I like stuff.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger.

Today, I went to Carl's Jr. (for those elsewhere, it's the same corporate entity that owns Hardee's, just sayin')

Was on a short schedule, just needed something quick to eat. I was thinking a cheeseburger. A bit of processed dairy glop, a bit of meat glop, some vegetable and spice glops, all packed in some sort of processed grain substrate.

Perhaps you should try this sometime. Decide on some item you want outside the context of their advertising. Now walk in the door and try to find the closest match on the menu.

Went in, and there it was. The Menu. A couple years ago they replaced it all with plasma screens so the menu was entirely dynamic. Some parts even showed videos advertising their combo meals. Inexplicably, a year or so later it was replaced again with the older standard acetate light box thing.

But I'm peering at this menu, and they had something like 18 combo meals. One panel just for breakfast items. Five or six of the panels had full color pictures of the featured item, three per panel, with differing prices underneath indicating matched pairs of fries/drink sizing.

Wait, over there on the right. The fine print panel. The items that don't deserve pictures. Let's see...

uh, some milkshakes, cross-cut fries, fried zucchini, huh...no plain hamburger, no plain cheese burger. Walk up uncertainly to the register.

"Yes. I think I want a cheeseburger. Just ketchup, mustard and pickles. Nothing else."
"Do you want onions on that?"
"No. No onions, lettuce, tomato, just ketchup, mustard and pickle."
"Do you want a combo meal?"
"Oh, no thank you."
"For here or to go?" (I'm thinking "Uh, it should be in a wrapper. Can't just hand it to me sans extra bag or tray with some more advertising on the tray slip? Forget it, not the sort of philosophical discussion I want to have with this person that's clearly already getting nervous dealing with the unstable individual standing in front of them.")
"Uh, to go."

$1.39. Ok. Still cheaper than most of their menu. Wondering if I should've got the 99c chicken sandwich instead.

Secretly remembering a chain of fast-food restaurants around town when I grew up. "The Original Hamburger Stand." They aimed to be the generic McDonalds. (remember generics? plain packaging, no frills, good enough but usually significantly cheaper? This image of the P.i.L album, Album might be reminiscent. You know, before the world gave us "Store Brands" instead.) Anyhow, they would sell you a hamburger on-par with the larger franchises for 25c. Given the price, 3 or 4 of those were at least as filling as the larger, premium items elsewhere. Eventually, they had to bump up the price a few times, 29c, 35c, etc. but still pretty darn cheap. I think they went under. (as an aside, I learned an interesting social and economic lesson there accidentally when I was a lad. If I got milk instead of soda, my mother would reward me by buying me a cookie as well. It wasn't until I just typed this out that I realized it still might've been a zero-sum game. She meant well, and at least up until 10 seconds ago, thought of it fondly without much cynicism.)

After standing there silently moving my mouth and occasionally twitching, they broke me of my nostalgia and called my number. Handed me a bag. Asked if I wanted anything else. I declined.

When I opened the bag, I found more or less what I was expecting. Glops of varying natures, all assembled into one slightly more complex structure.

What I wasn't expecting was the additional embellishments. It was wrapped in that sort of not-quite-wax-paper that fast food restaurants have been so fond of ever since they finally clued in that the food wasn't really worthy of styrofoam armor. Upon this wrapper was printed "Big Burger With Cheese."

After about 15 years of eating there on rare occasion, I never once heard of said "Big Burger", with or without cheese. It certainly wasn't on the presented menu. I've never seen it in one of their insipid commercials. But there it was, a thing of mystery. They must have planned for this moment, they had the wrapper all ready for it. I didn't notice any large quantity of dust or fading in the printing that suggested it hearkened back to some dark ages of Carl's Jr.

Just a simple fast food cheeseburger, nestled in its wrapper, with a "No Onion" sticker clearly affixed and a rather mysterious hand-written sticker with the number "3167"

A local chain of better quality, mostly local to this area, is In-n-Out, and they have a famed Secret Menu. But who knew Carl's Jr. had one?

As such, I have come to a decision: It is our mission to discover these things. I am totally ordering a hamburger the next time I make my annual trip to Arby's.

Oh, the move.

Today was not a good day. I guess it wasn't a bad day, either. But it was definitely a rough day.

Woke up, went to work. Worked. (crazy, no?) Had lunch. Worked some more. About 1:30 in the afternoon, get a phone call on my cell. Look at the caller ID, recognize the number as the people I'd put in a reservation for professional moving services. It was my mostly helpful moving consultant confirming my "appointment" for Saturday, May 31st at 8am. Confirmed the two addresses, confirmed the time, all was good. Hooray.

