Friday, June 30, 2006

I'm Going To Need About 3 More Slices of Cake Please

The wedding was pretty blah. Not that us guys really enjoy weddings much in the first place. Sometimes the reception can pull the whole affair out of the ditch, but not this time. The wedding was at 7:30, and originally my plan was to go eat dinner somewhere before heading over to the church. I started thinking that I shouldn’t eat dinner. I thought it would be ungrateful of me to eat dinner and then not eat anything at the reception because I was full. Big mistake. I guess they were trying to save on catering costs because the only food there was the cake and some nuts by the punch bowl. By 9:30 I was hungry enough to chew the crotch out of a rag doll. I had to make an emergency stop at Taco Bell on the way home. And there was no Humpty Dance. There was no dance period because there was no music. But there was a guy in a Hawaiian shirt who looked like Danny Bonaduce.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Good Thing It's Rerun Season

Tonight I am going to the uber-rare Thursday night wedding. I think it's a very bizarre choice to hold your wedding on a weeknight. Maybe they're trying to keep the catering costs low? You'd think that since they are being so weird on the day that they would have been less cliche on the month. What's so great about June anyway? When I marry my Filipina mail-order bride it's going to be in January dammit! Unfortunately I don't think there's going to be any alcohol since the reception is at the church. I guess I'll have to count on a natural high to snap me out of the work-induced stupor I'll be in. It's going to be another long day since I won't be going home before the event. Gawd I hope they don't play The Chicken Dance - I've been to too many weddings where that happened already. I can't wait to shake my rump to The Humpty Dance though.

Something on the gift list gave me a bit of an odd feeling. One of the items on there was a video game. My first thought was "How does this help a newly-married couple get their new living space in order?" Isn't that the point of wedding gifts? I think this one was pretty close to crossing the "getting married means getting lots of free shit" line. I've known the bride for 20 years and I don't think she's played a video game in her life, so I'm thinking this one is for the groom. On the other hand, I started thinking that if a video game is going to make them happy, who am I to deny them their bliss? Maybe it's to keep hubby out of her hair and out of trouble. Or it could be for the honeymoon.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Taco Flavored Kisses

I haven't had Comedy Central for several years now, so lately I have been catching up on South Park on DVD. I am almost done watching season 7, and I thought this episode was absolutely high-larious. The lengths that Cartman goes to just to mess with Kyle are epic. This video has had me cracking up for days...


Puppet Video!

Alright, I know you guys are probably all "Enough with the Beck shit already JC. Damn!" But I found a recording of the puppet video from the concert last week on YouTube and I had to share.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday - Pop Art 4

Would you want to mess with us? Didn't think so.
More SPTs here.


Monday, June 26, 2006

The Bathroom Chronicles

I'm not big fan of the bathroom at my new workplace. It's too small. When someone is in there taking a growler I want to be as far away as possible, but this bathroom is just a little too cozy.

Due to the fact that it also only has 2 urinals, it is also impossible to follow proper urinal etiquette in there. What's urinal etiquette you ask? Well, allow me to explain! Basically, if a guy goes into a bathroom to use a urinal, he wants to be as far away from anyone else who may be in there doing the same thing. So, if you're in a situation where there are 3 urinals and someone is using one on the end, you always go for the one on the other end. The only time you don't is when there is only one open position. This rule applies even if you get stuck with the midget urinal that is about a foot off the ground. That's still better than standing right next to another guy. It sucks when you are forced to take the middle one and then one guy finishes right after you get there, making it look like you chose to be right next to the other guy on purpose.

Now, if there's only one open urinal, paradoxically it is considered too sissy to go to a toilet instead. Makes you look like you have something you're ashamed of. These rules are especially to be followed if there are no dividers between urinals. All of which brings me back to the workplace bathroom. Only 2 urinals - so you're forced to be right next to someone if there's someone already there. The one on the right is a midget one too. Thankfully there are dividers! There have also been encounters with wall-leaners and urinal talkers, but I'll save those for another post.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Puppet Pics

I found some great pictures of the Beck puppets on flickr. I am providing links to the pics instead of posting them because I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to take credit for someone else's pictures.

