7/30/10 (17:55)
  • tomorrow is the craft fair. tonight we'll be doing some last minute stuff to get everything ready. tomorrow will be long. after this weekend we can get back to work on the house. august is going to be busy. lots of running and house work.

  • 7/29/10 (19:52)

  • good daft punk video.

  • 7/28/10 (17:04)

  • tired today
  • counterpoint.
  • haven't gotten much done on the house lately.
  • internet still seems to have problems.
  • heard a story on npr today about a woman who, after the bp oil spill, decided she wanted to avoid oil and oil-based products. of course she quickly found out how difficult that is and felt guilty about the amount of oil she was using. this is the kind of stuff educated, mostly liberal, people like me have to deal with. we feel like shit because we spend too much time in the sun and feel like we're going to get skin cancer. then we read a study that says most people in the country don't get enough vitamin d because they're not in the sun enough. we try to avoid oil-related products like plastic forks, but then we get forks made out of corn and feel like crap because corn is over-subsidized as is. you can't eat beef so you eat chicken. then someone says chicken is bad so you eat more fish. then they tell you that fish has too much mercury in it. then they say that the seas are being overfished. then they say fish is okay, but only small fish like mackerel and sardines. this crap is ridiculous.

  • 7/27/10 (16:52)

  • it seems like there are still a lot of stories about the lebron issue and most of them focus on two things: he's a turncoat for leaving his team or the production made about the whole thing was ridiculous. second one first: if you're like most sports fans, which you are if you're writing about it, then you tuned in. if you're part of the sports media then chances are you contributed to the hype as much as anyone else. so suck it.
  • as to the first point: 1) it was a business decision. 2) i have no problem with him taking less money to try to build a dynasty elsewhere. he gave cleveland 7 years and they never put anyone good around him. it was easy for kobe to stay in la when he had shaq and odom and pau and artest and all the other talent they surrounded him with. why did people not get upset when kevin garnett left minnesota for boston? because he didn't grow up there? because he wasn't the best player in the game at the time? not sure what all the fuss is over.
  • i'm pretty consistent when it comes to empowering the working class or at least the talent. in the case of sports the working class/talent portion of the equation isn't the ncaa or david stern or the media or the owners of any of the teams; it's the players who put their asses on the line on a daily basis. a lot of times the media will write these guys off as rich whining babies, which to some extent they are, but the owners are, in most cases, quite a bit richer and it's a situation where the money is there and it's just a matter of where you want it to go. you can argue that there should be less money in sports, but the fact is that there's a certain amount floating around, it's just a matter of where you want it to go. if you're with much of the media then you think the talent shouldn't get such high contracts which means you think it should be divided between the other entities (ownership, advertisers, and the leagues). in other words, you favor the bourgeoisie. since everyone in the equation is ridiculously rich it's easy to forget that the talent is still lowest on the totem pole and they're also the ones generating the revenue. if you want to argue that the refs should get more or that the guys selling the beer should get more then lets have that argument, but don't argue in favor of some billionaire owner who has to pay a couple million more to the talent because you just look like an asshole.
  • another college football player apparently took money from some boosters. this time in florida. big surprise. once again the ncaa is on its little witch hunt making sure it keeps the talent hoping they'll get a big payday in the nfl draft while keeping them down in the meantime. i hate florida as much as any other school in the country, but i have no problem with this kid getting his due compensation in spite of the ncaa's b.s. regulations.

  • 7/26/10 (22:43)

  • cousin sean came over this weekend. he stayed with us saturday, sunday and today. it was good to spend some time with him. he's socially awkward, but a great kid and he's up for anything. we had him do some assembly work for meryl's art projects and he helped me change the oil and replace the broken window on the garage (i broke it playing basketball) and we saw a basketball game and played some games. it was a good time.
  • boss is on vacation the next two weeks so i don't get my usual day off next week.
  • ted koppel is another one of those old-timers who will be missed when he's gone. today he was on npr talking about the state of the media today, especially after they jumped on the sherrod case and provided no context or fact-checking or anything else. at the end, the host (tony cox) asked koppel if we had any reason to be optimistic that the media would get better in the future, koppel replied simply: "no." ouch. but true.

  • 7/24/10 (10:59)

  • god i hope that warren is appointed the head of the consumer protection agency (or whatever they plan on calling it). if obama does that it'll be his biggest achievement to date in my mind.

