Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Even After I Cheated 

You are a

Social Liberal
(60% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(31% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

I know a few people who have already taken the quiz, and many of them think it tends to skew Democrat. I always though of myself as left-of center (a little close to the middle of the graph than the quiz has me. It seems like it might be a bit more accurate if there was a "neither" option on the questions.

When forced to choose, I go Democrat; but with the state of both parties right now, I don't feel good being associated with either one.

Via Caltechgirl, Bill, Helen , and virtually everyone else.

The Amazing Race: Season 8 

There are only two TV shows that I actually schedule into my week, as opposed to just happen to watch (sports don’t count): 24 and The Amazing Race.

Tonight was the premier of TAR: Season 8, the family edition. Instead of teams of two as in past seasons, there are teams of four competing. Some of the teams include teenagers and elementary school-aged kids. This is either going to be very interesting or a complete bust.

Here are this year's teams, and an idea lovingly ripped off from the best TAR recapper Jen: my own snarky nicknames:

The Gaghan Family aka Team Marathon: Bill: age 40; Tammy, 42; Billy, 12; and Carissa, 9. This team is a bit cringe-inducing, what with watching young Carissa compete with all the grown-ups. As a family, they run marathons, Carissa included. I'm glad she's in shape (most kids her age aren't), but I'm not jumping for joy that her parents have her compete in long-distance running. Still though, they're tougher as a team than you may think, and for the most part they worked well together on this first episode.

The Paulo Family aka Team New Yawk. Tony, 52; Marion, 52; DJ, 24; Brian, 16. Ho boy, is this going to be an interesting team. While I've read a few people have been put off by their spirited conversations, I was eating it up. I don't think they're as annoying as some people think; they're just relating to each other in stereotypical New York fashion. I'd actually like to see them stick around for awhile.

The Black Family aka Team Awkward Surname. Reggie, 42; Kimberley, 40; Kenneth, 11; Austin, 8. Another cringe-inducing family, for a couple of reasons: Two young kids and a surname that matches their skin color. During the show, when "Black Family" was said, it sounded more like a description than a name. I just loved how encouraging the dad was to his two boys. Unfortunately, they had trouble the whole time keeping up with the other teams.

The Bransen Family aka Team Shampoo. A father: Walter, 51; plus his three daughters: Elizabeth, 25; Lauren, 22; and Lindsay, 20. According to their TAR bio, the four appeared in a Prell shampoo ad together. Not exactly your average family, but hey, it's reality TV people. They didn't leave much of an impression on me either way.

The Weaver Family aka Team Nascar. Linda, 46; and her three children: Rebecca, 19; Rachel, 16; and Rolly, 14. This is the tragic team of the Race. Linda's husband worked at Daytona International Speedway, and he died in an accident there. This team is devout Christian, which they frequently allude to. Unfortunately for them, they often seemed flustered and unsure of themselves. They can be uncomfortable to watch, and they may not last too long.

The Godlewski Family aka Team Doublemint Twins Squared. A team of four sisters: Michelle, 42; Sharon, 39; Christine 37, Tricia, 26. Ugh! This is the most annoying team of the Race. Appropriately, they saunter around most of the time in matching pink shirts, giggling at anything and everything. I've never been a fan of airhead blondes, and I can't wait to see them go.

The Schroeder Family aka Team Stepfamily. Mark, 40; Char, 39; Stassi, 17; Hunter 15. The kids are Mark's, he since remarried to Char. This team has all the underling tension that you might expect from a stepfamily. This is a good candidate for the first Major Meltdown of the season.

The Linz Family aka Team Abercrombie. Four siblings: Tommy, 19; Megan, 21; Alex, 22; Nick, 24. I'm undecided on how I feel about this team. One moment, they're obnoxious, another moment they can be quite funny. Either they will grow on me, as the Team Brothers did last season, or I won't be able to stand them. We'll see.

The Rodgers Family aka Team Bayou. Denny, 46; Renee, 42; Britney, 22; and Brock, 19. One of two teams from Louisiana (they're from Shreveport; Team Stepfamily is from New Orleans). Since the show was filmed before Katrina, it's a strange coincidence that two of the ten teams are from that state. I'm sure both teams will get a lot of sympathy support from viewers. What is it with twentysomething Britneys and the state of Louisiana? Plus she's a former Miss LA to boot. Not coincidentally, she seemed to have a great deal of camera time. They seem OK.

The Aello Family aka Team In-Laws. Tony, 57; and his sons-in-law: Kevin, 31; Matt, 31; and David, 27. Not only is this my favorite team of Season 8, they're the likely favorites to win the Race. Since they are from Massachusetts, I can only dream that Team In-Laws and Team New Yawk both make the final group. World Series, my butt!

Here's a quick recap of the two-hour first episode. Credit to the official CBS TAR website for filling in the gaps in my memory:

* The ten teams stated off in New York City, near New York harbor. Team Bayou managed to trip (literally) out of the starting gate, as Mother and Son took a spill.

