Monday, June 28, 2004

Bloghopping 

This weekend, I finally managed to catch up with everything I need to do. Well, actually, not really, but getting through the most urgent parts of my to-do-list is probably as close as I get. Finally, time to go exploring. I decided to do some bloghopping. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the first to come up with the term bloghopping. Dammit, why are all the good ideas always taken?

It’s interesting to use the blog search engines. Sites like Technorati, Weblogs.com, and Blo.gs. A lot of interesting stuff out there. All you have to do is check the “Most Recently Updated” list or enter a keyword. Or check out the blogroll of a favorite site; I find that's the best way. If you do a keyword search, most of the blogs that come up haven’t been updated for a couple months. It’s too bad, because many of them start off really well for a couple of posts, then all of a sudden come to an abrupt stop. Oh well.

I finally managed to check out a couple of friends’ blogs, and ended up with a case of blog envy (nice job, Bill). Of course, everything is relative. I have plenty of chances to make the blog I want. A common blogger cliche is “It’s been a while since I posted….” I read one blog who said as much, with less than a 48 hour gap between posts. I’ve also read the same thing on several other weblogs, but the time between posts is months, not hours. I start to feel guilty and disconnected after a couple of days myself. Different strokes for different folks. Take some time to surf through a favorite blogger’s blogroll, and see what’s just around the bend.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Vice-Presidential Robot 

Weekends are a time to run errands and take care of mundane business. Certainly high among these necessary tasks is grocery shopping. Perhaps one of the more difficult parts of the grocery shopping experience is waiting in the check-out line. Because of this, all of us should be thankful that supermarket tabloids are there for use to scan while we wait for the man ahead of us to pay for his asparagus.

Indeed, I was reminded of this today as I waited in line to pay for my purchases. I was lucky enough to have a copy of the Weekly World News within eyesight, and the headline alone made my time waiting in line time well spent:

Dick Cheney is A Robot!

This could explain his cursing at a Senate Democrat earlier this week. It was just a programming glitch.

One more thing: Friends don't let friends buy tabloids.

Leaving Alpaugh 


Mark Crosse/The Fresno Bee Posted by Hello

An engrossing, albeit lengthy, article about how a reverse migration of Dust Bowl era descendants from a poor San Joaquin Valley farm town, out of California and back to Arkansas has been accelerating the past few years. This time, not dust storms but methamphetamine is the force driving people to leave.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Britney: Stepmom? 

Britney Spears once again proves that she’s going to make for a ridiculously funny future episode of Behind the Music. Today, her record label announced she's engaged to dancer Kevin Federline. This makes one and a half marriages for Britney, who in January annulled a 55-hour marriage with childhood friend Jason Alexander. Too bad for her that the official slogan of Vegas, “What happens here, stays here” didn’t apply to her then.

Her hubby-to-be Federline has an interesting past himself. His ex-girlfriend is actress Shar Jackson from the TV show Moesha. The two have a two-year-old daughter, and Shar is expecting to have Federline’s second child in July. At least she isn’t bitter:



The gracious Jackson has been quoted as declaring Federline and Spears are "made for each other."
"You both smoke, you both drink and you both cheated on significant others after three years," Jackson told Us Weekly in April, apparently referencing herself and Spears' former beau, Justin Timberlake.
Jackson issued just one ultimatum to the twosome: "There are two little kids--she [Spears] better be prepared to babysit."




There’s nothing like watching an impending train wreck. Get the diapers and the prenup ready.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

D'Oh! 

Today I learned just how out of it I’ve been the last couple weeks. Between the car, my head cold (or whatever the hell it was) and the new job, I didn't realize the Simpsons Fourth Season DVD was already out. A trip to Amazon took care of that problem tonight. This is one of the best seasons, most notable for its musical numbers…c’mon, you all remember the Monorail song.


...But Main Street's still all cracked and broken!
Sorry Mom, the mob has spoken!
Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!



It takes an obsessed Simpsons fan, someone who can recite Simpsons dialogue in their head while working, to understand.

Also, Looney Tunes fans will be happy to note that Warner Brother released a DVD set of 56 cartoons from the 40’s and 50’s. This set is focused heavily on Bugs Bunny, but a second set with more Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote is said to be coming out shortly.

Beware of falling anvils and Acme mail-order products.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

A View From the Eye of the Storm 

Here is a damn good piece on many of the reasons the Middle East is such a mess right now, what makes this current conflict unique from major conflicts of the past, and some suggested solutions how to bring the War on Terror to a close. A few highlights:


...A few more years may pass before everybody acknowledges that it is a World War, but we are already well into it....

