing, and the female driver refused to believe that men really think this way. My roommate and I just nodded our heads. Also, it's impossible to leave out an album that my entire generation can sing along to from start to finish.
Then again, those are just my ideas. Anything you think I should have included? What albums go on your top ten? (Remember, dear readers, Rascal Flats have no place on this blog. Be gone, demons.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

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I guess this comes along with getting married and having to enter the world of being a responsible adult, but this is just something I need to share with everyone. It's exciting! It's engaging! It's absolutely stupendous! It's...

THE WIDE WORLD OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION TRACKING

I know, I know, let's all get a hold of ourselves here. There's a website I was introduced to (courtesy of Slate, another fine and informative site) called Mint, which can keep track of financial information for you. Ever wondered how much money you spend each month on fast food? Once you enter your banking information (don't worry, it's secure), Mint can break that down for you. It can keep track of loans you have, as well as mutual funds. Looking for ways to save? Once it has enough of your purchases categorized, Mint can make those recommendations for you. It can help you set up a budget and send you email alerts if you go over your limit. It has fancy looking graphs that show how much you spend on each category.


I'm absolutely agog over this. It helps me keep myself honest and responsible when I make purchases. It keeps everything in one place. It even calculates my net worth, which isn't especially pretty right now, but probably could be one day. You really ought to check it out. I don't make recommendations like this often, so you know that when I do, it carries some weight. Hopefully.

Seriously, stop reading this and go check it out. You'll thank yourself for it.

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A list of increasingly inappropriate foods to bring to church:

  • Cheerios
  • Fruit snacks
  • Crackers
  • Peanuts, dry roasted
  • Pretzels
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Peanuts, honey roasted
  • Ham sandwiches
  • Slices of cake
  • Salads
  • Doritos/Cheetos
  • Bananas/oranges
  • Cans of Diet Coke
  • Cans of Diet Coke with cups of ice
  • Apples
  • Chicken drumsticks
  • Swedish meatballs
  • Buffalo wings
  • Little Caesar's pizzas
  • Turkey dinners
  • Roast pigs on a spit
  • Whole watermelons
Guess how many of these I've actually seen in church? (hint: 10)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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I took up running a few weeks ago in an effort to get myself back into shape. I've been steadily improving, but starting last Saturday, I noticed a sudden and marked decline in my endurance. I just can't run as far as I used to without losing my breath. I don't think I've done anything differently, but the more I run, the further I regress now.

In somewhat related news, I purchased some cold-weather running clothes yesterday. I bought some nice running pants, a pair of gloves, and a beanie. However, once I got home, I noticed the pants were a little too snug in some places, and a little too loose in others. Strange, I thought. They were in the men's section. They were the right length. What gives?

Dear readers, it would appear that I purchased a pair of women's running pants. Not the best for running for me, I don't think, but they're certainly flattering to my butt.

Monday, November 24, 2008

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I lost my job over the weekend, which threw most of my plans up in the air. Being at home during the day is strange and less than fulfilling, which I suspect will motivate me pretty strongly to get a new job soon. There are some silver linings, though, as there always are, that make the experience not wholly negative.

1. I can actually spend time on my worthwhile job (translating patents) and do a better job than I was before, when I had to keep looking over my shoulder at work. (That's not actually the reason I was let go, though it would sure seem that way from reading this.)

2. My younger brother is coming into town tomorrow for Thanksgiving, and now I don't have to take off work to pick him up.

3. The old job was a bad, bad situation for me, and now I have to find a new job. I'll be glad to find something that can not only further my career possibilities, but also not make me feel like a horrible person while I'm there. They asked me to get involved in some shady, weird things. Glad not to be there anymore.

4. Turns out I'm eligible for unemployment insurance. It's enough to keep me on my feet while I'm looking, but small enough that I'm still pretty motivated to find a new job soon.

In short, life is good, friends, even when it doesn't seem like it. Turns out they don't call me Optimistic. for nothing. Or something like that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

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I turned on the BYU game here on my computer and saw that we were down 14-10 at the start of the second half. I opened up my iTunes and turned on some Modest Mouse to listen to while I watched the game. In the time it took to play two songs, we had scored three touchdowns to pull ahead 31-14.

I really want to listen to something else now, but I'm afraid of jinxing the team.

Monday, November 03, 2008

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Can you feel it?


Election Day is just around the corner, and for most of us, that brings a sense of relief that the seemingly endless campaign season is almost at an end. I'm excited, for one. I'm excited to hear about other news than who spoke where, or who said what gaffe, or anything else that really doesn't matter all that much. But that's not what all of the excitement is about. Nearly every poll recently has had Barack Obama in the lead lately, and that's something that no one could have seen a recently as a few months ago. Barring something gigantic and unforseen, he'll be our next president.


This is a really, really big deal. It means far more than it would if McCain were going to be our next president, all apologies to the Arizona senator. A President Obama means that we will witness a dramatic shift in the American culture. It means we'll have our first president who sends text messages. It means we'll have a president who knows what it means when you tell him, "Bones." It means we'll have a president who understands the culture and is a part of it. Dear readers, this will be the first president who can really be said to represent Generations X and Y. This will be the first president who really represents people like me.


Yes, this is a big deal. This is a coming of age moment for my generation. This is probably a defining moment for my generation, just as Bill Clinton's election was a defining moment for the baby boomers. And we can all say we were there. We made it happen. We believed. (Assuming you voted for him, of course.)


You can agree or disagree with the man's ideas. I'm not going to delude myself into thinking that everyone likes him. But no matter where you stand, you have to admit that after tomorrow, we could be looking at a very different America. And that's a thought that excites me, at least.