Beck and his puppet (check out the matching guitars!)
The puppet stage
Beck puppet on the video screen
Check out the bass player's suit!
Another look at the video screen
The puppets at the dinner table
The puppeteers
Puppet stage closeup
The rapping bear
Two rapping bears!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

You're So Vain

You in this case being me. I noticed in the picture I took for SPT last week that it looked like I had a line on my forehead. Yep, sure enough I'm starting to get a permanent wrinkle in the middle of my forehead. I was really shocked by how much this freaked me out. Thursday I was totally wigged out about my skin becoming less elastic and starting to get wrinkles. I was shocked because I never thought I was the type of person who cared about crap like that, and plus guys aren't supposed to care about crap like that. I started to feel a little better about it yesterday, which is good because this is only the beginning. I guess seeing evidence that you're getting older isn't fun for anybody.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Puppet Show and Beck

The Beck concert was pretty damn cool. Where to begin, where to begin? I guess it makes sense to start with the opening act. The opener was a guy named Jamie Lidell, and I had never heard of him before. He turned out to be pretty interesting. He had kind of a one-man-band thing going on, he was out there all by himself with a drum machine, sequencer, and sampler. He had a great voice which he used on some soul numbers that he mixed in between some beat-heavy craziness on the drum machine. He even worked in some human beat-boxing. I thought he was really good and you could see the Beck connection (funky-ass white boy with some electronica flourishes).

It took a while for them to set up for Beck, but he finally hit the stage and launched into a heavy version of “Devil’s Haircut”. It soon became clear that there was something unusual going on. That thing turned out to be puppets. At the back of the stage there was a smaller stage set up with four puppeteers operating a group of puppets that looked like each member of the band. And before all you wacky puppet people jump down my throat, I guess they were technically marionettes. I just like the word puppet, so I’m sticking with that! There was a definite "Being John Malkovich" vibe.

There were 3 large video screens behind the stage. A camera was filming the puppets and they projected the image up on the screens. The puppet for each band member would mimic what the real person was doing. The mouth on the Beck puppet moved, so it would sing along with him. They did this for the whole show! The puppets even had little props like maracas and accurate looking instruments, although the Beck puppet didn’t have a harmonica when that made an appearance. There was one guy doing some crazy-ass dancing, and the puppet did too. The whole puppet thing sounds crazy, but it was actually really cool when you looked at the video screen and it looked like your typical music video shots. Beck said that it was an idea that they had that they just had to follow through with. He said they got the idea from that shot in Spinal Tap where the marquee says “Puppet Show and Spinal Tap” as seen below:

Musically things were pretty good except that Beck’s vocals seemed a little bit too low in the mix at first. On the acoustic stuff his guitar was just a tad too loud. There was a good mixture of his loud songs and the acoustic stuff. The band sounded great. In the middle of the show Beck did a few of his acoustic songs with only the bass player accompanying him, and the rest of the band sat down around a table that had been set up on stage, whereupon they were waited on by crazy dancing guy and brought food and beverage (mirrored in puppet world complete with table, chairs, food, and utensils). After a few slow songs Beck launched into an upbeat number and the guys at the table started using the glasses and silverware for percussion – it was actually pretty cool.

The first encore consisted of the recorded version of “Loser” performed only by the puppets. When the real band returned 2 of the guys were in bear suits (represented in puppet world as teddy bears) for one song. O-kay. There was a really funny recorded bit that they showed where the puppets went sight-seeing around Dallas. They went to Texas Stadium and Dealey Plaza. And I got a huge laugh at the beginning of the piece when the Beck puppet said: “This is Dallas, where Mexican food comes from. I’m Beck. And I’m a Mexican.”

About the only thing I can complain about was that there was only one song from the album “Mutations”, which I really like. All in all it gets the JC seal of approval!