...What is behind the suicide murders? Money, power and cold-blooded murderous incitement, nothing else. It has nothing to do with true fanatic religious beliefs. No Moslem preacher has ever blown himself up. No son of an Arab politician or religious leader has ever blown himself.

No relative of anyone influential has done it. Wouldn't you expect some of the religious leaders to do it themselves, or to talk their sons into doing it, if this is truly a supreme act of religious fervor? Aren't they interested in the benefits of going to Heaven? Instead, they send outcast women, naive children, retarded people and young incited hotheads. They promise them the delights, mostly sexual, of the next world, and pay their families handsomely after the supreme act is performed and enough innocent people are dead...



The article lists the speaker as Haim Harari, an Israeli professor. USS Clueless, which hosts the article, tried to verify that Harari was the author. Whoever wrote it aside, if you have any interest in the current wider conflict of radial Islam vs Western Civilizationion, go read the whole thing.

Hat Tip: Accidental Verbosity



Saturday, June 19, 2004

Farewell Car 

I just came back from signing the papers turning my car over to Triple AAA. It turns out that whoever stole my car a couple weeks back drove the car into the ground, so the insurance is going to total it and give $1500. Since my mom was in the market for a new car anyway, I get her old car when she gets the new one. I'm more depressed now than I was when I first leaned that it was stolen. After hearing it was found, neither chopped up nor burned, I was expecting to be cruising around in my Saturn again after a few weeks. Having my car stolen, then found, then totaled has exhausted me. At least it's over now.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Quiz Time, If You Can Remeber 

It's been a few days since I blogged. Work and trying to get my car fixed has decimated my free time, so here is a cheater posting: A ripoff from Michele at A Small Victory, who in turn got it from Joe at The Short Strange Trip (gotta love the Web). As Monty Python used to say, this one is a bit of a poser. Of course, I'm such a complete geek that I remember all these events pretty clearly:

1. Where were you when you heard that Ronald Reagan died?

Back at my mom's in Fresno. I was back to get her to sign papers so I could get the car released from the police. When I hooked up my laptop, the Yahoo! page popped up with the headline. Right away I knew the country would grind to a halt, and we would get endless round-the-clock coverage.


2. Where were you on September 11, 2001?

Asleep. At least I was until 6:20am or so (I saved my cell phone bill that lists the calls of that day). I was working grave shift at the time, and I decided a few days before to take off Sunday night and Monday night. At work we got a couple days a quarter to take off, but it was use them or lose them. I had all my days saved up, so I decided to take a mini-vacation.

The previous day, the 10th, I played Tourist-for-a-Day in San Francisco, something I hadn't done since I moved to the Bay Area. It couldn't have one better, except I didn't realize the Exploritorium was closed on Mondays. While climbing the steps to Coit Tower, I stopped to take a picture for a Japanese couple presumably on vacation. The funny thing was that as I walked west, I bumped into them a couple more times as they went about their own day. After the fact, I wonder how it must have been terrifying for them the next day: They were stuck in the USA with little knowledge of English, unsure if San Francisco would be next and they would be caught up in it.

On the 11th, I planned on sleeping in, getting laundry done, and do some basic housekeeping. When my cell phone ringed, I immediately knew two things were wrong, it was my friend Sami and it was 6:20 in the morning. Bad News, it had to be bad news. After saying hello, I managed a smart-assed remark along the lines of "Has the President been shot?" I was told to turn on the TV.

I managed to break the news to a couple people that day: my mom and my college friend Yvette. Yvette got to start a day with a message from me telling her to be extremely careful at work in light of the day's events, since she worked near LAX. She would tell me later that was the most surreal wakeup call she ever got.

After being emotionally paralyzed in from of the TV for hours, I decided I needed to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to get up and not be beaten down by it all. In the end, the laundry got done. Small potatoes, but it was my beginning contribution to the Global War on Terror. In the evening, I drove to Ocean Beach on the west side of San Francisco. There were definitely more people there than usual, pretty much doing what I was doing: staring out at the Pacific wondering how the hell could today have happened.


3. Where were you when you heard that Princess Diana died?

Visiting another college friend, Alex, in Long Beach near LA. I was staying with him and his family a few days, and we just returned from watching a college volleyball match. When we walked into the house, I was wondering why Sky News was on the TV.


