Thursday, October 21, 2004

Emotional Contagions


Scrubs this week had a bit about how a cheery attitude and a spring in your step can be contagious and can cause second and third order effects of happiness (i.e. people you effect, effect others). It's funny how the reverse is true as well.

While driving into work this morning, I was getting onto the freeway. I was in a rush to get up to speed, and ended up merging left and accelerating in a way that prevented the person who had been in front of me from doing the same. This appeared to annoy him since a few hunder yards later he approached me on my left and prevented me from merging into the far left lane.

That was fine by me as the second from the left lane was moving faster. Except that he cut in front of me and then swung back in the left lane two cars further.

The part of this that really impressed me was that the two cars he passed then went to some extreme lengths (and dangerous maneouvers) to geand malt definetly got me re-thinking lowlands and some of the 'good' (read non-peat) scotch flavors.

I remember as we approached the end of the first pass through the scotches that I was starting to get a little power trip and forcing the line to keep moving, and after I had sampled all of the scotches I went down to see the dogs (Steve had brought Sophie so she could play with Ishy. I'm so glad they could play). And wandered into the smoking circle wherein I smoked my cigar (and a bit of Andrew's - sorry I was too drunk to tell which was mine and which was his when I pulled them out)

Apparently that was the point where all the alcohol hit my bloodstream because that seems to be the last point I really remember, and the point that others noted a discontinuity in my behavior. I got embarrasingly drunk and passed out at sometime after midnight. There are certainly some interresting stories about how I behaved for that time period, most of which come from people I trust so I'll have to believe them, and there is enough photographic evidence to lend support to some.

My last memories of the night are passing out in my bed, and Sam coming in to shake me awake telling me there were 3 women upstairs who wanted to talk to me. I couldn't figure out why Lexi, Gen and someone else would want me to un-pass out, but in my state that was what I had gathered. Turns out my neighbor showed up with some friends who wanted to meet the host. Ah well. I was in no condition to entertain at that point. And when I saw my Cathy later that weekend, she apparently tried to shake me awake as well.

...

Then comes the next day, whering I felt like I had awoken into a whodunnit novel. I started to survey the area, and found clues of odd behavior all around that I had no idea the exact circumstances that had left them. But I had to get out and go kayaking so I left them for later.

Pictures


Monday, October 18, 2004

I'm not allowed to go to R.E.I. with Mike anymore


At least not until I'm ready to spend some real money again. But I now have the perfect over-clothes to go snow camping and skiing, so this should definetly be a fun winter. And looks like we're gonna go backpacking the weekend before Thanksgiving, so I'll get a chance to break in my new Gore-Tex soon.

Team America: World Police


After the pumpkin festival, Andew was feeling a little better so we took in Team America: World Police, the latest Stone/Parker movie. Wow, going in I had no idea how you could make an NC-17 marionette movie. Well now I see how with a few more minutes of footage it would have crossed that line (which I think will be interresting to see on the DVD). But it was absolutely hillarious, and held no punches. I think they did an excellent job of making sure everyone in the audience was offended at least once by something that was said.

Some thoughts:

  • America: Fuck Yeah!
  • I'm not sure where I come down on Wire-Fu where you're supposed to see the wires.
  • They needed to get a little more skill with the puppetry. They made fun of their own ignorance in a few points, but it still effected the end result.
  • Puppet porn and vomit...I didn't think I'ld get to see that outside of 'Meet the Feebles'
  • Only these guys could get away with labelling Samuel Jackson a F.A.G.
  • The speech at the end was one of the most brazenly offensive, yet poignent that I have ever heard.
  • When in doubt look to the humor and laugh. Remember they're just puppets.
And on a slightly unrelated note: the scene with Michael Moore shoving hot-dogs in his mouth helped me realize that it probably wasn't a good idea to watch 'Super-Size Me' and 'Farenheit 9/11' on the same day, because I'll tend to get those wires crossed.