* The first clue sent the teams off to Eastern Mountain Sports in SoHo to get outfitted. It was embarrassing how many teams immediately got lost and had no clue where SoHo was. I know NYC may be the toughest city in the US to drive in, but it's the one city you know you're going to travel around in. A little pre-race map studying would have helped. Worst was Team New Yawk, who managed to get lost in Manhattan. The stress of a Race will get you lost anywhere.

* After getting outfitted at EMS, the next clue directed teams to a hot dog stand on East 91st Street. Manning this stand: Kevin & Drew from Season 1. I didn't realize it since I only got into TAR a few years ago. Oh well.

* The next clue directed Teams to Washington Crossing Historic Park, as in "Washington Crossing the Delaware." After getting their clue Team Nascar spend time wondering if they should go to Pennsylvania the state or Pennsylvania Street somewhere in New York City. Someone wasn't paying attention in history class.

* On the way out of town, Team In-Laws couldn't pass Yankee Stadium without giving it raspberries and breaking into chants of "Yankees Suck!" This immediately sealed their place as my favorite team for this season.

* Once at the Park, teams had to row a boat (complete with a George Washington look-alike) across the Delaware River, retrieve a colonial-era US flag, then row back for a flag-folding ceremony. The kids were lucky; if only my history classes could ever be this cool.

* Once the flag ceremony was over, it was off to Philly, where the teams pitched their tents in a park, and claimed departure times for the next morning, based on the order of their arrival.

* The next morning, it's pouring rain! All the waterlogged teams head out to a farm near Mount Joy, PA. We’re in Amish Country now. Once there, we see the first Detour of the season: Build It or Buggy It.

For Build It, teams have to build a working watermill. For Buggy It, teams have to move an Amish buggy a mile and a half, while two team members are riding inside. Not only was it 1 1/2 miles, but it was hilly as well. It soon became obvious the Build It was the far better option.

Team Nascar was one of the teams that initially chose Buggy It, and they underestimated a downhill slope, losing control and spilling Mom out. I was having flashbacks to last season, when Team Brothers flipped their car in Africa. Fortunately, Mom was all right, and most of the teams ultimately (and wisely) chose Build It.

* Once finished with the Detour, the teams were off to the Pit Stop in nearby Lancaster. Team Doublement Twins Square came in first (ugh!), and received a prize of $20,000 (bleegh!). Sadly, last to arrive were the Black Family aka Team Awkward Surname. The boys were crushed, and it was quite sad.

* Next week: A trip to a Civil War battlefield (Gettysburg??), and Team Shampoo Dad appears to have some kind of heart problem. Yikes!

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Just testing the option to post via my cell phones
e-mail function. Nothing to see here.

Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005

Those Pictures I Promised 

OK, so a week later, here are the pictures of the LA trip I took two weeks ago:

First up, picture from the Dodger game versus San Diego, attended by Bill, Caltechgirl, GMT, Sandro, Naim and myself, among others.

The "Dodgerwood" sign behind Dodger Stadium.Posted by Picasa

Dodger Stadium.Posted by Picasa

A stadium-long mural featuring some of the current roster.Posted by Picasa

The stadium scoreboard.Posted by Picasa

The Dodger scoreboard could use spellcheck, heehee.Posted by Picasa

A solidly hit ball.Posted by Picasa

A view of the outfield.Posted by Picasa

After the baseball game, Bill, Sandro and I headed down to the Home DepotCenter in nearby Carson to watch the Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy take on Colorado.

Galaxians fan group cheering on the LA Galaxy.Posted by Picasa

Goal!!!Posted by Picasa

Galaxy goalie Kevin Hartman clears the ball.Posted by Picasa

Confetti rain after another Galaxy goal. I really like how this pic turned out.Posted by Picasa

A picture of game action. I'm still working on getting better non-blurry shots of live action.Posted by Picasa

Even if I'm tardy getting them up, I feel happy with them. I'm starting to get the hang of using my digital camera, and I hope to make event photos a common feature here.

Now I just need to process and post them quicker!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Where the Heck Did September Go? 

Is it really September 18th?

Time flies when you're having fun (or not sometimes). Here's what ate up the last twelve days:

1.) Who hoo! I have a 95.732 percent probability of having a new place. As I mentioned below, I focused my apartment search on the city of Alameda, specifically a nice neighborhood near the bayshore and the old naval base. The place I **should hopefully** have cost almost exactly the same as this place. Plus it has 100 extra square feet, is a two minute walk to the shore, has a community sauna (Is this laptop steam-proof?), and has a room set up for wi-fi for those certain bloggy friends who should ever drop in (nudge, nudge). Am I happy and relieved? Oh yeah. I move in October 11th.

2.) Work. All I need to say is there are issues and occurrences that are best left off the page and out of my mind. Nothing drastic, just the usual steaming bowl of office politics. Such is life.

