30 December 2012

Here... I... Go!

I had someone whom I greatly respected and admired tell me at the end of a successful effort, "You have done something triumphant." I'm not sure she was right, but she meant it. As a result I treasure those words more than most.

My first thought when I watched this video was, "YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING TRIUMPHANT!" 

Here's to you in the new year. And to triumphs, big and small.

Love you.

29 December 2012

Put it on blast!

Big Cheese sent me this. I'm horribly late to it but whatever. I'm not super current on all the sweet EDM jamz these days. So it's good that people like Big Cheese are out there and can point me in the right direction.

I've been wearing it out since I heard it. Repeat offender x(a lot). Makes me want to dance and/or give you a hug. Is that good? I'm saying yes.

27 December 2012

Now with more racism!

The Atlanta Braves have a new batting practice cap. I didn't even know such things existed, but if asked I would have guessed in the affirmative, since it's a glorious opportunity to sell you (the fan) more garbage. On the other hand it's a fun opportunity to try some different things with the logo, maybe branch out a little.*

Look at those caps. The A's elephant is awesome. Mr. Met is great. There's a lot to like. Unless you're a Braves fan and/or an idiot.

The Braves new cap is retro, and by 'retro' I mean 'surprisingly racist'. You have to wonder who in the graphics department thought this was a good idea. They did use this logo from 1967 to 1989. You know what else is from 1967? Jim Crow laws! Let's bring those back too! If it's old it must be awesome! America!

* Unless your logo is perfect in every way, as in the iconic interlocking SF and (it pains me to say it) NY teams. Or even the script D for the Tigers, which in classic white on a navy blue background is outstanding. Not as good as the SF orange-on-black, but it's close.

23 December 2012

Happy Xmas!

 This comes in via Alligator Sunglasses (natch).
They must be babies because I'm not sure you could put a hat on a full grown alligator-dile without him eating you making a fuss, but they are still soooooooo cute.

21 December 2012


I posted this trailer already this year but I'm coming back to it again. It was my favorite commercial of the year, which is saying something, because who likes commercials? It's brilliant.

19 December 2012

Change of pace

I bet you're sick of gun talk. 
Here's a great song to cleanse your palate. I can't promise I won't come back to the gun stuff at some point, but I'll try not to. Anyway, here's Forest Whitaker by Bad Books.

18 December 2012

Gun control(?)

The shrill noise about guns in the US is probably beyond annoying and I'm sure you're tired of it. I know I am.  This post is a mess of arguments that I've been mulling as the 'debate' about gun control swirls in my little pea brain. If you're not into it just ignore and come back in a couple days for something else.


New gun control legislation in the United States will not be effective in any meaningful way. You might as well pass a law telling people not to get fat: It's too easy to eat junk food and be lazy. (Obesity, for the record, is a far greater health danger than firearms.)

Am I against stricter gun laws? Not necessarily.

I start with this article from Malcolm Gladwell:
Gun control will be all the rage for a while, but the problem is so difficult that it may be intractable, at least in our lifetime.

Reports indicate that the shooter in Conn used an AR-15 rifle, likely with a 20 or 30 round magazine. The gun he used is legal in, I think, 47 states. You can ban the high-capacity magazines but that's just sticking your finger in the dike. Here in CA we are limited to 10 rounds per magazine for all guns, unless your magazine existed before the ban. So there are pre-ban mags out there. Of course you can still buy the high-cap mags in Oregon, Nevada or Arizona if you drive there. The AR-15 in it's most common iteration is also banned in Califoria under a complex set of laws that ends up having little effect on actual ownership.

I found this from the New York Times article very intersting: "And they cite statistics indicating that unlike handguns or shotguns, rifles of any type account for only a fraction of homicides in the United States — of 12,664 murder victims last year, 323 were killed with rifles, according to the F.B.I.’s Uniform Crime Report."

To reiterate: 2.6% of the murders listed by the FBI last year were committed with any type of rifle.

Furthermore, if (when?) the weapons ban goes into effect again these rifles will still be in wide circulation. There are tens of millions of citizens that safely own and operate these firearms. Why should they be made to turn in their guns? (They won't anyway; don't even ask.)

I have yet to hear a description of plausible legislation that will prevent what happened on December 14th. It's not that I am against stricter gun laws, it's that I don't think the laws will work, and I don't think they tackle the core issue of responsible gun ownership (see Gladwell article). I think it should be more difficult to buy a gun, but I also think that if you can prove that you are a responsible citizen then you should be able to own any gun you can afford to buy. 

The analogy to automobiles is useful because it's a deadly device that almost everyone here in the US uses and is familiar with. Consider that we have around 33,000 automobile related deaths every year in the United States. THIRTY THREE FUCKING THOUSAND (and that's down from ~42,000ish per year from 1995-2007). No one is making it tougher to get a driver's license, or calling for a ban on cars. Also consider that the graying of the baby boomers is going to make that number increase. Where is the great hue and cry? Where is the outrage? There isn't any, because people are stupid and lazy.

So is the issue guns, or is it stupidity and laziness? A gun ban isn't going to change anything; a concerted effort to stop being so goddamn stupid and lazy might have some positive effect.

Addressing issues like mental illness takes effort. Being vigilant takes effort.* Being responsible and accountable takes effort. Bring back the 'assault weapon'** ban if it makes you feel better, but until our society commits to doing the difficult work of addressing mental illness, remaining vigilant and staying accountable we will be right back here again, gun laws or no.

As for the video [below], Yeager is roughly the polar opposite of myself in much of his worldview, but I am hard pressed to argue against his call to action. He couches it in sexist, macho language, but his core argument is valid: You must act.

* If you have access to a deadly device it is your responsibility to keep it away from those that would misuse it, especially if they live with you. You don't leave your fucking car keys lying around if your teenager might steal your car. Same with guns, only x infninity

** Can't even begin to describe how much I hate those meaningless words. Ugh.

15 December 2012

14 Dec 2012

I don't know what the fuck is wrong with people but it takes a special kind of psychotic to gun down 20 children and 6 adults. "Active shooter" is the term used to describe these mass murderers. 

We don't yet know all of what happened in Connecticut but I expect that we will hear stories of immense bravery in the face of grave danger. Why do I think this? Because it's almost certain that some of the unarmed school administrators and teachers ran towards the sound of gunfire. That's real toughness.

James Yeager has a good summary of an appropriate citizen response in the face of that kind of danger. I'm not sure I would be up to it, but I hope I would. The first step is knowing in advance what the right thing is, and Yeager lays it out in plain English in the video below. (Language NSFW.)

If you're anything like me, it may help to spend some time on a plan of what you would do if confronted with this type of situation. The more time you spend the better your response is likely to be, but anything is better than nothing.

 'Chance favors the prepared mind' - Blaise Pascal.