  • 7/23/10 (17:46)

  • wrist has been hurting lately.
  • cousin is coming to stay with us tomorrow.
  • daniel schorr died today. not sure if i mentioned it several months back when i intended, but he's one of the true greats. i try to get ahead of these stories when there are old people, i try to mention that i like them before they're gone because i think it's trite to write about how great a person is after they die. it just seems like people should say nice things about a person before they die. while working at tower it annoyed me that everyone would be a warren zevon fan on the day he died, for example, but we wouldn't sell any of his records otherwise. anyway, whenever i'd hear schorr on npr i would do my best to pay attention. he was one of those old timers who had a great perspective on things because he lived so much and was privy to so many things. i respected his opinion and that's increasingly rare. he wasn't a partisan b.s. artist. he was about the facts has he saw them and had a great ability to put things in historic context. he also appeared in the david fincher movie 'the game' which was the first time i remember seeing his face, though i had known his voice before. a lot of times when these old-timers pass on they've sort of passed on in our minds already because they don't appear in films anymore or are out of politics, but in schorr's case he was still contributing. apparently his last commentary for npr was less than two weeks ago. he'll be missed.
  • jim lehrer is still around so that's good.
  • want to see inception again. i'm not a big repeat film-goer, but nolan's last two films have both had me wanting to see them a second time in the theater. only film i've seen twice in the theater in recent years (that i can remember) is hangover, but that was more out of opportunity than anything else.
  • at&t tech came by yesterday and did a line test. said that the stress test showed our line was pretty maxed out. they're going to do some maintenance on the line from here to the nearest booster (i assume that's what they're doing) and then we'll see how things are. i also think we need to clean up the rat's nest of phone wires under the house, but that's a project for later.
  • broke a window on the garage yesterday. knew it was going to happen sooner or later. need to move the doors all the way to one side when i play basketball and put up a piece of wood so that stray balls don't hit the windows. called around and they said it would be about $110 to come out and fix it. guess i'll have to do it myself. it's only like $15 worth of material (glass and glazing), but i'm not great at smoothing the glazing so i didn't want to have to do it. guess it's good practice.
  • oakland has a technology called shotspotter which does exactly what it says: spots the location (within 25m) of gunshots that are fired throughout the city. then they can dispatch patrol cars to the location and (presumably) catch the perps. they can also take this data and find which areas have high levels of gun fire and then patrol those locations more frequently. a bunch of cities throughout the country have this technology.
  • a couple weeks ago, before i heard about the shotspotter thing, i was thinking that patrol cars should have gps that tracks their movements and relays that back to the main computer and aggregates all the data from all the patrol cars and finds which areas are underpatrolled. they could cross-reference this with crime reports and the shotspotter info or they could ignore that data and just find which areas don't get patrolled often and suggest officers patrol that area the next time they're out. the assumption is that officers are human and will likely patrol the same areas over and over. criminals will detect the pattern and adjust. the program detects the patterns and suggests new patrol routes/locations to improve visibility. seems easy to implement - install gps on cars that don't already have one, write the program which could sync automatically while in the garage/parking lot on a fairly basic (secure/encrypted) wireless network, and train the cops on what the program is doing. remind them that it's not telling them where to go, merely offering suggestions. seems like the kind of thing some grad students could do in a matter of months. it could even be as simple as an iphone app (which has gps built in). the app could perform the same tasks for all officers who have iphones. that version would be less detailed, but it would still work.
  • smart alec's in berkeley is a nice lunch place, but they recently changed their to go ketchup packets from heinz to some georgia fancy catsup crap and it totally blows. not all ketchup is created equal. first of all, if they spell it catsup, it's crap. that's basically a rule. secondly, why try to save $10 a week in ketchup when what you have is working just fine and the other tastes like the piss of a sunburned irishman? doesn't make any sense.
  • ran a couple miles the other day. ran at an 8 minute mile pace so it's nice knowing i can still do that, even if only for a mile and a half. wanted a short, fast run because meryl was waiting for me. as i get older and am trying to run a bit again it occurs to me how fit i once was. i took a 6 minute mile for granted. an 8 minute mile was easily maintained for 5 miles. now, though, it's a different story. of course i'm only running a few days a week and i'm not running with the same intensity with weekly races and a coach and competition during the week. one summer we went up to mammoth mountain (elevation about 7k ft.) and had a running camp with coach. we ran twice a day at least 4-5 miles per run. there were days when we did 15-16 miles. all we did was run and hang out. it was a good team building thing and running at that elevation, twice a day, got me in shape real quick. there's no way i could do that these days. this is aging. i hope i start to get smarter because i ain't getting stronger anytime soon.
  • backerboard and drywall continue to go up in the bathroom. less than half way done with that. maybe i'll put my cousin to work this weekend. we'll see what he can do.
  • rated over 10,600 songs now. 24,000 to go.