(as a bit of a flashback, I'd called to confirm myself a couple days ago, Thursday, I think. I've had a bad feeling about this. She confirmed that everything was set to go. A few hours later, I get a phone call from them. Not my usual moving consultant, some other guy. Same caller ID, though. Asked if I could reschedule for Sunday. Worried about my deadline for getting out, declined. Asked if I could reschedule for Friday. Explained that I had to be at work, and I had made the reservation weeks ago on a Saturday for exactly that reason. Asked if I could do it that afternoon (note that this was at 3pm, and let's pretend that their 6-hour minimum charge wasn't a novelty, after all this packing and whatnot, I wasn't going to drop everything at work to hurry back to an apartment not ready for movers and still end up moving many things myself.). Explained that I was currently at work, and it wouldn't be possible. He then said "Ok, we'll stick with your scheduled appointment, then.")

As I was about to hang up from my official confirmation from my helpful moving consultant, she asked "Is there any chance you can reschedule it for Saturday afternoon?" I explained that I _had_ to be out on Sunday, so I'd rather not cut it any closer than I already was. She said "Oh, that's fine then." *bad vibes*

2:45. They call back. I think it was the guy that had tried to get me to reschedule the day before. Tells me they can't make it. Says the truck is "stuck" I ask if they were mistaken when they'd called me an hour before confirming the scheduled appointment. He tells me that they've got two trucks, one is full, and the other's in the shop with a bad transmission. I resist some more, but he ain't budging.

So I guess I'm moving Sunday, instead.

I'm on the edge of panic. All I've got right now is their loose promise that they'll show up at 8am on Sunday.

This new promise scares the hell out of me considering how well their official process worked.

(another flashback. Earlier in the week I was telling a cow-orker that I was freaking out that something was going to go horribly awry with this move. After I got off the phone and went over to tell her that I needed to take off and go start looking for some fallback options, she was laughing and said "Yeah, you sounded really unhappy when you were yelling at that guy, but it's exactly what you feared." (I don't think said cow-orker was mocking me, sort of a sympathetic laugh at the absurdity, and for the record, I don't think I was yelling.) Said "Yeah. I gotta go. Don't be surprised if I'm not in on Monday.")

On the brighter side, my friend (and reformed cow-orker) helped the girl and I out getting my fridge out of my place. It's going to a good home at the girl's place and replacing the great white whale that is the energy-leech they've been using.

Kinda funny when a 20-year-old refrigerator is still mostly better than another of the same vintage.

She paid me exactly what I paid for it. Nothing.

For those concerned about inflation...

Think about this for a second, and ask yourself, are these two articles connected?

First, Rising Popcorn Costs Increase Movie Ticket Prices

Second, Portion Size Inflation, in easily digestible images

These two articles appeared in my RSS reader within a day or two of each other. I'll save you the rant of reading as much as you can from as many sources as you can.

I'm confused on this, conventional wisdom keeps telling me that movie ticket prices and popcorn prices are traditionally decoupled. Popcorn and other concessionary are the profit centers for the theaters, as the lion's share (and much of the rest of the pride's share) goes to the distributors, studios, etc.

I also read a lot of websites that are concerned about consumer/consumerism issues, and a favored trick for manufacturers to cut costs is to maintain a price while reducing the amount of good sold. You see this a lot with things like bar soap, where the new "ergonomic shape" costs the same, doesn't really offer a lot else other than "Oh yeah, and we could shave off about 1/8th of what we used to sell you." Ok, they had to retrofit their machine molds, but I'm sure some cost/benefit analysis said: We'll be profiting shortly.

So I'm curious. In the boom/bust cycle, do sizes grow to attract people to "Wow, but I can get 10x for only $1!", and then in the bust, some measure of higher prices and reduced quantity?

I guess some of it makes sense, but I notice one missing scenario: lower prices for the same quantity.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Farewell, refrigerator.

Well, some tired muscles, a lot of dust, some scraped paint, and enough straps to start a bondage fetish, my tired, old refrigerator drove off into the night, to start its new life with its new family.

Goodbye, old friend.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Uh, shouldn't this be an Onion headline?

Seriously, I know I'm worn out, but I swore this came off the Onion feed rather than my local rag when I first saw the headline: Man who died in crushing accident remembered as 'awesome'

Maybe parody has reversed itself again?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crispy about the edges.

I just want to go on record for two things.

1) I am completely ready for this move to be done.