13 December 2012

The bad guys won

Setback in politics today as Susan Rice withdraws her nomination for Secretary of State. She was doing her job as ordered when she was relaying information regarding embassy attacks in Libya. Fox 'News', et. al. tried (unsuccessfully) to make the embassy attacks and the administration response an issue before the election and their shills in the Senate continued to bang that drum when Rice was nominated.

Just as relevant was that Rice's relentlessness in her open disdain for John McCain and Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign. Apparently McCain and his aides remembered that she identified him and his VP candidate as incompetent assholes (which they were/are) and he's been gunning for her ever since.

It's a shame because Rice was an excellent candidate. If you read the accounts of what happened after the Libya attacks you'll see that she was doing her job exactly as she was supposed to, and that had she reported matters as she fully knew them she would have divulged confidential CIA information, which was out of the question. So what the senators are really bitter about is that they weren't 'informed', which is tough shit for them.

It's a huge disappointment. Obama submitted a strong candidate for a position in his cabinet and she was rejected because of petty jealousies and fabrications. Lame.

12 December 2012


Overheard at the grocery today when the guy in front of me wrote a check (WTF?): "Twelve twelve twelve, you'll only see that once in your life."

Me: "You only see every date once in your life. That's how time works."

Enjoy twelve THIRTEEN twelve (THIRTEEN twelve twelve if you insist on putting the relevant information at the beginning like a rational person). It only happens once a lifetime! 

Not much else to report. Kind of a slow time of year. Trying to find a good winter solstice gift for The Girl. That's hit and miss. I think I worked it out but need to get down to the mall shop and check it in person. The mall won't be crowded this time of year, will it? No? Cool.

09 December 2012

This and that

Heard a remix of this song. Liked the hook, the remix not so much. Found this (original?) version, loved it, so I'm punting it over to you. I even liked the video, which is unusual.
If the link doesn't work (and it may not), try this one.

For a remix, hit this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S50pY3CaFvE

In unrelated news: I've noticed that The Girl, who I love completely and totally, loads the dishwasher the exact same way she puts stuff in the trash: as though nothing else will ever need to go in there. It's an interesting strategy, but it works for her.

More later.

06 December 2012

Man down!

This is awesome
Got the flu over the weekend. Such a drag.

In my quiet time I trolled the internet on my ipad and napped. Saw this picture, loved it super hard.

Photographer is Ben Canales. This self-portrait is definitely one of my favorite pictures of anything, ever.

Imagine that is a finite you juxtaposed with part of the Milky Way, which is only one galaxy of millions. And then remember that the Milky Way itself is so vast that our own solar system is utterly unremarkable and forgettable. This from Wikipedia:

As a guide to the relative physical scale of the Milky Way, if it were reduced to 100 m (110 yd) in diameter, the Solar System, including the hypothesized Oort cloud, would be no more than 1 mm (0.039 in) in width 

It reminds me that I'm not such a big deal after all.

29 November 2012

You gonna eat that?

This is how I picture Reese; she is medium-sized but fierce*
Long-time readers will remember that I like to bake and (more often) eat desserts. My fondness for custard led to The Episode, which is covered in a footnote in this post. If review is too much effort, here's a summary: I made a pie. I ate most of it, then threw it away to keep from eating all of it. It still looked edible in the trash, had to take it all the way to the outside garbage. 

Fast forward to Thanksgiving this year. The Girl and I made a 'low fat' pumpkin pie, courtesy a recipe from Cooking Light. It was pretty good. So I ate it. As in, the whole thing. Not in one sitting. But definitely in one 24 hour period. She didn't like the look of the first effort - unappetizing crust - so we made another one the next day. And I ate half of that one for dessert, just to maintain my 1 pie per 24-hour interval pace. Low fat, so I'm good, right?

Desafortunadamente, no. As it turns out this is maybe not such a hot idea from a nutritional / digestive / Type II diabetes standpoint. But I'm glad that I went ahead and gave it a try. I'm off pies in general, and pumpkin pies specifically, for a good long while. Restraint: I have it. 

Image has nothing to do with pie. It reminded me of Reese the dog.

* I mean this in the more traditional will-definitely-kill-you-if-she-has-to sense, not the formerly trendy hey-look-at-my-zany-makeup-and-leggings sense. Image courtesy Alligator Sunglasses and ze intertubez.

28 November 2012

It's not really about the injury, it's about not being good at your job

 In re: sport and injuries

There is a school of thought that says you should not lose your position on the field if you lose time due to injury. I bring this up because Alex Smith has recently been replaced by Colin Kaepernick (sp?, and henceforth: CK) after the former went down with a concussion and the latter played well as his replacement.

Here's the thing: Alex Smith didn't lose his starting job because of his injury. He lost his starting job last year after the NFC Championship Game when he bounced one pass after another in the dirt against an eminently beatable Giants team. He couldn't drive the team to a first down or a score and added next to nothing to the pathetically anemic 49er offense. He only got another chance this year because Peyton F*cking Manning decided to sign with Denver. (Manning is one hit away from retirement so that was a bullet dodged.) Smith has been one hit away from the second string ever since CK started to get a handle on Harbaugh's system.

All this foaming at the mouth about what's 'right' or 'fair' misses the point. Harbaugh watched the NFC Championship Game and he knows as well as anyone that Smith won't take them to the promised land. It's possible that CK won't either, but why not give him a try? You already know what Smith is - or, more appropriately, isn't - capable of.

Special Bonus feedback: If you aren't watching NFL games with the sound off then you are missing out. They go more quickly and you can do your own analysis. Try it.

27 November 2012

Cyber Tuesday

Did you buy a bunch of stuff the day after thanksgiving? Please say yes. Somebody has to keep this economy afloat.

Heard a Bon Iver cover of Come Talk to Me and it was only so-so. The original is miles better so here is a famous live version. The video has a strong early-90's feel which kind of takes away from the overall goodness of the track (for me). Open a new tab and browse while it plays. Or scroll.

In my quick research I found out that Gabriel wrote this song because he had a falling out with his daughter and she wouldn't speak to him. Not sure if it's true but supposedly it is. Incidentally, this isn't even my favorite Peter Gabriel song. That would be Solsbury Hill, which long-time and extremely bored readers will remember from a weirdly depressing post I did in 2007. Not sure what was giving me the sads in 2007 but the song is still great.

23 November 2012

Giving thanks

When you wear them with a suit they're called "braces", not suspenders
Bit late, but: Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope yours was good, and that if you felt thankful you are able to stretch that feeling through the rest of this weekend, this next week, and beyond. Something to work towards, anyway.

My own experience was okay. Sweet Baby Princess had a medical setback so it put a damper on things. That is a developing situation so we'll see how it goes. I will post any updates in this space as they become available.

Fun picture to share. That's yours truly on the right, sitting in with the groom (middle) and best man from this past weekends wedding. The best man had to wear a rented tuxedo / shoes / vest / shirt, which is never ideal. I own a tux so I was happy for the chance to class it up a little, though I dressed the tux down with a regular tie. You don't care.

