Still Alive

Just FYI. I love me some GTA IV. If you can wrangle a couple friends to play the online multiplayer it all becomes worth it. My Xbox Live Gamertag is JakoBlah, but I won't be your friend unless I know who you are first.

I caught Explosions in the Sky on Austin City Limits this past weekend. They are right up my alley.

Scarlett Johansson singing Tom Waits songs? Not as bad as you might expect, but not exactly awesome, either. She sure is pretty, though.

Hillary is ... Guh. Never mind.


Do you ever feel like you've stopped having ideas? I can solve the problems presented to me with little effort, but I can't say I'm coming up with anything cool on my own these days. It relates to the paucity of posts on this here blog.

Later: Isn't that a coincidence?

Quick Hits

  • My Colorado Avalanche managed to make it through the first round of the NHL playoffs. Now they have the pleasure of playing the possibly unstoppable Detroit Red Wings in the second round. In truth the Wings have looked fairly human this season, especially in the playoffs. We shall see.
  • The Wife and I are suddenly both able to jog something like 2.5 miles continuously. This is a big jump from where we were. I definitely believe a course change is the prime contributor to the improvement.
  • Since September of 2007, I've manage to whittle myself from around 220lbs to 190-ish. I only have this to say: It's a lot of friggin' work.
  • I cannot tell you how excited I am about GTA IV. The multiplayer action looks like a flat out hoot. Email me if you want my Xbox Live gamer tag. ;)
  • Meanwhile, The Wife is all about the Karaoke Revolution on the 360. They've been all over adding downloadable songs to it. It's really pretty impressive so far. Not to mention tons of fun.
  • I'm really sick of the Democratic primary garbage. I'm still backing the liberal black man, though.
  • My Ma has a fancy new deck on her house. It's totally sweet.
  • I really need to sand & stain my deck this year (just like I have for the past couple years). Boo.
  • Went to a DeRailed (the Denver Rails user group) meeting last night. They covered interesting material, but I ended up leaving early anyway. It was definitely what you'd expect, demographically. ;)

Go Get 'Em!

Jason Beghe is rapidly climbing my hero list now that he's crusading against the "church" of Scientology:

"Will Smith is supposedly dabbling in Scientology. Let Will Smith know that his shit was fucking recorded. And tell him to look them in the eye and see if he believes it when they deny it."

Even worse, he says, is that behind the backs of celebrities, Scientology officials gossip about what transpires in those supposedly private sessions. "Everything's supposed to be confidential. But all they do is chat about it," he says.

And apparently Maverick almost slipped loose at one point...

The best part is this dude was deep into the whole thing:

His move to clear was so rapid, Beghe was told that diminutive Scientology leader David Miscavige considered him a “poster boy” for the religion.

“I was Miscavige’s favorite boy, so they were doing all kinds of things to keep me happy,” he says. “I moved up the Bridge faster than anyone in history. I went at it 24/7 for about a year. I went clear. Got to OT V. I was a trained auditor.” (OT stands for “operating thetan,” and the highest level in the church is said to be OT VIII.)

“I’m farther up the Bridge than Travolta, and he’s been in there a thousand years. He’s not a trained auditor.” To Beghe, some of the celebrities “seemed like dilettantes,” enjoying the perks but not really working hard at being Scientologists.

I still wonder what the "perks" actually are. Aside from "connections", or whatever...

Bullet the Blue Sky

Or... Y'know... A bulleted list of junk from the internets:

That is all.

Hit 'Em Again

Here's to having MLK Day off from work! Going for my walk/run today in 15 degree (F) temps wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. Until my calf started cramping. That had nothing to do with the cold, though. It was ready to go from the activity earlier in the weekend.

Junk I've run across:

The Weekly-ish Update

Random tidbits once again:

  • I'm really pleased with the results of my latest slate tile project. Now I'm itching to switch into woodworking mode. I'm super excited about the new episodes of the New Yankee Workshop: Norm is building kitchen cabinets. I plan to eventually build cabinets for the mudroom and perhaps the garage (as practice for the potential "big job" of the actual kitchen). I think I'll go ahead and buy the DVDs.
  • I'm gradually building up my home entertainment system to match the new TV. I've gotten a fancy HDMI-switching receiver and a fairly cool iPod dock thingy. Next on my list is a TiVo HD. Then some surround speakers of some sort (I'm still living in stereo, folks...). And then maybe an Xbox 360, finally. (Still holding out for GTA4 on that one.)
  • On the fitness front, my weight dipped below 200 pounds for the first time in a while yesterday. It's back above today, but we'll assume that's temporary. I'm going to join a climbing gym soon, I think. A great new motivator I have is the Garmin Forerunner 205 I got for Xmas. It's not as sexy as the new 405 everyone is drooling over, but it's pretty darned cool. Of course, now I'm obsessed with tracking the slightest walk / jog / jaunt to the mail box. When The Wife teased me about it I quipped, "Are you kidding? I'm gonna track my trips to the bathroom from now on!"
  • Lots of interesting gossip about former coworkers and new coworkers. That's about all I'll say about that, I suppose.
  • I'm still an Obama cheerleader, though I don't generally like to air my politics on this site. I like the look of things right now.
  • Trent Reznor isn't exactly excited by the results of the Niggy Tardust experiment.
  • TV sucks almighty ass right now. I know there's a writer's strike going, but why aren't networks taking better advantage by replaying some of the good stuff we might have missed previously? Example: AMC's Mad Men? (Ooh! There's an encore starting Jan 21. Nice.) At least I always have books to read.

So yeah... What's new with you?

Hey, how are ya?

Some random crap: My mommy got me a 40" Sony LCD HDTV for Xmas. I was planning to get something in the 46" range later in 2008, but 40" turns out to be plenty big (plus, it's free, yo!). That mother of mine is pretty cool. Even if she does have a thundering herd of Great Danes at her house (including this one and this one, who will make you cry).


Did you hear the Lakota have decided to secede from the US? I figure this is roughly equivalent to them going on strike. They're grabbing some attention and might get some sort fo concession from the US government, but in the end it will amount to nothing. Though, Brozo and I think it'd be fun if they started tolling traffic on I-90 and formed an army. How long do you think it would take for them to be labeled "terrorists" if they did that?


Did you hear that monkeys are as good at mental mathematics as college kids?

"We had them do math on the fly," Cantlon said.

The task was to mentally add two sets of dots that were briefly flashed on a computer screen. The teams were asked to pick the correct answer from two choices on a different screen.

The humans were not allowed to count or verbalize as they worked, and they were told to answer as quickly as possible. Both monkeys and humans typically answered within 1 second.

And both groups fared about the same.

Great. Just great.


Maybe they can help economists decide whether there's going to be a recession or not.

"A lot of the underlying resilience of the U.S. economy seems a bit unappreciated," says Citigroup economist Steven Wieting. "It's not clear that this is so large a burden that we can't muddle through this."

That's the best this guy could come up with? Muddle through?

Ron Paul's New Pile of Money

Ron Paul isn't Rudy Gulliani or Mitt Romney, which - although both good things in my view - keeps him out of the limelight in most of the coverage of the race for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election. I'm no fan of Republicans in general (especially the Neo-Con breed that seems so hell-bent on robbing the nation of its civil liberties), but Ron Paul is at least interesting. He's more like a libertarian in Republican clothing (which some would argue is what Republicans were supposed to be). Anyway, he's got fair amount of grass-roots support, and he's been keeping himself on the fringes of the Republican primary radar.

Now, a bunch of those grass-roots supporters have organized this fund raising drive, with pretty astonishing results so far. The stated goal was $10 million for the day, and I definitely doubt they will get close to that. They have however crossed the $2 million mark as I type this.


To be clear: I am in no way endorsing Ron Paul. I don't agree with several of his more passionate stances. I only think he's the most interesting thing going right now as far as politics goes. Did you hear Obama was on SNL? And Hillary might have a really hot girlfriend? See what I mean? Wait... That last one could actually be pretty cool, if it's enough to make Hillary go away. ;)

All Hail John Smeaton!

This guy is not only a riot, he's a good egg to boot... The baggage handler who tackled terrorists

BAA worker John Smeaton told reporters how he had helped a police officer to restrain the suspects after a burning Jeep Cherokee, which was doused in petrol and packed with gas cylinders, crashed through the window of the departures lounge on Saturday.


Demonstrating the "have-a-go" attitude typical of Glaswegians, Mr Smeaton continued: "Glasgow doesnae accept this, if you come tae Glasgow, we'll set about you."

How fantastic is THAT?! He is deservedly rising to a sort of stardom, too. Check the tribute blog and the YouTube action.

My favorite quite from the (less excited) CNN footage:

"He's a behg boy and no' for bein' shubdude."