Pumpkin Festival


Well, with Andrew out for the day, Lexi and I decide to hit up the Half Moon Bay pumpkin festival. For future note: from San Carlos the 84 and the 92 take the same amount of time to get too and from the festival, but you're actually driving on the 84 and not stuck in traffic. I remember to bring my camera, but forget it in the car once we're parked. I got in a few camera photos of the faire, so it wasn't too bad.

And it was good to wander around a similar, but slightly different faire than the one in San Carlos. Many of the same vendors where there, but the food was definetly a little different. There were a few 'big meat' places: I got some BBQ beef ribs, and there was apparently someone selling turkey legs. But there were also arichoke hears, brussel sprouts and some salad places. It was definetly a little surreal to see a health-food consiousness at a festival like that, but also very cool to see some americans making 'good' food choices.

And the master pumpkin carver was incredible. He's inspired me to try to carve my pumpkin in a new and interresting (and probably completely unsuccessful) way. But if it works, it should definetly be a sight to behold. And if it doesn't...well I wanted to do a more classic carving on a second pumpkin anyway.


Andrew's Black-Out


So Andrew had the brilliant idea of going to Schroeder's for Oktoberfest this year. For those not familiar with the story (it pre-dates this blog), we went there two years ago, and after a pitcher of beer Andrew and Bryan decide that they want a big stein of beer. So they point the the big steins on the fireplace and say 'give me one of those'.

As it turns out those steins hold 5 liters of beer (we did the math, and I was a complete geek as I shouted in the bar 'you forgot to multiply by pi') and they gladly served us the beer. Bryan almost finished his. He probably would have too if he hadn't had a few beers before we got there. Andrew on the other hand was quite defeted at about 2/3rds of the way through.

So he felt that some revenge on the beer was in order. He only got to 3.5 liters again this year, but part of that is us Atkins folks needed something to drink too. We wandered across the street for some hard liquor, and Andew continued to imbibe.

We had some really good coversation (certainly by the looks of the pictures). But slowly over time Andrews positions became more eratic, confusing, and eventually a little, well, non-inclusive. It was slow going to see how the alcohol effected him, but he was getting real trashed.

At the point at which we head out he's leaning on Lexi for most of his support. So much so that the three of us get about a block before I realize we're not all going to make it the quarter mile to my car, and I leave Lexi to care for Andrew and her poor feet.

When I return Andew's passed out. Gone. Nothing left. So much so that the kind gentleman who asks if he can help actually believes that Andrew is dead and not passed out. Come to think of it, I had already check his pulse at that point. But with his help we get the dead weight into my car and head for home.

And when we get there, I have the brilliant idea of attempting to carry him inside the house. Well when we get him just outside my car it becomes obvious that we should have just left him to sleep it off. But it was too late at that point. Instead we get a 4x8 piece of wood that just happened to be lying in our backyard, roll him on it, and drag the board into the house. Of course there's a nail on the underside that drags in the concrete making an aweful ruckus for 2a.m. I was kinda surprised the cops didn't show up and ask us any questions about the body Lexi and I were dragging into the house.

But we get him inside (my place. No way he was going up those stairs) and leave him passed out on the board waiting for his liver to do the dirty work of cleaning that alcohol out of his system.

Apparently it was a 2 day hangover too. I really hope that's not a getting old thing. I don't want to have to deal with one of those.


I hate the smell of solder coming from my computer...


So I was all set to update my blog on Sunday (or at least I had convinced myself I was), when I had a critical failure on my home computer. I was busily typing away (well I was working on a way to sign up to comment on a post) when all of a sudden my computer just shuts down like the power blinked. I don't have a UPS so this isn't unheard of, but my monitors where still on and the L.E.D. on the front of my computer was still on.

I hit the reboot button. Nothing. I hit the power button. Nothing. I turned the power switch on the back of the computer. Nothing (including leaving the L.E.D. on). I yanked the cable out of the back of the computer. It took 3 seconds for the L.E.D. to go off. When I plugged it back in and tried to power up...Absolutely Nothing (off to never-never land...wait that's a different post).