  • 7/21/10 (17:53)

  • our internet is really sucking lately.
  • don't agree 100% with this, but makes some interesting points.
  • the shirley sherrod situation is pretty fucked up. she did something she shouldn't have done (acted in a racist manner by denying her best effort because of a person's race), then she learns from it and makes it right, then she recounts this story so others wouldn't make the same mistake, then she gets fired. if i were her i'd consider a wrongful termination suit. fucking conservatives pounded on this and got results. it's not the first time they've done this either. there was the green jobs guy who got ousted as well. our country is so fucked right now. conservatives need to take back conservatism because right now it's being taken over by crazy racists and neo-cons. conservatism used to be more about fiscal responsibility and shrinking role of the government. don't really agree with that, but at least i could respect that on some level. about the time reagan came around i think it all went to shit.
  • put up some more wonderboard today. mostly been working on meryl's projects the last week or so. helping her with much of the carpentry-related stuff for the renegade craft fair.
  • stupid fucking google changes the link to the imdb results. so you search for a movie and the imdb link comes up, you right click on the link and click "copy link address" or whatever it is (depending upon your browser), then you go to paste that and it comes up with some long ass google-based link instead of the imdb.com one. wtf? imdb.com is sucking ass lately too with their obtrusive ads.

  • 7/18/10 (22:41)

  • went for a run today. decent pace, not super long. need to start increasing the mileage so i'm ready for that.
  • watched inception last night. highly recommended. updated recommendations.
  • yesterday i laid down the cement backer board on the floor of the bathroom. that was nice to get done. i laid it down with thinset and followed up with screws on the perimeter of the boards and nailed the field with roofing nails. roofing nailer is a godsend. i love having the right tools.
  • the other day i also got around to setting up the basketball hoop. rather than buying their frame and figuring out how to install that on the garage, i opted to design and build my own mounting hardware. took a while, but i got it to work and it's pretty solid. happy with the feel of it and glad that i have a hoop now. it's nice to shoot some hoops after work or after working on the house.
  • half a day more of painting at the alumni house tomorrow. blah.
  • our snap peas are coming in well now. had a stir fry with them the other day and they were pretty good, but i prefer eating the peas out of the pod. from vine to mouth in less than 10 seconds. it doesn't get better than that.
  • i tend to think that the best is behind us when it comes to films. for example, i have a movie from every decade since the 30s on my top 25 of all-time, except the first decade of the new millenium. this isn't by design, i just haven't fallen in love with a film from the last ten years like i have with films from the previous 70. i'll have to revisit my top 25 in a while. haven't done that recently and it could probably be reworked. need to revisit a couple films that are just in or just out to see where things should be.

  • 7/14/10 (10:10)

  • updated pictures.
  • there was a psychiatrist on fresh air yesterday and he basically confirmed a lot of what i thought already. namely that the profession is a brain drain that increasingly leans on meds to treat their patients. a lot of what he described sounded like it could easily be replaced by a fairly simple computer program. he asks the patient a series of questions, consults the pdr and then prescribes medicine. incentives are such that it makes much more sense to see many patients in a day. you get paid quite a bit more for a 15 minute consult than a 1 hour therapy session. he described not wanting to ask too many questions because then he would spend too much time with the patient and not be able to see the next one. this sounds similar to my experience with regular doctors who are all business and don't spend more than 5-10 minutes with you on any given visit. pretty pathetic stuff.