Monday, October 20, 2008

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Last night, M-High or whatever her secret name is mentioned that she was learning about morphs in her into linguistics course. I learned about them by the name of morphemes, but it's all pretty much the same thing. (Morphs are vocal, morphemes are written, from what I understand. Linguists of the world, throw off your chains and correct me.) She mentioned that the term "morph" always makes her thing of Animorphs, and so we all had a good laugh about it.

Except it got me thinking - what about animorphemes? You know, morphemes that refer to animals?

I started to name off animorphemes from the top of my head (well, just the one - ichthyo), but everyone else made fun of me enough that I stopped. But in my head, I kept going. Here's the list I have so far:

ichthyo-
ornitho-
apio-
malaco-
primato-
ceto-
arachno-
entomo-
herpeto-
myrmeco-
plankto-


Further additions are always accepted, but I think this is a pretty solid list. Heh. Animorphemes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

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You know how married couples here tend to get joint blogs? And how it's like "Facebok for married people"? And how I don't have one?

CITIZENS OF THE INTERNET, WORRY NO LONGER.

Geniune. and I are starting a blog, but you won't have to worry about sappy pictures or baby drooling or any of the other hallmarks of married blogs. (Would you expect anything like that from us, anyway?) Just bizarre conversations we have while we're falling asleep.

Seriously already, check it out. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

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More fun with Wikipedia:



If you can't see it, it's a succession table I created for Wendy's Baconator, listing it as the current Official Wendy's Bacon Sandwich and current Greatest Burger. Sometimes, I wonder if I have too much fun with this website.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

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I thought I might be a bad person when I started beatboxing to "I Am a Child of God" during General Conference today, but I knew I was when I started imagining a trip-hop remix of the song by Portishead or Massive Attack.

It was a pretty cool remix, though.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

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Esteemed Co-Worker and I were writing a letter in Japanese at work today. We were wondering how accurate our translation was, so just for laughs, we ran it through Google Translate. It does a passable job, usually, but Japanese is so different from English that it turned out pretty rough. Once we got the English version, we ran it through again to see what the Japanese would turn out like. After six or seven different recursions, the final product didn't even remotely resemble the original. Here's the original:

Dear Ms. Yoshida,

We appreciate your years of dedicated service working for SISEL International. We were very sorry to hear about your recent hospitalization. Our thoughts and prayers are with you for a speedy recovery.

If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.

Your friends at SISEL International.

And here's the final product:

Yoshida Sumiko

A long time, please. , For us, the sizzle to thank you for working hard. To the hospital, but unfortunately you can listen. You have to recover quickly.
You are here, please do not hesitate to ask to hear.
Your friend,
Sizzle

Sometimes, playing with Google is just too much fun.

Friday, September 19, 2008

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WARNING WARNING WARNING THIS POST INVOLVES EMBRACING MY INNER GEEK

And now, presenting a list of theme songs from the Mega Man series that could also conceivably be heard at a rave or dance party:

Fire Man
Metal Man
Quick Man
Flash Man
Heat Man (questionable)
Wood Man (questionable)
Snake Man
Spark Man
Shadow Man
Pharaoh Man
Ring Man

Man, if you weren't playing the Mega Man games as a kid or currently holding a dance party for one to their music now, you really missed out.

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Is Wikipedia possibly the most entertaining website on the planet? Scientists agree that it is.

(Don't bother looking for the change on Wikipedia - the editors took it down within minutes.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

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It's been a couple of seasons since I attended BYU football games regularly, but I'm really glad we decided to go to this one. BYU blew the doors off of UCLA yesterday by the staggering score of 59-0. (Gratuitous shot of scoreboard courtesty of M-High.) Taken by itself, the game was pretty impressive. Quarterback Max Hall picked up seven touchdown passes - a BYU record - while the defense and special teams forced three turnovers that led directly to touchdowns. Not too shabby. But what was most impressive, in my opinion, was the crowd.

Normally, BYU home crowds are pretty sad. We tend not to cheer at the right times, don't really have a sense of how to disrupt an opponent, and love gimmicks. (The Wave is still popular at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Sigh.) The crowd really didn't have their heart in the first game, and it showed, as BYU allowed 17 points to I-AA Northern Iowa. This game, however, was different. Hall led BYU to a touchdown on the opening drive, and right from the onset, the crowd smelled blood. We were loud, excited, and got right in UCLA's face as the defense blocked a field goal on the Bruins' opening drive. What's more, the crowd stayed rambunctious the whole way through. The only time we faltered was when the cheerleaders started The Wave during one of our kickoffs, leading to a solid return from UCLA. We quickly atoned for the bad karma by yelling loud enough to force a UCLA fumble and set up a quick touchdown.

Here's what I was most proud of, though. With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, UCLA put on a decent drive, getting close to the end zone. The game was already well in hand, with BYU up 59-0, so a UCLA score wouldn't have hurt things, but it was clear everyone there wanted a shutout. And with UCLA threatening to break that, the fans decided to take matters into their own hands. We shouted loud enough to break the Bruins' concentration and stop a pass that could have been a touchdown. We broke up a couple of other plays. And when it came down to the field goal attempt, everyone in that stadium yelled "BLOCK THAT KICK!" over and over until we watched it sail wide right.

