Sunday, May 29, 2005

What is this?

Her Worshipfulness has a problem. While my addictions tend towards stuff you put in your body, hers relates to things you put on it. Without doing any rummaging, I can bring to mind ten different bottles of goo she applies to her skin and hair on a daily basis. Does one really need a separate lotion used singly for one's elbows?

The woman wears neither makeup nor jewelry, so my concern is not at all for expense, but rather for the inevitable results of my own clumsiness. No sudden movements can be made in our bathroom without serious risk of bottle scatter and explosion.

For example, this morning as I showered I removed my shampoo from the hangy-thing. One might think this not to be a risky venture, but not so. In a Goldbergian series of events, the shampoo turned out to be the primary support for a bottle of "calming" soap which kicked out its bottom to the side, knocking a metal canister of compressed pink shit rapidly out the back of the wire structure, leading to much banging and clanging. As anyone living with a woman will tell you, unexpected noises are usually met with bitching of similar volume. And trust me, if in this situation, don't go for the "you have too many damn bottles" approach. Does. Not. Work.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

All growed up

You're not a man until you can wear a lime green polo shirt.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

As you feel

Yesterday someone I've worked with since '99 came by my desk for the first time in ages. She remarked a the picture thumbtacked into the bulletin-board wall of my cube, the picture of myself holding a large fish circa summer 2002. Readers who have been around since the classic B A Start era may remember this post, in which I discuss the benefits of having this picture in my office. This time, though, my guest's response took me completely by surprise.

"Wow, look how young you look in that picture."

It's happening.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

If there was any doubt

These are really, really good.

Monday, May 23, 2005


This morning, as I brought my finished bowl of raisin bran to the sink, the milk swished around to reveal a single missed raisin. Is that an omen? And if so, of what? A potentially missed opportunity? If tea leaves can tell your future, I assume the same holds true for other consumable breakfast liquids in which things float.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Had a conversation about vodka martini's last night. This led me to try to back up the "fact" I heard somewhere that the vodka martini was invented by James Bond (well, technically that the gin-less vodka martini invented by the Smirnoff company after they got into bed with the Bond movie people), which brought me to a site about the various brands of booze Bond has imbibed, which pointed me to this site about just why the Commander wants his martinis shaken as opposed to stirred, which led me to this treasure trove. If you're like me and look at this accessible list of alcohol recommendations as a checklist , you don't have a problem -- you have a solution.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Push 'em.

Now this is some great marketing. Anyone surprised I'm posting about this? What with the name of this blog and everything?

For those of you not pathetically geeky enough to get it, Sony is advertising their upcoming Playstation 3 here with a riff off of their four buttons "Live in your world. Play in ours." campaign. By lopping a few lines off of their well-established set of symbols, they obfuscate them just enough to make even my nerd eye have to look twice before figuring it out. Turn the "e" backwards to get a "3", and you've got one hell of a billboard. Good work, Sony people. Now make a wallpaper with those symbols on it and post it online for me to download. While you're at it, send me some cool swag. You know, something subtle but not so obscure that no one in the world would ever get it. I love you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The pin is quivering.

I bring you a tale of Tiger Woods. Well, more of an image, really. Some time ago, a college friend came back into town for a few days and swung by the apartment to catch up on some much-needed videogame competition. I introduced him to Tiger Woods PGA Tour for the Xbox, a game which quickly devours the soul of all who play it -- so fun, so addictive. He quickly built a character -- Fish -- and hit the links with vigor. Another friend came by to join in the fun, bringing with him a memory stick with the Alpha and the Omega of TW gameplay: his character, Victor Cracker.

You see, Victor Cracker is to TW what a god is to mortals. When he descends from the realm of the ideal and interferes with the lives of men, he leaves a wake of destruction and lamentation. Tales of the visit last for generations. But, like gold inlaid over silver, Victor Cracker only augments the remarkable skill of his human. The guy's got an unnatural knack for the game, and having a maxed-out character only adds to the point spread.

So, we play a few rounds and Victor Cracker dominates. Everyone is fine, we shake hands and say good night.

