Saturday, July 31, 2004

Saturday Mornings 

Saturday mornings are neat (unless you have to work). I guess I like Saturday mornings so much because I'm obsessed with reliving the past. For a kid, Saturday mornings are the best: No school or church, sleep in, eat a big breakfast, plus the whole weekend is still to go. And of course those Looney Tunes cartoons. Now, Saturdays are a break from the grind of work and life's other pressures (this my lame excuse for not blogging all week).

Sadly, the major networks don't play the cartoon classics anymore. You have to turn to Cartoon Network at 7am to see them, and the only thing I'm watching at that hour is the insides of my eyelids. I'm glad I got the Looney Tunes Golden Collection on DVD.

Yes, I still watch cartoons. Sue me.

In honor of carefree Saturday mornings of the past and present, here are the rules , courtesy of Wikipedia, that were followed in the production of Road Runner-Wile E. Coyote cartoons:


1. The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going "Beep-beep!"

2. No outside force can harm the Coyote - only his own ineptitude or the failure of the Acme products.

3. The Coyote could stop any time - if he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: "A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim." - George Santayana)

4. No dialogue ever, except "Beep - beep!"

5. The Road Runner must stay on the road - otherwise, logically, he would not be called Road Runner.

6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters - the southwest American desert.

7. All materials, tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.

8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy.

9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.



A few of the rules were later broken, but the most of the time the cartoons stuck to this simple comedic formula. I hope everyone gets the chance to enjoy a lazy Summer weekend.


Monday, July 26, 2004

Shoot the Troubleshooting 

I've been keeping myself busy the past few days. Nothing new there, right? I put the blog toward the back of my To-Do-List, and it turned out laundry can take a real long time. Oh well.

I wanted to post a few pictures I took with my new digital camera phone attachment (see the post below), but of course I couldn't get the damn thing to work. I took a test photo when I first got the camera, and it was fine. All the picture I took since then refuse to upload into my Sprint PCS picture album. Naturally, the first place I tried to find help was on their site. No luck, their Help section didn't include troubleshooting for individual camera types. Damn.

I knew my next option was that I had to check the instruction manual. I hate reading troubleshooting sections of instruction manuals because they always assume the user has some form of brain damage. Most troubleshooting sections consist of :


Problem: Power does not seem to be working.
Solution: Check that the machine is on.


Of course, my manual contained a variation of this "help." I know that 90% of the time the problem is indeed that the stupid thing is turned off, but to list "turn it on" as a troubleshooting solution is just plain insulting. To add insult to insult, the camera manual didn't list any other troubleshooting solution, or even a website or phone number to get more help. (Insert colorful swearing here).

F-ing Sprint. F-ing technicians that are too lazy to write real troubleshooting solutions. Lucky for Sprint, I finally got the damn thing to upload my photos, but I had to stand outside my apartment to get a strong enough signal to do it.

Sprint, can you see me now???

Back to the Center 

Back on Tuesday, I started work later that day, so I had the morning free. When my schedule was less busy (as in no job) I would got volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center on Tuesdays. It had been a few months since I had last been up there, so I decided to go for a few hours.

OK, so why do I bother to drive around an hour out of my way so that I can do physical labor on my time off? The people there are nice, it feels good to help out,
and working there helps me get my marine bio fix, since it was my major in college. It may yet open doors on a future paid position. Perhaps my favorite reason to do it is to see the look on people's faces when I tell them that I go into an enclosed pen with a group of seals to clean or feed them, armed with only a wooden board with handles.

Yes, I'm nuts.

I don't care. It's fun, and I haven't been bitten yet.

I was planning on taking some pics of our "guests" with my new mini-digital camera, but I didn't remember the camera until I was heading out. If you must have a seal/sea lion fix, veteran Tuesday Day crew member Stan has a bunch of photos to see. At least I got some photos of the Marin Headlands, where the Center is located. Another perk of volunteering.


