Saturday, December 29, 2007

Isthmus be my lucky day.

While separating some laundry tonight, I felt around the pockets of my jeans (something I encourage) and came across $48 in cash in the rear pocket (my favorite pocket). So that was a good thing. I should have missed the money, since it's been in those pants since Tuesday.
I find a lot of spare change and dollar bills, but I don't generally find anything larger than a $5 bill.
As you can no doubt reason, I don't carry a wallet. God knows where that thing would wind up.
It's probably a good thing I don't have wads of disposable income. I'd own every gadget in the world. I've already been through the GPS window shopping, and I'm not wildly enthusiastic about them. I don't do enough random traveling to make the thing worthwhile.
One of my young co-workers got a new PSP for Xmas, and he has been bringing it into work. It packs quite a lot into a little package, and the "Gadget Guy" in me got a little twinge. Naturally, I started the window-shopping process. They're around $200 and once again, if the money didn't matter, I'd be all over it. However, I'm not much of a gamer, and between the 8 gigabyte chip on my cell phone and my 20 gigabyte Dell mp3 player, I can load up every song I own, so the music isn't the issue. Maybe if I do 3 more loads of laundry I can find enough money to just buy the thing?
I'm not sure I'd want to watch movies on the tiny screen. If I'm not at work, I'm at home where there is a full-sized LCD screen for that. I don't frequent Starbucks or other WiFi hot spots, so the Internet surfing isn't a selling point. I like movies, but I like them on the big screen. I don't do enough sitting around to make it a worthwhile investment.
I guess I could hook it up to my TV and play on that, but why would I want to use the PSP if I was already in front of the TV?
Still ... why do I want one?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Don't drink and drive or drink then drive.

Rebecca DeMornay was charged Thursday, December 27, 2007 with misdemeanor drunken driving stemming from her arrest two months ago.
So, uh ... Rebecca ... just in case ... I mean ... if you need a ... ride or something ... my e-mail is in my profile.
All this drunken driving stuff makes me remember how it was when I started driving in 1975 (when dinosaurs roamed the earth). You'd be out, completely hammered, driving home from a club someplace and forget to signal a turn, or have a brake light out. Behind you lurks the local law enforcement.
They pull you over and shine the flashlight in the car, see the half-opened six pack or Smirnoff bottle rolling around the back seat, and ask you to "step out of the car."
Then, they'd grab the beer and look at you with the stink-eye, send you on your way with a Reckless Driving citation and remind you to "be careful" as you weave your way home, wondering how you're going to pay the $40 fine.
Now, it's a misdemeanor with jail time and a Permanent Record. I think it's the same beer, though. It just shows you what societal pressure can bring to bear. I'm pretty sure people were driving into trees and ditches and other people in 1975, because the conditions haven't changed and people haven't changed. Generally, laws change because someone's ox is gored, and in the case of the drinking and the smoking, oxen have been gored.
Historically, it's a relatively short span of time in which you were once able to go to a bar, smoke a cigarette and drive home without the worry of second-hand smoke cancer or misdemeanor charges stemming from your activities.
I'm not saying it's a bad thing (necessarily), just that it's a lot to ask of people who were once 18 and are now 50 (or 48) to have to adjust their learned behavior because society has gradually become intolerant of what was once completely acceptable.
So, anyway, Rebecca, if you need a ride...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I don't know my Olathe from a hole in the ground.

I don't want to stir them up again, but suffice it to say that the mere mention of The G-word yesterday was enough to get a visit from corporate HQ in Olathe, Kansas - a place that most people would need a GPS unit to find. What a coincidence.
I wear a silly grin when I check the old Statcounter and find a corporate hit from this nonsense. I'm guessing that companies have entire departments checking on Google Reader for mentions of their name. Knowing that they're reading is part of the fun.
Sometimes, it's all of the fun.
A Haiku for you:

I asked you for help,
and you told me to get lost.
Thank God for Garmin.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The stuff I call thoughts.

Somebody stop me. I'm looking at GPS devices and thinking about buying one. Partly because I'm a gadget guy and partly because I'm an idiot. The two wouldn't seem to work together, but when it comes to direction-finding devices, they're a perfect fit. The reason you have to stop me is because they're still kind of pricey and I'm not altogether sure I'd get the full usage out of it. I mean, what would I do - roam around the countryside aimlessly with this thing in my face telling me which way to turn? Pointless.
What I would like is an LPS. A Life Positioning System. Something to tell me which way to turn when things really matter. When Garmin makes one of those, you'll drop me a line and let me know.
Meanwhile, local law enforcement is hot and heavy against distracted drivers using cell phones in their cars, eating and drinking, smoking and otherwise looking at something that isn't the road ahead. I'm seeing a lot of these GPS deals on the dashboard of the cars ahead of me, and I'm usually looking for an escape route. How long do you think it will be before we see laws against these things? Maybe never, since the auto makers are putting them in cars now. Somebody tell me the difference between using a GPS in your car and talking on the cell phone.
I didn't think so.
Another zoo animal escaped its holding cell and attacked some people in San Francisco Zoo on Tuesday. This one was (past tense) Tatiana, a Siberian Tiger, who inexplicably jumped its grotto and attacked three visitors, killing one; before being shot to death by local law enforcement.
Anthropomorphism is the assigning of human characteristics to animals. We lose sight of the fact that animals are ... well, animals. Tigers are carnivorous predators who take up great expanses of land. They're my favorite animals to see at the zoo, but it makes me sad to see them penned up pacing in a circle or sitting idly waiting for some keeper to throw food at them. They're hunters and I imagine that they don't like being held in a pen any more than we would. They prefer wild boar and deer, but when given the chance they will attack anything that moves.
They're not cuddly cats or stuffed play toys. They're beasts of the wilderness, and when we cage them it goes against their primal instinct to roam and hunt. OK, so one of them killed somebody and maimed two others. It's a tiger. That's what tigers do. It wasn't the first time that Tatiana attacked. Last year, she tore the right arm off one of the keepers who was trying to feed her. The zoo was fined $18,000 for inadequate safety precautions, but tigers don't place any value on money.
And now, here's a little video for my friend from Ohio, who could use a laugh after dealing with these people all day ... It's Brian Regan.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My blog is open all day on Christmas.