It does me proud (as someone who claims Scottish heritage).

(Thanks, Garret!)

The Jena Six

Holy crap... This makes me sick to my stomach:

'Stealth racism' stalks deep South

It all began at Jena High School last summer when a black student, Kenneth Purvis, asked the school's principal whether he was permitted to sit under the shade of the school courtyard tree, a place traditionally reserved for white students only. He was told he could sit where he liked.

The following morning, when the students arrived at school, they found three nooses dangling from the tree.

More at While Seated.

Fucking fantastic to hear the legacies of the likes of David Duke are alive and well in Louisiana, eh? Makes me wonder what's going on in Mississippi and Alabama that we don't hear about.

Stop, now... What's that sound?

So, the DOW is going nuts, and yet things don't feel like they did back in the 90's when it first crossed the 10,000 mark. The housing market sucks rocks (at least that's the perception) and generally things "just aren't the same" as the first time around. I wondered why that was.

I am no student of the economy, so I found this post from last October fairly enlightening.

I would like to see more current (preferably light-weight and understandable) analysis, though.

To Read

How Not to Talk to Your Kids by Po Bronson (Interesting considering some gossip I've heard regarding how Bronson's kid is handled day to day.) With nice extras in Po's blog.

Then the students were given a choice of test for the second round. One choice was a test that would be more difficult than the first, but the researchers told the kids that they'd learn a lot from attempting the puzzles. The other choice, Dweck's team explained, was an easy test, just like the first. Of those praised for their effort, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised for their intelligence, a majority chose the easy test. The "smart" kids took the cop-out.

As a so-called "smart" kid, I can recognize that. Luckily, my upbringing also offered example after example of work ethic and perseverance.


Pharm Animals Crank Out Drugs -- Ew... I'm generally fairly pragmatic about stuff like this, but yeesh this makes my skin crawl.

This might be scarier, though.


This is awesome!

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, signed into law by George Bush the elder, led to creation of the ragingly popular Do Not Call List. But tucked away in the bill was another important provision that entitles consumers to take what's called a "private right of action." For each violation of the act, consumers can sue for a $500 penalty. Violations include calling after a consumer has told a company to stop, or failing to provide the consumer with a copy of the firm’s Do Not Call policy.

That's almost enough to make me start answering those "Unknown Name / Unknown Number" calls I get every day.

Obama '08

Wow. I was absolutely sure that Barack Obama wouldn't bother running for President this time around. I figured he'd let Hillary and Rudy duke it out and then continue to make a mess of things for another four years, leaving him with an open door in 2012. Not so.

Instead, Obama has officially tossed his hat in the ring by launching a Presidential Exploratory Committee, and I'm all giddy about it.

We'll see what happens... Is this country ready to let a non-white sit in the driver's seat?

Bad Sikh Pun Here

Somehow, I've manage to avoid learning that Sikhs are required by their religion to carry a dagger:

The kirpan, one of five items baptized Sikhs are required to wear, is meant as a reminder of the duty to uphold justice. The others are reminders of other things: the kesh, or Sikhs' uncut hair, to live as God created you; kanga, a wooden comb, to remain neat; kara, a bracelet, to do good deeds; and kachera, or large underwear, to remain chaste and faithful sexually.

The story is about Homeland Security maybe being a little less asshole-ish to one particular group of brown folk, but I'm more excited about a whole group of people being required to pack a blade!

A *little* less Santorum in the Senate

So, it looks like the Blues (Have the parties always been denoted by the same colors, or is this a recent, TV-news-map-on-the-wall-influenced thing?) managed to waltz in to control both the House and Senate after voters told the nation, "Hey! These people suck! I'm voting against them!!" Is this a "national referendum" of some sort? Does it signal a major shift in the political landscape of the nation? Hardly.

As Steven Colbert so adeptly points out, the only thing this signals is a shift in who gets to blame whom for all of our problems. Even if the Dems actually wanted to "cut & run" (the Neo-Cons have great PR and marketing minds working for them, you have to admit) in Iraq, it's next to impossible. So, come 2008, who's going to be out there saying "Look at this effed up war we're in, people!" while pointing fingers? Likely both sides. We'll see who it actually makes it work for them, I guess.

I'd say the best news to come out of this election is the fact that "santorum" will soon be nothing more than a nasty slang word.

Unfortunately, my home state tacked up a big "No Queers Allowed" sign... It boggles me, but at least I did my part.