I know most of it comes down to how the team itself plays, but had the crowd been as lackluster as it was for the Northern Iowa game, I'm convinced that ball would have gone in. As it was, I felt like I personally had contributed to a monumental victory. And I know that we as BYU fans can do the same game for every other home game. Personally, I don't plan to allow BYU to lose another game this season. I'm prepared to yell and scream loud and long enough to lose my voice for every home game if it means victories as big as this one.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

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Last night, Genuine. and I were talking about sports (well, I was talking about it and she was listening politely, rather) and we started wondering what level of injury she would have to sustain in order for me to leave the game with her. The conversation went (roughly) as follows:

ME.: Wait, who's playing?
GENUINE.: Um, Brett Farve.
ME.: The Jets? Okay, what kind of injury do you have?
GENUINE.: Let's say I've been shot.
ME.: Someone shot you at a football game? Who would do that?
GENIUNE.: Winston Churchill?
ME.: A time-traveling Winston Churchill comes to a football game so he can shoot you.
GENUINE.: In the stomach.
ME.: In the stomach.
GENUINE.: Yes.
ME.: Who are the Jets playing?
GENUINE.: Um, the Packers.
ME.: Holy crap, not only can that matchup only happen in the Super Bowl, but that would be the queen mother of all grudge matches. Holy crap.
GENUINE.: I'm making this difficult for you on purpose, you realize.
ME.: It's working. Wow. Holy crap.
GENUINE.: Did I mention the score is tied with five minutes left?
ME.: Geeeeaaaaah! The score is tied?
GENUINE.: And I've been shot in the stomach.
ME.: Oh man. And it's the Super Bowl?

This went on. We started adding new hypotheticals. Would I leave the game if the EMTs said she would be alright and there was nothing more I could do? What if she was injured playing running back for the Jets? The Packers? Ultimately I decided I'd have to leave the game, but it wasn't an easy choice. (I mean, it's the Super Bowl! Come on! How did I even get Super Bowl tickets in the first place?)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

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Genuine. and I have been working on getting our phone plan switched recently. In short, it involves me leaving the plan I had with my sister, she leaving the plan with her sister, and my joining a new plan with her number. Sounds simple enough, right? Of course, since cell phone companies are involved, it has been insanely difficult. I thought about writing a long, rambling post about how annoying it is to deal with cell phone companies, but I realized it would sound something like this:

BREAKING NEWS: CELL PHONE COMPANIES DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH
ALSO IN HEADLINES: WATER WET, POPE CATHOLIC, BEAR POOPS IN WOODS

So I decided to just leave it at that.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

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Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I remarked to Genuine. that I missed high school - not the institution itself, or the classes, or the people, but the idea of it. That's strange, since I loathed my last year of high school, since I'd been uprooted and transplanted in Oregon for just one year. It wasn't pleasant. I just had a memory of listening to Sarah Slean, playing Mancala, and watching the rain hit my window and feeling terribly melancholy.

Anyhow, I certainly don't miss it after the dream I just had.

In the dream, I was coming back to high school after being absent for a month or so. All of my classmates knew I had been absent (I was at some other school, or something, for the month), but they couldn't understand that I didn't remember where any of my classes were, or even who taught them. I kept telling them I didn't know where I was going, but I lost them in the halls, and couldn't find my math class. I knew it was taught by a Mr. Armstrong, but I wasn't entirely certain on the name. The building was gigantic - sort of like an airport, but if it were done with the floors in tile and with classrooms everywhere instead of terminals and gates. I wandered around what I thought was the math wing but couldn't find my teacher, which made me angry and frustrated, because I knew if I showed up late, he would make me read from the packet even though I didn't have one. I just kept looking and looking and couldn't find the room and saw some punk kid loft his boom box into a different class and it was so frustrating. I tend to get lost a lot in my dreams.

Anyway, I never found the math class. I don't really miss high school anymore.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

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A co-worker introduced me to a social networking site called Geni today. Essentially, you can create a family tree and connect all of your relatives. It's surprisingly fun. I spent a couple of hours today working on my own family tree, and many relatives are pitching in with information I wouldn't have known on my own. It's a real kick. You should take a look at it.

And if that's not your cup of tea, then you should go watch some more of the Olympics. Don't watch the TV coverage, though, unless you're looking to see athletes from the US and only the US. Go online if you want to watch things like water polo, equestrian, and archery. Man, that's where the excitement is. I love watching the Olympics for what it really is - a celebration of athletics and international brotherhood - rather than NBC's idea of an ultrapatriotic America-first bonanza. Visa has taken up a slogan of "Go World," which I've really liked. Let's see some more global friendship.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

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In honor of the Olympics, but also for those of you for, whatever reason, haven't seen it yet:


Saturday, August 09, 2008

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I always look forward to the Olympics whenever they roll around. I spent time yesterday thinking about my favorite way I'd seen the torch lit (definitely from Barcelona, when they shot a flaming arrow into it) and my favorite Olympic moments (Michael Johnson outrunning the camera in 1996 as he broke the 200m world record). I convinced friends last night to watch the nigh-eternal Parade of Nations for a couple of hours as we waited for the torch to be lit. And wow, was it worth it. The Beijing opening ceremonies were something to be remembered for a long time. Gymnast Li Ning appeared to run along the outer rim of the stadium as a scroll unrolled, showing the torch relay. (Absolutely amazing, if you didn't catch it.)

And this morning, I was up at 7.30 to watch a women's team handball match between Brazil and Germany. I've never seen a team handball match, and I don't have any particular connections to Brazil or Germany, but man, I was hooked. It looks like it's going to be a fantastic few weeks. If you're not watching it, I strongly recommend it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

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Since Facebook took down their Scrabulous application (which was most of the reason I spent time on Facebook), I've been spending a lot of time playing Scramble, which is essentially Boggle. You can play ladder mode, which shows you how you do against your friends' top scores. I really like it, even if my highest scoring friend has 247, and I could never get closer than 218. (I average around 130.) Then today, I was given the ultimate Boggle board, and notched 270 in three minutes (out of a possible 2037). Behold!