2) I would've been completely hosed if it weren't for the help and encouragement of my friends, especially the girl. Thank you all so much, even the contribution of a reassuring word has been awesome (girl: I'm so thankful, I'm considering that binturong conservatory you wanted to start.)

Hopefully I'll be mostly human again soon.

In the meantime, go watch this clip of some band I have no reason even knowing exists (No, not Tub Ring. or Retard-O-Bot.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Drawing Like Roman 101

This was a link that I couldn't immediately find when I wanted to, but you know who you are, this is what I wanted to show you

The rest of you, you might get a kick out of it as well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cats dig moving.

My cat is completely on board with this whole moving angle.

Cats dig moving.

I say she gets her own box.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ongoing Dispute #3

Oh, what fun. Actually moving to new city over the next week, so maybe I can start adding photographs?

  • A caller said a man on a motorcycle, described as a "Hell's Angels-style chopper," was shining his headlights into residences in the 10000-something block of A Street early Sunday morning.

    The caller said the suspect was wearing a white skeleton mask on his face and a motorcycle helmet so he resembled the Grim Reaper. The incident was reported at 2:56 a.m.

  • A coyote was chasing people at a park, 7:15 a.m.

  • A man said the general manager of a business head-butted him "for no reason," 12:55 p.m.

  • A caller said two girls ages 18-20 years old were walking around with signs saying "free hugs." The caller thought the girls were soliciting for sex. A dispatcher noted the caller "sounded drunk," 4:52 p.m

  • A woman saw a group of ducks get struck by a car. A mother duck was killed and the woman put four ducklings in a box to give to animal control workers, 6:22 p.m.

  • An elderly woman in a gray sedan crashed into a pond in front of a store at the mall, 9:47 p.m.

  • A group of youths was catching koi fish in a pond and throwing them in a pool, 2:42 a.m.

  • A man wearing a full face mask and fatigues was pointing a gun at passing cars. The caller suspected the gun had an orange tip, indicating it was an Airsoft gun, but was unsure. Officers contacted the suspect, who confirmed the gun was an Airsoft gun and said he was waiting for a friend to pick him up so they could play with the pellet guns, 11:29 a.m.

  • A man came to the police station and reported someone punched him after the two got into an argument at a wedding, 2:57 p.m.

  • A dark-colored sedan was traveling the wrong way on B Boulevard and was being followed by both an ambulance and police officer on a motorcycle, 1:10 a.m.

  • About 12 youths on bicycles were driving in front of cars and swearing at people, 2:56 p.m.

  • A male transient wearing a skirt and a pink sombrero was flashing people, 3:28 p.m.

  • A man was in custody after allegedly putting a homemade $20 bar code on a $450 item at a store, 4:33 p.m.

  • A drunken man was passed out in a car, and a woman was trying to wake him up, 12:17 a.m.

  • Juveniles on each side of the road were pretending to race into the street in front of cars, forcing drivers to slam on their brakes, 6:24 p.m.

  • A woman said she noticed two pairs of shoes were hanging off power lines in two locations. The caller said, in Los Angeles, the shoes are an indicator that "it's a place for drug sales." She said she wanted the shoes taken down, 8:03 a.m.

  • A woman had her pants down and was exposing herself, 4:33 p.m.

  • A physical fight ensued after a road-rage incident between a man in a white van and the driver of a black Honda Civic. The van's driver was described as a "social outcast," 6:44 p.m.

  • A caller reported residents of the 5000-something block of S Drive were jumping in front of parents who were speeding on their way to drop off their kids at a school nearby.
    One woman was writing down car license plates. Some drivers got out of their cars and were arguing with residents. The disturbance was reported at 8:33 a.m. on Wednesday.

  • A woman told police her boyfriend punched her in the face, took her purse and threw her into a fountain, 1:24 a.m.

  • A caller reported hearing a howling sound but was unsure if it was coming from a human or an animal, 9:30 p.m.

As always, names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I don't remember there being much weather in southern California in May. Well, other than "hot and sunny."

I took this picture this afternoon right before it started to rain.

Weather in Southern California, who knew?


I keep hearing anecdotal tales from people concerned about their energy usage. Often more from a financial impact than concern about environmental impact, sure, but I've never figured out why the numbers I hear quoted sound so much more severe than what I notice actually paying.

So, here's a summary of my electricity bills for the last year, for reference, this is a 1 bedroom apartment on the ground floor:
DateKWH ReadKWH Usage# DaysAvg. Usage.Charges

So in 13 months, I spent nearly 800 dollars on electricity. I've heard people say that last summer near hear, they spent the same in two summer months.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most conscious about my energy usage. My fridge is old-ish, I run the A/C whenever I'm home almost year-round, I have computers that are powered up 24/7.