Taken on the road to the Center, looking South. Posted by Hello

This photo is looking over a nice lagoon nearby, looking toward the old Nike Missile base (it's actually over the next hill). The site is pretty cool, although I admit I need to check it out myself. It's supposed to be the only historic site in the US relating to the Cold War (I could be wrong). Actually, The Marine Mammal Center site is built on a similar missile site, and we store our extra boots and slickers in one of the missile silos (neat!).



Looking West Toward Rodeo Beach. Posted by Hello

Rodeo Beach is actually a pretty nice beach, but it's too chilly on an overcast day like this one.



Another photo of the beach. Posted by Hello

I like the Headlands. Deer run around wherever they want, the terrain is spectacular, and because it's all former military land, there are all sorts of historic looking old buildings scattered around. I hope I can fit going there more often into my work schedule.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Ouch 

The good, decent, environmentally conscious side of me is saddened by this story, but the evil, sadistic side of me thinks it's kind of funny: Pelicans mistake Arizona asphalt for lakes.


"They try to land on the water, but it's asphalt and it's 'Bam! That doesn't feel so good,"' said Sandy Cate, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's wildlife center at Adobe Mountain in north Phoenix.

During the past two weeks, the injured pelicans have been found from Yuma to Phoenix, the department said Thursday.


Fortunately, no pelicans were reported dead from this mishap.


Monday, July 19, 2004

Proof Office Life Is Evil 

Since I work in a lab job, I don't spend as much time in an office environment as most people. I still got a chuckle out of this Wall Street Journal article.


"It was a sad reminder that I should never again attempt to garden at the office," she says, recalling that colleagues had warned her that "nothing can grow in this lifeless government agency."

But Ms. Virgil should take heart: Not much, it seems, can grow in nongovernmental agencies either. As one of mankind's most synthetic creations, the workplace is anathema to nature -- with the exception, of course, of the vermin and predatory colleagues that thrive there.



Naturally, my mind goes back to the office in the movie Joe vs. The Volcano, where Tom Hanks' character must work in an office where all personal expression and joy is ruthlessly and efficiently crushed.

My advice is to keep at it. The other day I found a houseplant that I left out on the balcony. I had basically left it for dead, but it was barely alive. I'm glad this tough plant lived through my last job, when I was to distracted to worry about mundane things like watering plants. I guess all this corny rambling is basically about not giving up when life sucks, because people and plants are tougher than we realize.


Sunday, July 18, 2004

Assault with a Gator 

Odd news of the day, from the very shallow end of the gene pool:

PORT ORANGE, Fla. (AP) - A man hit his girlfriend with a 3-foot alligator and threw beer bottles at her during an argument in the couple's mobile home, authorities said.

Why attempt the same of type of demestic violence? Do something creative. Hey, he made the papers. She should get to hit him back with the gator.


Saturday, July 17, 2004

British Open: A to Z 

For you golf aficionados out there, here is a humorous A to Z guide for Yanks attending the British Open.

This Land 

This is the funniest thing I've seen all week. An animated version of
the song This Land Was Made For You and Me, sung by Bush and Kerry.
Click on the link above, it's definitely worth it.


Hat Tip: Jeff Jarvis.

Update: The creator of the bit is JibJab Media, and they have a few older clips if you're interested. They say in their blog that they would like a major studio to take notice. It would be neat if the clip lead to a permanent job for them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Up in Smoke 

Okay, for the most part I tend to ignore blatantly stupid stories. I give up, I need to vent on this one: The city councils of Santa Cruz and nearby Capitola are considering banning smoking on beaches. They would be the first cities on Northern California with such a ban, but several LA area cities already have bans in place.

I can understand the logic. Secondhand smoke is nasty, nasty stuff. If you're out somewhere and someone is blowing smoke in your face, that is unacceptable. However only in California would people more concerned about secondhand smoke in the beach than the smog or water quality there. Oh sure, drive to the beach in your gas-guzzling SUV, put more smog into the air, but if a person lights up down the beach it's time to get righteous. It's almost enough to make me actually feel sorry for smokers. But tobacco companies can still rot in hell.

Yes, even with all the fruits and nuts in Cali, I still can't think of living anywhere else. Our Governor can beat up your Governor.

