Saturday, April 30, 2005

Quotes Of The Day - 4/30/05

"Real love can't be bought
It is wild and it can't be caught."

-- from "Guilt Is A Useless Emotion" by New Order

"I replaced the headlights in my car with strobe lights, so it looks like I'm the only one moving."

-- from Steven Wright

"People who hate others only hate them selfs."

-- written on a bathroom stall at an undisclosed Las Vegas hotel

Friday, April 29, 2005

Shooting The Shit: Just A Gag Reflex

I'm not allowed to plant new grass after May 1st according to Southern Nevada water restrictions. Easy to understand because we have major water issues. So today I got down and dirty with the seed and steer manure. Now, my neighbor Sal has talked to me about manure (which he calls "the stinky stuff") and that the more it smells the stronger and better for your lawn it is. This stuff was downright ripe. Several times I had to step away and get a good breath of air. You see, I've always had this issue with the smell of crap. I vividly remember my times cleaning up after our dogs as a wee lad. I'd feel the acid building up in my throat and the near urge to vomit when I got a good whiff (which is pretty unavoidable.) This carried over into my adult life when changing children's diapers. Changing a baby is difficult because (while breathing out of only your mouth) you are trying to do it as quick as possible before the smell hits you but then they wiggle around wanting to play as your eyes tear up. Thankfully, I haven't dated anyone with a baby in years. Yet, this does bring up today's question: What smell makes you retch?Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Lost In Conversation

I do a lot of talking in my day job. What I've noticed over the course of nearly 12 years of repetition: Human language doesn't evolve... it de-evolves. How many times today have you approached someone with a "How's it going?" and got the same response back? Was that a conversation or a mishandled greeting? Does anyone ever say "Good morning!" anymore? I've noticed that most people just say "'Morning" instead. I've deduced further that if you slur the phrase "I'm horny" just right, it sounds like "'Morning." Think you could get away with it? But, it does go to show you that people pay a lot less attention to what other people say in passing. We are often cutting down common phrases that show a reaching out to someone. Where are all the missing words, letters and phrases going that save us so much time? When did "What's up?" and "What's new?" become "'Sup?" and "'Sup?" So many real chances to connect with an actual human being are being lost in our normal conversation that it does seem that life truely is a series of greetings and farewells.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tastes Of An 80s Nut

I get a lot of questions from people visiting 80's Music Central ranging from "Who did this song?" to "How old was so-and-so when she released her first album?" But usually ones that I can't answer for everyone because of space available are "Who is your favorite 80's band?" and "What's your favorite song?" I've decided to take this moment to talk to you about the New Zealand band the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience. Yes, the name does sound like a bad take on the Jimi Hendrix Experience and should not be confused. This is probably one of the oddest bands that I've ever heard (right up there with Ween and the Butthole Surfers.) I found them at a college record shop due to a very existential cover to The Size Of Food (which used heat sensing photography of people scattered around on the ground.) It took several listens of the album for it to sink in and it forced me to look into more of their work. That's when I discovered a gem of a song called "I Like Rain." An overly catchy hook based around a cheesy keyboard riff sucked me in. I doubt anyone else will every find the same enjoyment out of the song as I do but it has become something more than special to me. After finding what I could from the band, I sent a friend of mine that was visiting the area to record stores in search of anything I didn't have. Expensive as hell but I got everything that I needed and was shocked to hear most stores looked at him strangely when he asked about the band. I could hope that everyone gets a chance to hear some of their music but I wish for something bigger that everyone finds music that means just as much to them as these mean to me.Posted by Hello

Will The Real Pantry Please Open Up?