So I'm curious, am I "green" even with my perceived usage pattern? Is it a rash of "this is how much it feels like I'm paying" bias in estimation? Tall tales? Exaggeration?

"ZOMG, you wasteful monster, I pay so much less than you in a similar climate/economy"?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Financing the Move.

Alright, the big move (while not going as fast as I would like) is paid for.

At the end of every day, I take whatever change is in my pocket and throw it in a empty plastic slurpee cup. Then, once a year, I take it to my bank, where they've got one of those auto-counting machines (like coinstar, but without the fee. for what it's worth, you can also skip the coinstar fee (9%?!) by opting for payment as a gift card in a lot of cases, so if you already drink a lot of starbucks, it's almost as good as cash. Heck, keep an eye out for when amazon gift cards are an options. They sell nearly everything on there.)

This usually amounts to a hundred bucks or so. It's not the optimal savings method, as you aren't earning interest, but it's a system that works for me. Annual windfall, as it were.

Well, apparently either I let it slide over a year this time (I don't think I did), or my attempt to use cash more (I feel purchases more when handing over a bill rather than just sliding a card.), rendered the slurpee cup insufficient for capacity. So a second slurpee cup was added. And a couple large empty cottage cheese tubs. And then some other plastic bin. And those had to be emptied out earlier in the year (I choose a tripled grocery bag) And then they were filled again.

So I dumped them today into a second tripled grocery bag, fetched the first, and dragged them (very nearly literally) to the car.

Coin machine at first branch was out of service. Went and picked up Manya from work and drove to another branch.

Aha, change counting machine in service.

Her jaw dropped after I tossed in the first few handfuls and got up to about $30. Second bag on the floor at my feet, I positioned one bag over the little bin and tore into it. Handful of rejected coins. Picked out the arcade tokens and bits of lint, threw the rest back in the bin. Accepted this time. Repeat with second bag. Printed out the receipt and brought it to the teller. Said I wanted to deposit it into my account. She was surprised by the amount.

So while not effectively any more wealthy than when I woke up this morning (cash on hand, as it were), the untracked balance of savings of $937.30 was added to the official ledger.

Something I'd not considered about lugging around nearly $1000 in loose change? It's really, really heavy. Like back spasms all evening heavy. Ow.

But, this easily covers the costs of paying for some people to move my heavier crap for me, as well as the gas spent searching for apartments, the application fee at the new place, boxes...I guess that's it expense wise so far.

As far as the whole saving change thing goes, I've been doing it for years. Once paid rent with the proceeds. I don't think I'm alone at this, I occasionally see some guy standing by the coinstar machine with an empty water cooler bottle mostly full of change (which he had to bring in using a dolly), trying to figure out how he's going to get the change into the bin. And considering Coinstar's stock performance over the last 10 years, it seems like they're doing alright for themselves.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mindless Link Propagation 5/22/2008

Chris Frates at Politico via The EFF via BoingBoing reminds me of the last time I remember Leader Boehner

Why I don't subscribe to my local newspaper.

Here's a good example, food reviews:

Here lies their top picks for chicken places

Number 1: National fast-food chain.
Number 2: Different national fast-food chain.
Number 3: Local tourist trap.

With the bonus "Hidden Gem" being the only local establishment they mention.

How did I find this article? I drove by the "Hidden Gem" place today and wanted to make a joke about its obscurity.

So when I went searching, I found said article, with the opening line for the section being "The saying 'As American as apple pie' also applies to chicken pie, according to Otto Hasselbarth, owner of La Palma Chicken Pie Shop."

I'm terribly sorry, but if you want me to pay for this pablum, you'll have to do better. (yes, thank you so very much for sending me junk mail over the years, calling me up on the phone, or if not sending people directly to my door, sponsoring half-assed "achievement" programs encouraging everyone and their dog to ignore the big "no soliciting" signs posted around the place to come knocking anyhow...)

Don't get me wrong, one of my pet peeves is when people have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. But on the other hand, if there's an indication of "no soliciting", perhaps I'm not going to be receptive to your special brand of bullshit, and I'm not going to be receptive to the heart-rending stories of how you're a high-school student (*cough* runaway *cough*) that's looking to sell newspaper subscriptions to earn a college scholarship.

Heartless, you say?

I am a smoker. I do not smoke inside my apartment, and I walk out to somewhere away from everyone's air conditioners and whatnot to not be "that jerk."