Can anyone top it? Scramble gives you a more generous point system, so 4-letter words are worth 2, 5-letter words are worth 4, 6-letter words are worth 6, and so on, which should make higher scores much easier.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

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I just got an email informing me that season tickets for BYU football games will be much more intelligently handled this year. You can buy them online and create groups you want to sit with. Your seats won't be rotated - instead, you are guaranteed one spot for the whole year. It's much better than it's been in the past, and we're supposed to have a really good team to boot.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I kind of want to see BYU football games this year, but I also want someone to go with me, since going to games by yourself is ten kinds of lame. Any takers? Earlier customers are given better seats, so the sooner we get in on this, the better. And if there aren't any takers, well then, I'll just stay at home and calculate stats or something.

Monday, July 14, 2008

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Wanna see something awesome?

Radiohead just released a new music video for "House of Cards" that was created without using cameras. Instead, they used something called data visualization to create maps of faces and landscapes using pinpoints of light.

In short, it's awesome, and you should take a look at it here. It just went live today.

Friday, July 11, 2008

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Henceforth all sports-related posts will be displayed on my new sports blog. You don't actually have to read it if you don't want, but I'm excited to be writing it.

And now, I'm going camping for the weekend.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

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Seriously, am I doing something wrong? I can't get a job in my dream field, sure, but I can't even get a job in my backup field? What gives?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

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Good idea: When hungry, make yourself a nice dinner. You can even take the extra step and make something nice. Tonight, I made pork chops and rice. (Genuine. provided the green beans and juice.) I was pretty hungry, and this really hit the spot. Here's an actual picture of what it looked like:


Bad idea: Making a fabulous pork chop dinner when it's 90 degrees outside - and it's 7.30. Standing over the stove for even just 20 minutes seemed like less and less of a good idea as time went on. I probably lost three pounds just standing there sweating. It's gotten so hot in our apartment that the butter in our butter dish is melting on the countertop. Seriously. Take a look:


In closing, I hate summers in Utah, but man were those pork chops good.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

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It doesn't happen often, but it did last year - I had an all-around good year in sports.

This didn't really hit me until the drive home from work today. All four of my teams at least put in a solid effort this year. Clearly, I haven't had the year a Boston fan did (World Series title, NBA title, Super Bowl runner-up, and hockey playoff team), but all things considered, I think I did alright. Let's consider:

Colorado Rockies (89-73), MLB - World Series runners-up. Considering the world of suckitude the Rockies have come from, this is a fantastic year for them. Factor in the monster winning streak they had at the end of the season and it was a pretty exciting year. Go Rockies.

Denver Broncos (7-9), NFL - Okay, so this wasn't quite as impressive. The Broncos had talent enough to do better than this, but ended up falling on their faces. Still, though, we nearly hit .500, and could have made the playoffs with another couple of wins. Not too shabby. Go Broncos.

Portland TrailBlazers (41-41), NBA - This was a surprisingly good year. The Blazers have been pretty awful for the last few years, but even worse is the fact that they were all pretty unlikable people, too. Management has started to bring in likable people (Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldrige, and Greg Oden), and go figure, but the team is doing better and people are coming to the games. Genuine. and I went to a Blazers game around Christmas, and it was legitimately exciting to be in the Rose Garden. Man, it was fun. Even better is the fact that we're just going to get better next year. (I spent a few hours at work today getting fired up for the 2008-09 season, which doesn't actually start until October.) For once in the history of the world, it's a good time to be a Portland fan. Go Blazers.

Colorado Avalanche (44-31-7), NHL - The Avs always seem to do the best when I'm not paying attention to them. This year, they came out of nowhere to get into the playoffs and knock off the heavily favored Minnesota Wild. Awesome. Granted, it's only because they brought back all of their old players who only have one decent season left in them, so they'll be terrible next year, but it was exciting while it lasted. Plus, their goalie's last name is Theodore. Rockin'. Go Avs.

And now, the much-anticipated answers to the AFL quiz:

San Jose Sabrecats (giovanni schwartz)
Arizona Rattlers (Austin, giovanni schwartz)
Los Angeles Avengers
Utah Blaze (thirdmango)
Chicago Rush (thirdmango)
Grand Rapids Rampage
Colorado Crush
Kansas City Brigade
Dallas Desperadoes
Philadelphia Soul (thirdmango)
Cleveland Gladiators
New York Dragons
Columbus Destroyers
Georgia Force (thirdmango)
Orlando Predators
New Orleans VooDoo
Tampa Bay Storm


Congratulations, thirdmango. You know the most about the AFL of all the readers of this blog who chose to submit comments. You should be honored. Really.

Monday, June 23, 2008

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My mom sent me a list of suggested anniversary gifts today. (Genuine. already had a copy of it, but we didn't know where it was, so this was serendipitous.) I'll reproduce it here:

1 year - milk
2 years - eggs
3 years - cheese
4 years - semi-gloss paint
5 years - pork rinds
6 years - cigarettes
7 years - chewing gum
8 years - heroin
9 years - olives
10 years - bits of eraser
11 years - cola
12 years - watermelon
13 years - honeybees
14 years - sweatpants
15 years - rap music
16 years - forks
17 years - fish 'n' chips
18 years - dental floss
19 years - granola
20 years - diamonds
21 years - mice
22 years - fruit leather
23 years - barnacles
24 years - gummi bears
25 years - dimes
30 years - fossils
35 years - magnets
40 years - bourbon
45 years - clam chowder
50 years - mousepads
60 years - lingerie
70 years - handguns
75 years - crickets

Both Genuine. and I agreed that we'd like to stick to this as much as possible.