20 November 2012

Weddings and updates

Went to a swanky wedding in San Francisco over the weekend. The view from my hotel room was pretty good, as these things go. That's it on the right. My room was on the corner of Powell and California streets, both of which have cable cars that ring bells as they enter the intersection. The sweet music of cable car bells was cool. At least until Sunday morning, when they worked in concert with my hangover to alert me to the fact that I should probably never drink Maker's Mark again. Ever.

On the update front for Sweet Baby Princess (taking sun in the driveway): She is in still the sweetest baby princess ever. We took her to the vet and they said that she was "the friendliest dog they had ever met", which, of course. I took her for a hike yesterday and she's one of the only dogs you can let run around because she is friendly with people and shy with other dogs.

She was a dinosaur for halloween. Puppy loves halloween because so many happy kids come to the door. She wants to greet everyone with love but sometimes she knocks the toddlers over so it was my job to make sure that doesn't happen. I did really well. Except for that one kid. Oh well. He got an extra candy bar. And he should know better than to try and wrestle a dinosaur.

15 November 2012

Not impossible, but highly improbable

Some things are amazing because in order to do them you must first imagine that they can be done.
The act itself stands in sublime testament to both glorious imagination and absurd execution. 

This is one of those things.

A good story well told

I got a kick out of this profile of Marv Albert on Grantland.

It's lengthy but excellent.

13 November 2012

Watch and be amazed

I know that a few of the readers enjoy their dance. For you this movie is probably old news.

The Girl and I watched the documentary First Position recently and we enjoyed it very much (stream it on Netflix). Good subject matter, compelling characters, and brilliant dancing. How to they become so beautiful? It's no secret: by putting themselves through hours of difficult practice, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. It takes a toll on your body (and your wallet).

07 November 2012

05 November 2012

No holds barred, old-school style

Is that legal?
This image has been languishing on my desktop for ages. I may have even posted it already, though I doubt it. Took this picture in Florence last year.* It's a marble sculpture of Heracles wrestling Antaeus by Vincenzo de Rossi. Hercules took the eye gouge out of play with the inverted hold but he left himself open to attack in the groin area. Another picture here.

The sculpture is actually really impressive in person, as most sculptures tend to be.  In Florence it doesn't get much notice, since there are literally more amazing marble sculptures than you could ever keep track of, never mind see and appreciate.

* Actually made The Girl take it on her blackberry because I didn't have my camera.

04 November 2012

Guns go bang

Spent a day at the range on Saturday taking a beginner handgun shooting course. I am not a beginner but I still take beginner classes, time and resources permitting. (If you can't learn something from any class then the problem usually isn't the instructor, the problem is you.) One interesting thing about the basic classes is that you get to interact with people that are new to guns, maybe even handling a gun and shooting for the first time.

Some people, such as a woman that was in a class I attended earlier this year, do very well. She had never handled or fired a gun before the class and by the end of day two she was competent and comfortable. It usually doesn't unfold that way. I think she had the advantage of being mechanically inclined and extremely proficient with tools (she was a trade electrician), but that in itself isn't necessarily a good predictor of success, though it doesn't hurt.

This past weekend the guy next to me on the firing line couldn't keep it on the paper from 3 yards during aimed fire practice. The paper is 3 FEET wide by 4 FEET tall. In other words he couldn't reliably hit a target 3 yards away when he was taking his time and being careful where he was aiming. He was the worst shooter I have ever seen, and I've seen a few (see first paragraph). The problem was both his trigger flinch, which was awful because he was terrified of the noise and recoil, and the Glock 27 (subcompact .40 cal semi-auto) he was shooting.

Mission dictates loadout. If your mission requires that you carry a concealed weapon, the Glock 27 is an option. If your mission requires that you learn how to shoot a handgun, you should look elsewhere. But where? Good question.

The easiest handgun to shoot is the smallest caliber in the largest frame single-action semi-automatic that fits comfortably in your hand. I recommend a Browning Buckmark or, even better, Ruger Mark II.
Let's break this down further:
  • Why smallest caliber? Because it's easier to become comfortable with a gun when you keep recoil, noise and muzzle blast to a minimum. 
  •  Why largest frame? Larger-frame guns reduce felt recoil and give you more to hold onto (more on this shortly). Also, larger guns have longer barrels and are more accurate because they have a better sight radius.
  • Why single-action semiauto? Light trigger pull makes it easier to keep on target. Semi-auto pistols do present some challenges in re: gun handling that may be confusing or tricky for new shooters but they are outweighed by the advantages of the SA trigger. The biggest challenge is probably slide manipulation, but small-caliber, medium-frame semi-autos are as easy to manage as these things can be. Also it's a good test to see if the user is capable of safely operating the weapon. Can't rack the slide? You need some dry-fire practice.
  • Why fits in your hand? Too large or too small and you won't be able to keep a grip on the weapon when you fire it. 
  • Why not a revolver? Because revolvers typically have VERY heavy trigger pulls, up to 3 or 4x as much as a semiauto pistol (for reference: Glocks are 5 lbs, Smith & Wesson revolvers vary but are usually 10 lbs or more, and the Ruger Mark II is 3-5 lbs). They are a bitch to learn to shoot accurately.
So whither the poor sap with his wayward fire and his shiny new Glock 27? Well, as you may have noticed, it's a poor gun for a new or inexperienced shooter, mainly because the cartridge is too large and the frame too small. It's a backup gun. You can do a class with it but it will beat you up. It's hard to overcome your fear of the gun going off when it keeps kicking you in the hand every time you flail away at the bang switch. Hopefully he will get a gun that fits the above criteria.

As for the Glock 27 in general: I don't know why anyone buys this gun except that they want to be different from the 9mm crowd. I feel this way about all .40 cal guns. This cartridge doesn't do anything remarkably better than the 9mm or the .45 ACP.  Sure you can split hairs about how it's got superior velocity or muzzle energy but there is no significant advantage when it comes down to practical application, either in the lab or anecdotally. (Look it up.) It only exists because the FBI didn't want to look like a bunch of assholes after their agents got in a gunfight in 1986 and didn't have easy-to-reload semi-auto 9mm or .45 cal pistols. Of course they had to invent a new round, because if they didn't then people would ask why they weren't carrying one of the existing guns in that caliber.

02 November 2012

No word

No update from the vet on what's going on with the sweetest dog in the world, but she got her bandages off and her stitches out. (This picture is a week old - she got the bandages off this week.) 

The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.

I love beets. Not quite as much as Rasputin, maybe, but quite a lot. They're a cranky, beautiful vegetable, difficult to prepare without making a mess. The beet asks a lot of you, but it gives in return.

Thus, this from Tom Robbins:

The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. 

Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious. 

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets. The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip... 

The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies. 

The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.

29 October 2012

I don't get it

Why do Republicans think the government makes mistakes everywhere but in the application of the death penalty?

In a similar vein, this from Thomas Friedman, who makes some good arguments in re: hypocrisy.


Ricky Gervais tells the truth

Makes sense to me.