This means I get to see a bit more of my apartment community than the average shut-in.

And get asked, with some regularity, by the van-drivers and handlers, "Hey, have you seen some kids selling newspapers, they should've been around here by now."

In fairness to the local rag, sometimes they ask me about kids selling magazine subscriptions.

I started wanting to make a joke about how out of touch the local newspaper is...well, maybe the thinking about it revealed their distance from reality in a few different ways.

Mindless Link Propagation

Photos of TV (link: jwz)
Found-sounds Alice In Wonderland (link: kottke.org)
"Cow Something" (link: Serious Eats)
PHP Sucks (link:Coding Horror)

Worst of the day.

Worst idea: Pay for a banner ad with a graphic of the quote "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today." and add the phone number of a suicide hotline.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My cancellation letter to DirecTV


I have searched in vain through all of the account options you offer online, and the one I've not encountered is to end all service. I have come to the decision that paying for dozens of sports channels that I never watch, home shopping channels, family channels, other niche channels, all unwatched, is not worth the cost of your package deals and regular irritating sales calls offering premium packages that I consistently do not want, but keep getting annoying telemarketing offers for regardless.

So, enough is enough. I'd rather continue my life without subscription television than hear constant lobbying to the government saying that people like me are demanding to pay for hundreds of channels of which they only watch a few. My life's busy enough without the constant nagging of "But with this monthly special, you could pay for more channels you don't watch!"

So, please, is there a cancellation option on your website, or do I need to navigate your telephone customer service?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh good.

Excellent. Someone is speaking out against the abomination

I saw this trailer and thought: Wow. So Disney really has resorted to meme bingo for their films. Can we capitalize on the perceived popularity of Latino culture? Can we tie in the Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan/Nicole Ritchie/Whatever angle? Can we market it like an action/adventure flick?

So while I get the next bits of collaborative project together, here's an easy one:

Think up two unlikely popular memes and dream up a genre pic they could be marketed as. Leave 'em in the comments, or even better, explain the concept as you see it on your space, leave a comment pointing back to your entry, and I'll link back to you.

Mine: Lolcats vs. Pirates vs. Ninjas. A love story: Illiterate felines with awkward jokes find themselves infatuated with both Pirates and Ninjas in a feel-good romantic comedy and their love triangle.


The Master Strikes

You must go read this now.

I know, you're thinking, "But I don't give a shit about Disneyworld!" I know, be still. Many of us don't give a shit about Disneyworld.

This is Disneyworld through James Lileks. The man whose website contains plenty of wonderful things, including such luminary works as "The Gallery of Regrettable Food"

(link via BoingBoing)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yes, again.

Promise I'll stop. Just need to put something else in my car stereo to listen to.

Time off for good behavior.

Let it go...it gets stuck in my head.

No, I don't know why Rob Kleiner keeps doing the jumping off the synth stand thing.

A quotation.

It wasn't the New World that mattered ... Columbus died almost without seeing it; and not really knowing what he had discovered. It's life that matters, nothing but life — the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all. But what's the use of talking! I suspect that all I'm saying now is so like the usual commonplaces that I shall certainly be taken for a lower-form schoolboy sending in his essay on "sunrise", or they'll say perhaps that I had something to say, but that I did not know how to "explain" it. But I'll add, that there is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one's idea for thirty-five years; there's something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas. But if I too have failed to convey all that has been tormenting me for the last six months, it will, anyway, be understood that I have paid very dearly for attaining my present "last conviction." This is what I felt necessary, for certain objects of my own, to put forward in my "Explanation". However, I will continue.

-Fyodor Dostoevsky

Sunday, May 18, 2008

You. Watch. Now.

Not exactly a celebrity chef, but Mark Bittman is one of those guys that always seems to be a bit sharper than average tools such as myself.

So my advice as your attorney is to go watch his 2007 TED talk right now. Or later. No, better now.

Ongoing Dispute #2

Further local hijinks from the police blotter.

  • A resident of the 9100 block of Bermuda Drive told police Sunday she and her husband caught a man with a mohawk trying to hotwire their car. The caller said she let her dogs out, and her husband ran out to catch the suspect.
    When the suspect "went after" the caller's husband, he hit the suspect with a baseball bat and he fled. After a police dog search, the man was located and arrested. The incident was reported at 3:45 a.m.

  • A caller said someone "hacked up" his trees and bushes and left the debris in the street, 6:55 a.m.

  • A man said his roommate broke down a door and was "getting crazy," 7:37 p.m.

  • Two males on bicycles were riding on the pier and almost hit pedestrians, 8:50 p.m.

