10-27-08 (20:06)
  • baraka is now on blu-ray. great news.

  • 10-23-08 (18:19)

  • not terribly into the world series this year.
  • got a raise last week, second one in the last couple months. also got a couple more duties, but it's basically just a formal acknowledgement of what i'm already doing. making $20/hour now which is plenty good for me. still no healthcare though.

  • 10-20-08 (23:44)

  • still busy with the deck project. will probably take a couple more weeks. more complex that i had anticipated. a definite learning experience. working by yourself takes quite a bit longer. need to find a good partner.
  • wrote a check for 30 bucks and wamu cashed it for 50. called them up and they took care of it. i've been with wamu for 10+ years (started as american savings actually) and haven't ever had this happen. no complaints though, too bad they're not around anymore.
  • too bad about nolan getting the boot from the niners. singletary is a good replacement, but i would have liked to see nolan and one of their qbs get more than a year to gel with an offensive coordinator. not a well run franchise right now.

  • 10-16-08 (21:50)

  • the debate last night was a little more interesting, but still essentially just a couple of glorified stump speeches. the moderator was, as always, basically as useful as a stack of index cards. we need at least one more person in there to mix things up. ralph nader, ross perot, whomever. they talked a lot about joe the plumber which led to today being his 15 minutes of fame. seen a few things that reduce plumbers to toilet-clog-cleaning, ass-crack-showing fat guys. ha ha. funny to a point, i guess. i had this view of plumbers until i was about 10 when i first saw this old house and discovered how much expertise goes into bringing water into a home and then taking waste out. it's an incredibly difficult and time intensive process. i think it's the hardest and most difficult work in the residential trades. electrical work is straight forward. framing is relatively easy. most roof work is easy enough. foundations are hard work, but not rocket science. painting is easy to do, but painting well takes experience and skill. but the difficulty involved in properly sizing supply, drain, waste, and venting for a proper plumbing system is rather difficult. the codes involved with plumbing are as extensive as any other trade; probably more so. cutting cast iron pipe, finding proper avenues for drain and waste piping without destroying the framing, etc. are difficult and require more intellect than the average person would anticipate. plumbers also deal with natural gas which, next to electricity, is probably the most dangerous thing in the house. hvac is also difficult and involves a lot of planning. so hopefully anyone reading this has a little more respect for the guy who makes it possible for you to have water without having to walk down to the river and allows you to take a shit in the warmth of your house, rather than trudging out to the stinky outhouse in the middle of a rain storm.

  • 10-15-08 (21:02)

  • looked at the polls and ran some electoral college numbers today. i generally assumed that mccain would win a couple swing states by stealing votes with vote counting machines, intimidation, etc. i also looked at historical data. for example, north carolina hasn't gone to a democrat in the last 30+ years yet is considered a toss up at this point. missouri has voted the same way as ohio, tennessee, and kentucky in the last ten elections. tenn and kentucky are red, but ohio and missouri are considered toss ups. so, in these instances i gave the toss up to mccain because of historic precedence. with these assumptions and some gut feelings i came up with another close election day with mccain winning with as few as 270 (the minimum required) and as many as 286, depending upon the breaks. i also ran some numbers assuming a clean election, no "bradley effect," and success of the obama mantra of change. best case scenario there had obama winning 340-198. so, i think obama has a bigger upside potential and more room for error, but when push comes to shove i think we're probably in for another tight one with mccain potentially winning the electoral vote (though likely losing the popular vote). to this point i've felt that obama would win because of the national polling data and his momentum and campaign strategies. this is the first time i've looked at things state by state. the worst case scenario is mccain winning with just 270. the best case scenario is obama winning with a wide margin like 340. could be interesting if the exit polls have obama winning, but the actual numbers start coming in with mccain on top. fun times.

  • 10-13-08 (18:31)