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End of The Day

The Beck concert was great! I'll post a proper recap later when I have time (teaser: there were puppets!). On the way home I listened to the CD Sea Change, and this song hit me in a new way when I heard it.

End of the Day

Seen the end of the day come too soon
Not a lot to say
Not a lot to do
You played the game
You owe nothing to yourself
Rest today for tomorrow you can't tell
You can't tell
Seen the end of the day come too late
Seen the love you had turning into hate
Had to act like I didn't even care
But I did so I got stranded standing there
Standing there
It's nothing that I haven't seen before
But it still kills me like it did before
Seen the end of the day come too soon
Like the prison dogs they sent out after you
You owe nothing to the past but wasted time
To serve a sentence that was only in your mind
In your mind
It's nothing that I haven't seen before
But it still kills me like it did before

-Beck Hansen

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Marathon

My sore throat has devolved into an awful, hacking cough. Gotta spread the love! I can barely talk.

Today is going to be a long one. I'm going to work at the usual time, but I am planning to stay a couple of hours late. The reason? I'm going to see Beck in concert tonight! Beck has been near the top of my "must see" list for quite some time. I missed him the last time he was in town a couple of years ago. I just hope I can stay awake! There's no point in driving home and then driving back that direction (and more), therefore the marathon. At least I can bank the extra 2 hours to take off from work later. I'll probably get to bed at 12:30 at best. Should make for a nice cozy 19 hour day. Tomorrow at work I'm either going to puke or kill someone. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday - Pop Art 3

Beer Goggles
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Other SPTs here.


Monday, June 19, 2006

A Slight Breather

Well, after much hemming and hawing (just what the hell is hawing anyway?) I finally did sit down and get to work on my paper yesterday afternoon. I worked on it hardcore for about 5 hours straight. After that, my bwain was fwied! I gave it a slight tune-up this evening, but now it is submitted. So far I have 14 pages of gold. This draft is combined with the first draft from last week. Draft 2 will get a peer review, and we have to review someone else's paper too before submitting the final draft 2 next Monday. I hope I don't have to change too much next weekend!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Procrastination Dude

My school project has been keeping me very busy this weekend. Unfortunately not busy enough today - I'm being the procrastination dude! I'm hoping that by doing a quick post I can then focus on my project. Supposedly this section of the project is the most labor-intensive, so if I can get past this it should be downhill somewhat from here on out. This school stuff is really cutting into my TV time!!

I actually got my computer at work on Friday afternoon, so I guess the Disney World theory was true! Unfortunately I have also picked up a sore throat from my first week on the job. Luckily that seems like the only symptom, no runny nose or aches and pains. I may have to start wearing my lawn mowing getup to work to protect myself from the secretions of others. OK, now it's off to work!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Staying Busy

Apparently if you work full time and go to grad school part time, you will be busier than you would be if you were unemployed and not in school. No, really, it's true! I'm starting to feel a bit of a crunch in trying to keep up with everything. The readings are starting to pile up. The second part of our big project for the semester is due on Monday night, and I haven't started yet so I know what I will be doing this weekend.

Still no sign of a computer at work. I asked today and was told "maybe in a week". Shit. The commute is starting to beat me down a little bit. Part of it is my fault because I need to leave just a few minutes earlier in the morning. I have been in training the last 2 days, and we haven't finished up until 4:30 or later. That makes a big difference in the time it takes to get home. I wish my school textbook had an audiobook version! Luckily tomorrow the training ends at noon, so I am anticipating hitting the exit at 4 sharp. All the sooner to dive head first into school work!

I wanted to post some more pics but f'in Blogger is not cooperating!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday - Pop Art

Kiki, this one's for you!

See more SPT here.


You Said 20 Minutes, Right?