Friday, June 20, 2008

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If pressed, I think the average person could correctly name five or six teams from the three major sports in America. For basketball, they might name teams like the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics, or the L.A. Lakers. For football, they'd probably mention teams like the Miami Dolphins or the the Dallas Cowboys. And readers of this blog had better be able to name the Colorado Rockies as a baseball team. (Other examples include the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.) But here's a stumper for you: can you name any of the 17 Arena Football League teams? Here, I'll even give you the 17 locations they play in:

San Jose
Arizona
Los Angeles
Utah
Chicago
Grand Rapids
Colorado
Kansas City
Dallas
Philadelphia
Cleveland
New York
Columbus
Georgia
Orlando
New Orleans
Tampa Bay

Fame and glory go to anyone who can correctly name more than two of them. Honest, I couldn't, and I'm a pretty committed sports fan.

Friday, June 13, 2008

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I've gone through a phase where I've been playing old SNES sports games lately. Well, maybe "sports games" is an exaggeration - I've struggled with games like NBA Live '95, Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run, and the like, but I've done really well with cartoony games like Mega Man Soccer (23 goals in a game!!!) and NBA Jam. Jam is the one I've been playing a lot recently, considering the current Boston-L.A. NBA Finals. Which made a conversation yesterday between Genuine. and I all the more entertaining:

OPTIMISTIC.: So I thought I'd check the basketball score before we left.
GENUINE.: Oh?
OPTIMISTIC.: Boston was down by 24. It doesn't look good tonight.
GENUINE.: Oh, ha ha! I thought you were talking about your video game!
OPTIMISTIC.: Boy, that would make a pathetic loser, having to check on my own game's score before we left, wouldn't it?
GENUINE.: That's why I asked.

In case you're wondering, Boston came back from that 24-point deficit to win Game 4 and take a practically-insurmountable 3-1 series lead. And the 1993 Orlando Magic made short work of the Sacramento Kings with me at the helm, too. Gotta love that Scott Skiles.

Monday, June 09, 2008

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Fun with names for groups of animals!!!!!

a bask of alligators
a shrewdness of apes
a congress of baboons
a possi of beetles
a kaleidoscope of butterflies
a wake of buzzards
a quiver of cobras
a siege of cranes
a piteousness of doves
a memory of elephants (also parade)
a business of ferrets
a froggery of frogs (I wish I was making this up)
a horde of gerbils (also hamsters)
a smack/smuck of jellyfish
a loveliness of ladybugs
a puddling of mallards
a mongaggle of mongeese
a parcel of penguins
an unkindness/nevermore of ravens
an ubiquity of sparrows
a lump of toads
a squirm of worms

(courtesy of Wikipedia)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

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And now, in honor of Game 1 of the NBA Finals (saints be praised for ESPN Radio), I present the NBA All-Ugly Team, which my dad and I have discussed for years.

PG Cassell, Sam (Boston Celtics)


SG Barbosa, Leandro (Phoenix Suns)


SF Morrison, Adam (Charlotte Bobcats)


PF Noah, Joakim (Chicago Bulls)


C Ewing, Patrick (New York Knicks)


I know Ewing isn't a current player, but he's such a stellar example of NBA-caliber ugliness that I had to put him in here. Enjoy.

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We have a refrigerator at work, like most other places. And like most other places, there's some really old food in there. Like the can of Pepsi I found commemorating the Colorado Rockies' trip to the World Series. Which was last October.

I know it's just sugar and water, so it probably won't go bad, but still. October. Yeesh.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

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The lovely lanada shared an idea with me to make children's books out of Radiohead songs. I've been working on mine, and holy cow is it fun. I'm still tinkering with ideas, but these are some of the pages I've come up with so far.



Depending on how this book turns out, I might make a few more. Wouldn't "Reckoner" or "Faust Arp" make a fantastic children's story?

Monday, May 19, 2008

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You know what? I'm not actually going to write about the Radiohead show. It was an amazing experience for me, since I'd waited so long to see them, and I knew every song they played instantly - even the obscure one that no one else in the venue did - but it just won't mean anything to anyone else like it would to me. Of the people I know that read this blog, only a handful of them are Radiohead fans, and of them, only one or two are as diehard as I am. Suffice it to say that it was perfect. I got to see how Jonny Greenwood really does always hang his head low when he plays so all you can see is his long hair. I got to see all five of them mesh together perfectly when playing. I got to see 10,000 people hold up lighters during "Exit Music" and get a rush like nothing else I've ever felt. And I got to hear "Optimistic" played live, which you'd better believe meant something extra to me.

I could spend hundreds of thousands of words writing about it and describing every detail to you, but it won't really give you the sense of getting to hear the cascading notes of "Arpeggi" or hearing Thom Yorke belt out the immortal lyric from "Nude": "You'll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinking." It's incredible to hear live, but that much more so if you've been waiting for eight years for them to even release the song.

Instead, I'll tell you what I've been up to at work today: playing Hatris!



It's like Tetris, but with hats! And every time you go up a level, the heads change! I was putting wizard hats on an Abe Lincoln head for a while, which was pretty cool.