I felt really bad about putting up a generic picture of the pantry because... I'm jut not that organized. This is how it really looks and yes there are tons of things that I didn't list and at some point I'll organize it better. The fascade is lifted. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

This Pack-Rat Went Shopping

I don't know when it happened but I discovered that I'm not only a pack-rat of memorabilia but I do the same with my pantry. This isn't a picture of it but it's very similar. I have 9 bags of Red Vine licorice, 5 bottles of Heinz garlic flavored ketchup, 10 bottles of Arizona blueberry-flavored Ice Tea, 2 boxes of green tea, 10 bags of pasta, 8 cans of chili, 5 cans of chicken noodle soup, 4 cans of cream of mushroom soup, a massive tupperware container of brown rice, 5 bottles of spaghetti sauce, 6 bags of taco seasoning, 4 bottles of mustard, 5 boxes of brownies (each containing 8), 5 cans of pork and beans, 4 huge cans of refried beans, 8 cans of refried beans, 15 cans of tuna (in water... oil is gross), 7 boxes of macaroni and cheese and... well I'm not going to keep going but you get the idea. I'm not going to starve if I get trapped in my own home. But, I wonder what has happened to me or am I just thinking that it's better to have food in storage than to wonder where my next meal is. I can see an intervention coming and there is no way I'm letting them into my pantry. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005


I don't know why but I'm not a huge milk drinker. I love to cook and tend to buy a quart every time the date expires just so I could make macaroni and cheese, gravy, scrambled eggs, alfredo sauce, instant pudding and once in a very blue moon cereal. My only issue is that I usually buy the milk and don't open it until it's almost past the Sell By date. It is pretty amazing how many cartons of milk were in the case at the store that are set to expire tomorrow. Anyhow, I don't like letting it go to waste when it gets close to going bad so I usually chug the remainder. One of the earliest memories I have of my youngest brother Michael was him calling stuff 'jabotch.' How did he know about botulism back then?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

NFL Draft Begins... Somewhere A Pig Gets Its Last Meal

The weekend NFL draft marathon started at 9am (Pacific Standard Time) and won't end until late tomorrow. Of course, this means that I'll have it running in the living room and bedroom televisions (in case I need to check something on the computer.) So far, the surprise of the draft would be the Detroit Lions taking wide-out Mike Williams. The reason it is a surprise is that the team has taken a wide receiver in the first round of the draft 3 years in a row (Charles Rogers and Roy Williams.) I'm not a Lions fan but just found that interesting. Actually, it'd be interesting to hear from you about how you think your team drafted.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Fashion No-No's A La Martin

I thought I'd take today to discuss one of my biggest fashion pet peeves: earrings. I know that a young woman takes a large step in their lives when they get their ears pierced (unless it's already been done for you.) I have no problem with ear piercing. I have a problem with overbearing earrings. I was going to put more than one photo up but this is a great example. Long stringy earrings are only good for one thing: brushing dandruff off your shoulders. Sure, they make you look at the neckline but they also make your ear look long and misshapen. I have a bigger issue with big hoop earrings. Someone is going to snag that thing on something and rip your ear off. If the long stringy earrings make your ears look deformed... big hoops go the extra mile. If I were a true prick, I could see myself throwing things through the hoops in a crowded restaurant. Alas, I'm not and everyone has a right to dress how they want. Some man out there may have a fetish for seeing bicycle tassels and bracelets hanging from someone's ear but I'll hold off. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Name Game

I don't currently have any pets. Not that I don't want them but I do know that they require a lot of attention and will probably pass away before I do (yes, I'm sappy like that.) Anyhow... as a child I had a lot of pets. I notice that most pets do not keep their names long especially female ones. Nicknames developed that pretty much took over. Our cat Shasta became Momma after having kittens. Puddles became Pudsy after awhile (probably because it really was creating puddles and we didn't want to admit to it in public.) I wonder how many other things that we give names to are changed by us over time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Smoke And Mirrors

In the profession that pays my bills, I deal with a lot of people. I find one thing rather interesting: There are people younger than myself that I envision as being older than me. I don't know how it happens. Maybe it's done with mirrors. It isn't a visual thing but an overall view of the person as a whole. Now, if I want to get psychological about it...maybe, it could be an inferiority complex. How many times have you come across an attractive person of the opposite gender and lost your sense of self? Do you shy away or pull back? Do you feel subservience overtake you? Are the next words coming out of your mouth going to sound like baby talk? Some also like to look at a confrontation as this as a confidence collision. Someone will lose, they always do. But, there will always be people that are younger than myself that for some reason will seem older and more mature. How I keep from talking with marbles in my mouth is another thing entirely.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Looking Back With Nostalgia