Today I got a taste of what a busy day will be like at work - I worked my ass off! It makes the day go by faster though so I don't mind. Before all the craziness hit I was trying to sneak in a chapter of my textbook when my boss snuck up and said I could start filing the time sheets - it was all busy-ness after that! I also sustained my first workplace injury at the new place. I got a paper cut while making copies. At least it wasn't one of those under-the-fingernail on-your-thumb jobs. I know from experience that those suck!

However, one major snag has reared its ugly head. I still don't have a computer and I was told it could take up to 20 days to get one!!! No!!!!!!!!! I'm hoping they're pulling a Disney World and telling me that the wait for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is 45 minutes so that I'll be really happy when it only ends up being 15. That could put a serious crimp in the "do my school work from work" plan. I'll have to write out my article critiques in longhand and then type them up when I get home. How very 20th century!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Just Another Tool of the Man (Again!)

Man, it's weird to be working again. It's almost like I never stopped! Not because today sucked, but for some reason it just felt that way. Today was OK for a first day. I don't really want to say which agency I work for, because you never know who's watching these days and I don't want to say anything that will get me fired. But I can tell you that we were actually sworn in today, so I have now sworn an oath to defend and uphold the constitution of the United States. It felt so official!

It's 29 miles to work, which this morning at 6:45 took me an hour! However, the drive home at 4 only took 35 minutes! I didn't do much today, because they don't have a computer for me yet. I am hoping to get one tomorrow, but with a bureaucracy you never know. I don't think there is any training scheduled until Wednesday. My boss seems super laid back, which is great. He doesn't have any problem with me doing school work or reading when there is down time. But they have been short of secretaries for a little while, and the other ones were really glad to see me and the other guy who started today, so at some point I will apparently be working my ass off! Which is OK with me.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dry Spell

Yesterday I went to see the Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It presents an overview of global warming. Despite what anyone may think about Al Gore, I think this is a very informative film and I think as many people as possible should see it. It's not perfect, but it led to one of the more extensive post-film discussions I have had in a long time!

In unrelated news (or is it? Dun, dun dun!!!), it has been dry as a bone around here. We are now at stage 3 water conservation measures, which means no car washing, you can only water the yard on trash day and only between 6PM and 10AM, and there are increases in water rates if you use more than a certain amount. My car is so grungy. We need rain badly.

Well, I start the new job tomorrow. It's the end of an era. The sleeping-late era. But it's the start of a paycheck, which is good.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Hey, This Thing Really Works

I've been testing out the new camera, and I love it! It takes great pictures. Here are a few:

Mowing the lawn can be kind of a beating, but the way it looks when you're done almost makes the work worth it!

My crape myrtles have started to bloom, the white ones remind me of popcorn.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Are You Mocking Me?

I've started delving into my school work - my first paper is due tomorrow evening. We don't get a grade on it, but the rest of our project for the semester is heavily dependent on this first submission. It's really weird to have to write in professional form with proper grammar. Most of the writing I have done lately is on here, which is not exactly what I would call formal. You may see my grammar improve somewhat since I think I will find it difficult to be in "good grammar" mode on my papers and then "slum it" on here!

I took these pictures right before I went to Arizona. These were the baby mockingbirds that I referred to in an earlier post. I'd link to the original post but I'm too damn lazy. Screechy little buggers, but cute. I wasn't able to capture it very well, but there were two birds and one was chasing the other one around one of my basil plants. You can kind of see it as a blur in the second photo. This is also the extent of my garden this year - 2 cinnamon basil plants and one sweet basil. The sweet basil is for pesto, and the cinnamon basil is the closest substitute for Thai basil, which is great with Thai curry. After 3 consecutive years of attempting to grow tomatoes with very little success, I decided not to try tomatoes this year. Too bad, home-grown tomatoes beat store-bought ones like a red-headed stepchild on Easter Sunday.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

TV Wrapup

Another TV season has come and gone. We cried a lot, we laughed a lot, and then we cried some more. Way back in September I did a post about the upcoming start of the television season. Well, the time for the post-mortem analysis is here.