Today is Christmas, the largest exercise in Groupthink in Western Civilization.
It's quite the holiday. Last night, the local news led with the story of hordes of Christmas Eve shoppers frantically pacing the stores for that perfect last-minute gift or (as one man was doing) his entire shopping list - including his wife. I hope she was watching.
This afternoon, I ventured out to a local multi-Plex to catch a film. I'm generally not too picky, and I decided to take pot luck with whatever was playing as I pulled up to the theater.
I've never been to a movie on Christmas, and as such, I had no idea it was such a secular pastime. The parking lot was almost full, and hundreds of families were forking over money to see the "Chipmonks", "Alien vs. Predator" or "Juno", which was sold out. I figured I was safe with my choice, "Charlie Wilson's War". Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, P.S. Hoffman and Mike Nichols. Hard to screw that up, right?
As hard as it is to believe, the 2:40 showing sold out while I was waiting in line for the families in front of me to sign the credit card receipts. It's just as well, since I'm not a fan of packed theaters. I figured all these people would be at home cooking their Christmas Beast, and the movies would be packed later. Since nothing else was playing besides kids movies and sci-fi destruction, I decided to bag the theater and went off in search of sustenance and write myself a note to buy my movie ticket online next time.
Good luck to me. The only businesses that were open were gasoline stations, a few convenience stores (hence the name) a couple of drug store chains and the standard Eat-out Xmas fare - the Chinese restaurant.
The big one around here is buffet style, and I was greeted at the door by a skinny Asian woman who apparently doesn't eat her own cooking. "Since it's Christmas," she said, "we're only serving dinner today."
"OK," I replied, and my inner voice was asking what the difference was between a buffet dinner and a buffet lunch. My outer voice remained silent. Isn't it the same food? It's not like there are lunch portions and dinner portions. It's a buffet. Of course, as soon as I heard the "Since it's Christmas" part, I figured that I was going to get screwed - in a bad way - by this deal.
Since it's Christmas, you'll have to eat while wearing these festive decorations. Since it's Christmas, we will be serving your dinner with a garnish of evergreens. Since it's Christmas, we can charge you whatever we want because you're desparate and we're the only game in the state.
So, no movie and a $14 lunch (since it's Christmas, dinner) got me to thinking. Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year, we can agree on that. It's also the holiday where practically everything is closed. Other holidays have "Holiday sales" so the retail stores are open or are centered around food, so restaurants are open. At Christmas, I suppose the stores figure they have squeezed the financial sponge to the point that there isn't any water left, so consumers are left to sit at home and contemplate their huge bills or use their remaining credit to buy four movie tickets. I think the technical term is, "Fuck 'em and run."
That's interesting to me, because Christmas is supposed to be a religious holiday, even though you and I know it isn't. Other secular holidays like Veteran's Day and July 4 are the sort of Retail-Optional Legal holidays that, to me, should be National Holidays. After all, they honor real things like people and country.
Days like today show you who is really in charge. Religion and the retail industry. They've convinced people that it's somehow "disrespectful" to be open on Christmas. You can't even hit a liquor store or a supermarket today. How many other holidays can you say that about? Even on Easter they're open a half-day. Wouldn't you figure that enough businesses would be owned by non-Christian types that there would be at least a few options?
I suppose the bigger end of the equation is that there aren't enough people like me who would welcome a few open doors, so they don't feel badly about having me drive around for two hours looking for food and entertainment.
It's nice to be reminded how much different I am.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's almost over.

Pretty soon - as Jack Crabb said to General Custer in "Little Big Man" - "There won't be nothin' left but a greasy spot."
Xmas 2007 will be glorious history and the Goyim can go back to their lives of humdrum normalcy for another 11 months, when it will all certainly kick up again, worse than last year.
I'm one of the goons at work today, and compounding the issue is the fact that last night, I spilled half a glass of Southern Comfort & cranberry juice in my computer keyboard, rendering it either useless or drunk, I'm not sure which. Whatever; it isn't working, so I'm filing this in absentia, lest I go a day without writing something and you think I've suffered a horrible death or worse - decided to stop altogether.
The nice people I work for give us a half-day off and pay us for a full day, which is nice, but I think I'd rather sleep in and be spared the phony "Merry Christmas" wishes from management types who spend the other 364 days avoiding me.
My wish in haiku:
"Merry Christmas to you too,
you fat tub of goo."
Actually, what I normally say is, "Same to you." That way, if their wish isn't genuine, I can feel like I'm throwing it back in their face. Seriously, we know it isn't genuine, don't we?
On my drive in this morning at 7am, the local mall was already at normal weekday capacity (judging by the parking lot) and the local grocery store was booming. I don't know what they could possibly be buying at this point. Computer keyboards?
The sad part for me at least, is that I will need to find a Staples or some other out-of-the-way store where I can find a keyboard. Really, I'm more upset about spilling half a glass of fine beverage mix which would have fit much better in my stomach than in the intricate inner-workings of a computer keyboard.
So, if I don't see ya, try to make it through the day tomorrow. I'll be feasting on Chinese food and probably watching "I Am Legend" at the local cinema, or whatever other recent blockbuster is playing.
Remember to drink responsibly.