Ok, this has been on my mind for the last day or so: Are the eldest children the most nostalgic? Essentially, does a child that has been in the family longer than their siblings tend to remember the "good old days" more than the others? I do think that I'm in that category being the oldest of 4 children. I think about the early mornings getting up on weekends, stopping by Winchell's Donuts to pick up a dozen and head to Dad's tennis pro shop where I'd try to watch cartoons on a really small television. I remember when we were tired we would sleep under clothing racks so people would hardly notice we were there. (I wonder if I talked in my sleep back then too.) Anyhow, I do think some of those types of memories that are stuck in my head are precious but maybe I tend to dwell on them a bit more than my siblings. Where does nostalgia fall with your siblings?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Oh, Brother, There Art Thou

I'm pretty lucky. I have a pretty big family and all of us are pretty healthy. No drug addiction, no deep dark secrets and/or mental iss... well maybe some issues. Today is actually my brother Matthew's 31st birthday. We'll be gathering for dinner in just minutes at a place called Grape Street (a restaurant that serves various wines.) I wish that I had been there more for both my brothers and sister. Looking back, I remember the extreme freedom of moving out after high school. I think when you become an adult you become slightly selfish with your time and energy. I just wish I was there for them more back then but now my siblings are all productive adults. I'm immensely proud of them all and their accomplishments and wouldn't have things any other way. I cherish that I have what I do with them and that we haven't had more adversity... but when that time comes, I know that we can handle it. Happy Birthday, Matt.

BTW, his biggest birthday present will come just a few months from now when he'll become a father. That's when the toment will begin. B)

Friday, April 15, 2005

I Think I See Your Problem Here, Keep Your Hands Off That 2

So my day off was rather interesting. Gotta remember to have quarters on me when I take a bus to AutoZone. Anyhow, I picked up the new plug wires that I would need. Replacing the first plug went alright. I also discovered that the same hold that the socket has on a plug upon removal, it also has a negative effect when putting in a plug and it usually takes the socket in with it. So I had to ease in the plug. Second one wouldn't come out. I tried pushing in more to get the socket on better. No luck. I moved on to the next one and it went alright. I went back to the second plug and tried again. Instead of grabbing, it was squishy. My next door neighbor came home and I stole a moment from him. I've seen him tearing engines and transmissions apart. He noticed something that I didn't. The little rubber boot on the end of the spark plug wire came off and was stuck in there and I had no way to get to it. So I put everything back together and drove to Checker Auto Parts. They were also stunned and right before I left they remembered that they sell a oil gasket pick. That did the trick. I removed the airhose and took care of the front two plugs. And then I see that I don't have enough room to reach the last plug with a 10 inch extension. I drove to Lowes and picked up a 6 inch extension which also proved fruitless. I was able to jam it in only so far but not luck (and removal was a pain in the ass.) So, I called it a night. The plugs were in pretty bad condition and I know I need to get the other one out. I have picked up a universal joint for the socket extension and plan to use it shortly. But, the car is running much much better. But, I do know why people are paid for this job: they have the right tools and they take a lot less time to do it without breaking wires.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Give Me Your Tired, Your Weak, Your Hanging Chads

Hard to believe but there are a lot of people out there that believe the Civil Rights movement only got them a lease. I happen to work with one of them -- really nice guy. Sadly, someone has put it into the heads of many African American men and women that there is a deadline coming and that "white America" will decide to not let them keep their voting rights in 2007. My big problem with that is: Wouldn't that upset the 42 black members of the House Of Representatives and 1 black member of the Senate? Wouldn't you hear more outcry from them or the NAACP? Do you think that they would be effective members of Congress if they weren't able to share equal rights with their peers as well as constituents? But, I do think there are a lot of people out there that would like to tell black voters that one party is trying to remove their voice from the public forum. But, I think Chicken Little screaming, "The sky is falling," is more believable. Why? Because, I know a lot of Caucasians that would be right there kicking in doors if civil rights were cast aside. I'd be one of them.