* Arrested Development - Unfortunately the phrase 'post-mortem' is all too apt here since the show has ended. Still absolutely hilarious, although to me the featuring of Charlize Theron near the start of the season took away too much time from Buster (almost non-existent in the first few episodes) and GOB. I really miss this show, although there is something to be said for bowing out while you're still on top of your game.
* America's Next Top Model - Still my favorite reality show, we've actually had 2 cycles since September. It's deliciously tacky and entertaining, although Miss J has seemed to have worn out his welcome. And in the last cycle the emphasis on natural disasters (Katrina and the tsunami) seemed a bit tasteless.
* The Apprentice - There were also 2 seasons of this show since September, although I only saw the second one. Holli got me hooked on it. I never considered watching it due to the general repugnance of Donald Trump, but I have to say that he grew on me a little bit. He has a sense of humor about himself. Although I am still driven to annoyance by his tendency to shout all the time. I love Ivanka when she appears on the show, and I'm actually even starting to like Donald Jr. a little bit. Who knew? The finale was a bit over the top.
* American Idol - I watched this show for the first time this season. And I have to admit that by the end of it I was ready to move on. I think the part I like the best is the auditions, with the horrible singers who think they are good. Next year maybe I'll just watch the auditions.
* The Simpsons - Still pretty funny. After 16 years of this show you pretty much know what you're going to get.
* Scrubs - For me this is the funniest show on television. It's funny in the "that's really weird and bizarre" way.
* The Office - The second funniest show on television. This show has it's bizarre moments too, but it's a bit more droll than say Scrubs. I loved the British version, so I was skeptical of the American version. Well, they pulled it off. It's got the key elements of the original, but it's been "Americanized" in a way that makes it like a distant cousin of the original. And the love story between Jim and Pam is better than a lot of dramas. I'm so glad that this show has seemed to break through somewhat and will around for a third season.
* My Name is Earl - Kind of funny, but not funny enough to make me want to watch it next year.
* 24 - I didn't really dig this show that much this season. It seems like the same thing over and over. Although they did make me want to see how Jack gets out of his latest pickle next season. Hmm, that's what happened last year too.
* CSI - It's not terrible, but it's not that good either. For some reason I can't stop watching it though. The season finale pissed me off because they took about the only piece of character development for the whole season and put it in the last moments of the season finale with no explanation. That seems like cheating to me.
* Lost - I still like it even though this season wasn't as compelling for me. Initially I thought the introduction of the "Tailies" would give the show a welcome infusion of new blood, but what ended up happening (at least for me) was that it resulted in less screen time for the characters that we already knew and had grown to like (or like hating). The plots seemed a bit meandering this season until near the end, when they seemed to pick up a little bit. And you know, I care not a whit for political correctness, but I love the diversity of the people on this show. Most shows are so racially segregated that I find it refreshing that "Lost" looks more like the real world. I will definitely be there for season 3.

I had to ditch HBO back in December, so unfortunately I was not on board for season 6 of The Sopranos. It's going to be a long wait for those DVDs!

So that's it for another TV season, I'm actually looking forward to a bit of a break from TV shows over the summer!


Monday, June 05, 2006


I finished my five days of on-campus classes for the summer! Today was pretty brutal, I was just worn out from the start. I even went to bed early last night, but then I didn't sleep all that well. Tomorrow will be a day of rest before starting my classwork, my first assignment is due Friday. Originally I wasn't going to be starting my job until June 26, but last week I got a call from my new boss and he said he wanted me to start on June 12 (next Monday). Since that was what we had discussed in the interview, and because I am also poor, I said: "Yes!" So, my days of wine and roses are almost over.

You may be saying: "But JC, what does this have to do with technology?" To which I would reply: "Shut up!" OK, actually my post title refers to my next two tidbits. The first is that I finally graduated from dialup to DSL! I figured that since I was taking an online course I needed to have a good connection speed to download stuff. It's good times, as if I need to tell any of you.