The next day, Fish is back. Something is different, though. His hands are as still as stone, and in his eye can be seen a faint gleam. He had come this day to topple Cracker. We call Victor's human avatar and insist he come back for a rematch. At the end of the first round of play, Victor's given name proves to be well-earned.

In the middle of the second and final round, Victor Cracker unsurprisingly makes a magnificent shot, and the commentator responds with a loud "ooooh!". TW has commentators judging your every shot, delivering a large number of phrases such as "should have used the nine-iron here" or "that's straight at it, Billy". The "ooooh" was new, and two of us found it quite funny.

So, the image I present to you is of a lean, hungry man in the zone, possessed by the thought of ending a dynasty, stretched forward and focused on the TV with the steadiness of an eagle diving after its prey, flanked by two grown men who can't stop saying "ooooh! No, no, it was like 'ooooooh!'" and laughing heartily.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Keep your nose clean.

As I was going through the airport security checkpoint on my way back from the conference, a woman with three children was behind me in line. As I took my laptop out of its bag so they could do whatever it is they do to it (can’t x-rays see through laptop bags?), one of these kids, let’s say ten years old, comments on it.

“Nice laptop”.

“Thanks,” I replied, instead of asking how we could tell what model it is just by looking at the top of it or grilling him on whether the IT department’s recommendation to purchase this one was valid since he was clearly an authority on the topic. “It’s work’s. I get to use it, though.”

“Yeah, just like my dad.”

“Look, kid. Just because when I was your age my father was younger than I am now doesn’t mean I should have a ten-year-old running around. Times are different now. Not a single one of my friends has a kid. Not high-school friends, not college friends, nobody! No one has kids before thirty anymore!

"High-school and college educations don’t pack the same punch they used to, so to be at the same level our parents were at, my generation need initials after our names. So, while we’re scrambling to get to the level our parents were at when they were 21 (single income family, homeowner, had a functional car, ate three meals a day, etc), images of little tykes like you linger in the backs of our minds. We wonder if we’re too late. If we don’t have kids soon, the likelihood of having them drops off pretty sharply, and then what will happen when we’re elderly? Who will tend to us in our golden years? Who, you little bastard, who?!?

"I mean, I don't even want to have kids, but if I do, the family unit has been so scattered by high divorce rates, affordable transportation, and easy communication that a family is little more than obligation and guilt. We’re all alone in the world. Nevermind the fact that religion has become the domain of rednecks and none of us believe in an afterlife anymore. What’s the point of any of it? Answer me!”

At this point I realized I was holding the kid several feet off the ground by his lapels and screaming in his face. I put him back on the ground, tousled his hair, and gave him a quarter before walking off to my flight.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Misplaced apostrophes do that.

You'll note I added a link to Lisa's blog, it's a marshmallow world. So go check it out.

When I wrote that sentence, I typoed "Lisa's" into Lis'a, making it look as if I had linked to a blog written by a member of an interstellar army bent on the destruction of Earth and all of its inhabitants. "Followers of Lis'a, attack!"

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Slow Fade

A few brief anecdotes about my trip.

#1 - When eating in the outdoor mall a few blocks from the hotel, I couldn't help but notice the heaters near the tables. It was at least seventy degrees out. On an unrelated note, the teriyaki chicken was indeed yummy yummy yummy as advertised by what I can only describe as one of the fast-food barkers in the food court.

#2 - There were ten US flags visible from my hotel balcony.

#3 - I ended up watching a bit of Adult Swim over the last couple days. While most of the shows are either poorly animated or unfunny, I enjoyed several of the remainder. One of my favorites is The Big O, a good-looking show with tolerable dialogue and very big robots. Now, anime shows are, of course, fairly deep into the realm of geek, but I don't hide my affinity for them. Especially not this show. My wife loves it, so I have carte blanche to enjoy The Big O.

The only interesting part of this story is the fact that I stated the previous sentence rather loudly at breakfast yesterday morning, well within earshot of dozens of people.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mixed messages

The keynote speaker gave us advice on how to attain increased
longevity based on his research into areas in which people have active
lives past 100 years of age. While mainly about a meatless diet, the
unspoken messages in his speech were about stress levels. Low stress
makes you live forever apparently, and not one of the examples this
guy used looked like they had a computer in their homes. So, I
started the day learning how to add years to my life by eating better,
increasing interpersonal contact, and reducing stress then ran
upstairs to my first seminar (since the keynote went long) at which I
received an overview of various complicated methods of accessing data
rapidly. I then went to lunch, at which were provided three different
kinds of meat sandwich.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

What is all this ruckus?