At least it was obvious what the problem was, but I wasn't driving down to Fry's at that point, and I wasn't going to buy a power supply anywhere else, so I had to wait until today. But I got the new supply and installed it, and everything is back up and running without a hitch. I feel so useful that I solved a hardware problem :).


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Dumbass Kids


So while lifting at the gym today there where a bunch of dumbass kids putting themselves and us in danger. They obviously had no idea what they were doing and where trying to 'max out' (their words) on squats. Now ordinarily if someone wants to go to their extreme and see what they can do I'm fine with it, but these dumbasses had no control, where wavering the bar around (to the point at which the unsecured weights would nearly fall onto us while we were bench pressing, and had no form.

So after Mike got them to secure the weights to the bar (and get us out of harms way) was kept the corner of our eye on them waiting to see the Darwin Award moment. And it came. One of the kids actually got the bar on his back, buckled and folded in half with the bar resting on the final safetly catches (the idiot bars). Now none of his friends rushed to help him, and he could have caused a serious spinal injury in the process.

Unfortunately no great lesson was learned, as they then proceded to lift dumbells with comparably bad form. I feel old for saying this, but high school kids should not be left unsupervised lifting weights.


Thoughts on the final 2004 Presidential Debate


Well, there aren't many because like the one last friday we had some people over and Andrew made his might strong mojitos, so the event turned into a lot of generally loud Bush bashing.

But there were two things I did take notice of. The first being that all it was was an opportunity for the competitors to get to their talking points on national T.V. without spending any of their hard-raised funds. A lot of time was spend just giving short lip-service to the question on a segway to what they wanted to say.

And I still can't believe that Bush tauts 'no poorly educated child left in school' as an accomplishment. It's funny to watch him talk about it while I'm surrounded by teachers directly effected by the policy who know damn well the bullshit he spews when he says it's a good thing. Did you know that the law requires all schools to perform at the 60th percentile? Yes, everyone must perform above the median on standardized tests. WTF!

The other thing that I noticed was a vast change in attitudes that has occured in the last decade or so. Just before the much maligned decision to bring in Cheney's daughter, it occurred to me, that here we are listening to presidential candidates saying that homosexuality is not a choice (or at least that they're not sure about it from the guy who left sodomy laws on the books). This would never even have been considered to be said 10 years ago.

It definetly brings me hope that we are moving forward to a more tolerant (and educated) society. Maybe 'activist' judges are playing a more vital and healthy role than a first order consideration would lead us to believe.


Topix Snafu


So today we noticed a slight problem with our top story selector here at Topix.net. Apparently we had a story from The Onion classified as a 'Top Story', and as great as the story was to read, it might cause us a lot of hate mail to read tomorrow (People can be a fickle bunch).

Here's a saved version of the page so you can see what it looked like: topix cheney nafu


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Tuesdays


The only thing better than all-you-can-eat wings after a couple hours pumping iron at the gym is eating those wings while watching the Yankees kick some Red Sox ass. Much as I enjoy the rush of protein to build and heal my muscles, everything tastes better watching New York triumph over Boston.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Six Feet Under (Season 4)


We finally finished watching this last season of Six Feet Under at this Sunday's dinner. I definetly can see what my co-workers were saying about it at lunch a few months ago. They were mentioning how it had become very much like a soap opera, and fell back to rehashing it's strongest point (the gay couple) where it may or may not have been wise. And the soap opera effect was definetly enhanced by the complete lack of letting the opening death affect the Fisher's lives.

The thing is though, that it is still a pretty unique piece of television (well, maybe Dead Like Me comes close, but we haven't even started Season 2 of that yet -- so little time for T.V. nowadays). And I really like the art world thread that exists in it (no it's not just because I think the redhead is cute). There's a world there, and a collection of people that I feel like the writers probably get pretty close to true and that have a piece of life that I'm still working to get ahold of.