And also, how about those Giants? Special shout out to the die-hard Giants fans that read the blogspace. Win 6 elimination games? I guess, if you want to keep it interesting. Sweep the Tigers, with their awesome pitching and superb sluggers? No problem.

I hope it was as good this time as it was the last time.

28 October 2012

48 lbs. of Sweet, Sweet Sugar

 This is Reese. She's going through a rough patch right now after a couple surgeries but it doesn't seem to have affected her mood any. She's still the sweetest dog in the world. She just wants to be close to you so that you can pet her and give her a hug, and also bask in her sweet loveliness. The truth is she is spoiled with love and affection but I wouldn't have it any other way. She's friendly with everyone: dogs, people, cats, kids, whatever. Never an unkind word or deed.

Careful observers will notice that she's flossing a new tacticool Cobra buckle collar in Multicam from Original SOE Gear. Suits her, because she is one tough cookie. The S.O.E gear collar is not inexpensive but, as my girlfriend likes to say, "it's her only accessory".

26 October 2012

Back to back bikes!

Been busy and doing some stuff which I will share next week.

In the interim, this is kind of fun. Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond.

16 October 2012

Attitude adjustment

Before I sold the bikes I did track days, mostly at Fontana. Long time readers have seen the photos already. Track days are supposed to be about doing your fastest lap, not racing the other guys. (Racing laps are usually slightly slower because the racing line leaves less room for you to be outbraked and then blocked in a corner; the fastest way around the track is the 'qualifying line', which is your ideal line for a track day run.) Anyway, that's a good idea in theory but as soon as you get geared up and hit the track for your hot laps it pretty much goes out the window; you end up trying to both go as fast as you can and also catch/pass the guy in front of you.

Some backstory for the n00bs: Most track day organizations break riders into groups. Easiest way to describe this is slow, medium, and fast. They're all probably light-years faster than you, but we're speaking in relative terms here. Anyway, you start out with the slows and then you move up through the groups as your lap times come down. Getting bumped (that's the word you use) feels pretty good. You get waved off and they tell you to get a new number and you ride with the faster group. It can only happen twice at any given track / organization so it's a good feeling.

My last (ever?) track day I started in the slow group and was doing pretty well. I was helped by the fact that I had a great bike, good tires, tire warmers and good gear. My lap times were near the top of the sheet for every session and I was passing fools left and right. Since I started out getting passed by everybody on my first track day last year, it felt really good to feel fast. After several sessions the marshal in charge asked me to move to the next group. Awesome, I thought. I got this.

As I was picking up my number and joining the medium group for the first time the guy in front of me was stopped and they told him he was being demoted to the slow group. I thought, ahh, what a chump, can't keep up with the middle group? That's not even fast! Come on man! Get out of the way! I chuckled knowingly to myself.

When I checked out his bike I realized that he had an artificial leg that started above the knee.

He had set up his motorcycle so that he could race with only one good leg. The artificial limb was wedged into the right side of the bike so that he could hold on when cornering, accelerating and braking. Just FYI: on a track day ride you spend almost all your time doing one of those three things. It is exhausting, both mentally and physically.

You can imagine how I felt, sitting on my shiny bike, with all my fancy equipment and my lame attitude. I was humiliated and ashamed. I am ashamed still.

So: life lessons. 

I ended up going out for my session and doing okay there and the rest of the day. No crashes, no issues. It was a great day for the most part. I didn't see the other guy again, but I'll never forget him. As lame as I was, he was the opposite. x1000

11 October 2012

That would be awesome

It would be great if climate change deniers applied the same healthy skepticism to their religious beliefs.

09 October 2012

Oh nothing. Why do you ask?

Savasanna is my favorite pose
Not much to report. Sure I could write 500 words on election stuff but that's annoying. So, as a placeholder, here's a kitten wrapped up in a yoga mat. It's linked from Alligator Sunglasses so enjoy it while it lasts.

03 October 2012

The Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness

You know you want it
Been watching a lot of Parks and Recreation with the girl. I think we just finished the first season. I'm not strictly sure. It's basically The Office in a different office. (Full disclosure: I don't watch The Office - I just heard the shows described that way and it sounds right to me.) Parks and Rec is pretty good. I'd say good to great in spots, although occasionally it lands a bit flat so it's not consistently great.

What you need to know is: Ron Swanson ruleth.

Typing of tv, you might also like this article about Cheers, which was one of the best TV shows ever. One (depressing*) sentence from the article:

By 1993, at the end of its eleven-season run, it was earning a now unheard-of 26 million viewers per week.
The top network sitcom today, The Big Bang Theory, averages 18 million; cable sitcoms get by on a few million.

* How is Big Bang Theory the most watched network television program? It's like the McDonald's of television: bland, boring and stupid beyond description. Oh. I just answered my own question.

02 October 2012


Sold the motorcycles. Yes, both of them. Managed to divest myself of the depreciating assets without crashing, which was down mostly to luck in the early going. Later on it was luck with some actual rider skill. But also luck.

Been getting questions from my peeps about why I sold the bikes.  Easy: the rewards of riding no longer outweighed the risks. Track riding got to be too much hassle and expense. Street riding is too hazardous, and riding a superbike on the street is fun for about the first 10 minutes and then it's just a pain in the ass. And hips. And knees. And back. (You get the idea.) On the track the ergonomics make sense. On the street, not so much. If I get another bike someday I will get one that is more street-friendly and comfortable. There's a lot to be said for an upright riding position, so a Vespa or similar may be an option down the road.

Sometimes I miss motorcycles riding. There is nothing like pinning the throttle on a motorcycle and going as fast as you can.

On the other hand, I don't find that I miss motorcycle ownership.

26 September 2012

It's decorative gourd season, motherf*ckers

This is years old now but it's still great. I was reminded of it when I saw a lovely gourd arrangement at the local Trader Joe's. It's 85 degrees outside but who cares what the weather says when you have a calendar? Not your local retailer.

Can't be copied in full here because it is McSweeney's IP. Click through for the maximum awesome.

An excerpt:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

Special day(?)

Long time friend of the blog Lindz had a birthday today. She loathes her birthdays so I always make sure to rub it in send her good wishes. I still think she is 3 years younger than she is because for the first several years I knew her she never celebrated a birthday. I only found out after I called her at home one year on 26 September and her mom gave her up.
Anyway, special day today. So far it's not going all that well. She says:

then because i am the worst person on the planet, i got mad because
someone sent me flowers to work and I HATE THAT. and when i complained
about it to dan [Ed. her husband], it turns out it was him, so now he is mad at me and i
am a total bitch, i said it was not that i did not appreciate it, but it is just embarrassing
because now i have to walk past tons of people with the flowers and in
the 12 years that i have known him, he never once sent them to me so i
thought it was my mom.

It's only funny because it's happening to someone else. But it's still funny. 

24 September 2012

That's something

How is this even possible?
Still putting one foot in front of the other over here. Muddling through, as it were.