  • worked on the deck project friday night and all day saturday and sunday. also today and will do a couple hours more tomorrow. thought i was going to get some help from the homeowner, but that hasn't happened yet so things are going slow.
  • here's one for you: wednesday is the street cleaning day so i moved the bug off the street on tuesday night. during my lunch break on wed. i come home and move the bug back onto the street about 3 minutes before the no parking due to street cleaning window expires. the street had clearly been cleaned though so i didn't think i would get a ticket or anything. come back out of the house about 15 minutes later and the bug is right where i left it and all is fine. come home after work, a bit before 6pm and don't see the bug where i left it. it's up the street and parked with the right rear tire on the curb. first the obvious: no meryl didn't move it, no it didn't roll down hill - it was parked down the hill, and it was locked, the club was on, the kill switch off. so, no one could have moved it using conventional means and no one could have gotten into it and started it up. not only was the door locked, but you actually need the key to lock the door - if you lock it and then close it, it will become unlocked. so, the only reasonable explanation is that someone towed it or dragged it up the hill. considering it was in gear i think that dragging it would have done it harm, but it's impossible to tell. the only mark on the car was some chips of paint on the license plate cover, which makes me think someone tried to push it up the hill, but those paint chips could have happened some other time without my noticing. police confirmed that the city didn't tow it. asked two neighbors about it and they didn't have any information. one of them is a guy who hangs outside a lot so i thought he may have some info. the other guy was the person i suspected was behind it. he lives in the house where the bug has been parked for the last month. when i asked him he said he didn't see anything, but he was less than convincing.
  • 49ers found a way to blow the game the other day.
  • i don't remember the last time i saw usc shutout an opponent, but i have a crappy memory because it's happened several times under pete carroll and i've seen about 80% of the games during the carroll era.
  • don't love nike as a company, but they make good, comfortable shoes and amazing commercials. here's yet another of their classics, to the ecstasy of gold tune from the good the bad and the ugly: here. directed by david fincher. brilliant. top three movie score of all-time.
  • good to see three top 10 teams bite the dust this week. usc has an outside shot so long as they run the table and get a few breaks. pac-10 sucking doesn't help them though.
  • hate to harp on a theme, but i hate the SEC. people always talk about how tough it is to get out of the sec alive. true, but the SEC also has almost a clear path to the championship for two reasons: their perceived strength of schedule and the conference championship. so while it's difficult for a single team to get out alive (just as it is difficult for you or me to win the lottery), it's nearly guaranteed that some sec team will be in the championship (just as the chances that someone will win the lottery is near 100%). big 12 has a similar situation.
  • texas looked good against oklahoma. hopefully oklahoma will disappear now, they suck and i hate them. i hate texas even more, but at least they don't suck.

  • 10-6-08 (22:16)

  • busy days.
  • got around to watching the snl tina fey does sarah palin skit. pretty damn funny and spot on all around - from biden wanting to not come off as a dick to gwen ifill feeling like she couldn't do any actual moderating because of the allegations that she's pro-obama.
  • disassembled tom's deck over the last couple days.

  • 10-2-08 (21:09)

  • well, sure enough, sarah palin held her own and thus won the debate. david brooks, the asshole that he is, essentially said the same thing. i still haven't heard anyone make the observation that this is what happened 4 and 8 years ago with bush when everyone expected him to implode. if you look at the text of what she said, you won't be impressed, but in watching the debate in realtime you get the impression that she was holding her own. a lot of the time when she was talking she wasn't really saying anything, but she still seemed to be saying something pleasant enough. she really stuck to the politician's adage that you don't answer the question that's asked, you answer the question that you wish was asked. she basically gave canned answers through most of the "debate," but i don't know that most people will notice. no one, not ifill, not biden, held her feet to the flames. and, most importantly, she wasn't being the idiot that we saw talking with katie couric.
  • the right did a good job of framing the debate: will biden be too rough on her? how much will she screw up? biden pulled his punches and she held her own (is it that surprising that a person who won governor was able to give canned responses? and answer basic questions?). so, yeah, she didn't do much, but she still won.
  • it doesn't seem as though the left has learned how to deal with the folksy appeal of people like bush and palin yet. on snl they make fun of these figures as dolts and morons. sure, they are simpletons and not real heady individuals, but so is most of the world. most people aren't really intellectual the way that jfk was. by making fun of these simple figures the left does a disservice to its goal of knocking them down. there's an inherent lack of respect that comes from the kind of coverage on the daily show or the mockery from snl, and it's funny, but it doesn't win any converts and it lowers the bar which is actually good for the subjects of ridicule (palin in this case). my grandmother always reminds me of what eleanor roosevelt said about democrats needing to run like they're scared. in the last couple elections the dems have run like they know they're better and will be rewarded accordingly. that hasn't worked out too well so far.
  • i wonder how true liberals felt when biden kowtowed to the anti-gay fears of the majority. seeing him admit he and obama were against gay marriage was pretty funny considering how adamantly liberals support them. or how about him pointing out that the tax rate of the rich under obama/biden would be the same as it was under reagan. they didn't get to capital punishment which is another area where obama differs from most real leftists. obama/biden also support "clean coal" and nuclear power which isn't in line with most environmentalists.

  • 10-1-08 (22:53)

  • looking forward to the new episode of the office tomorrow. also looking forward to the vice presidential debate. i do caution people against thinking too little of palin. we've fallen for that trick before with bush. low expectations are easy to exceed and thus it becomes easy to "win" the debate. controlling expectations is very important from a political perspective and the palin people have lowered the bar quite a bit for her. that's actually bad news for democrats. i've yet to hear anyone take this point of view which makes it even more frightening because it means we could very well be talking about the surprisingly agile and intelligent palin by this time tomorrow.
  • got a pre-paid cell phone on monday. i'm a sellout. it'll be convenient at times and there's no commitment, though, so it's not such a bad deal in the end.

  • i'm 8 classes away from a carpentry degree at laney. at my current rate i'd be done in about 16 months. there are about 10-12 classes i'd like to take, but on a part-time basis that would take forever. i would be nice to learn cabinet making and welding and those extra things as well, though.