Seriously, you guys. Take a minute and play the game. It's hilarious.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

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My feelings on the Radiohead concert are still coming, but this is something that was weighing so powerfully on my mind that I need to write about it right now.
Here you'll see a picture of my youngest brother, Matt. (He just went to prom tonight, and he looks pretty sharp, if I do say so myself. He also snagged a smokin' hot woman to go with. Impressive.) I don't tell a lot of stories about him. He's really not the one that grabs attention in our family. I'm the oldest, my sister is the dramatic one, and Elder Carp is the showman. Matt really isn't any of those things, and while I love him dearly, the fact is that he's always sort of been pushed out of the limelight.

I feel partly responsible for this, and I've never been able to forgive myself for it.

You see, when we were all younger, we were pretty mean to him. You can chalk a lot of that up to the fact that we were immature children, but I still feel really guilty about it. We'd chastise him for not having as keenly developed a sense of humor as we had. "That's not actually funny, Matt," we'd say after he cracked a five year-old type of joke. I can imagine him telling jokes like that to win the approval of his older brothers and sister, and feeling crushed when we not only didn't give it to him, but smashed him into the dirt. This still makes me ache inside, and these are things that happened over a decade ago. One time I actually said - to his face - that he was the "worthless one" in the family. He can still remember that today, and thinking about it still hurts him. What makes me feel worse is that I have no recollection of it. Clearly I didn't think anything of it at the time.

My two brothers and I all have glasses. I got mine in ninth grade, but Elder Carp and Matt got theirs at about the same time. Elder Carp was probably nine, and Matt was probably seven. In a cosmically ironic sort of way, Matt got big, round frames that made him look like a nerd. There were kids at school who went out of their way to be cruel to him. That's typical of many people's schooling experiences - I was pushed into lockers and had breath spray sprayed into my eyes in middle school - but I have a haunting image in my mind of Matt coming home, falling into my mother's arms, and sobbing while she tenderly held him. She was always the kindest one to him - probably the only kind one of us all. You'd better believe this still gnaws at me.

Maybe this is symptomatic of my growing older, or maybe it's lingering guilt for Matt's miserable childhood, but it hurts me unbelievably to see innocence trampled upon. We have a family that lives below us with a boy aged about seven. He's bright-eyed and optimistic about life. I really like him. Sometimes I'll come home from work and see him playing with his construction worker toys or riding his bike and smile to myself. He's innocent. He's just a good kid. And yesterday I came home to see that one of his toy trucks had been run over in our driveway. I'm sure no one did it on purpose, but it made me hurt to imagine him running outside to play with his truck to find that it had been smashed. Life is cruel, but I feel like he ought to be shielded from something as sad as that. If I were to see someone picking on him, I'd probably do something irresponsible and vigilante-like. I can't stand the idea of innocence being crushed. It just makes me feel awful inside. And if I'm this way now, I can't imagine what I'll be like when I have children of my own.

The bottom line is that I try to be especially kind to people in an effort to compensate for what I've done in the past. Yes, I feel responsible that Matt had a horrid childhood. And yes, I feel like if I go out of my way to be kind, it will make up for that in a small way. It's also probably that if I do something cruel to someone else - even unintentionally - my imagination will conjure up an image of heart-wrenching misery for that person, and I won't be able to shake it. So maybe it's self-centered. Either way, I can't abide cruelty, and I'm certainly not going to add to it.

Matt, even though I'm almost positive you'll never read this, I hope you can begin to forgive me. I'm not the same as I used to be, and I hope I never am again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

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I have thousands of things I want to say about this concert, but it'll have to wait while I get settled back into Utah life. Suffice it to say the concert was AWESOME. Hands down the best I've ever been to, apologies to Arcade Fire. For now, we'll have to make do with a set list, pictures, and video.

All I Need

Jigsaw Falling Into Place
video
Airbag
15 Step

video
Nude

Kid A
Arpeggi/Weird Fishes

The Gloaming. (Softly Open Our Mouths In The Cold.)

You And Whose Army?
Idioteque
Faust ARP
Videotape
Everything In Its Right Place
Reckoner
video
Optimistic

Bangers and Mash
Bodysnatchers

(First Encore)
Exit Music (For a Film)
Myxomatosis
My Iron Lung
There There. (The Boney King of Nowhere.)
Fake Plastic Trees

(Second Encore)
Pyramid Song
House of Cards
Paranoid Android

I've been waiting for ten years to see these guys live, and this show was totally worth the wait. WOW.

Monday, May 05, 2008

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Radiohead recently put on a show in producer Nigel Godrich's basement that was televised on Pitchfork.tv and later on VH1.com. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't possibly get enough Radiohead, so I've been spending some watching them tonight. Of course, the first song I had to listen to was "Optimistic." How could I resist?

They also played "Bodysnatchers", "Nude", "Myxomatosis", "Arpeggi/Weird Fishes", "House of Cards", "15 Step", "Reckoner", "Where I End and You Begin", and
"Bangers and Mash" (that last one you have to listen to on Pitchfork). Yup. These are the guys I get to see live in just over a week. There are no words for how much I'm looking forward to this.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

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Genuine. wanted to shake things up last night, so we went out to see a movie. Since getting married, we've tended to be the type of people that stay in on Friday nights and go to bed around 10.30. (I'm tired, alright?) I haven't heard of any movies that I've really wanted to see lately - I've insisted for some time that the only movie I plan on seeing this summer is Pixar's WALL-E - but she sat me down and showed me a trailer for Baby Mama. The title put me on guard, but after watching a preview, I thought it would be worth a watch. After all, we had a $30 gift certificate for movie tickets left over from our wedding. So off to the theaters we went.

I have to say, it far exceeded my expectations.