The space shuttle Endeavor (Endeavour?) went on a tour of California before it gets retired to a museum. I was able to catch a quick glimpse of it while it circled near the Long Beach airport. It was quite a sight. There were tears shed, if I'm not mistaken. I didn't get any pictures but someone forwarded me this one.

If it's true that 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' then this image of a massive spaceship on the back of a g-damn airplane, flanked by two awesome space jets, is just about as close to magic as I can expect to see, at least until someone invents a transporter. The shuttle may not have as much computing power as your new iphone but your iphone never made anyone emotional when it did a flyby. Advantage: shuttle.

18 September 2012

Kirk Sorrell

(Song not much related to the topic except the video seemed suitable. Great song though.)

UPDATE: They took the video down. Whatever. 

I found out not long ago that Kirk Sorrell had died while traveling in Columbia. We hadn't talked for about 6 years after a falling out when we were traveling in Brazil but we used to talk on a more regular basis. After the falling out we grew apart and he wasn't the sort of person to rebuild bridges; instead I would hear what he was doing through mutual friends.

It would be wrong to say his death was a surprise. He was a complex person, prone to severe depression and moods of the darkest sort. He was also wonderfully funny and unique. And when in the mood he could be charming, kind, and generous. He was a fixture in my life for many years. We went to middle school basketball camp, played high school basketball together (he was pretty good, I was not), and did a lot of really stupid shit when we were in high school. Kirk was there the first time I went to a party in high school. Later we would realize together that they were bullshit and we would go out on our own with our other friends. He grew up to become far more savvy and world-wise than I will ever be, traveling solo to countries all over the world for months at a time, experiencing cultures in a way that most people never do.

Before he was a world traveler we cut our teeth in the suburbs of San Jose. One night someone, I'm not sure how, gave us directions to a party in Almaden. The thing was being put on by students from a different high school, which was good, because I was never invited to my school parties my school parties kind of sucked. Almaden was a much nicer neighborhood. I don't remember how we got there. It's likely that Keane drove us but I can't be sure. I had no car and Kirk didn't either. Anyway, this party was memorable for a number of reasons.

1. They let us in.
2. It was CRAZY. Crimped hair and leggings and hard booze and a keg and all sorts.  I remember turtlenecks. Z Cavaricci jeans. Guess everything.
3. 25 cent shots at the 'bar'. The house had a wet bar where the host set up a deal where you could take shots for 25 cents. I had never taken a shot before. I had certainly never tasted liquor like whiskey or vodka. We didn't even know what to do so we kind of caged the joint, tried not to get pummeled by the dudes in letterman jackets and bellied up to the bar. I got out a bill and laid it on the bar and said, "It's a five." And thus did I 'buy' shots for Kirk and me and whoever else was nearby. It was a good investment since Kirk and I laughed about it over drinks for many years thereafter. 

He had been to Colombia at least once before this last trip and loved it. His death was officially described as a suicide with suspicious circumstances and that's about as much as you're going to get from them for a relatively poor gringo traveler in Columbia. Inasmuch as I knew him it would be crude to speculate. He's gone now, and he was a hell of a guy.

Kirk was 38.

Been busy

It's been one of those weeks, been dealing with that other thing and similar.
Haven't had anything interesting to share. Still don't, but the few members of the readership that shoot will get a kick out of this vid. Don't try any of this at home (or anywhere else). You might get shot but it's more likely you'll just get kicked in the balls.

13 September 2012

That's something

Rock on with your funky breakbeat. High-hats and a bass line to your FACE.
You can download it for free on soundcloud. Which is awesome.

I was maybe going to write a post about religious morons inciting other religious morons to violence but it was all just so depressing that I didn't bother. Hatefulness that masquerades as prayerful (a nonsense word, but whatever) religiousness is lame beyond my power to express. So, music!

12 September 2012

C is for cookie

I'll be back with something interesting (to me) tomorrow or the next day.
See you then.

08 September 2012

Apples and oranges

Sometimes cover songs are terrible. But sometimes it enables you to hear a song in a new way, or it introduces you to something you wouldn't have heard otherwise.

Anyway, this version of New Drink for the Old Drunk is a cover. I prefer it to the original, mostly because I like the percussion better in this cover version. You can hear the original over on the tubes of you.

06 September 2012

Life is uncertain

Anyway, this is a good song. See you out there. 

30 August 2012

Boredom, the echo chamber and me

Metaphorically and literally awesome
I owe you an apology. 

I trolled some firearm blogs late last night while I wrestled unsuccessfully with chemical- and heat-induced insomnanxiety (note to self: don't drink half a 5 hour energy at 20:00). Upside: I got all my chores done and sweated out all the toxins that weren't already purged during crossfit. Downside: I'm useless today. Anyway, during my not-so-quiet time I realized that reading politics in firearm blogs was boring and pointless at best, irritating at worst.

It's an echo chamber: a lot of people making the same noises at each other. I'll do what I can to either avoid the topic altogether or raise the level of discourse. Note that it's election season so there's a limit to how much I can tamp down the bile but I'll do my best. Don't like to tilt overmuch at the windmills of stupidity but sometimes it can't be helped. (It was the reason I started this blog in the first place. So.) Anyway, let's move on to things that find a broader audience, like dogs.

The Girl has a very sweet dog and we have a little routine in the morning where when The Girl gets up and showers for work I let Reese the Dog in the bed so we can spend a bit of time together before we start the day. This is officially called Peapod Time, because she likes to lay next to you like, well, two peas in a pod. Today she made herself comfortable between me and a pillow and I didn't pay her much mind (see comments re: insomnia and aftereffects, above). A short while later The Sweet Love of My Life returned, leaned over to give me a kiss and said, "You smell like Reese's butt!"


Reese had caught me unawares with the Buttsmear. (This is a Thing that Happens and it has a proper-noun name.) I don't want to get into details but, uhh, yeah. Buttsmear. I showered, the Girl changed the sheets and Reese just laughed. Ugh.

Still it haunts me.

28 August 2012

Progressivism, firearm ownership and the 'zombie apocalypse'

Peace = Weakness (if you have a fifth-grade education)
I own firearms and shoot them on a regular basis at local ranges. My politics are liberal and/or progressive, whichever you want to call it. Also, I am an atheist. (I tried Christianity but it didn't stick.) One of the reasons I own guns is that the shooting sports should not exclusively be restricted to people that are "EXTREMELY RIGHTWING", as LaRue Tactical and others would have you believe.*

I encourage all types of people to learn how to operate a gun safely. It's an essential skill that could save your life. There are many good reasons to learn how to handle a firearm, even if you don't plan to own or shoot a gun recreationally. The main reason is that you might be forced to handle one at some point and you're shit out of luck if you don't know what you're doing. It's like driving a stick shift car: you don't need to know how until you do, at which point you better know how or else you're stuck. Or you're at the mercy of someone that does know how, which brings me to my second point...