I think the weekest part of the season though was the violation of 'conservation of happiness' that had pervaded the previous seasons. Prior to this season, at the end of every episode you felt like happiness was neither created, nor destroyed, but mearly transferred from one character to another.

Without that, there were a few episodes that were definetly not the right ones to introduce people to the series.


Silent Hill


It may have only taken me a year from purchase to beating it, but I've now seen the Good (+) ending of the original Silent Hill for the PS1. Granted it only took about 6 hours of play time (which I restarted from scratch this weekend), but my plans to play some spooky video games for October seem to be at least progressing a little bit.

Now I need to see the UFO ending. Get the chainsaw. Shoot things with the laser gun, and then I'll be ready for Silent Hill 2. Then 3. Then 4 (if I can rent it for the XBox in time, otherwise I've got Fatal Frame and a few others).

It's definetely been trippy playing a PS1 game. We've come a long way in graphics in the last 5 years, and you don't often step back and look at it.


Beautiful Day


Today was absolutely gorgeous (I probably spelled that incorrectly because I was thinking of the Ithaca saying). The sun was bright and warm, and as I took Ishy for his morning walk we saw several Blue Jays, a pidgeon and a dray of squirrels (that's my vocab word for the day now). Granted they were all probably out because it was garbage day, but it was too nice a day to think of such things.

As a matter of fact, Ishy got to play with Matisse at the park this morning, so he got all runned out before I had to go to work. It turns out that they are starting the annual re-seeding of the park so I won't get a chance to see Matisse there any time soon. Maybe I'll go over to Burton park some morning to give Ishy a chance to play.

But back to the day. It was actually shorts, tevas and convertible weather like it hasn't been since mid-September. I may be missing out on the changing color of leaves in New England, but I think I'll do alright with a few more 'autumn' days like this.


Sunday, October 10, 2004

San Carlos Art & Wine Faire (Part II)


Went back again today for pictures, but no cowboy hat. Jaime wants to go to the pumpkin festival next weekend, so maybe then.

And Plantation was doing much better today, so hurrah for local java.


Saturday, October 09, 2004

San Carlos Art & Wine Faire


Well this weekend is the anual time for Laurel Street to load itself up with craft booths and fair food. And to allow some small bit of public intoxication (which this year I can't partake in - No beer for Keith). I wandered off for a breif introduction today (I'll go back tomorrow with my camera and try to come up with enough to say to put something up on sancarlosca.net, though from looking at it I think Rich may have that well in hand).

I didn't find a good celtic art booth (there were several people selling CDs though) so Cherie's Christmas shopping will have to wait. But the Sky hammock chairs were there as were a bunch of people selling cowboy hats. I kinda want to get one, but without Jaime to tell me which one I should get, I'm not sure I will (I've always trusted her sense of style). And I may yet find something to help decorate my living room, but art costs a lot.

And as far as food is concerned well, here's a piece of advice you might want to know. There are several places selling BBQ pork or chicken skewers. The one on Cherry St. sells them for $5 (2 for $8) and has a long line, while one block further away from Starbucks (I forget the street name) has the same thing with no line for $6. I think that it was worth th $1 not to stand in line in retrospect, but that might be rationalizing my impatience to see the whole fair.

And one thing that surprised me...I'm working through a hangover, so I went to Plantation Coffee for a latte to see if that would help cut the headache (and it seems to be working). This is where I usually go for coffee since it's one of the local non-Starbucks places and is right next to the best Taqueria in San Carlos. So anyway, what I'm getting at is that they know me there. And I talked a bit with the nice lady who made my latte, and she was saying that apparently the fair is reducing their customer count.

You'ld think with all sorts of extra people coming in from out of town, walking right past there would be a lot more traffic to the local shop. I did see a starbucks truck that was giving out 8oz cups of coffee though, so I bet that's why no one is going to Plantation. Yet another time Starbucks' money screws the local shops. And some people still don't understand why I refuse to go there.