First of all, it's hard to go wrong with Tina Fey. She's not only easily the funniest female in show business right now, but also an extremely clever and witty writer. I thought she did a great job. She does a really good job when paired with Amy Poehler (think Weekend Update), which only made things better. And then Steve Martin made an appearance as a hippie CEO, which was hysterical. ("You've done a good job. I will now reward you with five minutes of unbroken eye contact." I love Steve Martin.) And then, best of all, John Hodgman made a cameo as an OB/GYN that was brilliant, if only 30 seconds long.

It's not the movie of the year, certainly, but it was definitely a good choice for an evening. If you're looking for something to do one of these days, I'd recommend giving it a look. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

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Genuine. and I are planning our upcoming trip to St. Louis (RADIOHEAD SHOW I AM SO EXCITED!!!), so we've been tinkering around with Expedia. When it came time to select our flights, it prompted us with something I didn't think needed to be asked. See if you can spot what I mean:


Seriously? People have problems with this?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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Here's how I spent my day at work:



It's a pretty cushy job, if I do say so myself.

Monday, April 21, 2008

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We've been playing with idioms and phrases today at work. My co-worker said one a few weeks ago that absolutely slayed me: "When in Rome, stays in Rome."

We had to outdo it. Here's what we came up with.
  • Live and let learn.
  • A penny saved gathers no moss.
  • Out of the frying pan and fuel to the fire.
  • Burning your bridges at both ends.
  • Another day, another bird in the bush.
  • Blood is thicker than water under the bridge.
  • One man's rain is another man's treasure.
  • Two wrongs don't make a crowd.
  • Two's company; three's a wheel.
It's official - I have an awesome job.

Also, I've made a lot of updates to the Theodore blog. You really ought to check it out. If we get enough people reading and faithfully checking the site, I can start distributing Theodore gear again. You know, T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers...you name it. Help me fulfill a long-time dream and turn Theodore into a pretentious indie webcomic.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

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Look who's back from the grave!

It's about time Theodore made a return appearance. Tell all of your friends. http://theodorefriendtoall.blogspot.com

If you've never been acquainted with Theodore before, now is an excellent time to start. Follow the link and experience the joy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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From today's adventures in the Oregon Trail:


Monday, April 14, 2008

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For those of you still unaware, I run a news-parsing blog on the side so I can keep my thoughts separate. I'm posting an article from that blog here today in the hopes that you'll enjoy it and start reading that one, too.

Also, because this makes me mad in a way that almost nothing else can.

Save Our Sonics

Why NBA commissioner David Stern is killing basketball in Seattle.

For the vast majority of you who aren't die-hard sports fans like myself, I'm going to let you in on what might be one of the biggest outrages in professional sports in the last thirteen years. This is bigger than the current steroids scandal in Major League Baseball. Bigger than the brawl at the Palace at Auburn Hills in 2004. Bigger than anything.

Seattle SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett is relocating the team to Oklahoma City.

You're skeptical. I don't blame you. You can't see why a team being moved is such a big deal. Well, let me fill you in on the details, and you'll see why this is a tremendous outrage not only for committed Sonics fans, but for everyday people like yourself who don't follow basketball.

Some background: the Sonics play basketball at KeyArena, which was renovated in 1994. I've never actually been inside KeyArena myself (since I'm a solid Portland Trail Blazers fan), but I'm led to understand that it's a pretty solid arena. The Sonics have been in Seattle since 1967 and have won an NBA championship in that time. And then in 2006, Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett purchased the team from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Fans were concerned that the team would be relocated from Seattle, but Bennett publicly promised that he was committed to the city.

He then asked for a $500 million tax bond to build a new arena since he felt KeyArena was "economically inviable." (His justification was that there wasn't enough space for bars and restaurants. The arena itself is just fine.) He submitted a plan for residents of Seattle to foot the bill through taxes. (Guess how much of Bennett's personal money he was willing to spend on a new arena? Zero.) Voters refused, having just approved bills to build Qwest Field (for the NFL Seahawks) and SafeCo Field (for the MLB Mariners), BOTH OF WHICH COST LESS THAN $500 MILLION DOLLARS. Bennett, upon hearing this, declared that Seattle was not committed to professional basketball and announced his intention to move the team to Oklahoma City.

This stirred up complete outrage in Seattle. ESPN.com's Bill Simmons asked fans to send him emails describing their plight, and he got over 3,000 of them within 24 hours. He lists an excellent sample of them here. It's informative, if time-consuming, reading. There are devoted fans who are shocked that anyone could call them unfaithful. One fan talks about being present during the 1996 NBA Finals and not being able to hear the announcer over the roar of the crowd...during the PREGAME INTRODUCTIONS! Seriously. What kind of dedication does it take to generate that kind of noise? This same group of fans filled KeyArena so they could watch Sonics playoff road games on the Jumbotron, and they were able to fill most of the arena on weekdays. That's dedication. And that's the sort of group Bennett is stealing a team from.

Did I say stealing? I meant it. There's no way you can call this a simple relocation. This is like someone coming to Wrigley Field, buying the Chicago Cubs, and saying fans aren't suitably dedicated to the sport and moving the team to Albuquerque. There aren't any words for how outraged I am.

But shouldn't there be someone who prevents crimes like these from happening? You're absolutely right. His name is David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA. And rather than step in and prevent such a travesty (which actually would have been a crime - part of his contract states that Bennett would not attempt to relocate the team), Stern chastised the city of Seattle for not being willing to support professional basketball. He said that if the Sonics left the city, there would never be another NBA team to take their place. Seriously. Here's his exact words:

"
I'd love to find a way to keep the team there. Because if the team moves, there's not going to be another team there, not in any conceivable future plan that I could envision, and that would be too bad."

