Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Tricks of Memory


It's still amazes me the way memory, and human recognition work (and I haven't event spent that much time with a child learning those skills). A few weeks ago the nice lady who took my coffee orders at Peet's had mentioned that she couldn't remember my name because I wasn't in more often than once every few weeks. After that though she remembered my name every time (which, of course is due to the fact that mentioning it caused her to put the little bit of extra effort in to remember it). What really gets me, is that today when I walked in without the mohawk, she didn't have any problems recognizing me. That's impressive.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

I'm so proud of C.M.


He caught his second mouse yesterday. It's nice to have a pet that can help with some household chores. He still doesn't go for the killing blow, and this time the blood is on my hands (not literally. I gave it a human death). It's not as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe I could have made it through the rat lab after all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

California drivers suck!


Now I don't want to overgeneralize, so let me describe how I got that metric. I know that California houses somedamn fine drivers. Anyone who can take Laguna Seca gets props. But California has a lower percent that grossly biases the state average.
Case in point: On the way to work this morning, there was a driver who had been tailgaiting me. After hitting some traffic, the car in front of me put on his brakes, so I put on mine. I had to adjust and brake harder as he did the same in front of me. After I got the stop in full control, I looked in my rear view mirror and the guy who had been tailgaiting me was in the process of swerving into the guy in the next lane because he hadn't left enough space behind me and figured it was better to go into the next lane blindly. He did manage to stop, and the car next to him managed to avoid him, and he did give me plenty of space after that, but that's my california drivers suck story for today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Just let me put pants on


Jaime was ill Monday night, and spent the night on a friends couch in the city. She had asked me to bring her car back from the Millbrae BART station, so I knocked on the door upstairs, and asked Lexi to come with and drive one of the cars back. She said "OK. Just let me put pants on first," and the door was closed before I fully processed the sentence. I think I may need to start paying closer attention to what's going on around me in the future.

Scotchtoberfest 2003


Was, from the small bits I remember, a blazing success. I'm still trying to work out exactly what to do about image web space, so I don't have pictures up yet (and boy where they helpful in figuring out what happened on friday). We had a large crowd, and about 20 different scotches to sample. And, if we had a lampshade, I believe I would have been "lampshade drunk". Damn Jaime for pouring her scotches into my glass, though I suppose I probably should have eaten before a heavy night of drinking. At least we didn't actually hotwire the forklift across the street, though apparently I promised Lexi sexual favors from Jon to do so. That was a surprise to learn on Monday.

Friday, October 17, 2003

In a New York minute...


...everything can change. And the Yankees defeated the Red Sox last night in one of the most exciting games of baseball I've seen in a while. Clemens leaves after 3 to a standing ovation. Wells comes in as the 3rd reliever from the bullpen (that was a sight) and gives up a homer on his first pitch. And Pedro pitches a great game until the 8th where he loses his steam and the Yankees pick him apart to tie it up, and it goes until the 11th. Rivera pitched the last three innings (the first time since 2000 he's done that), and Boone wins the game.

But with all the hoopla over Boone, and the decision to keep Pedro in the game during the 8th, I think theres a small bit falling through the cracks. That's that throughout the game (until the 8th) the Yankees couldn't do squat against Pedro. Except for Giambi. His two solo homers were crucial to keeping New York in the game, and Torre had put him 7th in the line-up that night. So while everyone congratulates or vilifies the later inning players, I want to give props to Giambi for keeping hope alive.


Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Bubba Ho-Tep


Elvis Lives! In a retirement home in Mud Creek Missouri. And there is an egyptian mummy stealing souls there. Bruce Campell did a compiling portrayal of The King and got to deliver some of his classic attitude as a geriatric Elvis. The character was well thought out, and certainly made me think about the lives of the elderly. And the current mythology around Elvis provided a wonderful gateway of discarded disbelief to the soul-sucking mummy.
Very good movie. I highly recommend it.

And China makes three...


So the first teikonaut took off yesterday. With Russia not able to afford their current space program, and the United States fleet of space fairing vessels land bound after Columbia, it may well be time to have another player in space. My hopes are that this leads to future exploration, and scientific knowledge, and that the cost is something the Chinese people can bear.
It is disappointing however that we won't give funding for science and research in it's own right, but we will give funding for the sole purpose of beating the other person. And I'm not sure whether the "we" I just mentioned there applies to just people in the United States or if it's a part of the human condition...

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Allied Driving School


I was driving to work this morning when traffic began to get heavy so I had more of a chance to look at the debris on the left shoulder next to the freeway divider. What should I see but the triangular prism of an "Allied Driving School" roof attachment laying serenly and visibly in the shoulder. Now should I think "what was the school doing taking a student driver on a freeway" or should I think "the poor student who recieved that introduction to the freeway system"? I think I'll just hope that it was an off-duty instructor, though I don't think that bodes well for the future of drivers in this state...