Why is there so much overlap between gun ownership, religion, and conservatism in the United States?  Did you notice that militant, armed Christianity has more in common with militant, armed Islam than it does with peaceful religions such as Hinduism or Buddhism (or even peaceful Christianity)? Is it that conservatives making all the noise that the most attention, and more moderate positions are cast aside? I don't get it.

Is it possible to believe in both responsible gun ownership and also social programs for the poor and disadvantaged? I think yes, so I'm doing what I can to get the word out.

/this last is shoehorned into this topic because it doesn't warrant a topic of its own/

Lately the biggest growth market for gun stuff is in anything related to the 'zombie apocalypse'. Zombie targets, zombie themed ammo cans, zombie guns, zombie gun accessories, etc. You name it and there is some kind of zombie thing attached to it and it is sold out at your local sporting goods store. A guy told me that they can't keep the stuff on the shelves because it sells out so fast. 

In my opinion the zombie stuff is popular because a lot of the nutjobs think the apocalypse already started and they're just waiting for the green light to start shooting people. I am not kidding. If you spent any time near some of these crazies then you would think so too.

* LaRue ships a copy of the US Constitution and a bumper sticker that says "EXTREMELY RIGHTWING" with every order. I like their products but their blind devotion to politics and the constitution is misguided. It would have been more accurate if they sent me a sticker that said "EXTREMELY LEFTWING". Or stuck to the business of making good products instead of political statements.

27 August 2012

For the rap fans: History of rap music (with audio)

I don't like rap music. Most of it is the opposite of music to my ears. But this history of rap, complete with DJ mixes of jams from various years is kind of fun. It's comprehensive as far as I can tell and runs through 1999 as of this writing. My favorite year on the list is 1986. Not because that was a particularly good year for me, but the mix is very strong. 1991 is good too.



23 August 2012

Sucrose Jesus it's been almost a week

Greetings from that place where that thing happens.

Not much to report. Been busy doing this and that. You know how it is. I'll be attending a wedding this weekend (not my own). Only attending in a dating capacity. I also attended a wedding last weekend in a similar capacity. That was a spectacle. It included, in no particular order: the groom falling down drunk, the groom tackling one of the groomsman, the bride shedding tears of frustration, the groom being held up while he cut the cake (I found this all a bit too much since he was cutting rug on the dancefloor shortly before - he can dance but he can't stand up without aid? doubtful), some of the grooms friends knocking down a picture and breaking it, the bride's sister giving a weird tearful speech about some random bullshit no one cared about, and the best man giving a superb speech. Highlight: "I knew you in junior high when you went through your gangster phase - rocked that tough-guy mustache and flannel. You had that job at Baskin-Robbins so you put on weight - it really completed the look."

This weekend's event will probably have some good speeches but quite a lot less drama. Probably. It's a wedding so you never know.

Music is for Bolters who is going to see Mumford and Sons this weekend. Lucky duck.

17 August 2012

Food for thought

Here's the full text and talk from a link I had posted previously, courtesy Mother Jones.
There is a counterargument to the position outlined below but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe I need to watch more Fox 'news'.

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies.  Consider this one.

If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.  

This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today's economic landscape.

But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe.  It's not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy.  

In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and businesses are "job creators" and therefore should not be taxed, would make equally bad policy.  

I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.

That's why I can say with confidence that rich people don't create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a "circle of life" like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me. 

So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it's a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it's the other way around.

Anyone who's ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalists course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it.  In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn't just inaccurate, it's disingenuous.

That's why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

Since 1980 the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%.  

If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy  would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs.  And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.

Another reason this idea is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don't buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, we go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

I can't buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can't buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the vast majority of American families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.  
Here's an incredible fact.  If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25% more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year. Where would the economy be if that were the case?

Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as "job creators" at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the fairness of the current social and economic arrangements is telling. For instance, it is a small step from "job creator" to "The Creator". We did not accidentally choose this language. It is only honest to admit that calling oneself a "job creator" is both an assertion about how economics works and the a claim on status and privileges. 

The extraordinary differential between a 15% tax rate on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest for capitalists, and the 35% top marginal rate on work for ordinary Americans is a privilege that is hard to justify without just a touch of deification 

We've had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don't create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic  feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That's why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

So here's an idea worth spreading.  

In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class.  And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich.

Thank You.

Allow me to retort (again) - polictal commentary ahead, skip if you like

Big Cheese didn't like the pump up jam I linked (and then re-linked, per feedback from the constituency - scroll down for the goods). I gave it another listen today and I still think it's a strong jam, in spite of the fact that it's all over the place.

In other news, it's election time! Mitt Romney is doing everything he can to get elected using the same bland platitudes that Obama used to get himself the big job four years ago. Specifics only invite criticism because then you have to answer actual questions and that can be challenging. The problem is that Obama would spout platitudes about the middle class but Romnyan like to talk about 'job creators' and 'broadening the base'. In other words they want to cut taxes on the richest people and raise taxes on the middle class to make up the difference. If you're wondering how it's possible that these types of people have even a glimmer of hope in a general election then you're not alone. The issue is income inequality: they want to make it worse. Why would you do that? Supposedly it's good for business. It's actually good for people who own businesses, not for people who buy goods from businesses. (If you give a rich person $100 they spend $25 and put the rest in the bank, if you give a poor person $100 they spend $80 and put $20 away. Spending is what drives the economy.) For more information review these slides and this text.

Speaking of Romney and inequality, why is he so full of himself? He was born on third base, thinks he hit a triple. The view was expressed very well in a comment on the New York Times:

How do these white men of privilege, born into prominent, wealthy families with vast connections that are pressed into service, to service their needs - a mission trip abroad to avoid the draft here, a coveted internship with a prominent senator there - come to regard themselves as self made and self reliant. In what fantasy world or which parallel universe do they live?

Romney is absurdly out of touch with the middle class because he's never had to actually do anything with people that work for a living. He's been fabulously rich and cosseted his entire life. Even so, if he had a decent plan to revitalize the country that consisted of something besides "spend more money on defense, destroy environmental regulations, national parks, and public works, make rich people richer; also, if you're poor or elderly, fuck you", then I might take him seriously. The thing is, he IS serious, which I find both scary and depressing.

13 August 2012

It was tough, but I managed

Sorting out the photos from my trip to the VI. The islands take a beautiful picture. I already mentioned that we had some issues with the local fauna (mostly the bugs) but still had a very nice time.

One of the private beach days included a nice deck and some beach chairs. They only allowed a handful of people on the beach at any given time, which was nice. You get what you pay for.

I had to take refuge from the sun but my Sweetheart (pictured) worked on her tan the whole time. I'll post the link to the whole album when I get the rest of the photos processed.

10 August 2012

Pump up Jamz

Not sure if the above will work for you, but in the event that it doesn't, you can open this link in a different tab and that will give you the scoop. 

Joined a new gym. Old gym was great until they converted the yoga studio into a barre studio. That is good for membership because barre is all the rage right now. I told them to suck it because I'm there for quality yoga and the yoga instruction has been in steady decline for about a year. Anyway, I joined a crossfit gym and it's good. Tough workouts. And I don't have to wear a shirt, which is nice.