3.) Road trip! Road trip! Mostly I was worn out pooped from doing a LA trip last weekend. A summary of the trip in as few words as possible: Caltechgirl, Grand Moff Trojan, Bill, Sandro. Dodgers win, Galaxy win; too late for the Dodgers, the Galaxy are still alive. Pasadena is still cool; LA looks great on non-smog days. Will do a separate post on it with more words and pictures :)

4.) My latest toy. The iRiver H10 MP3 player. It holds music, pictures, and text files as well as has FM radio capabilities. So far, it syncs up with Yahoo's el cheapo (but good) music service perfectly. The only drawback is that Amazon users warn the customer service isn't awful, it's nonexistent. Hopefully, this will never be an issue. Life is good, and yes, I expect to be buried with the thing.

5.) In the news, it's still pretty much Katrina all the time. I have to say that I was impressed with the President's admission of responsibility for the recovery effort missteps. The Governor of Louisiana followed. It's a good start to righting the ship.

6.) Last week's 49ers win versus the Rams was so sweet that even today's uber-rout at the hands of Philly can't wipe the smile off my face. When you go 2-14 last year, the only direction is up.

Bed awaits, since my days start at 5:30am this week. Time for me to get my sleep on.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I've Been Condoed 

2005 has been a big year of change for lots of people I know. Caltechgirl got her degree and is now Dr. Caltechgirl, evil genius. Grand Moff Trojan, Helen, and I all got new jobs. The same three all moved. Plus, CTG and VW pulled up cyberstakes and became MuNuvians.

So why should I be surprised that I've been officially condoed.

Condoed: verb, past tense. To have the apartment in which you've been residing get turned into a condominium. Example: Since the apartment in which I've lived the past five years has been condoed, Exgaucho is now looking for a new, better apartment.

Goodbye suckers! I'm gonna move closer to work in Berkeley, and get more square footage close to the beach in the city of Alameda. Who hoo! Tomorrow, I'm going to tour a promising one bedroom place. For slightly more per month than I pay now, I'll be one block from the beach in nearly double the square footage. The place may even have that greatest of all Western inventions: air conditioning! Needless to say, I hope this particular place works out.

Good luck to the suckers who bought the apartment complex, and who have to try to market a studio condominium with 425 square feet. This apartment has been fine to rent, but I wouldn't want to own it (or turn around and sell it, for that matter).

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day 

On a lighter note, Monday was of course Labor Day. Now that I have work, Labor Day is a day off instead of just another day. For this I am very grateful.

Here's little bit of humor, as well as a pick-me-up for those looking for work, from a Yahoo! group made up of people from my old job at Incyte Genomics Pharmaceuticals Whatever:

Odd Todd: Laid Off

When you work, there's no free time. When you're unemployed, there's no money to spend. Ya can't win.

I'm Going to Throw Up Now 

Stories like this is why so many people hate President Bush so much. I usually keep a more level head: The President isn't an evil man, he does care about black people, despite what Kanye West believes. Even if Iraq was bungled, the initial concepts behind it were correct. I like his choice for the Supreme Court, even if he falls to the right of my views. Just because I often strongly disagree with the President, that doesn't mean I think he's a moron or a Nazi. I always try to give him credit when credit is due, and I'm not deluded, like many, into thinking that anti-Bush must always be a good thing


For his people to turn the Katrina recovery efforts into yet another polarizing campaign is repugnant.

One Republican with knowledge of the effort said that Mr. Rove had told administration officials not to respond to Democratic attacks on Mr. Bush's handling of the hurricane in the belief that the president was in a weak moment and that the administration should not appear to be seen now as being blatantly political. As with others in the party, this Republican would discuss the deliberations only on condition of anonymity because of keen White House sensitivity about how the administration and its strategy would be perceived.

In a reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove's tough political style, the administration is also working to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats.

"The way that emergency operations act under the law is the responsibility and the power, the authority, to order an evacuation rests with state and local officials," Mr. Chertoff said in his television interview. "The federal government comes in and supports those officials."

That line of argument was echoed throughout the day, in harsher language, by Republicans reflecting the White House line.

Oh great, perhaps as many as tens of thousands are dead, but politics as usual goes on. I'm not excusing Democrats either, but one of the reasons we have a President is to foster national unity during national crises. He's supposed to lead by example and ignore idiots like Kayne West and the MoveOn crowd. The President should stick to the relief efforts and hold off on the blame game.

Other than venting right now, I'll ignore the slime emanating from Mister Rove. I'll just wait until 2008, and hope for a Rudy vs. Hilary contest. Go Rudy!

And Karl Rove can then go slither back to rejoin the pond scum that apparently created him. Yes, I'm blogging pissed when I probably should wait to write; deal with it.

Oh, and if this somehow costs lives in the recovery efforts by diverting valuable resources, he should be arrested.

UPDATE: Pshew! I feel much calmer now. Yes, I understand all events become political, and that Democrats too have said and done many unacceptable things during all this. Saying the relief effort could have been done better is legitamate, saying it's all Bush's fault is as repugnant as anything Rove comes up with. Let's play our little political games somewhere else for now.

Leave to George Bush Senior (41) to respond perfectly to his son's critics. The local NBC station just showed a clip where he said that he didn't want to get too personal, but if anyone wanted to criticise his son's performance on this matter, they better have their flack-jacket on. That made me smile.