Monday, September 22, 2003

Underworld


Was actually a very enjoyable movie. It didn't fully remove the taste of the summer crapfest, but I did enjoy watching it. Granted you have to want to see vampires biting werewolves to enjoy the movie, but it delivered on it's promise of cross-supernatural-evil fighting. I was slightly disappointed that they took the time to develop special bullets to defeat each (silver nitrate to kill the werewolves, and ultraviolet ones to kill the vampires) and yet didn't fully flush out some of the armed violence scenes. But it did mean that the few bits of supernatural violence that occurred were special and hit you all the harder.
Naturally the plot was not the selling point of the movie, but there was a little mythology thrown in during the talking scenes which helped them out some, but not nearly as much as the corny lines that were delivered by the sacraficial stupid male scheming for control.
And I had forgotten how much I love to look at skin-tight black plastic clothing, and corsets. And together, they are simply amazing.

Jaime


Jaime moved out to the Bay Area at the end of last month, and is currently living with me. She, dad and I drove out from New York and had a hell of a time on the drive. I was very glad that I could enjoy a cross-country road trip again after the New Orleans fiasco.
It's been really good for me to have Jaime out so far. She's been getting me to go outside and spend time away from the T.V. And she's also been making me watch more football. I've been meaning to pick up some of the subtleties of the sport (yes, go ahead and insert some joke about oxymorons if you need to) for a while, so it's good to have someone to learn from about it.
And it's just nice to have some family within 1000 miles, and to have it within 100 feet is wonderful. And it gives me someone to go see new movies with...

Apathy


So it's been a while since I've written here, so I figure the best place to start is with some thoughts on apathy. And though I have always prided myself on my apathy (it was too much work to think about how it didn't deserve pride), I must admit, I've actually had a slight decrease in the last month.
And while I haven't left to soul-sucking environment of AOL (sorry just Time Warner now), I did register to vote, and have actually been getting out of my house to spend time under that ball of fire 93 million miles away. I guess I can attribute that to me new roommate, so lets move on to...

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Driving


I just got back from L.A. and on the way up, I was thinking about how I would write something nice here about how most of the drivers on the 5 treated the left lane as a passing lane (so when they weren't actually passing anyone, they were in the right lane). Unfortunatly, it appears likely I will receive a ticket in the mail shortly.

I had heard some people talk about a program California had tried several years ago involving unmarked police cars that would "pace" a suspect, take a picture of his license plate, and then send him a ticket in the mail. I had also heard that this program had been stopped since it violated the civil rights of the speeders by not being able to see their pursuer. Unfortunatly for me, it appears as though they didn't cease the procedure.

I was driving along the 580 just after the 5 and was doing a reasonable <80mph when I was passed by another car. It passed a car in front of me, which then moved into the left lane, and a bright light then filled the night (Which I think may actually be more dangerous to other drivers than someone going a little fast). I had no idea about what this was, or what was going on, so I sped up to see if I could see what was going on. I pass the car that had been in front of both of us to start, and notice that it's a red mustang, and nothing else out of the ordinary, but it's night, and I'm trying to not spend too much time looking out the side of the car. After I am fully in front of him, he whips behind me, and this pisses me off. Why would he be sitting in that lane, wait for me to drive past, and then try to pass the other guy who had moved into the right lane in front of him. But anyway, I yield and start to pull to the right when the same flash goes off, and this time it's behind me. Then as I slow in the right lane to let him pass, he takes another picture of me behind the wheel. This is the point where I finally remember about what my Californian friends had told me, and realize that I will probably have a ticket in my mailbox in 6 to 8 weeks. I wonder if the fact that he had to break at least 3 traffic ordinances to do this will help me get out of paying the fine.

At least I know where the karma went...


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Prejudice


Living in San Francisco (well at least the Bay Area) I feel lucky that I am not constantly party to the injustices that exist in the world. But even in somewhere as enlightened as San Francisco, I still find people who behave differently to you based on your skin color (I almost said appearance, but in all fairness I like that people treat me differently because I have a mohawk, and really since that was a choice on my part, it probably does reflect my personality in some way).

So anyway, I went to Peets to get a latte this morning (I feel so yuppie now that that no longer seems odd) and when I got there, there was a hispanic man and black woman standing far enough away from the counter that I assumed they had already ordered. This belief was further enforced by the fact that there was no one by the cash register taking orders. So naturally I walk up to the counter and wait for someone to take my order. When one of the staff comes up, I get halfway through my order when the black woman states that she was already on line. I felt terrible, recognize that the two of them must have been waiting before me to order, and I give my appologies, and walk behind them. She orders a coffee and merrily goes on her way, and he orders a medium latte. I then order a medium latte, and give my name so that they can call me when it's done. As it turns out, my latte is done before his.