  • A male suspect, described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, with brown hair, hit someone with a pole and punched him in the face, causing the victim to lose consciousness. The suspect was last seen wearing a brown shirt and running northbound on Main Street, 12:08 a.m.

  • A resident said a drunken man was "beating up cars" and yelling that he was on probation. Six other men were standing around him and laughing, 2:57 a.m.

  • Two people were naked in a pool area, 8:36 a.m.

  • A car ran over a female pedestrian and drove into a building. Medics noted there was a serious injury and the driver may have been drunk, 10:40 a.m.

  • A caller said 40 people were fighting during a soccer game, 12:23 p.m.

  • A caller found the severed head of an animal, 5:44 p.m.

  • Two men were passed out in a car. Beer could be seen in the vehicle, and the car stereo was "going full blast," 1:17 a.m.

  • Three juveniles were tipping over trash cans, going though mailboxes, and were seen tipping over a basketball hoop, 8:50 p.m.

  • Copper piping valued at $80 was taken from a truck, 4:18 a.m.

  • Copper valued at $1,000 was taken from an unlocked storage bin, 5:39 a.m.

  • A surveillance camera was reported stolen, but a second camera may have captured the thief on video, 10:27 a.m.

  • Two older transients were making lewd comments to women, 11:45 a.m.

  • Juveniles were throwing oranges from a balcony at passing cars, 5:24 p.m.

  • A caller said 12 children were throwing rocks at a vacant house in the 400 block of Ninth Street, trying to break out the windows. Police noted the house will be boarded up by city workers and was scheduled to be demolished soon. The house is rumored to be haunted and has been used by the fire department for training purposes. The incident was reported at 1:49 p.m. on Thursday.

  • A resident went to talk to a teen neighbor about his loud guitar playing and the teen "cussed out" the caller. Officers went to talk to the boy and he apologized for his behavior, 5:57 p.m.

  • Several subjects were throwing up in a resident's yard, 11:33 p.m.

Copper thefts up. Juveniles throwing things up. Uninjured pedestrians down.

Source: OC Register

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jury Duty

via kottke.org, this link from The Chicago Tribune....

I really can't decide, which makes for a better R. Kelly jury pool slip.

Exhibit A:

Please call my mom: When one juror failed to show up for service, deputies called his house and his mother answered. She told the court that she didn't know where her son was and that he hadn't been "right" since he was shot in the head a while back. The judge and attorneys agreed to let him off the hook.

Exhibit B:

I blame R. Kelly for Sept. 11: When the judge asked one prospective juror about his feelings regarding Kelly, he cryptically answered: "R. Kelly may have led the Taliban in attacking us on 9-11, but you can't prove it." You're right, we can't. In fact, we're fairly certain that no one has ever tried.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


18 days to move.

5 days 'til an administrative deadline at work.

1 day 'til big customer demonstration at work.

2 months 'til next code drop

Losing Energy....must....warn....others!

Actually, the biggest producer of mental anguish right now is the move. It's starting to creep in and cause slightly erratic behavior, and I just want it done. I'm making progress, but it doesn't seem measurable yet. Hoping to get a lot done this weekend.

I have lived in this place for 68 months. That means I have lived in this apartment longer than any other residence in my life.

I am wondering if there is a subtle effect about that contributing to the stress.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Alright, so some of you might have noticed that I usually refer to Manya as "The Girl", I guess I can explain why now.

Early on, we realized that we knew someone in common, but that person wouldn't know that we knew each other, much less were dating, so a practical joke was planned that we never got around to executing.

But, for operational security reasons, there was sort of an ad-hoc agreement not to refer to each other by name, lest we accidentally tip that person off.

Alas, but we were found out before the plan could go through.

So yeah, the girl is Manya, and I'm madly in love with her.

My Grandmother Wins.

So I went out to visit my grandmother in the hospital today (a bout with pneumonia a few weeks ago opened the door to a case of C.diff)

Anyhow, I can't decide which was the better quotation from her:

In regards to my brother and his girlfriend recently sharing their six year anniversary... "So it was six years ago that you two decided to do it?"


"There's a lot of men as nurses in this hospital. They must be cheaper. I don't like it when they change my diaper, it's kind of embarrassing. But I don't give a shit, if you've seen it once, you've seen it twice, right?"

She is an awesome lady.

UPDATE: Just thinking about it, and my grandmother had mentioned about how I was reading off signs when I was at the ripe old age of 1, talking about how much I had to live up to with what my brother did. I countered with "Fortunately, he set the bar nice and low." He countered with "Oh, you mean the bar that I used to knee-cap you with?" Might not have a lot of close family, but it's nice when the few of us can get together.