Enough ranting for tonight. I feel better now.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Whoops 

Who needs terrorists to disrupt the Olympics? Yesterday, a month beofre the Summer Games, Athens and Southern Greece suffered a power outage. This is on top of all the delays in construction of the Olympic venues. The last Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City 2002, had clouds of terrorist threats and corruption floating over the games, but everything went great there. Hope the same thing happens this time around in Athens.

The Dismantling Continues 

So now Shaq is about to be shipped off to Miami. Kobe is seriously considering the LA Clippers. And Laker fans everywhere want their old team back. I still haven't stopped missing the Showtime Lakers of the 80s. Nothing ever stay the same, I guess. Kobe wearing a Clipper jersey is a sign of the impending Apocalypse, so stock up on groceries.

Daily Pamplona Body Count 

Today, eight people got gored in The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona today, including one guy impaled five times! I still say I'd rather be up in the balcony watching it all. Women may prefer brave men, but you can't do much in a hospital bed.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Seeing Orange 


AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh Posted by Hello

Qualifying for a NASCAR Busch race can be tough enough. It doesn't help when a giant inflatable orange rolls onto the racetrack during your qualifying run. It happened to driver Todd Szegedy on Friday.


"I used to like orange juice. Now it almost killed me," Szegedy joked afterward. "I don't even live in Florida."


The orange belongs to orange juice producer Tropicana, the main sponsor for this weekends NASCAR races at Chicagoland Speedway. I don't think even a NASCAR driver could get a car insurance policy to cover runaway inflatable oranges, but I guess it's possible.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Running of the Bulls 


Photo by Vincent West/Reuters Posted by Hello

If you're having a tough day, try not to worry. You're still probably better off than these two guys.

I think the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain is neat. Every year I get to watch people with nothing better to do run for their lives. This year even Dennis Rodman is participating (I guess he went too long without his name in the news).

Even if outrunning bulls isn't my idea of fun, I would still love to follow in the steps of Hemingway and take in the annual festival. The festival I really want to participate in is La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain. This is the festival where townspeople and visitors throw around 90,000 pounds of tomatoes at each other. Don't wear your best clothes.


from Spanishunlimited.com Posted by Hello

Spaniards know how to throw a good party.


No Coach K in LA, Rudy T instead 

A couple days after Duke Mens' Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski turned down the LA Lakers job, it looks like former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich will be offered the position.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Short Hiatus 

I'm taking a couple days off. Tomorrow, I got back to my mom's in Fresno to get her old car, and my new car. Hope nothing interesting happens between now and them, since I will be blogless. Happy Fourth of July, and don't blow off any fingers this holiday.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Meanwhile, 2.2 Billion Miles Away 


Courtesy of NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website Posted by Hello

Astronerds rejoice! The Cassini Spacecraft, which NASA launched in 1997, has successfully entered orbit around Saturn (the planet, not my car) and has sent back some mind-blowing pics:



...In one striking blowup, Porco pointed out what almost looks like straw, clumps of material within Saturn’s A Ring. “I don’t know what this is…I literally don’t have a clue.”

“The beauty and clarity of these images…they are shocking to me,” Porco said. “We are seeing structure, literally, that we’ve never imaged before.”




We still have so much to discover, whether it is our solar system, or deep in our own oceans. I hope to see a lot more discoveries in my lifetime.

Coach K to the Lakers? 

There has been plenty of media hype surrounding the possibility of Duke Mens' Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski filling the LA Lakers coaching vacancy. Nobody ever says being a Laker fan is boring. There's Kobe's legal issues, Shaq wants to leave, Karl Malone may or may not retire, and now no Phil Jackson to hold everything together. It's been a tough month for Laker fans. My take on Coach K is that he should probably stay put. Very few coaches have successfully made the transition from NCAA to NBA, and I see Krzyzewski's biggest talents wasted in the pro game. He is best at molding young kids into mature basketball players and men, and I'm pessimistic that NBA youngsters will listen and be patient with him. However, I don't blame him if he wants to try. He may feel he's accomplished everything he can at Duke, and the extra money sure won't hurt.

Expect the Lakers to stay at the top of the sports pages through the whole off-season.