One area where the crossfit gym is really falling down is the music. They got the stereo working but there's not much consistency in the pump up jamz. I find a wide range of pump-up jamz acceptable: rock, punk, techno, hard house, hard trance and rap all have something to offer your PUJ playlist. You know what doesn't work? Country music. I can't name a single pump-up country song and you can't either. It just doesn't work. I understand you can't please everybody but if you're playing country songs and I'm trying to lift weights then you're just making it tougher.

Here's a fun bootleg pump-up jam that claims to be 'progressive house', which I guess means that it's a hard trance track with a vocal in it. No idea. There's a lot of overlap with these things. The song is kind of confused in that it:
- Starts out with a catchy vocal (~ 50 secs)
- Hints at the superbly catchy bass line for a build (1:30)
- Goes into a nice bit of song proper with the bass line (1:45)
- Motors along for a while successfully with the vocal (1:45-3:40)
- Suddenly throws in a full on, straight up, trance-style super-synth Rank-1-Airwave-cribbed breakdown @ 3:45. Which, for the record, is very well executed.
- Then the bass drops again (4:28) and IT IS FUCKING ON until 5:30 when you better be queuing up something else because the outro is short. 

Even though this song is kind of all over the place the individual elements are so good that it doesn't matter. Turn it up and you'll see what I mean.

Not sure I'm going to bring this to Crossfit Balboa. They're not ready. Play this song on half volume during a warmup and it'll fall flat. Play it when you're in the middle of a tough workout (or a big night out) and it'll melt your face off.

09 August 2012

Smart is sexy

Not sure if you're current on the crazy awesome mission to mars and the rover landing. The short version is: it's awesome. This guy is the poster boy so far and I have to give him big props for being a) good at his job, and b) showing some individuality in the workplace. I guess it took NASA to figure out that your haircut has fuck all to do with your work performance. Weird. Maybe we could get some trickle-down into the private sector?

You can get current on more of the fandom on the tumblr.

07 August 2012

Disaster Preparedness

Been thinking about some things lately that are beyond the usual purview of the blogspace. This is going to be a survivalist / disaster preparedness tangent, so feel free to skip it if you like.

Two recent events have galvanized me into action:

1. My friend's house was burglarized during the night. He was out of town but he could just as easily have been at home. More on this shortly.

2. While putting my feet up at The Girl's house last week and I heard a series of loud bangs. Sounded a lot like gunfire to me. I wasn't completely unprepared, but I felt a bit less than prepared than I would have liked. As it turns out it was only fireworks, but it was still disturbing. And annoying.

These two events happened within 48 hours of each other. They made me re-evaluate my level of home and disaster preparedness. In short: I'm unprepared. For a long time it was not a huge issue for me personally because I can look after myself in most circumstances and I'm not a soft target. But The Girl doesn't have the same advantages; she is considerably less mean and also less heavily armed. So: What can we do to increase our chances of survivability in the event of a disaster?

Get Prepared

A lot of people, me included, used to view disaster preparedness as some kind of weird fringe activity for Idaho/Wyoming nutjobs. Then Katrina happened and the federal government showed how qualified it was to deliver you from harm in the event of a major disaster. (Hint: not qualified at all, and that was a disaster that people knew was coming. *facepalm*)

The interesting thing about this kind of preparedness is that even the most minimal efforts dramatically increase your chances of surviving a disaster. In other words you get a lot of value for the most basic efforts.

I don't believe that we will have a permanent and complete institutional breakdown in this country. I do believe that you should be prepared for a temporary breakdown of all services and the rule of law for a minimum of 72 hours. To that end, you should be prepared. The nature of your preparedness will depend a lot on where you live. Are you in a rural or urban environment? What is the climate like?

You can find thousands of lists and instructions on the internet for how to prepare for the 'zombie apocalypse' but most of them are bullshit. And they might not suit your needs. Or your budget. Make a plan. Build an urban survival bag for your house, and put a get-home bag in each of your vehicles. It might save your life.

More later.

06 August 2012

Where the h-e-double-hockey-sticks have you been?

I was out of the country for close to a couple weeks, visiting the lovely Virgin Islands. It was good, except for the part where the sweet love of my life was miserable because of the mosquitoes (she's allergic, which is a bummer when you're in the tropics) and then rupturing her eardrum when we tried to go on the scuba party.* Ouch. So she didn't have as superb an experience as she would have liked.

My own experience was good. Avoided any sunburn until the very last day. Did a lot of beachy things, like snorkeling and swimming. Saw all kinds of awesome sea creatures, such as a sea turtle and other fish (big and small) and birds and corals and stuff. Went scuba diving for the first time. Had to be supervised because I don't have a certification, and I think there was also a depth limit of about 35 feet. Whatever. I still got to wear a tank and fins and breathe air underwater. Super fun. The Girl suggested I get my dive certification when we got back but I've already got some other very expensive (and dangerous) hobbies so I tabled it until after I'm done racing motorcycles. You care.

What now? Well I dodged the 20 year high school reunion but I heard it was good. I'll see you at the 30. I've got paper to push.

I've still got a backlog of stuff to post on various topics so I'll get to those later this week. Good times.

* It wasn't really a scuba party and no one was hanging out in the nude but I couldn't help including that clip. 'Along Came Polly' is terrible but that part is superb.

29 July 2012

Long time no hear

Hey how's it going?
Not much news here. Apologies for going AWOL. I was away for a couple weeks, but I'm back now. You care.
I'll post a report on my travel experience in a day or two. In the interim here's a video that Big Cheese forwarded to me. It's near and dear to my heart in that it covers two subjects about which I feel strongly: quality of life, and also gaming. Enjoy.

In the event that the embed doesn't work you can use this link to go directly.

17 July 2012

We've all been there(?)

This little tidbit comes courtesy Alligator Sunglasses. They probably have a proper credit for it but hey, it's craigslist and that's the public domain as far as I can tell.

The story itself reminded me of the time my former roommate took a similar gamble at Newport Brewing Company and had to drive home to change out his ensemble. He couldn't even sit on the seat because frothy, foamy shit was coming out of his pants above his beltline. (Why this happened - and I mean the poop above the belt, not 'why he shit his pants' - is still a mystery. Capillary action? Bowel pressure? Super tight boxer briefs? Some combination of the above? We'll never know.) He had to operate the pedals with one foot and keep the other locked against the floor so it would wedge his upper torso against the seatback to prevent further befouling the interior of his 4Runner. Sooo, yeah. That happened. He ended up doing such a quick costume change that his then-girlfriend never noticed that he was gone. Well played, sir. Well played.

It's been an up and down week over here. Sold the 600RR for a fair price. This is mixed news. I'm a bit sad to see her go but I didn't need two bikes. Still have the big bike and it's awesome. I'll have to do a bit of work to to make it track ready. Not too, much, initially, just tires and traction control / quick shifter, and a quick turn throttle tube. It'll make the bike safer to ride. Safety first. You care.