BTW: The NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice both addressed the issue in 1998 and both stated that the 15th amendment prohibits discrimination in voting. It is a basic right, regardless of race, and is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I Think I See Your Problem Here, Keep Your Hands Off That

So I leave the house last night (Tuesday night) to go get food. I came back and my garage door was open (I know I saw it shutting as I left.) My neighbor saw the error and was outside watching to make sure everything was alright and to scare away the one neighbor that walked by the garage a few times looking in. So I shut it the best I could so I could deal with it the next day. Meanwhile the car is losing power and after thinking that it's clogged fuel injectors, I had moved on to changing the spark plugs. So I leave for work this morning...

I drove home on the way back and felt the familiar issues with the car and decided to pick up some plugs for it and other accessories. I get a call when I get back from the garage door company and they say they will come out at 7pm (even though they close at 5pm.) I'm pretty impressed. So, I figure that I have enough time to change the plugs, grab a drink, clean a show or two off my Tivo and then watch the guy fix the garage door. This is not to be. In my attempt to pull one of the plug wires, the metal part that connects to the plug separates from the wire (pushing it back in didn't work.) I then find out my socket extention isn't long enough to reach the spark plug. So I wrapped up everything, cleaned up and waited for the garage door guy. He found out that my problem was the grooves on the sides of the doors that control the wires. The grooves were so worn down that the wires were catching on themselves. Wound up costing me about $100 ($30 service call, $60 parts and $10 tip I felt he deserved for doing overtime.) So, I then think... aha! I have time to run over to Lowes and pick up an extention, drop light and bulb. I do this and get back only to find that I really did screw up pulling that wire out and will probably need a new wire. The car died several times driving over to Lowes so I've decided that I'm going to have to call in sick tomorrow and get this crap figured out because I don't have another way to go about it. Watch me fix the wire issues, put in the new plugs and it winds up being a coil. I think I know why I have other people fix my car: so I don't feel like an idiot when I screw something up and make it worse.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

My Own Hand-Drawn Asylum - Part 2

I may have discarded my comic book collection after high school but the stories always stayed with me. I found myself waiting for animated series for Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Batman, Superman, Justice League and Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law (had to put that one in here because it came out on DVD today.) Yes, the child inside the man...thankfully it's not to the Neverland Ranch extreme. But somewhere along the line, I noticed that it was Robotech (a Japanese anime sci-fi space adventure series) that really made an impression on me. I found myself collecting all 15 or so DVDs. That's when things too a turn. I noticed that the Japanese actually write endings to their shows. People die. These aren't just cartoons... where the Smurfs are always happy, Daphne never gets intimate with Fred and no one ever punishes the cheaters in the Laff-O-Lympics. I noticed that several other series I liked were originally from Japan: Voltron, Transformers and G-Force (a.k.a. - Gatchaman or Battle Of The Planets.) So my investigation into anime began and remains to this day. I actually have well over a couple hundred of the DVDs now and acquire more each week. There are always a few that aren't great but there are some gems out there like Ai Yori Aoshi, Inuyasha, Gundam Seed, Ranma 1/2, Neon Genesis Evangelion and many others. Of course, the market for these series is growing immensely as manga (Japanese comics) are getting snatched up by people interested in a decent story. So yes, I am not only obsessed with knowing all I can about 80's music.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

My Own Hand-Drawn Asylum - Part 1

As some of you may know, I grew up with the sport of tennis on my shoulders. The school bus would drop me off at the courts on weekdays and weekends were spent at the tennis shop where I'd pretty much play matches or find ways to entertain myself. One of my earliest escapes from the mundane was when I woke up as early as I could to catch cartoons. I'd get up as early as they'd start (sometimes sleep in my sleeping bag in the living room so I'd be ready in the morning) which was usually around 6am. I knew just which channels had my Scooby Doo, Johnny Quest, Superfriends, Robotech, Voltron and many others. I also knew just when to turn the channel to avoid watching the Smurfs, Snorks and Littles. During summer vacations we'd usually go on tennis trips (play tournaments in other cities while bringing a bunch of other kids along.) This of course was also a bit of torture but I found ways to pass the time stuck in the car/van/RV by reading comic books. Then again, I think that back then 50 to 75 cents was a cheap way to silence a child for a few hours. Something about the stories sucked me in. I would wind up not eating lunch at junior high school just so I could use the money to walk next door to buy the latest comics. This lasted until close to the end of high school when I looked at the stack and saw "obsession" written all over it. Didn't make diddly squat selling them but it was a need to prove something to myself. Oddly enough, none of my family ever shared those same interests but I do think it helped define my need to escape reality and search for a good story.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