Anyway, there will probably be more tomorrow. Certainly there will be an interresting story or two if I bring Ishy to town. There were a lot of other dogs out.


Hangovers vs. Social Recharge


For the second Saturday in a row, I have woken up nicely hung-over after an evening of drinking with friends (and consequently expending more social energy than I usually do). And for the second saturday in a row I'm really not looking to spend time with other people for a while. I'm kinda wondering whether it's a social recharging that I need to undergo, or if it's just that a headache makes me want to stay in my dark cave.

Last weekend I missed a BBQ with the neighbors (and consequently probably dropped my chances of having them show up for Scotchtoberfest, but at least they've been invited), and this weekend is the San Carlos Art & Wine Festival (more on that later). Ah well I'll go spend some time on the couch with Ishy and watch Farenheit 9/11.


Friday, October 08, 2004

Good Veins


So Stanford medical center had an add in the local paper this week that mentioned that they needed A+ blood (in addition to O+ and O- which are always in demand), and I was flattered that my blood would be in demand. I figured that A+ was a blood type that there wasn't much call for (as I expected an abundance of donors in the area).

So I made an appointment on-line for this morning and went to give blood. I must admit, I was a little trepidacious since the last time I gave blood I hadn't had anything for breakfast, and nearly feinted. I certainly wasn't going to let that happen today, so I made sure to drink plenty of water this morning.

But I got through the procedure no problem, and was pretty efficient. Apparently I have 'good veins', which means that they are large. And I learned that this can be enhanced with exercise, so I guess I was right in my thinking that with more time climbing I would develop arms more like Pat's.


Good Veins


So Stanford medical center had an add in the local paper this week that mentioned that they needed A+ blood (in addition to O+ and O- which are always in demand), and I was flattered that my blood would be in demand. I figured that A+ was a blood type that there wasn't much call for (as I expected an abundance of donors in the area).

So I made an appointment on-line for this morning and went to give blood. I must admit, I was a little trepidacious since the last time I gave blood I hadn't had anything for breakfast, and nearly feinted. I certainly wasn't going to let that happen today, so I made sure to drink plenty of water this morning.

But I got through the procedure no problem, and was pretty efficient. Apparently I have 'good veins', which means that they are large. And I learned that this can be enhanced with exercise, so I guess I was right in my thinking that with more time climbing I would develop arms more like Pat's.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Tech geek conversation at the park


I ran into Sheero and her owner at the park again tonight. It was a good opportunity to talk with him. He remember both my name and what I work on, but unfortunately I remembered nothing about him other than he worked on web stuff too.

Apparently he is either in a managerial or tech-lead role (and liked the opportunity to bounce some ideas off of me) and it gave me an interresting appreciation for a few things. The most important of these is the persepectives gained from working with less-than-stellar programmers. I've almost always worked with great coders. Through school I saw some amazing feats, and even at AOL my immediate group was awesome (hence why I work with them now). Then at winamp... well there are few people out there who don't respect that they are some of the best examples of cool coding on a Microsoft O.S. (Id and TeamNinja being, I think, the rest of the best)

But apparently there are bad coders out there :). And part of this guy's job is keeping their products as good as can be. Given that, I can all of a sudden see some of the reasoning behind the castration of the Java language (no operator overloading...give me a break). If you're trying to work with people who only think they are clever, you can't give them a chainsaw.

Anyway, apparently he likes to walk Sheero after 10p.m. so I think I may start taking Ishy to the park late.


Accents


Well Tea Girl has a pretty southern accent and seems to have gotten a similar impression from the vice-presidential debate as I did. That makes me feel better about my reaction to the candidate's exchanges.

Zeitgiest


I headed of to the city (notice the lowercase...) last night to go to Zeitgiest and hang out with some of the ex-winamp crowd. It was great to get a chance to talk to them again (even if it was brief), and to plug Scotchtoberfest. Every time I visit the city now (which is only once every couple of weeks) it makes me realize how much I wish I lived there (or at least wax nostalgic about when I was there daily). But that's an all-things-being-equal thing, and I like having only a 10 minute commute and good friends for neighbors.