Thanks for reading.

16 July 2012

Update to the update: mom is out of the hospital

Update on my mom's condition: She is out of the hospital, getting ready to start physical therapy.

The long-term prognosis is guesswork. She still suffers from severe headaches and they don't know if that will get better in time. It's likely that it will, but for now it's tough sledding. (It's not surprising that her head hurts after someone sawed through her skull and poked and prodded at her brain. The brain has no nerve endings but that doesn't mean it won't react if handled.)

She has problems with her memory and speech. She can't remember what day it is, for example. Her conversation skills are somewhat limited. Early progress was good but it's coming much more slowly now.

Her attitude is joyless and miserable. That's not a huge departure from before the injury but it's worse now, and she isn't much capable of talking about much because she can't remember and also not much happens. So mostly she lives in the present, and her present pretty much sucks. (Full disclosure: it is 100% her own fault that she is in this condition.) 

Hopefully the occupational / physical therapy will enable her to make some progress. She has full-time care so someone is able to look after her, get her to therapy and appointments, etc.

That's the summary. Definitely a drag to read but that's the way it goes for now. The good news is that her neurological, mental and physical health should improve over time. I will keep you posted.
Thanks for reading. 

13 July 2012

John Terry acquitted of racism charges, still a d-bag

Warning: The following post contains foul language and it's not for everyone. I apologize in advance. If you're offended then please skip it and come back on Monday for rainbows and unicorns.
Thanks for reading

John Terry was acquitted on his charges of racism. If you don't know who he is then don't trouble yourself with a search. He's an asshole who, among other things, shagged his teammates wife. He's also a titanic ass when he's on the pitch, with too many low blows and late tackles to even begin to list here. He plays for Chelsea, which makes sense because that club is a disgrace.* He also has the dubious distinction of being an overrated shite on his national team. So that's fun.

The trial and related bullshit only serve to highlight the fact that if you stare long enough at words to parse them endlessly then they stop meaning anything at all. The presiding 'magistrate' said there was no doubt that Terry said the words "fucking black cunt" during the end of the game, but the trial hinged on what he meant. It's possible he meant something else, something not racist at all. It's also possible that you are an idiot, and you are a magistrate in the English judicial system.

This is a clear example of the law tripping over its feet and falling on its face. If you ask a 10 year old what it means when you call someone a 'fucking black cunt' then you will get the same answer every time: it means what it says, every word intended to injure and offend. It is not a phrase laden with subtlety and nuance.

That Terry is chavvy trash is well established. He knows what he said, and he knows what he meant to say. He should be fined and suspended - it won't change his racist attitude but at least we won't have to look at him for a while.

* It is true that I loathe Chelski. However, Terry would be a rat bastard no matter where he suited up, even if it were glorious Arsenal.

10 July 2012

A fun interlude

This from Sonz, because she wins at the internet today. It's only got 300ish views as of now, which is a travesty. If you stick around to the end you get some bonus cookie monster c is for cookie. It's worth it. I love cookies.

Where have you been?

Well, here and there, if you must know.
I had a track day, which went well. Bike was great, went fast, etc. Didn't get as many photos as I wanted because guys kept crashing. I did get moved up to the faster group and did my fastest ever lap (1:55), so that was cool. I have a good anecdote about that I've been working on, but I didn't get to it because right after my track day...

Then my mom spent 6 days in the ICU because she fell on her head. I had to fly to Oregon to see her. It was touch and go for a while but after the second craniotomy (which was the fourth surgery) she woke up from her coma. It's a bad deal. As of now she's out of the ICU and recovering in the neuro center. Her vocabulary and diction aren't impaired but it does take her a long time to form sentences. She talks much more slowly now, is what I'm saying. And she also repeats herself, as though she forgets underlyaing conversational elements that you might otherwise take for granted. Not sure if she does this because she has trouble finding other words or if she doesn't remember saying it in the first place (both?).The neuro people will figure all that out I guess.

Her motor control is moderately impaired. She will be using a walker for the foreseeable future, maybe forever, given her balance has been an issue for some time. The doctor that looked at her brain said there was evidence of previous damage from blows to the head, likely caused by falls. So that happened / is happening. She is 65, looks 80. The long term prognosis is not encouraging but she could surprise everybody. She is capable but she has to quit some of the bad habits that put her in the hospital in the first place. Easier said than done. We'll see.

That's the latest. I will keep you posted.

27 June 2012

26 June 2012

You're doing it wrong

Equinox is running a promotion where you get a 'badge' if you go to the gym a certain number of times during the summer. You 'activate' the badge thing and then you can display it on twitter and lamebook. OMG I know! So awesome!

In other words, you get to show off how many times you went to the gym and also promote the gym at the same time. Which is cool if you're a titanic douchebag. To reinforce the d-baggery, the badges have tags. Level 1 is 'Baller'. Then you get upgraded to "Player". I don't know what the next one is but I promise to post it as soon as I reach that lofty goal.

Anyway, I went to the gym 10 times and got a badge. I hope you're as impressed with me as I am. 

Not much

Not much to report lately. Doing another track day this Friday. So that's fun.

I did have this hippo picture that I think I cribbed from Alligator Sunglasses. No idea where they got it from. The internet is a mysterious place.

I would post a bit more frequently but I've been busy and also I haven't had anything to share. You know how it is.

14 June 2012

Of course he took the drugs

Cheaters never prosper (except when they do)
Lance Armstrong is back in the news again. The USADA is on a crusade to catch him in his lies. I don't think they will change anyone's mind but if you know anything about anything in cycling then you already know he cheated. Of course he says he didn't but consider the attached graphic, which is extracted from Bicycling magazine in May of 2011. I linked to it before but the link is down now so here's the text and the graphic again:

Here’s how the Tour de France would look during every year Armstrong podiumed if the top 10 were scrubbed of any finisher who at the time of his career [Not necessarily at the time of that Tour, since his career would span multiple tours - Ed.] was formally connected to performance enhancing drugs or blood doping (those riders appear in the shaded boxes). Because we had to draw a line somewhere to prevent unsubstantiated accusations from eliminating a rider, we defined “formally connected” as riders who:

- Admitted to doping or were banned or fully (not provisionally) suspended by a sanctioning group for doping in relation to it.

- Were fully (not provisionally ) suspended or fired by their teams or individually withdrawn from races by their teams for some connection to doping

- Were convicted of doping in a sporting, criminal, or civil hearing or trial, or paid a fine to settle charges related to it.

 Our criteria leaves lots of room for argument, and frankly, allows some riders who inspire widespread public doubt to remain categorized as clean. But even through this somewhat constrained lens, the decimation of the general classification of the sport’s crown jewel is shocking. -Christie Aschwanden

The new allegations are particularly lame because they are anonymous. It's more witch hunt than anything else by now, but Armstrong's decision to pursue a career in triathlons is probably getting up the USADA's nose. If he just faded away they would likely leave it alone.