Now the part of me that grew up with happily ever after, and still thinks life can and should be fair really hopes that this is just because I had given my order before I had walked to the end of the line, and the part of me that isn't so optomistic fears it isn't.

Though it does make me wonder what it would take to achieve equality for all when the social norms of what to do when waiting on line with no one to take your order are different enough to cause this sort of problem in the first place.


Saturday, August 09, 2003

28 Days Later


I played hookey yesterday afternoon from work (it was too nice a day to spend boiling in my non-air-conditioned cube), and wandered off to the Metrione to finally see 28 Days Later. I must admit that the positive feed back I heard on it was quite accurate. It was a really good zombie movie. I was especially impressed with how it was a zombie movie without resorting to actual zombies. It might be the scientific training, but I really like the believable, overcome with rage infected that are killable like normal humans as opposed to the zombies that take two shots to the head and get up for more. It had good pacing, and some nice pyrotechnics. And the Lord of the Flies esque lack of civilization brings out the inhuman in us development, while it has been done before, is still nice to see and provided an interesting contrast with the "infected" who were inhumanly raged, but without a control switch.

As for the alternate ending, well I'm not sure which I prefer. The part of me that grew up on Disney likes the happily-ever-after of the original ending, and the part of me that knows life isn't a Disney movie likes the loss in the second ending (though the part of me that looks at movies as an artform is disgusted at using a second ending as a way of selling more tickets). I propose a compromise therefore: Save Jim, just to Napalm all of them when the Jet flies by. Why would you risk global contamination by saving them anyway?


Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Shaving


Watching A Queer Eye for the Straigt Guy is really having a toll on me. I've been keeping my place neater and cleaner, and what's more, I've been shaving on a daily basis. The grooming expert had mentioned how shaving was the simplest way to show that you care about your appearance. I'm not entirely sure if this is still the simplest way when you're shaving 80% of your head, but let's assume it's up on there on the list.

Not only have I actually started shaving regularly, I've also been using (gasp!) shaving cream and aftershave. And I spent some time researching the whole with/against the grain thing. What it looks like (from my studies and my experience) is that you should shave with the grain first. Take care of most of the hair, neatly. Then work (carefully) against the grain for the tough spots. This seems to give me a really close shave, though I don't have long term studies. Also I've found that using a towel to dry off also gives me an idea of how close the shave is. If the towel catches anywhere during the drying process, there's still some stubble there.


Arianna's In!


And I'm even more confused now about the recall in California. On the one hand, what the fuck did Gray Davis do wrong? And is it worth the time and money of a recall? Certainly not. But it is in the state consitution, so I hope this means it's time for a refferendum to change that, though whether or not that would succeed depends greatly on how the recall goes.

And as for my friends pushing me to run, while that's fun and all, I really don't want to actively take part in such a ridiculous process. I'm ok, with the lazy, let-them-do-everything approach, but now that it comes down to filling out paperwork on my own, and waiting in line at some county seat, I can't do it.

And finally Arianna Huffington announced her intentions to run in the recall. I'm happy that there will be a strong Democrat in the running, and I would absolutely love to have someone that smart and well spoken as governor, I really hate that if she wins, the victory will be tarnished by the process.


Sunday, August 03, 2003

Getting pulled over


So I almost ran a cop off the road today

I had gone out for a morning drive, and was coming back home along the 92 and was stuck in the left lane behind an SUV doing 70. I had been watching the right lane for a while, and since I had seen no one there, I changed lanes in frustration with the slow SUV and accelerated to pass.

Before I had completed the pass (and while I was still going under 80) I saw blue and red lights in my rear view mirror. Fuck! And I wasn't going all that fast. I pull over at the first chance I get (I was right next to an exit so had to go about a 1/4 mile further) then another cop pulls in behind him. Double Fuck! What the hell did I do?
When the officer walks to my window, this is the conversation as best I can remember it:

 Officer: So, do you know why I pulled you over? Me: To be honest, I'm not really sure. Officer: Well you almost ran me off the road back there when you changed lanes. Me: What?!? I'm so sorry. I didn't realize. Officer: License and registration please [At this point I pull them out, and he goes back to his car. He comes back a few minutes later] Officer: Thank you. Please go on your way. 
Whoo-hoo! I almost run a cop off the road, and there's no long-term legal consequences. I just wonder what I was going to get with the Karma I spent there.


Friday, August 01, 2003

Drink Club


Finally got out to go to drink club. DNA Lounge is a good venue for it, and the girls dancing to the booty-shaking music was quite a sight.

Also, Red Bull and Vodka does have a great effect on the body. Wakes you up for the evening and still gets you loose.