The second piece of news is that I have finally entered the world of digital photography! I'm not exactly sure why I chose to do this now since I'm not exactly Mr. Moneybags at the moment, but a big part of it was seeing my dad's digital SLR on my recent trip, and also seeing that I could get one just like it for a pretty damn good price. I decided to go with the Canon Digital Rebel XT. I read some things that led me to believe that I might slightly prefer the next model up the chain, the 20D, but at about twice the price of the XT these minor differences didn't seem worth it. Performance-wise they are very similar, they both have 8 megapixels of resolution. A good thing about buying this camera is that I can use all of my current lenses on the digital camera, so I only had to buy the camera body. Also, a lot of the operational things are very similar to my film camera, so I was able to start shooting without learning a completely new system. So far, I love it! The digital camera plus DSL should equal more pictures on this blog, so if you are a visually oriented person you're in luck!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

4 Down, 1 To Go

I have one day of on-campus class left, and then it's time to actually start doing the work! Today I had a day where I could just feel the light bulb coming on, it was very cool. It was the first day of class that I felt like I really knew what the professor was talking about! And it's way early for this, so I'm "curbing my enthusiasm" somewhat, but if I like this class as much as I think I am going to then I am definitely onto something here. I found myself totally geeking out today and getting really excited about the possibilities of the project that we will be doing for the class.

I won't get into too much detail because it will probably bore the socks off anyone reading this (as if anyone is still reading anyway!), but here is a little bit about the class. It is called Intro to Information Organization. For our project we have to set up an information organization system for a collection of objects of our choosing. Most of the people in the class are doing book collections, but we are not limited to books so I am doing DVDs. We have to set up a database with some records describing the objects, and then create a user interface for people to search our collection. We have to actually get a person to test our system out and then evaluate how well our system works. The professor makes it sound like most people's systems have major issues during the testing phase, but the important thing is whether we analyze the causes of the failures correctly and adequately describe what went wrong. We'll see if I still like it when our fourth and final portion of the documentation is due around the end of July, but so far it seems really interesting to me. I am big on organizing things, at least things that interest me. On my own I have already set up a couple of spreadsheets tracking various aspects of DVD collection, although these were much simpler than the project I will be undertaking.

And I need to get used to writing in third-person present tense! But not on here, that would just be weird.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Boy am I tired, this getting up early stuff is hard! I am definitely going to sleep early tonight to get ready for another day at school tomorrow. The class I was in today seems like it's going to be pretty challenging. We have a big project to do, and it sounds like some weeks are going to be very busy.

Another indicator that I am tired was the bizarre thought that I had all morning in my class. I believe in evolution, so I feel that basically humans are kind of like apes without as much hair. So as I was listening to the instructor this morning and staring at his scraggly beard I started wondering: "If male humans grow beards, how come male chimps or gorillas don't grow beards?" Anyone know the answer? Maybe it has to do with humans living in colder climates than apes? Hmm. Maybe I'll ask my sister, she's the primate expert in the family.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

School Day 1

The first day of grad school is now behind me. It sounds like the program is going to be pretty interesting, but I spent a good portion of the day feeling lost. I think a lot of that is because they were demonstrating a lot of the online functions of the web interface, and sometimes that kind of stuff doesn't really sink in until you try it yourself. There is basically an online portal for the library science program, and you get your assignments and complete them through this system.

The grade in this class will consist of article critiques (you read an article and post a critique of 250 words or less in a discussion forum, there are a total of 5 critiques to do), a group project of creation of an annotated mediagraphy (like a bibliography but can include CD-ROMs and web sites as well as books and journal articles), discussion questions (you have to respond to the questions given by the instructor or respond to someone else's posting), and a leadership activity. Today was the only day that we actually meet in person, the rest of the class is via the internet! The next four days are for the other class that I am taking.

It looks like the gender imbalance in library science is alive and well. There were 47 people in the class today, only 8 of whom were men. I think I actually expected fewer. Maybe I can get a minority scholarship!