Ongoing Dispute #1

Due to the move, I was checking out the police blotter of the city I'm moving to, and some of this stuff is just a comedic goldmine. So under the advice of my attorney, I may have to make it a regular feature to post highlights.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

  • Police arrested a suspect in the attempted robbery of Popeye's in the Pavilion Shopping Center about 11:40 p.m. Friday. The suspect may have simulated a gun with his finger during the attempted robbery at Boulevard A and B Street, police said.

  • A caller said several trees were on fire near the Community Center, but it turned out the fires were part of a bonfire at the park, 3:31 a.m.

  • A man was driving a golf cart and spraying chemicals into the gutter of a city street, 2:19 p.m.

  • A white SUV struck a man, but the man continued walking, 6:24 p.m.

  • A woman said "undesirables" took her mind, spirit and body inside Denny's. The reporting party though the woman may have been on drugs or had forgotten to take medication, 7:46 p.m.

  • Ten youths, ages 13-16, were yelling obscenities at passersby, 8:32 p.m.

  • A caller heard nine to 10 gunshots and then heard youths say, "Woo hoo," 1:46 p.m,

  • A man had passed out next to a boombox playing very loud music, 2:33 p.m.

  • A 91-year-old woman with an ax was trying to break down a door. Responding police said the incident was part of an ongoing issue between two parties, and each party agreed to leave one another alone for the night, 7:23 p.m.

  • A resident who was sitting in his car parked in his driveway said a naked man was standing outside his front door. Then the man walked down the street and hid behind a parked vehicle. Officers were unable to locate the nude suspect, 1:26 a.m.

  • Someone pushed a shopping cart through a dance studio's front window, 8:17 a.m.

  • A rider fell off a horse, 3:05 p.m.

  • Fire personnel responded after a man passed out on a bus after he allegedly huffed spraypaint. The suspect ran off the bus and down a service road when he saw police, 4:46 p.m.

  • A resident of the 4800 block of Street Circle said a Cinco de Mayo party held by "neo-Nazi gangbangers" was too loud. An officer responded and noted the noise was coming from two people with a loud radio and there was no "neo-Nazi Cinco de Mayo party.", 7:33 p.m.

  • A stuffed animal was hanging from a pole from a noose and children were looking at it, 3:49 p.m.

  • Three iPods were stolen from a locked vehicle after a window was smashed for entry, 7:10 a.m.

  • A transient was seen defecating in a resident's back yard, 9:46 a.m.

  • A student's mother said another school mother and the woman's child had been flipping her and her child off repeatedly and wanted police to advise them, 3:08 p.m.

  • A grocery store customer was hit by a "fixture" and was injured on the legs and hands, 10:23 p.m.

  • A mail carrier said she went to ask a certified letter recipient in the 16300 block of Spanish Fish Drive to sign for delivery and the resident let out a dog when she opened the door. The dog ran toward the mail carrier, so she took out her "dog spray." The resident became upset and started cussing at the mail carrier and raised her hand as if she was going to hit her. The mail carrier ran to her truck and hid inside while the resident banged on the truck. An assault report was filed after the incident, 2:07 p.m.

  • A box of toilet paper was on fire in a storeroom of a restaurant, 10:37 a.m.

  • A caller said two men were leaning against a wall smoking, and one was holding a white stuffed animal. The caller thought the men may have been trying to lure children, 3:58 p.m. (no speculation if this is the same stuffed animal hanging from a telephone pole earlier)

  • A resident of the 2800 block of 17th Street said someone had broken into her residence and ordered adult movies. She said she discovered the intrusion after she received her cable bill,7:53 p.m.

  • A 22-year-old man who was being treated at a hospital for self-inflicted Airsoft gunshot wounds stole a laptop at the hospital and made suicide threats, 12:01 p.m.

  • A car struck a 7-year-old boy but he was seen "sitting up and coherent" after the accident, 6:37 p.m.

Source: Orange County Register

So, uh, good week to be a pedestrian hit by a car, bad week to be a stuffed animal?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Move.

Fulfilling my obligation to write on the subject.

Where to begin?

Several years ago, my company (who has a half dozen largish sites in the greater area) announced that they would be shutting down the location that I worked at to consolidate it with one of the other locations.

Short term, no change.

But as time went on, my division hadn't picked up many new contracts, and they were in the position of deciding whether people get laid off or get lent out to other business areas. I was in the latter group.