TOO BAD???? This is the man whose JOB it is to provide equality in the NBA and he says it would be TOO BAD if Seattle lost basketball??? This is ridiculous. This is unconscionable. This is reprehensible. And the worst part is that Bennett was a traitor from the start. Recent emails have come to light that state that Bennett bought the Sonics with the intention of taking them out of Seattle and into Oklahoma city. (I'm serious. I have documents.) The city of Seattle has started a motion against Bennett for breaking his contract, but it remains to be seen if that will affect the Sonics' pending move.

Here's why this should matter to you.

Clay Bennett demanded $500 million to keep the Sonics in Seattle, an offer he knew would never be met. This is essentially the same as someone taking your child hostage and telling you they would shoot them in the head unless you paid an absolutely unpayable ransom. Bennett has shot Seattle basketball in the head, and he's still shooting. And kicking the corpse. And taking a leak on it. And in the future, someone could do the same thing to you. David Stern has set the precedent for the NBA. It's now perfectly acceptable to demand exorbitant amounts of money from your fan base for a new arena or else you can move the team. Do you know what they call that in the real world? BLACKMAIL. If this happened in any other business, Bennett would be facing trial right now. Instead, he's being vindicated by the very man who should be standing up to him.

In closing, let me provide you with an example of what will happen to Bennett if he successfully manages to steal the Sonics. In 1995, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced his intentions to move his NFL team to Baltimore. He succeeded, but not before earning the absolute hatred of the city of Cleveland. He hasn't returned to the city in thirteen years. When Browns kicker Lou "The Toe" Groza died in 2000, Modell didn't attend the funeral, saying he feared for his life. Do you think the same thing might happen to Bennett? Let me put it this way. I doubt he walks on the streets of Seattle anymore. If the Sonics get stolen to Oklahoma City, don't be surprised if you hear that Bennett was found murdered in a gutter in Seattle.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

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Other Apple IIe games that I've found today:

Jeopardy



What is lava? I finished this game with $78600.

Wheel of Fortune


Man, this was a tough one. Buying the vowel "A" helped a lot. It turned out to be "Sarajevo."


Odell Lake

Here comes a rainbow trout - what should I do?


Man, Mackinaw trout are bad news. Good thing I got away.

These games are all from the 80s, so I tried to keep in the spirit of things by acting like a five year-old. Any time I was prompted for a name, I entered "BUTTWAD."

Heh. Buttwad.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

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In the same vein as my previous post on the wonders of Sara Lee bread (I'm never going back to the way we used to be), I have another life-altering report to make: I found a download for the Oregon Trail computer game we all used to play in elementary school.


THIS HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.

If you've never played the game, it probably won't be that big a deal to you, but for those of you who, like myself, grew up on the game, this is a fantastic chance to go back and relive the past. Who could forget sweating over the decision of how many oxen to buy in Independence? Who could forget hunting and shooting 3 buffalo, but finding you could only carry 100 pounds of the 2157 you shot back to your wagon? Who could forget trying to ford the Big Blue River and drowning three members of your party and losing two wagon axles?

And who could forget classic scenes like this one?



Seriously. I'll never want for something to do at work again.

Friday, April 04, 2008

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Two things, each equally important.

Item 1: Sara Lee bread and its effect on my life. Genuine. convinced me to buy some Sara Lee bread this week instead of the regular cheapo bread we usually buy. I wasn't thrilled about spending more on something as basic as bread, but it was on sale for 2/$4, so we decided to go with it.

OH MY GOODNESS.

This was some of the most wonderful bread I've eaten in my entire life. I never knew what I was missing until I tried it. I swear, I must have been eating rocks and gravel on my sandwiches until now. It's amazing. It's like eating silk. It's so soft and light and wonderful. And the best part is that it works perfectly with my Hello Kitty novelty toaster. It's difficult to see the Hello Kitty face that it toasts on other sorts of bread. With Sara Lee, however, it shows up perfectly and clearly. I can't believe I ever ate anything else. Nobody, as I'm sure you're aware, doesn't like Sara Lee.

And now, a series of pictures of Sara Lee bread:





Item 2: Humor in the workplace. I find myself thinking of really funny things at work but with no one to share them. I wrote a list of variations on the Reagan quotation "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," but if Gorbachev were a teenager still at home. I sketched out ideas on a memo pad, which turned out to be even funnier. Observe:


Monday, March 24, 2008

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To make up for the loss of Old Wallety, fate has rewarded me by allowing me to make a killing on our tax returns. I've always ended up with a refund, but this year we really did well for ourselves. Man, being married is awesome. If you aren't sure about it yourself, I strongly urge you to consider it for tax reasons. It's hard to beat a $17,500 deduction if you're a student. Good luck making that much money in two years.

And now, for no particular reason, a picture of a pile of money:


Sunday, March 23, 2008

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Lost my wallet today, probably at Kiwanis Park. If you found it, I'd appreciate it if you'd return it. It's camouflage colored with a little red Quiksilver logo on it. It has $60 in it, but you can keep that if you want it. Really, I'd like my debit card and my driver's license.

Oh, and my health insurance cards. Heaven forbid I get in a debilitating accident the moment I lose my health insurance cards.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

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I'm sitting here listening to Yann Tiersen's soundtrack to Goodbye Lenin!, and I can't for the life of me figure out why I haven't seen this movie yet. It's fantastic music. Tiersen is amazing, team. Awesome. If you haven't heard his stuff, you really ought to. Go dredge it up on imeem or Pandora or something. Or go watch Goodbye Lenin! or Amelie or something. You won't regret it.

No one out there happens to have a copy of Goodbye Lenin!, do they?