4. Do you remember where you were when you heard Kurt Cobain had died?

Interesting one. I was in a high school volunteer club meeting hanging out with a friend who I happened to have a mad crush on. Someone came up and told us Kurt Cobain died. Me and her had the exact same reaction "Who is that?" "The lead singer of Nirvana." "Ohhhh."


5. Take one for The Gipper: WhatÂ’s your favorite flavor of jelly bean?

Black. Just because everyone I know hates them, Heh Heh.


6. Where were you when Magic Johnson announced he was retiring from the NBA due to AIDS?

At home watching the news. That happened to be another day I played hookey, this time from high school after being sick the day before. I'm beginning to think I shound avoid the news when I take days off.


7. Where were you when Reagan was shot?

I was in kindergarten (I think). The only thing I remember was thinking: "That doesn't look like someone got shot to me."


8.Where were you when the Challenger exploded?

In elementary school, watching with the rest of my class on TV.


9. Where were you when the 0J verdict was announced?

In a chemistry lab at Fresno City College. The instructor asked us if we wanted to know, then said "Not Guilty." I didn't completely trust that news until I saw it at home.



I'll add one of my own, at the risk ov ODing on OJ. It was 10 years ago tonight that OJ Simpson's Bronco Chase changed the way news is broadcast (for the FAR worse in my opinion, and I suspect many others' opinions as well).


10. Where were you when the OJ led the police on a slow speed LA freeway chase?

I was NOT watching OJ, I was at a high school graduation party. A couple of us wanted to watch the NBA Finals game on, but they shoved the game into a tiny corner of the screen. We ignored that part of the screen, and watched the game as best as we could. I still think it was the right choice.


Does any of this bring back memories???



Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Lakers Go Out Quietly 

It's hot here in the Bay Area, I'm still sick, and the Lakers were just soundly defeated by the new NBA Champion Detroit Pistons. Congratulations to what was obviously the better team. Oh well, enough depressing news, I need some rest.

Ya-hooo! 

Finally, the free market works in MY favor for once. Today Yahoo expanded the email storage space on free accounts from 4MB to 100MB. Yahoo users can thank the new Google Gmail service for pushing Yahoo into giving its users more storage.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Allergies Suck! 

I hate allergies. The grass pollen in the Bay Area the past couple days has been miserable. I'll blog something substantive once my head unstuffs itself. Curse you infernal pollen!

Friday, June 11, 2004

A Final Farewell..and Election Year Politics 


Highway 101 in Camarillo, CA at a Standstill for the Reagan Procession (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta) Posted by Hello



I'm not a Republican but I have to admit the entire week of the Reagan remembrance has been amazing. Today, I missed the ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral, but I was able to witness the casket returning to California, and the final ceremony at the Reagan Presidential Library. The images of the final procession from Point Mugu to nearby Simi Valley were amazing, roadways lined with applauding crowds and a busy Southern California freeway came to a stop.

The sunset burial ceremony was staged as well as any Golden Age Hollywood movie, with the hero saying goodbye as the sun went down. And it would be hard for anyone, regardless of political affiliation, and not feel for Nancy Reagan during the ceremony.

I thought each of Reagan's children gave a good speech, but Ron Reagan Jr.'s will be the one speech most talked about. Ron Jr. talked about his father's faith, then said that while his father lived after being shot, Reagan believed that it was God keeping him alive so that he could continue to do good, but he believed that it was a responsibility, not a mandate, and there is a difference.

That sounded like a swipe at the current resident of the White House. It wouldn't be a suprise, considering that a few years ago Ron Jr. said "My father crapped bigger ones than George Bush."

Along the lines of potential tension between the Reagan and Bush camps, John Hoke points out a story in Capital Hill Blue: Republicans Upset Over Bush Plan to Use Reagan Images, Speeches in Campaign Ads. Personally, I think running ads featuring Reagan so soon is a good way to drive Bush's poll numbers down even farther, since Bush pales in comparison to the adulation the Gipper gets. We'll see if the ads run.






Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ray Charles: 1930-2004 

The world got a little less soulful today with the passing of Ray Charles. Forget trying to put him into a music genre:

"When I started out I tried to imitate Nat Cole because I loved him so much," Mr. Charles said. "But then I woke up one morning and I said, `People tell me all the time that I sound like Nat Cole, but wait a minute, they don't even know my name.' As scared as I was — because I got jobs sounding like Nat Cole — I just said, `Well, I've got to change because nobody knows who I am.' And my Mom taught me one thing, `Be yourself, boy.' And that's the premise I went on."