And I'm proud of pulling at least one game of 8-ball straight out of my ass to victory when I ran the last 4 balls on the table.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Global Test


It was probably the worst moment of the debate. I was watching Kerry ramp up to it, and you could tell that he had wandered into a position where he needed a phrase, and one that his preparations hadn't previously thought through. The thing is, that even before he said it, I thought I knew where he was going, and I still think that my initial assessment was accurate. And it took a Bush supporter to help me with the wording that I was looking for.

As far as I'm concerned, the phrase 'Global Test' was meant to be used as an unscoped test (for those not familiar with programming, well that was a very geeky reference). He just meant that pre-emptive action had to meet the same criteria that our founding fathers required for their revolution. Certain in-alienable human rights that where being contradicted by the written laws of the land.

Of course I remember when I didn't actually watch the debates a when the question explicitly asked the candidates not to mention their running mates by name), but I expected more from an accomplished trial lawyer.

Since I feel I am armed with knowledge about Cheney's past, and connections to industry, I was able to parse a lot of what he said through that filter, but I thought he spoke very well, and did an excellent job staying within the format, and generally providing good debate.

I just worry/hope (it's weird the way those two feelings can intermingle) that some of my view comes from Edward's accent. I remember a story I heard about a college professor (and pretty well accomplished one), who came from the South. He was greatly respected...until he opened his mouth. As soon as people heard his accent, their perception of his I.Q. dropped 10 points. I worry that I'm pre-programmed with the same bigotry, but hope that maybe some southerners will have the opposite reaction.


Sunday, October 03, 2004

Snootchy Bootchies


Just got back from the Jay and Silent Bob-aton. The midnight movie in Santa Cruz was actually all 5 Jay and Silent Bob movies in production order. So I spent 10 hours in the movie theater with a box of chocolate covered crack (well espresso beans) to keep me up. It was definetly a lot of fun, as between having all the movies in short term memory and having a crowd to help point them out, I saw a lot of the inter-movie connections I hadn't before. And man does the number 37 come up a lot after Clerks.

It's good to know I can still pull an all-nighter if I need to, and the 17 looks very different when the sun is out. Now I'm off to bed.


Saturday, October 02, 2004

Amatuer Debate


Well, I'm pretty drunk right now, but I think that's the best time to write this. I've just spent the last hour or so debating abortion with several friends. It's amazing how we can all be pro-choice, and yet still have such varying views on the issue.

I think it's because I'm extraordinarily intoxiated that I say this, but I haven't thought about an issue like this in quite a while. I was forced to think in lines I hadn't before, and to actually work through several lines of logic I hadn't been exposed to in the past.

The majority of our argument came down to the implications in having the Supreme Court make the decision instead of the majority (and the pros and cons that such an affect has on a democracy), but a lot of personal beliefs surfaced in the debate.

I'm still trying to decide on how I feel about 'hippies'.


Anti-Bush vs. Pro-Kerry


Well, the first presidential debate was yesterday, so here are my primary thoughts...

For the most part I had been anti-Bush in the previous months. There are so many reasons to hate him that I won't go into them here. But I had only been slightly in favor of Kerry as president (of course I preferred him to Bush) over recent history.

Now the thing is that after the debate that has changed. While watching the debate I saw the president on the stage. And while he was answering questions, I wondered why he shared the stage with some someass from Texas.

For the first time I saw Kerry as a viable presidential candidate. His positions where clear and well educated. His resolve was firm, and his opponent was (for lack of a more P.C. term) a yokel. While Bush tried to explain the basics of the job as president, his opponent discussed actual foreign policy (and reasonably).

Of course neither candidate struck far from party hard-lines, or pre-written quips, but I saw a leadership in Kerry that Bush couldn't match. I really hope the undecided voters are still capable of inteligent thought.