At first, it just meant walking to the next building for meetings, etc. No big deal.

Eventually, the wheels of progress hit, and that project moved to a further site. I can't complain too much on that, the concession/recognition is ultimately good for my career.

Either way, it meant getting swept up in the site consolidation, and my 6-7 mile commute turned into a 22-mile commute. Half hour to get home, hour to get back.

The frustration of this coincided with the end of my lease. Paid the ridiculous month to month rent for this month, gave notice in a timely fashion. Had paid rent for the 5+ years I'd lived here, never once them complaning about noise, not a bad tenant, really. But, at the beginning of april they decided to reward my paying rent on time with a 3-day pay-or-quit notice (which they later tried to explain as a courtesy (which they later tried to explain as a mistake))

I spent april spending a lot more time on the road in traffic, kept watching gas prices increase, and kinda waffled about finding a new place vs. just paying the extra hundred bones.

April 21st rolls around, the deadline for signing a new lease. Half-heartedly resolve to pay a month or so of the ridiculous rate while getting serious about looking for a new place. Come home the next night with a lease on my doorstep to sign and a deadline extension of a week. Huh.

So last week, gas hit $4/gallon here. That means it costs five or six bucks every day I have to go to work. Paid the ridiculous month-to-month rate on May 1st and gave notice to the complex of my intent to vacate. (Had to stand in line behind the other people giving notice. Curious...) The leasing agent asked why it was, and I laid out the trifecta of 1) Gas/Commute 2) Rent 3) Getting served notice due to their incompetence (for those that think "So what?", the 3-day pay-or-quit notice is the beginning of the eviction procedure.)

I know the way I am. Given an open-ended deadline, I'll find all sorts of things to work on instead. But now, I had my deadline. Be out by June 1st.

So on the second, I started a mad internet search for finding a new place. I'd poked around a bit before, but this demanded the deep Google-fu.

Let me tell you, Craigslist here sucks. Nearly all spam.

And for that matter, internet apartment reviews are also a toxic stew of useless.

May 2nd, I'd developed a short-list of places I would seriously consider. Toured on May 3rd. Deposit in on May 4th. Lease signed May 5th.

Roughly the same size as the place I've been, but with a washer/dryer in the unit. garage insted of carport. $50 more than what I've been paying in rent, but $50 less than what my rent would be to stay. A lot closer to the ocean, so it should be far less miserable this summer.

Three miles from work.

Oh, and due to a move-in special, the first two months of rent are free.

So now I have to go figure out how to get all my crap moved in the next few weeks...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Stop for a moment, would you?

Maybe you read this article, you probably didn't. Well, I didn't, anyhow. Not then.

But I've met some of the people mentioned, such as his father, Marcus.

I've met his mother. I've met his sisters and his brother.

I've met Danny twice now.

You can say whatever you want regarding your opposition to stem cell research or air your moral objections however you feel. That's the way this country operates. Freedom of speech still lives.

But there is a boy, that should be laughing, playing, having fun, charming anyone that meets him the way I heard he used to. It gave him back that, at least for a time.

There is a boy that doesn't get headlines anymore because perhaps the novelty has worn off from the public spectacle, there is a boy that deserves a better life than what we know how to offer.

Ultimately, there is a life of unfulfilled potential.

But at the very least, you've heard of him now. You can harden your heart as you see fit, but if you feel compelled towards venomous words regarding the approach, aim 'em at me, and not a family that's got more than enough troubling them.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

No New Food, Day Seven

Yup. Failed again. I blame the girl*

So I think I learned more about the true magnitude of my caffiene addiction than I did about frugality or value. Thought it was fun going through my pantry and thinking "Whenever did I buy this?"


* no, not really.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

No New Food, Day Six

Failure Day.

Spent the day with the girl. Decided buying some food made more sense than trying to conjure a gourmet meal out of purloined crackers and ketchup packets (ok, truth is, I've still got lots of food, but it seems a bit ridiculous to try bein' all romantic heating up frozen leftovers of unknown vintage)

Oh well.

Back on track tomorrow?

Friday, May 02, 2008

No New Food, Day Five.

woohoo! Frozen microwave burrito in the back of the freezer!

Sorry. Been craving junk food, and stale pringles haven't been cutting it. Yes. They go stale. Yes. I have proof.

Hardest part coming up tomorrow and sunday, I think.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

No New Food, Day Four.

ugh. This week has been a chore. Not the food thing so much, but the illness, work, etc. blech.

I'd probably be more cheerful if I'd either pre-purchased a bunch of coffee, or at least made an exception for it.