  • 7/8/10 (23:01)

  • the mehserle verdict came in as expected. without going too much into it i think it's more likely that mehserle was incompetent than it is that he was evil and stupid and/or hubristic enough to think he wouldn't get in trouble for obvious murder. i see incompetence daily and i don't see pure evil all that much. i also think it's basically impossible to judge someone's intentions. without knowing more i couldn't say what i think the verdict should have been.
  • what's probably more disturbing is the media's coverage of this any basically every other event. the media presents it as a black vs. white issue and hypes it up because sensationalism is what they do best. during the l.a. riots reginald denny, a white truck driver, was famously taken out of his truck and beaten to a pulp by four  moron gang members, who were black. this was a great counterpoint for the media because it represented black vengeance for the rodney king beating. what they never showed, though, is the aftermath. four different people (all black) came to denny's rescue and drove him to the hospital. most people who watched the riots know about denny, but i'm willing to bet that 90% of them don't know what happened to him afterwards.
  • another element of that incident that pretty well summarizes our society is the copyright litigation that followed. the pilot and reporter who filmed the incident ended up suing tv stations for using the footage without their permission. it reminds me of the scalia quote (probably the only time i've agreed with him) "I mean thereíd be a, you know, a defense or public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isnít she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?
  • I mean lawyers, after all, donít produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. Thatís important, but it doesnít put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.
  • And they appear here in the Court, I mean, even the ones who will only argue here once and will never come again. Iím usually impressed with how good they are. Sometimes you get one who's not so good. But, no, by and large I donít have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we're wasting some of our best minds."
  • to the best of my knowledge we have more lawyers per capita than any other country in the world. we also have the highest prison population in the world so maybe it makes sense.
  • i didn't think there would be riots in oakland after the verdict. so far it's been mainly peaceful based upon what i've found on youtube and seen on the local news. a few idiot opportunists have looted foot locker and broke the windows to a downtown subway eatery, but that's basically it. for all this stuff i have to refer to the quotes by hitler and einstein above. for me it explains quite a bit about the state of the world.
  • re: lebron. i thought he was going to stay with the cavs, but he's going into a situation more likely to get him some championships. miami should own the east for the next 7 years or so and they could definitely get 3 rings or more in that time. in my opinion lebron and wade are the two best players in the world, with kobe being #3. it's huge news. it's tough for cleveland and i feel bad for them, but i understand lebron doing what he did. cleveland wasn't bringing in better talent. cleveland could have paid him more. i don't think it was a selfish decision, i think it was a decision that was based upon his desire to win championships. in other words, i take him for his word.
  • more painting at alumni house coming up. three more days at least for various areas. hopefully that'll be all for a while.

  • 7/7/10 (10:13)

  • the oscar grant/mehserle trial is supposed to have a verdict soon, but who knows how long it could drag out. the video makes it clear that mehserle killed him and should do some time. the question, as i see it, is if he wanted to kill him or just use his taser. logic dictates the following to me: 1) killing someone in public with multiple witnesses is a ridiculously stupid thing to do. if you want to kill the guy you take him in a back alley and shoot him and say he was trying to escape or something. 2) a gun feels different than a taser, a trained professional and/or monkey should be able to tell the difference between the two. proving intent seems extraordinarily difficult to me. does mehserle have a history of violence, excessive force, anger problems? is he a known racist? i know very little about the case so i couldn't say how i think it should come down, but if he isn't found guilty there are going to be a lot of angry people in oakland.
  • 31 now. feels kinda old. luckily it happens gradually so you get accustomed to the signs of aging. i'm less concerned about getting old and more concerned by the fact that i have fewer friends now than i did 10 years ago.
  • next two days off.
  • did some painting at alumni house last week. have three more days left of that. painting is a chore to me, but it's not so bad once i get started.
  • going to take some electrical classes in fall. kaizen.
  • 3 tickets in the last week. i guess it all evens out because i hadn't many for the last 2-3 months. in the long term the house always wins.
  • metallica's "...and justice for all" is an album in great need of a remastering. the production is notoriously bad. hopefully one day they can punch it up to sound like it should.

  • 7/3/10 (20:08)

  • got rid of a truckload of dirt. one more truckload to go.
  • also did some rough pluming. shower/tub valve/supply is done, just need to hook it up to the main trunk and then branch off to supply the toilet and the rough plumbing will be complete.
  • watched both the soccer matches today. germany is the best looking team i've seen so far, but i haven't seen much of the dutch or uruguay.

  • 7/2/10 (18:00)
    birthday sunday. meryl is making us not do any work so we'll be watching movies most of the day.