For those of you who maintain interest in the Underworld location debate, be sure you check out the relevant posts of webshite and outgrabes, and also go back to mine for another comment lending credence to Budapest argument.

Can't change lanes

Living in a land where the weather is constantly temperate must increase the desire for nice cars. I can't go a block without seeing a BMW roadster, a new Mustang convertible, and a beautiful classic car. On a bearings-getting expedition yesterday I saw something I had never seen before -- a Lamborghini. It was parked in a spot right next to the regular cars. I gawked for a bit then lit out before the owner came back and had his goons shiv me for damaging his vehicle by focusing on it for too long.

A kingly sum

I have a sneaking suspicion that jet lag is going to turn out to be a real bitch.

Picture two men wandering around a sunny city, their spirits oscillating between sun-induced glee and travel-induced exhaustion and you've got a good summary of yesterday afternoon and evening.

Conferences usually mean several consecutive nights of going out for drinks, and I fear this greatly for the following reason: I can't find a beer for less than five bucks. I'm fairly certain that the hotel staff now knows me as "the cheap guy", since after a few forays in an attempt to find reasonably priced alcohol, I ended up in the gift/stuff-you-forgot store staring at the refrigerator unable to convince myself to buy a six-pack of Budweiser for $10.50.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Stale Taste

I'm in San Diego at a conference for the next few days, and I got off the plane about an hour ago. I must admit, I feel bad for all of the Europeans who came to our magnificent country in search of gold, silver, and whatnot. What they found was what I spent six hours flying over today: a whole lot of nothing.

Had never seen the Pacific until today. Awesome.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Can't help you

Just came from the grocery store. Someone asked me if I worked there. I'm guessing it's the eveningwear-Ken slacks and white shirt combined with the frustrated, bored demeanor.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Tired of "news" about runaway brides? B A Start brings you the important stuff. Looks like Gates let the news out that he's planning to ship the next version of the Xbox this year.

Now, I got the Xbox in the fall of last year. Despite the chorus of wails from the leet community, I had no issues buying the Xbox with the full knowledge of the rumors. As I made small talk with one of my brother's geek friends, he expressed deep concern about the purchase, since the next-next-gen machine was due out "next year". I patted him on the head and told him it would all be okay somehow. He'd see. There are plenty of Xbox titles out there to keep me occupied well into the career of the Xbox 360 (or whatever it ends up being named), but this line of reasoning cannot be followed by a geek. You have two choices -- retrogaming or the latest/greatest. I felt it best to let the topic slide. The black-shirt-with-white-text-wearing squirrel of a man skittered into the other room, presumably to level up his paladin.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

No one to stop them this time.

I was going pen a small post asking if it was possible for there to be anything geekier than Star Wars Risk, but then I remembered Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. Good gravy. A walk through Target is like visiting the inside of a deranged Lucasarts marketing director's secretest fantasy. I thought the blitz for Episode I was bad -- I refused to believe, couldn't believe that anything could surpass Amidala shampoo. It would appear that I was incorrect. My guess is that they fear the release of Episode III to be their last chance to make a gazillion or two off or Lucas's thirty-year-old vision, despite promises of a couple TV shows in the works.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


We have something required of us which was not required of generations prior, something they took quite for granted. The proliferation of the internet repeatedly puts us in the situation of having to define ourselves. Every email address, every screenname, every new logon, every forum membership, every blog comment requires an identity, and for the first time in history we have to make it up on our own.

This is a boon and curse, of course. Now your last name or skin color doesn't define you unless you want it to. So the question is, what is one to do? A great exercise in this is making an avatar for yourself on this website, pointed out to me by Tom ages ago.

So what do you pick? Do you make your online identity the same as your real world one?

A cooler version of yourself?

Someone vastly different?

Something outlandish?

The choice is yours, and that isn't necessarily a good thing. More on this later.