No, That's Not The NFL Draft I Feel

I've decided that one of my next home projects is going to be properly sealing the area around my windows. One of the negative points of having a house that was built in 1983 and customized my the owner as it was being built is I have some weird-ass windows. The one in my bedroom measures 70 1/2 inches wide and 58 inches high and is essentially the old 2 glass windows side by side with one that slides left to open. Most of the windows in my house are this big. Meaning that 2 to 3 average-sized humans could be thrown through it at the same time. Kinda makes you feel vulnerable and is probably why I bought blinds as soon as I could. But, I also notice that they are really drafty (especially with the wind we've been having) and I can hear birds landing and grabbing things in the back yard from my bedroom. My problem with fixing it is three-fold: the standard window insulation might not be enough, the windows may not even open to attempt it and if sealed well might not solve the problem. Thought about getting a specialist in the house to test for air leaks to try to weatherproof the house better also. Oh well, another project on my growing to-do list.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Swallow This

While we still hear about positives of new diet drinks that taste just like the original (praise Splenda) and how large amounts of caffeine can be bad for the body. I tend to lean to diet drinks for the silly notion that I'd rather put calories in my body through food than drink. I also have been told to cut my caffeine for several reasons including a neat little eye twitch that I get here and there (just not as bad as South Park's Tweek.) So I tend to like diet drinks like Diet 7-up, caffeine Free Diet Coke and several other variants. But, I'd like you to look in your local 7-11's, AM/PM's and Stop 'N Slop's (ok, I made that one up but any type of convenience store) and see how many items you can find that don't have calories and caffeine. There are hardly any but usually if there is a demand, there is a market but not if there is one whole shelf dedicated to just Coke or Pepsi. Sales stats have shown that Diet Coke is outselling Coke yet... there are more spots for Coke. Vending machines do the same thing. 3 buttons for the original and one for the diet version. Makes me think that either they don't know their public or that they know what they want the public to consume and are limiting the availability of the options. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Submitted For Your Approval: Game Time

Since we did the link thing yesterday, I figured that it couldn't hurt to put a game up here. It's amazing how hard it gets after the first level. You just need to guide the little blue ball (yes, very funny programmer there) through the white area to the goal without touching the black. They also mention to turn up the volume on this one. Here's the link:

Monday, April 04, 2005

This Is Only A Test

Found an interesting test called the Monday test and it's actually Monday so, why not give it a go. Monday Test

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Las Vegas May Not Be As Sinful After All

Having never read Frank Miller's graphic novels, I went into the new film Sin City only seeing the trailers and some behind-the-scenes extras on a DVD at Best Buy. The cinematography is sharp, crisp and stands out from the use of black and white film (with hints of color at appropriate times.) If anything, the way the flashes of color pull your eyes across the screen really makes you feel you are being coerced into the stories. Black and white seems to befit a Sin City world full of grays. The film also utilizes narration in ways that I have yet to see on screen where even the narrator shifts from one character to another in one sequence. The acting was strong for this film although I do think that Michael Madsen could have sounded less stiff (as if he were reading a teleprompter.) Major kudos for Mickey Rourke's portrayal of Marv. Beautiful women (Alba, Gugino, Dawson, King, Murphey and many more) abound in the film with tons of imperfect men. This is a genre-busting film that firmly portrays the underbelly of civilized man. Not a film for the dainty, as this could definitely be filed as a horror film (the dead bodies become difficult to count) with sharp wit, well-directed action sequences and touching moments. For the first time in my life, I'm upset that I didn't go right back in to see the movie again.

Not a date movie but this is a hardcore adult rollercoaster waiting to happen. Posted by Hello