He had an often troubled personal life, but he was still one of the greatest. Rest in Peace.


You know you may be a centrist if... 

..you receive junk mail from the ACLU and Republican National Committee in the same week. I find it kind of reassuring, actually. I enjoy shredding something from each side of the political divide.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

LA 'on the road to Falluja'? 

A depressing BBC article describing the potential future for LA's most notorious gang neighborhoods:

Civil rights lawyer Connie Rice warns that with too few officers to "police humanely", parts of the city may as well be in Falluja.

I hope not, I fear otherwise.


Sunday, June 06, 2004

Who are YOU going to vote against? 

As usual, The Onion hits one out of the park. Their latest story is the best description of the American electorate's current mood I've seen so far:


WASHINGTON, DC—According to Gallup Poll results released Monday, 6 percent of Americans are still undecided about whether to vote against President Bush or Democratic challenger John Kerry in November's presidential election.


Funny stuff. I know who I'm going to vote against. It would be nice to have someone to vote FOR. Who needs satire, this is the way it really is!

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Rest in Peace, Gipper 

While I lean Democrat, and wasn't his biggest fan, today is the day where everyone should pay respect to Ronald Reagan, who passed away today. My favorite Reagan moment involved a microphone left on when it shouldn't have. The President was testing out the mike before a weekly radio address and jokingly said the following:

My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

Priceless! Too bad some buffoon left the mike on and he got in trouble for it. Political differences aside, I think we all can agree that he was a great communicator. May God bless his family during this time.


UPDATE: I'm in Fresno, visiting my mom. I'm on the computer while she has all the Reagan coverage on. I know he's been ill for a long time, but I still find it creepy how all the networks had their Reagan memorials already done.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Catsup, Ketchup,.....no Catch Up 

No, this isn't a John Kerry post. I have so much to catch up on. I know I said that since I started an 8 to 5 job that I would have more time to post, for at least for this week it hasn't been that way. Still exhaust from learning the new position, and getting used to a daytime schedule again. A lot has happened since I've been silent, so here's what's been up:

1.) The car: A couple of days ago I received word that my trusty Saturn had tried of exploring and decided to stop a few miles away from my apartment. I guess those who decided to take my car on its joyride didn't like the fact the oil was low. Heehee! I guess there is an advantage to not taking as good of care of the car as I could. I do intend to get the car a good service though. Kind of a welcome back present.

2.) Hockey: I'm missed some of the Stanley Cup Finals games, but I was able to catch Calgary's most recent win over Tampa Bay. As for my Sharks, I'm disappointed that they didn't make the Finals, but I have a sense along the lines of "They had a great season, and they did well in the playoffs." Any sports fan knows what that really means is "They overacheved, and weren't quite ready for the Finals yet." However I know that Ron Wilson will have his team hungry and ready for next year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them skate the Cup next year. In the meantime, Go Flames! It would be neat to see a team from the Great White North take the Stanley Cup home.

3.) Hoops: Wow, the upcoming NBA Finals series looks to be a great series. The New Showtime Lakers featuring four Hall of Fame players and a Hall of Fame coach versus the New Bad Boys AKA the Detroit Pistons. It looks to be an all-out war, but my opinion is the Lakers will win in six games. However it turns out, Laker fans should enjoy this series. It seems highly unlikely we will see all the major pieces of this Laker team back next year.

4.) The Blog: Yes, I have changed the look of the blog from the original template. I couldn't stand the font on the original look, and I wanted to try out my limited HTML knowledge. But beware, a little HTML knowhow is a dangerous thing, and I will likely tweak the site in the future. Also, I plan on expanding the list of links on the right side of the page. I'll add to the categories, and I plan on adding new categories as well.


5.) Work: The new 8 to 5 job went well the first week. The company is Anosys, and they're basically attempting to make a cancer vaccine. I would go into greater detail, but my lack of knowledge and any proprietary issues get in the way. There are less than 50 people in the entire company, and about a dozen of them are in France, merci. While the work hours make it tough to do other interests, I still prefer this over my former grave schedule.


There are many more things to comment on, but I have a whole list of things to read and catch up on. Much more soon, as I get used to the new schedule.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

A pointless post at 12:30pm...... 

.....just because I can. It's nice to be off grave shift and back among the world of the living. More to come....